August 24th, 2010
Book of the Day: Hot for the Holidays

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Four bestselling authors invite readers to spend the night with these never-before-published novellas spiced with sexy romance and paranormal passion. So come in out of the cold and experience the thrill of a soul-stirring new tale of the Breeds from Lora Leigh, a return to the beguiling world of the Mageverse from Angela Knight, and two more mesmerizing and unexpected stories of sensual surprises and seasonal spirits from Anya Bast and Allyson James.

My novella is titled Sweet Enchantment. It provides a first taste of the world in which my new Dark Magick series is set.

Want to win an autographed copy of this book? Reply to the following question. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won.

I have lots of great travel memories–seeing windmills in the Netherlands for the first time, having French Fries in Belgium. Even if you only went a few miles away, do you have any memorable travel experiences to share?


Excerpt from Sweet Enchantment

Bella had vowed to never bind her life to this man’s. Now here she was, about to do it. Worse, she’d made the decision only two seconds after learning of his predicament.

Ronan still didn’t know she’d entered his cell. He knelt before her, his arms extended to either side, wrists wrapped in heavy charmed iron chain, and his gaze fastened on the cracked cement floor of the cell. How low the great mage of the Seelie Court had sunk. The only charmed iron chain in the whole of the Seelie Rose Tower resided within the walls of Her Majesty’s Prison, and he was wrapped in every inch of it. His long dark hair hung over his face, and his biceps and muscular bare back flexed as he moved uncomfortably against his bonds.

Bella liked the fact that the mage, Ronan Achaius Quinn, was in such a subservient position to her. He wasn’t a man who was subservient to anyone unless forced by charmed iron to be so. For a moment she allowed her gaze to trace over him. She’d never seen a more beautifully made man in her life. Not before the day she’d clapped eyes on him and not afterward. The sight of him made a woman want the iron silk of his body rubbing up against hers, made carnal thoughts crowd the most prudish of female minds.

His black hair shadowed his square jaw, the sensual pout of his mouth, and the icy blue eyes that were known for being able to draw the truth from the worst of liars. He wore only a pair of loose black trousers, leaving his feet and upper half bare. Ronan always wore black, even here in prison. His sculpted, powerful body moved a little as he tried to find the comfort his captors were so set on not giving him. He was strong not only in body and mind, but in magick too. However, the charmed iron neutralized the abilities he possessed. It was his sorcerer’s skills that normally kept him very high in the Summer Queen’s graces.

Not so tonight.

The Seelie wanted to kill him and she could hardly blame them. However, she couldn’t allow it. She couldn’t let Ronan come to harm, no matter what lay between them or what he’d done to land himself here. It didn’t matter that once he’d shredded her heart. It didn’t matter that she’d vowed never to offer any part of herself to him ever again. She’d been a fool to think she could ever keep a promise like that.

“I can smell your perfume, Bella,” Ronan said in a broken, gravelly voice, without looking up. “I’ve never forgotten your scent. I know it’s you.”

She shivered at his words and then shook it off. It was silly to think it was romantic. He was a mage, after all, even when stripped of his magick by charmed iron. He had a nose for different scents because of his work. His power was innate, allowing him to twist leaf, flower, and herb into powerful spells.

Not only was he a mage, he was only just on the barest side of Seelie. Ronan possessed Unseelie blood, enough to allow him to cast dark spells. The Summer Queen, the Seelie Royal, allowed him to remain in the Rose Tower because of the strength of his magick and, undoubtedly, his physical beauty. And perhaps there was a part of her that enjoyed thumbing her nose at the Shadow King, the Unseelie Royal, by denying him one of his strongest court members.

Ronan was one of the few members of the Seelie Court who possessed Unseelie blood, but he wasn’t the only one who had it.

She cleared her throat. “Ronan, it’s been a long time.”

“The last time we spoke in more than just passing, it wasn’t a happy occasion.”

A slight tremor shook her body. No, it hadn’t been a happy occasion at all. Ronan had broken her heart into so many pieces it had taken decades to put back together. Maybe it still wasn’t healed.

“Yes, and look at you now.” Her voice held the bitter edge of memory.

She walked around his body, her expensive gold and white heels clicking on the gritty cell floor and the trailing edge of her pure white stole brushing through dirt. She’d been at a Seelie Court ball sharing conversation with her dearest friend, Aislinn, when she’d received the news of Ronan’s arrest. It was cold outside—almost Yule. The Seelie often held balls, but they were especially frequent during this time of the year. Despite all that lay between them, not the foulest Unseelie goblin could have stopped her from racing to the prison.

She came to a halt in front of him.

Pulling against his chains, biceps flexing, he finally looked up at her. His hair slipped over his forehead, and he gave his head a sharp shake to move it to the side. The man was handsome enough to break any woman’s heart, and he’d broken more than just hers, Bella was certain. He was much older than she was—though they appeared the same age. That was the way it worked with nearly immortal Tuatha Dé Danann. Once they reached the age of thirty, their aging slowed to a crawl. However that didn’t hold for experience. At nearly a century her senior, he had far more life experience than she did, and that meant he’d broken far more hearts. He had kept his affairs quiet since their breakup, however. She had to give him that much. At least she hadn’t had to endure watching other women on his arm.

His gaze roved her body—clad in a filmy white and gold gown. She knew what he saw. The dress was low–cut, delving deeply at her cleavage, and it was tight, appearing to be painted onto her waist and hips and dipping down to the small of her back. He looked at her like he wasn’t in chains, like she didn’t hold his fate in her hands. He looked at her like he had a right. It piqued her that he thought he could stare her like that. It did other things, too. Things it shouldn’t.

“It’s been a long time, Bella.” He paused, swallowed. “You’re still the most beautiful woman ever to walk the streets of Piefferburg.” His voice was rich and deep, full of the sincerity she’d fallen for once.

Her cheeks heated. Anger welled, and she forced herself not to pull the stole around her body.

She slipped a hand to her hip. “What were you thinking taking a job from the Phaendir? Are you insane? You had to know that if you were caught the Summer Queen would want to kill you.”

He slanted her the cocky grin she knew so well. “Insane? Well, you know me, Bella. What do you think?”

She turned her face away and bit her lower lip. “They plan to take your head for this. Your status as the Summer Queen’s pet mage won’t protect you. No one allies with the Phaendir and escapes the consequences.”

“I’ve lived almost two hundred years, Bella. It won’t be a tragedy for the world to give me up, or for me to give the world up.”

“Sweet Danu, Ronan! “Do you have some kind of death wish? Is that why you did this?”

He only bowed his head in response, arms pulling at his bonds.

She paced away from him, toward the cell door, folding her arms over her chest and wrapping her stole more closely around her against the chill. The cold permeating her bones had less to do with the damp prison than with what she was about to do. She halted and closed her eyes, gathering her courage.

How could she just rip her heart out of her chest and lay it on a slab to be sacrificed—again—this way? But the alternative . . . She couldn’t bear to think about it.

“Ronan,” she started, turning toward him. “I’ve told the Summer Queen I’m taking you as my husband and she agreed to it.” She paused. “We’re getting married, you and I. It will protect you. It’s the only thing that will save you from the Wild Hunt.”

The Wild Hunt went out every night and gathered the souls of those fae who’d died. After the Summer Queen took Ronan’s head, the Hunt would be coming for him.

Ronan raised his head, but said nothing. For the first time in the thirty years she’d known him, apparently her words had struck him speechless. Finally, “Bella—”

“I can’t watch them kill you, no matter how stupid you are.” She lifted her chin. “I will marry you, but it will be in name only. You’ll get no . . . privileges from me. No money because I’ll want you to sign a prenuptial agreement. You’ll have to live with me, of course, but my apartment is large and there’s only Lolly, my housekeeper, and I there now. We’ll be able to stay somewhat separated.” She pressed her lips together. “You’ll get to keep your life. It’s a good deal.”

“So the great Bella Rhiannon Caliste Mac Lyr of a pure Tuatha Dé Danann bloodline has finally selected a suitor and he’s a prisoner slated for death. A man who pulled a job for the Phaendir, no less. Marked forever for scorn in the Rose Tower. A thief with Unseelie blood. The Seelie are laughing at you right now. Back at the ball you rushed from, they’re snickering behind their gloved hands and into snifters of cognac at this whole situation.”

All true, but it didn’t matter. “You’re not a suitor.” Her voice came out in a harsh snap. “Once you were, maybe, thirty years ago. Briefly. Right now you’re just an old friend whose ass needs saving.” She turned away from him. “I can’t tell you how much I’m sacrificing to do this.” Emotionally. Psychologically. “Aren’t you even going to say thank you?”

“I’m going to say no, Bella.”

“No?” She whirled. “What? You can’t say no. You—”

He gave his head a shake and looked up at her. His normally icy blue pupils were wide and dark, his hands clenched. “I want you, Bella, but when we come together, we do it my way. On my terms. I’ll make you mine, not the other way around.”

Danu, the arrogance. Nothing about him had changed. “The only thing you’ll ever lay claim to is the worms that will nibble your flesh when your headless body is buried.”

She whirled and went for the door, then halted, laying her hand against the cool steel frame and closing her eyes for a moment. It figured this was happening at Yuletide, the time of greatest darkness throughout the year. Even as stupid and stubborn as he was, she wouldn’t let him die. She’d go to the Summer Queen and figure out a way to force him to marry her.

She’d save his life today and he could hate her for it tomorrow.

Ronan bowed his head and made fists, working the blood through his arms and trying to ignore the slight sting of the iron. It was an effective torture for the fae. Normally charmed iron not only nulled a fae’s magick, it made him sick. Eventually, if the iron was left on the skin for too long, it would kill. However as a mage who was particularly susceptible to the metal, he’d worked for years on developing a resistance to it. He murmured under his breath and blue green magick sparked in his palms. His magick wasn’t as strong as when he didn’t have charmed iron touching his skin, but it was strong enough.

Bloody hell, could it be? Did Bella still have a flicker of feeling for him? He thought he’d killed that off along with everything else good in his life a long time ago. For the first time in decades, hope flared to life inside him.

Maybe he had something to live for after all.

He needed to find out for certain. That meant there was no way he was going to rot in here any longer. Not with Bella out there still caring for him.

And, bloody hell, she’d looked so good. His hands curled involuntarily remembering how satiny smooth her skin looked. He couldn’t wait to run his fingers over it, his tongue. That dress she’d been wearing was like sin woven into fabric the way it showcased her full, delectable breasts and how it tapered down her long, slender, kissable back. He wanted to plunge his hands into her thick fall of dark hair, wanted her legs around his waist while he fucked her until she couldn’t see straight. He wanted to put his claim on her, make her his in every way he could. It had been a long time since he’d been with a woman.

None but Bella would do.

Bella was his. He’d given her up once, but he’d learned his lesson. No way was he ever doing it again.
Ronan began to plot his escape.

26 comments to “Book of the Day: Hot for the Holidays”

  1. in 1968 our family went on a cross-country trip. The place I loved the best was Maroon Bells in Aspen Colorado.. In 1983, I took a months vacation to go to Colorado, see the places we’d seen, and some we didn’t; I had been thinking that would be a great place to live, so this was my ‘check it out’ trip. I did spend a week in Aspen, and went to admire Maroon Bells every day!!

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  2. Five years ago when we went to Hawaii, I had heard about a place that makes and sells honey, so I told my husband we had to find this place, needless to say we traveled a long and winding backroad to find this place, we get there and everyone is one the otherside of the island working in the fields. It was fun adventure we talk about fondly.


  3. About 8 years ago, I went to Florida with my family. And I have to say there is nothing like seeing the ocean for the first time.


  4. When I was 15, we went to Wales to visit my Dad’s family. My grandmother was from Wales and met my grandfather during WW2. The trips to see Cardiff and Caerphilly Castles are the most memorable for me.


  5. Wow, I loved that excerpt. This book is definitely a read for me. Love reading about the Fae.
    I haven’t been out of the Country but when we went to Disney World for the first time, the fantasy and innocence of what I saw was beautiful to me.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com


  6. Hubby and I went to see the Ajanta and Ellora Caves in northern India. It was awe inspiring with ancient wall paintings and sculptures. We have always wanted to go back again.


  7. I’ve only been on a handful of trips but the most memorable travel experience happened to my Grandma, Aunt, Sister and I on our way to Tennessee. We were going to stop at a small town outside Jacksonville, Florida to eat dinner. Instead we got so lost! We started going down dirt roads, couldn’t see any signs that would show us the way out, we followed a Wal-Mart truck hoping it’d take us to back but instead it only went to a Wal-Mart storage center – finally after a couple hours we found our way out. We waited until we reached Jacksonville until we finally ate dinner.


  8. I love our trips to snowy mountains – special was the trip to the Alps :)


  9. Yes, I remember when I was little we went to the beach one time. We were going to try and explore some caves when the tide started to go out but we must have timed it wrong because a big wave started to come back and we took off running for the beach, (I was with my dad and younger brother). The next thing I know is that I am about neck dip in water and my dad had already picked my brother up. The tide was pulling me back out and I was trying to get my dad’s attention to help me. I had fallen into a hole of some kind. It was freezing outside and it was the pacific ocean which never seems to get that warm.


  10. I have to say when I met with my husband in Hawaii on his R&R from Viet Nam. I was 19 and we had been married only a year. We had less than a week but it was glorious.


  11. Standing in a town in Switzerland and marvelling at the mountains all around….awesome!!!!

    Valerie
    valb0302@yahoo.com
    in Germany


  12. A Disney cruise when I was turning eleven… it was during a hurricane. Lots of rain, wind, boat rocking… had a blast!


  13. Spending a relaxing time on the beautiful Tybee Island in Georgia with my family and living it up in South Beach with friends during one of my Spring Breaks in college.


  14. Going to West Virginia to visit my brother and seeing all the beautiful mountains.


  15. I would have to say taking my son to Disney World for he first time… we’ve been quite a few times after that as well. I have to say it never gets old.


  16. I don’t travel too much, but I remember being a passenger on a car trip a few states over and having to deal with motion sickness.


  17. My most memorable travel experience is going to Poland during Easter and seeing all the traditions that my family still holds happening in their origin. It was great to see a lamb cake and families going to church to get food blessed. An experience that I’ll never forget and would love to happen again.


  18. Two years ago, I was fortunate to see Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau, Alaska. It was beautiful as was the whole state!


  19. We just enjoyed some of the gorgeous sights in Banff–standing behind one of the falls in Johnston Canyon was amazing, and knowing my kids were seeing this all with wide eyes was even better :)


  20. This is a super good anthology. I think my fave travel memory is the cruise I took as a teen to St Lucia and St Thomas. I would love to go back!


  21. Hello Everyone,
    I hany wonderful travel moments some I would not share( borders the not so graceful lol)
    The one that stays with me the most is the first time I traveled Home to visit the family alone. My Mother lives in England so I stay most of my time with her. I have a Sister who lives in Scotland thats where I was flying out of.
    I took the bus up to Scotland the day was beautiful sunny with a breeze.
    The young girl next to me was telling me about her trip to the Outer Hebrides (always wanted to go there)It was her second trip.
    I happened to be looking out the window knew with all my heart & soul as Tears streamed down my face I knew I had just crossed the boarder into Scotland The Grass, The Heather,
    the Cooo’s I knew at that moment I was Home…
    No matter where I roam Scotland will be my Home.


  22. Of all my travels around the east coast of the US (never been farther west than Alabama, sad isn’t?), my first ride on an airplane will stick with me forever! I have always been absolutely terrified of flying. During one week I flew four times. Discovered I still do not like to fly and I have no doubt I that many people were wondering who the crazy lady was on the planes, lol. And of course I get fly again in the future for my job, yay!


  23. When I was thirteen I went on a trip with People to People to Australia and New Zealand. We went to “Hobbiton”, the area when a lot of the Lord of the Rings was filmed. I was so psyched to go, than see everything. It was amazing. I hope to go back some day on my own time. Two weeks just wasn’t enough.


  24. when I was a kid, my whole family went to Big Bear in California. One night my brother had gone over to the cabin where all the boy scouts were and they got trapped in their cabin when a Bear came over to steal their marshmallows.

    The bear sat on the porch of the cabin and ate the whole bag of marshmallows while I saw my brother jumping up and down on the bed trying to see out the bedroom window and screaming, Help! Bear! Marshmallows! lol I ran and got my dad but the bear had already moved on.


  25. I remembered going to Singapore for the first time. My first impression was when I was entering into the city from the airport, the city was so clean that there was not a bit of litter laying around. I was able to walk thru the alley and I didn’t encounter any debris or trash. I couldn’t believe that there were no graffiti on any of the buildings. Singapore made quite an impression to me that when I think of it, it is the cleaniness of the City.


  26. Loved visiting the Netherlands and getting to see the sky. It looked just like the paintings done by the Dutch masters that I had studied in art history.