Blog Tour: Bad Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends by Melanie A. Smith #contemporaryromance

Bad Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends
Melanie A. Smith
(Life Lessons, #2)
Publication date: May 19th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

From best-selling author Melanie A. Smith comes the second book in a new series of steamy contemporary medical romance standalone novels about life lessons that break all the rules.

Even when you know better, sometimes it’s simply too tempting…

Hospital work isn’t for the faint of heart. Becca Dillon knows that firsthand, having worked as a medical assistant in the cardiac unit at Rutherford Hospital for longer than she cares to think about. What she does care to think about is having fun, gossip, and … guys. Her favorite of the three. And why stick to one, when you can sample them all?

That’s exactly her plan when a workplace crush on a mysterious bad-boy orderly unexpectedly takes a very steamy turn. But Vincent DeMarco turns out to be nothing like she expected, and before she knows it, she’s falling hard and fast. She wants him in ways she’s never wanted anyone before, but there’s something he’s keeping from her. Something that’s holding him back. And Becca is going to find out what.

Even though she knows that bad boys don’t make good boyfriends, he seems like he might be so much more. Will her quest unlock the truth behind who he really is? Or will it end their relationship for good? Either way, ready or not, Becca’s world is about to change.

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A Look Behind the Scenes …

Bad Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends is the second book in this steamy contemporary medical romance series. As such, the stage was already somewhat set. It takes place in present day San Diego, in fictional Rutherford Hospital. The characters were introduced in book one, though this is also a standalone. But that means I, as the author, already had a good grasp of their personalities.

With every book I write, though, I always want to make sure my places and timeline are grounded in reality. That the restaurants they go to, the events they attend, the neighborhoods, the vibe, is all as close to real as possible. It’s why I only write stories set in places I’ve been or know well enough to have a feel for.

This book was also a little different from the first in the series in that it wasn’t as heavy on the medical aspect. I thought about inserting that a bit more, but it didn’t feel organic, so I didn’t force it. Still, what there is of that in the book was researched so that I was (as accurately as possible) representing what people in their jobs really do, how a hospital really runs, and so on.

The hardest part, though, was writing characters that were so different from me, especially Becca. I spent even more time than usual thinking about her back story, her motivations, and how she’d speak and act in each situation. It’s super important to me that my characters feel real, and this story took a little extra thinking on that to make sure I was creating something that felt real.

Accordingly, this book took me a lot longer to write than the first, and I pushed right up on the deadline I set for myself. I wouldn’t change a thing, though, and I think the extra time was worth it. Especially since, in this series, I was going for a more concise story, with less “extra” stuff. It’s definitely difficult to create the same kind of connection, depth, and emotion with fewer words. In the end, though, I feel like the story is definitely better for it.

 

Author Bio:

Melanie A. Smith is the best-selling author of The Safeguarded Heart Series and other contemporary romance fiction. Originally from upstate New York, she spent most of her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Los Angeles for college. After that, she spent almost fifteen years in the Seattle Area, and now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas with her family.

A voracious reader and lifelong writer, Melanie’s writing began at a young age with short stories and poetry. Having completed a bachelor of science in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in business administration at the University of Washington, her writing abilities were mainly utilized for technical documents as a lead engineer for the Boeing Company, where she worked for ten years.

After shifting careers to domestic engineering and property management in 2015, she eventually found a balance where she was able to return to writing fiction.

Melanie is also a Mensan and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and driving with the windows down and the stereo cranked up loud.

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Book Blitz: Grave Humor by R.J. Blain #paranormalromance

Grave Humor
R.J. Blain
(Magical Romantic Comedies #10)
Publication date: May 12th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance

Most days, Anwen regrets working at a funeral home despite the good pay. With the residents no longer inclined to stay in their coffins where they belong, she’s got her hands full making sure everyone follows the rules:

In the funeral home, there is no screaming, no murdering, no mutilation, no possessions, no kidnappings, no resurrections, and no cursing of any type. Be quiet and stay polite.

The day Old Man McGregor decides to take a walk and disturbs her peace, Anwen learns there’s a lot more to the basement in the funeral home than a vampire and a handsome gentleman on ice.

If she’s not careful, she’ll learn first-hand why ‘eternally yours’ is the most potent of threats.

Warning: this novel contains romance, humor, bodies, shenanigans, and mythological puppies. Proceed with caution.

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EXCERPT:

Lemon smelled so much better than rot. As far as the restless dead went, Old Man McGregor hadn’t left me with too much of a mess to clean. He’d stayed mostly intact, limiting his oozing to a spot here and there. It took me twenty minutes to erase the evidence he’d gotten out of his coffin and taken a walk.

Five minutes later, Direct Hammel and his merry band of somberly dressed assistants arrived. Why did Direct Hammel need four men to stand around? Most viewings, even the big ones where the whole town showed up, only needed two attendants. The rest of the time, I could handle the work without any help at all.

While the viewings sometimes had upwards of the town’s full three hundred people, I couldn’t think of a single funeral with more than twenty attendees since I’d started working at the place. The old stayed, the young left, and with a world full of magic to discover, who wanted to stay in Sunset, Alabama? If my college fund hadn’t been bled dry on drugs and hookers, I would’ve been on the first bus out along with the other six seniors in my class.

“Any problems?” the director asked, sniffing the air.

I bet he smelled the lemon and wanted to know why I’d been cleaning. “No problems,” I replied. Any other day, Old Man McGregor rising and coming out of his coffin for a chat would’ve counted as a problem, but I was too worn and tired to care. Like with all things, problems were relative. If the restless dead hiding in his coffin decided to cause a problem, I’d back up and watch the fireworks. “I finished my other work for the morning, so I cleaned to make certain everything was ready for the viewing, sir.”

“Good job. Our clients will arrive soon. We’ll handle the rest from here. Mr. McGregor’s family is rather conservative, so if you could handle inventorying and cleaning the preparation and refrigeration rooms, that would be useful. Otherwise, go home.”

I didn’t need a diploma to read the writing on the wall. If I went home, I wouldn’t be invited back to work, which meant someone hadn’t done their job cleaning the basement.

The funeral home went through inspections once a month to keep its license, and we were due to have a government worker poking around the place. Plastering a smile on my face, I nodded. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me, sir.”

“Good. Call the main line if there are any problems.”

Once again, I read the writing on the wall: if I had any problems during the viewing, I would be in need of a new job.

I struggled to maintain a neutral, professional expression. To keep guests from wandering into the restricted parts of the funeral home, Director Hammel locked the stairwell door and turned off the lift. I’d spend the next six hours in the basement. After the surge of restless dead and corpse possessions, the funeral home boasted reinforced lower level walls and doors, fashioned of a mix of concrete and steel to keep the bodies contained should they decide to get up and take a walk.

Fortunately, excluding Old Man McGregor, we only had two bodies in storage, and John Doe had been in our freezer since before I’d been born. If he decided to get up, they’d hear my screams in the next state. While the rules kept changing, one thing stayed the same: the older the corpse, the stronger the undead it became. I hadn’t seen Mr. Doe, but I sometimes heard Director Hammel talk about him in hushed, fearful tones.

Nothing scared Director Hammel except our John Doe.

The other body we had didn’t worry anyone; the vampire wasn’t going anywhere until someone reattached his limbs and revived him with a lot of blood. I wasn’t sure why we kept the vampire on ice, but someone from the CDC came once a month, along with the funeral home inspector, to make sure he remained as alive as an undead got. I’d gotten to take a look at the vampire, as Director Hammel wanted to make certain I knew to avoid the sleepers in the freezer.

All in all, I didn’t care about either corpse. Unless I put my throat to the vampire’s mouth, he couldn’t hurt me. As for John Doe, I wasn’t sure what I thought about him.

While I wanted to curse over my foul luck, I kept smiling, grabbed my purse and coat, and descended into the basement. I made it all of two steps before the lock clicked behind me.

“Asshole,” I muttered, shaking my head and reaching for switches. I flipped three of the five, bathing the stairwell and landing below in a yellowed light. The stench of embalming fluid burned my nose, and I turned on the ventilation fans so I wouldn’t suffocate before the end of the viewing.

When I found out who had left the basement a reeking hell hole, there’d be a third body in the freezer. In prison, I could study and pretend I had a future, and I’d do so on the government’s dime until they kicked me out and made me finish my term doing community service. Curling my lip in a snarl, I stomped down the steps and aimed for the disposal bin meant for the latex gloves. I caught it with my foot and launched the damned thing through the open doorway.

It crashed onto the metal table bolted to the preparation room floor.

“What’s the fucking point of having a three-inch thick containment door if it’s open all the time? I’m surrounded by brain-dead idiots.”

“Yes, you are,” a husky, deep voice replied. “I was wondering who they’d sacrifice to me first. I knew the scarecrow would hide, but I thought he’d betray the whiner first. How disappointing.”


Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

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Release Blitz: The Cupid Crawl by Hank Edwards #LGBTQ #RomCom @hanksbooks

Title: The Cupid Crawl

Series: A Williamsville Inn Story (can be read as a stand alone)

Author: Hank Edwards

Publisher: Startled Monkeys Media

Release Date: 4/20/2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 189 pages

Genre: Romance, romantic comedy

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Synopsis

What happens when a confirmed hook up app user falls for a man who is his polar opposite?

Carter Walsh will be alone on Valentine’s Day, and his plans include a candy sampler of hook ups.
But after learning about the Cupid Crawl—a bar crawl covering a half dozen bars, gay and straight—he changes his plans.

During the crawl, he runs into:

An ex-co-worker nemesis who resurrects—loudly—an unfortunate nickname she bestowed upon him years before.

Several hot men eager for a quick hook up.

And one man absolutely not Carter’s type, but who manages to pique his interest and, possibly, steal his heart.

The Cupid Crawl is a funny, sweet, and steamy opposites attract, slight age gap story that takes place in the Williamsville Inn series world, and features characters from the Christmas stories “Snowflakes and Song Lyrics” by Hank Edwards and “Snowstorms and Second Chances” by Brigham Vaughn.

Excerpt

The organizer, Vic, led the way, squeezing past the men and women standing in the doorway and forging a path for Carter to follow. At first, Carter thought he was way overdressed. The men he slid past were shirtless, some wearing just white loin cloths or even cloth diapers along with feathered wings strapped around their broad chests. These men gave him a brief glance, maybe a quick smile, but were busy talking to each other or women who were also baring a lot of skin. Didn’t these people realize it was February in Boston?

When he reached the bar, Carter was relieved to see people wearing shirts and pants instead of just diapers and short shorts. Vic leaned in over the bar and said to the bartender, “Don, this is my good friend, Carter. Put his first two drinks on my tab.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that,” Carter insisted. “I have money.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Carter,” Vic said. “The first two drinks are on me to help you relax. I’m going to make a round of the bar, but when I return, I hope to find you talking with someone, and not just leaning on the bar all alone.”

“I know how to socialize,” Carter said.

“Oh, I’m sure you do.”

Vic winked again before threading his way through the crowd, greeting people as he slid past them. Carter ordered a beer from Don, and then fished a couple of singles out of his wallet for a tip. He lifted his bottle to salute Don and had just taken a swig when a piercingly high voice shrieked from just behind him. The sound startled him so much he choked on his beer and started to cough. He turned, coughing and sputtering, and squinted through his tears at the woman standing behind him.

Auburn hair done up tall, bright green eyes that could be nothing other than colored contact lenses, a pert, upturned nose, and a broad mouth filled with teeth laser-whitened to solar flare level.

Carter’s heart stuttered with surprise and dread as he struggled to clear his airway.

“I saw you walk in and had to come over and see if it was really you!” she exclaimed.

With a final clearing of his throat, Carter managed a smile and said, “Lizzie. Hello! What a treat to see you.”

Lizzie’s smile widened even further and she crossed her arms. It was then Carter noticed she wore what looked like a sports bra with a pair of white wings strapped to her shoulders, and a sheer white shift around her waist that showed off a pair of black panties trimmed with lace.

“As I live and breathe,” Lizzie said with a shake of her head. “Carter the Farter.”

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Meet the Author

Hank Edwards (he/him) has been writing gay fiction for more than twenty years. He has published over thirty novels and dozens of short stories. His books fall into many sub-genres, including romance, rom-com, contemporary, paranormal, suspense, mystery, and wacky comedy. He has written a number of series such as the suspenseful Up to Trouble, funny and spooky paranormal out for you gay romance Critter Catchers, Old West historical horror of Venom Valley, the erotic and funny Fluffers, Inc. series, and the funny and thrilling Lacetown Murder Mysteries series co-written with Deanna Wadsworth. No matter what genre he writes, Hank likes to keep things sweet, steamy, and fun. He was born and still lives in a northwest suburb of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, where he shares a home with his partner of over 20 years and their two cats.

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Book Blitz: Planning for Love by Christi Barth #contemporaryromance

Planning for Love
Christi Barth
(Aisle Bound #1)
Publication date: May 11th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

In the harsh spotlight of reality television, a romance-a-holic wedding planner tries to snare the anti-Cupid.

Chicago wedding planner Ivy Rhodes lives and breathes romance. She won’t let anything burst the perfect bubble of happiness she creates for her clients. So she’s immediately on guard when a reality television crew appears to tape one of her weddings. Tall, blonde and sexy, the cameraman’s a relentless flirt, and Ivy follows his easygoing charm straight into the bedroom.

Ever since a scandal ended his career as a news videographer, Bennett Westcott is relegated to filming reality catfights and bridezillas. His latest assignment comes with the bonus of a gorgeous wedding planner. But Ivy ruins their one-night stand by turning too serious too quickly. Although a big fan of lust, Ben’s allergic to love. He rejects her and everything she holds dear, leaving her brokenhearted.

The network builds a reality show around Ivy, Planning for Love. She signs the contract before learning the man who shredded her heart into confetti will spend the next three months filming her. Suddenly Ben has to spend every day with the woman he knows he shouldn’t be with, but can’t resist. And Ivy’s stuck wondering, how do you plan for happily ever after when the guy you want doesn’t believe in it?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“I want to taste you, Ivy.” The scrape of his feet against the stones came to a halt. A gentle nudge with his forehead tipped her head back. Their eyes locked. “Why don’t we get a jump on the inevitable? Because I don’t want to wait another moment.”

Ivy had a split second to decide. Stick to her guns—and her professional ethics—and slip out of his arms? Or stay and lock lips with a super sexy man in the moonlight? Really, it was easiest to not decide at all. Her eyelids drifted shut as she waited for Ben to make his move. And waited. Nothing happened. She peeked out from beneath her lashes to see the merest hint of a smirk lifting the edges of Ben’s mouth. Her eyes flew open the rest of the way.

“What? What happened to the tasting and the moment?”

“The moment’s not right until you decide to commit to it. I promised earlier I wouldn’t steal any more kisses from you. Kissing is interactive. A two-way street. You’ve got to choose to slide behind the wheel and turn the key.”

Why did men turn everything in life into a car metaphor? Well, she could play along. Despite showing every sign of being something of a player, Ben had shown her, with that one little pause, that he also had bucket loads of integrity. No sane, single woman could turn down an honest to goodness gentleman. They were a rare breed, and she didn’t intend to waste this particular chance sighting. Time to seize the day…or at least what was left of the night.

“Oh, my motor’s fully revved. You’d better buckle your seatbelt, Mr. Westcott.”

Ivy tightened her grip around his neck and went up on her tiptoes to reach his mouth. The mouth she’d stared at off and on all day, remembering the firm albeit brief feel of his lips against hers. He wasn’t the only one who wanted a taste. She puckered up and planted a soft kiss. And then Ben quite expertly elbowed his way back into the driver’s seat.

His lips slanted hard across hers, instantly ratcheting the level of heat up from tender to full on sizzle. This was no getting-to-know-you smooch. Ben claimed her mouth with possessive pressure. His teeth nibbled open her lips, allowing his tongue to sweep inside. Her moan of pleasure was all the urging he needed to slide his hands down to not only cup her ass, but lift her off the ground.

Ivy’s world spun. Under the spell of the spring night, she’d yearned for nothing more than a touch, a quiet kiss. She’d wanted a sip of water to slake her lustful thirst. Instead, Ben’s kisses drowned her in a downpour of passion and heat. The arch of her foot curved around his calf, looking for something to ground her. Each stroke of his tongue ignited an array of sparks behind her closed eyes. He tore his mouth away but hovered his lips a breath away from hers. Eyes heavy lidded, he moved not at all, aside from the pounding of his heart thumping through his tuxedo shirt. Suddenly, she realized what he waited to hear.

“Okay, Ben. You’ve convinced me to have a drink with you.”

A hum of approval sounded low in his throat. He buried his face in the curve of her neck. And then from somewhere behind them, a short high gasp, and the unmistakable crash of glass breaking on the stone floor. Ben’s grip bobbled, but he didn’t drop her.

“Get your hands off my friend’s ass right now, or I’ll call in someone a lot bigger than me to make you.”


Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes award-winning contemporary romance, including the Naked Men and Aisle Bound series.

Christi can always be found either whipping up gourmet meals (for fun, honest!) or with her nose in a book. She lives in Maryland with the best husband in the world.

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Wolfsblood by Marteeka Karland #paranormalromance @MarteekaKarland

Wolfsblood (Wolfsblood 5)

Cover Art by Marteeka Karland

 

In Earth’s brutal future, humans are no longer at the top of food chain. Paranormals roam the frozen wastes, predators as protective as they are dangerous — especially when it comes to their chosen mates.

Snow Wolf: Xander needs no one, but the woman calls to the Vampire within, daring him to take her. Instinct wouldn’t allow him not to hunt her, especially with another male sniffing around what is his by right.

Fire Wolf: Logan knows the second he scents the little fire wolf she’s his mate. Convincing a Wolfsblood to mate with a Lionsblood, though, will be a tall order. Fortunately, he’s up to the task.

Shadow Wolf: Leiah has no clue what she’s in for when Shadow Wolf Rikker claims her and threatens to take her from the only family she’s ever known. Can two Shadow Wolves find a balance before Leiah’s pack is torn apart?

Savage Wolf: Bred for battle, Lyndal’s nature demands conflict. Felice’s Vampire nature demands blood. She doesn’t count on Lyndal weaving a sensual web around her…

Possession: Harael. Relaren. Valael. They’re predators. Killers. So how is it the three biggest, baddest Vampsblood out there have been undone by a mere slip of a girl — a human at that? They never saw this one coming. No one — not human, not Vampsblood — is going to come between Josette and her mates.

 

Available today at Changeling Press
preorder for May 15th at retailers
also in paperback at Amazon

 

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EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Marteeka Karland
Excerpt from Snow Wolf

Xander’s anger was as cold as the frozen rain stinging every bit of his exposed flesh. He watched his prey with fury. How dare she? The Snow Wolf embraced a male of her kind before slipping into the small opening in the rock beneath the natural overhang.

As soon as he’d realized this was where she lived, Xander had scouted out the caverns until he knew them like the back of his hand. He’d only seen the woman from a distance, but her obvious familiarity with the other man put Xander in a killing rage. The unnatural attraction he had for a woman he’d never even met didn’t bother him in the least. It was what it was. Xander intended to take the woman for his own before the night was upon them, and that was all that mattered.

Soundlessly, he followed the couple into the cave beyond the rock wall. Only the slight sound of their distant voices deeper underground drifted to him, but it was enough. Xander followed, waiting for the moment the male turned away from her. He would not kill the man. Yet. If he proved to be too much of a nuisance later, though, Xander would eliminate the threat.

Knowing the caverns in this area well, Xander recognized the direction his woman and her companion headed, and he veered off. The farther away from them he was, the less likely they’d know he followed. Crawling through smaller crevices, he made his way to the community buried deeply in this particular branch off the Mammoths. It was getting late, and Xander knew the woman would make her way to her residence soon. He intended to be there waiting on her. It was time he claimed what was his.

Never had a woman intrigued him like she did. The pull toward her was unbreakable, and Xander wasn’t a man who fought his inner cravings. Being half Lionsblood, he recognized the call of a mate. Being half Vampire, he knew he could choose to ignore it, but he didn’t really want to. He wanted to explore her before he dismissed her. If he had her a time — or fifty — he could think again. All he had to do was work her out of his system, and he could move on with his life. Xander wasn’t made to be tied to someone. He was more animal than man.

It took only a few minutes to reach her den and enter through a crevice in an out-of-the-way corner she’d covered with a heavy boulder, presumably to keep out the draft as well as unwanted guests. Xander’s strength, however, was enormous. Not only did he have the enhanced strength of the Lionsblood, but he was gifted with many abilities of the Vampire as well. More so than even his brother, Shiffley. Shiffley had always helped humans, even before he met the female he’d mated with. Now, he was positively smitten. Xander refused to be like that. He was a loner, pure and simple.

Once inside, he surveyed her room with a critical eye. There were several small feminine articles — pastel bed coverings, scented candles, a colorful vase, and a small bar of scented soap — but nothing masculine. Good. She didn’t share her living space with the man. That would have been unfortunate.

For the man.

Situating himself in one of the darkened corners, Xander settled in to wait. Which he did. For over two hours. To say Xander was in a foul mood by the time the door to her den opened was a severe understatement. To put it mildly, he was seething. He waited until she was in the room and the door firmly shut behind her before making her aware of his presence.

“Where the hell have you been?” He growled, the question so full of menace Xander half expected her to run screaming from the room. Lesser men and women had in the past.

Not his woman. She merely looked around until she spotted him where he leaned against the wall.

Xander straightened then and stalked toward her. He didn’t move quickly, but took his time, approached her warily. No doubt she’d bolt at any second.

“I wondered when you’d finally get around to joining me.” Her tone was mild, not in the least distressed. If he hadn’t known better, he might have suspected she knew he’d been following her. “Have a seat. I’ll make us some tea.” She gestured toward the small couch, the only piece of furniture in the room other than her bed. Lighting a small lamp set in a natural alcove in the rock, she set about her task, not once looking back at him.

Of all the things Xander had expected, this wasn’t one of the options. The Snow Wolf acted as if this were an everyday occurrence to her. He wondered exactly how many men she’d entertained here.

Immediately, he tried to tamp down on the inquiry because it sent his temper spiraling out of control.

The Snow Wolf turned to him as if sensing his rage, her face serene. She might have been in the room with a close friend for all the fear she showed. She didn’t seem to consider herself in any danger at all. “Drink this.” She handed him a cup of dark, steaming liquid. “It will help ease your discomfort.”

On some level, Xander knew he should say something. He knew what he was feeling was so far out of the norm for him as to be on a completely different plane of existence.

Anger was nothing new to him. Everyone got angry. But the intense, rolling jealousy was something else altogether. He knew it, but seemed helpless to stop it. What the hell was happening to him?

 

About Marteeka Karland

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Marteeka at Changeling Press |Website

 

The Hunter’s Bride by Alexa Piper #paranormalromance #vampires @prowlingpiper

The Hunter's Bride (Dusk & Dawn 1)

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

 

Maxim, tall, whimsical, and a vampire, wants to hire a curator for his art collection. Robyn, a newly minted art historian looking for a job, loves fine art and old stuff, and Maxim soon realizes she is not just perfect for the job, but also for him.

Robyn never liked prejudices against vampires, werewolves, or Fae, but the moment she starts working for a vampire, things appear less black and white, especially when she begins to fall for her new boss.

Robyn and Maxim’s young love will have to overcome odds and odd vampires who take issue with the fact that Maxim happens to be a vampire hunter who doesn’t shy away from decapitating his own kind.

 

Get it today at Changeling Press
or preorder for May 15th at retailers

 

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EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Alexa Piper

Brian seemed to be slipping. He’d called up to tell Maxim of the interviewee’s arrival only about twenty seconds before the elevator had dinged, which barely gave Maxim the time to refresh his memory in regard to her name.

Heath had left a file on his desk titled Interviews, and Maxim had complained at the sheer lack of imagination that was obvious in that title. Heath had used magic marker to write it, though, and Maxim had wondered, out loud, if Heath had missed the developmental stage crayons were clearly meant for. Upon which Heath had broken into verbiage that came odorously dripping from the verbiage gutter. Heath had informed him that he, Maxim, best not pull any of this bodily refuse with the artsy people. They were, after all, artsy people and not likely to enjoy such shenanigans, at least if Heath’s soliloquy was to be believed. It was a shame the creativity he had displayed in his colorful speech had not translated into the simplistic title of the file that had sparked it.

“Robyn with a y,” Maxim mumbled to himself as he walked toward the elevators. “Y, y, y… Why would whiskey-vending witches want vigor with their witchy wits?” He pushed a strand of his hair back behind his shoulder and put on a smile. He could smell the interviewee even before he saw her, some perfume he didn’t know, light and floral, forgettable as Valentine’s Days spent alone. The scent underneath that was sunshine-warmed skin, a slight note of crushed cardamom pods. A shame to hide that with such perfume.

When Maxim laid eyes on the interviewee, he could feel his pupils spill black, and he immediately understood why Brian had taken so long to pick up the phone. Robyn with a y Somerton was gorgeous, though very much on the skinny side, always something that made Maxim’s memories of hunger float back to the surface of his mind, no matter how long ago that had been. Her hair was dark and wonderful, lush ebony, and her gray eyes and pale skin made her deep purple dress look even better on her. But damn it, he had promised Heath.

“Miss Somerton, thanks for coming in for the interview. My name is Maxim Vallois. I believe you talked to my assistant over the phone?” Now, there’s some perfect manners for you right there, Heath. If only that dhampire brat were here to see it.

The shock on her face at seeing Maxim and realizing what he was would have been amusing, should have been amusing, but for the first time in decades, Maxim felt futile fury at the reaction rise inside of him. She did go a shade paler, though, which was pretty.

“Y-yes. About the curator position?” she said, catching herself rather quickly and reining her expression back into normal. Maxim liked her voice. It was calm, not shrill. Heath sometimes brought home shrill, and that was usually headache inducing, rhetorically speaking. Maxim did not actually get headaches.

“Certainly. Please, come in.” Part of him wondered whether she would run. She was wearing terrible heels for that, and because he cared and paid attention, Maxim was pretty sure she was already headed for at least one blister on her left heel. Maxim had never understood heels, nor foot binding. He had understood what it said about having power over women, but he’d loathed that, loathed that society made it necessary for women to give that power.

Not the time to wax philosophical, Maxim reminded himself. Heath, if he were here and not away doing something that had to do with banks and money, would have been seething in the acid of his own glaring stares already. Stares glare glistening staffs of seeping solace. Not my best one, Maxim thought.

Robyn with a y came forward. Clearly she had decided running would be stupid. Mmh, Heath. Did you get me a final girl? Maxim filed that as a nice line for later. When he would tell Heath he wanted Robyn with a y. He wasn’t even sure why. It sure as bodily refuse wasn’t the cheap perfume, and it wasn’t the mildly scrawny look that Maxim found mildly headache inducing. Perhaps it was that stare of not quite fear but close enough to fear. Or lust at first sight? Who knows. Whatever the why, Maxim wanted her.

Of course Maxim couldn’t just spring this on Y Robyn. It would sound as if he were planning to make her a plaything, something Maxim knew good and well vampires did. He could go off on a whole other tangent about that nasty habit. He had to at least give Y Robyn the impression she had won the job, and of course he needed to be able to tell Heath as well, so he led her to the cluttered table he had lovingly prepared for the magic marker interview.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” Y Robyn said when he shook her hand. “You know how fickle the subway can be.”

“I don’t, actually. But it’s no trouble. This way.” He made a mental note of checking out the subway. It might be fun, ethnologically speaking.

When Y Robyn saw his table, she summed it up wonderfully concisely. “Wow,” she said, and Maxim glanced at her saucer wide eyes and at the appealing slackness of her drooping jaw.

 

About Alexa Piper

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Her retelling of Dracula, A Tale of Honey and Garnet Wine, might be a cursed manuscript, and every writer should have at least one of those. She also loves writing series, and her Fairview Chronicles follow a ragtag gang of supernaturals who try to make their city safer. Mostly. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!

Alexa at Changeling Press | Website| Facebook

 

The Beta’s Spitfire by Gale Stanley #paranormalromance @GaleStanley

The Beta's Spitfire (Utopia 2)

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

 

Samson: Levi and I have always been best friends. Now he’s the pack Alpha and I’m his beta, a.k.a. the man who cleans up after his shit storms. This one is a doozy. He dumped his intended bride, and now it’s my job to take care of her while he goes off to find his soulmate. Delilah is beautiful, a real spitfire, and completely off limits. But she ignites a fire that makes my wolf sit up and howl.

Delilah: I was meant to be the mate of an Alpha, so l accepted an arranged marriage with Levi. But the arrogant jerk dumped me right before the wedding. I’m no damsel in distress, so I took off for New York to live a life of independence. Along the way, I was kidnapped and my situation became desperate. When Samson came to my rescue, I never expected him to claim me for himself.

 

Available today at Changeling Press
or preorder at retailers for May 15th

 

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EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Gale Stanley

Samson

I’ve always been an early riser. Good thing too, because Levi left me a ton of work. I showered and dressed, then headed for Levi’s house.

The front door opened to the living room, which had been converted to Levi’s office. Despite the many shelves and file cabinets lining the white walls, the room remained in a perpetual state of clutter and disorganization. Sighing at the mess, I headed to his kitchen to make myself coffee. I took a few sips, and then carried my mug back to the office and placed it next to the desktop computer.

The computer was grimy and old, like everything else in Levi’s office. I logged on and waited for it to power up. It took forever. I’d replaced the power supply, added RAM, and updated the operating system, but it was already obsolete. I had begged Levi to let me renovate the office, but we always had the argument. “The pack doesn’t have money for nonessentials.”

“Bullshit.” I knew Levi wasn’t tech savvy and he felt intimidated by computers. “Keeping up with technology is essential.”

“My old man never used one when he was Alpha, and he did okay.”

“Things are different today.”

“Not for me, Samson. I’m a hands-on guy. I don’t need a tricked up office and flashy equipment. When my father was Alpha he solved problems by using his head and real physical work, not these so-called laborsaving devices. All they do is keep an Alpha from interacting with his pack.”

I gave up trying. “Okay, man. Whatever you say.”

Even if Levi thought I was right, he would never admit it. Levi was my best friend, but he had a big ego and didn’t take advice well, especially from his second in command. I was good enough for the grunt work and maintaining law and order, but when it came to running the pack, my opinions didn’t count.

The rest of Levi’s house wasn’t much better than the office. To say it needed work was an understatement. The old clapboard two-story house sat next door to his parents’ home and had been furnished with their castoffs, right down to the floral print couch. There were two bedrooms and a bath on the second floor.

I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t fixed the place up for his intended bride, but then Levi had never showed much interest in Delilah. The day she arrived he took off for some appointment and he’d been doing it ever since, leaving me to fill in as escort and bodyguard for the stunning redhead.

Delilah was a real looker. Smart as a whip, too. She-wolves are supposed to do as they’re told, but Delilah had a mind of her own. Levi complained plenty about her independent streak. His Alpha ego demanded a more compliant mate. Not me. I want a strong woman I can talk to, an equal, a partner. But I wasn’t likely to find one in our pack. We outnumber the women two to one.

Tradition holds that a wolf will know his true mate, but with so few women to pick from, a guy can’t rely on destiny. That’s why Levi’s father ignored the old ways and went outside the pack to find him a suitable mate. If I didn’t choose a woman soon and start breeding, Levi might do the same for me.

Reproduction was a top priority for us. So was keeping the bloodline pure. I understood the reasons, but letting an Alpha pick my wife, even if he was my best friend, didn’t appeal to me. Still, I was a loyal pack member and I’d probably go along with Levi’s wishes like I always had.

Right now, that loyalty was driving me crazy. Levi had me babysitting a woman I’d rather be fucking. Her scent drove me crazy, and every time I laid eyes on her, I got tongue-tied. He might not want her, but that didn’t mean I could have her. According to the bro code a bro’s ex-girlfriend is off-limits.

So here I was, drooling over Delilah, while I made up excuses to explain Levi’s absence. I knew Delilah didn’t believe me and I felt like a heel.

I was pretty sure he was fucking someone. We hold she-wolves to a strict standard of conduct. No sex until marriage. The same didn’t hold true for our men. We could screw around as much as we wanted. It was hypocritical, but it was for the good of the pack, so no one disputed it. Except Delilah. I overheard her yelling at Levi once. She accused him of bringing her to the Adirondacks to be his broodmare. I had to bite my lip so they wouldn’t hear me laughing. Like I said, she’s feisty.

Sighing, I started putting together the end of the month financial reports. The keyboard had been used so much all the letters were worn off. Good thing I knew them by heart. One of the keys started sticking. Luckily, I was done.

I took a swallow of my coffee and listened to the voicemail. My ears perked up when I heard Levi’s voice. Maybe he was coming home, finally.

“Hey, Samson, I’m on my way home and I’m bringing my new wife. Uh, do me a favor, buddy. Can you straighten up the house? Thanks. I owe you one.”

“What the fuck? You owe me a hell of a lot more than one, you son of a bitch.”

To say I was stunned was an understatement. The only tail Levi had been chasing was the demiwolf he’d fucked at his bachelor party. She was one hot stripper, but he should have stuck with humans. Messing with a half-breed can get complicated. But it was his bachelor party, and, like I said, he never listened to me.

What should I tell his parents? And Delilah?

I smelled her before I saw her. Delilah’s tantalizing scent hit me full force. My wolf stirred, randy and ready for business. I looked up and there she was, standing at the open door, the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen, a five foot four inch she-wolf with pale skin, flaming red hair, and bottle-green eyes. How could Levi have let her go?

 

About Gale Stanley

Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.

Some things never change.

Gale at Changeling Press | Website