August 23rd, 2010
Book of the Day: Beyond the Shadows, by Jess Granger

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

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A man of deception. A woman of justice. Can their fragile trust be strong enough to prevent a war?

Commander Yara knows perfect leadership requires perfect control and discipline. She has spent years living without the distraction of caring for anything—or anyone. It’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make. Yara has honed herself into the perfect heir to the Azralen throne, but a bloody coup could destroy everything she’s worked so hard for. She must return home to prevent war. Unfortunately the only ship available belongs to an Earthlen trader with no regard for authority—especially hers.

Cyn is a rebel, driven to protect those suffering at the hands of the Elite leaders of Azra. Using his alias to manipulate the lovely but icy commander onto his ship, he has to keep her from Azra long enough to ignite the revolution. But when he awakens a vibrant and feeling woman beneath that icy exterior, he gets more than he bargained for—love. He must find a way to convince Yara to join him, before they get caught in a web of deception that could tear their world apart.

Want a shot at winning this book? Reply to the following question for your chance to win. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if you won!

Were you a rebel in your younger years, or not so much? Are you still a rebel in some ways (or many ways)?

Excerpt from Beyond the Shadows

Cyn concentrated on the wound as he used the knitter to pull the gaping flesh back together, leaving a clean but ugly scab over the hole in her shoulder.

Yara grabbed his forearm, clinging to his bracer. Her glazed eyes locked with his. His own memories of being knit without tranqs overwhelmed him. God, she was in so much pain.

He could feel the stabbing, burning as if he were feeling it in the moment, not years ago.

Finally he turned the thing off.

Yara inhaled, her breath filling her lungs with a shaky hiss.

“You okay?” he asked, offering her another drink.

She nodded and tried to take the cup, but her hand shook so badly, she couldn’t lift it.

Cyn wrapped his hand over her elegant fingers and let his palm slide over the soft skin of the back of her neck as he lifted her toward him. He helped her bring the cup to her lips.

When she finished drinking, he let her hand fall but kept ahold of her neck. The woman had guts. He felt the knot in his stomach tighten.

Her beautiful golden eyes blinked slowly, as a drop of moisture from the kiltii water clung to her full lower lip.

He found himself transfixed on that drop of water, longing to taste it. He could feel the adrenaline in his blood beginning to wane. The shaky loose feeling in his body overtook his senses. He wanted to taste her so badly.

“You did good,” he murmured. She was glorious. She lived up to the promise of her royal blood. She’d been amazing. His body burned with battle lust. It would be so easy to fall down on the bed and pull her into his aching body.

He brushed his thumb behind her slightly pointed ear and leaned closer, inhaling the scent of her hair, hoping it would wash away the scent of death and blood all around them.

She didn’t pull away as his cheek brushed hers. He leaned back just enough to look her in the eyes again.

Her expression had softened with relief, relief and something else, something raw and potent.

He held his breath, leaning in until his lower lip barely brushed the warm skin of hers.

She stiffened.

This was wrong. She is the enemy.

Damn it, he couldn’t do this. Cyn pulled away, letting her fall gently back onto the pillows. She watched him with those sex-honey eyes as she pressed a protective hand over the wound just above her heart.

Ona help him, he wanted her.

What was he going to do?

August 22nd, 2010
The Winner of Inside Out, by Lauren Dane is…

….Judi S, who wrote, “I’ve definitely been turned inside out by a couple of men many, many moons ago and none lately…..” Congrats, Judi! Please email me at anyabast(at)gmail.com with your mailing address and I’ll forward it to Lauren.

It’s Sunday and there’s no contest today, but please check back tomorrow for another giveaway. You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s book!

August 21st, 2010
The Winner of Witch Fury is….

….Janel, who said, “One of my best friends is completely opposite of me, from personality to body type, yet we’ve been friends for almost 20 years!” Congrats, Janel!! Please drop me an email to anyabast(at)gmail.com with your mailing address and I’ll get the book off to you.

I’m still looking for Becky J., the winner from yesterday. Becky, if you’re out there, drop me an email!!

Don’t forget to enter today’s contest for INSIDE OUT (or INSATIABLE), by Lauren Dane. Tomorrow there will NOT be a contest, but the event will pick back up on Monday with an awesome offering, so be sure and stop back to enter!

August 21st, 2010
Book of the Day: Inside Out, by Lauren Dane

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

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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.

The winner will have her choice of an eARC of INSIDE OUT or a copy of INSATIABLE. To enter, answer the following question. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won.

I’ve been turned “inside out” by love a number of times in life. Some of those times were romantic in nature, some not. How about you? Have you ever felt completely undone by your love for someone or something?

Excerpt from Inside Out

“Ella, you and me.” He paused, and right before her eyes, he took on that sexy attitude of his and it made her all breathless in a way that had nothing to do with the workout. “We should go out. On a date, all official like. Pizza and pool with the rest of the crew?”

She swallowed hard, her heart fluttering in her chest. “Really? Me?” Oh god, she actually said it out loud like a dork.

Cope saw her surprise and wanted to laugh at how clueless she was to her own appeal. He did like it that pleasure shone in her eyes. “Oh yes, you. How can you not have known?” He gave in and laughed. “You’re delicious, Ella. I want to take a big bite.”

Her hands flew up nervously as she blushed. “I . . . oh. Wow. Well, jeez! You flirted with me and all. But how was I to know it was different than any other day? Andrew, you flirt with everyone. I had a feeling you”—she shrugged—“changed the way you saw me. Or something. You started acting different about six weeks ago.”

God, she was so beautiful, especially when she got flustered. Her skin gleamed, so pale. The slice he seemed totally fascinated with the most, the nape of her neck, called to his mouth. She wasn’t even wearing makeup, but she didn’t need it. She was clean and fresh and utterly
Ella. And he wasn’t lying when he said he wanted to take a big bite. Or a lot of long, slow licks.

“My manner is flirtatious and friendly. I’m a flirty guy. People like to be flirted with; it makes them happy. But you’re different.” How different he continued to realize each time he was with her. “What you failed to notice all along is that I’ve always wanted to ask you out. I’ve always been attracted to you, so I decided after a long while of wanting you, that it was time to make my move at last. I come into the café every day. I kissed you at Elise’s bachelorette party, on the dance floor. Remember?”

She pressed her fingers to her lips, and he had to close his eyes for a moment.

“Yes. I remember it.”

Good.

They sparred for several minutes more, neither saying much.

Finally, as she toweled off and they’d finished, she turned to him again. “I just, well, I didn’t think it was real. The kiss I mean. I thought it was just a fun, happy kiss to a friend.”

He needed to fix that right then. His gaze locked with hers, he walked her backward until she bumped the wall next to the door. “Does it make me happy to kiss you?” Leaning in, he brushed his mouth over hers, taking in the soft sigh she gave in response.

She opened slowly to him as he deepened the kiss, settling his mouth on hers, tasting, teasing, drawing her taste into his mouth.

Her nipples were hard against his chest. He wondered if he should wish he couldn’t feel the points of her need against him, or if he should keep on reveling in how good it felt. Being a hedonist at heart, he went with the latter.

August 20th, 2010
The winner of the first two books in Ava Gray’s Skin series is….

….Becky J., who said, “Depends on the situation and the person. Family is always forgiven, otherwise the time for forgiveness depends on the crime.”

Congrats, Becky! Please drop me an email with your mailing address and I’ll forward it on to Ava. Also, I’m still looking for Stephanie N., who won Marked and Entwined yesterday. Please drop me an email, Stephanie!

Don’t forget to enter today’s contest for a copy of Witch Fury. Tomorrow Lauren Dane will be giving away a book, so be sure you stop for that!

August 20th, 2010
Book of the Day: Witch Fury

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED


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.

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Want a shot at winning this book? Reply to the following question. Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow to see if you’ve won.

Theo and Sarafina are very different. In the beginning, their differences cause friction, but later on the jagged edges of those differences fit like puzzle pieces in their relationship, making them a strong and vibrant couple. Is there anyone in your life who is very different from you, yet who makes you stronger?

Excerpt from Witch Fury

The door burst inward, ripped from the hinges at the same time the uncontrolled blast of fire hit it. Sarafina screamed in surprise, stepped backward, tripped and fell on her ass.
For a hazy, confused moment she thought her magick had exploded the door. Then she focused past the smoke and saw the dark outline of a man–tall, muscular build, long dark hair, grim expression on his face.

The man glanced at her for the barest of moments. His long hair blew around his face from the force of the magickical battle behind him. His eyes were hard and dark. In his brutal expression lay control and power. Knowledge–deep and wide. Sarafina noticed all that about him in a second and it took her breath away.

What new nightmare was this man?

The newcomer turned and deflected an aggressive attack from Stefan. The room exploded into chaos. Two men barreled through the door after the intruder. Instead of using magick to defend himself, he punched one in the face, grabbed him by his shirt front and threw him into the second. Then he whirled to once again face Stefan.
The scent of white hot fire and dark, rich earth filled her nose as furniture slid across the floor and slammed into the walls. The floor itself rippled. It was like a battle of supernatural titans.

Sarafina clutched Grosset to her chest and crawled behind an overturned table, holding her trembling dog close and wishing like hell this was all some really strange dream fueled by her grief. Any second now she’d wake up and shake her head over it, tell herself she’d never eat cold enchiladas before bed again.

But this was no dream.

Shouting, cursing. Explosions. Fire crackling. Growing hotter and nearer until thick bursts of earth extinguished the flare-ups.

Silence.

Footsteps pounded through the rest of the house. Shouting in the distance. In the room where Sarafina and Grosset hid behind the overturned table there was no sound. Nothing.

Maybe the intruders–whoever they were–had forgotten about her. Maybe the hulking man in the doorway had gone away. Maybe this was her chance to get out of here.
Moving slowly, she peeked around the edge of the table and saw only a smoldering fire in a trashcan over in the corner of the room. Smoke wafted through the air. She inched out a little more, straining to hear any other sounds from inside the house. She didn’t know who the party crashers were and wanted to avoid them. With her luck they were worse than Stefan and his ilk.

Movement. The swirl of a long black duster.

The man was still there. Peeking out, she watched him circle the room, languid, lethal. His muscular body seemed tense with the desire to kill something, didn’t really matter what. The man turned toward her and she ducked back behind the table and closed her eyes, praying he’d pass her by.

“Warlock.”

A hand grasped her collar and lifted her straight up. Sarafina screamed and Grosset exploded in a flurry of Pomeranian rage. He snapped and growled at the man who’d trapped her in his big, sweaty, meaty hands–hands big enough to snap her neck in two seconds flat, she noted with unease.

“Tell your dog to chill.” The words came out gravelly, like they were forced from an infrequently used set of vocal cords. His grim expression grew even darker–his eyebrows coming together in the middle and the lines around his mouth deepening.

If she’d met this man on the street, she’d turn and walk the other way out of sheer instinct for self-preservation.

And she was currently caught in his powerful hands.

August 19th, 2010
Winner of MARKED and ENTWINED….

….is Stephanie N. Congrats, Stephanie! Please drop me an email and I’ll forward your info to Elizabeth. anyabast(at)gmail.com

Don’t forget to enter for today’s prize–the first two books in Ava Gray’s SKIN series. And be sure to check back for tomorrow’s giveaway.

August 19th, 2010
Book of the Day: Skin Tight, by Ava Gray

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Uncovering the truth is her specialty

As a forensic accountant, Mia Sauter could usually tell when people had something to hide. She made her living exposing secrets while concealing her own. Then, in Vegas, she met a clever, ruthless man who called himself Addison Foster. One year later, she’s still haunted by his betrayal.

He’s a natural born liar

The truth of him had long ago been buried. Foster was only one name of many; he’d been so many men, he’d lost count. Reinvented as Thomas Strong and hell-bent on revenge, his mission is about to be compromised by the one woman capable of exposing him…

Reunited, they confront the explosive chemistry still crackling between them. But their chance meeting will have consequences, for a ruthless madman has his own deadly agenda. The question is—if they survive the fallout, will he choose love over vengeance?

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Want a chance to win the first two books in this series? Answer the following question. Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow to see if you’ve won.

Truth. Lies. Forgiveness. Are you very good at forgiving people or do you hold a grudge?

Excerpt from SKIN TIGHT, by Ava Gray

“Does that mean it’s over?”

If only he didn’t have a face like a broken plaster saint, rough and chipped but full of heart-breaking beauty. She could imagine him standing watch over a chapel by nights, all icy marble and immovable lines. Only the fierce argent of his eyes gave lie to the indifference of his pose, propped against her car.

“Yes.” Though she tried to make her voice sound firm and certain, she noticed a little waver in the middle of the word.

Unfortunately, so did he. “I promised you a ride in my G37.”

“Technically, you didn’t. You teased me with the prospect of one, as I recall.”

He studied her with nerve-wracking intensity. “How ungallant of me. Surely you must let me make it up to you?”

She’d never excelled at mating games. They made her feel stupid, a rare sensation, to be sure. In her professional life, Mia preferred facts and figures. In her personal life, she took her romance in the form of tragic poetry, where she could let someone else’s pain wash over her without risking her own heart. One such disaster had been enough.

“What do you want?” she burst out, losing patience with him.

He stilled, a sleek silhouette in the moonlight that turned his eyes to quicksilver. Mia had the feeling he would slip as readily through her hands, should she try to hold him. “Do you really want me to answer that?”

She took a deep, steadying breath. “Yes.”

“I want to take you home and strip you naked,” he said deliberately. “I want to tie you down, so you can’t get away and then I want to—”

“Enough,” she whispered, sick. “If you’re just going to make fun of me, forget it.”

His brows arched. “You don’t believe me?”

“I’m not the sort of woman who inspires sexual obsession.”

“And I’m not the sort of man who develops them,” he murmured. “But you have me dreaming about the taste of your skin nonetheless.”

She managed a laugh. “God, you’re such a liar. Just stop already. Whatever you want, you’re not seducing it out of me.”

He stepped into her space then. His hands framed her hips, drawing her up against him in a movement more intimate than a kiss. At first she felt only the warmth of him, and then the world flickered. It was as if he skimmed her few romantic entanglements and plucked a thread at random. For a few seconds, he was Mark Rigby, her college sweetheart, and deliciously aroused, eager as he’d been only in the early days of their relationship.

But this was too bittersweet a fantasy to hold her—the reality of Mark’s abandonment was too indelible for her to dive into a dream where he stayed. Once, she’d thought they were meant for each other. She’d scrawled their names in endless loops, believing the alliteration a sign. But his words still echoed in her head: Mia, I’m sorry. You’re just… I don’t know. You think too much. You have no spontaneity. When I look at you, I see our future scheduled to the last second and it scares the shit out of me. I like you, but you take away the magic. I need someone who doesn’t need to be in control all the time.

Someone like Valerie.

It wasn’t Mark’s fault. The lack lay in her. He was happily married with three kids, and a mortgage. He could commit, perfectly capable of loving someone. Just not her.

The truth could never been changed, no matter what weird ability this man carried. Since she knew what to do now, Mia thought her way past the illusion. She broke it carefully into pieces and cast it away. Within a few heartbeats, she saw his real face again and felt his arousal. That much was true, at least.

She saw the instant he realized. Mia gazed squarely into his eyes, her gaze roving over his features. I see you. She didn’t say it aloud, but she might as well have. A shudder worked through him. He skimmed his hands up to the indent of her waist, where his fingers splayed wide. Mia let him tilt her body, pressing her back against the car door.

“When I touch you, I stop caring about anything else. There’s only you, looking up at me. Don’t dismiss that. Don’t take it from me because… it’s never happened before. It can go no further, or everything is lost, but just for this moment, let me pretend it can.”

“I never liked playing make-believe,” she said unsteadily, fighting the urge to rock against him. “It’s better to accept things as they are.”

Mia imagined the picture they presented to anyone glancing out the window: his body pinning her against the car, and hers, yielding. The idea of anyone witnessing this moment sent a rush of furtive desire cascading through her veins. Tiny pinpricks of heat gathered at the lee of her legs, urging her to move.

“Who did this to you?” he whispered tenderly. “What made you afraid of dreams?”

Life, she wanted to say, but the answer sounded too sad to speak aloud. It seemed too close to self-pity; she loathed how easily he found her vulnerabilities. She stared up at him, sad and shaken, more naked than if he had stripped her and tied her to his bed.

Somehow he read the truth in her face, and his mouth curved into a melancholy smile. “No wonder my curse cannot keep you. I should take you home with me, for who could match a man without a heart better than the woman who cannot dream?”