A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Your Wedding

Blurb: Associate history professor, Kari Montgomery, has carried the feelings of loss and inadequacy ever since she broke off her engagement. As she attempts to make it through a rain storm the day of her cousin Emily’s wedding, her feelings change when she looks into a pair of steel blue eyes. Even though Kari begins to feel compelled toward this inexplicable man, she isn’t sure if she can love again or if she is even worthy of his love.

Youth pastor, Randy Steele, has a sense of humor, a pair of remarkable eyes, and a desire to serve God which attracts most of the women he meets. After meeting Kari, he endeavors to help her see her own worthiness and ability to let God heal her heart. But can he reach Kari and show her how wonderful life can be with God in control of their futures and their hearts?

Excerpt #1:

Walking with her head tilted toward the sidewalk, she wasn’t looking beyond her own two feet through the pouring rain when she smacked hard into something and started to fall backwards. With her arms flailing out hoping to grasp onto something, her belongings flew into the storm. Her heart jolted inside her chest as she moved closer and closer to the ground.

Before hitting the pavement, a hand came out of nowhere, wrapping around her left wrist and pulling her into an upright position. Before she knew what was happening, her savior hoisted her closer to him until she was shielded from the rain under his umbrella. She was so close to him, she could feel his heat. Her eyes clung to his humorous, kindly mouth until he gave her an irresistible grin she found impossible not to return. Her mind clouded over as her heart continued to beat rapidly. It was almost as if she was moving in slow motion and for the moment had forgotten where she was or what she was doing.

This was hardly the time to stop and stare with a torrent of rain storming around them and time ticking away until she was to walk down the aisle as maid of honor.

“In a hurry, aren’t you,” he said with a trace of laughter. The timbre of his voice was friendly and soothing. It reminded her of how she felt on rainy afternoons while curled up in her mother’s afghan, reading a book in front of a fire.

She withdrew her hand quickly as a new and unexpected warmth rushed through her. She watched as he picked up her suitcase and book from a puddle on the ground. After handing the suitcase back to her, he glanced down at the cover of the book, Pride and Prejudice, her favorite novel.

He looked back at her with intelligent yet humorous blue eyes. His dark hair ruffled in the billowing wind with a single lock falling forward on his forehead. And for the first time in a long time, she forgot about her heartache. A sudden shiver skittered down her back. She wasn’t sure if it was caused by her soaked condition or the man who somehow sent her senses spinning.

Kari pushed her wet tawny hair back from her face before accepting her waterlogged book from him. “I’m so sorry,” she finally said after releasing the breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding. “It’s just this rain…and I’m late.” Her voice wavered. “I can’t seem to find the place I’m supposed to be. I’m in a wedding this afternoon.” She tried to hide how awkward and strange she felt standing a few inches away from a stranger.

He smiled teasingly as he looked over her outfit of Capri pants and tennis shoes. She’d never seen such an authentic smile. It was as if it started in his eyes and traveled down to his genial mouth. “And that’s what you’re wearing?” he asked as his eyes returned to her own.

“No, of course not. I…” She shivered again.

“Well, maybe I can help you out with directions.”

She replied with the name of the church, and he provided her with yet another devastating smile. “Sure I know the place. You passed it at the beginning of this block. Just turn down the street and you’ll see it. If you don’t mind, I could come along with you. It’s on my way.”

“No need and I’m really in a hurry. Thanks.” She started to head off when he stopped her, causing her to jump at the gentle touch of his hand on her arm.

“Here take my umbrella,” he offered.

She faced him again, taking the handle of the umbrella. “Are you sure? You’ll get soaked. I don’t want to impose, and I won’t even know where to return it.”

“Consider it a gift then. And who knows, we just might bump into each other again sometime.”

“Yes, but hopefully it will be less jarring in the future,” she said with the hint of a smile on her lips, trying to be just as witty.

He tipped his head close to hers. “I doubt that.” This time he replied in a smooth, deep tone, the playfulness gone from his eyes.

To read the entire 1st chapter visit my website.

To purchase visit the Wild Rose Press. In e-book format, it is also at Fictionwise.

Also available in print at Amazon & Barnes and Noble.

Cindy K. Green

Bringing Sweet Romance to the Heart

Website Myspace

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Lilith Mercury Werewolf Hunter Series

Red, The debut novel from Tracey H. Kitts, RED is the story of Lilith Mercury, a werewolf hunter. She’s a badass girl with a lot on her plate—a very sexy love triangle, werewolf politics, rogue wolves who are intent on seeing her dead, psychic powers…this book has it all! Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake stories will find a lot to love here.

Read the entire review here:


“Oh, I get it,” she replied, still not exactly whispering, “You want me to turn a blind eye so you can bump and grind with the bad guy.”

As I led Kat closer to the door, I felt a familiar prickle along my skin. It was the unmistakable feel of power that radiated from the very alpha.

“Hello, Red,” Marco’s rough sexy voice said from behind me.

Kat smiled from ear to ear as I turned toward where Marco stood, draped casually against the doorway. I took my time, letting my hungry eyes take in the sight of him. Marco was definitely eye candy, and I’d always liked sweets. He wore dark red leather pants, so dark they were nearly black, but closer to a deep cherry, with a matching shirt that looked to be satin. The shirt hung open to reveal his natural golden tan as well as the trail of dark hair that spread across his chest, down the ridged curves of his abs to disappear below his belt. I felt him watching me as I traced that trail of hair with my eyes.

“I knew you’d come,” he said.

Kat staggered forward and giggled, “So, do you like to huff and puff, or just blow things down?”

To my surprise, Marco laughed. He flashed her a smile of nice even white teeth as he replied, “I don’t see anything wrong with a little huffing and puffing now and then.” He put his arms around us both as he added, “Please, come in.”

When he stepped close, I breathed in his scent and felt my eyes roll to the back of my head. If someone could bottle Marco’s scent, they could sell it as a form of Ecstasy.

Marco led us past the dance floor, and up a flight of stairs. There were several booths and tables there that were separated from the rest by wrought iron railing, but had an excellent and elevated view of the dance floor. The air was so thick with the scent of sex and werewolves that even I wanted to howl. Perhaps visiting Marco so close to the full moon had been a mistake. The music thumped in my chest like a second heartbeat as I felt Marco press himself against my back. He wrapped his arm around my waist, carefully avoiding the silver belt buckle.

“Would you like to dance first, or get straight to business?”

As I considered the question, I turned to face him. “Are you planning to kill me?” I asked.

“Why, are you planning to kill me?”

I reached out and found whatever it was I’d found that night with Bade. A fever warm and sinuous flowed through my veins as I responded silkily, “Not tonight.”

I watched as the pulse in his throat beat faster at the sound of my voice. He was fighting to control his reaction, but he felt it, whatever it was, he felt it. Kat took a few shaky steps forward, and rested her head against Marco’s arm.

“He smells really good,” she spoke to me as if he wasn’t standing there.

Marco put his arm around her shoulders to prevent her from toppling over the railing in front of us. I had been sadly mistaken on how much alcohol she’d managed to keep down. I had never seen Kat that drunk before.

“I think you may be wrong,” she continued directing her comments to me, as she leaned on Marco for support. When I noticed she wasn’t taking the opportunity to cop a feel, I decided it was time to take Kat home, she wasn’t herself anymore.

“About what?”

“Bad guys don’t smell this good,” she half whispered to me as if she were revealing some secret of the universe.

The grin on Marco’s face could not have been more devilish if he’d had horns.

“It’s werewolf pheromones, Kat. Don’t be fooled.” I glanced back at Marco as I added, “He may smell good enough to eat, but trust me when I say, you don’t want hair in your food.”

“Maybe we could get him to wax,” she suggested, running her hand up the front of his bare chest.

This succeeded not only in making me laugh, but I felt some of the sexy power drain from my voice. However when Marco looked as if that didn’t sound like a bad idea, I pulled her hand, roaming ever lower, from Marco’s body. Kat looked like it was Christmas, and I’d just stolen her present, but Marco laughed and suggested, “Perhaps your friend would like to retire to one of the VIP rooms upstairs, alone,” he added the last part in response to the look I gave him. “She could sleep it off a bit.”

“I don’t need to sleep anything off,” Kat insisted with as much dignity as she could muster. “Can’t a woman make a pass at someone without being considered sloshed?”

“Well, then perhaps I could find someone to accompany her,” he directed the suggestion to me.

“You want me to leave my friend alone with one of your wolves? I don’t think so.”

“Would it matter if I said that I trusted him?”

“No, it wouldn’t.”

“Is he good looking?” Kat asked hopefully.

Marco smiled. “I think so,” he teased.

Kat leaned forward and whispered, “What do you think, I’ve still got the mace?”

I just shook my head. Marco was listening to our every word. It does no good to whisper in front of a werewolf.

She smiled up at him and replied with more discernment than I thought her capable of at the time, “Why don’t you have him join me at that table over there?”

Marco looked to me before responding, “Alright.” He snapped his fingers at a waiter as he said, “Send me Luther.”

Without hesitation, the young man turned and went back past the tables to disappear behind a red door. A moment later a tall man with long white blond hair emerged, looking like he’d stepped off the pages of a dirty magazine. He wore an outfit similar to Marco’s except that it was completely black, making his hair look all the more white, and his skin was more a darker shade of pale than tan. As he approached, I saw that his eyes were a nice clear blue, and despite his at first, creepy impression, he had a pleasant smile.

There was something about him that was very familiar to me, though I couldn’t quite place it until he spoke. “Lilith,” he said. “Don’t you remember me?”

“Oh my God, Luther.” I stepped forward and embraced one of my childhood friends whom I’d not seen in nearly ten years. We were in drama together. I couldn’t believe how much he’d changed. His voice and his smile were the only remnants of the boy I once knew. Luther had never been this sexy in high school, I was certain of it.

“How’ve you been?” he asked, looking down at me. Luther was about six foot two, but to me, even in heels, that required looking up to answer him.

I motioned around at our surroundings as I said, “About as good as you’ve been, it seems.”

“Does this mean that you’ll leave him alone with your friend?” Marco asked.

Truthfully, I’d forgotten he was still standing there. I was so shocked, not only to see Luther again, but to know that he was a werewolf. We had never been intimate, but we were relatively close in school, and for a minute, I didn’t feel quite so alone. But I remembered, he was a werewolf and I was something in between, so technically, I was still alone.

“Yes,” I said, still looking at Luther, “I trust him. Now, it’s her I’m worried about.” I smiled at Kat. “Don’t attack the man in public, alright?”

Kat pretended to pout but couldn’t stop smiling as she replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll behave myself.” I watched as she and Luther took a seat at a booth in the corner and appeared to start telling dirty jokes. Maybe he hadn’t changed as much as I’d thought.

“Well?” Marco asked, turning my attention back to him. “What will it be, business, or pleasure?”

I looked him up and down once more, lingering longer than was polite across the front of his tight leather pants. Looking at Marco was like reading a really good book; you just wanted to take your time. As I stepped closer to him again, I breathed in his scent and could no longer keep my hands to myself.

Pulling his shirt open, I placed both my hands against his chest, just as they had been in my drawing. For many sleepless nights, I had longed to run my hands over Marco’s body. His skin was hot, feverish to the touch and I felt the hot sexual power flow over me again as I touched him. My voice became sex as I leaned in to whisper, “You’re hot.”

He gasped in response, apparently touching his bare skin made it harder to resist the power in my voice.

“Full moon,” he said, his voice growing deeper with desire.

“What about it?” I leaned close enough to breath in the scent along his collar bone.

“It’s in three days,” he said, swallowing hard.

“Mmm, do you always run a fever so close to transformation?” I pressed my lips to his throat.

“Always,” he breathed.

People at the tables around us were staring, Kat included. Marco and I were beginning to draw our own crowd.

“Maybe dancing isn’t such a good idea,” I said, pulling back from him slightly. It took all I could do not to rip off his clothes and throw him on a table top as it was. If I had danced with him, the audience might have gotten more than a display of my dancing skills.

Red can be purchased at:

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Sarah's kidnapped because of mistaken identity. Clint's the tough, my way or the highway mercenary who rescues her. They mix like oil and water, until a shower beneath a magnificent waterfall unleashes the growing hunger between them. They might make it home alive, but will they survive each other along the way?

AGAINST THE ODDS gets TOP PICK at Romance Reader at Heart!
Against the Odds is outstanding fun. It's full of action, highly suspenseful, and wonderfully witty. Clint is my number one pick for "sexiest hero ever written." It's a Top Pick!
Read the entire review at

Purchase it at - http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/againsttheodds.htm

Excerpt -

Before Sarah had a chance to scream he threw himself at her, clamping his large hand over her mouth at the same time pinning her against the tile wall with his large body. The shower was still running, pounding down on them and soaking his hair and clothes instantly.

Her eyes widened with alarm. Struggling was her first instinct but he held her easily, as though she was no more than a child. His face was so close she could feel the heat of his breath against her. Eyes that appeared as black as volcanic rock locked onto hers like a predator zeroing in on its prey, not allowing her to look away.

She whimpered beneath his callused palm, trying wildly to move her head so that she could alert somebody, even the goons guarding her, but everything she tried to put into play against him was held immovable. Her legs were pinned into place by his, her thighs and hips shockingly aware of the raw unleashed strength in the lower half of his powerful body. Her breasts were crushed against an unyielding chest made of solid rock.

Was he going to rape her? She tried to read the answer in the fierce eyes glaring down at her, unable to ascertain what his intentions were by the firm set of his jaw. Part of her mind registered the fact if he had rape on his mind he wouldn’t be wearing a black tee shirt, green army fatigues and boots. Did he speak English? Her question was answered in the next second.

“Don’t panic!” he whispered sharply, so close that his lips actually brushed against her cheek. Don’t panic? Easy for him to say! She continued to strain against him, fear replacing the blood in her veins. “My name’s Clint. I’m taking you out of here.”

Sarah didn’t dare believe him, it was all a trick. She wouldn’t put anything past her host, including giving her a taste of freedom while she was at her most vulnerable. This was just another one of his men sent there to tease her. To play with her a little until her hopes were up. She knew a real sense of fear when he shifted his upper body and the arm across her chest slipped downward, allowing him quite an eye full if he cared to look. A rush of hot embarrassment spread quickly through her. She could feel every breath he took. She tried again to dislodge him.

His eyes were sharp and assessing. “I don’t have time to explain right now. You’re going to have to trust me. If you make a sound you’ll get us both killed. Understand?” The tone of his rough words sliced through the air like a knife, carrying the sharp edge of warning.

Sarah nodded, but the minute he relaxed and started to remove his hand she pressed on with her own attack. As pathetic as it was, it was over before it began. Before Sarah could get in a mouse-sized squeak, he easily pinned her against the wall again with a murderous glint in his eyes. He leaned in close, threateningly. This time there was no question as to what his mood was, he was furious.

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Secrets and Sacrifices

Secrets and Sacrifices by Diane Wylie
Copyright 2006 Diane Wylie
Published by Vintage Romance Publishing
Charlie stumbled and staggered clumsily through the plant life, which seemed to be reaching out deliberately to scratch her face and hands.

Of all the people to find her, it would be HIM! Captain Reid was the last man in the entire regiment she wanted to stand anywhere near. As a medical man he might look at her just a little too closely and see past her disguise. She may not be the only beardless soldier in the Twenty-Fifth, but she was fairly certain she was the only one with a pair of breasts…although…Billy Kaufman came fairly close. But even his excess flesh was melting away from the constant exercise and bad food they were all forced to endure.

Her lungs burned, and her feet hurt, but Charlie didn’t stop running until she burst out of the tree line and onto the bare earth with its deep cannon holes and furrows.

She pushed a pebble off the bottom of her bare foot and wished she had not left her shoes in the tent to save them further wear. A fly buzzed around and landed on her hand, tickling her with its tiny black feet.

The captain was a very nice-looking man, she had to admit, and her pulse raced out of control whenever she caught sight of him. Plus he had this most disturbing way of looking at her with those clear blue eyes. It made her feel as though he could see into her innermost thoughts. She shivered just thinking of the man. He had a way about him that made her feel like a woman again.

Most of the time she could actually forget she was a woman. She was just a soldier like the thousands of other soldiers all around this valley. Except…except when Captain Reid appeared with his thick blond hair, neatly trimmed beard, and handsome face.

Charlie stopped dead in her tracks and covered her face with her hands. My beloved Josh is dead…dead for only a few months and here I am already thinking of another man!

Perhaps she should give up being a soldier and head home to Mama and Papa. More and more thoughts like that began to creep into her head making it ache with confusion. It would be so easy to do, just go up to an officer, tell him she was a woman, and they would send her home in a flash.

To go home to food and shelter and a feather bed…it would be wonderful…it would be awful. To walk in the door of her house and know Joshua was never coming back again. It was unthinkable.
0-9785368-5-1-Secrets and Sacrifices
Thanks for letting me share!
Diane Wylie

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To Love Again by Anne Whitfield

My little short story, To Love Again, has received a lovely new review, which is great.

Ellen is running late to catch a train to catch a plane. But as she packs, she wonders if she's doing the right thing. Harry is there at the airport, waiting for her. She also knows he's waiting for much more. He's hoping this holiday together will cement their relationship. Does she want it to? Does she need it? Can she start another chapter of her life, which includes a man again?


Purchase for $1.50
Regards, Anne.~
Historical & Contemporary author

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Svetkavista: Excerpt


Kayleigh Jamison

Tease Publishing

ISBN: 987-1-934678-42-8

Ebook: November 15, 2007

Print: Coming February 15, 2008


Trapped within a life where she has always been an outsider, Karina dutifully follows the wishes of her father by day, and secretly pursues her dreams by night. Raised within the strict, patriarchal society of the Rom at a time when discrimination and fear are at their peak, she is forced to hide both her love of music and her passion for those who encourage her dreams.

She seeks comfort in the arms of her dearest friend and mentor, who shows her that love and lust rarely confine themselves to the ill-conceived notions of normalcy.

When a lie, spoken in a moment of desperation, threatens to shatter everything Karina holds dear, she must choose between those she loves and her own reputation. Will the truth set her free or destroy her? Does she have the courage to follow her own heart?

If you are looking for a lyrical voice, superb characters that draw you in, and fascinating out of the ordinary historical adventure with an erotic twist, I cannot recommend Kayleigh Jamison enough.
-Emma Wildes, #1 bestselling author and 2007 Eppie winner

Ms. Jamison has penned an absolutely stunning and adventure tale that drew me in from page one, to the point that I forgot everything but the story unfolding before me.
-Caro, Coffee Time Romance, 5 cups

Svetkavista…is a wonderful novel of love and revenge…grabbed me at the start and wouldn’t let go.”
-Amelia, Joyfully Reviewed

Rarely does a novel come along with the ability to capture passion and pain, honesty and love so completely. Sensuous, heartfelt and truly beautiful, Svetkavista is one of the best romance reads of the year.
-Kelly, AORAOG Reviews

…a riveting story; I couldn’t stop reading it and really didn’t want it to end.
-Julianne, TwoLips Reviews, 4 stars

Wow, just one extraordinary, unique story!
-Cathie, Euro Reviews, 5 stars


The night air was damp and cool on her bare arms as she approached the flickering light of the bonfire, a distant beacon lighting her way across the field. A gentle breeze was blowing off the waters of the Tisza, its banks hidden just beyond the swell of small hills at her back. Her feet sank into the moist, soft mud as she gingerly picked her way through the meadow, the ground swamp-like from the foul weather that had lingered for the better part of the week. It had rained throughout the day without reprieve, upsetting the horses and making travel both difficult and exhausting, but Karina was not too tired to engage in her nightly ritual. She paused in her trek to readjust the threadbare wool shawl she had casually looped through her elbows, pulling the material up over her shoulders to guard against the chill. The garment was old and ragged, but not out of place when paired with the rest of her outfit; the entirety of her meager wardrobe consisted of clothes donated, crafted, or stolen from piles of trash left in the streets of the various settlements through which they traveled.

She was Romani, a gypsy, like her mother, and her mother’s mother before her. Her family wandered the land, living outside of society, on the fringe. Some called them vagabonds and vagrants, others called them thieves and heathens, but they were none of these things. They simply…were. Their way of life was misunderstood, their values misconstrued. The nomadic people were viewed with distrust and distain all across Eastern Europe, and lately the movement to convert or enslave them had increased in popularity.

The noose was tightening around Rom across the Kingdom of Hungary. New laws had been enacted by Empress Maria Theresa, requiring all Rom children over the age of five to be removed from their parents’ care and taken to be raised by peasants in the distant, remote villages of the countryside. They were then being forced into the Christian faith, with the relentless diligence of religious dogmatism. Rom were also forbidden to marry amongst each other, and their nomadic way of life was summarily outlawed, though they were not allowed to purchase land, and they were not permitted to own horses. Because of this, the Rom were on the run, avoiding large cities such as Pressburg and Fahlendorf, left with no option but to hide in the hills and the mountains. They were a stubborn people, and would not bend to the will of a sovereign they did not recognize as their own. The Empress, far away in Habsburg, could not impose her will on people she could not find, and political instability with the remaining Turks in Transylvania had required her to dispatch most of the Kingdom’s military forces to control border skirmishes. There was simply not enough manpower to chase the Rom.

Karina’s family was comprised of Argintari—silversmiths by trade. According to tradition, and law, she was expected to marry Argintari, and raise her children to be the same, if she ever married at all. But Karina’s dream was to be Lăutari. She would wait until mashkari rat, long after her family was asleep, and she would sneak across the camp to where the Lăutari stayed up until the early light of dawn, laughing and playing the lavúta, the flyèta, and the tambal. And then Karina would dance, twirling in frantic circles, skirts flaring, bracelets clinking until she was breathless and giggling.

Karina’s father despised the Lăutari. Music was an important part of Rom life, but he viewed the musicians and dancers as lower-class, without any useful, material skills. They were fanciful, frivolous, and at times downright promiscuous. Tales were reaching Hungary that in Russia the nobility were using Rom to form private choirs, which they would display at parties and society events. There were even rumors that such practices were now being adopted in Pressburg. The Lăutari who received special privileges from the Hungarian nobles were thought of as traitors. It was considered worse than being common slaves, to be mere entertainment for outsiders; it was considered, by most, a fate worse than death.

Not so for Karina. Her father called her impractical and foolish, but the Lăutari with whom she spoke in secret called her gifted. She would hum and sing to herself when she was alone, repeating the melodies she’d heard the night before, and would feel her hips start to sway instinctively. It was as if the music overcame her when she danced. She no longer thought, or worried, about anything. She let the song wash over her, closed her eyes, and gave in to the rhythm.

Karina did not have the look of a traditional Roma. Her dark blonde hair and pale skin were evidence that at least one of her ancestors had been gajè, non-Roma. Her sisters used to tell her that her eyes were too close together, her nose too aquiline, and her lips too thin—they said she looked like a hawk that had caught a sick mouse for its meal. Neither her two sisters, nor her brother, all younger than she, shared her gajè characteristics, and they had teased her about it their entire lives. It was a forbidden subject in the presence of her parents, and the one time Karina had broached the topic with her father he’d told her that God had not chosen to be kind to her, in more ways than one. The answer had frightened her so deeply that she’d never asked again.

The music drifted to her across the plain as she drew closer to her destination; the delicate clink of the bells within the tambal, and the deep, sonorous melody of the lavùta. Brishen had the violin tonight, she could tell even from this distance—no one else played quite like him. His flesh seemed to meld with the black, polished fingerboard, to fuse with the catgut strings stretched taut across the bridge. The instrument was an extension of his body—wood of his flesh, of his blood. When he played, he owned the music; he was the music.

The other musicians called him an angel. Karina thought he was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen when he was playing. When he wasn’t, well, that was another matter. Though Karina did not have much interaction with him other than to dance to his music, she’d heard the stories of his arrogance, his insolence, and his frightful temper. He was the epitome of the Lăutari stereotype. In fact, he was precisely the reason her father forbade her from associating with the musicians and dancers of their tribe.

Sometimes, she thought she saw Brishen watching her through slitted eyes as he played. Often, she was certain that she could feel his eyes on her back as she danced or moved about the camp. But each time she turned to face him, his attention was elsewhere.

Finally, she reached the small clearing where a bonfire had been set, the wet grass pressed down by the trample of horses and boots to create a circular stage. Wooden crates had been unloaded from the wagons and placed on the ground as makeshift chairs. Brishen stood atop one of them, violin tucked under his chin, eyes closed, lips slightly parted, body swaying to the rhythm of his song. His shoulder-length hair, rich brown in color, was tied loosely at the nape of his neck with a slip of twine. He had a strong, masculine jaw, angular cheekbones, and a light brown complexion that had been dramatically darkened by the sun’s rays. He was tall and broad-shouldered—larger in stature than most of the other Lăutari men in the tribe—but the violin suited him perfectly, nonetheless.

It was a traditional gypsy dirge that he played, one normally accompanied by a female voice, but no one dared sing. Not when Brishen was playing. The melody began slow, the horse-tail bow drawing across the G and D strings in a leisurely glissando that transitioned into a grating, dissonant chord. He held the notes, drawing them out, tormenting his audience with the unsavory sound before sliding his ring finger up a half-step, reconciling the note with harmony once more. Karina swore she saw him smirk, but his eyes never opened; his expression never changed.

Without warning, the mournful tone disappeared as Brishen’s tempo increased. He played faster with each passing bar until all traces of the mulengi djilia had disappeared, transforming into a fast-paced cante jondo. His fingers danced across the strings, his right arm a blur as he moved the bow in frenzied, staccato strokes. Several members of the informal audience began to clap in time. A few were inspired to stand and dance.

Karina caught sight of her friend, Papusza, on the other side of the clearing, and picked her way through the crowd. Papusza was two years older than Karina, and had been married for nearly ten years before her husband was killed by the Hungarian militia, several months ago. He had resisted them when they’d tried to take away his son. His body had been hung from the gallows in Pressburg as a warning to other Rom, and Papusza’s son was taken anyway.

“Karina, we weren’t certain we’d see you tonight,” Papusza commented, approaching her with a grin. She embraced the younger girl with one arm, and offered up a flask of liquor with the other.

“But we’re glad for it,” one of the older men interjected from his crate, not far away. “Papusza’s dancing isn’t half as entertaining as yers.”

“And your singing, Uncle, is about the worst thing I’ve ever heard!” the tiny woman shot back, but she was still smiling, and so was her tormentor. Her name meant “doll” in Romany, and it suited her perfectly. She had long, raven-colored hair that framed her face in tight corkscrew curls, offsetting full, red lips that reminded Karina of a heart when she pursed them together.

Karina smiled broadly and accepted the proffered flask, taking a tentative swig of the rich, brown liquid before passing it to Papusza’s uncle, Vesh.

“How long have ye been associating with us, shebari, and ye still can’t hold yer liquor?” he grunted, downing a considerable portion.

“If Dat suspects I’ve been to see you, Kako, he’ll have my head,” she explained, shaking her head at his offer of a second draught.

Li' ha' eer, Karina, we need to find you a husband so that you won’t have to be so frightened of your father anymore!” Papusza exclaimed, earning a sharp glance of reprieval from her uncle. A woman had no place saying such things, certainly not in mixed company.

Karina blushed and dropped her gaze. Papusza was constantly talking about arranging a suitable marriage for her, and the subject was a sore one.

Much to her family’s dismay, Karina was čhaj, unmarried, despite her age. Her younger sisters had married at twelve and thirteen, and her brother took a wife at fifteen. She was now twenty-three, and still under her parents’ care. None of the young Argintari men of her tribe had ever expressed an interest in her hand, and her father had not, to her knowledge, done much in the way of finding her a husband either. Her family blamed her misfortune on prikàza, a form of karmic backlash. Cosmic bad luck. But, in many ways, her unmarried status was fortunate. It kept her safe from the harsh legislation of the Empress.

Dosta!” Vesh said, raising his hands firmly above his head. “Leave her alone, Papusza, and let her dance. She doesn’t come here for yer scheming.”

The two women smiled at each other, and Karina nodded her head slightly in the direction of the fire, where several women were already dancing, the gold and silver of their jewelry flashing in the reflective light of the flames.

The music’s frenetic pace began to subside; the song winding down, growing softer, fading to a piano, then to a pianissimo, and then…to nothing. Brishen froze, eyes closed, bow poised in midair, fingers curled around the neck of the violin. The crowd paused also, turning to acknowledge him, waiting anxiously for his next song. The performer seemed to savor the temporary silence before lowering the instrument to his side, cradling it under his arm. Then he raised his bow and pointed it directly at Karina, singling her out amongst the dozen or so women that watched him.

“Bring me the rakia!” he bellowed, and his voice was deep and melodious, much like the sound of his violin.

For a moment she simply gaped at him; in part because he’d singled her out, and in part because to give orders to a woman not your daughter or wife was just not permitted.

“Here,” Papusza said, pressing the flask of brandy into her hand and giving her a nudge on the shoulder with the other.

“No, Papusza!” she hissed, digging her heels into the mud.

“Just take him the drink, girl,” an anonymous voice yelled. “Or else we’ll not hear another song tonight!”

Karina bit her lip, drawing blood, and closed her fingers around the neck of the flask, shooting her friend a dismayed look before stepping forward. She kept her gaze lowered, studying the ground, and stopped in front of the crate upon which Brishen stood. She raised the flask above her head, waiting for him to take it from her.

Strong fingers closed over her hand and she looked up, startled at the brazenness. Brishen bent down and brought his face close to hers.

Chindilan?” he asked softly. Are you weary?

She shook her head slightly and mumbled, “No.”

“Then dance for me.” He winked and raised the flask to his lips. “And I’ll play for you.”

“I’ll dance,” she said curtly, suddenly angered by his arrogance.

“For me?” he pressed.

“No, it won’t be for you.”

“I think it will be,” he replied with a grin, before straightening and tossing the flask of liquor into the crowd.

Svketavista, © 2006, Kayleigh M. Jamison

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Sacred Secrets

Discover what all the Romance Reviewer's are raving about!

In hopes of discovering the truth behind the private doors of Lewd Larry’s, San Francisco’s world-famous Sex Club, reporter Celia Brentwood has allowed herself to be sold as a slave. For thirty days, she has given up her every want, need, and desire to club owner Garrett Lawrence, but she can never give up her darkest secret.

Garrett Lawrence has a dangerous secret of his own. His former lover’s killer has been stalking him for the past five years, and he’s set his eyes on Garrett’s newest slave. Now everything Garrett has built, everything he knows, is at risk. And it’s only going to get worse once Celia’s secret is revealed.

As Celia lets herself become Garrett’s Kitten—pampered, pleasured, protected—she realizes that thirty days will never be long enough. But thirty days may be all she has.

Content: explicit M/F BDSM themes

I feel eyes burning into me long before I glance up to see it is the announcer, Garrett Lawrence. His gaze grabs mine as he reads, “Seventy-three.”

My number.

I start to walk forward but I am unsteady, perhaps standing too long, most likely Jell-O legs. I’m a wreck. My brain trips over itself, shouting silently, “Ohmygod, ohmygod, what have I agreed to?” But that smaller, quieter voice gentles and soothes, whispering, “Everything is going to be okay.” And in that calm I have to admit to myself, to God, that I am so excited I can barely stand it.

Not a man to waste time, Doug drags me along behind him, pulling my collar too tight. I feel I am suffocating as he drags me to the very edge of the stage and my fingers go to my collar’s edge to pull the leather bite away from my skin. We discussed that he would treat me as if I was his slave for real; I didn’t realize that cruelty was part of the bargain. If my boss treats me so harshly, how is a professional sadist going to treat me once we are alone? The cliché phrase “whips and chains” explodes in my mind as something very real indeed. I search Doug’s eyes, seeking comfort, but find hooded glare, his acting skills better than I’d imagined. I look again. Rage. No, surely, I am mistaken. I try vainly to seek assurance in his eyes again, but he twirls me away from him, and my skirt lifts in the breeze, exposing me, much to the amusement of the crowd.

I am the last slave to be auctioned and the excitement level has reached a chaotic frenzy. I catch myself chewing my bottom lip and force myself to stop. In a self-conscious effort, I rub my tongue over my top teeth, hoping to erase the clinging tracks of red. I rub my lips together furiously to redistribute the remaining color.
Doug turns me to face him and, for a second, I think that perhaps he will kiss me as all the previous owners have done with their slaves; but instead he grips the low bodice of my dress and rips—pulling the dress completely off me. Wide-eyed, I am both shocked and horrified but I can’t move. I feel every eye on my naked flesh and I want to die. The heat of the blush begins at my toes and travels upward, until even my cheeks flame.

For the most part, the crowd has been relatively well behaved throughout the auction. Now, they are wild. I am suddenly very aware of the wire mesh, floor-to-ceiling security fence that separates the stage from the crowd. Several people try to climb the fence during the frenzied moment. Security swarms.

“Walk the stage, bitch, or do I drag you?” Doug’s spit sprays over my face with his shout. He jerks hard on the leash. Leather bites my neck.

The cheers from the crowd are deafening.
This is what they came for—red-hot drama.

Garrett Lawrence steps forward and forces the leash from Doug’s hand. For a moment, Doug struggles to hang on, but is quickly overwhelmed by Security and removed from the stage. I watch the waves of fury cross his face as he is led out of the building through a side fire exit. The crowd is ignited.

Strutting across the stage, Garrett Lawrence takes full advantage of the female factor, hoots and hollers following his every move. His tight leather pants are the main attraction, leaving nothing to imagination. Not only is he well endowed, but very muscular, and the supple black leather seems to mold to the cut lines of his muscled thighs and tight ass. His full, white, silk poets’ shirt is open to his navel, baring a thickly furred chest; but it is his broad smile and easygoing nature that act like a magnet drawing the crowd to him, male and female alike screaming, “Lewd Larry, Lewd Larry, Lewd Larry!”

The security fence bulges with their weight and, out of the corner of my eye, I see multiple five-man security teams pushing them back. They make a rainbow with the word Security on their backs emblazoned in different colors, each five-man team a different color.

“Do you wish to be auctioned off of your own free will, number seventy-three?” Garrett Lawrence asks me with grand flourish over the microphone, startling me, making me aware once more of my purpose on this stage. I take a deep breath and look into his pale eyes. Blue. Mesmerizing.

The crowd’s roar disappears and I can hear my own heartbeat exploding in my ears. I can’t speak, so I nod. With great care, he removes the heavy collar from my neck and his fingertips rub lightly across a tender spot on my collarbone. The chafing leather marked me, his earlier warning to Doug suddenly echoing through my mind; however, I think the leather burn on my neck is nothing compared to the raised welt on my hip left by the chain, leaving grounds for disqualification, should he choose to do so.

“Can you walk the stage by yourself?” he asks softly and I realize that this part is not being broadcast. I am captivated by his deep voice. Again, I nod and he steps away from me.

The crowd blurs into faceless waves of gray as I make the semi-circle march, trying not to think about being completely naked in front of a crowd numbering in the hundreds. I really try not to think about the giant screen behind me. Straightening my back, lifting my chin, I focus on the stage, not daring to focus on anyone or anything. A flashing strobe light startles me and I am once again center stage. Reality returns in quick real time and I realize the bidding is not over.
A bid is shouted over the rest, “One hundred thousand.”

I lock my knees, unable to control their shaking, but as I try to see who has made such an outlandish bid, I am blinded again by strobes of light. More bids are shouted out, each one increasing by ten thousand dollars. I am frozen center stage.
“One hundred and fifty thousand.”

I am sure, at this point, the bids will cease. They don’t…a hailstorm of bids follow.
“Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars!” A voice booms behind me, over me, around me. The room hushes, total silence in reaction to the bid. The floor beneath my feet seems to sway as a wave of black flashes before my eyes followed by tiny pinpricks of blinding white. I am not sure how I remain standing. After what seems like an eternity, the auctioneer repeats back the bid and in an errant whoosh, my vision is restored.

The audience remains still, silent.

Shaky legs hold me upright. Armpits wet, mouth dry, I quickly scan the audience, searching for what fate lies ahead. No one comes forward.
“Well, Sir, it would seem you have bought a slave,” the auctioneer announces with undisguised sarcasm.

Strong arms reach around me, wrapping a heavy black velvet cloak over my shoulders. The lavish length of fabric slides around my ankles with a hiss. Turning my head to see what hand fate has dealt me, I face Garrett Lawrence’s easy smile. Gently, he lifts the cloak’s soft, engulfing hood to cover my head. My eyes must have been questioning, because as he hooks the clasp closed at my neck, he whispers gently, “I think the audience has seen enough of my slave for one night.”

“You?” I gasp, my mind screaming out for a life vest. I am drowning; this can’t be happening. Ohmygod. I came here with the intention of a story…just a little what makes ’em scream, is this auction for real story. A story to tease the inner-voyeur in our readers but what has just been handed to me on a sliver platter is the story. San Francisco’s most eligible bachelor, reported as having assets in the very high double-digit millions, gay, reclusive, swathed in scandal Garrett Lawrence is my new Master? Shit, shit, shit! This is the opportunity tabloid reporters’ dream of and I landed in it! Yes!

His eyes glint with unexpected mischief and his mouth curls up at the corners. “Are you glad?”

My inner voice screams, “Remain calm!” Remain very, very calm!
“Should I be?” I try to feign bored indifference.

“I think so. Consider your options.” A playful grin and a nod toward the clamoring, over-zealous crowd currently trying to bring down the security fence illustrates his point. Lowering my eyes to hide my blush, I answer him softly, “Then I am glad.”

Buy Sacred Secrets Today from Liquid Silver Books!

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Forbidden Love: Sacred Bands-The Dark Man

Forbidden Love: Sacred Bands, a totally male/male erotic and dark romance print anthology is available now at http://www.genreconnections.com/shop/product.php?productid=16329&cat=248&page=1

Read blurb and excerpt from Sapphire Phelan's erotic and very dark horror romance story, "The Dark Man", inlcuded in the print anthology.

Michael never understood the compulsion to go to the beach. There, he meets Sevin Merrow, a Finman, a creature of the sea, and a seductive sorcerer. Michael begins to understand what the Dark Man wants of him as he weaves a sexual spell about him. Will it lead to love, or something darker and deadlier?

Read the excerpt--must be 18 and older to read it:

Michael. Wake up and come to me. Salt water to land, lover to lover, you are mine.
Michael woke up, struggling and gasping. He felt as if he were drowning in sea water. Not just his body, but his heart and soul too. Then his breathing became normal again. Instead, hot waves of fire blazed as his cock hardened, leaving him aching and unfulfilled. Reaching down with his hand, he closed his eyes and played with the head first, then gripped the shaft, stroking it and seeking relief. He moaned, and the pleasure rose, thrumming until he peaked, screaming from the explosion and spewing onto both his belly and the covers. He let out short spurts of breath as his body continued to vibrate. He itched to touched himself again, masturbate. He had fucked women, but none of them ever brought him the ecstatic relief his own hand could.
"See what I do to you, my Michael," said the dark voice in the room with him.
Michael screamed and sat up in bed, the blanket sliding down and uncovering his bare chest, pooling around his waist. The bedroom was dark, but he discerned the outline of someone standing by the rain-lashed window.
"Who are you and how the hell did you get in?" Michael demanded, frightened.
"I'm the reason behind the erotic dreams you've been having since you turned eighteen. I am called Sevin Merrow and I will teach you a different kind of love, one that will bring you ecstasy."
The shadow slowly approached the bed. Michael switched on the lamp standing on the table next to his bed. The soft glow from the halogen light lit up the lines of a man's stern, gloomy face, the skin dark. Long black hair fell over his shoulders like a waterfall and eyebrows black as sin slashed over dark eyes. A well-made man, he stood taller than Michael's own six feet, with a lean and sinewy form. And naked as a newborn baby! His cock jutted up, thick and long, a pearly bead of pre cum at the tip.
"Where are your clothes?" Michael asked. A horrible thought crossed his mind. "Oh God, you're going to rape me, aren't you?" Instead of fear though, he began to feel excited at the thought.
The dark face glowered. "Do not say His name, it's abhorrent to me! And I assure you there will be no rape here tonight. You will give yourself freely to me." He drew nearer. "I have wanted you since the first time I dreamed of you at the bottom of the sea and so, I began to call to you. Finally after five years of cajoling you came here to me. Tonight, we will mate. Then you will come with me to Hildaland, to live with me as my lover."
His eyes smoldered with a dark flame.
Ensorcelled by his eyes, Michael felt the dark stranger pull him out of the bed and into his arms. His flesh felt cold as ice and slimy. Shocked, Michael tried to withdraw from his arms, but he held him in a vise grip.
A strange sheen of silver coated Sevin, adding a other-worldly gleam to his darkness. His skin felt soft and sleek as satin while underneath iron-hard muscles rippled. The same held true of the Dark Man's cock, steel in velvet. It pressed against Michael's belly, erotic to the touch, and Michael's own organ responded in kind, hardening. And yet, Sevin felt freezing cold to the touch, like the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Sevin reached between their bodies and his fingers found Michael's engorged flesh, gripping it. Michael arched away in shock. It felt like a shard of ice had surrounded his penis! Still, he grew even more sexually excited as Sevin slid his hand up to the head and back down to the balls.
For the first time in his life he enjoyed the touch of another, the sexual excitement from not a woman, but a man. Suddenly he began to understand why fucking women's pussies had never been enjoyable. He shivered, and then began to thrust, helping Sevin bring him the incredible feeling that burned in him.
Sevin growled against his lips. "I feel you wanting to come, my Michael. You're sweating and I can smell your excitement. Your cock feels so warm and dry. I've waited years to have you, promised to me in my dreams and now, here you are. Mine to fuck till the sea covers the Earth." He chuckled.

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A new free read from Jamie Hill

All Romance eBooks is featuring my erotic short story, Handy with Tools, in their Nov. 9 Wildfire newsletter. This is a M/M piece which they give their hottest rating, 5 flames!

Check it out, here .

Handy with Tools is a prequel to my December Phaze release, Frost: Stocking Stuffers.



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