Just A Taste of “Tyranny” Bk 1 of The Goddesses Of Delphi

Just A Taste of “Tyranny” Bk 1 of The Goddesses Of Delphi

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About a year ago, I decided to try writing in a different genre. I’ve always written contemporary romances, but I was so intrigued by the idea of writing about Muses, gods, and goddesses that I just had to try. I’m biting my nails waiting on the release of this story. Here’s a little taste from the first meeting of immortal librarian Clio, Muse of History and Jax Callahan, a new professor:

Now she just had to figure out the best spot for the wet-floor warning. As she pivoted, the heavy wooden entry door swept inward again. A sudden gust of wind caught the door and propelled it toward Clio’s head. The dull thunk of the door connecting with her forehead rebounded in her ears. Glittering stars burst behind her eyes.

She stumbled backward, arms flailing. The safety cone flew from her grasp.

“Mother goddess!” The epithet burst from her lips before she could bite it back. Tears watered her vision as a large man reached for her. His big, warm hand wrapped around her arm and steadied her. A barrage of tiny, invisible arrows traveled from his fingertips up her arm.

“Oh, God! I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” When he spoke, his husky baritone voice vibrated through her chest.

She rubbed the tender spot on her head and blinked to clear the moisture from her eyes, bringing the man into focus.

Set under a pair of slashing brows, deep amber eyes reflected warmth and concern. A sexy scruff of midnight black whiskers covered a square jawline. His lips thinned and turned down in a frown. She took a step away, breaking the hold he had on her arm, and immediately missed the heat and comfort.

His broad shoulders, encased in a blue oxford cloth shirt, were wet from the rain. Drops of water sparkled on his cheeks and eyelashes. He probed his thumb over her forehead, gingerly testing the sore spot and rising lump there. When she flinched, he did as well.

She pushed his hand away. “I’m okay. I keep asking the administration to install glass entry doors to avoid things like this happening. Perhaps if I have a concussion, they’ll listen.”

“Oh, hell! Did I hit you that hard?”

She shook her head cautiously to make sure her brain didn’t rattle around. “No, I exaggerated.”

As much as it grieved her to do so, she turned from the man’s gaze and stooped to retrieve the wet floor sign. A moment later, she’d settled the bright yellow cone over a damp spot on the floor. Her thoughts still on the man next to her, she spun around to return to her work area. As she slipped on a slick spot, the stranger reached for her once again. One arm around her waist, the other grasping her arm, he kept her upright, balancing her against his solid body. He saved her from a mortifying tumble to the floor. Although, if he were a cushion, she’d gladly take a fall if landing on him was part of the cost. Preferably straddled on his lap.

And where in Zeus’s name had that thought come from?

Tyranny releases October 4, but is available for pre-order on Amazon

 

Just A Taste of “Conquering William” #3 Sir Arthur’s Legacy

Just A Taste of “Conquering William” #3 Sir Arthur’s Legacy

ConqueringWilliam - SarahHegger2If she lived to be a hundred, Alice never wanted to attend another wedding, particularly not as the bride. The odor of roasting meats almost undid her, and she took a long draught from her water goblet. A bride did not vomit all over her wedding feast.

Her father, face ruddy with wine, sidled up and pinched her side. “God’s teeth! Smile, you stupid wench. I have found you a good ‘un this time. Far better than a butter-face like you could hope for.” Goblet held high, he strode away, sprinkling wine across the heads of those he passed. His forced laughter grated on her ear.

To her right, her groom drank from his goblet. In a deep, smooth voice, he murmured to his mother on his other side. As he shifted, his muscular thigh pinned her skirt to the bench.

Loathe to draw his attention, Alice tugged the dull brown wool.
He inclined his head with a smile, moved his leg, and freed her skirt. “I beg your pardon.”

God save her from her beautiful husband. “No matter.”
“May I serve you more water?” Eyes deeper blue than the lake beneath the castle twinkled at her. Candlelight gleamed off his dark hair and clung to his finely etched face.

“Thank you, but nay.”

With another smile, he turned back to his mother.

She would prefer if he did not smile so much. Or did not smell so appealing. His subtle woodsy-sweet spice teased her every time he leaned nearer. He did quivering things to her innards. How could she hope to hold a man such as this? Atop the scarred table, their trencher sat between them, still full of mutton, gravy oozing into a brown puddle on the table. It couldn’t be worse. Her father had outdone himself this time. Three husbands he’d chosen for her and this one, by far, the most daunting.

Aye, but William of Anglesea would make fine children. Tall, strong boys, broad and powerfully built like their sire, and girls to take after his mother and sisters. A child of her own. A downy head nestled against her breast, a tiny body cradled in her arms. She touched her palm to her flat, empty belly, and put her hand back on the table before anyone could notice. Even butter- faces had dreams.

A jester before the dais capered about, ringing his bells and doing his best to enthuse the assembly with joviality. Poor man raised only titters of amusement. He must have come with her father for the wedding, for they had no resident jester at Tarnwych. A few determined souls cheered the jester on his way, and a band of minstrels took his place. The cheery pipes led the lutes into songs praising the bride’s beauty and the groom’s virility. Could they not spare her those? She’d wager the minstrels would change their songs when they left for the inn tonight.

The bawdy ballad of Alice of Tarnwych and William of Anglesea. She made up her own words to the cheerful wedding song the minstrel band warbled.

The peacock ruts with a dull, brown wren,

A dull brown wren, a dull brown wren

The peacock ruts with a dull, brown wren,

Fa, la, la, la la.

William, the peacock, with his striking looks and finery had stood beside her in the chapel, and the top of her head had only reached his shoulder. How the ladies in attendance had sighed as he dipped his dark head and recited his vows to her, the dull, little wren in her brown wool dress with her atrocious hair confined to a wimple. Both William’s sisters boasted glorious flaxen hair the hue of summer wheat, not brazen red. Willowy and graceful they glided in rich, silk slippers like butterflies, whilst she stomped around in her sensible clogs.

Sister Julianna leant in and kept her voice low. “This is a bad business. This family is sown with wild, spoiled seed.”

Then there was that. Whispers of the taint on Sir Arthur’s beautiful family carried even this far north.

“It is time.” Gracious and lovely, Lady Mary of Anglesea rose with a sweet smile for Alice. “Shall we?”

“Aye, let us get to the meat of the matter.” Smug grin eating his face, her father thumped the table.

Rising too, Sir William offered his hand to her. Grip warm and sure, he helped her climb over the bench, then straightened her skirts for her. No fault could she find with her groom’s manners. As far as she could see, he had no faults at all. Men like William should marry their faultless equals. How different would this be if she looked like his mother and sisters? If she could enter his bed with her head held high, confident in her groom’s delight in her beauty.

The other women stood with her. Lady Faye, flawless and serene in her pregnancy, golden hair framing her enchanting face. Her second new sister-in-law, Beatrice. Bea, they called her, and on occasion Sweet Bea. Not as fair as Faye, but her pretty countenance made more so by the lively march of humor across it.

God mocked her by surrounding her with all this overbearing comeliness.

“Come along, then.” Beatrice’s smile stretched false with forced good cheer. Nay, they no more welcomed this match for their brother than she did.

Another wedding night and she would endure.

 

Conquering William releases August 30th:

Amazon

iBooks

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Just a taste of Daughter of Darkness

Just a taste of Daughter of Darkness

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Daughter of Darkness is the sequel to Son of Thunder. Set in my Heavenly Wars universe the story deals with Tyr, the Norse God of Courage, and Nott, Goddess of the Night. In the following scene Tyr and Nott meet up after not seeing each other for over a thousand years:

***

The Kentucky Club had been famous in its day, known for inventing the Margarita. Icons like Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and Bob Dylan had walked through that door. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton toasted their divorce right there. The place was iconic and, back in the day, usually packed with patrons. Now it was too dangerous to visit.

The scents of smoke and stale beer hung in the air. An old, rough looking bartender dragged a dirty rag across the stained counter in the dimly lit barroom, his eyes dark with suspicion. A quiet tension filled the mostly empty barroom.

The single occupied table sat in the center of the room. Three men, one of them passed out on the floor by his chair, another dropping his head toward the table in defeat. The third man, raising a glass to his trembling lips, eyes glazed and bloodshot, would probably not survive the shot of tequila in his hand.

Then there was Nott. Tyr’s heart skipped a beat.

Mysterious. Exotic. Sexy as hell.

Even more stunning than he remembered, her beauty lit the room. In the thousand years since he’d last seen her, she’d only grown lovelier.

Breathe.

Damn, was he ready for this meeting?

The scene kindled a spark of familiarity. He cleared his throat, drawing her attention. “You’ve been watching too many movies, Nott.”

Her startling ebony eyes glinted in the dim light. “Well hello, Indiana Jones.”

The man with the shot glass growled. “Go away, gringo. The lady, she is mine.”

His words slurred. As he drew back his head to take the shot, his body followed, chair tipping back. With a crash, the man joined his companion on the floor, unconscious.

Nott pushed back her chair and stood. Tight black jeans accentuated the sleek lines of her long legs. Her leather jacket hung open revealing a black, half tee and the ivory skin of her bare midriff.

“Tyr.” Breathy, sensual. Amusement played across Nott’s face as she ran her tongue along her lower lip. Teasing, tempting. The woman exuded an aura of sensuality.

Captivated by her sexy eyes and breathtaking beauty, Tyr hardened. Damn. He didn’t have time for this.

He faked a casual stance as best he could. “There are very few gods in Asgaard you can’t drink under the table, Nott. Why pick on mortals?”

“These poor boys?” She raised an eyebrow and cocked a crooked smile his way. “They had a drug shipment heading north tonight. Looks like they won’t make it.”

He wasn’t surprised. He’d known her better than most of the other Norse gods, at least he had a thousand years ago. Her goals were noble. Her tactics, less so. “And what did you promise the winner?”

She raised her hands to the sky and did a slow pirouette. “A night in heaven, of course.”

***

Daughter of Darkness is available now at: https://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Darkness-Heavenly-Wars-Book-ebook/dp/B01FUO50EG

Steve

Just A Taste of The Sweetest Thing by Gemma Brocato

Just A Taste of The Sweetest Thing by Gemma Brocato

Box full of sweets with heart-shaped chocolates in the middle. A Valentine's Day gift.

I’ve been working on a project that features the sweetest research. The Sweetest Thing is about a woman who gambles on a new venture, selling artisan chocolates, and hits the trifecta with a new town, new friends, and a new love. But along the way, someone is betting against her. My research took me to the shops of  Christopher Elbow and Cocoa Dolce and on a rather long road trip to Durango, Colorado, where the story is set.

I hope you enjoy this taste of The Sweetest Thing.

Because her business model was based on online sales, she could work from anywhere. The move to Durango hadn’t been hard. It already felt like home when she drove up Main Avenue.

Sera set the bowl aside. After grabbing a large pan from near the stove, she walked to the sink. She was experimenting with a test batch today, praying she got the ingredients right this time. There was an exact science to the proportion of chili to chocolate. She planned to feature this sweet when she opened for business. She stuck the pan under the faucet and reached for the spigot but was interrupted.

“Hello?” A man called out from the front of the shop. “Anybody here?”

Damn. She’d forgotten to lock the front door when she walked in this morning. Again. There were signs all over the super-sized front windows that she’d open soon. But soon wasn’t right now. It took some chutzpah to barge in when it was clear she wasn’t open for business yet.

She set the pan aside. Wiping her hands on the towel draped over her shoulder, she walked to the retail area of the shop. She paused when she caught sight of her visitor, with his back to her, inspecting the drawings for the menu board she’d left on top of the antique display case.

He wore faded blue jeans that loosely concealed a fairly spectacular butt, at least from where she stood. The denim looked so soft she longed to run her fingers across it to see if it was. Across his jeans, not his butt. Although, she wouldn’t mind that either. A ponytail skimmed his very broad shoulders. Sera had always been a sucker for a long-haired man.

“May I help you?” Her cool, professional tone couldn’t be misinterpreted. Despite his physical appeal, what she was truly asking was what the hell he was doing in her store.

The guy turned and Sera’s heart stuttered. His chestnut hair, slightly gray at the temples, was swept back, exposing a sexy widow’s peak over dark brows and dancing hazel-green eyes. An aquiline nose perfectly complemented the straight white teeth exposed by his grin. Which was surrounded by a neatly trimmed mustache and goatee. A black T-shirt stretched over his chest, revealing well-defined pecs. Slanted red and white lettering read They said it couldn’t be done, so I did it anyway.

“Hi! I’m Logan Hamilton.” He stepped forward, extending his large hand, palm open and friendly.

A dragon tattoo snaked from the underside of his wrist, curling over the top. Not a fierce, mythical creature…more like Toothless. It seemed he had a sense of whimsy to match his good looks. When his hand enfolded hers, sharp heat thawed her cool demeanor. She felt the corners of her lips lift into a smile, the shift in her heart echoing the action.

“Seraphina Taylor.” The raspy quality of her voice startled her. But it might have had more to do with the fact that he didn’t automatically release her hand. God knew she didn’t want to let go of his.

Gemma Sig-1

Just A Taste of “Starlight” by Xio Axelrod

Just A Taste of “Starlight” by Xio Axelrod

FB ad3Starlight is book two of my FALLING STARS series and concludes (or does it?) the epic saga of Sam Newman and Valerie Saunders, two starstruck lovers that defy logic, social media, and their own personal baggage to find a way to one another.

In book one, Sam and Val spend months fighting the inevitable, while being forced to act out their desires on-screen. In book two, all bets are off. Here’s a little peek. [Read more…]

A little taste of Maybe Tomorrow

A little taste of Maybe Tomorrow

MaybeTomorrowCoverMaybe Tomorrow is a standalone novel in my Maybe… series. This time the story focuses on Henrik–Mads’s cousin–and Eddy–Laney’s cousin–and what happens when sparks fly between them one Sankt Hans aften in Copenhagen. Maybe Tomorrow will be available later this spring (I promise). Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads.  

 

“You know, we’ve met before,” he said as he lit my cigarette for me. “Twice before, actually.”

He had the most beautiful hands I’d ever seen. Long, elegant fingers. They looked as though they could just as easily play a piano sonata as sculpt a work of art.

“Have we?” I took a quick drag from my cigarette and pretended to watch the other wedding guests. Really I was giving him a quick once-over. Of course, I remembered him. How could I forget someone so tall and attractive? Especially after our Midsummer weekend. But I’d pretended all day I hadn’t remembered, that the alcohol and the crushing hangover that followed had erased every trace of that weekend.

“When Laney had Liv. We met at the hospital.” Now he paused to light his own cigarette. He took a long, slow drag and then exhaled as if he were savoring every ounce of smoke sliding from between his parted lips. I glanced away. “Granted, I wasn’t there long. I had to leave for the airport—”

“Where were you going?”

“What? Oh! To Spain. My parents moved there when they retired, and I’d promised I’d spend part of Christmas with them.”

“I don’t remember us meeting there.”

“No, well, Mads introduced us very quickly before he rushed off to be with Laney and the baby.”

I nodded, but it didn’t ring a bell. I remembered waiting in the hall with Mads’s grandmother. She was so excited—she kept telling me about how it had been the night Mads was born, how his father had sat with his head in his hands and sobbed, unable to digest the reality that he was now a father. I’d held Alma’s hand and smiled at her reminisces. I could still remember how she beamed when Mads came out to tell us the baby was okay, that she was breathing on her own but that she would have to be in ICU for a while. When I asked him about Laney, he was still shaking and he had to sit down. I could barely hear him when he murmured, “Min elskede Laney er okayj. Jeg troede, jeg kunne miste den begge…Åh gudskelov, hun er okay.” I have a vague recollection of other people being there, of crying and the all-consuming relief that Laney and the baby had made it through, but I couldn’t remember anyone else than Mads and Alma.

“Were you there when Mads told us about the emergency C-section?”

“I was…” Henrik flicked some ashes on the pale gravel. He laughed and shook his head. “I was sitting right beside you.”

“And the second time?”

“Midsummer…you stayed at my house. We…” He paused as if considering his next words. I wanted to apologize for pretending not to remember him when we both knew I was lying. But he saved me by nodding in the direction of the party and saying, “I think our bride and groom are going to have their first dance.”

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Meet My Rock Star: An excerpt from Love Notes

Meet My Rock Star: An excerpt from Love Notes

My rock star romance, LOVE NOTES, released on January 12th. This story runs parallel with my baseball romance CAPTIVATED. I had so much fun writing it and I hope you enjoy it.

LoveNotes.cover

CHAPTER ONE:

Home.

Finally.

Zander Rostov drove through the gates of his estate and coasted up the long drive, relieved to be surrounded by the hush of his own paradise. The exhaustion of the last few months on tour weighed heavy on his bones. Too much time cooped up with his band, too much in-fighting, and too many late nights and early rises left him itching for solitude and hours of sound sleep.

Beside him, his English Bulldog snored. What a life—eat, sleep, play, repeat. Lucky dog. But for the next two weeks, he’d have a taste of it, too. Two weeks to breathe before the chaos began all over again. A small piece of freedom, enough to tease him before being thrown back into six weeks of shows and travel. After ten years of near-constant recording and touring, he needed a break. A long break—from the band, from the grind, and from the lingering frustration he hadn’t been able to shake for months.

When he parked the car, Shredder roused with a pitiful grumble, his overbite pushing his bottom lip into a pout.

“We’re home, buddy.” Zander rubbed the dog’s brown and white wrinkled head. He took his pet on the road with him as often as he could. Seven-years-old and content to laze around, his bulldog made the perfect travel companion. He opened the passenger door and Shredder bounded off across the lawn, protected by the eight-foot-high walls surrounding the Spanish Mission-style home, his just-private-enough retreat from the world.

A breeze rustled the palm trees. The beginning of April in Santa Monica was warmer than the end of March in New York City had been. The east coast tour had ended in the city that never sleeps and then eight hours later, he’d parted ways with his band mates who never seemed to get along anymore. The break wasn’t really a break, with the few press events and the party for the fans lined up.

Stretching, he breathed in deep and fought down the urge to throw the bags back in the car, grab the dog, and just take off. Years of saying yes to everything had drained him dry but he couldn’t disappoint the fans. The success of the tour and the new album were more important than his need to recharge, even if the last few months had been the most difficult of the band’s career.

He left the dog in the garden and entered the house. Cool air and silence greeted him. He set down his guitar case in the living room, then dropped his luggage on the floor outside the laundry room. He’d unpack before his housekeeper arrived. Settling the dog with food and water came first. Man’s best friend deserved a reward after hours of travel. The next part of the tour would be easier—all in California, and several local shows. When he needed to be away for a few days, his housekeeper would watch Shredder or the dog would stay with his parents.

The ping of an email alert made him reach for his phone. The sender—Oliver Somers from Excite Records—could wait long enough for him to have a cold one. He let Shredder in, then cracked open the beer and downed half the contents. Oliver’s email started off with the usual pseudo-friendly nonsense, then listed the upcoming tour dates. At the very end, the son-of-a-bitch had tacked on an additional two weeks’ worth of shows.

Fuck!

He crushed the can in his fist. Beer sloshed over his hand and splashed the kitchen floor. Shredder trotted over and licked at the puddle.

“Damn it, no.” He grabbed the dog’s collar and tugged him away.

Two weeks… The burn of anger singed his muscles. He slammed his fist onto the counter, then hurled the can into the sink. Metal clattered and Shredder whimpered and hid under the table.

Fuming, he wiped the spill and then sat on the floor, staring at the dog. He needed to hold it together. He rubbed his palms over his face and forced his muscles to relax. Calling for the dog, he reached for his phone.

He’d left his sister an hour ago and Irisa hadn’t said a word about more tour dates. As band manager, the discussion of more tour dates should have come from her. Which meant Oliver had once again overstepped his authority. His muscles tightened again. With the dog curled onto his legs, he dialed Irisa’s number.

It rang several times before her voice came on the line. “What’s up? You should be sleeping.”

“Check your email. Excite added a few more venues to the tour.”

“What?” Her voice hardened. “Oliver knows that’s supposed to be cleared with me first.”

“I’m not happy about it either. We’re fucking exhausted and they go and add in five more shows to the end of the tour, with maybe more to come. We’ll be working through the whole summer at this rate.”

“I’ll make it clear that he can’t add on any more. I’ll start looking at hotels.” She sounded as worn out as he felt. He knew she didn’t like Oliver any more than he did. The jerk had used her to get his job—something Zander couldn’t forget.

He rubbed Shredder’s head. “I can help.”

“I’ll handle it. Don’t worry. Get some sleep. I’ll call you when I’ve figured it out.”

Sleep was out of the question. He hurled dirty clothes into the washer, then reached for the only thing that ever settled him—his guitar. Time didn’t exist when he played. Nothing existed except the music. He heard about it often enough from his sister, so he set his phone on the table, where he’d be sure to see her call.

He didn’t know how long he’d been playing when the phone’s ringing jarred him out of his relaxed mood. He saw texts from his band mates, probably ticked off about the added dates. Ignoring them, he answered his sister’s call.

“Travel and hotels are all set. Listen, I’ve hired my friend Jayne to help me out during the tour. I’ve told you about her, she’s a tour manager, and really, after how you guys have been, I need someone to keep me sane.”

His sister did so much for them, allowing them to focus on the music and the fans. “Hey, if you want to bring someone along, that’s fine. Whatever you need.”

“She wants to meet you all first before she’ll take the job. I know you’re tired, but please? A quick meeting this afternoon. Four o’clock, at the coffee shop by your house.”

“Fine. Did you call the guys?”

“Yes, they’ll be there.”

“Then I’ll see you at four.” He clicked off.

Hmmm. Jayne Warren.

He’d never met Jayne, but from pictures he’d seen at his sister’s place and from all Irisa had said about her friend, he felt like he knew her already. Jayne Warren, a gorgeous blonde with eyes nearly the same shade of blue as his favorite guitar.

When he walked into the coffee shop a few hours later, his band mates Luke, Landry, and Brendan, sat at a table in the back of the nearly empty room.

Luke raised his brow. “You live the closest but you’re the last one here.”

He shrugged. “So? I’m here now.”

“We only got here a few minutes ago anyway, Thompson.” Landry shook his head at Luke, then sipped his coffee.

“Whatever. I don’t understand why we had to meet this girl today. This could’ve waited a few days.”

“Maybe it couldn’t have waited. Where else did you need to be? My sister said it’ll be quick, so it’ll be quick. Calm the hell down.” Zander turned at the sound of the door opening.

Irisa walked in, followed by Jayne. She was far more beautiful than the pictures he’d seen.

The classic oval face, high cheekbones with a hint of color, wide ocean-blue eyes fringed by thick lashes, sculpted brows, and full lips, petal pink and perfect for kissing. She was taller than his sister. A quick estimate suggested the top of her head would reach right under his chin if he held her close. She glided toward them—long limbs, delicate curves, and the graceful moves of a dancer. Rather than the platinum blonde hair she’d had in the photos, strawberry blonde locks tumbled over her shoulders in thick waves. His hands itched to sink in and test the weight.

Her gaze met his. Something within him clicked, shifted, then settled.

With the sexy bombshell along for the ride, maybe he’d survive the tour after all.

 

I hope you enjoyed the taste!

The rest can be found here:

Thanks for reading!

 

Susan-Sig

Just a Taste of Pirates of the Dark Nebula

Just a Taste of Pirates of the Dark Nebula

Today I’m happy to share with you a taste of the second volume in my Hearts In Orbit series, Pirates of the Dark Nebula.

 

Hearts in Orbit: Volume 2
Pirates of the Dark Nebula

Chapter 1

Impossible!
Luna Callista checked the status monitor on her star cruiser’s command console, her head awhirl with confusion. There was so much not right with what she was seeing.
Ion thrusters were on full forward, and her starship was still moving backward. She took a deep breath, an attempt to quell the rising unease growing in her stomach. Scans showed no black hole effects, negligible gravitational forces, zero solar winds . . . nothing that could be affecting her vessel. There were no warning lights or system malfunctions. Still, she continued to slip backward in space instead of flying ahead toward her next jump point.
Sweat trickled down her back between her shoulder blades despite the cool air circulating in the star cruiser’s cabin.
Was it an exterior force acting on her ship or some sort of internal system failure?
A line from an old Earth holovid ran through her mind. We’re caught in a tractor beam.
“Not fracking possible!” she mumbled under her breath.
Of course, Harvey heard her. His sonic sensors picked up everything. “What’s not possible, Miss Callista?” His monotone, mechanical voice rattled her dendrites more than it should have.
Time to have the service droid’s vocal programming upgraded?
Yeah. Maybe something deep, sexy . . . male.
Luna’s lip curled, threatening a smile. If he were human, Harvey would be the perfect boyfriend. Always on call, attentive, and willing to do anything she asked.
“Harvey, run a check of all ship’s systems. We’re moving in the wrong frackin’ direction.” What the hell is going on?
The droid shuffled toward the maintenance control, his metal feet clanking on the titanium deck. Humanoid in design, her mechanical companion was more than just a computerized machine, programmed to serve. Harvey was her friend. Could his memory banks even register how much he meant to her?
While Harvey checked out the ship’s systems, Luna scanned the area around the ship, looking for anything that could be causing the issue. This deep space sector, a warp hub, should be empty. It charted between systems.
There’s nothing here.
She’d come out of warp and was lining up her next hyper-jump when the problems started. If she couldn’t get to that next jump point, she couldn’t safely leave the sector. A warp starting at the wrong point could thrust her ship through a star or space debris. Dangerous at the least, and probably suicidal.
She pushed once again on the thruster control, but it wouldn’t budge. It was already maxed.
Behind her ship, sensors picked up an anomaly. Polar fluctuations without a gravitational field.
What the hell?
She threw the rear visual up on monitor. There was something wrong . . . different in the space behind her ship. Like a shimmering deeper ebony against the blackness of space.
Her heart skipped a beat as a Vega class starship appeared out of the nothingness. No warp signature. No jump claxon. As if the ship had been there all along, but she just hadn’t been able to see it.
Cloaking shields? Tractor beams? This was science fiction stuff.
Gooseflesh crawled up the back of her neck.

 

 

***

I hope you enjoyed that taste of:

Pirates of the dark nebula2

The rest can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Pirates-Dark-Nebula-Hearts-Orbit-ebook/dp/B0109O7VMQ/

Just a Taste of “Shadows of Gold”

Just a Taste of “Shadows of Gold”

by Veronica Forand

I’m playing with a new format for writing…Wattpad. Every two weeks, I’ll introduce a new chapter to my book Shadows of Gold. It’s a thriller and right now I have no idea how it will end!
Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter which will be up on Wattpad tomorrow!

 

Shadows of Gold
Chapter One

After three years of being held hostage by militant forces in the Congo, Derek Gunn knew not to take full, deep breaths when working in the mine. The air was a poison, and he wasn’t ready to die. He climbed the ladder, his steps slow. His arm was poised to catch one of the women or children not able to complete the arduous trek up from the mine. He’d saved a few, using his long arms to catch them before they fell to the rocks below. More often, however, they perished, their bodies taking two or three lives at a time to the bottom of the cavern. He tried not to memorize names and faces of newly arrived workers, but he’d been a journalist most of his life. He remembered too many, and his heart broke too much.

The mine entrance came into view and a full moon lit up the area to greet him back from the depths of hell. He rarely saw the sun. Soldiers, some as young as twelve, stood in military fatigues aiming AK-47s at the workers to ensure no one slipped into the jungle and escaped. One freed worker could provide the location of the illegal mine to outside groups. And this mine was not a small artisan mine. The main rebel group in the area had procured this spot by killing nearby farmers. It was the mother load of gold veins. The rebels used the nuggets found primarily to purchase weapons and supplies.

Derek glanced around for the two other Americans in a group otherwise made up of Congolese villagers. Harry emerged five minutes later, followed by Mitch. Each man tapped the base of his throat twice to tell the others he was doing fine, and then they separated. One American to a truck.

They hadn’t been face to face in almost two years since the last time they’d attempted to escape. Now, they all lived in different areas, but still managed to leave each other messages scrawled in the dirt in the lavatory pits. Stones left on the ground in Morse code also provided a means of communication. Recently, one of them discovered that certain bugs glowed on the walls of the mine when crushed. Made into certain patterns, the marks could warn each other of unstable areas.

Derek nodded to his friends and then climbed into the last truck. He always sat at the back edge, waiting for any opportunity to leave this prison and return home. A few of the children positioned themselves on the floor of the truck to listen to his stories, told in their native language. He tried to give them hope, to give them something to think about when the days became unbearable. Several of the child soldiers also sat close to him. He caught a few of them smiling at his fables fashioned from his recollections of the Brothers Grimm, Dickens, Mother Goose, and old sitcoms he remembered.

The women tended to be more weary. They often worked during the day and fended off rapists at night. They didn’t want company. They wanted to be alone. It didn’t matter. He only had need for one woman in his life, even if she was only a wisp of a memory.

The truck jumbled the group from side to side across dirt roads scoured by harsh rains and lifted by thick roots. A few downed trees created roadblocks and made the driving more dangerous. The lights of the other trucks had faded into the distance until only darkness guided their way back to camp. The rough rumble of the truck engine blocked the night music of the local birds, frogs and insects of the jungle. And then the world exploded.

The loud boom erupted from the front of the truck and the entire vehicle swerved to the right and tilted toward the site of the blown out tire. Once the descent into the gully began, the heavy weight of the metal and human cargo twisted the vehicle over itself. Derek ’s heart accelerated out of its usual slow tempo. He reached out to brace himself, but couldn’t grasp anything while his body twisted and curved around with twenty other bodies. A sharp pain pinched into his elbow as part of the truck crushed his arm. The world continued to spin, and he pulled his arm free before all movement stopped. People screamed, and the engine revved. The headlights pointed into the ground, only one worked now and made shadows and added confusion, but offered no guidance in its glow. Smoke billowed up and provided even more of a curtain over the scene.

People sprawled across the truck and spilled onto the ground struggled to right themselves, but the frantic movements of some and the screams and cries of others made the process difficult. The whole image was a surreal mash up of body parts and broken truck parts. Derek felt his way out of the wreckage, ignoring the shock of pain in his arm. The darkness and the chaos would hinder his vision, but he could use it to benefit his escape.

Once free, he rolled to the edge of the road. The high grasses and a few downed trees provided decent camouflage. His breathing was labored and loud. Even if they listened, they’d never hear him. Too much chaos, too much panic. He placed his hand in front of his mouth to slow his breaths and silence his fear. When the flashlights turned on and the soldiers scrambled to pull the victims from the truck, he had to make a decision, rescue his friends or save his own ass. He slid into the jungle, praying no one would follow.

Chapter Two will be out in my newsletter tomorrow, or you can wait until December 16 and I’ll post it on Wattpad.

A Sneak Peak at Healing Eden

A Sneak Peak at Healing Eden

Hey there, sexy Spice Aisle Guests!

It’s my turn to man the sample kiosk at the end of aisle ten and the other Spice folks told me I could serve bottled water, some bland health food, or give a taste of my upcoming release. Seeing as how water and health food are about as exciting as watching grass grow, I opted for option C!! Plus, Healing Eden (Book two in The Eden Series) releases on December 8th!!! That’s just a little over a month away and I’m super giddy. (Yeah, like all the exclamation points didn’t give that little tidbit away…)

So, if you’re new to The Eden Series, it’s contemporary fantasy romance based in–you guessed it–the one and only land of creation. (Pssst…Book one, Unexpected Eden, is on sale right now for only .99 cents if you wanna get your Eden groove on and save a few bucks while you’re at it.)

See? Way more exciting that water and health food! 🙂

So, here we go! A little sample from Healing Eden told from Reese’s point of view.

Hope you enjoy!

Rhenna Morgan

“Reese’s heart stumbled then took off at a pounding gallop. Of all the reasons he might have rationalized to explain Galena’s visit, a personal request hadn’t been one of them.

She needed him. Not wanted, but needed. His cock stirred, and a rush of something dark and primitive swamped his reason. He shifted to ease the hard press behind his jeans, caution the only thing that kept him locked in place. Surely he’d misinterpreted things. Yesterday’s kiss had just been a gift, a sendoff from a generous woman before he met his death. Hadn’t it?

“Say something.” Galena whispered, the rasped request so vulnerable it raked inside his chest.

Maybe he hadn’t misunderstood.

She ducked her head, gripped the chair at her side for a beat, and turned away. “I should go.” Chin high, she strode toward the door.

“No.” He burst across the room with Myren speed and slammed his palm against the door to block her escape.

He caged her against the wall, her back to his front. Her ear nearly brushed his lips, her neck exposed by the long, thick braid down her back. He dragged his finger down the center of the plait. Myrens rarely bound their hair in any fashion outside of a relationship as it signaled commitment. The idea she’d come here bound to someone else rankled. “Why did you bind it?”

“The wind.” Energy bristled off her, and her stance made her seem torn between flight and surrender.

“There’s no one else?”

She peeked over one shoulder and shook her head, eyes trained on the floor.

The breath he’d been holding released and “stirred the fine hairs at her nape. He toyed with the platinum bead keeping the braid in place at the tip. “Will you let me free it?”

An innocent question for a human, but for a Myren it was intimate. A gift restricted to deeply tied lovers and mates.

She lifted her gaze, bringing her full lips close enough her breath fluttered against his face. “Please.”

His heart jolted, just the illusion of intimacy with this woman driving adrenaline through his bloodstream like a mainlined drug. He kissed her barely parted lips and groaned, imagining her soft, plump mouth stretch around his cock.

“Turn around,” he breathed against her mouth.

She shivered and turned, but kept her gaze locked to his until the last moment.

Using his mind, he warmed and loosened the platinum bead, and slipped it free. He sifted through the soft strands one section at a time until the fiery mass spilled down her back, unleashing more of her unique scent. He nuzzled the spot behind her ear. How easy it would be to lose himself with this woman. In her scent and her warmth. He let out a rough exhale. “This is wrong.”

She stiffened, but he tightened his grip on her hips and kept her locked in place.

“The secrets.” He pressed a lingering kiss where her neck and shoulders met. “They’ll hurt you and your brothers.”

“They’re only secrets if you’re not willing to own them.” She met his stare and a shiver rattled through her. Covering his hands with hers, she urged them up her torso. “I’m willing to own this.”