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Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Herod D’Argyl, Anti-hero from THE CYNN CRUORS BLOODLINE SERIES by Isobelle Cate

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the first post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Isobelle Cate, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Isobelle! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

Who is Herod?

 

When I started writing my paranormal series, The Cynn Cruors Bloodline, Herod was just one of the secondary characters in my stories about vampire/werewolf hybrids. I really had no intention of truly developing him into someone that made my heart squeeze. It just came as a ‘eureka’ moment and since then, Herod became someone who had a deeper connection to the main characters of the series.

Just like my heroes, Herod was also infused with the same DNA as the Cynn Cruors. The difference was that he was batting for the other side. He was a Scatha Cruor. But the complexity of how he came to be the epitome of the evil the Cynn Cruors were battling against is deeper than what the first five books in the series have shown. In the 6th book, Midnight’s Paradox, Herod’s identity is revealed. Naturally, I made sure there was a foreshadowing of things to come from the very start.

Herod’s evolution did not come overnight. I spent several nights in the course of writing the series that I’d just be in bed, stare at the ceiling and see Herod’s life unfold before me. There were flashes of inspiration that I had to write down immediately lest the impact of the words disappeared from memory. And with every unfolding of Herod’s story, I couldn’t stop the sorrow I felt for him. I remember the time I wrote his dialogue and the scene with another character and I couldn’t stop crying. Using words to describe him, to give him form, he became a living, breathing character.

He became real.

Characters take time to develop. Sometimes, an author may have already given a character his/her attributes, then suddenly adds further traits to make the character multi-faceted or multi-dimensional. Herod was one such character. His actions affected everyone in the series. Directly or indirectly, he became part of their collective memories.

Collective memories…maybe I might just write a book about Herod and why he made the choices he did that led him down a slippery slope.

If you want to read about immortal highlanders with vampire/werewolf DNA, why not read the Cynn Cruors Bloodline series?

Yes, why not? 
Let’s find out more about the novel, shall we? 😉

This is the blurb for Midnight’s Paradox, book six of The Cynn Cruors Bloodline Series:

IT BEGINS IN AN ANCIENT CASTLE, WITH IMPULSIVE HOT STRANGER SEX –AND IT LEADS TO WORLDS SHE’S NEVER DREAMED OF…

In Isobelle Cate’s SIXTH erotic paranormal romance, it’s been hundreds of years since immortal Cynn Cruor warrior Blake Strachen buried what little was left of his family. And it’s been three years since his last unsuccessful raid on his nemesis Dac Valerian. Enemies are still at large. Too much is left unfinished.

Restless, Blake is wandering through the deserted streets of Edinburgh in the early morning hours when he encounters the ghost of a woman, a witch hung centuries ago, who speaks cryptically of “the sins of the father”. But before he can ask her what she means, she disappears with the first light of dawn. Dawn means that Blake–a vampire-werewolf-human hybrid–must find shelter, and he stumbles into the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle before visitor hours. But he’s not alone…

Phoebe Ruth has come into work early at the old castle when she notices the dark shadow of a man handling a relic sword with surprising ease. A powerful and disturbingly attractive man. Sparks ignite immediately, the two strangers wordlessly embracing with an uncontrollable passion neither of them understands… But just like that, Blake disappears.

All day, like a stereo needle skipping over a vinyl scratch, Phoebe replays the steamy sexual encounter of the early morning–the hunger that threatened to devour her. Was it just an arousing dream? But when Blake rescues Phoebe from an assault by thugs in the cemetery, each becomes enraptured by the other. Forever.

Phoebe has read of the Cynn Cruors in her father’s journal and believes they’re only the ravings of a grief-stricken man after losing his wife. But after several chance encounters, she begins to realize that the Cynn Cruors’ world is as real as the dark stranger’s bonfire of burning kisses. Both Phoebe and Blake have sordid pasts to sort through. And these chance encounters inexplicably link the two lovers together in more ways than one…

This haunting love story will appeal to romance readers who love a hot steamy erotica series with a paranormal element– supernatural shifters, werewolf romance, and vampire romance (it’s got all of that!) –and plenty of explicit sex.

***CONTENT WARNING: This story contains adult language and sexual situations and is intended for audiences 18+ ONLY. ***

And here is an excerpt.

Herod looked at himself in the mirror, his reflection blurry at best. It was as though the mirror had fogged after someone had taken a long hot shower. But there was no shower to blame since the mirror was in the corner of his room, in his own manor. The room was stone cold, with its vaulted ceiling and tall windows that overlooked the expanse of a dark loch intermittently covered with black ice. His bed had hardly been slept on, not for lack of want. He’d been at Dac’s beck and call nearly twenty-four seven. He hadn’t raped a woman in several days nor killed someone to feed the debauched, altered Kinaré gene inside him. It didn’t matter that Herod didn’t feel the cold or he hadn’t had a good fuck. What annoyed him was that he couldn’t bloody see clearly. Dac came in the night before and smashed the special mirror he had, and with everything that was going on, vanity wasn’t on Herod’s list of priorities for the time being.

He squinted, trying to catch a sharper glimpse of his wound but not even the Cruor’s razor sight could pierce the ordinary looking glass. The only thing Herod could do was to feel the flesh around his wound. A three inch slit where The Hamilton’s silver laced claymore gored him. Any other blade without silver wouldn’t have left a scar. Herod remembered the pain of the silver cutting through his bloodstream and the white hot influx of the adriserum The Hamilton jammed into him to alleviate the damage the metal inflicted on him.

Herod closed his eyes. For as long as he could remember, he thrived on pain. He loved receiving, giving it. Even in battle, he had a perverse pleasure of feeling the metal singe his skin though only to a point. He was still too obsessed with living for the pain to be the harbinger of his last breath. He loved to hear the tortured cries of Scatha victims and the mournful wails of the sex slaves as they were auctioned to the highest debauched bidder. He watched and joined in the hedonism when the winning bidder sampled the merchandise in front of a lascivious crowd. Sometimes he participated, sampling the quality paid for. The pain was different when it came to silver, not only since it was the bane of all Cruors – Cynn and Scatha. It was because the pain reminded him of what it was like to be human.

Weak and fallible.

Herod twisted his torso so he could try and see the exit wound. His brow furrowed in concentration as he felt his skin stretch taut against his back, the sensation around the healing wound similar to the tiny feet of ants crawling over and around it. He whipped around, his eyes narrowing when the door to his room opened and Dac sauntered in.

“Nasty wound,” he remarked.

Herod grunted, reaching out for his muscle shirt draped over the nearby wingback chair.

“It’s healing.” The shirt covered his body. A warning tingle skittered around in a circle on Herod’s nape. Dac was on to something and Herod wasn’t sure what it was. Instinctively, he brought his mind barrier up. He hardly had any need for it except when Dac had his over suspicious moods. He tracked his liege lord across the room as Dac perused his wide collection of music CDs that surrounded his state of the art audio system, an Infinite Grand. Herod loved listening to Chopin, the only composer who made him feel any semblance of peace. This was what was left of his immense collection when most of it had been razed to the ground in the Isle of Man’s siege. Centuries ago, he’d had the immense pleasure of listening to the virtuoso play several of his compositions when Chopin performed in one of the many grand salons of Europe.

Dac’s fingers ran across the roughly hewn stone wall blunted by time, his gaze taking in the huge four poster bed sans the overhead damask curtains which Herod abhorred because it made him claustrophobic. Instead, above the bed, framed on the wall was the D’Argyl tartan of forest green, black, and brown. It resembled a bedraggled and tattered piece of cloth that Herod had returned for after his confrontation with Deanna.

It was the only thing left to tie him to who he was, the only symbolic piece of humanity to tie himself to.

Herod sucked in a harsh breath.

Fucking conscience.

Why did he have to return to get it? He should have left it in the fortress to be a sacrifice to feed the fires. But no, he had to drag his sorry arse to rush like the wind to the fortress before the sun burned him alive. He hid in the tunnels and picked his way along the corridors that swarmed with Cynn Cruors, entered his room to take his birthright from the wall and leave through the forest. He knew all along Deanna would eventually find the hidden trapdoor in the forest that led to his room.

He kept this knowledge a secret.

Herod watched Dac peruse his clan’s colours and braced himself. As he suspected, Dac started to invade his mind and when the Scatha Cruor leader made a gesture to touch it, a small growl rose from his throat.

“Touchy,” Dac laughed, amused.

“You know I don’t like you or anyone touching what is mine.”

“We share women,” Dac feigned confusion. “You take her hole, I take her ass or mouth. We rape them together, kill, and share the spoils. And you don’t want me to touch a measly rag?”

Herod’s eyes heated and he knew his eyes were about to change. His hands fisted, and his jaw clenched to tamp down his fury.

“You don’t share my family history or my clan, Valerian. That alone is mine. You were Roman, I was Gaelic. I will not warn you again.”

“You forget yourself, D’Argyl.” Dac’s grin waned.

Herod expelled a breath and sat down on the chair, to put on his steel toed boots.

“So do you, my liege.” Herod’s muscles flexed and slid under his skin as he tied the laces. “You wouldn’t be the Scatha Cruor leader if I didn’t save your life.” He stood, a small smile shadowing his mouth at Dac’s annoyance.

“That’s about to change.” Dac glared.

Unprepared, Herod fell to his knees, grunting at the pain that exploded inside his head. It snaked through every nerve ending of his brain and to his horror, the Scatha Cruor leader suddenly flipped the lock of his memories. Racing against the onslaught, Herod allowed the pain to blind him, darkness clouding his vision while his mind galvanized every barrier and protection from the attack.

In a second, Dac withdrew, the agony that ripped through Herod disappearing like it never happened. Herod fell on all fours, his heart beating so loud in his chest it might as well have been the waves coming from a nuclear blast. Dac’s boots appeared in front of Herod before he crouched.

“What are you hiding, D’Argyl?” he asked, his voice soft hardly threatening. “I often sensed you hiding something from me soon after we escaped the Ancients.”

In retaliation, Herod slammed into Dac’s mind. Dac howled, staggering and falling on his ass. Herod pushed, straining against the powerful walls of Valerian’s brain. Hell, Dac had been there when Hadrian’s Wall had been built. He probably had a convo with Shih Wang Ti to build the Great Wall to hide his own memories.

There!

He found something but his concentration broke when Dac roared once more before swiping his claw against Herod’s face. Herod reeled from the force of the attack when he felt the claws swipe through his skin and jaw bone. He catapulted into the air landing in a defensive growl, his lips pulling away from his teeth in a snarl. His vision turned green waiting for Dac to attack once more. Herod’s fangs elongated, his jaw breaking to accommodate the teeth that began to crowd inside his mouth.

Dac didn’t attack. He stood looking down at Herod whose green blood still trickled from his jaw on to the stone floor. His eyes, completely black, gradually turned to its normal color. Without a word, he stormed out of Herod’s room. The door crashed against the stone wall and when it did, a fissure ran through the wood causing slivers to fall softly to the floor. Herod leaned back, his chest heaving from the exertion of shielding his mind but it was enough for him to catch a glimpse of an image before Dac broke his concentration.

The key that could bring Dac Valerian’s downfall.

A sarcastic chuckle broke out from his still bleeding mouth.

After all this millennia, he could finally go home. A groundswell of emotion nearly drowned him.

“No,” he roared. He shut his eyes, forcing the emotions back. Sentiments had no room in his world anymore. Memories, no longer a part of his life.

It was already too late.

Herod stood, a bit unsteady on his feet after Dac’s attack and the needling of his persistent and awakening conscience. He left his room and made his way to his castle’s great hall when he stopped and sniffed. A rumble fizzed up his throat. What the fuck was a Cynn Cruor doing in his manor? Did they find out where he lived? Fuck! Frustration and fury formed a thunderous vee on his forehead. The Keep was the only thing he had left he could call his own and Dac had to bring complications to his doorstep.

Whizzing up to the gallery so he could determine his mode of attack, Herod eased himself above the great hall. He could feel his eyes transforming at the sight of the Cynn Cruor taking liberties with his extensive collection of cognac. His gut soured and his claws fisted until he drew blood that dripped to the floor. Shit, by the time Dac was through and he moved on to another abode, Herod would probably have baptised most of his castle in his own blood. He listened carefully, his sharp teeth starting to fill his jaw, eager to sink his claws into the Cynn Cruor. He didn’t know the immortal, wasn’t one of those he paid for betraying the Ancients’ trust.

Dac roared, his pupils dilating to a dark greenish black that held dark flecks so deep that any human would not be able to turn away. The last time Herod saw Dac transform was shortly after Dac’s attempt on the life of the Ancient Eald. Herod had also gone through the same transformation, the corruption of the Kinaré solidifying the more evil they perpetrated.

“Give me something I can use against the Cynn Cruors, traitor, or not only will you not get your money, I will have also have your head.”

The need to transform disappeared as Herod listened to what the traitor had to say.

“Here we go again,” he muttered before leaving the gallery and joining Dac in the Great Hall.

Intriguing! I hope you all get a chance to read this steamy paranormal romance! 🙂

Or discover the full series at the links below…

Rapture at Midnight             https://books2read.com/u/mYgg7d

Forever at Midnight              https://books2read.com/u/mZ5NeR

Midnight’s Atonement           https://books2read.com/u/bMrRXX

Midnight’s Fate                       https://books2read.com/u/3k0ve8

My Haven, My Midnight      https://books2read.com/u/3k00WR

Midnight’s Paradox               https://books2read.com/u/bMrrPk

Midnight’s Yule                       https://books2read.com/u/ml5rAW

How exciting to learn about your erotic paranormal romance, Isobelle! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Midnight’s Paradox!

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series! It looks fantastic!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Isobelle! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fueled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Author Links

Website:  www.isobellecate.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIsobelleCate

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/isobelle-cate

 

Thanks again, Isobelle, for giving us a peek into the world of your characters. Exciting! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Sable Hunter visits us on September 28th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Dark Fantasy, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Radio Interview!

For our lovers of paranormal romance, you’ve gotta check this out…

Later today, I’ll be chatting with awesome author team and radio hosts of the Haunted Nights Live! show, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. This radio show is quite popular, and the Thorne & Cross team has seen some very famous authors on there. Check out the list of past guests here.

Check us out at 8PM EST to get some sneak peeks of two books I have coming out later this year, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy, Blood Instincts, book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, and Awakening, a paranormal romantic thriller collection.

Plus, for those who have a fascination with the supernatural, we’ll be talking about that too. 😉

So stop by tonight! You can call in with questions or sit back and listen in. I’m not sure if the interview will be posted right away on the site, but you should be able to hear it as it airs.

Here is the official link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2017/04/07/marie-lavender-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

Follow the Haunted Nights Live! duo on their Facebook page here, or check out their Twitter handle and blog.

As always, thanks so much for being great readers on the I Love Romance Blog! ♥♥♥

Happy reading, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Radio, Readers, Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

41JWiF+PvGL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

Emaline Hoffbrau is a beautiful, confident vampire. After losing the vampire man she loved, she doubts that her soul mate exists. When the charming Garrett Thompson comes along, he turns her world upside-down. Can Garrett accept what Emaline is? Or will he break her heart in a different way?

Juliana Slater is a gorgeous, manipulative vampire. She’s married to Chad Browning, a “regular man.” Although Chad loves Juliana, he’s not sure he wants to be her husband anymore. Will a tragedy decide their fate? Or can the two of them forgive each other and learn to trust again?

Gretchen Eberhardt is living with Bertram Fulbright, a sexy vampire and “ladies’ man.” To complicate matters, he’s slept with her best fang friends. Can a vampire couple find lasting love together? Or will Bert abandon Gretchen for another woman one day?

A few choice lines from the book:

Best fang friends…

When Emaline returned to their table, Juliana grabbed her arm.  “Guess who I just saw?”

“Garrett,” she said as she sat down.  “I have no idea what he’s doing here, Hilliard.  I told him I never wanted to see him again.”

“He must want to see you, Emaline.”

“He doesn’t have the balls to come over, not with all of us sitting at this table.”

Juliana arched a brow.  “Really?  Well, if I’m not mistaken, that’s him heading our way right now.”

Emaline looked, and sure enough, it was Garrett…long, lean, and just as handsome as ever.  Her heart skipped several beats.  As if right on cue, Hilliard put his arm around her.

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day,” Garrett said, grinning like a leprechaun.  His gaze drifted from Emaline to the cake.  “Are you getting married, Gretchen?”

Everyone was smiling at him, except Hilliard and Emaline.

Gretchen nodded.  “To this guy right here.”

“Hey, congratulations.”

Bert shook the hand he extended.  He glanced around the table.  “It’s nice to see you again, Juliana.  Sorry, I don’t know the rest of you…”

Emaline’s rudeness forced Juliana to introduce Garrett to everyone else.  His hazel eyes twinkled with alcohol and merriment as he watched her.

“Just wanted to say hi, Em.  Now, you don’t have to be afraid you’ll run into me.”

“Garrett, would you please just leave?” she said.

“Yeah, sure.  Have fun.”  His smile faded as he walked away.

Juliana stared at her.  “God, Emaline.  You didn’t have to be so mean to him.”

“Don’t you understand?  He views us as curiosities.”

Bert shrugged a shoulder.  “We are curiosities.”

“I don’t care.  I still think he had a lot of nerve coming over here when he can see I’m with someone else.”

Amused, Hilliard said, “I guess you shouldn’t have slept with him, then…or bitten him.”

Emaline flushed.  “I told you that in confidence, Doctor.”

All the women laughed, Carly the loudest.  “My, you are a busy girl, Emaline,” she teased.  “Seriously, it took a lot of courage for Garrett to come over here.  Hilliard doesn’t give a damn, do you, Hilly?”

“I only give a damn if he’s harassing her.  If not, then it’s Emaline’s call.”

“What is it you don’t like about him, honey?” Sonya asked.

“Maybe he’s no good in bed.  Most men aren’t,” Anke said, and she and Elsa snickered and nudged each other.  Bert chuckled, shaking his head.

Gretchen observed her.  “You should apologize to Garrett.  You hurt his feelings.”

Juliana nodded.  “Yes, you should.  Not that I recommend taking up with a regular man.  Right now, I could drain Chad dry and leave his lifeless body in a heap somewhere.”

Hilliard filled Juliana’s and his wine goblets.  “You never know, Emaline.  Garrett could be your heart’s true desire.”

“Oh, for God’s sake.  Now you sound like my poor, misguided mother.”

“Gretchen’s mother is misguided.  Yours is sage and sweet-tempered,” Bert said.

Emaline frowned, sure that everyone and everything was against her.  She started to pass around plates.  “Juliana, cut the cake.  Then maybe Bert will cut the crap.”

That brought a round of laughter.  Gretchen gazed at her fiancé, her dark eyes glittering almost as brightly as her three-carat diamond.

A sick knot formed in the pit of Emaline’s stomach.

My Score:

The author, Linda, is a close friend of mine, and I have to say I have been dying to read Sisters of the Night ever since I read the first book in the Blood & Company Series, Old Town Nights! I absolutely loved it and when there were other sequels, I knew I’d love them too!

Now, though I haven’t yet read Sisters, I do have it on my Kindle. I’ve just been so swamped with work. I do plan to read it as soon as I can.

I give this book five hearts, because who can resist three paranormal romance tales in one book? Or a book about vampires? Not me! 🙂

five hearts

And readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series!

Blood & Company Series

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

51QhglpPvSL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s thrilling new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

A few choice lines from the book:

“What do you say?” her healer murmured.

“I think you came at the perfect time. That’s what I say.”

She shifted in his arms and stared up at him. As she sat in his lap, she wished she could feel more of him. All of him. But from the waist down there was only a nonspecific warmth, one that was better than the chill that had persisted since the operation, yes…but there was so much more to be had.

“Healer…” she whispered, her eyes going to his mouth.

His lids lowered and he seemed to stop breathing. “Yeah…?”

“May I…” She licked her lips. “May I kiss you?”

He seemed to win, as if in pain, but that scent he carried roared, so she knew that he wanted what she did.

“Jesus…Christ,” he bit out.

“Your body wants this,” she said, bringing her hand up to the soft hair at the nape of his neck.

“And that’s the problem.” At her look of confusion, he leveled a hot stare right at her breasts. “It wants a hell of a lot more than just a kiss.”

Suddenly, there was a shift inside her body, one so subtle it was hard to pin down. But she felt something different throughout her torso and all her limbs. A tingling? She was too wrapped up in the sexual energy between them to worry about defining it.

Snaking another arm around his neck, she said, “What else does it want.”

Her healer groaned deep in his throat, and the sound gave her the same shot of power as when she’d had a weapon in her hand. To feel that again. It was like a drug.

“Tell me, healer,” she demanded. “What else does it want?”

His mahogany eyes were on fire as they locked on her own. “Everything. It wants every square inch of you – outside…and on the inside. To the point where I’m not sure you’re ready for how much I’m after.”

“I decide,” she countered, a strange, pounding need taking root in her gut. “I decide what I can and cannot handle, yes?”

His half smile was all evil. In a good way. “Yes, ma’am.”

As a low, rhythmic sound filled the air, she was surprised to realize it was her. Purring. “Do I have to ask again, healer?”

There was a pause. And then he slowly shook his head back and forth. “Nope. I’ll give you…exactly what you want.”

My Score:

This book is part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. I love J.R. Ward books! I have read all of this series, except for the latest book, The Beast, which released on April 5th.

After so many novels centered around the ‘Brothers’, the feminist in me finds it a bit refreshing to see a kick-ass heroine pop up in Lover Unleashed. Only one other character in the series so far could have fit that description, and that was Xhex, also a warrior/assassin.

Payne has been tucked away in a prison of her mother’s making for a long time. Through unusual circumstances, she gets the chance to experience the real world. She meets Manny because she is injured and he’s her physician.

As Payne heals, she learns all about this new world, regains her strength and awakens to a desire she’s never known. We also get the human/vampire relationship complications. This is a really great book, the perfect companion to the series, and J.R. Ward lets us delve a little deeper into the mind of Vishous, Payne’s brother, in the process. I give this one five hearts!

five hearts

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the novels in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, or the recent spin-off series, Black Dagger Legacy! 🙂

Black Dagger Brotherhood -J.R. Ward

 

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A to Z Challenge: Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Shocker! For the month of April, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

And to stay with our romance theme, I thought I’d do a book a day. By that, I don’t mean that I’m doing official book reviews on the blog, by any means. What I will do, however, is offer an overview of either a book currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what inspires us as authors) or one that is on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few choice lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And why not give a score as well, huh?

This will be my scoring system:

Though I put all scores for the sake of common sense, I probably won’t be giving anything below three hearts. I hope these suggestions will help you find a new favorite romance author, or cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into our first book, all right?

Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Guardian Witch Book One

Arianna Calin has sworn to keep the peace in Riverdale. Most of the Otherworlders prefer to haunt the Olde Town district—partying at vampire strip clubs, dining in elegant supper clubs, and inhabiting the cliffside caverns along the Mississippi. Being a cop is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, and Ari’s got her gun, a good sharp knife, and a few handy charms against things that go bump in the streets. She’s also a fire witch—a pedigree that comes in handy, since her partner’s only human.

But when a virtual reality drug hits the streets, people (and non-people) start to die, and an elusive pack of werewolves threatens the status quo. Ari and Ryan are drawn into a web of murder and evil that will lead sworn enemies to a confrontation, and while the city simmers around them, only Ari can prevent an all-out supernatural war…

A few choice lines from the book:

The vampire’s coal-black eyes found her and silken threads of magic wrapped her in a soft web. The room faded away. She floated as in a dream, warm and safe. A place to linger forever. Her witch magic began to sing in concert with his, and Ari called it back to her. The effort brought her out of his web with a jolt.

Damn, how strong was he? She wrapped her magical aura around her. As long as she kept it in place, his magic was held at bay. Then, mercifully, the song was over. Andreas bowed to a wildly applauding audience and left the stage.

“Good evening.” Startled, she stared at him.

“Uh, hello.” How did he move so fast? He produced a polite smile.

“If you will come this way.” He waved a hand toward a hallway on the left.

Ari hesitated. A meeting in private? She hadn’t anticipated that.

His brows rose. “We have twenty minutes.”

Swallowing her doubts, Ari preceded him down the hall. It was better this way, she told herself. Fewer interruptions. At least she knew her time parameters. He ushered her past four closed doors, not stopping until they reached an exit door at the end. He touched a security panel, the door opened, and they stepped into a paved lane leading to the rear parking lot. Dense trees lined the opposite side of the lane. Total privacy.

The night was pleasantly cool. The crisp cleanness of fall filled the air. Ari hung back and watched her companion as he stopped in the middle of the lane. Andreas arched his shoulders and threw back his head, breathing deeply. For a moment all Ari could think about was how sexy he looked.

“I hope you don’t mind talking out here. It has been a long evening, and I needed the fresh air.”

“Not at all. It’s nice.” She looked up at the stars, pinpoints in an uncluttered sky, to keep from looking at him. “What was that last song you sang?”

“An Italian love song. Did you enjoy it?”

“Amazing.”

He turned to look at her. “It was, or I was?” His voice invited a broader interpretation.

She smiled. “Both,” she said, not bothering to hedge. “But who’s fishing for compliments now?”

“Touché.” His familiar laugh came then, rich and intimate, strangely companionable.

My Score:

I haven’t read this book yet, though I plan to. I added this one to my Amazon Wishlist long ago and anytime I see a post on Twitter about it, I just keep on yearning to pick it up. SO want to read! 🙂

I want to read the entire seven-book series.

Guardian Witch Series

What’s not to love about witches, vampires and shifters? I love all of them. Oh, yeah, and when magic kicks butt, sign me up. 😉

To be fair, let’s go with four hearts for this one, because I can’t wait to read it!

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Colin Butler from MY HAVEN, MY MIDNIGHT plus a conversation with author Isobelle Cate!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Linda L. Picl’s character on October 20th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Isobelle Cate, the author of My Haven, My Midnight, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Colin Butler, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Isobelle in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Colin!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Colin.  Please have a seat.

Character Colin Butler:  Hello.  Thank you for having me.

Marie:  Of course. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Colin: All right.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Colin:  I am the Dux of the Leeds Cynn Cruors. I am one of the best recons the Cynn Cruors have. Most of the time, my right hand, Craig Shaw and I are assigned to missions with the Manchester Cynn Cruors. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. Call it a symbiotic relationship. When I’m not busy fighting, I’m busy making money. I have a club and restos, and organize raves. Do I like it? Oh yeah, especially when I see so many pretty young things. Am I any good at it? It would appear so if we’re raking in hundreds of thousands a night just in one club, Le Club Cinq Mille.

Marie:  Okay. Great! 

So, what is your family like?

Colin: My family? Ahh, Marie, we are treading on deadly ground here. And I mean truly deadly. If it weren’t for the woman I love and Blake Strachan, a Cynn Cruor brother who said something to The Hamilton, I might not be here talking to you. That’s all I can say and it’s already a lot. I’d rather keep the rest to myself.

Marie:  All right, I respect that. But, your response is intriguing, to say the least.

Let’s try something else, okay?

What did your childhood home look like?

Colin:  Much better. It was beautiful, it still is. I have returned to where I was born to raise my family and raise my son as a future immortal warrior.

I have built a home close to Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. There are majestic mountains that buffer my house not from the cold because I don’t feel the cold, but it separates us from the outside world. It’s a haven for my wife and my son away from the life I left behind when I was banished.

We used to have a longhouse where my parents, Makenzie, my brother, and I lived. Da was often with the Hamilton fighting the Scatha as far as I can remember so oftentimes it was Mam, Mack, and I who tilled the lands and watched over cattle with the help of the people who lived with us. These people had been driven away from their homes by the Duke of Cumberland during the Highland Clearances. The longhouse is long gone, but I haven’t built my house over it. I have kept it as a memorial of my parent’s sacrifice.

Marie:  All right, I can see it pains you to admit that…

Let’s try a different question.

Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Colin:  Hobbies? The only hobby I had for the longest time was to decapitate as many Scatha Cruors I could find. (Grins.) Now that I have a family, I enjoy spending every moment with them. When my son is older, I will enjoy teaching him how to be a Cynn Cruor the way my father taught me and my brother.

Marie:  All right. So, what is your greatest dream?

Colin:  My greatest dream is to see my brother once again and the end to the Cruor wars.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there…

Okay, so, what kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Colin:  I wish I could be the best Dux for the Leed Cynn Cruors. What’s stopping me? Let’s not go there. I don’t want to talk about something that continues to be a dull thorn on my side.

Marie:  No problem. I respect your privacy.

All right. I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Colin:  The woman I married. Amaryllis Hart.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I love romance…

My Haven, My Midnight

All right. So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Colin:  The loss of Mackenzie, my brother.

Marie:  I’m really sorry to hear that. 😦

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Colin nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Colin:  To be a great Cynn Cruor warrior. With The Hamilton training me together with Craig and the rest of the Manchester Cynn Cruors, I fulfilled that dream. Sure, there is a lot of fighting, but that was what I was born to be.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…who is your role model, Colin?

Colin:  My Da. He gave up his life to save a family from the Scatha Cruors who fell on them when they were thrown out of their lands by the Crann Tara.

Marie:  Wow…so sorry. I didn’t realize that’s how you lost one of your parents. How horrible for you, but I can understand why you’d respect the honor he exhibited at the time.

Let’s try something else. Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Colin:  No. If I don’t like a person, I just won’t give him the time of day. So far, the only beings that fit that mold are the Scatha Cruor.

Save for one.

Marie:  Okay. You have me curious now…

Tell us. What is your deepest desire?

Colin:  My deepest desire is for the Cruor wars to end so that I can live in peace with Amaryllis and my son, Duncan.

Marie:  That’s understandable.

Let’s try a different question…

What is your greatest fear?

Colin: That I die before my son comes of age. I have seen many Cynn Cruor children who have become orphans so early in their lives. I don’t want that for my son.

Marie: I  can certainly understand that worry.

Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Colin. It was so interesting getting to know you!

Colin: It has been a pleasure, Marie.

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Isobelle Cate on the stage today. It’s so lovely to talk to you again, hon. I remember when we interviewed you on the Writing in the Modern Age blog back in March. Hi again, Isobelle!

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Author Isobelle Cate:  Hi Marie! Great to see you again. 🙂

Marie:  Thanks! We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Colin. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Isobelle: Oh yes, he was difficult to write. Colin Butler is a crack shot and one of the best Cynn Cruor scouts. He and his team do the recon for many of Cynn Cruors’ missions. He often has a ribald sense of humor and loves women…a lot. But he has a secret that can lead to his and his team’s death. Literally.

Marie:  I see…that’s quite intriguing, though. 

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Isobelle: He’s reliable, dependable, loyal to a fault, self-sacrificing.

Marie:  Nothing wrong with that!

Now, let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are Colin’s greatest weaknesses?

Isobelle: His being loyal to a fault and self-sacrificing is both his weakness and his strength. It’s how he and Amaryllis, his mate, lost his life.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something else…

What are some of his favorite foods?

Isobelle:  Beef and spicy garlic sausages. Sure, he has the vampire DNA inside him, but he doesn’t get affected by garlic.

Marie:  (Laughs.) That comes in handy! 😉

So…what’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Isobelle:  Colin believes that he has to keep proving himself, to show his loyalty because of the secret he had kept hidden for so long.

Marie:  I see.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Isobelle:  Readers will definitely like Colin, maybe even love him for the sacrifices he has made through the centuries. He will stay with readers even after the last page of the story has been read.

Marie:  Can’t go wrong with that description! I’m dying to learn more about the book.

Now that we have a real taste of Colin, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

Isobelle:  Okie doke. Fire away!

Marie:  What first gave you the idea for My Haven, My Midnight?

Isobelle:  I was writing Midnight’s Fate and there was a battle scene. In that scene, Finn Qualtrough, the hero in Rapture at Midnight tears through a horde of Scatha Cruors and werewolves – the first time the Cynn Cruors fight the weres since the series began. Colin watches from his vantage point high up the Silver Cave and sees how his fellow Cynn Cruors viciously kill as many Scathas in the same way he does. It was at that moment that I thought, I needed to make Colin more interesting. He has always had this devil-may-care attitude when he battles the Scatha Cruors, he has an incredible zest for life, but he has a tendency to be suspicious. So while I was mulling over the scene, it suddenly hit me that Colin Butler has a reason why he was this way.

This is how My Haven, My Midnight was born.

Marie:  Genius!

So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Isobelle:  I am more of a pantser than a plotter. I do try to plot, but am unable to write down just the plot. Later on, the dialogue will come to mind and I have to write that down lest I forget. I am trying my hand again at plotting. It’s a slow process for me.

Marie:  All right.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing My Haven, My Midnight or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Isobelle:  Yes. Writer’s Block. I thought I was immune. Wishful thinking! I had it for a while and I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to finish writing the manuscript by my self-imposed deadline. I had to push through that block – I actually imagine it as a moss-covered wall I have to climb to get to the other side. I kept reading the drafts and I was not satisfied until maybe after the 7th draft. When I felt that it was the best that I could make it, then I sent it to my publisher, Beau Coup Publishing. Luckily, they liked it as well.

If there was anything I could do differently? Oh, gosh, I wish I had the luxury of time to write so that I can fully concentrate on writing continuously. And maybe do more plotting that pantsing particularly because the series is getting more complicated.

And to aspiring authors – never give up. All of us now have an opportunity to become a fantastic writer. There are so many readers out there who want to read the stories you are inspired to write. Do not think that just because one reader may not like your writing, the rest will follow. For every disparaging reader, there will be four to five readers who love what you give them. If there are naysayers, separate the constructive criticism from the I-love-to-troll-your-books attacks. There will always be people who have nothing better to do except to put people down. These are the people you don’t need to listen to.

Finally, believe in yourself. If you do, your characters will too, and they will give you the inspiration to be the best storyteller you can be.

Marie:  All of that is awesome advice!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story My Haven, My Midnight appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Isobelle Cate, a very talented author! 🙂

My Haven, My Midnight

Here is the blurb for My Haven, My Midnight:

Amaryllis Hart has lived a hard life. Falsely accused of theft, she decides to live the life thrown at her until one encounter tosses her into a world she does not believe exists and into the arms of the immortal who steals her heart.

Colin Butler, Dux of the Leeds Cynn Cruors and his second, Craig Shaw, return to Leeds abruptly after a secret Colin has been keeping for centuries, returns. In their attempts to keep it under wraps, another situation blows up in their faces, bringing Colin face to face with his past and his future—a violet eyed beauty who heals his soul.

As luck would have it, Colin’s secret is unearthed. To top it all, Dac Valerian and Herod D’Argyl are in Leeds and the Ancients’ enforcer arrives to pass judgement on the Dux of the Leeds Cynn Cruors.

Colin has to make the hardest decision of his life. Either he walks away from the past that will forever haunt him or make up for a past he had no control of and lose the woman he loves.

Isobelle is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

“Where are you?” Colin moved away from the group even as he opened his telepathic link with his men. He left the security room and made a beeline for the alleyway.
Keep Seth and the rest occupied.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“Mackenzie—”
There was an angry growl. “I’m not Mackenzie. I haven’t been for a very long time.”
“Then why call me brother?” Colin knew he was goading Mackenzie. He could not help it. The need to know if his brother was still inside that Scatha shell was overpowering. He was desperate. He wanted his brother back. He wanted his fellow Cynn Cruor returned. Mack had always been a bit short-tempered, ever since their parents died. Colin pushed the fire door and walked into the alley.
“Fuck you!”
Colin’s hand rested on his hip and he looked up at the sky framed by the buildings’ rooftops. Yup, his brother was still there. A humorless smile crossed Colin’s mouth. “That’s quite a unique name you’ve given me.” When he heard a moan in the background, Colin lowered his head, his eyes narrowing at the brick wall in front of him. “Where are you, Mackenzie?”
“I’m not—”
“No matter what you think or do or say, you’re still bràthair to me.”
A painful moan.
“What the bloody hell did you do now?” Colin asked, his voice furious. He paced the alley.
“Always my fault, isn’t it?” Mackenzie accused. “I didn’t want to be a Scatha. You made it happen but it will always be my fault. Why can’t you get it through that thick skull of yours that you’re to blame?”
Colin’s chest tightened with the guilt that never left him since Mackenzie’s transformation. Now was not the time or place to dwell on it. “Where is she? I swear to God if you hurt her—”
“I’m the worse Scatha there is. I’ve got a fucking bloody conscience! I hate it!” His brother snapped before muttering, “I don’t know why the fuck I’m doing this.”
Colin kept quiet, his empty hand curling. “Where are you?” he repeated. “Let her go. Leave her in a place where we can pick her up. I won’t chase after you tonight.”
“No. I can’t do that.”
“Why the hell not?” Colin blazed, pacing the narrow alley. He bluffed. “We know where the Scatha lair is.”
“I’m sure you do, but I’m not there.”
“We’re just running in circles, Mackenzie.”
“I’m here. At the Faesten.”
“What?” Colin stopped dead. “Why?”
“Because I don’t want the Scathas to know about her.” He sighed, resigned. “She needs the Cynn Cruors’ protection.”

Ooh, riveting!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B0106CTVCY

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-haven-my-midnight-isobelle-cate/1122241164

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5588073

About Isobelle Cate

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Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks.  Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist.  Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins.  Her vision and passion are fuelled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend.  Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Isobelle’s Books:

Coming Soon:

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Available Now:

My Haven, My Midnight

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Isobelle Cate, here are some of her author links:

Website/Blog:  https://isobellecate.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIsobelleCate

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+IsobelleCate/posts

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/isobelle-cate/

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBbB7h0DL9CEVRPJqByDOzA/videos 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/clpardington/author-isobelle-cate/

Additional:  http://microcerpt.com/isobellecate/

https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/Isobelle_Cate

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Colin Butler, the male main character of My Haven, My Midnight, and Isobelle Cate, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

Random Teaser from Blood Instincts!

If you follow my work, then you know I published a paranormal romance/urban fantasy book called Second Nature in December of 2014. Well, the sequel is not done yet, but I randomly find myself working on book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. It is titled Blood Instincts. Here is a brief teaser to keep fans in the loop:

subbotina, 123RF Limited.

Again, the conviction that this “date” was a bad idea didn’t leave. It was too late to cancel, and what was more, he actually wanted to see her. She had a lovely face, somewhat exotic, with dark, shiny hair he wanted to touch. He’d bet her long waves were soft. Her skin too, he thought idly. And those eyes…she had dark brown eyes, almost black but not quite…eyes he wanted to gaze into as she climaxed under his hands.

Oliver shook himself with a reminder that he didn’t have to get involved with her to watch her. He’d go out with her tonight, but following her might be a better idea after all. Oliver finished dressing and went to the car he’d rented for the evening. He wanted to celebrate this woman in style, to really treat her right. When he realized how that sounded, he cursed. It was too late to change his plans now.

By six-thirty on the dot, he was standing at the door to her apartment. Clearly being a practical woman, he knew she’d appreciate punctuality. Absently, he ran a hand through his short hair, then looked down, saw the single rose in his hand and scowled. He couldn’t have made his intentions clearer if he’d tried. Myah was going to think he was interested, and not just for the short-term. Of course, it was possible that she didn’t know the meaning of flowers as he did, for a single red rose meant ‘life-long devotion and love’. His chest began to ache, and he attributed it to guilt. He didn’t want to use her, he realized, not for blood and not for her body. She deserved…more.

He took a deep breath, and then knocked. A few seconds later, the door swung open. He was still looking down at the bloom in his hand when he caught her scent. His nostrils flared, aware of the heady combination of jasmine and the sweet fluid in her veins.

“Oliver, is everything all right?”

“Yes, it’s…” His gaze swung back up to hers, but didn’t stop there. Oliver took her in like a man long deprived of water. Tonight, her hair had a fine sheen and was straight as if she’d ironed it. It fell straight down her back and she’d gone to a little more trouble with her makeup, yet she still appeared natural. She’d done something amazing around her eyes, however, and they really stood out. He wanted to drown in that gaze. How silly, he thought, but then got a look at the rest of her. Her silver earrings dangled down in a marquis pattern. Her neck and the top of her chest were somewhat exposed as she’d squeezed herself into a mid-thigh length black dress with thin straps. The dress was made of soft black lace, causing him to wonder if she wore matching panties as well. Her legs were athletic, but smooth, and he had to stifle the urge to drop to his knees and kiss all the way up her perfect thighs. Her small feet were strapped into shining black heels.

“Oliver, did you hear me? Are you okay?”

He cleared his throat, forcing his eyes back to her face. “Ah…I’m fine. My God, you look amazing.” His throat was incredibly dry, and he was aware of a thirst that not only had to do with her appearance but her life essence. He worked on suppressing the bloodlust.

The blush that moved across her cheekbones was charming. “Oh, thank you. You clean up well too, Mr. King.”

He smiled, then handed her the rose. “This pales in comparison to your beauty, but I wanted to give you something.”

“Oh, it’s lovely! How sweet.” She leaned down, inhaling, and as her nose got closer to the red rose, he thought she made quite the picture. Again, he wished to paint her; he would use the brush strokes to really capture who this woman was. When she looked back at him, there was a teasing light in her eyes.

“What?”

She shook her head. “Oh, it’s nothing.”

“Tell me,” he urged her.

“I wasn’t sure you were interested the other night or if you just felt bad for me and did it to appease your guilt.”

He shook his head. “I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t interested. I thought the diner was the way to try to make up for it, of course, but the more I saw you, the more I wanted to know.” He didn’t add that his foolish, impulsive side didn’t seem to want to listen to anything he told it. ‘No’ clearly wasn’t in its vocabulary.

That pretty blush returned to her face. “Ah…let me put this rose in a vase.”

“Sure.”

When she came back, she’d put on a black coat, closing the two buttons in the front as she got to the door.

“Do you have everything you need?”

She nodded.

“Great. Shall we?”

“Of course.” Myah locked up, and soon they’d left the apartment building. He led her to the sleek black car at the curb. “This is yours?”

He shook his head. “A rental. It is nice, but I don’t usually drive cars.”

“May I ask why?”

Oliver shrugged. “I just prefer walking, that’s all.”

She stared at him with a strange look on her face for a moment when he opened her door.

“Is there a problem?”

She shook her head and smiled. “Not at all. I am partial to walking as well. But, this car…it is very fine and appropriate for the evening.”

“That’s what I was going for.” Her cheek dimpled and he couldn’t resist leaning forward and pressing his lips against it. Her face was warm, incredibly soft beneath his mouth, and he had to move away before he did something really stupid. The surprised glance she sent him sealed the deal.

He had to go slowly with Myah. He sensed an unusual innocence about her, which only made his protective instincts fire even more. “My lady,” he murmured, gesturing to the open car door. He reached out and grasped her hand to give her some leverage as she climbed into the leather seat in those insane heels. Her quiet thank you was natural, and yet it made him feel like he could climb a mountain. He shook off the sensation, closed her door then rounded the car and got in.

 

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Filed under Authors, Fiction, Love, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Vote for Solstice Publishing’s Author of the Year!

Hello, readers! It’s that time of year again, when Solstice Publishing gears up for their Author of the Year contest! Readers get to cast their votes for their favorite author. How exciting, right? So, before I tell you to go ahead and cast your vote for your favorite romance author at Solstice, let me tell you that, yes, I am on the list. This is, however, not shameless begging on my end for you to vote for me. That is certainly your choice. There are lots of talented authors at Solstice, and I respect all of my fellow authors!

But, just in case you’re interested, here is a list of my Solstice book titles in order of recent to oldest, as well as their descriptions. Since this blog is all about romance, I thought it would be apropos to include romance books…

 

Second Nature, Book 1 of the Blood at First Sight Series
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

She never expected it…
Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.
Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

 

Upon Your Honor, Book 2 of the Heiresses in Love Series

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG
Deception is a dangerous path…
New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.
Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.
Magick & Moonlight, Book 1 of the Magick Series
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2
Messing with free will is always a bad idea…
Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?
Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned – she ends up falling for Ethan.
To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?
 Upon Your Return, Book 1 of the Heiresses in Love Series
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.
But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.
Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.
Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…
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So, there you  have it! I’d post my fellow authors’ books as well, but we have a good 300 authors at Solstice. Lots of peeps, huh? But, to be fair, I’m going to include a link to some of our romance books at Solstice.
Anyway, if you’re interested, here is the place to vote for Author of the Year at Solstice Publishing. Or the direct URL:  http://solsticepublishing.com/blog/vote-for-solstices-publishings-2015-author-of-the-year/
However, if you would like to vote for moi, you’ll find my author name (Marie Lavender…yes, I know the blog doesn’t say Marie Lavender’s I Love Romance Blog…just letting you know my name in case you don’t already know I’m the moderator) about six names up from the bottom of the page.
Happy voting, of course!
And as always, happy reading! VGwy3SJLNYjpgFind a romance book to dive into! You know I would! 😉

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Award, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical Romance, Love, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

Great 4 Star Review for Second Nature on Readers’ Favorite!

Source: Great 4 Star Review for Second Nature on Readers’ Favorite!

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Uncategorized, Writing

Great news for Second Nature!

I just received some awesome news! Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series, was nominated to compete in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards  for Winter 2015. Yay! Thank you, TRR! 😀

SecondNature-final cover

Second Nature is now in the next round, where readers must vote for it!

In the Nomination Round, Second Nature has to garner at least 50 nominations within the time period in order to qualify for the next and final round. The nomination will start on September 11 and end on September 30. Please feel free to nominate the book here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=16286

OR you can vote here at http://www.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php

You’ll find Second Nature listed in the Paranormal Romance category about three-fourths the way down the page.

Anyway, this is quite an honor! So, don’t forget to vote for Second Nature, as well as your other favorite books! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Award, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

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