Archive for 'Taige Crenshaw'
Monday, January 31st, 2011
My special guest today is author Taige Crenshaw. She’s talking about a subject that always fascinates me–building a world in a romance story. Over to Taige…
One of the things I love most about reading and writing is the world the story is set it. It doesn’t matter if it is contemporary, historical, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery or any other genre build a world that will make me want more. LOL.
This is what makes some books automatic buys. Yes I love the characters but without the world they inhabit they are just a shell of what they can see. Books with a captivating world will make me want to read more. It’s all about the atmosphere that you set. Let me visualize that I am there in that world. Make me imagine that I am actually walking down the street with your characters.
When I create my own worlds in the books that I write I strive for a feeling. The feelings that will make you want to live in the world I created. There are so many intricacies to building a world. You have to engage all the senses. The sounds you hear, scents that make the place familiar, sights that you see, the feel of the place, and the taste of its local cuisine. Once these are engaged it brings richness to the world.
In my novel Power of Attraction, book 1 in my Blackstone Haven series which released today all of the above is what I tried to achieve. When I created Blackstone Haven I wanted the feel of a medium sized town. One where you know your neighbors. One where the beings that are more live alongside humans who know what they are. The community shares what the town is about. The town is as it names states -a haven. A place where other beings can live.
Although Blackstone Haven is a place to give haven to others. There is a lot more going on in the town. The Blackstone clan who the town is named after has a legend they must face. And the man who comes to the town brings with him his own issues.
Power of Attraction follows the journey of Peyton Blackstone and Wesley McCarthy. They have an intense chemistry that explodes when they meet. Wesley new to the town and a visitor. He gets a taste of what the town is all about. He is drawn into Blackstone Haven. Wesley is running from his own issues and then has to contend with his attraction to Peyton.
In the Blackstone Haven series there will be many layers and little unique things that will be reveled with each book. Blackstone Haven will be a journey that will be a thrill ride as we get to know all about the town and the beings that inhabit it. I’m having a great time being a World Builder.
Taige Crenshaw is a multi-published author with books available at Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Liquid Silver Books, Loose Id, and Total-E-Bound. Taige has been enthralled with the written word from time she picked up her first book. It wasn’t long before she started to make up her own tales of romance. With novels set in today, in alternate dimensions, or in the future she writes with adventure, fun sassy heroine’s, and sexy hero’s. Always hard at work creating new and exciting places Taige can be found curled up with a hot novel with exciting characters when she is not creating her own. Join her in the fun, frolic, interesting people and far reaches of the world in her novels. You can find out more about Taige at her website or blog.
Power of Attraction — A woman whose destiny has been ordained from birth meets the man who has been prophesied for her–but there is more to him than meets the eye. With prophecies and legacies to fulfill, which way will she go: to a man who may be possibly her mate, or to a dark legacy that could take her life.
Buy today Power of Attraction at Total-E-Bound.
Friday, August 27th, 2010
My special guest today is fellow author, Taige Crenshaw. Today Taige is talking about series and serials. I love reading books in a series. I like entering a world I’m familiar with – it’s like meeting old friends. Over to Taige…
I’ve been reading a lot lately and I love series/serials so I have been rereading my favs. I’ve written on my own blog about my love of series and serials. What they are and how I feel about them. Almost monthly there are so many books coming that are part of a series/serial.
First here are my definitions of them both:
Series ~ Taige Crenshaw Definition:
Novels that has a related story theme but each one is complete in and of itself.
Serial ~ Taige Crenshaw Definition:
Novels that feature/follows the same main character/s yet are still a fresh story each time.
No matter which way you slice it I find whether it is a serial or series I enjoy writing stories like this. It gives me room to stretch my mind, push my characters to give me more and wallow in there adventure even more. Although I enjoy these stories I don’t usually start writing with the intention of it being a series/serial sometimes it just happens to evolve that way.
I write what I love to read and I’m one of those readers that wondered what is next for such and such main character. Or what happened to this sub – character that I liked in this or that novel. I go hunting to find more and when I find it I feel like I’ve struck READER’S GOLD. I jump up and down and shout in glee. LOL.
I’ve been known to search for years to get that book to complete a series/serial I was reading. Hey I’m a dedicated reader and I want the complete set of my series/serial.
For instance I remember many years ago I picked up an author that I hadn’t tried before. The novel was great and imagine my glee that I struck reader gold and it was a series. I went back and bought all of their novels except one which was sold out. I searched and searched for years for this one book and couldn’t find a copy. Not even a used one. I even contacted the author to find out if the story was going to be re-printed. To my dismay it wasn’t at that time. Amazon even had over 200 people waiting for a copy of this book when I checked. I stopped checking the numbers after I saw the amount of people. No one was selling. A few years after looking I finally struck reader gold in 2005 when the book was reprinted and I was able to finish my collection. I know me and over 199 other people very happy.
Can you imagine so many readers looking for an author. Searching for that Reader’s Gold. That is what I want my novels to be to my current and future readers ~ Reader’s Gold. No I don’t want you the reader to wait a long time for my books but I want you to be so drawn into the worlds that I create you can’t wait to see what happens next.
This is what Reader’s Gold is all about. As my thoughts of Reader’s Gold evolved I thought of all the author’s who have some wonderful series/serials that I feel are Reader’s Gold. They line my bookshelf’s (online and print) and I go looking for them when they are released.
I’m sure most of you have a little Reader’s Gold on your bookshelf so come on and share. Give me some new Reader’s Gold to find.
CONTEST: Share your Reader Gold with me and Shelley will pick a winner who can choose one pdf download of any book from my e-book backlist.
Taige Crenshaw is a multi-published author with books available at Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Liquid Silver Books, Loose Id, and Total-E-Bound. Taige has been enthralled with the written word from time she picked up her first book. It wasn’t long before she started to make up her own tales of romance. With novels set in today, in alternate dimensions, or in the future she writes with adventure, fun sassy heroine’s, and sexy hero’s. Always hard at work creating new and exciting places Taige can be found curled up with a hot novel with exciting characters when she is not creating her own. Join her in the fun, frolic, interesting people and far reaches of the world in her novels. You can find out more about Taige at her website: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com or blog: http://www.taigecrenshaw.com/blog.
Wilde Seduction – What happens when a woman who doesn’t know how to relax meets a man whose lust for life will change her and make all her deepest desires come to life?
Buy here at Total-E-Bound.
Saturday, February 13th, 2010
This week’s theme is scary, and I’ve picked a scene from my romantic suspense/mystery The Shadow.
The Shadow by Shelley Munro
A low growl was all the warning I received. I froze. Another growl made the hairs at the back of my neck stand and salute. Hell! A freaking dog. My heart thundered as I slowly turned.
The dog stood a few feet from me. Black. All teeth and fangs. Damn and blast. The damned thing hadn’t been here the three times I’d checked out the premises. And if the dog had a kennel, I hadn’t seen it. With slow, careful movements, I eased the pack from my back and fumbled with the zip. My hand closed around the doctored cheeseburger, and I let it fall to the ground at my feet. The dog sniffed the burger. It woofed the treat down in two bites before staring fixedly, perhaps debating if I were the second course. It growled. Father had assured me the sleeping pills would do the trick without hurting the dog. I hoped he knew what he was talking about. No sooner had the thought passed my mind then the dog swayed.
I bolted. The dog gave a feral growl and sprang. Fabric ripped. My steps faltered. For an instant, I panicked, but suddenly the dog let go. Without looking back, I sprinted to the back of the house, my legs pumping like a hundred-meter sprinter at the Olympic Games. I scampered up the sturdy vine I’d chosen and only then looked back, my chest burning for air. The dog lay still on the ground. I turned to survey the rip in my leggings and shifted uneasily. My backside smarted like the devil.
Smooth as silk.
Huh? Emily had read someone else’s cards, not mine.
I scaled the wall in no time at all, stubbornly ignoring the pain in my ass, and after pulling on a pair of gloves, entered the building via the nursery room window. Lucky for me the nursery was empty of all save the lingering scent of lemon furniture polish. I crept down to the next floor, but that’s when luck deserted me again.
A footfall sounded.
I froze, my heart hammering with alarm. There was someone at home. Laughter-both male and female. Had the husband returned? Why were they there with the lights off? Duh! Stupid question. It was obvious why the room was dark. Abort my mission or risk it? As I hesitated on the landing, I heard footsteps on the stairs. The front door opened.
“Darling, tomorrow night?” the man asked.
“Yes. James isn’t back until Friday,” Perdita replied.
Kissing followed-loud enough to make me roll my eyes. After what seemed like ages, the door shut again and soft footsteps sounded on the stairs.
What the hell was I going to do now? I thought about hitting her over the head, snatching the jewels and running. I mean, she was fooling around; she deserved everything that was coming. I considered the idea a bit longer and rejected it as stupid. A girl had to have some scruples. Physical violence was one of mine.
Before I’d made a decision, I heard the front door open again. Jeez! The place was like Paddington Station at rush hour. I hunkered down in my hiding place on the landing and waited to see what developed.
Stealthy footsteps padded up the stairs toward the bedroom where Perdita had entertained her lover. Surely not another one?
“What do you want?” I heard Perdita demand.
I crept from my dark corner but couldn’t see a damned thing. What now? I wondered in frustration. Did I try to get closer?
A scream. A gunshot. I heard the sound of a rapid retreat. The front door slammed, then there was silence. No more laughter. Not a single bloody sound. I hovered indecisively. Dithered, really. When everything remained silent, I cautiously crept toward Perdita’s bedroom.
When I was a few feet from the doorway, a cuckoo burst from its clock, nearly giving me a coronary. I leapt in fright but managed to hold back on the accompanying squeak. After my heart settled back in place, I slunk closer to the bedroom.
A little moonlight seeped in from outside, but I didn’t need illumination to tell something was badly wrong. I could smell it. An indescribable scent, layered with expensive perfume and sex, that I didn’t want to smell again in a hurry.
“Hello?” I whispered. It was no surprise to me that I sounded shit-scared. And not much of a surprise when no one answered. I fumbled for the light switch, not because I wanted to but because I had to know.
Everywhere. It really stood out on the white satin sheets. I swallowed when I observed the very dead woman sprawled on the king-sized bed, and then gulped again when my stomach threatened to revolt. It was Perdita Moning, all right.
Strangled laughter sounded, and I was a bit surprised when I realized the sound came from me. Slightly hysterical. A little crazed. But hell, not every day a girl witnesses a murder.
Purchase at Amazon
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Saturday, February 6th, 2010
The theme for today is dumped. I’ve chosen the opening scene from Lovers at Last. Our heroine goes to her best friend for sympathy after the man she’s been with for some time decides to marry someone else. Justin is very happy with this development because he’s had his eye on Pearl for some time. It’s time to make his move!
Lovers at Last by Shelley Munro
A thump on Justin Collet’s door jerked his attention from the Auckland versus Canterbury rugby match playing on his television. Before he could push to his feet, he heard his front door fly open and hit the stopper. Seconds later it slammed shut. The strident tap-tap of high heels echoed in the hall and Pearl MacInray stomped into his den. Justin took a moment to admire the temper glowing on her face, the flashing pale blue eyes and golden tumble of curls before doing a scan of her curvy body. Immediately he tensed, his cock shooting to partial arousal. Damn, she was one fine woman. Pity they were merely friends. Pearl came to a halt in front of him, magnificent breasts heaving with the force of her ire.
“Andrew Dickins is a bastard,” Pearl spat out, shaking her fist in Justin’s face. Something white and thin flashed past his nose, almost hitting him in the eye.
Justin stood, moving out of range. “Wanna beer?”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Pearl dropped onto his battered leather couch, her miniskirt riding up to display a good portion of black stocking. Justin knew she wore stockings because he caught a glimpse of pale, creamy thigh before she tugged her black skirt down. Hot damn. This woman was gonna be the death of him. He wondered why Andrew Dickins was a bastard and decided he didn’t really give a damn. If the man’s behavior meant he could spend time with Pearl, Justin was all for it. His cock stirred again at the thought.
He strode into his kitchen, giving himself a swift lecture about friends only. Didn’t work. Hell, he’d given up trying to listen to commonsense. Let lust rule. The few beers he’d had after work with his mates were enough to blunt his normal restraint when it came to Pearl. Somehow he couldn’t find it in himself to give a fuck about breaking his self-imposed rule. Maybe it was time he made a move on her. There was more in life than work. Yeah. He’d done the work thing and was doing fuckin’ nicely, thank you very much. Time for another challenge. He opened his fridge and grabbed two beers, pausing to collect a glass for Pearl before returning to his den.
When he stalked up to his couch, Pearl was muttering to herself, her hand clenching and relaxing on something white. A string of pearls. His lips pursed in a silent whistle. Big bucks.
One of her lovers had dropped a pile of money on her. Considering the magnificent gift, he wondered what had bent Pearl out of shape. Last time he’d seen her this angry, it was because her lover at the time had refused to take direction. Justin snorted. Any man who couldn’t find a woman’s clit had no business making love to a stunner like Pearl. She should have told him to fuck off without a second chance.
“Here you go, babe.” Justin handed over the dew-frosted can and glass before sinking onto the couch beside her. He tipped back his head, enjoying the crisp taste of hops dancing across his tongue. Beer, woman and rugby. Hot damn. His night was lookin’ up.
“You come to watch the rugby, or do you want to shoot the breeze?” he asked finally, more to stop her fidgeting and muttering than anything else. Knowing Pearl, he was gonna hear about whatever ailed her no matter what he said.
“Andrew gave me these pearls.” Pearl shook them in his face again.
Justin ducked out of range. That was a bad thing? “I thought you liked jewelry.” Although he’d known Pearl since high school, sometimes he couldn’t fathom the way her mind worked. Women. Shit, he’d never understand them, which was probably why he’d stuck to short-term relationships. That and because he lusted after Pearl, couldn’t imagine being with anyone else for the long haul.
“I’ve been with Andrew for a year. He took me to dinner with his partners. When he told me he was giving me something special, I thought it was a diamond engagement ring.” Her breasts rose and fell, attracting his attention again. Damn, she was fine.
“And?” he prompted, suspecting there was more.
“I thought he’d ask me to marry him, but instead, he gave me this stupid pearl necklace. ‘Pearls for a special Pearl.’ That’s what he said, and then the louse told me he intended to marry Janie Gilroy.”
“Bastard,” Justin said while feeling elation inside. He didn’t like the idea of Pearl marrying anyone.
“Yeah,” Pearl muttered. “A pearl necklace. You’d think males could be more original. Men keep giving me stupid pearls and I want diamonds,” she ended on a wail.
“Sweetheart, don’t cry,” Justin said uneasily. He’d been through one of her crying jags before and didn’t want to repeat the experience. A man could only take so much before he broke.
A single tear ran down her face, melting him inside. He set his beer aside, took her glass from her and pulled her against his side. A strand of golden blonde hair tickled his nose and he tucked it behind her ear, kissing the tip of her pert nose. “You smell nice.”
“A present from Andrew,” she said with a sniff.
“Bloody Andrew,” Justin said, knowing it would make her laugh.
“Yeah, ‘bloody Andrew’,” she parroted with a watery smile.
Lovers at Last (ebook)
Lovers at Last (kindle)
Provocative Pearl (print)
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Saturday, January 30th, 2010
This week’s theme is humor. One thing I notice in most of my reviews is the mention of humor. I don’t set out to write humor, but it appears to creep in when I’m not looking. My excerpt is taken from my debut Ellora’s Cave title, Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters.
Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters by Shelley Munro
“We’re gonna crash. Buckle up.”
“What?” Janaya spun around to gape at her aunt, Hinekiri. One look told her the truth. Hinekiri wasn’t teasing.
Janaya gulped and scowled out a porthole at the rapidly approaching blue planet and muttered a succinct curse, trying to halt her escalating panic. Tendrils of icy fear curled around her insides. Her worst fear come to life. “I thought you said this…this antique had plenty of life yet.” She fumbled with the harness straps and another weak curse slipped out when the ship plunged into white, fluffy clouds sending her stomach swooping toward her toes.
“Ah, good.” Her aunt’s voice held satisfaction, despite their impending doom. “You worked your way through the Earth-speak tapes.”
Janaya stared at her aunt, speechless for an instant, before her gaze slid past the porthole once more. She swallowed and imagined shaking Hinekiri until her teeth rattled and good sense reigned. The image didn’t ease her panic any.
“We’re gonna bloody crash,” Janaya shrieked. “Pay attention. What do I do? I don’t know anything about flying this bucket of bolts. I’m a bodyguard.”
“Yes, dear, and I’m very proud of you.”
“Hinekiri!” The only reason she’d boarded this ship was because fear for her aunt’s life was greater than her dislike of flying. She was beginning to regret her impulse big time.
“I said we were crashing,” her aunt said. “I don’t believe I mentioned death.”
“You… When we land, I’m going to damage you,” Janaya gritted out.
“Tsk-tsk.” Her aunt waggled her forefinger while she nonchalantly maneuvered the manual steering controls. The ship groaned in loud protest and if anything, they picked up in speed. “I thought you stowed away to protect me from the bad guys.” A teasing grin flashed, lighting up her lined face. “Not do their dirty work for them.”
“Tell. Me. What. To. Do.” They were gonna die. Janaya was sure of it. She’d never live to set foot on Dalcon again. She’d never get the captain’s promotion she was aiming for, the promotion she’d earned by sheer hard work. And Santana would find someone else.
“Harness up and let me concentrate.”
Tension seeped through Janaya’s body, finding an outlet in her white-knuckled grip, as she watched her aunt calmly prepare to crash.
“I thought you said most of the Earth’s surface is water,” she blurted, her gaze darting from the porthole on her right to her aunt and back.
“That’s right, dear.”
“Are we going to land in water?”
Her aunt looked up from the panel of controls and frowned. “Can’t you swim?”
Janaya bit her bottom lip to keep the curse that trembled on her tongue contained. “Yes, I can swim.” The quirk of Hinekiri’s top lip gave her away, and Janaya’s shallow breaths eased out with a relieved hiss.
Chances were good that her aunt was…ah yes…pulling her leg. When she stood with both feet firmly on the ground again, she’d feel more in charge. After an aggrieved glare at her aunt, she amended the thought. Maybe not.
“Assume crash position.”
Janaya stared at her aunt. Then with morbid fascination, her gaze drifted to the bridge view port. Instead of the water she’d expected, she saw land. Flashes of green, trees, then a sea of gold.
The initial impact jolted her body and clacked her teeth together. Behind her, something crashed to the floor—probably one of the stupid Earth-speak tapes her aunt had insisted she view and assimilate. The ship hurtled off the ground then hit again.
“He-haw!” her aunt shouted, one hand raised in the air, her wiry body riding the impact despite the constraints of her harness.
Janaya lacked the same exhilaration as they bounced across the ground barely missing a large tree. The sturdy branches gouged the protective outer shell of their ship as they zipped past.
“I’ll try for up in those hills.” Her aunt jabbed at the controls, and the ship responded sluggishly before hurtling to the ground again. Trees and hills passed in front of Janaya’s horrified eyes.
What felt like hours later but was probably only a matter of minutes, they settled feet short of a dilapidated building, up on the hill. The stench of metal fatigue lay heavy in the air.
“I need to stand on the ground,” Janaya muttered. “Now. Is it safe?” Nausea worked up her throat. In a panic, clumsy fingers clawed at the restraining harness. In the end, her aunt leaned over to release the lever.
“No problems with the atmosphere here,” her aunt said. “New Zealand, according to my charts. Clean and green.”
Janaya needed no further urging. She stumbled out the door, dragging in huge breaths of fresh air until her lungs ached. Gradually, the panic attack subsided leaving her shaky and embarrassed. Make that mortified.
Thank the Gods her aunt had been the only witness.
Hinekiri strode down the narrow exit steps from the ship and stopped beside her. She patted Janaya on the shoulder in a silent gesture of comfort. “Janaya, we need to camouflage the ship so the Earth people don’t stumble across it.”
“All right. I—” The small hairs at the back of her neck prickled to life. Janaya stilled, her eyes narrowing as her gaze swiveled to survey the area around the ship. Her hand slid toward her hip.
“Back on the ship,” she snapped to her aunt as she pulled her weapon free. “Now.”
To her right, the leaves of a fern shuddered. Janaya scented the air. Sweat. Torgon sweat.
“Come on out with your fingers poked inside your ears,” she ordered, aiming her neutralizing weapon at the dark green bushes that had moved.
“That would be, hands in the air,” her aunt said.
Janaya shrugged, not taking her eyes off the leafy plant. “What ever. I have a weapon. Come out.”
The fern leaves shook, dried leaves crackled underfoot. Janaya’s outstretched hand never wavered, the heavy weapon still pointing at the bushes.
“Don’t shoot.” A black nose thrust past a lacy fern leaf.
Janaya’s eyes widened.
A black face with black eyes poked into view. “Are ya gonna shoot?”
“Janaya put the weapon down. It’s a dog. Nothing to get trigger happy about.”
“Yeah,” the little dog said. It stepped into full view. The dog stood below knee height and had white fur peppered liberally with black spots. It trotted closer, tail wagging. “Do ya have any food?”
Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters is the first book in the Talking Dogs series. Purchase from Ellora’s Cave.
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Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
This week’s theme is mistaken identity, and I’ve chosen an excerpt from my romantic suspense Playing to Win.
Playing to Win by Shelley Munro
“Damn, that feels soooo good.”
Kate Alexander grinned and worked steadily, competent hands gliding over her client’s powerful body, massaging knots from tight muscles until each breath the man took was deep and even and relaxed.
Forest birdsong and the bubble of flowing water poured through concealed speakers in the corner of the dimly lit room. A tea candle flickered under a bowl of scented water, steam rising to release floral notes of lavender and exotic sandalwood.
Without warning, the strident demand of a doorbell shattered the calm oasis. Pried from her deep concentration, Kate dug her fingernails into the muscle of her client’s right calf.
He jerked awake with a grunt, wincing. “Ow! Whaz’s wrong?”
“Sorry, Adam.” Kate made a soothing sound and continued with feather-soft stroking until he relaxed again, but her attention had fractured and she glared in the direction of her front door. The sign in the middle of her door was clear enough for even a child to understand. Aromatherapist at work. Do not interrupt.
The bell rang again with three staccato bursts. A brief interval later, deafening thumps echoed through her inner sanctum. Kate cursed under her breath and eased the massage to an end. She wiped her hands on a towel to remove the last traces of oil and shrugged off her pale green protective coverall. “I’m sorry. I don’t think my caller can read.”
Adam glanced over his shoulder, flashing a grin as he pushed up and secured a towel around his waist. He checked the clock hanging on the far wall. “No problem. It’s time for me to leave anyway. My last scenes are being filmed tonight and the makeup artists need plenty of time to make me look pretty.” He chuckled, enjoying the joke at his own expense.
Kate smiled at the well-known Auckland actor. If anything, they used the makeup to downplay his boyish blond looks. At least that’s what his wife and her best friend Danielle said. “Thanks. Tell Danielle I’ll call her later in the week.”
“Sure thing, sweet pea.”
She left Adam to dress, closing the door between her sanctum and the hallway. The impatient hammering continued unabated. For the love of Pete! Her white runners slapped against the tiled floor as she rushed to answer. Probably Jamie and he’d forgotten his key again…
Kate jerked the door open. “Jamie, what…?” Her words trailed off when she came face-to-face with a stranger. Tall, he loomed over her, his dark hair and tetchy expression reminding her of a thundercloud. Admittedly a very sexy one. She gaped at the enigmatic man trying to read him, for some unknown reason fascinated with learning what had ruffled his day. “Can I help you?”
The impassive mask slipped momentarily and she read the flush of displeasure high on his cheekbones, in his glittering eyes. Tightly leashed emotion radiated from him in waves and alarm seeped through her. Kate shifted uneasily before common sense told her to stop being stupid. Help was a call away. Still, as his broad shoulders angled closer, she inched backward, pleased Adam was still here. Her slow retreat didn’t go unnoticed. The hard planes of the man’s face tightened and he observed her closely like a predator stalking prey. Pewter-gray eyes fixed her with cool speculation then, just like a light switching off, his face blanked.
Her skin tingled under the scrutiny and, to her chagrin, the sensation wasn’t entirely nerves. The sexy thundercloud thing. She shuffled her feet again, barely resisting the urge to check the buttons on her cream blouse were correctly fastened. Adam would make an appearance soon. She hoped. Heck, if she reacted to a grumpy stranger like this, celibacy was definitely doing something weird to her hormones. Dark, rich chocolate had worked as a sexual substitute in the past. She’d grab a chocolate bar from the pantry the minute the man left.
Kate conducted a quick, edgy survey of her own. He appeared well groomed, wearing an expensive suit that probably cost more than she earned in a month. She was positive she’d never seen him before. The man would make a lasting impression with most people. He bore an innate charisma, not traditionally handsome or striking like Adam, but intensely masculine. His powerful build coupled with strong, dark features demanded attention, but it was the mesmerizing gray eyes surrounded by lush lashes that would make a woman take a second look. And long to run her fingers through his silky hair. Her survey swept his body from top to bottom and back again.
Oops. Her mouth dropped open when her gaze collided with a cool gray one. Piercing eyes shot salvos of exasperation at her, as if he were impatient to complete an unpleasant chore. Kate racked her brain trying to work out why he was here demanding entrance, wrinkling her brow in concentration. Maybe he had the wrong house?
“Katherine Alexander?” he drawled.
Kate’s heart sank. Not the wrong house after all. And why would it be? Everything about him radiated self-assurance. For a brief moment, she considered shutting the door in his arrogant face, but a speculative glance at the muscled shoulders filling out his charcoal-colored designer suit changed her mind. Not a viable option. Kate sensed he didn’t intend to leave until he’d gained exactly what he wanted. Whatever that was.
“I’m Kate Alexander,” she admitted with a touch of caution.
Purchase Playing to Win
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Saturday, January 16th, 2010
Today’s theme is pets or animals. My Middlemarch books are full of feline shifters. My Talking Dog books feature Killer, the talking dog, but today I have an excerpt from Lynx to the Pharaoh. The hero in Lynx to the Pharaoh is a caracal shifter.
Lynx to the Pharaoh by Shelley Munro
As a caracal, he tested the air. Along with the storm and the myriad scents from the oasis, he smelled the campfires of the English tourists. Sethmet had visited them already in his position as family head, hiring out his guiding services in order to keep an eye on them—a case where his years of education in England helped. Amusement flicked through his mind when he recalled his loud protests about leaving Egypt. Now with a few years of added maturity, he recognized the benefits to both him and his family.
A burst of wind whistled over the hill. A sandstorm fast approached, allowing the bloody moon to play peekaboo behind the clouds. The air sizzled with tension, communicating unease and something out of tune with nature. His eyes scanned the vicinity for anything suspicious. He listened. Nothing. Apart from the coming storm, all seemed as it should.
Sethmet’s slow trot hastened into a full-out run, just for the pleasure of feeling his muscles work and for the heady rush of air blowing through his coat. He rounded the end of a rolling dune, his sharp eyes picking up the Englishmen’s camp at the base of the next sand hill. The tents rattled faintly, the white canvas billowing with the building storm. The flicker of a lamp caught his attention, moving slowly away from the glowing embers of the campfire. Sethmet checked the air, smelling for danger again and paused in surprise. Subtle perfume—flowers of the lilac. Woman.
Sethmet sat on his haunches, blinking while he considered this new development. It was unusual for Englishwomen to come to his family’s oasis because it was so far from the big towns, several long days of riding camels that tested the temperament of a strong man let alone a delicate female. Perhaps she came with one of the local men. A wife or a lover. He hadn’t seen nor smelled evidence of her in the camp when he’d visited earlier. Not that the Englishmen had welcomed him with open arms.
Secretive bastards. He knew they were treasure hunters, intent on raping the pharaoh’s tomb. The greedy expression in their eyes when they thought no one noticed gave them away. No, they hadn’t made him welcome. They’d conducted business, looking down their sharp English noses at him. Sethmet blinked, thoughts of the treasure hunters dissolving as the light moved farther away. The steady retreat of the light piqued his curiosity.
On the unprotected side of the dunes, the wind tugged his fur, blew particles of sand in his eyes, bringing discomfort. He never considered ending his pursuit because something inside the cat urged him to keep following the bobbing light. A flash of white petticoat told him he’d almost caught the woman. His heart beat harder, faster.
Would she take fright at seeing the cat? Probably. Shifting wasn’t an option, not with an Englishwoman present. Nudity made them nervous. They didn’t even like to look at their own bodies. No, shifting wouldn’t work.
His ears flicked back and forth while he determined a course of action. Even if she had a link to the treasure hunters, the ones intent on finding the lost tombs, the approaching storm presented a danger to her. What was her protector thinking?
A powerful gust of wind, the dull roar of the swirling sands and the startled squeak from the Englishwoman made up his mind. Sethmet padded up to her swaying form, intent on herding her to safety.
Long ebony hair streamed out behind her while black skirts blew up and outward, baring her legs and white frilly undergarments. Her seductive scent filled his nostrils—flowers and woman. His heart jumped, astonishing both beast and man. The urge to shift and claim her sprang into his mind, shivered the length of his body. Suddenly, he wanted to sink into the warm softness a woman. This woman. The need to touch her velvet skin beat like an urgent drum inside his head. A soft snarl erupted in protest from his feline side.
The woman heard, despite the wail of the wind. She whirled, her blue eyes widening in astonishment.
But not fear, Sethmet thought with a sense of pride. He knew then this woman would be a worthy consort for the man who claimed her.
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Saturday, January 9th, 2010
This week’s theme is explosions. I’m using artistic license this week. LOL – my excerpt from Sex, Spies and Sapphires includes the word “explode”…
Sex, Spies and Sapphires by Shelley Munro
“I’ve never met anyone as bossy as you before.”
“And you like it,” she retorted. “You like a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it.”
She wasn’t wrong. Her independent streak and sassy mouth were the first things he’d noticed about her. Once again he thanked his lucky star for arranging their paths to cross.
“Are you just going to stare at me with a dopey smile? If Mr. Mark saw it, he’d demote you in an instant.”
She smirked. “I might suggest he promotes Chester to your job. Chester is so cute.”
Thomas moved so quickly she squealed. He whipped her over his knee and applied his hand to her naked backside. “Take it back.”
“Make me,” she said, laughter lurking in her husky voice. Sarah turned her head so she could see his face and pursed her lips. “I dare you.”
Little vixen. She knew just how to push him, which buttons would make him explode into action. He fondled her buttocks with his large hands, fascinated by the color contrasts in their skins. Sarah was pale where he was darker, tanned from spending time outdoors. Thomas bent to place a kiss in the middle of one pale buttock before leaning back against the headboard and slapping her ass.
“Oh!” she said with a squeak.
“Is that daring enough for you?”
Sarah waggled her ass. “Do it again.”
Shaking his head and laughing at the same time because of her outrageousness, he applied his hand again. The crack when hand met flesh was loud even though he hadn’t hit her hard. A rush of blood to her butt cheeks made them glow a soft pink. Sarah squirmed a little, the wriggling moves rubbing against the flared head of his penis. Thomas bit back a groan, knowing if he loosed the sound, Sarah would construe it as a weakness and think she’d won in this battle of wills. Thomas was determined to come out victor, just as he was determined to get his hands on the sapphire before Sarah. He knew she was after it even though they hadn’t discussed the matter.
He tapped her ass again, letting his hand linger on her stinging flesh to savor the heat. Sarah lifted into his hand and rubbed. The minx created a kiss of friction across his erection with the sly move, wringing a chuckle from him.
“What am I going to do with you?” he asked, his voice close to a groan.
“Love me,” she said. “You’re going to love me.”
He was doomed. Absolutely doomed.
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Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
This week’s theme is unusual occupations. I was spoiled for choice with this topic – a truck driver, an aromatherapist, spies, cat burglars. I chose an excerpt from Sex Idol, which is a futuristic. The hero and heroine are professional…um…let’s just say that reality shows have pushed the envelope and there are now professional performers who win big money on the sex circuit. This is an adults only excerpt.
Sex Idol by Shelley Munro
“Not like that. Gently!” Sasha Greenacre instructed. “You want your partner to climax not writhe around in acute pain.” She strolled down the lines of students practicing oral sex and halted when she noticed the couple at the far end of the room whispering instead of taking part in the class exercise. College students and legally adult, maybe, but they still loved to gossip given the opportunity. Sasha glided closer, ready to reprimand.
“…the man is hunkermondous. Bet he’ll enter the Sex Idol contest,” the pretty blonde said.
“He’ll win,” her exercise partner stated. “Wish I had Perez’s technique. Ms. Greenacre used to be his partner.
That’s why my parents enrolled me at her school the minute I turned eighteen. Said she was the best. They won all the top contests.”
Sasha squeezed her eyes closed and sucked in a breath, trying to ease the rapid beat of her heart. Ever since the ads for Sex Idol, the ultimate contest, had started appearing in the papers and on the links, Antonio’s name had hit the headlines. His name was on everyone’s lips. Rumors flew faster than her savings disappeared when bill time came around. Sasha’s nails dug into her palms as she took another hasty breath. Hearing his name hurt, dammit.
Even after all this time.
More whispering jerked her from the painful memories. “Are you going to participate in this exercise?” Sasha winced at the peevish note in her voice. “Have you both climaxed? No? I want to see at least one orgasm each before the timer goes.”
“Yes, Ms. Greenacre.” The male swiped his tongue over his partner’s glistening clitoris and she issued a soft mew, her hips jerking in time to the soft rock ballad that poured through concealed speakers.
“Very good.” Sasha strode down the rows of wide-padded benches again, observing her students’ progress with satisfaction. The novice class consisted of twenty students between the ages of eighteen and twenty—eleven females and nine males. They would do her proud in the upcoming competition, and all going well, they’d win the team’s award too.
Sasha became aware of excited whispers and heads lifted from the exercise she’d set. She turned toward the door to check the source of the interruption. A man stood in the open doorway. He was as familiar as the reflection she saw in the mirror each morning. Icy-cold panic froze her in place, the chatter from her students receding to the distance. The strident clang of the automatic bell jerked Sasha from her frozen horror.
What was Antonio doing here?
God, he looked…great. Sasha bit down on her tongue to make sure it wasn’t hanging out.
“Can we have your autograph?” Her students had no qualms about vying for his attention. They leapt from their workstations and ran to him like excited pups, heedless of their unclothed state.
“No problem. I’m happy to sign autographs.” Antonio signed books and slips of pastel-colored paper until Sasha wanted to scream. It was pretty obvious he’d come to see her, but why?
Finally, he excused himself, ushered his last excited fan to their clothes and out the door before shutting it with a soft click. Sasha winced but maintained his gaze in an act of sheer bravado. In return, he grinned and prowled across the room, his arms outstretched. Sasha stepped behind her rigid plastique desk, although it was flimsy protection against his potent masculinity. Tall, with the looks of a dark angel, the man oozed sex appeal.
Sasha had thought—hoped—she’d become immune. But judging by the way her heart rate had picked up into a frenzied gallop, obviously not.
“Sasha.” He rolled her name, slow and easy so it sounded exotic. Decadent and expensive like her favorite double chocolate chip ice cream. And just like that, Sasha was thrown into the past.
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Saturday, December 26th, 2009
The theme for today is Cheers and Drinking Toasts. Wouldn’t you know it? I couldn’t find a single one of my characters saying “cheers!” or offering a toast. But don’t fear – I did find a scene in Fancy Free where Alice, the heroine is trying out a few drinks, ones she hasn’t tasted before. After all, what better way to cap off a lousy and frustrating day?
Fancy Free by Shelley Munro
“Go easy. You’ll choke if you’re not careful. Here. Have some beer. It will soothe your throat.”
Alice eagerly accepted the glass of beer and chugged it down. “Tastes good.”
“I’ll get another one,” he said, his tone wry when she lifted his glass to her mouth again. “How the hell can you be an almost virgin? You either are or you aren’t.”
Horrified, she turned to stare at him. Oh my goodness. She’d told him. She’d really told him.
James gestured at the barman and ordered another beer before turning back to her with a grin. “So what’s the answer?”
“I refuse to tell.” Why would she bare her soul to him? He was practically a stranger. A sexy stranger, who if rumor could be believed—as per this morning’s paper anyway—had a parade of beautiful, leggy women strutting through his bedroom. Alice glanced down at her cloth-covered knees with a rueful sigh. No way did she qualify in the leg department.
James Bates wasn’t the right man for someone who wanted security. She had to remember that and try to ignore his pretty face and sexy smile.
Steven…ah, Steven didn’t seem to want her, or at least he refused to speak to her on the phone when she’d rung him at midday. She frowned. They’d dated for over a year. They had so much in common. Alice had thought she’d known him well and couldn’t believe his sulks. She wanted, needed, a partnership, someone she could rely on one hundred percent, a man who held the same values she did. A secure future with no financial hiccups. And a man who stood at her side—no matter what.
Alice picked up one of her glasses and peered at the dregs. She placed it back on the bar and picked up a gin and tonic. Steven had fallen down on the last item. She glanced at the man beside her. Nope, that man didn’t look like Steven.
James brushed against her arm when he shifted on his barstool and every one of her senses went on high alert. She smelled his citrus and spice aftershave and heard each one of his deep even breaths. A heavy sigh drifted past her lips while her gaze zapped back to study his sexy mouth and his sparkly blue eyes…
He was so pretty.
Oh boy. Eyes front. There was obviously something very wrong with her. Every inch of her skin tingled and her mind drifted to sex with alarming ease. She consoled herself with the fact that anything sexual rated as work-related. That sort of helped with her guilt except she kept fantasizing about sex with James. Close and very personal sex.
Somewhere, somehow during the day, she’d shoved Steven aside and replaced him with Mr. Dashing Dangerous. Her actions reminded her of a desperate woman. Heck, she was a desperate woman, a little voice in her head whispered. Alice straightened abruptly and wobbled on her barstool. Her arm and the outward curve of her breast brushed against his arm before she grabbed the bar and righted herself. The friction between their bodies set off a series of pleasurable explosions inside. Despite one audible pant, she attempted calm and cool. Mmm. Okay, that had never happened when Steven touched her.
Alice gulped and slowly looked across at James. Warmth and heat radiated from his eyes, and she wanted to bask in the masculine attention. Then she noticed the laughter and twinkle in his blue eyes and indignation surfaced.
“You’re laughing at me.” Alice drained the last of her gin and tonic and set the glass on the bar with a distinct clunk.
“No, I’m not,” he said. “What you see is admiration. Not every woman would take work at a condom company in her stride.”
“Oh.” Alice peered closely but his eyes moved across his face. All three of them. She winced when her head suddenly whirled around and around. With a shocked gasp, she screwed her eyes closed before opening them again.
“Are you okay?”
“Did you know you have three eyes?” Alice blinked. “All blue like the sky. And two noses. What on earth do you do with two noses? What do you do when you have a cold? How do you know which one to blow first?”
James leaned close to place his arm around her shoulders. “I think your parents named you well,” he murmured, a chuckle underlying his words. “You’re very curious.”
“Will you come back to the bed and breakfast with me?”
“Sure, I’ll walk you home. Make sure you get there safely.”
Alice attempted to focus on his middle eye. “No, I mean I’m tired of wondering what all the fuss is about. I want to learn the mysteries of sex.”
James glanced at his beer before he looked back at her. He hesitated before his mouth firmed as though he’d made a decision. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Her lips puckered up into a pout, a seductive one, she hoped. Difficult to concentrate with that number of eyes. She had an argument ready to refute. She did. “But an owner of a condom company should know how to work the apparatus.” Yeah. Alice nodded abruptly and regretted it. It doubled the number of eyes. “There’s something wrong with your face. It keeps sprouting eyes. You’ve got six.”
His mouth twitched. “Do you drink very often?”
“Waz that got to do with eyes?”
“Absolutely nothing,” he agreed. “You ready to go home now?”
Alice checked her drinks. No whiskey left. No gin left. But the glasses. Ye gods. They had gone forth and multiplied. There were four of the blighters. She shuddered, the unpleasant taste of the whiskey still a recent memory. “Finished.”
“Let’s get you home then.” James jumped off his barstool and waited at her side. When Alice attempted to emulate his feat, she teetered, toppling sideways and ending up with her nose pressed into a muscular chest. Ooh! Very nice.
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