Can’t color inside the lines? Do you have a secret drawer littered with stories you had to write — but can’t place, because you broke all the rules? We’re reaching out to the homeless. You know the ones I mean. Poor, abandoned, homeless short stories, novellas and serials. Too short. Too kinky. Too… weird. Just doesn’t fit.
What do you do with a story like that? Chances are, it belongs at Changeling.
We’re currently looking for Contemporary and Futuristic short fiction, single title, series, and serials in the following genres and themes:
Genres: Sci-Fi/Futuristic, Dark and Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, BDSM, Action Adventure, and Guilty Pleasures (Adult Contemporary Kink)
Themes: New Adult, Multiple Partner, Bisexual and More, Gay, Interracial, BBW, Cougar (M/F), Silver Fox (Older man, younger partner), Men and Women in Uniform, Vampires, Werewolves, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, Other Shapeshifters, Magic, Dark Desires (Demons and Horror), and Hentai (Tentacle Monsters)
We’ve only got one heat level. Over-the-top hot! We can handle anything you send us as long as it meets our guidelines. We do accept multiple submissions. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.
We accept new submissions from 10 to 30K for single titles. Serials from unsigned authors must be submitted as a completed set.
ALL submissions must be Women’s Erotic Romance with a HEA or HFN (Happy Ever After or Happy For Now — if you killed off our hero in chapter ten, we’re not interested — unless you bring him back from the dead in chapter eleven!)
Nothing is set in stone, as far as dates being assigned. However, that being said, I just completed Intergalactic Loyalties #4 (Fated) last night and hope to have it to my editor no later than May 21st. If all goes according to plan, it will release in July 2016. It is under contract, but the release date will depend on edits and such. The cover art request has been turned in, but I won’t have a cover until closer to release.This isn’t the official blurb, but it will give you a little insight into the book:
This isn’t the official blurb, but it will give you a little insight into the book:
There is but one thing a Tourmalane prince wants above all else—his mate. When Lyros finds Roux on a floating brothel, he knows he must rescue the small human female. She’s alluring and yet her shyness intrigues far more than any bold beauty could have. Lyros wants to shelter her, protect her, and make her his in every way. But what if all he’s feeling is lust and not the mating pull?
When a bit of trouble on his world requires him to make a trip to Earth, he asks Roux to go with him. Once he comes to terms with the fact that she’s truly his, he will stop at nothing to claim her. As they explore her world, and one another, Lyros can’t help but fall in love with the enchanting woman he can call his own.
With a baby on the way and the fate of his world at stake, Lyros knows he must return to Tourmalane, even though Roux has fallen in love with Paris and would like to stay. Without future generations, his planet will die, as no females have been born in over twenty years. Torn between his duty as a prince and his duty as a mate, he is relieved when Roux decides to call Tourmalane her home, giving up the wonders she’s discovered on Earth.
Just when Lyros thinks he has everything figured out, Roux gives him yet another surprise. Happily-Ever-After has never felt so good.
If you prefer the Intergalactic Brides series over Loyalties, don’t despair. I’ll have another Bride book out, hopefully, by September. I have one started, but it’s still coming together in my head, which means I don’t have a blurb yet. I’m also working on another Interstellar Love Agency story, which I hope to have out by August if not sooner.
I know, it’s a lot of sci-fi. I am, actually, writing some non-science fiction books, just not under the name Jessica Coulter Smith. I have a sweeter heat level pen name for Young Adult and New Adult stories that either have no sex or closed door sex scenes (which means the sex is alluded to but not actually seen). For those of you who receive my newsletter, you know I’m talking about the name Charity West. I’ve completed two stories under that name, one of which is published (The Boyfriend Deal) and the other has been submitted to a publisher. I have a third story going under that pen name, but I’m not sure when it will be finished.
So, that’s my plan through September. At least three more alien books, and depending on how things go possibly another Charity West book. Just know that schedule isn’t set in concrete. Life happens (I lost my grandmother in March, as an example) and sometimes it derails my writing schedule. But if it’s at all humanly possible, you’ll have a book from me at least every other month (starting with Cailtlyn and the Alien Protector on May 20th).
From hot, sexy, and available to single dad, this firefighter’s life’s going up in smoke.
When Cosmir had a one-night stand all those years ago, he never dreamed that there would be consequences, but one look at small Katy’s face and he can’t deny that she’s his. His life is hectic and full of danger, but like it or not he’s now responsible for someone other than himself, and he works hard to carve out a place in his life for the adorable toddler.
Caitlyn has already felt the burn from loving a fireman once and she refuses to do it again. When a fire claims everything in her life, she’s forced to accept an offer she would have never otherwise contemplated. Moving in with Cosmir not only gives her a place to sleep — other than her brother’s couch — but she’s able to live with him rent free, in exchange for watching the enchanting little girl with the pansy colored eyes.
What starts as an arrangement of convenience turns to something more as the three spend more time together. Cosmir begins to wonder if the woman of his heart has been right under his nose the entire time, and Caitlyn realizes that sometimes you have to give love a second chance.
I could not have said it better myself! I’ve often been asked if I’ve tried everything I write about it. People seem to think that the fiction stories I write are based off reality, but they aren’t. Well, most of the time they aren’t. But heck if I’m going to tell you which scenes are real and which ones aren’t 🙂
One touch. One look from Morgan’s hypnotic eyes and Skye can’t deny the magnetic pull.
High school senior, Morgan Raines was used to change, whether it was transferring to a new school or shifting into a were-jaguar under the full moon. Starting over didn’t bother him, but finding his mate pinned to her locker by her looser ex-boyfriend does.
Will turning furry during the full moon send her running scared or into his arms?
As Skye put her books in her locker, Chris sneaked up behind her. Turning, she looked up into his eyes. If she was honest, she’d admit that she wasn’t surprised to see him. Chris had been following her all over school for the past week. It seemed that every time she turned around he was right in front of her, like a lost little puppy. Except puppies were cute.
“Hey babe, what’s up? What do you say to you and me having lunch together today?” he asked with a cocky grin, seeming sure her answer would be yes.
“No thanks. I have to go over some homework before I turn it in,” Skye told him, hoping the discussion was over. But she had a feeling it wouldn’t be that easy to get rid of him.
“Homework? Ditch the homework and have some fun! Sit with me,” Chris cajoled.
“I said no, Chris!” She wondered why he kept pestering her. Any girl in school would gladly go with him wherever he wanted. Any girl but her.
“Aw, come on!”
“No!” Skye replied adamantly.
“Okay, but if you won’t have lunch with me, at least give me a kiss.”
“Chris, why can’t you just leave me alone?” Skye asked, starting to get irritated. When was he going to get the message? How many times did she have to run him off before he finally understood she just wanted to be left alone? He’d had his chance with her and blown it.
“Come on, you always liked kissing me! What’s a little kiss between friends?” he asked with a smile that had once curled her toes.
“Nothing,” she replied.
“Well, there you go. Come on, babe. Please?” Chris continued relentlessly. She doubted that he wanted her; it was more the challenge she presented. Ever since she’d pushed him aside, he’d hounded her every step.
“Who said that we were friends? I remember telling you that I never wanted to see your face again. So, why are you in front of my locker?” she asked. Why won’t he go away? Where’s a teacher when you need one? She glanced down the hall.
“Okay. I tried to be nice, but maybe you prefer guys who just take what they want.”
Chris advanced on Skye. He all but growled at her until her back was against the locker. He put an arm on either side of her, pinning her in place. She had no way of escaping. Just as he started to lean in to kiss her, someone tapped him on his shoulder. Skye, for one, was grateful for the interruption.
“What?” he asked, turning to face the interloper. He pierced the intruder with a glare.
“I believe she said no,” the new guy answered quietly.
“And just who the hell are you?” Chris sneered, eyeing the guy from head to toe. “In case you weren’t aware, Skye and I are an item.”
The boy grinned. “Are you sure about that?”
Skye used the distraction to slip under Chris’s arm. She quickly put some distance between them, moving to stand beside the new guy. She didn’t know who he was, but he had excellent timing. If he hadn’t come along right then, Chris would no doubt be pawing her at this very moment, more so than usual.
The boy reached out and took Skye’s hand, a current running through both of them. If he was surprised, he hid it well.
“Come on, I’ll walk you to your class,” he said, giving her hand a gentle tug.
Skye smiled her thanks and walked off with him, leaving an angry Chris glaring after them.
* * *
“Thanks… for what you did back there,” she said after they were a few feet away.
“No problem,” the boy murmured.
“I’m Skye by the way. And the jerk back there was Chris,” she jabbered, trying to fill the silence. Her body was hyper aware of the hot guy holding her hand, more so than it had ever been of a guy.
Glancing at him from the corner of her eye, she almost stopped breathing. He was easily the most gorgeous boy she’d ever seen. He topped her five-foot-one inches by over a foot. He was tanned with sandy brown hair shot through with golden highlights. His chiseled features made her mouth water. If he weren’t a high school student, she’d think he stepped off the cover of a magazine.
“I take it you used to date,” he commented.
Skye nodded, pulling her gaze from his face before she was caught staring. “Until I caught him making out with one of the cheerleaders. I told him it was over, but he refuses to listen. He thinks he’s God’s gift, or something along those lines.”
He grunted in response.
“He wasn’t like that when we first started dating,” Skye said, trying to explain away Chris’s behavior.
He gave her a skeptical look.
“Where exactly are we going anyway?” he asked, looking around the hall.
“Oh, um, two doors down on the right. I have English next,” Skye answered.
He grinned. “That makes two of us.”
He continued holding her hand all the way to the classroom. As they approached the door, he dropped her hand and motioned for her to go in ahead of him. Following Skye into the classroom, he grabbed the empty seat next to her. Setting his books down on the desk, he glanced her way and caught her watching him—again. She was so embarrassed. It wasn’t like her to fawn over someone, especially someone she’d just met.
He flashed her a grin and faced forward as the teacher stepped into the room.
Don’t have KU? No worries. You can still purchase a copy from Amazon.
Jessie Colter is the pen name for romance author Jessica Coulter Smith. With over 50 published stories, she isn’t new to the writing game, and while Heart’s Desire was her first foray into the world of Young Adult stories, she has written a few more since then, all with a paranormal twist.
One of my publishers, Coastal Escape Publishing, has decided to open their doors for new submissions. They are currently seeking Romantic Suspense/Mystery, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, M/M Suspense, and M/M Paranormal Romance. For more details, visit the Coastal Escape Publishing submissions page.
From personal experience, I can say that the M/M Paranormal and the Historical Romances do well. But then, I know other authors with Coastal are doing well in different areas. Just like with any publisher or author, it depends on the book. You’ll hit a grand slam with some, and others will end up being duds. Write what you’re passionate about because if you don’t like your story, your readers won’t either.
I currently have 4 books/novellas published by Coastal Escape under my name, and another under a pen name. I love my cover art and have found them to be friendly and easy to work with. Just remember, signing a contract is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Don’t agree to do something only to change your mind later because you begin to question yourself or your abilities.
Clarissa Townsend has given up on anyone ever wanting to marry her. It isn’t that she’s ugly, because she’s been told by many that she’s quite beautiful. It’s her blasted limp. A carriage accident when she was fifteen resulted in ugly scarring on her leg, and left her with a horrible limp that keeps her from dancing, and sometimes walking.
Lord Robert Cresthaven came to America in search of a bride, and the moment he sets eyes on Clarissa, he knows he’s found her. With her raven locks and pale complexion, she’s the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen. Her limp doesn’t detract from her beauty in his eyes and he’s determined to have her, at any cost.
A scandal. An unwanted marriage of convenience. And a damsel in need of rescue.
When Lord Cresthaven is caught kissing Clarissa at a ball, it’s all anyone can talk about. But things don’t go according to his plan. He had every intention of marrying her, until her parents locked her away and promised her to another. What’s a lord to do when the only woman he’s ever wanted to marry is kept out of his reach? Anything necessary.
Clarissa backed into the corner, her leg throbbing in agony, the limb barely holding her weight. She’d seen that look in men’s eyes before, just never directed her way. Lust. Want. Need. Desire. They pulsed in the handsome lord’s eyes. Why he was paying her any attention she didn’t understand. He was part of a large group of visiting lords from England, none of them set to inherit, but they’d been on everyone’s invitation list it seemed. This wasn’t the first time she’d seen Lord Cresthaven, but she was fairly certain it was the first time he’d noticed her.
“Please, my lord. I don’t want any trouble.” Her voice trembled and she wasn’t certain if it was from the fear of being caught alone with him in the library, or the warmth spreading through her at his nearness. She’d been around attractive men before, but none had ever affected her this way.
“Who said anything about trouble? I merely wish to get to know you better, Miss Townsend.”
She swallowed hard, knowing exactly how he wanted to get to know her. It wouldn’t be the first time a man had propositioned her, saying they would be doing her a favor, since it was clearly obvious no one would want a lame wife. They seemed to think she would be good enough to dally with, but not marry. It hurt, their rejection, and embarrassed her that the men in her world thought so little of her.
At the age of twenty-three, her parents were becoming discouraged. There had been a talk just the other morning, at breakfast, about finding her a shopkeeper for a husband. It was a perfectly respectable position, even if it would put him beneath her socially. Not that she cared one bit. As long as the man was kind to her, could she really argue the matter? Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if he was to be handsome as well as kind.
Not that Clarissa had ever seen anyone as handsome as Lord Cresthaven, an earl’s fifth son, if she’d heard correctly. With his blond hair and blue eyes, he was a stark contrast to her black locks and gray eyes. When her friend, Vanessa, had seen the direction of Clarissa’s gaze earlier, she’d tittered and claimed that Clarissa and Lord Cresthaven would make a striking pair. Not that Clarissa held out any hope that he thought of her as anything other than something to play with. There was heat in his gaze, but if he were marriage minded, surely he wouldn’t dishonor her by undressing her with his eyes the way he currently was.
“My mother is probably looking for me,” she stammered. “We’ll be missed.”
“What’s the worst that could happen should we get caught?”
“I’d be ruined,” she said softly. “Please, my lord. Don’t do this.”
It seemed to give him pause for a moment, but just for a moment. He prowled closer, his legs brushing the hem of her dress. He was close enough now that she could smell him, whatever divine scent he’d splashed on and the scent of cigars. Clarissa’s heart hammered against her ribs and she clenched her hands at her sides to keep from reaching for him. She’d never before wanted to feel a man’s arms around her, not like she did right that moment.
He didn’t disappoint her. Cresthaven drew nearer, bracing one hand on the wall beside her head and placing his other at her waist. He leaned closer still, his breath fanning her lips. Clarissa felt her breath catch in her throat as she wondered whether or not he would kiss her.
“Miss Townsend, do you know why I followed you in here?” he asked, his voice a deep purr.
“N-No, my lord.”
“Because I can’t remember the last time I saw such a tempting morsel. I’ve watched you. If you can’t dance, why do you attend the balls? It must be miserable to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else.”
“My mother makes me,” she said in a near whisper, embarrassment burning through her at her inability to dance like the other women.
“You’re older than the other debutantes. How many seasons have you been out?”
She felt her cheeks flush. “We don’t exactly have a season like they do in London, my lord, but to answer your question, too many. This is to be my last ball.”
His eyebrows arched. “Last ball? As in ever?”
“Possibly. My family name is a good one in the community. Someone will wish to marry me for that alone.”
“You mean to marry beneath you then?”
She looked away, her gaze dropping to the carpet. Why didn’t the insufferable man just leave? Did he have to break open all her wounds and make her bleed? It was embarrassing enough knowing that no one wanted you, but to have it pointed out by a man who was damn near perfect? It was intolerable. Clarissa tried to wriggle away from him, but his hand tightened on her waist.
“I’m not done with you yet, pet.”
Her gaze lifted to his, but she couldn’t decipher the emotions in his eyes. He was a master at disguising his thoughts.
“Please, let me go, my lord.”
Her lips parted. “What?”
“My name. It’s Robert. As opposed to you ‘my lording’ me to death.”
Clarissa felt the fire build in her cheeks again. “That’s too familiar, my lord. We don’t know one another well enough to use our Christian names. We’ve never been formally introduced at all.”
“Maybe not,” he muttered, “but it didn’t stop me from asking about you. Will you really deny me the only thing I’ve asked of you? What possible harm will befall you if you call me Robert when we’re alone?”
“I suppose it would be all right.”
His lips tipped up on one corner. “Good. Now to the other matter.”
“Other matter?” Her brow furrowed.
“The matter of the kiss I’ve been dying to bestow upon your rather distracting lips since the first moment I saw you.”
“My lord. Robert.”
“I like my name falling from your lips,” he said as his nose brushed hers.
“You’re going to ruin me. Just let me go.”
“Can’t? Or won’t?”
He pressed his cheek to hers, his breath teasing her ear. “Maybe a little of both. I’ve wanted you for weeks now, and now that I have you in my arms, I find that I cannot release you.”
“You’re toying with me. We both know what you want from me, and it isn’t marriage.”
“And what do I want from you?” He pulled back to look into her eyes once more. “What do you know of my desires and wants? The need that burns inside of me every time you’re near?”
“Y-you want t-to b-bed me,” she stuttered.
The look in his eyes warmed and a smile stretched across his handsome face. “Oh, I definitely want that, my delectable Clarissa, but I want so much more than a simple tumble.”
Using the name Leigh, Monteith, and Corrieri, because my hairdresser asked me to. Apart from that it was up to me. I knew what I wanted to write, but oh boy it wouldn’t work for ages. I deleted the first two chapters, started with chapter three as chapter one, and all of a sudden, I wrote, and wrote, and finished a nice—well I hope so—Romance on the Go. Then I got worried that Leigh, the person, might not like Leigh the character. But she loved her, drooled over Luca and wanted to know when it was due to be published. Well I had to explain there was the none too small matter of subbing and getting an acceptance.
But chair swivel jiggle I got it…
This is the result…
What is a marriage without trust?
When damning newspaper reports point to the seeming infidelity of her husband, Formula One Racing Championship driver Luca Corrieri, Leigh runs without waiting for his explanations.
After all, the pictures don’t lie. He has been cheating on her with her best friend.
Luca is devastated at the ease with which Leigh abandons what they have. Surely their marriage deserves more, but how do you convince someone of your innocence when they are not prepared to listen?
When the truth finally comes out, is their love strong enough to save their marriage?
Here’s a wee tease…
She lay there in that pleasant state halfway between awake and asleep and relaxed.
The heavy hand on her shoulder made her scream, shoot up out of her chair, and turn around in a move to do any prima ballerina proud. Red wine went in every direction, except luckily, on her.
The guy who stood behind her chair didn’t fare so well. With red wine dripping from his hair onto his face, and from his chin onto what seemed like a very costly silk shirt, he looked a mess. Even his expensive-looking trousers hadn’t got off scot-free.
The expression made Leigh want to giggle—after all she was a Scot— although the guy standing there with a face like frost didn’t.
“What a way to greet me, cara. Are you still feeling so pissy? After all you got what you wanted.”
Leigh saw red and it wasn’t just the spilled wine. All her introspective thoughts about being narrow minded flew out of her mind.
“Asshole. Fucking asshole. No, you got what you wanted. Your dick in that marriage wrecking groupie’s cunt. What I wanted was your bollocks in a vise. And her clit to shrivel and her channel to shrink.”
She couldn’t believe the profanities that spewed out of her. Leigh always prided herself on not swearing, because as her mother had often said, it showed a lack of imagination and vocabulary. Right then she couldn’t have cared less if it made her illiterate. The words fitted.
He reddened, took out a linen handkerchief, and wiped his face without saying a word.
Leigh was on a roll. In some perverse way she was enjoying herself. It was cathartic, saying just how she felt, to his face. “I hope you got yourself checked out, Luca? After all who knows who was in that pussy before you? Did you check the hair for nits? Oh no I forgot, she’s probably one who dares to bare.” She didn’t mention that since she and Luca had separated she’d tried that, liked it, and never gone back to hairy. “Best way really, less to catch anything in.”
“You know nothing.” He barked the words, looked around and then dropped the sodden handkerchief onto the table. “That’s enough.”
Leigh ignored him. “Not by a long chalk Signor Corrieri. Why are you here? How did you get in? Added breaking and entering to your list of transgressions now, have we?”
He swung a door key in front of her face. “No breaking necessary, cara. You left this in the door. Freudian slip? Or were you waiting for someone else?”
“Neither.” She snatched the key from him and put it in her pocket. “I’m not the one who played away.”
“Will this verbal crucifixion go on for ever?” Luca’s voice was flat and unemotional. Only the tic at the corner of his eye showed how affected he was. “I screwed up, I admit it. I said sorry, what more do you want me to do? Bleed?”
“Well you screwed all right, and I guess it was up. Up into her. Bleeding isn’t enough. I’ve bled enough for both of us.” Leigh bit back a sob. Luca lifted his arm toward her, took one look at her face and let it drop. She could only imagine what he’d seen there. However, if her emotions showed in her expression as usual, it would have been something along the lines of how she was wondering if she could commit murder and get away with it.
“You cheated, Luca. You defiled what we had. And that bitch crowed about it. In every bloody paper, before you said as much as a dicky bird. Were you hoping to get away with it? Fat chance with Angela, oh I’m your friend Leigh, bloody here’s my cunt screw me whatsherface. Two faced bitch.” All her thoughts of being open-minded, things aren’t always what they seem, had gone from her mind. She was, in the words of her friend’s daughter, ‘in a mad’. “As for you, couldn’t you have kept your cock in your trousers for one weekend? Was that too much to ask? And now I expect you’re going to say it was all her doing. That she came on to you, and you were drunk and didn’t know what was happening. Men. Think with their dicks.” She turned her back on him and very deliberately filled her glass.
“No, I’m not going to say it was all her doing. It takes two to be f…”
“Okay I get your drift.” Leigh sat back in her chair. “Oh sit down, Luca. Tell me why you’re here and then go away. If you want some wine, in a glass and in your throat rather than over you, there are glasses in the cupboard next to the sink. If not speak up and then fuck off. I want to wallow and wonder why I’m so lacking in sexuality my husband needed a whore.”
“You are so wrong, cara. But it’s not my story to tell.” Luca sighed, nodded and walked into the house. She heard cupboard doors open and close. Why hadn’t she just told him to get lost? Taken her key and locked the door behind him?
Because we’ve never really talked about it.
Luca returned to the garden and poured wine into a glass before he sat next to her and swirled the liquid around the vessel.
“Good legs,” he said.
She laughed, although there wasn’t a lot of humor in it.
“Me or the wine?”
“Both, although in this case I meant the wine.” He stretched his long legs out in front of him, and held his wine glass loosely between thumb and forefinger.
Leigh looked at him out of the corner of her eye. As ever during the race season there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him, only honed and toned muscle. In any other circumstances she would have drooled.
“Ah well, I had a good teacher.” By now Leigh had calmed down. Except for her unruly hormones which made her itch to undo his shirt and run her hands over those impressive abs and … down girl, this is your lying, cheating almost ex here. Or he was until she thought otherwise.The cuss-filled rant had done her good, but worn her out. “Okay, Luca, why are you here?”
“You’re not going to like it,” he said in a warning tone. “But I felt I had to warn you.”
Warn her? That sounded ominous. Was there anything worse he could hit her with
Being Luca’s is available to be downloaded to an eReader near you from…
The angel Adriel has faced hard decisions before, but deciding to give up his wings for the smallest shifter in the Ashton Grove pack was a no-brainer. All right, so maybe he shouldn’t have rushed things. Maybe he should have waited until they actually met, but after keeping tabs on her from Heaven for the past month, he knows she’s exactly what he wants.
Kinley Taylor, Aussie transplant and only sugar glider in the Ashton Grove pack, decided long ago she didn’t believe in mates. Well, not for her anyway. People are pairing up all around her, falling in love, binding themselves to one another, but she’s holding out for something more. No ordinary wolf or shifter is going to hold her attention, of that she’s certain. Imagine her confusion when she’s attracted to someone new in town – and he’s human! What would her dearly departed parents think of such a match?
Adriel is determined to show Kinley that he’s everything she’s ever wanted, and more than she’ll ever need. If he can’t persuade her with words, he’ll just have to keep his mouth occupied with other delights – like kissing her senseless.
*NOTE: If you read this before reading Moonlight Warrior, you’re going to be very confused
Adriel stood before the Archangel Gabriel, hoping he wasn’t making a huge mistake. In his heart, it was the right thing to do, but so many things could easily go wrong with his plan. His fellow angels couldn’t believe what he was going to do, had in fact tried to talk him out of it, but Adriel wouldn’t be swayed.
He’d seen her once, across the battlefield during the demon war in Ashton Grove. The moment he’d laid eyes on her, something inside of him had shifted, warmed, and he’d felt a certain rightness as he gazed upon her. She’d fought valiantly, attacking the demons who chose to pick on her for petite size with gusto, her long blonde hair cascading down her back in a ponytail that whipped around with her movement.
Fighting the demons that came his way, he’d kept an eye on her, making sure no one dealt a deadly blow. When he saw two other packmates join her, he was relieved. The three women worked together, protecting themselves, hacking and slashing at anything that came their way. When the last demon fell, and all that could be heard were the painful moans and cries of the injured, Adriel’s gaze had sought her out once more, grateful she seemed to be okay.
He’d wanted to walk up to her, introduce himself, maybe even touch her sun-kissed skin that looked silky smooth. But he’d felt the pull of Heaven and knew that his time on Earth was at an end. With a heavy heart, he’d ascended into the Heavens, taking his place beside his brothers and sisters once more, left with nothing to do but observe those down below.
It had been a month now, and every day he watched the woman he’d learned was named Kinley Taylor. He had watched over her, guided her actions, and made sure no harm came her way. And if he deterred an amorous male or two in the process, well, no one was the wiser. She deserved better than the horny wolves sniffing around her skirts.
Gabriel cleared his throat, bringing him back from his memories, his cheeks warming in embarrassment. One did not wander off, mentally or otherwise, when facing one of the archangels. They were God’s generals and oversaw the running of Heaven.
“Are you sure about this, Adriel? There’s no coming back from this.” Gabriel’s blue gaze drilled into him.
“You would give it all up, for a human you don’t even know? What if she turns you away? Did you stop to think that maybe you aren’t her destined mate? Perhaps there’s a shifter out there, maybe even a wolf in the pack, who has been biding his time to claim her.”
He felt a growl rumble out of him before he could think better of it. “No one will touch her! Kinley is mine!”
“If you go through with this,” Gabriel said, “your only way back into Heaven is to live a life without sin. I can read your thoughts, Adriel. You’ve already sinned over and over in your mind. If you do this, you may never see Heaven again. Are you willing to take that chance?”
He stiffened his spine, lifted his chin, and stared Gabriel right in the eyes. “Yes. I’d rather have one lifetime with Kinley, than an eternity without her.”
Gabriel sighed. “Very well.”
Adriel held still as Gabriel reached out and placed his fingers against his forehead. There was a warmth that suffused him from head to toe; then, the world tilted. Heaven fell away, and Adriel was free-falling to Earth, his wish having been granted. Pointing his feet toward the ground, he landed with a thud that vibrated through his whole body. There was a slight indention in the ground as he moved toward the road in front of him.
To the left, lay an open two-lane highway with nothing but trees and hills. To the right, the most beautiful thing he’d seen yet today–Welcome to Ashton Grove. He smiled at the sign and began walking toward town. Now that he was here, he didn’t have a plan. He couldn’t very well walk up to Kinley, declare himself her mate, and cart her off to the nearest bedroom, much as he’d love to. It just didn’t work that way.
As he meandered the streets of Ashton Grove, he found himself on the doorstep of none other than Colin Tierney. He shouldn’t be surprised, really. He’d gotten to know Colin rather well when they prepared for the war. Maybe the wolf would have some idea as to what he should do. Adriel had nothing – no clothes, no money, no job. Heck, he didn’t even know where he was going to sleep tonight. Perhaps this hadn’t been the best laid out plan ever, but he was here now, and he wasn’t leaving anytime soon. Not unless the pack forbade him from seeing Kinley. He hadn’t thought of that before.
He rang the bell and waited patiently. When the door opened, a tousled Colin answered, and he winced, realizing he’d probably interrupted a rather delicate time for the couple. It was nightfall, after all.
“Adriel,” Colin asked, his brow furrowed, “What are you doing here?”
“I’m not exactly certain. I just started walking, and this is where my feet led me.”
“A lot has changed since we last saw one another.”
Colin shoved the door open further. “I think you should come in. Kendall will be happy to see you.”
Adriel wiped his feet on the mat and brushed past the wolf. The last time he’d been in their home, it hadn’t been under the best of circumstances. Now, he took the time to look around, taking in his surroundings. The furnishings were comfortable; their home, inviting. He could see Kendall’s subtle touches here and there, in a vase of flowers or set of knick knacks–things only a woman would think to add.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” Colin gestured. “I’ll go get Kendall.”
Adriel obligingly made himself comfortable on the sofa, . He was starting to wonder how he was going to pull this off. When he’d asked to be made human, he hadn’t thought about his daily needs. Having been created an angel, he’d never had to eat or drink, never had to worry about a roof over his head, or a change of clothes. What could one of God’s soldiers possibly do here on Earth? He no longer had any of his heavenly powers or connections. He was human, with all that that entailed.
Kendall stepped into the room, giving him a warm, welcoming smile.
“Adriel, it’s so nice to see you.”
He rose and gave her a hug. “It’s good to see you, too. I’m sorry to just show up on your doorstep like this, uninvited and unannounced.”
“You’re always welcome in our home,” she responded.
“What brings you back to Ashton Grove?” Colin asked. “There aren’t more demons coming, are there?”
“No. Nothing like that. At least, not that I know of.”
Colin laughed. “And here I thought you knew everything.”
Adriel rubbed the back of his neck. “Not anymore. I’ve sort of been expelled from Heaven.”
Kendall’s eyes widened. “Expelled? But… what did you do?”
“I asked to be made human, so I could be with someone special.”
Colin smiled broadly. “You’re in love? How splendid! Who’s the lucky lady? Anyone we know?”
“Yes. Well… about that. She doesn’t know me, has never met me. Not officially, anyway. I’m sure she knows of me, but…” He sighed. “I’m in love with a woman who doesn’t know I exist.”
“You gave up Heaven for someone you don’t even know?” Kendall asked. “Adriel, how could you do such a thing? What happens if she never returns your love?”
“Then, I’ll have given it all up for nothing,” he said softly. “But I have to try. The moment I saw her, I knew she was special, that I wanted to be with her. Angels have been left to roam the world for far less than falling in love. At least I had a good reason to become human.”
As I’ve gotten to know various authors over the past six years, I’ve come realize that we all approach writing a little differently. Some plot, some don’t. A few even do a partial plot, then let creativity take over. If you write, what approach do you use?
Personally, I don’t plot. Not because I can’t, but… well, it doesn’t do me any good. I’ve tried to plot before. Really, I have. I had a terrific plot one time, had the whole book lined out chapter by chapter, even had a detailed list of what happened within each chapter (complete with quotes!). It was pretty. But somewhere in the midst of writing chapter one, something happened. My characters didn’t behave the way they were supposed to behave. The heroine didn’t fall in love with the hero, in fact, she couldn’t stand him! As her personality began to develop, it became quite obvious I’d paired her with the wrong brother.
As I ripped out those sheets of notebook paper, with my beautiful outline on them, and tossed them into the trash, I actually felt a sense of relief. I no longer had to worry about whether or not X,Y, Z was going to be accomplished in chapter two, or if everything was going to be on track for the events coming up in chapter three. No, instead, I just let the words flow. My characters took on lives of their own, whispering to me as I wrote, telling me their stories as I rushed to get them on paper. I wasn’t focused on the end result anymore and just let the story happen. It wasn’t a goal, a job, it was a form of creative expression and an emotional release.
Now, while I love to write this way, because there is a certain rush to it when everything is falling into place so nicely, there is also a downside. What happens when the characters aren’t speaking to you? Well… you hit a dead end until someone starts talking again. I’ve gone days without writing, but then an idea will pop in my head, or someone will whisper something to me that lights me on fire again and off I go.
While I do track how many words I write per day (I have a pretty spreadsheet just for my writing!), and I do set daily goals, I try to go with the flow. If I don’t write one day, so what. Maybe my brain needed a break that day and I just didn’t realize it. Yes, there are deadlines to meet, but I’ve found that if you force the words out, the end result isn’t nearly as pretty as when they just happen. Or at least, that’s the case with me.
So… do you plot? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Annabel is ready to give herself to Poe, body and soul. But will he accept her offer?
Just as Annabel is ready to end her life, an amazing man comes to her in the dark of night. Her body responds to him and she finds that she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anyone. Allowing him to make love to her, she decides that she’ll do whatever he asks, as long as he’ll keep her with him — even if he is a vampire.
The darkness rolled in like dark clouds in a thunderstorm. The inky black night surrounded me, wrapped me in its embrace. It had been a month since “the incident” had happened, and while it might seem minor to some, it was the final nail in my coffin. I had tried to carry on, but I couldn’t take another thing life had to throw my way. If I’d been able to afford a psychologist, I’m sure he would have diagnosed me with some fancy term and prescribed me a bottle of pills. Instead, I was taking matters into my own hands.
The hair on the back of my neck stood on end, letting me know I wasn’t alone. I knew I should be afraid, yet I wasn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to be frightened. The numbness had spread through me, leaving nothing but emptiness inside of me, a large echoing cavern that I couldn’t fill.
I felt a puff of breath against my skin. A chill raced down my spine as my eyes stared sightlessly ahead, the dark impenetrable. I didn’t know what was to come, but I stood stoically, waiting to see what would happen. It couldn’t be any worse than what I had planned for myself.
Soft lips trailed down my neck to my shoulder. Teeth softly brushed against my skin. I felt a small prick against my neck and then warmth spread through me. I closed my eyes, a sigh on my lips. Whatever was happening, it felt right. Arms encircled my waist as they pulled me against a tall, hard body. Muscles bulged in the arms that held me gently. A lover’s embrace.
Fluid trailed down my neck and my captor lapped it up like a kitten drinking milk. “So sweet,” said a husky voice that left chills on my flesh.
“Who are you?” I whispered.
“It doesn’t matter.”
He turned me to face him. I looked up into fathomless gray eyes, the color of a winter morning, set in a pale face. He had a long elegant nose that led to full lips. Shaggy brown hair fell past his shoulders.
When he smiled, I saw canines that were long and pointed. Vampire my mind said, but I shook the thought away. Vampires weren’t real. My hand drifted to my neck and I felt the two small pinpricks. A breath caught in my throat as I stared up at him in surprise. Or were they?
“You’re a vampire,” I heard myself say in a quiet voice filled with wonder.
“Yes.” He watched me intently, probably expecting me to scream at any moment. And had I been anyone else, I might have. But a woman willing to die was another matter all together.
I tipped my head to the side, exposing my neck to him once more. “Do it. Go ahead and end it.”
He looked puzzled and slightly taken aback. “Do what?”
“Bite me. End my life.”
He shook his head and looked exasperated. “Silly creature, why would I want to end your life? I feed to live, not to kill.”
To my humiliation, I felt tears gather in my eyes and slip silently down my cheeks. “Please,” I begged. “I can’t go on living this way. I’m tired of feeling empty.”
I felt his intense stare as if he could see right through me. I wondered how long it would take to make a decision. Did I not taste good? Was there something wrong with my blood? Or was there just something wrong with me?
“Why do you feel empty?” he finally asked.
“If I knew, I wouldn’t feel this way. I only see shades of gray and darkness. When I wake up, all I want to do is close my eyes and sleep until another day has passed. I go through the motions, smile at people when I should, but it’s all meaningless. Inside I feel like there’s a void, a giant black hole in the middle of my soul sucking the life right out of me.” It wasn’t that I wanted to feel the way I did. I just hadn’t had a reason to be happy.
He grinned. “So you have a vampire in your soul?”
I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it made a sort of crazy sense to me. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
His long fingers reached out and stroked my jaw. “You’re too beautiful to die.”
Beautiful? Me? I wanted to laugh, but also wanted to cry. I couldn’t remember the last time someone had seen me as beautiful. I certainly didn’t see myself that way. When I looked in the mirror, I saw nondescript brown hair, plain brown eyes, and average facial features. I saw a body that was too plump to be fashionable, rounded in more places than it should be. What was beautiful about me?
He stared into my eyes as if reading my thoughts. And perhaps he could. Before I knew what he was doing, he leaned forward and brushed his lips against mine. They were petal soft and chilled to the touch. His mouth moved over mine, coaxing me to join in his dance.
A spark ignited inside of me, a small glowing ember. Warmth spread through my soul and for the first time in years, I was happy to be alive. This dangerous, deadly, gorgeous man made me feel more alive than any of my family or friends had in a long time. Nothing in this world had felt half as right as being kissed by him. It amazed me how I could feel so much in just one kiss. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been kissed before, because I had, but Poe’s kiss put all the others to shame. With just one kiss, he pushed aside my thoughts of killing myself. I’d come to the cavern so no one would find me. I knew my landlady wouldn’t be able to handle finding a dead body. She was sweet and I didn’t want to do that to her. And I didn’t have any family or friends to speak of. Just an ex who kept showing up repeatedly, no matter how many times I pushed him away.
With just one kiss, Poe had given me a gift. The gift of hope. I’d felt bleak and hopeless for so long that I’d forgotten what it felt like to want to live. But with one kiss, he’d given all that back to me, and more. As if he were a drug, I found that I wanted more. Kissing Poe was the equivalent of basking in the sunlight.