Friday, December 23, 2011

Welcome DC Juris with a free holiday read!

"A Torottun Christmas"

Jinsu eased out of bed and tiptoed down the hall to Tristan's art room, where Kelan already waited. He peered over his brother's shoulder at one of Tristan's drawings. "He's so homesick. What are we going to do?"

Kelan shrugged. "Give him a piece of home, obviously." He pulled one of the sketches down. "Although I'm not sure where we will find…what did he call this?"

"A Chris Mass Tree." Jinsu frowned. Tristan had said the things were grown at farms, but the one he had drawn seemed to look like any ordinary tree. "Perhaps we can cut one from the forest?
"We'll have to. I don't know what to do about lights, though." Kelan held the paper closer for a better look. "These are on some kind of rope."

"Tristan called them strings. What about the orbs we hang for night festivals?"

"Those are awfully large." Kelan shook his head.

Jinsu took the paper from Kelan and studied it. His twin had a point; the orbs would never fit on a tree. They needed something just like them, only miniature. His eyes widened. "I have an idea! What about Pelldor? He can make tiny lights."

"The toy maker?" Kelan grinned. "That's perfect! He can probably even make the decorations. They're small like toys, after all."

"If you can keep Tristan occupied tomorrow, I can get everything set up." Jinsu's heart skipped a beat at the though they'd be able to pull this off for their mutual lover.

"What will you tell Pelldor, though? He can't know about Tristan's world," Kelan warned.

"Of course not." Jinsu frowned again. What would he tell the old toy maker? "I'll tell him…I'll tell him it's for a friend's daughter to decorate her room."

Kelan patted him on the shoulder. "Good thinking! We'd best get back to bed. If he wakes up without us, he'll be suspicious."

Jinsu carefully replaced the drawing in the exact same spot Tristan had put it, and followed his brother back to bed, though he knew he'd barely be able to sleep.


Keeping Tristan out of the house the next day proved nearly impossible, but Kelan somehow managed to pull it off. They returned that evening, Kelan leading the way inside.

Tristan gasped as Kelan stepped aside. "What…?"

Jinsu stood beside the tree, grinning from ear to ear. Pelldor had outdone himself. From the soft glow of the dozens of tiny orbs, to the intricately detailed ornaments, the tree certainly resembled the ones in Tristan's drawings.

Tristan crossed the room, mouth open, eyes wide and brimming with moisture. He circled the tree again and again, shaking his head. "I can't believe you two did this," he murmured.

"Why not?" Kelan spoke up. He moved to stand beside Jinsu and slid an arm around his twin. "You deserve a taste of home, after all you've given up for us."

"Is it a good Chris Mass present?" Jinsu asked.

Tristan faced them; tears flowing freely down his cheeks. "It's the best Christmas present ever."

Kelan took Jinsu's hand and led him over to the tree. They pulled Tristan into a hug, Kelan had to bite back his own tears at the strength of Tristan's grip, and how Tristan trembled. He stroked a hand through Tristan's hair and kissed Tristan's neck. "Happy Chris Mass, love."

Tristan raised his head and kissed Kelan, then Jinsu and back to Kelan, then Jinsu again. "I don't know what to say," he whispered.

Jinsu smiled and fitted his arms around Tristan's waist. "You don't have to say anything. Just enjoy it."

"It"—Kelan reached down and palmed Tristan's cock through his pants—"and perhaps us."

Tristan grinned and pulled them both close. "I think we have some packages to unwrap!"


Tristan and his alien lovers, twins Jinsu and Kelan, are from The Sky People Trilogy, which includes "Dream Come True", "The Door Under the Bridge", and "Follow His Heart."

"Dream Come True" blurb/buy link:

Driven by dreams of his soul mate, Tristan, Jinsu steps through the portal to Earth, leaving all he has ever known behind. Little does he know that Tristan has had dreams too, but unlike Jinsu, Tristan doesn't believe in them. When they meet, will they both discover that dreams really can come true?

"The Door Under the Bridge" blurb/buy link:

Tristan and Jinsu are back! It's now seven months into their fairy-tale romance, and Tristan and Jinsu couldn't be happier. But when Jinsu falls ill with a mysterious, lingering condition, everything changes. Jinsu's magic is dying and taking him with it. Suddenly the couple's desire to find a way back to Jinsu's home world is more than just a dream--it's a necessity. With Jinsu's time quickly running out, Tristan is forced to seek help from someone he'd hoped to never, ever lay eyes on again.

"Follow His Heart" blurb/buy link:

In the conclusion to The Sky People Trilogy, Tristan awakens on Torottu, but the portal wasn't meant for humans, and he's been near death since his arrival almost ten months ago. That's okay, though, because now that he's awake, he and Jinsu can start their life together. The problem? Jinsu has no idea who Tristan is--the return trip through the portal erased his memory of Earth, of their relationship, of Tristan himself. Winning Jinsu's heart again won't be easy, especially if Kelan, Jinsu's twin, has anything to say about it. Kelan loves Jinsu, too, and he won't be put aside for Tristan. Not again. Tristan knows his only chance for happiness--and the only chance for Jinsu and Kelan--is to follow his heart.

And a little something extra:
Caliph's Favorite Holiday Memory

We shifters don't celebrate Christmas as you humans know it—instead, we celebrate Alms.  Alms has no religious connotation, it's simply a time of year when those who have share with those who don't. My most treasured memory of Alms is the first one I spent with my kitten, Mateo, and our son, Jonus. Mateo and I visited the local shops and vendors for gifts for Jonus and each other. I loved the simple pleasure of sharing such a mundane thing with Mateo. 

We gave Jonus a new bow and arrow, and his very first wooden practice sword. Mateo and I exchanged rings. I remember how my hands shook as I slid Mateo's on, how he held his hand up to the window to see the light glinting off the band, and how he cried happy tears.

We roasted and carved a bruta pig Jonus had managed to catch the day before—his first one!—and afterward, I watched as Mateo taught Jonus how to fight with his sword in the middle of our sitting room. We ended the day around a crackling fire in the hearth; Mateo lounging in my arms while we listened to Jonus read us a story he'd written.  I suppose it sounds very simple by usual standards, but being with my kitten and my son, finally, as a family, was the most incredible gift I could've received.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Knight Before Christmas - Cassea Major

A Good Knight!

By Casea Major

Marianne Caldwell put the finishing touches on the tree. Not that the five-foot shrubbery needed any extra. The little thing was decked out with five hundred lights, six-dozen ornaments and twenty-five feet of the finest silver garland sold at Macy's. This tree was pimped to the high heavens. She breathed in the fresh evergreen scent as she tied on the small, red, velvet bows, praying for everything to be perfect.

Mare had never waited until Christmas Eve to put a tree up before. She'd never spent Christmas away from her family, either. Nor had she ever been wildly, madly, passionately in love with anyone. Until now. It seemed this was a year of firsts.

Her first one-night stand had turned into her first experience of "shacking up." Dad had taken a little bit of backlash from his conservative Baptist congregation over that one. But in the end, Robert had won them over. Or maybe Michael had. He was the most precious 5-year-old that had ever existed. It was hard not to love him…or his father.

She smiled, admiring her handy work. The little guy would be surprised when he came back from his grandparents. She glanced at her watch. Hopefully her big guy would be just as surprised. Her heart fluttered at the thought of his sapphire eyes and dark, wavy hair. Fifteen minutes and his shift at the station would be over. They would spend their first Christmas together. Maybe tonight would be the night she'd waited for. She hoped so.

Robert was the man of her dreams. She giggled. When he actually kept his hands to himself and let her dream. She'd never met a man with such insatiable…appetites yet so attentive and caring.  But something was missing. He loved her, she was pretty sure. Everything he did made her believe it was true, but he'd never spoken the words outright. And now she was beginning to feel as if maybe she'd been kidding herself. She'd actually said the three little words twice during lovemaking. But he'd not responded in kind, and the rejection was driving a wedge in her heart.

She shook her head to rid herself of the horrid thought. This holiday was going to be perfect. That's why she'd decided on the tree last minute. Robert said he didn't want one, but it wouldn't be the same without it.

Her timer buzzed. The smell of the toasted sugar and creamy butter filled the Brooklyn apartment. She hurried to the kitchen at the same time keys jingled and the front door opened.

"Yo, babe. I'm home. Are ya decent?"

She hollered back, "Define decent. I'm in the kitchen."

Giving him a quick glance over her shoulder, she smiled as she placed the cookies on the cooling rack.

He strolled in and sidled up behind her. "Damn, that looks good." He rested his chin on her head and slipped his muscular arms around her waist. "And the cookies, too."

She laughed and leaned back against his broad chest. Even though his shifts were only twenty-four hours, being without him for a full day was like living without a limb—doable but a struggle. Her chest tightened. "I missed you." Though those weren't the words she wanted to tell him. She held her breath waiting for him to respond.

He spun her around. "I missed you, too, Dallas."

Closing her eyes, she tried not to let the disappointment show in her face. Though they'd been living together since October when she'd transferred from Dallas to New York with her company, she'd moved in with the understanding that it wouldn't be permanent. But the truth was, she didn’t want to go anywhere, and she wasn't looking very hard. However, if he didn't make a move soon she would feel forced to leave.

He brushed her nose with his and softly kissed her lips. God, when he did that her legs turned to jelly every time, and she forgot any reason she should be displeased with him. His warm mouth opened over hers, and he lazily caressed her lips. His hand slid under the elastic waistband of her yoga pants to trail electric desire across her behind. Digging his fingers into her flesh he pulled her flush against him, his arousal evident at her hip. Her body responded without thought. She laced her arms around his neck and held him tightly.

He pulled from the kiss and whispered, "Where's Michael?"

She breathlessly answered, "Still with his grandparents."

His breathing sped. He swept her up and carried her to the living room, laying her on the sectional. She shucked off her bottoms as he unbuttoned his jeans. God, he was gorgeous, and she would never get enough. The juncture between her legs throbbed, and her private placed readied to receive him. He unzipped the loose fitting denim and began to push them to his knees but stopped suddenly. His face clouded.

Mare lifted and propped her body up with her elbows. "Honey, what's wrong?"

His face was so strange—a mix of so many emotions she couldn't catalogue them all. His head turned toward the corner and snapped back to her, revealing only one emotion—anger. "What the fuck is that?" He raised his hand toward the tree.

Her heart jumped up in her throat. A shiver slithered across her shoulders and her voice squeaked out like a meek mouse. "A Christmas tree."

He glared at her. "I told you I didn't want a fucking tree, Marianne."

She sucked in a breath. He'd used her given name. Not good. She swallowed the lump in her throat and tried to keep her voice from cracking again. "I know, but I just thought it'd be nice."

"You just never fucking listen, do you? You act like this is your house, and you do anything you goddamn please." He jerked the zipper up on his pants and paced in front of her. "And I'm fucking sick of it."

She scrambled to find her clothes. Tears welled in her eyes, and chills covered her from scalp to toenails. So many emotions swirled around in her mind she couldn't lay claim to any single one. Hurt, shame, fear. Had she overstepped her boundaries? She hadn't realized his severe aversion to Douglas Fir trees. Maybe it was just an aversion to her.

Was he just being nice by letting her stay with him? He was getting lots of sex. Clearly, he didn't think this a long term thing. And now he was sick of her.

She blinked back the flood and tried to gather herself. What should she do? Afraid to meet his gaze, she watched his feet pace back and forth in front of the tree. His hands fisted and flexed.

Think, Marianne. Why is he acting like this? All the horrible self-doubt came crashing in, and the desire to run overwhelmed her. She evened her breathing, but the tears trailed down her cheeks. She'd take down the tree and go. Her heart ripped in two at the thought, but there was nothing to be done about it.

She ran to the bedroom, grabbed a box of Kleenex, and got the storage bin she'd bought. Robert sat on the couch, head in hands. He didn't look up when she came in. She slowly began to remove the bows and place them in a storage bag. With each piece she took off, her heart broke a little more. Sharp pains of what might have been stabbed through her mind.

The delicate glass ornaments felt cold and light in her hand, and the glitter left a residue on her fingers which sparkled like magic in the twinkling colored lights. This was how her mom decorated a tree – with every color. You can never have too many lights, she'd always said. Mare had never wished for home more desperately in her life.

A sharp rap on the door and voices outside startled her. Robert never looked at her but strode to the door. She continued to pull ornaments from the tree and wrap them in tissue, placing them carefully in the bin.

After a few brief words at the door, Michael came tearing into the room. Even through her tears she couldn't help but smile when the little boy gasped. "Cool, Daddy. A tree for me?"

Before Robert could answer, Michael jetted around the circumference, taking in every light and ornament. "Look a Shrek! And a Woody, Daddy."

Robert came up behind Michael. "Son—"

Mare stopped to watch, wondering how he was going to explain why they couldn't keep it, because she couldn't understand it herself.

Michael grabbed Robert's hand. "Daddy, you're helping Marmie decorate the tree for me?"

Marianne gasped. He'd never called her that before. She shot her apprehensive gaze to Robert, whose face had drained of all color.

He blinked. "What did you call her?"

The sweet angel smiled and with his other hand took her hand. "She's my Marmie." His lilting matter-of-fact tone shattered her heart, and she started to sob.

"Jesus." Robert's eyes filled with tears, and he pulled her to his chest. "Baby, stop now. Shhh. I'm so sorry…I'm so sorry." He pushed the hair out of her eyes. "Don't cry. It's gonna be okay."

They spent the next two hours putting the tree back together, decorating Christmas cookies, and watching Christmas shows until Michael fell asleep. Robert carried him to his bed while she cleaned up the kitchen. Nothing had been resolved other than the Christmas tree. And now seemed as good a time as any to make the break that appeared inevitable.

She dried her hands on a cup towel and turned off the light. The living room was dark except the twinkle of the tree. Robert sat in the corner of the sectional watching the lights flicker. She sat a distance away, careful not to touch him.

The lump formed in her throat again and began to throb. She stared down and laced her fingers, unable to look at him. "I've decided to go back to Dallas. I don't really want to look for a place here by myself. I think my company will let me transfer again. At least I know my old boss will take me back." She took a deep breath. "I wish it could've worked out. But I understand these things don't always. I mean, look at The Bachelor, for God's sake. These types of things don’t typically last, and there's no shame in that. We can go our separate ways…" You're rambling, Mare. Get to the point. She peeked up at him.

He stared at her with eyebrows knitted and a perturbed look on his face. She gulped.

He gestured vaguely with his hand. "You finished?"

Mare nodded.

"Good. Because for starters, you're not going anywhere except right here in my arms." He grabbed her and pulled her into his lap. The warmth of him engulfed her. She hadn't realized how cold and empty she'd felt. "As for you and I not working out, that's crap and you know it. We're great together. You and Michael are the best things in my life, and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let you go." He cupped her chin and gazed straight into her eyes. "I'm sorry I acted like an asshole earlier. You scare me, Marianne. This whole thing scares me. The last time I let a woman in..." His voice broke. He closed his eyes and sighed. "When Victoria died, a piece of me died with her. I haven't had a Christmas tree in my house since then. But you come in and muddle my heart and fuck with my familiar life..." He dropped his hand to his side and stared up at the ceiling. "Jesus Mariann, I love you so much it scares me shitless."

Liquid warmth poured over her. "You do?"

He captured her gaze. "Baby, I've loved you from the minute I laid eyes on you." He pulled out a little black box and handed it to her.

Her heart pounded against her ribs and her had trembled. She opened the lid and a gasp escaped her lips. A two-carat round-brilliant diamond sat in a classic six-pronged platinum setting.

"Marianne, will you marry me?"

"You bet your ass I will." She grasped his face and pressed her lips to his.

He slipped the ring on her finger and gave her a long, luscious kiss.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good Knight!

After signing up for a one-night stand through an exclusive matching agency, hopeless romantic Marianne Caldwell is swept away to a medieval land where she hopes to spend the night with a worthy man of honor.

Unsure of how she got from the Castillo Hotel in Las Vegas to a castle in the English countryside, Mare finds Robert, whose stunning physique and winning smile immediately convince her he's the Robin Hood she's been seeking.  But despite his efforts in saving her from a corrupt sheriff, his Jersey Shore accent and coarse ways unravel her romantic visions.

With her fairytale fantasies coming unhinged, Mare must decide if Robert is just a crass car salesman from Brooklyn or the chivalrous knight she's looking for.

Major Love ~~~ Major Romance

Prior to becoming a writer of romantic fiction, Casea Major worked in the legal field for a non-profit dispute resolution company for ten years.  She is now a full-time mom to three preschool children with whom she and her husband live happily...most of the time.  When she isn't chained to her laptop, she enjoys Cary Grant movies and crocheting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Helping Santa by Nicole Zoltack

“Hey, Mom, what’s up?” Rebecca Williams asked through her blue tooth.
“Just calling to see how you are. Are you sure you want to be all alone for Christmas?”
Rebecca rolled her eyes. “Mom, I’ll be fine.”
“But Christmas is about spending time with loved ones.”
And Rebecca’s list of loved ones had shortened recently. She'd broken up with her boyfriend, Derek, last week. They were better off as just friends. “I’ll stop by on Christmas Eve to give you two your presents. Listen, I’m driving, gotta go. Love you, bye.”
Rebecca pressed the disconnect button and made a left turn, on her way to the mall to buy her parents’ said presents. Up ahead, a car was pulled over to the side, its four-ways on. She had to giggle when she saw the driver was dressed in Santa garb, complete with a beard, although he was far too lean to be a convincing Santa.
She pulled up behind him and parked her car. “Do you need any help?” she asked, even though she doubted she could do anything.
He glanced at her. “Ho ho… hello, Becca.”
His jovial laugh changed into a familiar voice.
“Jason?” Rebecca couldn’t believe it, but there was no mistaking the twinkling blue eyes. Jason Carter had been her high school sweetheart. “I mean, Santa?”
Jason had started to remove his beard but snapped it back into place. “Someone’s trying to get off my naughty list by helping me out.”
She laughed. How long had it been? Once or twice after graduation, at parties, when it had been strained and awkward since she had decided to go to a school across the country. She’d thought about him on and off over the years, and always compared her boyfriends to him. Didn’t all girls do that with their first love?
Rebecca cleared her throat. “Well, first, Santa, it’s Rebecca now. And what’s wrong?”
“I’m waiting for a tow. Got a flat.”
“Santa doesn’t know how to change a tire?”
He grimaced. “If only it was that easy.” He pointed to the frame, which was horribly bent, cutting into the tire, rendering the car undrivable. “The tow should be here any minute.”
“That’s good at least.”
“Yeah, but I have to get to the mall in a fifteen minutes.” He shook his head, and a dark lock of hair peeked out from beneath his white wig. “I don’t know how I’m gonna make it in time.”
Just then, the tow truck arrived. The driver, a short, pudgy man who would have made a great looking Santa if not for his dour expression, spoke with Jason for several minutes before hitching his car.
Jason walked over to Rebecca, who leaned against her car. “I’m sorry, I should have told you to leave. I’m fine.”
“Oh really? Is Grumpy gonna give you a ride to the mall?”
He shrugged. “I haven’t asked him yet.”
She snorted. “I don’t think he’ll be willing to. Doesn’t strike me as having the Christmas spirit.”
Jason winced. “The poor kids…” he muttered.
Rebecca’s heart warmed. The Jason she had known had thought all kids were terrors. The few times she had convinced him to help her babysit neighborhood kids had done nothing to change his mind. How else had Jason changed in the past almost ten years?
She smiled. “Santa, where’s your Christmas spirit? Hop in.”
“I don’t want to inconvenience you.”
“It’s not a problem, I was going to the mall myself.”
His grin was barely visible through his bushy white beard. “Great, hold on a sec, let me make sure that everything is squared away with Grumpy.” He winked.
She laughed and watched him walk away. The Santa suit, although precious, gave her no indication as to whether or not Jason still had the same athletic form he had had in high school. If only he would take off the costume…
With a blush, she returned to her car and started it, and the heat.
A minute later, Jason sat beside her, and they were on their way.
Jason snuck glances at Becca. Whoops, Rebecca. Her hair was just as bright a blond as it had been in high school, her brown eyes that same spark. Her heavy winter coat prevented him from seeing the rest of her, and his mind kept providing examples.
He coughed to clear his thoughts.
“Oh no, don’t tell me Santa’s getting sick,” she teased.
“I’m fine,” he said, his voice a little tight. “How have you been?”
“I’m fine,” she parroted, her voice still teasing.
“Good.” He wanted to pummel her with questions—when had she moved back home, was she living here now, was she seeing anyone…. But so much time had passed, he had no claim on her now.
Hell, he should have fought harder, changed her mind or gone out there with her. But he hadn’t been as smart as her, and although athletic, he hadn’t gotten a full scholarship anywhere, and had to go to a state school. Becca—Rebecca—had gotten into her dream school with several scholarships, and her parents had paid the little balance that remained.
“Quarter for your thoughts?”
“A whole quarter?” He yanked his beard down. It was scratchy and unbearable in the heat of the car, although he welcomed the warmth; he’d been waiting for the tow car for a good fifteen minutes before Becca—Rebecca—came along.
“Yes. I’m in a giving mood today.” She glanced over and smiled at him.
“Just thinking you’re an angel for helping me like this.” He winced. Could he sound more desperate?
“Just one of your helpers.” She pulled into the mall parking lot but instead of parking, she stopped at the front entrance. “Here you go.”
Dropping him off. So sweet, and yet he regretted the extra minute they could have had. “Thank you so much.” He readjusted his beard and then reached for the door handle.
“Wait a second.” She undid her braid and pulled out a few bobby pins. “Come here.”
Jason leaned over.
She lifted his wig and secured his hair back with the pins. Then she pulled his wig down. Cupping his cheeks, she moved his face left and right. “There,” she said with a satisfied nod. “Can’t have you destroying little ones’ dreams.”
He grinned. They were so close he hardly had to move to kiss her.
He glanced down at her hands. She was wearing gloves, making it impossible to know if she were engaged or married.
Jason gulped and pulled back as a large knot formed in his stomach. “You’re one helpful helper,” he said, his voice a little rougher than he intended. If Rebecca was married, she might even have a child by now, could be here to buy for him or her.
What the heck was wrong with him? He had loved Becca once, but they hadn’t spoken in almost ten years. How could his feelings for her still be so strong? “Now as long as you don’t do anything naughty, you can expect some nice presents from me on Christmas,” he said, prolonging their time together as long as possible.
She smiled but said nothing, and Jason opened the door and climbed out. After a wave, he said, “Thanks again,” turned around, and entered the mall.
Rebecca waited until he walked inside to drive away and find a parking spot. She turned the car off. With a groan, she pressed her forehead to the steering wheel. “Why?”
Jason had never left her tongue-tied before. That was some of the reason why they had been so perfect together in high school, despite their traveling in different circles, her a brain, him a jock. Lots of other crushes had left her stammering and red-faced, but not Jason.
“Does that mean you’ll be sneaking into my house?” she should have said to him. Light and flirty without being too over the top. “Or even, so I’ll be seeing you again?”
She banged her head into the steering wheel again, and her car honked. “I’m pathetic.”
Get it together, girl.
Rebecca walked into the mall. A blast of warm air hit her, and she untied her pea coat.
She rounded the corner, and there before her was Santa’s workshop. Tall, with a chimney, lots of garland, and a huge Christmas tree with presents beneath it, it looked every part of a magical scene.
A large line of excited children waited to see Santa. Rebecca walked around them. Hiding behind yet another Christmas tree, she spied Jason. He sat on a black chair, looking impressively heavy, a pillow most likely. A mom was trying to convince her little girl to sit on his lap.
Jason said something, and the girl laughed. She gave a shy smile and climbed onto his knee. He whispered into her ear, and the girl smiled widely. A flash and the mom exclaimed, “It’s perfect!”
Rebecca pressed a hand to her chest. She was nearing thirty, and she’d thought she would have started her family before now. Although she loved working as an accountant—math had always been her favorite subject—she had never wanted to only have a career. She’d returned home to start her own business, and it was flourishing nicely. What had Jason done since graduating?
Rebecca shook her head and walked away. She had shopping to do. Reminiscing and wishing wouldn’t change anything.
Maybe she would call her mom and tell her she would be coming over for Christmas after all. Being lonely never felt so lonesome before.
A couple of hours passed, and Jason stood and stretched.
Heather, the photographer, nodded. “The line’s not bad. Want a ten minute break?”
He nodded. “Please.”
He walked away after Heather put out the signs that said Santa was feeding his reindeer and would be back in a few minutes.
His back was sore but he couldn’t complain. The delighted smiles of the kids as they whispered their Christmas wish list to him more than made up for a little discomfort.
When his older brother had asked him to fill in this year because he was too busy with his newest family addition, Jason’d scoffed at the idea. To humor Jeff, he’d donned the suit for his nephews. After seeing little Rick gasp and believe, Jason readily agreed.
It wasn’t until Rick had been born three years ago that Jason loved a little kid. He even entertained the idea of becoming a father one day himself, if he could ever find the right woman.
That is, if he hadn’t already had her and lost her.
After high school, Jason studied and became a reporter. For the longest time, he struggled at the bottom of the ladder, but in the past two years, he had finally made some headway and earned the promotion of investigative reporter. His editor-in-chief had given his blessing for the Santa project, and Jason had been writing several seasonal pieces, ever since Thanksgiving had passed.
“Quarter for your thoughts?”
His heart skipped a beat as he whirled around.
Rebecca stood behind him. She held out a Cinnabon and an extra fork. “Santa needs some fattening up.”
He grinned. She wasn’t wearing gloves anymore. Even better, she wasn’t wearing a ring. After he shoved some cinnaminny goodness into his mouth, he said, “Actually, what Santa needs is a Mrs. Claus.”
“Excuse me?” Her eyes grew wide as saucers as they sat on a nearby bench.
“For pictures. On the weekends.” He nodded toward the workshop.
Her cheeks stained a bright pink. “I…”
“You don’t have to, Becca,” he rushed to add. “I’m sorry. Rebecca.”
“You can call me Becca.” She smiled, and her cheeks turned from pink to red. “Or Mrs. Claus on the weekends.”
He ho ho hoed as he pulled her close for a hug. She whispered something about this Christmas not being a lonely one after all.
Oh no, he definitely didn’t think it would be lonely. Santa and Mrs. Claus were made for each other, just like he suspected he and Becca were.
My bio:

Nicole Zoltack writes fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, historical, for adults, YA, MG, and PB, novels, short stories, and flash pieces. She's also an editor for MuseItUp Publishing and eTreasures Publishing, and a freelance editor for Passionate Writer Publishing.

When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending their unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb.

To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at or her blog at

My Links:

Facebook fan page:
My books on Amazon:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Welcome Anne Holly

I first met Anne Holly when her story, Unwrapping Scrooge was released. I thought, great name for the
author of a Christmas story…but then there were more, a Valentine’s Day book,
Thanksgiving, New Years, Halloween.
Yeah, I think maybe
the name inspired me, a bit. Unwrapping
Scrooge started it off, and it’s still one of my favourites:
Bestselling author Kale McKinnon is a modern Scrooge – eccentric,
misanthropic and reclusive, made bitter by the coldness of his wealthy family.
But when optimistic Canadian graduate student Molly Gillis visits Oxford and invades his
space, he realizes Christmas is about to change for him forever. But can he
make her stay, and force himself to un-Scrooge enough to be the right man for
I love those
redemption themes!

I have a few holiday stories myself, they’re tempting, but
Anne, you seem to have a thing for the special days on the calendar.
It seems to have
turned out that way. I have seven titles directly relating to various holidays,
one novel that includes a holiday (Strings
Attached), and one on the way that takes place during two holidays and is
tied in with another. I also have a holiday collection coming out in 2012.

Do you have a favorite holiday?
I think, Halloween.
No major meals to prepare, and pure fun. The Thanksgiving and Christmas/New
Years holidays are good, too, because most of us get a little break from work.
I love all the fall/winter holidays, for the most part. The summer ones are too
hot for me to enjoy. But, yes, Halloween is my favourite.

What makes it extra special for you?
It’s for the kids,
and the inner child. The decorations are better than any other holiday, in my
opinion, and so are the movies and cartoon specials. The atmosphere is
wonderful, all Sleepy Hollow and spooky. A wonderful metaphor for the coming
winter gloom. Plus, what’s not to love about a holiday focused on candy?

Do any of your stories reflect your own memories?
Somewhat. In Unwrapping Scrooge, the heroine talks
about watching White Christmas and
eating shortbread as a family tradition, and that’s one of my little holiday
enjoyments. She also grew up without much money, which was a running theme in
my childhood holidays.

Tell us a little about it.
We never got very
much as kids in terms of gifts, but I never felt deprived. We enjoyed what we
had, and the food was great. And the beautiful, silent snow-covered trees… They
were lovely times, those winters in the woods as a child.

I’ve been perusing your sites, that guy on the cover of Good for the Goose is a real hottie!
We’d love to hear more about that story.
Yes! Isn’t he
gorgeous? I even adapted the story a little so the model could fit the
character, he’s so pretty. Rebel Ink makes some nice covers.
Good for the Goose is a sexy story, as well as a romance. It’s
about a woman who’s shattered by a divorce, and thinks, “Well, that’s it for me
and men!” But then she gets snowed in with that hot Spanish guy on the cover,
who also happens to be about ten years younger than her, and, well… Let’s say,
they melt some ice.
That’s what Christmas
is all about, isn’t it? Opening up your heart and taking the chance on renewed

Do you have any more holiday stories planned?
Always! I’m not sure
exactly why they attract me, other than the fact that I always loved Christmas
romance novels as a teen, and they are such pretty, evocative seasons.
I think I will lay
off Christmas for a little while, since one can only promote so many books in
one season, but I have others up my sleeve. My next release will happen around
Father’s Day, since it’s a book about a single father (and a single mother)
struggling to find a love that can work. And, I’ll have a short story for
Labour Day next fall to promote the release of my Rebel Ink Press holiday
stories in a single paperback volume. I figure if I can make Labour Day sexy, I
can do anything.

What other news would you like to share with the readers?
I celebrated my first
paperback release ever a few weeks ago, for a paperback anthology, Yule be Mine vol 2, from Decadent
Publishing. That was pretty exciting! I also just this week signed a new
contract with Pink Petal Books for my second full length novel, in ebook and in
print editions – that news hasn’t even come out much yet, so you may be hearing
it here first.

Where will this Christmas Eve likely find you?
At home. Not
shopping. Not fighting through crowds of travelers to get some place. At home,
hopefully in my PJs, with my little three year old son, watching the snow fall
outside or enjoying a movie, and eating oranges and grapes and chocolate, and
drinking cider – my favourite things about the season.

Awww, that will be the best, my nephew is three and
completely into the Christmas experience! I hope all of your son's and your dreams
come true.
And where can our readers find you and your books?

You can check out my blog, or see my holiday
. I’m pretty much all
over the net!
Thanks for having me!
This was fun. Happy holidays, everyone!
Anne Holly is
a Canadian writer of romance and erotic-romance, as well as a mother and
teacher. She is the author of the novel Strings Attached, which was
described by The
Romance Reviews
as “a classic contemporary romance.” She has been
published by Wild Horse Press, Decadent Publishing and Rebel Ink Press, and in
2012 by Pink Petal Books. Anne’s work is characterized by its unusual heroes,
sweet/spicy balance, witty dialogue, responsible citizenship, and its positive,
optimistic nature. She has found a particular niche in holiday romance. You may visit
Anne at her blog or website, or find her on GoodReads, Facebook and
Twitter (@anneholly2010).
Sign up for her newsletter here.
Email her at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kerri Nelson and Courting Demons...and a very cool prize!

Welcome, Kerri! We've been seeing your gorgeous cover around and it's great that you could stop by today. Can you tell us a bit about the story of Courting Demons?

Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.
First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.
After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.
But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.
“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author, Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend

Author Bio:
Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers.

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats.

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:
Follow her on Twitter here.
Visit her industry blog, The Book Boost Blog here.

Buy Links (print and e-book versions available 9/15 wherever books are sold but here’s the publisher link—free gift available with purchase of print copy—while supplies last)


Giveaway for the day:
Leave a question or comment to be entered to win today’s prize: A Mini Spa Kit!

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour. The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.
Question of the Day:
What was the name of the newspaper column I wrote in high school?

Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here.

Excerpt link for Courting Demons.

Guest Blog:

Sexy + Mom = YOU!
Don’t you wish every day was Mother’s Day?

Unfortunately for most of us Moms—we don’t feel the love as much as we should. Particularly when we allow our kids to rule our lives (including our sex lives). Oh no! Feeling like a Mom and feeling like a sexy woman don’t always go hand in hand.

I recently found a great site which listed TEN ways to help us feel sexy again and courtesy of, I’m going to share those with you today along with my comments and suggestion on each (I have different takes on these ideas than they do).

Here we go…

1. Buy New Lingerie.
Kerri’s suggestion: Or…buy a book that has a sexy mom interacting with a sexy hero. There’s nothing like playing out a fantasy in your mind that will tempt you to play out one in real life.
2. Strip for him.
Kerri’s suggestion: Well, okay…not bad but I know a lot of men just want to get to the action. So, why not make him strip for you? That is sure to bring a smile to your face.
3. Exercise.
Kerri’s suggestion: We all need to do more of this. Moms always put themselves last. We take care of everyone else in our life BEFORE we do anything for ourselves. Take a walk today and enjoy the weather. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or just do those kegel excercises while you’re reading (both of these will spice up the sex life).
4. Get a new hairstyle.
Kerri’s suggestion: Now this one would cause a huge problem with my hubby. He adores my long hair. If I were to come home with a major do re-do, he’d have a fit. Last year, I tried to go blonde after having my last baby. It was a nightmare of epic proportions. So, if you don’t feel ready to take this major step—maybe try a sexy wig instead.
5. Flirt with your partner.
Kerri’s suggestion: This one I like. I’ll bet that most of us do too little flirting these days. I love a big flirt (wink, wink).
6. Have a spa day.
Kerri’s suggestion: I love this idea and hubby actually bought me a gift card for one of these for my birthday last month. Haven’t used it yet but will do so soon. But if you can’t afford to do the real thing, just try getting together with a gal pal and doing a home pedicure and chick movie night. Or win today’s Mini Spa Kit!
7. Go on a trip with your significant other, without the kids.
Kerri’s suggestion: I’d adore this idea if it was possible for me. The closest I got to this was last weekend when I attended a writer’s conference with hubby and only 1 of my youngins in tow. See my blog post from last Thursday if you want to see how that turned out. Not quite as romantic as a journey to a romance writer’s conference should be!
8. Get a new scent.
Kerri’s suggestion: Ohh…I’m all about smells. I don’t like the yukky ones or the super strong ones and I love a sexy man smell that is subtle. Men, pay attention, this doesn’t mean to slather on the cologne like it is going out of style. I got on the elevator last weekend after just such a man had vacated it and almost passed out from the cologne overkill. Myself? I’m more of a freshly clean, lightly fragrant soap user who wants to smell clean and sweet. What about you?
9. Get yourself some toys.
Kerri’s suggestion: Toys? Whatever could they mean? Sex toys? I vote for that. New toys like a new microwave? Hmmm…well not sexy but does come in useful. A new car? Sigh. I’m dreaming now.
10. Spend the night with him.
Kerri’s suggestion: I did get to do this recently—go on a real date for our anniversary. We got to go to dinner “kidless” dinner. It was shockingly strange. I didn’t have a diaper bag or any snacks in my purse. Oddness. But we should try to do this more often than once a year.
When’s the last time you went on a kidless date with your significant other?
Thanks for hosting today, Valerie. Let a Mom in your life know you love her today and remind her that she’s still a sexy creature as well.

© Kerri Nelson 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Orion's Way - DC Juris

Orion is a vampire with a tragic past. After running away from abusive parents at the tender age of sixteen, he was turned by a ruthless elder vampire and forced to torture and sexually abuse human feeders and submissive vampires. Though that's all behind him now, he still lives in the shadow of what he was, and it's cost him the loyalty of Xavier, the human feeder he loves. Malagan is Orion's closest friend--the vampire who saved him from brutality all those years ago. Malagan knows the dominant side of Orion--the side Xavier needs--is still there, lurking below the surface. But if Orion's going to find his way back to who he ought to be, he'll need help. And Malagan is just the man for the job.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

JM Powers and Basket of Hope

Welcome to the two of you.
J.M.: Hi there, thanks for having us. Machias feels a bit out of place in this era, but I thinks he’s okay now.
Machias: Ah, nonsense—what is that outside yon window?
J.M. : It’s a car, Machias.* Shrugs* Told ya...okay, on with the interview. I’ll do edits on my next book while you two chat. If you need any translations, let me know.
Machias, we hear that you’ve been ordered to pick a bride, do you have anyone in mind?
Aye, the maiden I love is not privy to my feelings yet. Kara is fair of face, and she all but takes my senses when she waits on my family. Ye may believe a scullery maid is a poor choice, nevertheless, my heart always knew of my love for her. Soon, I intend to make my feelings known—to everyone.
That possible choice must be causing some stress in the family, will you get your father’s blessing?
My father is a cruel man, but I know in his own twisted way, he thinks he knows what is best for the kingdom. He keeps parading the maidens he deems pure witches. I simply must show him Kara is best for me. That shall prove difficult, but I shall not budge. Mayhap my mother shall sway him—or even help me plan something behind his back.
If Kara agrees, won’t it put you both in great danger?
Alas, I know not if Kara shall take my offer. She thinks herself unworthy. If I deem she is any danger, I shall use use all my powers to protect her. However, in my eyes, naught can be more dangerous than my father’s incessant interference with matters that involve my heart. I hope that he dares not stand in my way, or he shall end up on the wrong side of a spell.
I understand that your bride should be a witch, and Kara hasn’t shown any signs of being one has she?
Ah, but she has! From the time we were children, I showed her little spells, in the hope that perchance she would feel comfortable around magic. But alas, her fear kept her from believing in herself. Her mother is an evil witch, and I suppose Kara feared she is the same. (I cannot ascertain, for she refuses to even of it.) Through the years, Kara denied herself, until she actually believes she is naught more than a mortal.
It’s all so romantic, can you protect Kara from all the dangers that surround you both?
I shall always protect Kara. Though evil is gaining power with each sunset, combining pure magic and true love in a marriage shall overcome even the greatest danger.
Your author JM Powers seems very nice, to tell your story in Basket of Hope, how did you meet her?
Ah, J.M. and I have been friends for all time. Kara and I share a space in JM’s mind with other characters. Every once in awhile, she creates a world for us to live in.
Does she have other books that readers might enjoy as well?
She has another magical world in Stellar Surprise. Kara and Zoe (the fairy in Stellar Surprise) are great friends. (However, Zoe is a bit...ahem, more experienced, so I am a bit relieved she is in another book.) J.M. wrote Stellar Surprise back in 2009 under a different pen name: Summer Falls. (That was the naughty J.M.)
My author is also expecting a new release this year. It is a full-length novel: Jewel of Ramstone, a medieval romance.
She has book trailers of all books on her blog.
Where can we find Ms. Powers?
Hopefully, she can be found in the hearts of her readers! Ah! So I suppose you mean where can we find her on that modern thing called the internet? One moment...*pulls out parchment and breaks the seal* I shall read it to you...I suppose you modern mortals can make sense of this:
And where can we find her books?
With Breathless Press Publishing:
Basket of Hope link:
Stellar Surprise link:
Machias: My thanks for allowing me to visit and speak of my world, ‘twas a wonderful experience. I hope to meet you again in Basket of Hope.

All Hallows Eve looms near, and encroaching evil shall have its way if a marriage filled with true love and pure magic does not take place. Machias must choose a witch, something Kara never hopes to be.

Machias' father will do anything to ensure his son choses wisely—Lies, beatings and even an attempt to soil Kara's innocence is not past the man.

Machias' marriage announcement promises to burn Kara's hope to cinders...unless something truly magical happens at the All Hallows Eve Ball.

Basket of Hope-JMPowers—long excerpt 963 words

The thump of Thaddeus’ sword faded as Kara's gaze traveled from him to Machias. Coveting his body, she perused it, until she reached his buttocks, resting her gaze upon the curve and firmness, and following down to where it met his legs. Leather hugging breeches accented his form, caressing his lean muscles like a lover, and pronouncing his sinewy limbs with each of his movements. The way the sun glistened against Machias made her wish she could conjure magic, if only to make his clothes fall away. Kara squinted, trying to imagine Machias naked while she slipped another berry in her mouth. Naught could possibly compare to his beauty … in her imagination anyway. Her heart ached with love, and her body seemed to vibrate with the want of him. Each morn, the memory of his stolen kiss so many years ago, still remained her first waking thought.
Kara dabbed her brow with Stella's apron, feeling her cheeks heat at the reminder of her solitary attentions while fantasizing about Machias. Though she prayed for forgiveness, Kara could not help but touch herself as soon as she woke from her wanton dreams, her body still trembling with need. Stella caught her once and told her she needed to offer a village boy a good rut to ease her tension. Kara found the suggestion disgusting.
"I shall die a virgin," she whispered. Ah, if he but knew how I love him.
The men seemed to be done with practice. Machias rested his arm on the top of the pell talking to his brother. Her heart skittered when Machias gaze met hers from over Thaddeus' shoulder, seeming to feel her scrutiny.
Hoping her expression belied her thoughts Kara quickly turned her back to him and resumed picking berries. She concentrated on each tiny orb within the fruit, forcing innocent thoughts in the stead of reckless ones.
She glanced at the checked pattern on the apron, spurring a childhood memory of a game called Queek. Though his father, Lord Tanner, discouraged their play, Machias would meet her in the meadow, hiding the checkered cloth underneath his tunic. Out of sight, they would spread it onto the ground, and collect small stones. After guessing whether the stone would land on dark or light, they would toss it upon the cloth. She suspected Machias peeked, especially if she began to call Queek too often, but he never admitted it. She did not care if she won or lost. She simply relished the time spent with him. Over the years, Kara began to love him more than the game.
When Machias reached ten and five, bordering on the verge of manhood, he departed for training. He kissed her, among the first rays of sunrise, whispering his fare thee well. Be it innocent, 'twas a true kiss, and though her heart was young, it knew of her love for him even then.
Adrift with loneliness, Kara awaited his return for six years. She would inconspicuously lean closer while serving the evening meal, hoping to hear snippets of Machias' life through his parents' conversation, but they did not say much in her presence.
She bordered on giddiness when Machias returned. Although she had grown into womanhood, Kara was ill prepared to see the difference in him. Ah, what a true shock when naught of the lad she knew entered the gates, but a man. Muscles, perfectly sculpted as the marble statues in the gardens, seemed to flex with the smallest of movement. His angular jaw, sporting a hint of a beard under his dark complexion, only accented his rugged looks. Moreover, his voice…his voice, deep and tender at the same time, defined a grown man. Had it not been for the single dimple on his left cheek when he smiled, Kara often wondered if she would have recognized him at all.
At first, Kara believed he had the same issue with her, for the most attention he paid was discrete thanks when she served his meals or a request for a refill of sweet mead for his female guests. However, one day, he whispered a childhood endearment as he passed her in the garden. G'day, Kay-Kay. Oh how those words made her swoon, though she did a fair job of hiding her joy at the discovery that Machias did recognize her. He just saw her differently—beneath him. As did she, but in a sinful way.
Kara crumpled the apron in her fist, no longer finding joy in the pattern.
Ah, Machias, social standing became everything ta ye, and I became naught.
Machias waved from across the meadow. Kara looked to see who approached but saw no one. Smiling so hard her cheeks hurt, Kara slowly raised her hand. Spotting her berry-stained fingers, she snatched them down.
His smile flashed, bright and inviting. Mayhap the inviting part was simply her imagination. Just the same, Kara decided to join him and started his way.
At a poke from his brother, Machias turned away and blocked the next jab.
Kara's grin faltered and she pretended her intention was to give her mare a few berries. She grabbed a handful from her basket and outstretched her hand to Dunny. She peered over at the sound of Machias' voice. His broad back was to her, muffling his words to his younger brother, but she simply listened to the euphoric melody of the deep yet soft tones. Dunny snorted, seeming to ask for more of the sweet treat, but she returned back to the bushes.
"Why do I torture myself so?" she whispered, ripping berries from their hold. She did not even care that the thorns bit her fingertips. In a way, she welcomed the pain for 'twas preferable to the ache in her heart.