Elfrida, spirited, caring and beautiful, is also alone. She is the witch of the woods and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?
In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth 'bride', the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.
Now out at Bookstrand Publishing 2011
Now out at Amazon, too!
Buy the ebook:
Amazon Kindle (US)
Amazon Kindle (UK)
Read Chapter One
Here is another new excerpt to tempt you:
Elfrida stirred sluggishly, unable to remember where she was. Her back ached, and the rest of her body burned. She opened her eyes and sat up with a jerk, thinking of Christina.
Her head felt to be bobbing like an acorn cup in a stream, and her vision swam. As she tried to swing her legs, her sense of dizzy falling increased, becoming worse as she closed her eyes. She lashed out in the darkness, her flailing hands and feet connecting with straw, dusty hay, and ancient pelts.
“Christina?” she hissed, listening intently and praying now that the monster had brought her to the same place it had taken her sister.
She heard nothing but her own breath, and when she held that, nothing at all.
“Christina?” Fearing to reach out in this blackness that was more than night and dreading what she might find, Elfrida forced herself to stretch her arms. She trailed her fingers out into the ghastly void, tracing the unseen world with trembling hands.
Her body shook more than her hands, but she ignored the shuddering of her limbs, closed her eyes like a blind man, and searched.
She lay on a pallet, she realized, full of crackling, dry grass. When she scented and tasted the air, there was no blood. She did not share the space with grisly corpses.
I am alone and unfettered. Now her heart had stopped thudding in her ears, she listened again, hearing no one else. Chanting a charm to see in the dark, she tried again to shift her feet.
Light spilled into her eyes like scalding milk as a door opened and a massive figure lurched across the threshold. Elfrida launched herself at freedom, hurling a fistful of straw at the looming beast and ducking out for the light.
She fell instead, her legs buckling, her last sight that of softly falling snow.
* * * *
Magnus gathered the woman before she pitched facedown into the snow, returning her swiftly to the rough bed within the hut. Her tiny, bird-boned form terrified him. Clutching her was like ripping a fragile wood anemone up from its roots.
And she had fought him, wind-flower or not. She had charged at him.
“I wish, lass, that you would listen to me. I am not the Forest Grendel, nor have wish to be, nor ever have been.”
Just as earlier, in the clearing where he had first come upon her, a brilliant shock of life and color in a white, dead world, the woman gave no sign of hearing. She was cold again, freezing, while in his arms she had steamed with fever. He tugged off his cloak and bundled her into it, then piled his firewood and kindling onto the bare hearth.
A few strikes of his flints and he had a fire. He set snow to melt in the helmet he was using as a cauldron. He swept more dusty hay up from the floor and, sneezing, packed it round the still little figure.
No beast on two or four legs would hunt tonight, so that was one worry less. Finding this lean-to hut in the forest had been a godsend, but it would be cold.
Magnus went back out into the snow and led his horse into the hut, spreading what feed he had brought with him. He kept the door shut with his saddle, rubbed the palfrey down with the bay’s own horse blanket, and looked about for a lantern.
There was none, just as there were no buckets, nor wooden bowls hanging from the eaves. But, abandoned as it surely had been, the place was well roofed, and no snow swirled in through the wood and wattle walls. Whistling, Magnus dug through his pack and found a flask of ale, some hard cheese, two wizened apples, and a chunk of dark rye bread. He spoke softly to his horse, then looked again at the woman.
She was breathing steadily now, and her lips and cheeks had more color. By the glittering, rising fire he saw her as he had first in the forest clearing, an elf-child of beauty and grace, a willing sacrifice to the monster. Kneeling beside her, he longed to stroke her vivid red hair and kiss the small dimple in her chin. In sleep she had the calm, flawless face of a Madonna of Outremer and the bright locks of a Magdalene.
He had guessed who she was—the witch of the three villages, the good witch driven to desperation. Coming upon her in that snowfield, tied between two trees like a crucified child of fairy, his temper had been a black storm against the villagers for sparing their skins by flaying hers. Then he had seen her face, recognized that wild, stark, sunken-cheeked grief, seen the loose bonds and the terrible “feast,” and had understood.
Another young woman has been taken by the beast, someone you love.
She—Elfrida, that was her name, he remembered it now—Elfrida was either very foolish or very powerful, to offer herself as bait.
I'm going to lt you in on a little secret. I love writing about cop heroes! (See GOOD COP, BAD GIRL; PROTECTIVE CUSTODY; SAMANTHA and the DETECTIVE!) There's just something about a man in uniform, I guess. Especially the ones who come with their own handcuffs!
So, to embrace that, I'm starting a new series called THE BADGE BUNNIES SERIES. It's all about women who have a thing for hot and sexy cops, and the first book is called SEDUCING OFFICER BARLOWE.
Gotta Love a Guy Who Comes with His Own Handcuffs!
Harley Miller has always fantasized about having sex with a cop. So, when hunky Royce Barlowe comes to her rescue after her car breaks down, she can't resist flirting with him. One thing leads to another and soon she's kissing him.
Going further than that right there on the side of the road is crazy and impulsive, not to mention reckless, but neither one can help themselves and soon he's cuffing her hands behind her back and fulfilling her wildest fantasy - which turns out to be hotter than anything she's ever imagined.
“I have a confession to make, Officer,” she said softly.
He drew her bottom lip into his mouth and sucked on it. “Is it something I’m going to have to arrest you for?”
An image of him pushing her up against the wall and frisking her popped into her head, and she stifled a moan as her pussy spasmed. “I don’t know.” She trailed her fingers down his abs to caress his belt. “Is fantasizing about having sex with a hot cop a crime? Because I’ve fantasized about it for a long time.”
Officer Barlowe’s eyes took on a deliciously dangerous glint. But instead of kissing her again like she’d thought he would—or even unbuckling his belt and pushing down his pants so he could slip that magnificent cock of his in her pussy—he lifted her down from the car’s hood and spun her around.
Harley threw him a confused look over her shoulder. “What are you doing?”
His sensuous mouth quirked. “Playing into your fantasy.”
She opened her mouth to ask how he intended to do that, but all that came out was a soft, “Mmm,” as he slowly ran his hands down her body and back up again.
“If I were going to arrest you, I’d first have to frisk you,” he whispered in her ear. “Just to make sure you weren’t concealing any weapons.”
His breath stirred her hair, making her shiver.
“Nope, no weapons here.” He cupped her breasts, giving her nipples a squeeze through the fabric before slipping his hand between her legs. “What about here?”
She moaned as he thrust a finger in her pussy and wiggled it back and forth.
“No weapons here, either.”
He slid his finger out to fumble with something on his belt. Harley was about to look over her shoulder to see what he was doing when something cool and metallic snapped around her wrist. Handcuffs. A quiver of excitement raced through her as he gently pinned that arm behind her back and cuffed it to the other one.
She caught her bottom lip between her teeth. This was even better than her fantasies.
He put his mouth to her ear again. “Spread ‘em.”
Buy it on Amazon Kindle!
Buy it at ARe!
Buy it on B&N Nook!
"Stories so hot, they'll make your cheeks blush!"
And The Cat Came Back
by Christiane France
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-232-4 (Electronic)
Home renovator Seth Lawley is ready to settle down if the right man comes along, but he’s cautious. He believes he who hesitates saves himself a whole lot of heartbreak.
Grant Kenyon, on the other hand, is ready to take a chance. He figures anyone who hesitates when it comes to grabbing what he wants from life risks losing out.
Foofuss, Grant’s bossy, matchmaking Persian cat, has decided his master needs company and Seth is it...that’s if he can figure out the perfect plan to bring the two of them together.
...I figured my best chance of exposing the ghost was to spend tonight and however many other nights it took, camped out at Sweet Briar. I’d leave my truck far enough away so it wouldn’t be noticed, and go in and out via the back door.
I got there a little after eight. There was no SUV or any other type of vehicle parked along that stretch of the road, so I settled down to wait. Over the next few hours, a number of different vehicles appeared. Some stopped to let off a passenger or pick someone up, and some just kept on going, but none of them parked.
At midnight, I gave up and went in search of my sleeping bag. The power was supposed to be turned back on today, but there was a message on voice mail to the effect it wouldn’t be happening until tomorrow. In the meantime, the house felt cold and damp, and I was freezing my butt off.
Between a shaft of moonlight shining through the kitchen window and a hazard light I kept in the truck, I managed to find the flask of hot coffee I’d brought with me and set up my bed for the night.
I was about to take off my work boots and settle down when I heard a faint scratching on the glass.
I didn’t need to guess who it was; I knew. And sure enough, when I went over to the window, there was Foo, sitting on an old wooden box, glaring in at me from the other side. His mouth was going a mile a minute, demanding to be let in.
For a brief moment, I considered ignoring him. But then he cocked his head to one side and mouthed a silent, Pleeeease. He looked so damn cute I gave up.
I opened the back door. “You want to come in?”
He made a noise somewhere between a growl and hrmph, jumped down from the box and headed away along the side of the house. At the corner, he stopped and looked back, his big tail twitching back and forth as if to say, Move it man. I’m waiting.
“You want me to take you home?”
He disappeared around the corner. I followed and found him waiting in the middle of the driveway. He continued on to the street, turned toward home and then hesitated again.
It was clear he wanted me to follow him home, and I wondered why? I knew animals were capable of amazing things, and I wondered if something was wrong with Grant. Had he hurt himself, and Foo was out, looking for help?
But in that case, how did he get out? Or was he out and couldn’t get back in?
I grabbed Foo, hurried over to Grant’s house and pressed the buzzer. There were lights on, but since I couldn’t hear anything, I pounded on the door, praying he was okay.
The hall light came, and I heard Grant’s voice saying “Okay, okay, I’m here. What’s the problem?” Then the rattle of the safety chain as he opened the door.
He was still dressed, but he looked sleepy with his hair all ruffled up. And I hadn’t seen him wearing glasses before. The oblong-shaped, dark-rimmed glasses made him look cute and sexy, and…
I released my breath in a soft whoosh, put Foo down and wrapped my arms around him, virtually in one quick motion. “Thank God you’re okay! When Foo showed up and started scratching on the window, I thought… Never mind what I thought.”
He laughed and hugged me back. “As you can see, I’m fine. I was waiting for Foo to come home so I could lock up. I guess I fell asleep. More to the point, what are you doing out here at this hour?”
“I, umm…” I remembered, belatedly, the door was still open. I looked down and there was Foo, gazing up at the two of us with a smug, gotcha expression on his furry face. Unless I was very much mistaken, getting the two of us together had been the reason for his visit. “Would you believe looking for ghosts?”
“Ghosts? Hmm…” Grant’s hands slid down my back and he pulled me closer. I groaned softly as my cock reacted. Kicking the door shut with my foot, I gave in to what had been in the cards since the moment our eyes first met over at Sweet Briar...
Cool mysteries and hot romance - http://www.chrisgrover.ca
Latest Release: AND THE CAT CAME BACK - http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure
Coming soon: THE RIVALS