Thursday, March 31, 2011

Win an ARC of Forbidden Embers

I found out last week that there are going to be lots more dragon books (I'm signing a contract for three more plus an especial short story) and I couldn't be more thrilled :)  So, with this news in the forefront, I can't think of a better time to do the cover reveal on Forbidden Embers!!!!  I'm so excited by it and can't wait to hear what you think.  This is Logan's story and it was so much fun to write, especially as he falls in love with Cecily, a Wyvernmoon and his sworn enemy.  Here's the blurb:

The Dragonstar clan is under attack, endangered by an insidious enemy. Now a top sentry must go undercover, but the task will be more than he bargained for…

Desperate to save his clan from deadly biological warfare, Dragonstar sentry Logan Kelly must infiltrate the Wyvermoon clan—and put an end to the war. Posing as a rogue dragon without a clan, Logan quickly realizes how close the Wyvermoons are to anarchy since the death of their leader. Their ranks are thin, and their only hope lies in Cecily Fournier, the princess whose grasp on the throne is shaky at best. All he has to do is stick around long enough to see his enemies fail.

The plan is foolproof. Until he falls for Cecily.

What starts as an uneasy alliance turns into an uncontrollable passion. As the spark between them gets hotter, Logan discovers the Wyvermoon’s hidden agenda. But how can he bring down the Wyvermoons without exposing himself as a traitor to the woman he loves?

And here's an excerpt:
Cecily was running full out, but she could hear Logan gaining on her. He’d given her a ten-second head start, which she’d used to her advantage, but she had a feeling in a couple seconds any progress she’d made was going to be moot. Sure enough, she had barely taken another step when she felt his warm breath on the back of her neck.

Not willing to give in so easily, she didn’t bother to waste precious seconds looking back. Instead, she ran another few yards, waiting for him to pass her. He did, and a few seconds after that, she veered off the main path onto a shortcut she often took. By the time he figured out what had happened, she’d be almost to the lake.

When she ran the rest of the way without pursuit, she figured she was right, and by the time she came out of the trees right next to the waterfall, she was feeling pretty smug. At least until she glanced across the lake and saw Logan sunning himself on a large, flat rock.

“Hey!” she exclaimed. “How’d you get here so fast?” She knew he was faster than she was, but her shortcut had shaved at least four minutes off her time. There was no way he was fast enough to have beat that.

He just wiggled his eyebrows and pretended to twirl a fake mustache. “I have my ways.”

“You cheated!”

“That sounds like the pot calling the kettle black,” he said with a laugh. “Where did you go, anyway?”

“This is my mountain. I know all the shortcuts.”

“Maybe not all of them.”

She considered that. “Maybe not.”

He’d circled the small lake as they talked so that he was standing only a few feet away from her by the time she conceded defeat. He was still naked and more aroused than ever. She couldn’t help looking her fill, but then what red-blooded woman would blame her? Even with the scar on his cheek, the man was as close to perfect as she had ever seen.

He interrupted her perusal to ask, “So, do you like what you see?”

“Don’t even go there. You know exactly how good-looking you are. There’s no way I’m going to pander to your swollen ego.”

“There’s only one thing about me that’s swollen right now, and I was kind of hoping you would pander to it.”

“Seriously?” she asked. “That’s the best you’ve got?”

“Hey, cut a guy some slack. All the blood in my brain has drained about three and a half feet south.”

She pretended to think over his dilemma. “I can see where that might be a problem.”

“It is a problem. A big problem.”

“Looks more medium-sized to me, but, then again, my whole life I’ve been told my standards are too exacting.”

“Hey! That’s not very nice.”

“I’m sorry. I thought you wanted honesty.” She hid a grin.

His eyes narrowed as he started toward her. “You’re going to pay for that.”

She retreated quickly, but within seconds he had her cornered between his big body and the lake. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry.” She held up a hand. “I was just joking.”

“That didn’t sound very sincere.”

“It’s hard to sound sincere when you’re threatening to toss me in an ice cold lake! Besides, it’s not like you could possibly be insecure in that area.”

“No, but it’s nice to hear that occasionally.” He stepped closer.

“Hey, what are you doing? I already admitted I was wrong.”

“Yeah, but I thought we’d already established that I don’t play fair.”

“Logan, no!” She backed up right to the edge of the rocks. “The water’s freezing right now.”

“Then I hope you’re a fast swimmer.” He moved to grab her, and she feinted left before moving right. But he was ready for her, and within seconds she found herself cradled in his arms.

He started to swing her. “One, two, three.”

“No!” She grabbed onto his neck, determined to take him with her, but he stopped just shy of dangling her out over the water. She looked at him curiously.

He winked. “You didn’t think I was actually going to throw you in, did you?”

“Of course I did!”

“I wouldn’t do that to a lady.”

“Oh, well, thank you, then. I appreciate that.” She loosened her arms from where she’d been clutching on to him, feeling strangely disappointed that he hadn’t carried through with the threat. Which was stupid, considering how cold the water was around here in October. But after the intensity of the last half an hour, she’d really been enjoying this playful side of him.

But the second her arms released his neck completely, she was soaring through the air, straight at the deepest part of the lake.

She had a second to process the shock of being double-crossed, and then she was shifting. By the time her toes touched the water, she was dragon, and she used her wings to propel her straight back into the air before she got more than her ankles damp.

She landed right next to him, back in human form, a superior smile on her face. Logan gaped at her in shock, and she couldn’t resist rubbing it. “Nice try, Slick.” She reached out and playfully punched his shoulder. “Let me know when you’re ready to play with the big girls.”

“Believe me, I’m ready.” He grabbed her arm and gave it one, sharp tug. She tumbled against his chest, which was exactly what he’d intended. “How did you do that?”

She didn’t pretend to misunderstand. “I’ve always been able to do it. It’s a gift.”

“I’ll say. I like it.”

“That’s what all the guys say.”

He growled, low and deep. “What guys?”

She laughed, spun around in a quick, delighted circle. How had she gone through her whole life without realizing how much fun it was to tease and play? Now that she’d discovered it, she had no desire to ever go back to the joyless existence she’d been living for so long.

“Chill out, Logan. I was joking. God, you’re easy.”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m incredibly easy.” He paused. “Speaking of which, are you going to take advantage of my easiness anytime soon?”

“I already tried that. You ran away like a scared little girl.”

“I promise to do better this time.”

“I don’t know. You look pretty wimpy. I’m not sure you could handle me.”

It was his turn to laugh. “Try me.”

She pretended to think about it. “I’ll tell you what. I will have my wicked, wicked, wicked way with you if you put your money where your mouth is.”

His eyes darkened, and when he spoke, he sounded like he’d swallowed about ten pounds of gravel. “What do I have to do?”

“I thought that was obvious. You’ve got to catch me.”

She shifted in an instant, then launched herself straight into the sky.

So, what do you think of Logan and Cecily?  Their cover? They're very different than Pheobe and Dylan or Quinn and Jasmine, but I love them anyway.  Leave a comment to be entered to win an ARC of Forbidden Embers-- it will be a few weeks before I have one of these, but as soon as I get them, I promise the winner will be the first to get their hands on it.


Yay, ladies, thanks so much for all the wonderful comments you left :)  The winner of Deserving of Luke is Blanche, and the winner of Hidden Embers is Cecile Smutty Hussy (You can thank my six year old, ladies, for pulling your numbers this morning :)  Drop me an email at with your snail mail addys and I'll get them in the mail tomorrow.

If you didn't win, don't despair-- I'm giving away at least one book a day between now and release day (Tuesday, April 5th) so stop by and check for the book of the day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Win A Copy of Hidden Embers!!!

There are exactly seven days until Hidden Embers (Quinn's story and Book Two in the Dragon's Heat series) hits the shelves, and to celebrate its relese (and the fact that I now have my author copies) I'm giving away an autographed copy today.  Just leave a comment below and be entered to win :) 

Oh, and just a heads up, but on Tuesday, April 5th (release day) Bitten By Books is throwing me a release party!!!!  I'll be giving away a bunch of books and a grand prize, so make sure to check it out!!!!

Here's the blurb:

Deep in the New Mexico desert there is a secret race on the brink of extinction—the pure-blood shapeshifters of the Dragonstar clan. And they have one last, desperate hope for survival…

Quinn Maguire is a powerful Dragonstar healer at a tragic loss, unable to cure the insidious disease killing off his people. Yet even in such dire circumstances the conservative Quinn is secretly disapproving of the alternative: Dr. Jasmine Kane, enlisted by the head of the Dragonstar clan to help abort the virus. She is a wild card. She is an outsider. She is human.

Decked out in black leather and a tough attitude, Jasmine clashes with Quinn in more ways than one. And when destiny chooses her for his Mate, he doesn't know whether to rejoice or rebel. Because while Jasmine makes him burn hotter than any woman--dragon or human-- ever has, their differences make a relationship impossible.

But when a rival infiltrates the clan and attacks Jasmine, Quinn becomes desperate. Jasmine is now the first human to be infected with the disease—and Quinn must do everything he can to find a cure, and save the woman he has grown to love.

And here's an excerpt:

Phoebe reached out a hand to touch him—to soothe him—but he shrugged her off. Arguing he could handle. Sympathy would only make him lose control faster. Already he could feel the rage and pain eating away at his control. He struggled to keep it together, just a little bit longer. It’s not you I don’t trust,” he said in a voice that was way too close to a growl. “And you can’t possibly promise that. Besides, if she’s as brilliant as you say she is, how is she available to do this for us?”

“She was injured during her last assignment. Badly enough that she was flown back to the States and has had four operations in the last nine weeks. She’s better now—or so she says, but still on medical leave.”

Quinn absorbed what Phoebe was saying—and what she wasn’t—then glanced over at Michael’s body before he could stop himself. The last of his anger drained away when he looked at his baby brother, and was replaced by the devastation that seemed to be his constant companion these days.

It was hard to believe that his baby brother was gone, that Michael was gone. He would never crack another joke, never break another heart, never charge blindly into danger simply because he liked a good fight. He was dead—just like their parents, just like their other brothers. All killed in the fight against the Wyvernmoons. Though Michael was the only one who’d been victim to the virus— all the others had died in combat, even his mother who had been trying to heal Dylan’s brother when the Wyvernmoons got her—his death was no less of an attack.

The Wyvernmoons had finally succeeded in wiping out his entire family. There was no one left. Quinn was suddenly, completely, and absolutely alone in the world.

Sadness swamped him. He tried to throw it off, tried to get back to the wrath that was the only thing that had kept him going for far too long. Anger was so much easier to deal with than the despair that threatened to swallow him whole.

“Come on, Quinn.” Dylan’s hand fell on his shoulder, almost as if the other man could see the shift in his feelings. “Come back home with me and Phoebe tonight.”

“Why?” He reached out a hand, ran it over Michael’s hair. Part of him expected his brother to wake up, to pop off with some comment that was as irreverent as it was accurate. Twenty-four hours before they’d been having dinner together, swigging down beer while Quinn teased Michael about his sudden interest in Caitlyn, one of Dylan’s female sentries.

Now he was dead—because Quinn hadn’t been smart enough or fast enough to save him.

“Because you look like hell,” Dylan said with his trademark bluntness. Phoebe gasped and tried to elbow him, but he pulled his mate into his arms before she could do any real damage—not that she was really trying to.

“What Dylan means, Quinn, is that we’re worried about you.”

“Don’t be. I’m fine.” He pulled the sheet over Michael’s head and tried not to remember all the games of peek-a-boo they’d played when his brother was a toddler. His brother had been nearly thirty years younger than Quinn and the responsibility for taking care of him had often fallen on Quinn’s shoulders.

Those shoulders slumped now, the weight of everything that had happened in the past year abruptly too much for him to handle. But he couldn’t lose it yet, he told himself. Not here, in front of Dylan and Phoebe, who were already looking at him as if he would blow a gasket at any moment—or rip a helpless bystander to pieces with his talons.

“I appreciate the offer, but I think I’m going to head home. I’m tired and I want to be alone.”

“That’s a crappy idea and you know it. Come back with us. A bunch of the others will be there, and you’ll be safe.”

“No one’s safe, Dylan. Haven’t you figured that out yet? This fucking disease is everywhere, and until we figure out how the hell to get at it, no one is ever going to be safe.”

The hand on his shoulder grew heavier, and his best friend’s face more alarmed, but Quinn just didn’t have it in him to care anymore. He shrugged Dylan off and headed for the door at close to a run. “Thanks for your help, Phoebe. Tell the nurses I’ll make arrangements for Michael’s body tomorrow.”

“I can—“

“I’ll do it. He’s my brother.”

And then he was out of there, his long legs eating up the winding stretch of hallway that led to the front door of the clinic. His clinic. He’d built it from the ground up fifty years before, after spending centuries working to heal the sick and injured members of his clan. Lately, it seemed that the only time he spent there was with someone in the last stages of this damn disease—most of his time was spent at the lab sorting through notes and blood samples and journal articles, searching for a way to end this thing.

Too bad he didn’t have anything to show for all that time away.

Slamming through the clinic doors as if the hounds of hell were after him, Quinn turned himself over to the night.

To the desert.

To the change that had already begun.

The streets of the sleepy little New Mexico town they inhabited were empty, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they weren’t. Nearly everyone in the town was a member of the Dragonstar clan and shifting was as natural as breathing to them.

As the cool night air brushed against his overheated skin, he stripped out of his clothes, then shoved them into the small pouch he was never without just as his talons burst through the ends of his fingers. He tied it clumsily around his neck, nicking himself with his claws as he did so.

He secured the knot moments before his human side lost the last vestiges of control.

His bones cracked, rearranged themselves and his wings ripped through the muscles of his back. His skin cooled rapidly, slicked over, as fire burned along his nerve endings. It kindled a flame deep inside of him and for long moments, the agony—and ecstasy—of the change ruled him.

When it was done—when he was dragon—he launched himself straight into the air. And then he flew.

Cloaked in the invisibility every member of his race was gifted with, Quinn spun and whirled through the air. He climbed high, then shot straight down toward the ground, pulling up only at the last possible second. Did it again and again as he flew through hundreds, thousands of miles of darkness, his speed rivaling a fighter jet’s. His only thoughts of escape and freedom and fire.

The headlong rush away-- from death, from failure, from himself—went on for hours. Through night, into day and back again. He soared over the beautifully barren deserts of New Mexico and West Texas, cruised over the cement jungles of Dallas and Houston before heading towards the verdant lushness of Louisiana’s bayous. From there, he flew high above the wide, muddy banks of the swollen Mississippi, following it for hours before circling back towards the southwestern deserts that echoed with the same loneliness he felt inside himself.

When he finally returned to his senses, Quinn forced himself to land—he needed food and sleep-- and the pain began all over again.

The shift from dragon to man happened much more quickly than the reverse, but it was just as painful. His talons retracted at the same time his wings did and then he was shrinking, his bones cracking, reforming, knitting seamlessly together. His skin was the last to change, going from green and scaly to smooth and tanned, and within a couple minutes Quinn was dressed and walking down an almost deserted street in search of distraction. He found it in the guise of a large, dilapidated bar standing in the middle of a large parking lot at the end of the street. The half-lit sign above the door proclaimed that he was entering The Lone Star, which meant he was somewhere in Texas and almost home after the flight that had taken him more than halfway across the country.

But where in Texas was anyone’s guess. Navigation had been the last thing on his mind when he was flying and now that he’d landed, the truth was he really didn’t give a damn. He liked the anonymity of not knowing where he was or when he would leave, liked that there were no rules, no responsibilities, no regrets. At least not here. Not now.

Slipping silently into the bar, Quinn did something he hadn’t done in at least three hundred years.

He very deliberately went looking for trouble.

So, that's a pretty good look at bad boy, Quinn.  What do you think?

I Forgot to Post ...

That I'm guest blogging over at  Stop by and comment for a chance to win Dark Embers.  And check back on Wednesday for a chance to win a copy of Hidden Embers!!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Joy of Raising Boys

I'm blogging about my new Superromance, Deserving of Luke, over at today, and wrote the post about the joy of raising boys-- as you know, I have three ;)  Anyway, I thought it was a cute enough post that I decided to post it over here as well.  And I'll offer you the same deal I'm offering over there-- leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Deserving of Luke two weeks before it hits the shelves.  So with no further ado ...

Most people who read my Superromances figure out pretty quickly that I love writing boys. Unless the children I write are babies, I always make them male. The reason for this is simple-- I have nothing against girls. I love them, but the fact of the matter is, I know nothing about raising girls. Boys, however, I'm finally beginning to think I know what I'm doing when it comes to them. I have three, after all, and while raising daughters might be a joy, raising boys is a riot (often terrifying, but always a riot).

A day doesn’t go by when one of them doesn’t make me laugh at something or other. My oldest is fourteen, and while we are dealing with the inevitable mouth that comes with an eighth grader trying to flex his independent muscles, I am also so grateful to the universe for giving this child to me. He was the baby I had when I was little more than a baby myself—twenty-one, newly married, in graduate school, he turned my life upside down and I’m so very glad he did. Not to imply that he’s been easy to take care of, because he hasn’t been—not by a longshot.

By the time he was one, he was piling his large toys next to the front door of our second floor apartment, then scaling the pile to wrestle the chain off the door. You see, the pool was right outside and for months I lived in fear of him executing a perfect swan dive off the walkway into the pool and certain death. Of course, this is also the child who only had one speed—hell-bent for leather, the child who dropped my cell phone in the toilet because he wanted to know what it would do and who, by three, had managed to take apart every piece of electronic or mechanical equipment (from the coffeepot to the computer) that we had in the house, just to see how they worked.

He taught me to grow up, taught me what it is to really laugh at myself and what it is to selflessly, completely love another human being. He also taught me patience  My oldest is sweet and funny and adorable and always has a quip (usually sarcastic—wonder where he got that from) to make me laugh.

My middle son, well, he is my challenge. I spent years running after my oldest son so that by the time the middle one came along six and a half years later, my husband and I were exhausted. Or so we thought. From the minute my middle son came into the world, we learned what exhaustion really was. Impatient to this day, this one decided that he wasn’t going to wait around for anything as mundane as his due date—instead, he joined the world seven and a half weeks early and threw my entire life into a tizzy. And while we were blessed with a very healthy baby considering the circumstances, we had to learn a lot quickly with him. From the very beginning, middle kidlet wanted things his own way. He wouldn’t eat unless I held him a certain, specific way, would cry if his blanket wasn’t arranged exactly how he liked it, would scream if we didn’t soothe him in the exact way he wanted. I should have known, at the time, that we were in for a handful (because, oh boy, is he a handful even to this day). At two weeks, he stopped breathing and my husband had to do CPR. Until the day we die, I will never forget what it felt like to stand by helplessly, 911 on the phone, while my husband breathed for my child.

At three, middle kidlet entered his oral phase right when other people’s kids were growing out of it. This is the time he started putting everything into his mouth, and I do mean everything. No matter how careful I was (and it got to the point that I was paranoid) he would find something to try to poison himself with. Tide at the bottom of the laundry cup, Advil (safety lid? Safety locked cabinets? What are these silly impediments you speak of—this one has never met a lock he couldn’t pick or a safety device he couldn’t release—which speaks well for his future career as a criminal, my husband always says), cough syrup, Hot wheels cars, a penny, his brother’s fish. It didn’t matter. If it was the right size (and sometimes even if it wasn’t) it was going in his mouth

As for what this one has taught me … Well, besides the fact that there are a number of household substances and medicines that are nowhere near as poisonous as we believe they are (thank you Poison Control Center), my middle son has really taught me patience (I only thought number one had), the importance of perseverance and the beauty in small things (this is the one who always has a rock or a shell or a flower or a leaf or a lizard or a sunset to show me. Even at seven, he is my artist and my write, not to mention King of the metaphor, and a day doesn’t go by that he doesn’t make me look at the world in a little different way.

And then we come to raising kidlet number three. Sigh. I don’t even know where to begin, but I guess the fact that we call him Little Napolean might give you a clue as to what it’s like to mother this child. Another impatient one, kidlet number three came into the world ten weeks early and from the moment he was born he was a fighter (thank God, or we might have lost him). His fighting spirit stood him in good stead during those weeks in the NICU and the first year of his life when problem after problem kept us running between five different specialists. Now, however, all that spirit does is terrify anyone in his path. From beating his brothers over the head with their own Nerf swords to ordering them around at the top of his lungs to powering his way over any obstacle someone might put in his path, this kid knows how to handle opposition. The fact that he’s four and absolutely angelic looking and has a heart of gold underneath all that fight, only works in his favor—especially when it comes to wrapping his oldest brother around his little finger.

What he’s taught me …creative ways to punish a four year old as the regular ones only make him laugh? The importance of consistency? How to duck? While all of those things are true, he’s also taught me to appreciate every day I have on this earth, to embrace chaos and the importance of playing. He’s given me a plethora of gray hair in the last four years, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world …

So, if you have children, what have you learned from them? And if you don’t, just fill me in on something you’ve learned from someone important in your life. Leave a comment for a chance to win my April release, Deserving of Luke, two weeks before it hits shelves :) Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Review for Hidden Embers!!!!!!!!!!

The first review for Hidden Embers, the second book in the Dragon's Heat Series, is here.  It got 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick from Romantic Times and  reviewer, Pat Cooper, had this to say:

"Steamy, off-the-charts sex, a deadly virus, cutting-edge technology, espionage and draconian torture all sit side by side in this first-class, shapeshifting novel. This second installment in the Dragonstar series is a glorious continuation of the first, filled with a fiery passion that’s hot enough to set the desert sands aflame.
As a virus spreads rapidly through his people, the Dragonstar clan, shapeshifting clan healer Dr. Quinn Maguire is obsessed with finding a cure for the disease that has killed so many. He even agrees to bring in human hematologist Dr. Jasmine Kane to help find a cure. Jazz has been around the world, dedicated to her job until an explosion in a war-torn country sidelined her on medical leave from the CDC. She agrees to come to the New Mexico desert to help her friend find a cure for a strange disease. Quinn falls hard and fast for her, and, what may be even worse, it is decreed that this human is his soul mate and life partner. As sensuality weaves a spell over the pair, the disease continues to spread and an opposing clan seeks to destroy the Dragonstar."

I'm so excited!  I love this book :)  Eleven days and counting to release day ...

I'm Guest Blogging Over at Magical Musings Today ...

about the gothic villain heroes and giving away a copy of Dark Embers, my first Dragon's Heat book.  Stop by and comment for a chance to win!

And the countdown has begun-- only 12 days until Hidden Embers hits the shelves!!!!!!!!