Have you read Harley Wylde’s novel AGAINST THE WALL? For a limited time, you can enter to win the book plus 30 fantastic Steamy Contemporary Romances from an amazing collection of authors, AND a brand new eReader – just follow Harley and other great Steamy Contemporary Romance authors on BookBub! ✨✨✨✨
What does a bet between best friends have to do with a kidnapped cat and a tumbled-down animal shelter? Nothing, unless you are Adam Talcott and you want to prove to your best-buddy that you can survive without access to your wealth and family connections. Adam would have succeeded too, if it hadn’t been for Dierdre Clancy and that blasted cat.
Heat Rating: R
Balancing an armload of mail, an overloaded briefcase, and a gym bag with two yogurt cups teetering on top, Dierdre Clancy rushed to her cubicle. For the fourth time this week, and the umpteenth time this month, she was late. Once again, a power outage in the decrepit apartment building where she lived had caused her alarm clock to fail.
Please, Lord, don’t let my chauvinist pig of a boss realize I’ve been missing.
The yogurt cups threatened to topple off the gym bag. Dierdre wasn’t about to let her lunch decorate the linoleum. The mail showered to the floor. The briefcase hit her foot. With her free hand, she plastered the cups to her side. The gym bag slid down her arm. The webbed strap twisted, tourniquet style, around her wrist.
She managed a couple of sideways hops that brought her to the edge of her desk. The gym bag swung wildly. Leaning against the arm weighed down by the bag’s stranglehold, she managed to dump the yogurt cups onto the desk without mishap. She pulled herself upright and reached for the strap at her wrist.
Somehow, during all the hopping, the bag had swung around her legs and gotten wedged in the narrow space between her desk and file cabinet. The same strap that cut off circulation to her hand pressed into the backs of her knees, pinning her neatly to the desk. Only an act of extreme dexterity could save her from her own folly. Imbecile, why didn’t you make two trips?
Because I didn’t want to risk having the boss see me coming in late.
“Clancy! You’re late.”
Dierdre’s heart hit the ceiling. She knew the shout—a cross between an operatic tenor and a pig at slaughter. Still, she hadn’t been prepared to hear her boss’s screeching quite so soon.
Dierdre Clancy grew up in a family of givers. Her parents were missionaries and often too busy saving other, less privileged people to realize how lonely and abandoned Dierdre felt. When she reached her teen years, she was shipped back to the USA to live with her Aunt Shea on Shea’s rundown farm and animal shelter. Finally she was in a stable environment with an adult she could count on. Dierdre went on to gain a degree in social work and took up the Clancy family tradition of helping others. Most of the time helping others was easy. But Adam Talcott broke that mold and every other box she tried to put him into. How could one man be so difficult to manage?
Adam Talcott was born rich. He went into business with his best friend from college and made even more millions. His methods may be unorthodox, but he nearly always succeeds. Now he’s been challenged to live for two months without any of the privileges and resources he’s known all his life. Adam is confident that he can conquer this challenge as he has all others. But he didn’t count on Dierdre Clancy and that danged cat.
Ramblin’ Notes from the Author… Depression and the Will to Work
I have been self-employed for more than ten years now. I have been manic-depressive (now known as Bi-polar Disorder) all of my life. That’s more than sixty years, so I’ve got a lot of experience with emotional highs and lows. I won’t go into the technical history of depression and mania other than to say we know way more now than we did when I was young. Yet we still know too little about how emotions work, leaving us with the conclusion that every person’s experience is unique.
My experience of mania is that it’s a lot of fun. I get this extended burst of energy and enthusiasm. I accomplish goals and finish tasks at an amazing rate. As an author, mania means I make huge amounts of progress on my writing projects. All I have to do to get work done is willit. I feel as if, with enough time, I could climb mountains and solve-world problems. I feel “normal.” I’m not, but I feel that way.
However, mania doesn’t last. The slide from mania to depression is insidious for me. I rarely recognize when it’s happening. Tasks that were easy become increasingly difficult. Goals are nearly never met. No amount of will can help me write or accomplish other projects. And then there’s the anger.
Yes anger. Remember, I’m writing about my experience. I’m an author not a doctor (,Jim). The frustration of not achieving at my ‘normal’ or ‘manic’ rate is tremendous. When I’m in a depressive state I can’t write. The ideas are there but I just don’t have the will to write them down. I don’t know who to blame for this, nor do I immediately recognze depression as the cause. Something unidentifiable is making me depressed. I blame all sorts of things, because I’m not performing at manic levels. And I’m angry because a) I can’t achieve at the same rate as when I’m “normal” or manic, and b) becasue in the moment I can’t recognize that it’s my own mental chemistry that is the root cause.
Life was this endless cycle of emotional highs and lows until nearly fifty years after I was born–fifty years of living with this endless cycle–I finally gave in and decided that I needed medication. I won’t tell you what I take. What works for me may not work for you or someone you love who struggles with manic-depression. Please seek professional help if you’re suffering any kind of mental distress. I will tell you that I am very, very lucky. My medical team hit the right medication on the first try. We spent several months finding the right dosage. Close to two decades after making that decision, I still take the same medication. And I take it religiously.
The medication helps me recognize what point I’m at in my manic-depressive cycle. I can listen to myself complaining that I “can’t get anything done,” that “the writing isn’t working,” and recognize that is a symptom of my depression rather than a condition that someone or something else imposed on me. I can express enthusiasm and enjoy the mania at the same time that I can recognize it for what it is–a symptom of Bi-polar Disorder. The medication doesn’t make my symptoms go away. It does help me recognize what’s happening with my mental state. That recognition has been a literal life-saver.
It has also saved my writing career. Now, when I go more than two or three days without writing or doing the myriad other things a self-employed author must do, I understand that my mental state is the root cause. I can overcome depression and mania both. But it takes a force of will. Medication doesn’t cure my problem. Medicaton makes it manageable. And managing any sort of career, writing included takes the will to work. The will do sit in the chair and type. The will to contact reviewers, and bloggers, and social media outlets and interact with them on a continuing basis whether I ‘feel like it’ or not. The will to format my books for sale, and set them up for distribution. The will to maintain and improve my website. The will to do so many, many things that make up my work. The same is true for all of us, but especially those who suffer emotional dis-orders. The will to work is an absolute necessity in your arsenal of tools for combating whatever emotional problem(s) you might have.
I have one request. Normally I’d ask you to comment, and I would still love for you to do that. More important to me, is that you seek help. Don’t go fifty years, as I did, before asking for help. Keep asking, keep searching, never give up. A solution for emotional distress is out there. You can find the solution that works for you. However, no matter what you are feeling at any given moment, you must have the will to continue. The will to do your personal work. Give yourself that much. Determine. Be stubborn. Will yourself to do what must be done, and that is to get help.
PS: This has been a rather serious RAmble. But it does include one bit of fun. Can you spot it? Comment here if you do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Rue Allyn, I write heart melting romance novels. Books about characters and adventures in which love triumphs at the darkest moment. The kind of hopeful, steal-your-breath romance that melts a reader’s heart. The type of book I like to read. Hope you will too.
In the fifth book in the Time For Alexander series, the Thief of Souls has stolen Alexander’s soul, and the druids have foretold the end of their world and have raised an army to kidnap Paul. They mean to stop Rome from invading Gaul and thus change the course of time. Meanwhile, an oracle tells Alexander and Ashley they must go to the Land of the Eaters of the Dead.
Paul has stowed away on their ship, and Nearchus has decided that now is the time to profess his love to Alexander. To further complicate things, Charidmus, an old foe of Alexander’s, recognizes him and realizes he hasn’t died. Ashley knows she must stop the druids, find the Thief of Souls, keep Charidemus quiet, somehow get Nearchus out of their bed, and time back on track – or the Time Senders are going to have a fit. There’s also a small matter of a human sacrifice with Alexander as the chosen victim. What’s a time traveler to do?
‘Who is Voltarrix, and what is a thief of souls?’ I asked Yovanix, the Gallic slave who had joined us on our voyage.
‘In Celtic myth, it’s a druid who can steal souls.’ He made a face. ‘I’m not explaining this very well. I’m not Celt you see. But if Anoramix was afraid of him, I would be frightened too. Anoramix was never afraid of anything, not even death. There’s one last thing I should tell you.’ He licked his lips nervously. ‘Selena told me never to trust you. She said you were really Persephone, the Queen of Ice and Darkness, and that your heart was like a stone.’
‘She was still upset about Anoramix,’ I said uncertainly.
‘She blamed you for his death and wanted revenge. She forbade me to tell you that Voltarrix is still seeking Paul. She said that Paul would never be safe, and that no one could protect him.’
‘What does he want with Paul?’
Yovanix spoke as if weighing his words. ‘If it’s true Iskander lost his soul, I think I know why. If Voltarrix captured Paul and put Iskander’s soul in his body, can you imagine what would happen? Paul can no longer call the moon, but he can grow up to lead an army. The Druids are starting to feel the end of their world approaching. They speak of only one thing now; stopping the Romans before it’s too late. Some think it’s already too late. Voltarrix is one of the old ones who believe that time can be twisted.’
‘Twisted?’ I echoed. My voice sounded odd.
‘The druids believe that time can be changed, like a river’s course. They can change it, slow it, or speed it up. With enough work, they can even make it flow backward. Time is the foundation of the druid’s religion’
It was starting to make sense. Time. The Aztecs had foreseen the date their empire would topple, and they had tried to turn back time with their ceremonies. Nothing had worked for them. Nothing would work for the druids. The Romans would take over and usher in the modern world. Unless a boy, who never should have been born, somehow changed time. It was conceivable – there were still two hundred years. After that, nothing would halt the inexorable march of the Roman Empire and the event that changed the world; the birth of Christ. But suppose the druids somehow managed to unite the Norsemen, Celts, and Gauls against the Romans? What if Paul were somehow the catalyst? Paul – with Iskander’s soul.
I took a deep breath. I would have to think about this. There were three people in the world who should never have been born: Paul, Chiron, and Cleopatra – and I was not supposed to be in this time or place. Anyone of us could, conceivably, change the world. A butterfly’s wings indeed.
Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories..
This is just a partial list of some of the awesome romance books that became available today. I have a few favorite authors on this list, and quite a few books that I’ve already pre-ordered. Can’t wait to dive into my TBR pile later today!
Is there a book coming out this month you’re especially looking forward to? I’d love to hear about it! I’m always looking for new, or new-to-me, authors — as long as it’s romance.
Twelve years ago, the government told Evie that the man she loved was dead. They lied. Now she will risk everything to get him back, even if he doesn’t remember her…
Freelance tech Evie Contreras works for the Pacifica Protectorate, the “perfect society” that rose from the ruins of the West Coast after Civil War II. But Evie knows about Pacifica’s festering core and the secrets that keep it in power. And when she discovers that Pacifica turned her fiancé Ben into a cyborg soldier/slave, she will risk everything to rescue him.
Saving Ben is the first step in a deadly game between Pacifica and a shadowy resistance group known as Rubicon. In return for Rubicon’s help, Evie must retrieve a hidden artificial intelligence that may hold the key to protecting Earth from a deadly new disaster.
Nicola Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about science fiction, fantasy, and romance. When not writing about those things, she likes to make Stuff™. And she may be rather fond of absinthe.
While possessing a healthy interest in romance (and sex) since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to write about it. The skills picked up during her SF writing career transferred quite nicely to speculative romance. Her To Be Written work queue currently stands at around nineteen books, and her mojito-sodden Muse swans in from Bali every so often to add to the list, cackling to herself all the while.
What are some of the things you love most about summer? Vacations? Time to read? Not having to get the kids off to school early in the morning? As a writer, I work year-round and don’t really take vacations. I know, I should… but every time I go somewhere, my laptop goes with me, and I end up writing in the hotel at the end of the day.
But this summer, I haven’t gone anywhere overnight, and I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading. I thought I’d share some books that I’ve enjoyed so far this summer and some that I haven’t had a chance to read yet, even though they’re ready and waiting on my Kindle.
These are in no particular order… and in no way include every book I’ve read this summer (that would be a REALLY long list).
Fire in His Spirit by Ruby Dixon (love me some dragons!)
Rockaway Bride by Pippa Grant
Feeling Hot by Elle Kennedy
Playing House by Amy Andrews
Assassin Next Door by Eve Langlais
The Bad Girl and the Baby by Nina Croft
Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey
Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey
Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey
Creed (VLG series) by Laurann Dohner
Aveoth (VLG series) by Laurann Dohner
Beauty and the Geek by Sidney Bristol
Rescuing Emily by Susan Stoker
Playing Dirty by Amy Andrews
Werebear’s Baby Girl by TS Ryder
Taken by the Beast by Conner Kressley & Rebecca Hamilton
A Demon Stole My Kitty by Eve Langlais
Werebear’s Nanny by TS Ryder
Mustang by S. Cook
And whatever else catches my attention between now and when school starts in August… Have you read something this summer that you just couldn’t put down? Maybe a sizzling romance, or an achingly sweet story? I’d love to hear about your favorite summer read!
I also have a book that is available today at online retailers, written as Harley Wylde. Ryker is part of the multi-author Roosters series at Changeling Press. The Roosters books are all contemporary erotic romances, with arrogant alpha male heroes. My contribution, Ryker, is also an MC romance. While some of my Dixie Reapers characters make an appearance, this is not a Dixie Reapers book.
Ryker — After 20 years in the military, I find myself doing my dad’s dirty work. But as the “prince” of the Hades Abyss MC, it’s expected of me. Doing a little recon in a small Alabama town should have been boring as shit, until the hot little minx I met at a bar turned my life upside down. Women always fall at my feet, but this one was different. If I’d known she was a virgin, I might have backed away, but now that I’ve had a taste I just want to keep coming back for more. Little did I realize that I’d just fucked the sister of a Dixie Reaper, and my life was about to become all kinds of complicated. I had to wonder… had she fucked me because she wanted me? Or was it all some kind of setup?
Laken — My big brother Flicker is always ruining my fun, keeping the guys away from me, so when I finally get a chance for a hot guy to get rid of my V-card, I’m all for it. Ryker’s hot and has that alpha vibe, and the fact he’s ex-military just made me wetter. It never occurred to me that he was a biker, or that I might have just screwed up a big deal for the Dixie Reapers. It seems my sexy Ryker isn’t just some hot military guy. No, he’s the son of the President of the Hades Abyss MC. So I hide like big brother asks me to. Just one problem… Ryker doesn’t leave, and now I’m late. How am I supposed to tell Ryker that I’m carrying his child? When life fucks me over, it does it royally.