Guest Post: Fuel to the Fire by @kaitgamble #Giveaway @Totally_Bound

 

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Meet Jackie Pennington, Heroine of Fuel to the Fire

Fuel to the Fire Blog Tour

Kait Gamble

Out of all the heroines I’ve written, I find Jackie the most interesting character to date. She’s intelligent, capable and willing to put herself out there even if it makes her uncomfortable. But what made her so fascinating to me was that on top of all the emotional baggage, she was like two different people at the same time, Jacqueline Pennington the fallen heiress and Jackie the elementary teacher in need of a break.

Let me back up a bit.

The tale that the gossips love to repeat amongst themselves is about the poor little rich girl. Jacqueline was born a Pennington which afforded her a lifestyle that was out of the realm of possibility for most people but she was willing to give it all up for Logan Forrester, a young scoundrel who wasn’t of the right breeding for a Pennington. He proved them right the night she ran out of her life and he was nowhere to be found and she was set adrift while the incident got tongues wagging for years to come. To the point where whenever she reappears in society she becomes a curiosity worthy of stares and whispers.

The abandonment enables Jackie to become the woman she is presently. Unable to go back to her family and with no one to help her out, Jackie managed to put herself back together, though she never forgets the man that left her in the lurch. Jackie eventually becomes a teacher who spends most of her time working and avoiding the world she used to belong to as much as possible. That is until she is asked to be a part of her old friend’s wedding thus opening up herself to the scrutiny of the gossips once more.

And back into the arms of Logan, who she still blames for abandoning her and ruining her life. But had he really? Sure he turned her life on his ear when he left but she’s out of the clutches of her overbearing parents and she’s made a life for herself that she can be proud to say she did on her own. So was her life truly wrecked by what had happened?

Mired by all the emotions seeing Logan again brings, Jackie needs to figure out is that her life is not only better now but that it could be that much better with Logan back in it as well.

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blurbCan past hurts be forgotten to make a future together?

Jaqueline Pennington once had the world at her feet, but she threw it all away for a man from the wrong side of the tracks—handsome, smart and the love of her life, Logan Forrester—only to find that she’d dropped everything for him to abandon her.

Logan wanted one thing out of life—to be with Jackie and give her the life she deserved. When that plan went to hell, he walked away and applied himself to becoming a prosperous security software engineer. A job that, years later, brings him back to Jackie.

They haven’t seen or heard from each other since that fateful night, but the chemistry that still crackles between them is too good for either one to pass up. So Jackie and Logan reach an agreement and burn off the sexual tension, getting closure during their time in St. Lucia.

But what happens to their plans when the truth about their separation comes out? Can they get over the past to build a future?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of voyeurism.

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Then, inexplicably, he grabbed Jackie’s arm and dragged her along behind him.

Horrified, Jackie gave her friend a pleading look before they rounded the corner and stepped out of sight.

Let me go!” Jackie wrenched her hand from his grip only for him to grab her again and tighten his hold on her. “How could you do that? Wait. Why would you do that? You just ruined the meal and made a complete ass of yourself—and me!”

He looked at her with eyes filled with disdain. “You want to go back and let them talk about you like you’re not even there? Go right ahead, princess.”

Logan pressed his hands against the wall on either side of her head, caging her. “You used to love it when I called you that.”

She flinched at his use of his former nickname for her. “Don’t call me that.”

He faced her then. Stopped dead in the middle of the hall and zeroed in on her as if she was his prey. He stepped forward, forcing her to jerk back to keep the distance between them. Unfortunately, Jackie backed into a wall and trapped herself.

Logan pressed his hands against the wall on either side of her head, caging her. “You used to love it when I called you that.”

She used to love a lot of things he did. No longer. Jackie glared up at him. “You’re in my space.”

Another thing you used to love.”

She shoved at his shoulders, but it was like trying to move a brick wall. Jackie’s brain misfired the moment her fingers came into contact his hard body. It took far too long for her to remember she didn’t want him there. Touching her. Overwhelming her senses.

She shoved again. “A lot has changed, Logan.”

I should say so.” He let his gaze rove over her, lazily taking in every inch of her. “You look good.” His attention wandered lower, settling on her pelvis. “Delicious, even.”

Heat flared where his gaze settled. What was wrong with her? “You’re a pig.” Naked under his scrutiny, Jackie pushed harder. Even after the makeover, she felt insecure about her appearance. What was worse was the way her body gravitated toward his. She yearned for him. And it was appalling. How could she still want him after everything he’d done to her?

But his voice—his words—had her reacting to him so powerfully.

Fuel to the Fire is now available to buy and download from Totally Bound, Amazon and other retail sites: https://www.totallybound.com/book/fuel-to-the-fire

bio

An inveterate traveller, Kait has set foot on three continents and has the other four on her bucket list (yes, even Antarctica). Until she can see them all, she writes romances that take readers to far flung locales, often to places she’s been or hopes to one day go. For now, she’s settled in England where she spends most of her time plotting, scribbling ideas on every available scrap of paper and trying out dialogue on her cat.

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Enter Totally Bound’s January blog tour competition for your chance to win a free eBook of your choice from the store.
http://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=information/competition&competition_id=20&embed=1

Direct Link: https://www.totallybound.com/competition/january-blog-tour-competition

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Guest Post: Taken Identity by @RavenMcAllan #Giveaway @Totally_Bound

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It’s not until you live out in the countryside, or in a small village, that you realise that not only do you get the benefits of rural life—the beauty of the landscape, the lack of exhaust fumes and noisy traffic and excessive doorstop cold callers—you also get the disadvantages of rural life.

Disadvantages such as the log lorries which rumble down the lane at 5am and wake you up, that make you wonder if there’s an earthquake. Cold callers on your doorstep who to get there have had to catch one of the three buses from town, and then have several hours to wait until the next one. Middle of the night owls hooting and foxes calling. (And, just like in town, husband snoring)

Lost deliverymen and tourists. The former lost because our lane is named not numbered, and, a lot of the names aren’t that clearly marked. After all, everyone who needs to know, already knows (except new delivery men). The lost tourists because they rely on their sat-navs and they think we’re the bed and breakfast which is around the corner..

That’s a big problem it seems. The corner. Across the road there is a sign that says no unauthorised entry. Fine, but right next to it is the sign pointing to the B and B…

“But the website says the last house,” I get told very crossly. And then on one occasion, even more bizarrely, “Are you sure you’re not the B and B?  The sat-nav says you are.”

I assure you, we are not a B and B.

(Although sometimes when we have a houseful and I’m cooking a fry up, I do wonder. Thankfully that doesn’t happen often.)

And as my hero in Taken Identity, Gray, discovers, there are no take-aways virtually on the doorstep, ready and willing to deliver your meal. We do have one now, but they have to deliver from around fifteen miles away. If we were just another mile up the glen, then we’d have no chance. Mind you, there’s no mobile phone reception for most of the time as well.

Ah the joys.

Having said all of that, would I chance my rural ‘idyll’ for the inner city life?

Nope not at all. Not even the outer city life either. Yes, we have to remember to stock up on essentials in the winter. One of my daughter’s friends, who lived in a small town several miles away, couldn’t get over milk in the freezer.

“Have you lived out here?” DD asked.

“But, you have a Co-op.”

“Yeah and if the weather is bad, how does it get its deliveries?”

“Ah.”

“Yep.”

A full-of-essentials store cupboard is a necessity in the winter. (And in the summer, come to think of it when the tourists stock up in the Co-op and we wander down as usual, only to find empty shelves.)

An Aga and a box of candles don’t go amiss either.

But, oh how you miss the take-aways.

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takenidentity_800Blurb for Taken Identity:

If someone steals your identity and marries a sex god and that sex god husband shows up at your door…do you get to keep him?

Jules has no memory of marrying a sex god—and no woman is that forgetful.

So when the devastatingly handsome Gray turned up on her doorstep looking for his wife and calling said wife by Jules’ name, Jules wondered briefly if she’d landed in an alternative universe. She knows she’s not his wife and so does he, but apparently someone with her name and history is. Is it a case of coincidence or did his missing wife ‘borrow’ Jules’ life?

Even though the dominant Gray sends her knickers aflame with just one look, with a missing wife in the equation, Jules knows there’s no chance of finding out what else he could achieve.

There’s only one thing to do—unravel the mystery and try to keep their hands off each other in the meantime. The first may well prove far easier than the latter.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of light bondage and BDSM.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound.

excerpt

“What about dinner? Shall we eat now, or can we call for something later?”
Jules laughed aloud at that and shook her head at him. “Typical townie statement that, Gray. Who d’you think will deliver to us out here in the sticks? There’s no conveniently situated take-away in miles. However, if you’re happy with home cooking, there’s no problem.”

Gray stared at her, looking as if he could hardly believe his ears.

“Replay what you said. Home…cooking. Oh, yeah, sadly, I did mishear. You said cooking. Cooking. With a C.”

Huh? Oh, that was it. She was going to have to go to meditation or hypnosis or something to learn how to control this awful blush. The raised eyebrow, the quirk of his lips, his pointed look down his body to a very, “Hey, look, I’m here. Don’t forget me,” part of his anatomy, made her giggle. He was not such a stuffed shirt after all.

“Anyway,” he continued. “If you are sure you don’t mind, I’d love some home cooking. I eat just about everything.”

“Tripe and onions?”
“Er, almost anything, Jules. Don’t think that covers tripe.”
She was aware of how he held himself rigid, presumably to stop the involuntary shudder that had started, and she noticed his erection had completely subsided. Now she knew what she had to do if he became too aroused. Mention tripe.

Jules wholeheartedly agreed with him as she said, “Thank goodness. I hate the stuff.” She laughed as they crossed the tarmac to his car. “I was thinking if we nip to the supermarket on our way, I can do seafood pasta.”

“Much better. Can we stop at a bottle shop?”

“Offey, beer off, supermarket, you’re back in Britain now. No need to buy wine. I think I can find something to do the food justice.”

Like the sound of Taken Identity? Buy it here.

bio

A multi-published author of erotic romance, Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their raven mcallan_03062015children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge. As once she is writing she is oblivious to everything else, her lovely long-suffering husband is learning to love the dust bunnies, work the Aga, and be on stand-by with a glass of wine.

www.ravenmcallan.com

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Enter Totally Bound’s June blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of  your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.

Direct link: https://www.totallybound.com/june-blog-tour-giveaway

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Guest Post and #Giveaway: Life of Privilege by Amanda Bretz @Totally_Bound

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The Things Money Can’t Buy

I’m happy to be a guest here today at All I Want and More, thank you for hosting me on your blog!

It’s a bit of a cliché, but the old adage that money doesn’t buy the best things in life is so true. Wealth can buy plenty of comforts. Fame and status can get someone pretty far in certain aspects. But what does a life in the public eye lack? What does one trade for fame, wealth and privilege?

Those were questions I tried to answer in my latest novel Life of Privilege.

The heroine of my story Katherine Dawson is a celebrity in the fashion world. She’s one of the judges on a reality TV competition for budding fashion designers. She’s also the heiress to one of the largest clothing companies in America. In addition to being an heiress, she also serves as the face of the company, modeling the new lines each fall and spring.

When the book opens we find Katherine on her wedding day, she’s about to marry Nathan Taylor, the producer of the reality TV show where she’s a judge. He’s touted as an up and coming producer, so their union appears to round out her seemingly perfect life.

As the tagline for the novel says: Living the life of a celebrity isn’t as perfect as it seems. As the story unfolds, bits of Katherine’s past are revealed and the idea that while on the surface it seems she had it all in her old life, she feels like she’s truly living a privileged life when she escapes her celebrity status.

For years she’d had to base every private decision in her life on how it would impact her public persona. That sort of pressure has taken a toll on Katherine. After years of being in the public eye, she develops intense anxiety issues. She gives up her life of luxury in Manhattan and moves to Seattle where people don’t recognize her as a celebrity.

For the first time, she’s able to partake of simple, ordinary events that feel like luxuries to her. Things like walking into a coffee shop unnoticed, attending a music concert and forming new relationships with people who like her for the person she is, not the celebrity she used to be hold more value to her than money and status.

So, living in Seattle and being able to get out and go unnoticed mean a lot to her. It’s not always easy—and wouldn’t it make for such a boring book if everything did go smoothly for her?

In the following scene, Katherine has just fled a coffee shop because she thinks a man has recognized her. He hasn’t, what has really happened is he sees she’s having a mini panic attack and he’s looking at her because he wants to try to help her. She doesn’t want the media whirlwind that surrounded her in New York City to happen in Seattle so she leaves before anyone can out her as the famous Katherine Dawson. She’s able to run onto a city bus and the close call with almost being found out makes her realize that maybe the man in the coffee shop meant to help her, not to try to call attention to her celebrity status.

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blurb Life of Privilege:lifeofprivilege_800

Living the life of a celebrity isn’t always as perfect as it seems.

Katherine Dawson was born into a life of privilege as the heiress to an apparel dynasty. Between judging a reality TV competition for budding fashion designers and having been the face of her family’s clothing line for most of her life, she’s one of the biggest celebrities in her field.

When she becomes engaged to up-and-coming television producer Nathan Taylor, she appears to have it all. To any outsider, she has a picture-perfect life, so when Katherine leaves her groom-to-be at the altar and disappears, the tabloids are full of speculation over her sudden departure.

Fleeing New York to hide out in Seattle, she quickly finds that living the life of an heiress in hiding isn’t as easy as she thought, especially after she meets a magnetic writer named Royce Reynolds. In her new life on the West Coast, she struggles to keep her anonymity, and experiences a relationship with a man who wants her for the person she is, not the celebrity she used to be.

Like the sound of Life of Privilege? Buy it here.

excerptExcerpt from Life of Privilege:

Her footsteps fell loudly against the sidewalk and she saw a bus stopping at the next block up. She sprinted and caught it just in time. She counted her blessings that it was nearly empty, but selected a seat near the back and pulled her hat down lower over her eyes for good measure. She’d had a close call in the coffeehouse. Craning her neck, she looked out of the back window of the bus toward the café she’d fled. Slapping her palm over her mouth, she stopped herself just short of gasping in surprise. The man who’d sat next to her was standing outside the coffeehouse looking left and right, searching the people milling around on the street. His body language was tense and she could almost swear that he was frowning. Was he looking for her? Could he have recognized her? Or was it possible that a stranger might actually show compassion for her well-being?

The bus started moving. She turned around and faced forward. Whatever the man in the coffeehouse wanted, she was glad she’d left when she did. Her breathing was starting to return to normal and her body was beginning to relax. She closed her eyes and recalled the scene in the coffee shop. Would she ever truly be able to interact and mingle with others? The fear of being found out ate at her insides. It wasn’t just that she didn’t want to deal with the media coverage. It was more than not wanting to be Katherine Dawson anymore.

For the first time in her adult life she was free to make her own choices and that scared her. She could choose what she looked like, who she befriended, what she ate and what hobbies and interests to pursue. Suppressing a sob, she realized how much she’d given up staying in her old life. Such basic rights seemed like rare privileges. What so many others took for granted or saw as humdrum facets of a boring life had the appeal of bright and shiny jewels to her.

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bio

In addition to being the author of contemporary, historical and erotic romance, Amanda Bretz A_Bretzholds a degree in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. She is a multi-published author of several books and short stories and has worked as a journalist in both print and online news. Amanda writes romantic stories with happy endings and invites readers to experience the rush of falling in love.

When not writing, Amanda can be found whipping up something delectable in her kitchen, spending time in nature or getting lost in a good book.

She resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Brandon.

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Enter Totally Bound’s Life of Privilege competition for the chance to win a copy of Life of Privilege as well as three more titles from the What’s her Secret? Imprint.

Direct link: https://www.totallybound.com/competition/life-of-privilege-giveaway

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Guest Post and #Giveaway: Command by Sierra Cartwright @SierraWrites @Totally_Bound

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Cecile! Thanks for having me. You’re my type of gal! I love that you’re from the South as I just moved here. I can’t say what I love more, the men, the food, the sensuousness of the summer nights, the men, the manners, the sunsets that last forever, or the men. Thanks for having me here to talk about my favorite type of hero…

 

How to Tame an Alpha

by Sierra Cartwright

Okay, I confess. I adore alpha men. Not always in real life, to be sure. But in fiction, they make my heart race.

An alpha hero is larger than life. He’s intense and pursues goals with single-minded focus. Whatever he does, he’s successful at it.

Beyond that, he possesses a rigid moral code. He knows what’s right, and justice matters to him. He will protect the weak, fight when he needs to, keep his calm.

Generally, he’s self-sufficient, and he’s never met a challenge he couldn’t conquer. Well, until a strong or feisty heroine shows up! And then, oh, my… He’s going to learn about having his emotions in turmoil. He’s going to learn what it’s like to love more than he imagined possible.

That happens to Grant Kingston, a brilliant, reclusive computer genius. He’s shut out the world to focus on his work (including an amazing pet dog because all alphas have a soft spot). He enjoys his life and doesn’t want his solitude shattered by an unwanted houseguest. Until Aria arrives.

With her undeniable sexiness, she awakens his dormant Dominant urges. He wants to protect her, cherish her, claim her. But Aria is equally committed to her life and her dreams. When she meets up with him, erotic passion flares. Grant learns that he’s an even better person and Dominant when he has an equally strong woman by his side.

And that’s how to tame an alpha. Give him a woman worth fighting his own demons for. He’ll never be the same…command_800

excerpt“Would you have a relationship where submission wasn’t a requirement?”

“If the question is, would I date a woman who wasn’t interested in being tied up while I drove her to the edge of an orgasm and used my tongue to keep her there for a very, very long time…?”

Aria waited, pulse hammering.

“The answer is certainly.”

Suddenly she could barely swallow, and stringing a coherent thought together was almost impossible. Was he talking about her? Them?

“But I’d need to be clear that it would never progress beyond dating.”

His voice had a layer of steel that warned her she was tiptoeing close to very personal information. But they were colleagues, potentially friends—nothing more—so she pressed on. “Why is that?”

“I tried. I was engaged. We’d talked about it and, for me, she tried, but it didn’t work for her. I loved her enough to deny what I needed. Eventually we realized we weren’t compatible.”

He might appear nonchalant, but he couldn’t disguise the layer of hurt woven in the words. It made her squirm. Nosy was one thing, exposing someone’s pain was another. “I apologize. You don’t have to tell me all this.”

“Unless you’ve changed your mind and don’t want to know the answer, I’m happy to tell you.”

“Do you have any secrets?” she asked drily.

“Not many, but I’m greedy. I don’t let women I’m involved with have them, either. I want everything out there—raw, carnal, exposed. So the answer is, if I met a woman and she was interested in fucking and if there was mutual attraction, I’d spend the night pleasing her in every way she wanted—and I’d cook her breakfast in the morning. But in the long-term, I would never again propose to a woman who wasn’t interested in submission.”

“Well, you’re honest about what you want.”

He nodded. Quietly, he asked, “Have you ever been spanked, Aria?”

She was caught off guard, and she sucked in a breath.

Outside, snow had started to drift down, but she knew her shiver had nothing to do with the outside elements. “Once. And I didn’t much like it. It hurt like hell and I honestly wondered what the fuss was all about. I was underwhelmed.”

“Then I can tell you, your man didn’t know what he was doing. If you were over my knee, you’d get your ass warmed and your clit would throb so hard you’d be afraid it had turned white. And when you came? You’d scream. If I was really good, you’d be crying, but only because the force of the orgasm left you otherwise unable to function.”

She wondered if she would choke on her own breath. He’d melted her brain circuits. “I’d say it’s a good thing we’re colleagues and nothing more.”

“I take it you’ve seen enough of my bedroom?” Grant smiled.

“Thanks. Yes.”

“My workshop isn’t as scary,” he informed her. “But you might want to avoid going into the outdoor shed.”

“What is it, a dungeon?”

When he didn’t reply, the feeling of vertigo flooded her again.

“Do you want to find out?”

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blurb for Command:

This is book three in the Bonds series, see the full series listing here

With all she has to offer, she’s his to command…

Aria DeWitt is a runaway bride. Only months away from her wedding, she panicked, returning her engagement ring and donating her gorgeous gown to charity.

She’s less than pleased when she’s reassigned to a new work project and sent to work with Grant Kingston in the middle of nowhere. She knows of his reputation as a recluse and genius, but she isn’t prepared for how handsome, powerful and deliciously Dominant he is or how he ignites something inside her that no man ever has.

Grant isn’t happy when his cherished solitude and creativity are shattered by Aria’s unwanted and unwelcome arrival. That is until he glimpses her carefully concealed vulnerability. Aria’s confidence and responsiveness intrigue him, ensnaring him in a way he’d never believed possible, chipping away the ice that shrouds his heart.

As he interacts with her, he realizes why she ran from marriage. She’s never met someone strong and complex enough to hold her interest. And suddenly, he’s determined to be that man.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of anal play.

Like the sound of Command? Buy it here.

bio

About Sierra Cartwright:

INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLING AUTHOR

Sierra Cartwright was born in Manchester, England and raised in Colorado. Moving to the United States was nothing like her young imagination had concocted. She expected to see cowboys everywhere, and a covered wagon or two would have been really nice!

Now she writes novels as untamed as the Rockies, while spending a fair amount of time in Texas…where, it turns out, the Texas Rangers law officers don’t ride horses to roundup the bad guys, or have six-shooters strapped to their sexy thighs as she expected. And she’s yet to see a poster that says Wanted: Dead or Alive. (Can you tell she has a vivid imagination?)

Sierra wrote her first book at age nine, a fanfic episode of Star Trek when she was fifteen, and she completed her first romance novel at nineteen. She actually kissed William Shatner (Captain Kirk) on the cheek once, and she says that’s her biggest claim to fame. Her adventure through the turmoil of trust has taught her that love is the greatest gift. Like her image of the Old West, her writing is untamed, and nothing is off-limits.

She invites you to take a walk on the wild side…but only if you dare.

Check out Sierra’s new Bonds website.

You can find Sierra on Facebook, follow her on twitter and check out her page on Tumblr.

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Enter Totally Bound’s competition for the chance to win a copy of Command and three books from Sierra’s backlist!

 

Click the link below to enter:

https://www.totallybound.com/competition/command-giveaway

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Guest Post – Semper Fidelis #Anthology #Giveaway @Totally_Bound

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Devon Rhodes

I did a great exercise once that really made me think about my writing. The gist of it was to list the first lines of your books and draw some conclusions.

I think it’s a goal of most writers to draw the reader in with the first line. Many times the first line pops into my head and I then go write a story around it which works great for me because I sure don’t plot unless I have to. 🙂

I found that I seem to try to give you a sense of the character right off the bat and what they’re doing/feeling. Here are some of the ones I looked at for that exercise–in a couple instances I added the second line if the first was a thought or dialogue that didn’t let you know who the speaker was:

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“I threw up.” The quavering voice brought Corbin jackknifing up out of a sound sleep, struggling to get his bearings. ~Making His List

It was after midnight, and Chaz Warren groaned with frustration as he removed his hand from his cock and gave up his fruitless quest for orgasm… yet again. ~Remarkable Restraint

Jim stopped short at the threshold of his boss’s office, his heart seizing with dread at the sight before him. ~The Swap

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So what do you think? I see a trend. I’ve heard you aren’t supposed to open with monologue/dialogue, but I tend to do that, right? I think it gives a sense of immediacy and is intended to pull the reader in right away. What they say and how they say it can really say a lot about a character.

But of course there are ways to do that without jumping right into a conversation. For comparison’s sake, here are some I’ve written since then:

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The view beyond the window, beyond the spindled railing around the wraparound porch, was right off a Currier and Ives print. ~Let It Snow

It was the fourth day of having his bandmate, Rory, as his pretend “boyfriend,” and Benny had to admit it was going better than he’d hoped. ~One More Wish

Cary felt a trickle of sweat rolling down the center of his back as he and his uniformed classmates baked on the unseasonably warm day. ~A Ring and A Promise

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Though I’m not sure it’s a complete departure, I can see a bit of a change in style. Do you guys agree? Any thoughts on what sort of start you prefer or what might put you off from the get-go?

Here is an excerpt leading on from that interesting opening line in A Ring and A Vow, my addition to the Semper Fidelis anthology:

“I just can’t do this. I…I need my ring back.”

“What?” Cary went breathless with shock as the words hit him like a blow. For a moment, he thought he might throw up.

“My ring.” Owen’s expression was as determined as Cary had ever seen it.

Cary pressed his lips together and swallowed as he processed what was happening. He had always feared that Owen would find their situation too hard—two servicemen in different branches, and soon different countries, for years to come. Cary inhaled deeply then blew out an exhale and nodded. He knew that this had to be almost as hard for Owen as it was for him, no matter how crushed Cary was at the moment. Maybe even more difficult, since Owen wasn’t one to express his feelings.

Owen stoically held his hand out, palm upward.

His heart breaking, Cary fumbled at the ring on his finger. It clung to him as though it was as reluctant to leave him as he was for it to be gone. Though it wasn’t the least bit tight, he couldn’t seem to get a good grip on it. Finally, he managed to pull it down his finger, held it for a moment then forced himself to place it in Owen’s hand.

Cary kept his eyes directed downward. Somehow if he didn’t see this happening, it would be less real. His eyes slid shut and he heard the echoing of the words that had shattered his heart and dreams—“I just can’t do this…”

“I can’t leave you without doing this the right way…the way I should have done it to begin with.”

Cary’s eyes popped back open. Owen’s voice had come from lower than…

His breath caught at the sight of Owen down on one knee before him, holding the ring in his fingers.

No. No, no, no. It isn’t what you’re thinking. He…must’ve dropped the ring. Yes, and knelt down to pick it up…

He felt the ever-present optimistic side of him shoving that nay-sayer aside as he took in the sincere and worried expression on Owen’s face. Cary automatically reached out to Owen, who took both his hands in one of his, still holding the Naval Academy ring in the other—the ring he’d secretly swapped for his own before they’d parted just after graduation. The ring that Owen had told him to go ahead and keep in a deliberately off-handed way when the impulsive deception had finally been discovered.

Oh my God, this is really happening.

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About Devon Rhodes:

Devon started reading and writing at an early age and never looked back. At 39 and holding, Devon finally figured out the best way to channel her midlife crisis was to morph from mild-mannered stay-at-home mom to erotic romance writer. She lives in Oregon with her family, who are (mostly) understanding of all the time she spends on her laptop, aka the black hole.

semperfidelis_800Blurb for the Semper Fidelis anthology:

‘Anomaly’ by S.A. McAuley

Staff Sergeant Galen Welc is known for his uncanny ability to spot improvised explosive devices and so he’s pitted against the latest in defense technology. He trusts his instincts and his training, but they may just be leading him somewhere—and to an explosive reaction with someone—he could never see coming.

‘Always Ready’ by T.A. Chase

Making a living on the Bering Sea is hard enough, but throw love into the equation, and things can blow into a hurricane. Dean and Phil must always be ready to love each other because life can be taken so easily when one works on the sea.

‘A Ring and a Vow’ by Devon Rhodes

Every promise must someday be fulfilled, and the best way Owen knows how to reward Cary’s faith is with a vow. It’s been nearly five years since Owen went down on one knee with his Academy ring and promised Cary he’d someday do it for real. With Cary being a Naval aviator and Owen a Marine officer serving in Iraq, they’re rarely on the same continent, let alone together. Cary has been waiting for Owen for years—there was no chance he’d ever say anything but yes. Owen is coming home at last, and wants to make a home with him.

‘My Marine’ by LE Franks and Sara York

Marine Captain Sean Kelley loves his country and the men he serves with, but when he meets Akim, he’s tempted to throw it all away for the mysterious man. Akim Bijan has a secret of his own—one large enough to get more than just himself killed if it’s revealed. But from the moment he first lays eyes on the handsome Marine, he’s tempted to do just that. When tragedy strikes, Akim is afraid he’s lost Sean for good and he’s forced to make a decision that will change both their lives.

‘Soul Sick’ by Kendall McKenna

Jamie thought he made it home to Tucker, leaving war behind. Now, each day he battles to fit into his own life, and save the love that saved his life. Jamie is a captain in the US Marine Corps who carried a photo of Tucker with him throughout his deployment. Tucker is a reformed bad boy who has an advanced degree and an important job but still sports long hair and tattoos. Now, they’re struggling to learn to live with each other again, and things are going downhill fast.

‘Safe Shores’ by Morticia Knight

Kirk’s Coast Guard lover, Shane, is the only person who can save his son from a vicious storm—if he’s not too late. Shane and Kirk’s joyful reunion is interrupted when an unusually vicious gale storm threatens the coast. Kirk has to stand by helplessly and wait while his lover battles the raging seas to save his son. In an instant, Kirk could lose everyone he holds dear.

Like the sound of the Semper Fidelis anthology? Buy it here.

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Click the link below tot enter

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Purrfect Protector (Shifter Protection Specialists Inc. #1) by @SA_Welsh #Giveaway @Totally_Bound

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purrfectprotector_800Blurb for Purrfect Protector:

This is book one in the Shifter Protection Specialists Inc. series, see the full series listing here

Never play cat and mouse with a saber-tooth tiger.

When Kale Andrews gets disturbing mail from an obsessed fan, his brother drags him to Shifter Protection Specialists, Inc. Kale reluctantly agrees to have a bodyguard, but when a tall, muscular blond walks into the office emanating power and a sexy dose of danger, Kale’s doubts about needing the man with him twenty-four hours a day quickly disappear.

The easy babysitting job Aleksi was promised quickly changes from strange mail to threatening deliveries, so Aleksi has to become creative to keep his protectee out of danger. Everyone knows models are self-centered and shallow, so why does being with Kale make him feel like he finally has a home? Since he’s a saber-tooth tiger and naturally dominant, most people aren’t strong enough to be with him in a relationship or even as a friend. Yet Kale seems to calm his beast, simultaneously exciting the man in Aleksi.

Neither man expects nor wants a relationship with strings, but as they grow closer, Aleksi realizes that Kale might be his mate. With an obsessed fan escalating toward murder, Aleksi isn’t sure that even his tiger can keep his mate safe.

Like the sound of Purrfect Protector? Buy it here.

Robert meets Aleksi

Robert leaped out of the window of the Russian apartment building where his target had been expecting to meet his mistress and instead met the barrel of Robert’s gun. The well-connected tycoon used his influence to get away with terrible things. The mistress was only sixteen and had already been near her expiration date.

However, this time the businessman picked the wrong victim. This young girl’s father was a friend. Which is how the case gained Robert’s attention. He’d taken the girl to safety and waited for the target.

Hearing the tycoon’s security detail burst through the door of the room he’d just jumped out of, Robert tucked and rolled to absorb the impact of the drop to the street and settled into a defensive position, gun raised.

When he didn’t hear anyone pursuing him he, holstered his gun, stood and jogged to the main street. He didn’t slow as walking alone nightfall in this area could attract the wrong kind of attention. A trail of bodies was bad for business. But something drew his gaze to a teenager a bit further up the street. The teen was limping heavily and Robert could see the dark trail on the otherwise pale stone ground. Blood.

Another man trailed behind carrying a gun with silencer in his hand. Robert reacted instantly and grabbed the pursuer, squeezing off two rounds from the man’s own gun into his chest and dropping the body.

He looked up in time to see the injured teenager duck into an alley and Robert decided to follow. His helicopter extraction would wait for him.

Upon entering the alley, his eyes adjusted to the dark enough for him to make out several trash piles and a dumpster, but no man. But, there was a small gap just large enough for someone to hide. If Robert were taking cover, that’s where he’d go.

He slowly edged closer to it and called out in Russian, “Don’t be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you.”

There was no indication that anyone heard him, but he was positive the young man was hidden in the gap by the wall. “I know you’re here but I promise you have nothing to fear from me.”

“American,” a harsh voice spat.

Robert smiled despite the tone. At least he’d gotten a response. “Yes,” he replied even though it hadn’t been a question.

He stepped up to the gap and crouched. From the glowing yellow eyes staring back at him with a perfect black seeded pupil, Robert guessed the kid was some kind of feline shifter and probably pretty young since he hadn’t shifted.

“Why you follow me?”

The demand in English surprised him, but gave the only answer he had. “To help you.”

“Why?” Damn, this kid was suspicious.

Shrugging, Robert offered the young shifter his hand. “Because I can.”

The sound of a snort told him how that went down and he smiled to himself again. The kid had spirit. “I can teach you to protect yourself and to protect others.”

The glowing eyes flared wide. “Who are you?”

“My name is Robert.” Robert stretched his arm further into the gap.

Without hesitation this time, the kid took Robert’s hand.

 

Here is an excerpt from Purrfect Protector

As they drove to the photo shoot, Aleksi decided to figure out how the male model felt about shifters. “Is there a reason you were reluctant to have protection from Shifter Protection Specialists, Inc.?”

Kale, to his credit, picked up on the question Aleksi hadn’t asked straight away.

“I don’t have anything against shifters. I didn’t want all this fuss. It’s just a few letters.”

“And an eyeball,” he added. It concerned him that the human seemed so calm about it all.

The man went a little green “Yes, thank you. I haven’t forgotten.”

“Good, you shouldn’t.”

They pulled into the studio parking structure. Aleksi smiled when Kale huffed and sighed as Aleksi made the man stay in the car until he had scoped the surroundings, checking for any threats.

He noted all the cars around them, looking for anything that stood out. Other than a van taking up two spaces and a Mini Cooper with a small stuffed toy hanging from the tailpipe, nothing seemed out of place in the environment. Aleksi drew in a deep breath. He scented no one close by.

“All clear.” He banged on the roof of the vehicle.

When Kale stepped out of the car and immediately headed for the elevator without so much as a look, Aleksi smiled again. The model could act unaffected, but Aleksi’s nose could tell that Kale had enjoyed watching him do the security sweep. The human kept looking at his biceps too.

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bioI’m SA Welsh and I write because the voices in my head keep making me. I love reading and I love letting the characters and stories in my head come to life in a book. I can’t function in the morning without a cup of tea and when I’m not writing I’m reading. I have enough books to last me through an apocalypse but don’t ask me to share them unless you are a fellow book worm and know how to treat and appreciate a good book. It is thanks to the writers that inspired me to put myself out there that I became an author and the editors that make sense of my chaos that I keep writing.

You can also follow SA on Twitter.

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https://www.totallybound.com/competition/february-blog-giveaway-2015

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Guest Post: L M Somerton – Tarot’s Touch ~ @lmsomerton @Totally_Bound

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Breaking the rules

In 1928 an article appeared in American Magazine entitled “Twenty rules for writing detective stories”. I had a quick scan to see how many I had broken or corrupted when writing Tarot’s Touch. Of course this book is not just a detective story. It is a murder mystery and the two central characters are detectives, but this book is really a romance (with a hint of kink!). I hope readers will forgive me for not living up totally to the rules of the murder-mystery genre.

Rule 3 states: “There must be no love interest. The business in hand is to bring a criminal to the bar of justice, not to bring a lovelorn couple to the hymeneal altar.”

Oops. Combining romance and detection is clearly a no-no, though I doubt in 1928 the author of this article gave much consideration to the possibilities of gay bdsm *grins*. Personally, I prefer my kink with a plot and I’ve never been known for sticking to the rules. On to rule 9:

“There must be but one detective–that is, but one protagonist of deduction–one deus ex machine. To bring the minds of three or four, or sometimes a gang of detectives to bear on a problem is not only to disperse the interest and break the direct thread of logic, but to take an unfair advantage of the reader, who, at the outset, pits his mind against that of the detective and proceeds to do mental battle. If there is more than one detective the reader doesn’t know who his co-deductor is. It’s like making the reader run a race with a relay team.”

Well the author doesn’t specifically criticise two detectives. I’m grabbing at straws here because I have a wider team involved as well. But in my defence Alex and Conor would not work nearly as well without each other and they both need the irascible Sergeant Higgs to keep them in check.

Rule 16: “A detective novel should contain no long descriptive passages, no literary dallying with side-issues, no subtly worked-out character analyses, no “atmospheric” preoccupations. Such matters have no vital place in a record of crime and deduction. They hold up the action, and introduce issues irrelevant to the main purpose, which is to state a problem, analyze it, and bring it to a successful conclusion.”

This rule goes on a lot longer but this is one I’m happy to flout. Bringing readers in to a scene is a pleasure for me and good description adds to a story providing it gives the reader enough scope to fill in the details with their imagination.

Of the twenty rules, I’ve only broken three. I think that’s quite good going for a romance writer. The author of the rules finishes with a list of devices “which no self-respecting detective-story writer will now avail himself of. To use them is a confession of the author’s ineptitude and lack of originality.” I was a little apprehensive when I read this list, I’d hate to be branded as inept and unoriginal!

  • Determining the identity of the culprit by comparing the butt of a cigarette left at the scene of the crime with the brand smoked by a suspect.
  • The bogus spiritualistic séance to frighten the culprit into giving himself away.
  • Forged finger-prints.
  • The dummy-figure alibi.
  • The dog that does not bark and thereby reveals the fact that the intruder is familiar.
  • The final pinning of the crime on a twin
  • The hypodermic syringe and the knockout drops.
  • The commission of the murder in a locked room after the police have actually broken in.

I think I’ve read stories at one time or another that use all of these devices, but thankfully they don’t appear in mine. It would be an interesting exercise to rewrite this list now, almost ninety years later. It seems to have stood the test of time, but maybe there are a few more that could be added. There may be a few romantic tropes in Tarot’s Touch, but at least the rule book is (almost) preserved.

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tarotstouch_largewebBlurb for Tarot’s Touch:

This is book three in the Investigating Love series, see the full series listing here

Can truth be found in the cards?

DI Alex Courtney and his lover, DC Conor Trethuan are under enormous pressure as their team investigates an arson case and a murder.

It soon becomes apparent that the two cases are linked and the race is on to find a vicious killer. A tarot card is placed with the first victim and the detectives are left to interpret the clues it provides. When Conor receives a note from the killer making reference to another card, the whole team is shaken. Their worst fears are realized when a second body is discovered, along with another tarot card.

Conor suspects he has been followed then a hit and run leaves him injured. Alex wants nothing more than to wrap his lover up in cotton wool and protect him from the world. But is Conor the killer’s target or just a pawn in a much more sinister game? As the clues come together, it seems that the motive for murder might be revenge.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of genital bondage.

Like the sound of Tarots’ Touch? Buy it here.

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About LM Somerton:

Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.

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