November 23rd, 2010
Book Bloggers Wanted for Jeweled

Hi guys — I’m looking to send out 10 copies of JEWELED to book blog reviewers for reviews. If you’re interested, please drop me an email at anybast(at)gmail.com with a link to your book blog!

Thanks and have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate. 🙂

November 17th, 2010
Thanksgiving

Cross-posted from the Witchy Chicks Blog.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. To me it has little to do with the traditional Thanksgiving story, (which is revisionist history at its worst), and everything to do with the straightforward name of the day—giving thanks.

Every Thanksgiving is the same for me, has been for years. I get up, make coffee and curl up on the couch to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a yearly tradition that has grown sweeter with the addition of my daughter, who sits rapt beside me under a blanket, staring at the floats and waiting for the Radio City Rockettes to do their rendition.

Toward the end of the parade, I’ll be getting up occasionally to prepare the turkey and put it in the oven. We always host Thanksgiving because we have a large Amish-made dining room table that seats many. I don’t mind hosting, since I love to cook and I love having my family over. I’m never alone in the food preparation, however. I do the turkey and the sweet potatoes (recipe below) and others bring side dishes and dessert. I make the sweet potatoes the day before not only to save time, but also because the ingredients taste that much better when they’ve had time to thoroughly blend in the fridge overnight.

Sometime around noon my family shows up. The wine and conversation flows freely. Before dinner we talk about all the things we’re thankful for. My list goes a little like this:

I’m thankful for our continued ability to help others less fortunate make their Thanksgiving plentiful.
I’m thankful for the good health of myself and my family.
For my daughter, who makes my world shine brighter than I ever thought possible.
For the roof over our heads and the food in our cupboards.
For my ability to find joy, peace and happiness in simple things and simple acts.
For my cats, who never fail, not even one day, to make me laugh and my heart to swell with affection and love.

We eat. YUM. Turkey, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, steamed veggies, biscuits with melted butter.

Then comes dessert. Usually we keep it traditional. Sometimes my mom bakes a pumpkin pie, but oftentimes we choose instead to purchase a few gourmet pies instead (the pros can do it so much better than we can). I warm the pies up a bit in the oven, top the slices with whipped cream or drop a dollop of ice cream beside it. You can’t beat that for dessert.

Thanksgiving is always a day filled with good food and good company. I look forward to it every year. May your Thanksgiving be filled with all the things and all the people you love.

Anya’s Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:
4 cups sweet potato, boiled and mashed
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the boiled/mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
3. In another bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Chunk in the butter and the walnuts/pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
4. Bake for 30 minutes.

November 9th, 2010
Jeweled

Cross-posted from Witchy Chicks

I’ve talked before about how sometimes stories come easily to me and sometimes they’re harder to write. One of the hardest books for me to write was Jeweled, which just released a couple of weeks ago. Its sequel, Jaded, flowed like water even though it’s a similar book in tone and set in the same world.

Why was Jeweled was so difficult? I think several factors combined to make it so, but the major factor was Evangeline, my heroine. She was the inspiration for the novel, but she was also one of the hardest characters I’ve ever written.

Evangeline has not experienced her own emotion since she was a child. Her magickal gift is stealing emotion from others, trading it, and “manufacturing” feeling in others. A part of her gift is the ability to build strong walls against emotion for herself and after a very traumatic experience as a child, she did just that.

But when the palace where Evangeline lives is taken over by a mob during a bloody revolution and she’s turned out into the street, penniless, all her walls coming tumbling down and Evangeline is forced to learn how to feel again.

There to help her is Anatol, an adept of light and illusion. He is also a “Jeweled,” one of those with enough magick to earn him a precious jewel set into his flesh and be considered good breeding material for the royal family, (that, over the years, has bled out all the magick from their line through inbreeding).

The backlash of Anatol’s gift of being able to sculpt illusion is the ability to see truth. He sees that Evangeline is a very special person, but she needs lots love and support to get through the sudden changes in her life. He has loved for her for a very long time and is willing to give her anything she needs.

Anatol loves Evangeline because he can see through to the truth of her. If a person can’t do that, it’s hard to find affection for her in the beginning of the book. Until those walls holding back her emotion fall, she is a petty, selfish, cold-hearted person. Once the walls fall, she’s vulnerable and, really, a mess. Primarily, Jeweled is Evangeline’s story about how she finds love and also finds her true self.

Complicating matters is Gregorio Vihkin, the scholarly mastermind behind the revolution that has disrupted Anatol and Evangeline’s lives. When the upheaval in the streets threatens Anatol and Evangeline’s lives, he takes them in.

At first Evangeline hates Gregorio for what he’s done, but when she gets to know him and sees the truth behind their former pampered lifestyles and how it hurt the rest of the people, her feelings for Gregorio warm. Warm a little too much for Anatol’s taste. Soon both men are in love with Evangeline and Evangeline has more than she can handle.

Together, in a world gone mad, they must find a way to come together.

Jeweled, like Jaded, is a very emotional book. It was Evangeline, a very complex character with a complicated arc of development, that made this one a bear for me to write. But I like a challenge, so I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

November 2nd, 2010
Winners Announced and Jeweled is Now Available!!

Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of Jeweled, which comes out TODAY! I’m so excited. You can read further it you want to hear more about the book and read an excerpt.

Without further ado, the announcement of the final round of winners:

Winner of the autographed copy of Jeweled, the book of the day from yesterday, is — Lauren, who said, “Not really emotional, soft hearted, but not so much emotional.”

Winner of the runner-up prize of a $25 gift certificate to the book store of the winner’s choice is — Susan, who said, “Change makes me anxious! I did make a big change this summer and helped my mother and youngest sister (both have health problems) move to my town. So I made new routines to include them!”

Winner of the grand prize of a $75 gift certificate to the book store of the winner’s choice is — Anne J., who said, “I have a lot of routines in my life, some of which I would like to change but don’t know how. Sometimes I think I’m wasting my life by not doing something different.”

All winner please contact me within 2 weeks from today to collect your prizes, anyabast(at)gmail.com Thanks so much for playing along with me, everyone. That was fun!


Jeweled

In JEWELED, the heroine, Evangeline, has not experienced her own emotion since she was a child. Her magickal gift is stealing emotion from others, trading it, and “manufacturing” feeling in others. A part of her gift is the ability to build strong walls against emotion for herself and after a very traumatic experience as a child, she did just that.

But when the palace where Evangeline lives is taken over by a mob during a bloody revolution and she’s turned out into the street, penniless, all her walls coming tumbling down and Evangeline is forced to learn how to feel again.

There to help her is Anatol, an adept of light and illusion. He is also a “Jeweled,” one of those with enough magick to earn him a precious jewel set into his flesh and be considered good breeding material for the royal family, (that, over the years, has bled out all the magick from their line through inbreeding).

The backlash of Anatol’s gift of being able to sculpt illusion is the ability to see truth. He sees that Evangeline is a very special person, but she needs lots love and support to get through the sudden changes in her life. He has loved for her for a very long time and is willing to give her anything she needs.

Complicating matters is Gregorio Vihkin, the scholarly mastermind behind the revolution that has disrupted Anatol and Evangeline’s lives. When the upheaval in the streets threatens Anatol and Evangeline’s lives, he takes them in.

At first Evangeline hates Gregorio for what he’s done, but when she gets to know him and sees the truth behind their former pampered lifestyles and how it hurt the rest of the people, her feelings for Gregorio warm. Warm a little too much for Anatol’s taste. Soon both men are in love with Evangeline and Evangeline has more than she can handle.

Together, in a world gone mad, they must find a way to come together.

Excerpt from Jeweled

She stood and he did as well. Smiling a little, she inclined her head. “Good night, Gregorio.” Then she moved toward the door.

“Evangeline?”

She turned back to him.

“Do you like me even a little?”

Her smile faded. The problem was that she liked him a lot. She wasn’t sure, exactly, why that was a problem for her, since Anatol didn’t seem to think it was one. “I do like you, Gregorio.”

“Do you still blame me for the deaths of your friends?”

She studied him for a long moment. “No. You were easy to blame in the beginning, but the matter is far more complicated. I see that now.”

“I’m glad.”

She turned to leave again, but he caught her gently by the arm and turned her toward him again. He had a hard, hungry expression on his face and it made her stomach do a warm flip. She knew that expression.

Reaching out with her magick, she tasted his emotions and found undeniable desire. Her body responded to it like a flame to kindling. “Gregorio?” His name came out almost devoid of breath. Suddenly she saw where this was going. She wasn’t sure she could stop him from initiating it—she wasn’t sure she wanted to stop him.

He pushed her backward step -by- step, until he was pressing her up against the wall behind them, the strategia game board long forgotten. This was not a game.

“Don’t do this,” she whispered.

“Do what? I won’t hurt you, Evangeline. Nothing in the world could ever make me do anything to hurt you.” The firelight lit half his face and left the other half in darkness. His breath was warm and sweet on her face, his callused grip strong.

“I know,” she breathed out in a sigh.

“I’m glad.”

Gregorio’s lips skimmed her cheek and her fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt. Her breathing hitched in her throat and her heart beat faster. Her body reacted, her sex growing warm and wet, her nipples going hard. She had strong feelings for Anatol and she wanted to be able to use them to push Gregorio away. Yet, there was a ragged emotional wound somewhere deep inside her that seemed to need what Gregorio was offering her.

His hands were rougher and stronger than Anatol’s, and his touch made her shudder with desire. He took her hands and pinned them above her head. Her wrists were so thin and his hands were so big, he only needed one to immobilize her.

“Do you want me?” His low voice rumbled through him as he limned her jaw line with his mouth. “Tell me to stop, Evangeline. Tell me stop and I will.”

She wished she could tell him to stop, but she yearned for his touch and for his kisses.

And so when he bunched her skirt up and slid his hand beneath the hem, she didn’t stop him.

November 1st, 2010
Book of the Day: Jeweled

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

The winner of a copy of Witch Fury, from Saturday’s contest, is Colleen, who said, “I like bad boys to have depth… many layers to dig through…be dark and dangerous with secrets…” Me, too, Colleen! Please email me at anyabast(at)gmail.com within two weeks of this post date to collect your prize!

Last chance to win a copy of Jeweled before it releases tomorrow!

Defined by magic. Ruled by desire.

In the Court of Edaeii, magic-imbued Evangeline is rewarded for her gift in manipulating emotion with a sapphire stone set into the perfect curve of her lower back. Her greatest rival in the royal court is the enigmatic Anatol, instilled with the power of illusion. He may better her in magic, but he is her absolute equal in passion.

They share something else—they’re both targets of low-born revolutionaries bent on overthrowing the palace of the privileged few. Rescued from the mobs by Gregorio, the brilliant revolutionary mastermind, they’re given sanctuary. But in this warm refuge, Evangeline soon finds herself torn between the magic of one man she has always desired, and the excitingly new and radical moves of another. For her, there is only one choice.

Evangeline, Anatol and Gregorio come together as one to explore the possibilities of love beyond reason, and to indulge in pleasure without limits.

“All I’ve ever had in my life to use was my looks and my willingness to have sex.” She swallowed hard. “Honestly, Anatol, I should go to the Temple of Dreams. It’s all I’m really suited for.”

His jaw locked and something dangerous flashed in his eyes. “We’ve had this conversation before.”

“Why are you so against the idea of it, Anatol? We could both go there to work. I know you say you’re in love with me, but that’s just silly—”

He rounded on her, arresting the end of the sentence in her throat. Fire jumped in his eyes. “Not silly, Evangeline, true. I don’t want to make love to any woman but you. I couldn’t do it. So you go, if you think that’s what you want.” He turned away. “I won’t stop you.”

She chewed her lower lip and let emotion rise up to swamp her for a moment in punishment. She deserved it; she’d hurt him. Wrapping the blanket around herself, she stood and walked to him. “I don’t want to leave you,” she murmured at his back.

He turned and pulled her into his arms. “Good. That’s a good thing to hear, Evangeline, because I don’t want you to leave me.”

She wrapped her arms around him, letting the blanket fall to the floor and his body heat warm her. Nuzzling her nose into his chest, she inhaled the scent of him. “I want you to . . . make love to me, Anatol. I want to know what it feels like.” The words came out as a whisper, like she was afraid to say them too loudly. She wasn’t sure why.

His body tensed against hers. “Don’t tempt me.”

She gave a soft laugh. “Haven’t you noticed that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do?”

“Yes, I’ve noticed.” He made a tortured sound in his throat. “The scent of you tempts me. The sound of your breath tempts me. You tempt me even when you’re not trying.” He turned her and she saw that the cracked head -to -toe mirror was directly in front of them. “Look at yourself, Evangeline. You’re beautiful.”

She smiled. “Like I said, it’s been my currency in life.”

He moved her closer to the mirror. “I don’t just mean your face, hair, and body. Look into your eyes, hold your own gaze in the reflection.”

She met her eyes, blinked, and looked away. Staring into her own eyes was uncomfortable.

He gripped her shoulders. “No, look, Evangeline. See what I see.”

Her face flushing, she raised her gaze to her eyes again. They were gray, the color of metal. That’s what she noticed first. But if she went deeper, which felt a little like diving into her own soul, she saw . . . vulnerability. Honesty. Emotion. Joshui, so much of it. Her eyes seemed to swim with it. She saw strength, too.

Anatol dropped his mouth near her ear. “Your eyes have always been this way, even when you were at your worst. There was always beauty in you, complexity, empathy, caring, and I always saw that beauty. Always. No matter what you did or what you said to me, it was there.”

Her lips parted as she stared into her own reflection in a way she’d never done before. Anatol was helping her see herself in a way she never had.
His hands rested on her hips as he took a slow sweep of her body. “You are, of course, also beautiful in the more traditional sense.”

“Touch me,” she murmured, meeting his gaze in the reflection.


In Jeweled, Evangeline is learning how to feel and deal with emotion after years of complete numbness as a backlash of her magickal gift. As a consequence, Jeweled is a highly emotional book. Do you consider yourself a very emotional person? Do you cry at that
Humane Society commercial on TV (I do!) Answer for a chance to win an autographed copy of this book.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

October 30th, 2010
Book of the Day: Witch Fury

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

The winner of yesterday’s prize, a copy of What Happens in Vegas…After Dark, is Kathy, who said, “I think I’d have to choose Honolulu. The water just looks so beautiful. I’d love to just sit on the beach in the sun and READ!!!” Congrats, Kathy! Please drop me an email at anyabast(at)gmail.com within two weeks of this post date to collect your prize.


Sarafina Connell is having the worst week of her life. It takes an even darker turn when an infamous playboy kidnaps her and reveals a world she never knew existed….

It’s a world where magick is real, and where Sarafina is given a chance to join a secret cabal that is bent on gaining absolute power. They could use a woman like her—a witch with an untapped gift for creating fire. But she isn’t about to get in league with the devil.

Rescued from her captors, Sarafina is introduced to a coven that is duty-bound to fight the forces of darkness. She’s pleased that her savior is the imposingly seductive Theo—until the trust between them goes up in flames. However, as the war between good and evil is waged, Sarafina and Theo realize they have no choice but to unite in the battle for supremacy—that’s getting hotter by the minute.

Sarafina might’ve been named for the angels, but she’d always known one day she’d end up in hell. Her mother had told that a hundred times while she’d been growing up. She just never figured it would be while she was still breathing. But here she was—broke, dumped, and grief-stricken. It couldn’t get any worse.

Her fingers white and shaking, she released the yellow rose she held and let it fall onto Rosemary’s casket. It came to a rest on the polished poplar top, followed by many more released by those around her. Yellow roses had been Rosemary’s favorite. They match your hair, buttercup. That’s what Rosemary had always said, holding one of the flowers up to Sarafina’s nose.

Sarafina had scraped together every last cent for that shiny coffin. She hadn’t been able to afford it. The funeral had almost beggared her. However, her foster mother had deserved the best. And since Rosemary had never had what she deserved in life, Sarafina had made sure she’d had it in death. The only problem was that now Sarafina had ninety five dollars left in her bank account and rent had been due last week. She’d make it through, though, she always did.

She couldn’t cry. It was like all the tears were caught up inside her, stoppered tight. It would be good if she could. It would relieve this awful pressure in her chest.

“Bye, Rosemary,” she whispered.

Reverend Evans droned on, but Sarafina hardly heard him. She barely noticed the others around her, either, all of Rosemary’s friends who’d come to say their farewells. They clasped her hands after the funeral was over, squeezed her shoulder and offered condolences. Her foster mother had had lots of friends.
If Sarafina had still lived here in Bowling Green, she knew she’d have half a million sympathy casseroles on her doorstep by now. As it was, she was headed back to Chicago right after the funeral. Back home.
She couldn’t wait.

Still in a daze, she turned away from the grave and came face to face with Nick. His dark brown eyes regarded her solemnly from the handsome face she’d known for years. “You’re not fit to drive seven hours today, Sarafina. Stay the night and head out in the morning. You can crash at my place.”

A smile flickered over her mouth. “Oh, really? Amanda said that would be all right?”

She and Nick had been sweethearts during high school. Although that fire had long since flickered out and faded to friendship, Sarafina had lost her virginity to Nick. Sarafina strongly suspected Amanda didn’t want her on their couch.

Robin, another friend from childhood, came to stand near Nick. “If you don’t want to stay with him, you can stay with me.” She tilted her blond head to the side in a gesture Sarafina knew meant she was concerned.

Sarafina couldn’t swing a cat in Bowling Green and not hit someone from her past. As soon as she’d arrived, she’d been beset by old friends—and other people. Those other people were why she wanted to leave so badly. Like, now.

Whispers.

In Bowling Green there were whispers wherever she went. Hey, that’s the girl who…. Isn’t that the daughter of the woman who… She was a walking freak show. Even fifteen years after it had happened, people still recognized her. High school had been hell.

She leaned forward and hugged Nick, then Robin. “You-all are sweet to offer, but I have to go into the office tomorrow. I can’t miss any more work than I have already.” She had a funeral to pay off.

Nick shifted and frowned. “They don’t give you grief leave?”

Damn it. Caught right in the middle of her subterfuge.

“Yes, a few days.” She pressed her lips together. “It’s just that—I don’t want to—“

Understanding came over his face. “Oh.”

Sarafina relaxed. “Yeah.”

“It’s too bad, but I get it, Sarafina,” Robin said, her brown eyes sad.

“I’m glad you both understand. The other reason why I don’t want to stay is because I don’t want to wallow, you know? I need to stay busy, get my mind on something else. If don’t do that, it’ll be worse. The grief, I mean.”

If she lost her momentum now and allowed herself to be mired in the loss of the only true mother she’d ever known, Sarafina knew she’d just dissolve.

“This fall I’ll come to visit.” The words popped out before Sarafina realized it. She’d wanted to appease Robin, but they both knew that had been a lie. Sarafina only came back here when she absolutely had to.

“Will you, really?” asked Robin suspiciously.

“I-I promise to think about it.”

Robin patted her back. “Will you at least call when you get home? I’m going to worry about you all day.”

Sarafina nodded. “I will.” She paused, swallowing hard. God, she wished she could cry.

It wasn’t that she wanted to leave her friends. Sarafina loved them, as she’d loved Rosemary, but the town itself held too many bad memories. Once she’d turned eighteen she’d saved up her money, bought a car and had driven away. Spending time here now, just breathing the air, it made her feel suffocated.

“Why didn’t Alex come with you, anyway?” Nick asked.

Sarafina looked down at her toes. Ugh. “Alex and I broke up.”

“What? When?” Robin exclaimed.

“About a week before Rosemary died. It just wasn’t working out.” Alex had dumped her, actually.

“I’m so sorry, sweetie,” said Robin, cupping her shoulder.

Sarafina probably should’ve broken up with Alex first, a long time ago. Selfishly, she hadn’t wanted to be alone. She’d been afraid to be alone, to be perfectly honest. Because of that fear she’d stayed with him long after the fire had gone out, up until Alex had decided to give the relationship the axe. He’d done them both a favor. It’d been like pulling a dying plant out by its roots. It was a relief not to have to watch the leaves wilt anymore.

“Honestly, I don’t miss him much. I do miss you guys though,” she finished, her voice breaking.

Robin hugged her again, making Sarafina let out a small sob. “Well, then, come back,” Robin whispered.

Sarafina shook her head and held onto her friend for another long moment. “I can’t.”

Robin drew back and smiled sadly. “I know.”

Sarafina turned and walked away, toward her rusty Honda Accord. “I’ll call you when I get home,” she called over her shoulder. That was, if her phone service hadn’t been shut off.

Robin and Nick stood at Rosemary’s grave, waving.

She might be penniless and on the verge of bankruptcy, she might have no family left, and she might be newly dumped, but at least she had good friends. There was always a spot of light in the dark if you looked for it.

The Accord started with a little hitch that made her heart pound.

“God, please, no,” she whispered. The last place on Earth she wanted to get stranded was Bowling Green, Kentucky. “If you’re going to have trouble, do it far from here, okay?” she crooned at the vehicle. “Or better yet, don’t do it all. My bank account can’t take it.”

Holding her breath, she guided the car away from the curb and out of the cemetery. She’d take the long way back to the highway, avoiding the subdivision where she’d grown up. It was a pretty drive from here to Louisville, full of hills, gorgeous exposed rock walls and green trees. Kentucky was a beautiful state, but Sarafina couldn’t wait to get back to Chicago—where the scent of car exhaust filled her nose and the honking and voices of humanity constantly filled her ears. Where no one knew her on sight. No one knew her bizarre family history.

Where there were no whispers.

As she drove, a swell of memory assaulted her. Images her brain were able to suppress in Chicago reared their nasty heads here, so near her childhood home. In her mind a memory of her mother flickered. The middle-aged redhead stood on the lawn of their home brandishing a grilling fork, insane words pouring from her lips. Flames licked and the scent of burning…

Sarafina lunged for the radio and found a good station that played loud, hard rock music. She opened the window of her car and threw herself into the song, singing the lyrics out loud. She wouldn’t allow her mind to go back there, she just couldn’t.

Instead, she thought of Grosset, her Pomeranian. She’d left him with her neighbor for the trip south and couldn’t wait to see him again. Sarafina smiled. See? Life wasn’t so bad. She had friends, a job, and, most importantly, she had the love of a good dog.

Then there was that guy who kept asking her for a date. His name was Brian. No… Bradley. Cute, too. He was a UPS guy, came into the office every afternoon and sought her out specifically to sign for the deliveries. What was it about UPS guys? He flirted with her every day, cajoling her to go to dinner with him. It was flattering. She’d been turning him down because of Alex, but now she was free. Maybe the next time he asked, she’d say yes.

She rolled into the northern Chicago suburb in the early evening and parked in front of the beautiful eighteenth century home where her apartment was located. It was only a few blocks from her office downtown, though she always took the EL in to avoid parking problems.

Stopping the car at the curb, she turned off the engine and stared up at the beautiful, huge windows. Sarafina loved this place. The neighborhood was quiet and older, the street lined with stately old trees. Hopefully her landlord would give her an extension on the rent. Most likely he would. After all, this would be the first time she’d ever been late.

She knocked on her downstairs neighbor’s door and Alexis, a college girl, answered. “Grosset? Oh, he’s already at your place. Your boyfriend came and picked him up? He’s cute!” she squealed, then said, “Your boyfriend, I mean. Grosset’s cute too, though. Ta!” and closed the door in Sarafina’s face.

Boyfriend? God, she hoped Alex wasn’t having second thoughts. She stared at the closed door for a moment, anxiety making her stomach muscles tighten. Then she stalked up the stairs to her apartment, her mind whirling about she would say to him. Now that he was gone, she wanted him to stay that way.

Her apartment door squeaked open and she started down the hallway, hearing someone cough in the living room. “Alex, listen—“

She stopped short and her keys clattered to the floor. Shock held her immobile as she stared at Stefan Faucheux standing in her living room…holding her dog. Her mind stuttered.

Stefan Faucheux?

Everyone knew who he was. The rich playboy and CEO of Duskoff International, had been the media’s darling for a long time. He was everything they loved—handsome, interesting, intelligent and monied. Then one day he’d disappeared. For a year the world had wondered where he’d gone. Foul play had been suspected and investigations undergone. All the entertainment shows had been atwitter with the mystery.

Then suddenly six months ago he’d simply popped back into existence, taking up where he’d left off as if he’d never been gone. He’d been traveling, he’d explained. Mostly he has been in Costa Rica surfing. No one had been able to find him because he hadn’t wanted to be found. If you had enough money, Sarafina guessed you could do that, just disappear without a trace. Personally, she wouldn’t know.

Most people thought it had simply been a publicity stunt. Maybe they were right. Stefan seemed to like attention.

Right now he really wanted hers.

The bigger question was why? Why was he standing in her living room?

“Wha—” she started and then snapped her mouth closed as Bradley stepped out from her small hallway and stood next to Stefan.

What the hell was the UPS guy and Stefan Faucheux doing in her apartment?

Stefan inclined his head. “Sarafina Connell, it’s a pleasure. I think you’ve already met my associate.” He took a step toward her while Grosset panted and smiled a happy doggie smile at her. “We tried this easy way, but you were more resistant than most to Bradley’s charms. Women normally just swoon right at his feet, boyfriend or not, making our job so much easier.”

“What’s going on? What are you—”

“Since Bradley couldn’t get you alone, I’m afraid we’ll have to do it the less pleasant way. Trust me, we’re doing you a favor.” He clucked. “Data entry, Sarafina? You’re wasting yourself. We’ll make the most of your skills where we’re taking you. I just wish your initiation could have been nicer.”

That was a threat. Stefan Faucheux had just threatened her in her own living room, and he was holding her dog!

Sarafina opened her mouth to scream and someone grabbed her from behind, a big meaty hand clamping down hard over her lips. A needle bit deep into her hip and a thick drowsiness almost immediately closed over her. Her knees buckled and someone lifted her. Her head lolled to the side, unconsciousness closing over her in a slow wave.

Stefan tilted his head to the side and petted Grosset’s silky head, while the Pomeranian panted happily. “Now we have you and your little dog too.”

Stefan Faucheux was one of my favorite bad guys. Suave, sophisticated, handsome as all get out, he was like writing the devil, if the devil was a wealthy playboy. Right now, in my Dark Magick series, I’m writing Gideon P. Amberdoyal, who is definitely one of my favorites too. Gideon is deliciously creepy and twisted character who believes every nasty things he does is for the greater good. I like my bad guys to be layered, to have nuance to their personalities. I want to know their motivations, their family history, and to make them human enough for the reader to relate to them. I LOVE my bad guys.


How about you? What qualities do you like best in the bad guys you read?

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

October 29th, 2010
Book of the Day: What Happens in Vegas…After Dark

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

The winner of yesterday’s book, a copy of Lauren Dane’s upcoming release, Inside out, is Cecile, who said, “Oh I am a cover hussy! I absolutely love covers… With hot guys on them, beautiful colors, attention to details…. but… most of all… I love when the cover tells me the story of the book with one look! And eyes… I love eyes on the cover! Thank you for such a great contest!” Congrats, Cecile! Please drop me an email at anyabast(at)gmail.com within two weeks of this post date to collect your prize.

Las Vegas… it’s the town that lives up to the promise of its nickname, Sin City. A gamblers’ paradise for innocent tourists, it conceals a darker, sexual world where the ethereal and wraithlike meet to play a different game….

If there’s one thing succubus Deitre understands it’s revenge. That, and enticing men into arousing, exciting and, okay, perilous sex (for him). Beautiful on the outside, demon on the inside, she’s going to get back at the naughty firefighter in Darkness…unless he plays his cards right.


Bounty hunter Nell is a hell of a tracker. Now she’s in Vegas on the tail of the witch who dared to steal from her clan. She’s going to get the unsavory harlot through the woman’s ex-finance, and nothing about their charged encounters will be shallow, quick or friendly.

When the half-blood fae male comes to Club Darkness, Elena can’t resist acting on the mind-blowing heat coursing between them. She might be betrothed to another, but fae culture says sex with other men until marriage is most definitely foretold.

Tattoo artist Devi is the latent vampire the warlocks need to heal all wounds. But taking her power is a sexually exhausting and dangerous task requiring dark deception…and gambling on her life.

If you could pick one city in the world to visit for a week, all expenses paid, what city would you choose and why?

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

October 28th, 2010
Book of the Day: Inside Out

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

The winner of yesterday book, an autographed copy of Witch Blood, is Kelly, who said, “I like the tough and fiesty ones the best. I don’t like it when they whine all the time and can’t do anything for themselves. I was my chick strong but lovable. :)” Congrats, Kelly! Please drop me an email within two weeks of this post date to collect your prize, anyabast(at)gmail.com

My friend Lauren Dane also has a book releasing on November 2nd, Inside Out. Love that tattoo and love Lauren’s writing!! Answer the question below for a chance to win a copy!

WORTH THE WAIT

Ella Tipton is a survivor. In the wake of an attack that left her nearly dead, she’s spent each day putting her life back together. Once vibrant and outgoing, she’s needed to reclaim the best parts of who she was while retaining the hard won lessons. There hasn’t been room for any romantic entanglements, even if she were ready. Still, it didn’t mean she had to stop sneaking looks at Mister Tall, Dark and Tattooed himself.

Security professional Andrew Copeland isn’t quite sure when his jones for the lovely and decidedly skittish Ella developed. He’s known her for years, has watched her triumph over the pain she’d been dealt. Cope is no stranger to women, but he knows the nervous flush he gets every time he talks to her is different than any attraction he’s had in the past. Determined to get Ella to let him in, Andy does the one thing he can think of to get close: he offers her hands-on training in self-defense.

While Ella’s sure he’s just being nice, the prospect of being able to touch him and gain the tools to push away the last vestiges of her fear is more than she can resist. Soon enough, Cope shows Ella his feelings are far more than friendly and re-ignites something deep inside her. Before long desire and love turn them both inside out.

Let’s talk about covers. I love the colors in this one, love the guy (yum), love the heroine’s hair. This cover has unique qualities you don’t always see and I like that a lot. What sort of book covers do you like the best? Do you find yourself drawn to any particular elements? (It’s always the colors for me.)

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.