Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Haunted House of Manlove Flash Hop



It's my favorite time of year, Halloween. Or All Hallow's Eve to some. Dia de los Muertos to others. To celebrate I'm participating in the Haunted House of Manlove Flash Hop.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the hop participants this week! The schedule is below.

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Jared angled his camera a touch to the left. He wanted to get the shot just right. All around him people were dressed in traditional celebration outfits. Colorful sombreros adorned their heads. Men, women, and kids had their faces painted white with color or black lines accentuating their skull. This was a day of celebration and Jared was in the middle of the cemetery. Taking pictures.

Dia de los Muertos. He’d read all about this day before planning this trip to Mexico. Did all of his research. Even went as far as putting together a costume for himself. Granted it wasn’t nearly as elaborate as some of the ones he’d seen already. And it was only three o’clock in the afternoon.

He checked the filter once more. The lighting was perfect. Now, if that person would move just a little to the left I’d have the perfect…

The person moved, but Jared didn’t click the button. His camera made no noise. His attention was diverted. To a man standing just beyond the table of candles and sugar skulls Jared had been trying to get a shot of. A memorial to a loved one. The subject of his entire trip. And yet, the man in the gray suit with white accents and a gray top hat stole his focus.

Jared walked to him. What was he doing here? In gray and white rather than the black he’d seen most of the day, this person stood out in the crowd. Jared had a sudden desire to learn more about the ghost. Maybe he’d let Jared take a picture or two. As Jared approached the guy turned to face him. His head slowly raised from where he’d been looking at the ground, a grave for a loved one? Family? Friend? Or someone else?

His heart pounded. Jared’s breathing became shallow. Quickly he tossed the strap of his camera around his neck. Now would not be a good time to drop the camera. He viciously wiped his sweat-soaked palms up and down his jeans.

Jared cleared his throat. “Excuse me.” He held his hand out.

“Yes?” The man’s deep baritone rattled Jared even more.

He squinted at the man in front of him. Something about him was…different. His eyes were a clear blue, as though Jared could see right through them. See into his soul.

“My name is Jared. I’m here photographing some of the memorials and costumes. Would you mind…?”

“Afternoon, Jared. Would I mind what exactly?”

“I-if I…umm…who are you here for?” Suddenly unable to ask the man for permission to take his picture, Jared looked at the headstone in front of them. He read the engraving.

Markus.

Their brother. My forever love. Taken too soon. Forever remembered. Never forgotten.

Markus. If Jared did the math right he was only twenty-five when he passed. There was no date of death, only the year. Three years ago.

“I’m sorry for your loss. How did it happen, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I was stupid. We’d been celebrating all day. Drinking. Partying. The parades were over. I shouldn’t have been in the car. Phillip didn’t want me to go. He begged me to go home with him. If I had…”

The mood around them shifted. No one stood by. For all Jared knew the cemetery was empty. I should leave him here to grieve in peace. But he couldn’t walk away. It was like his feet were cemented to the ground.

“If you had?”

“Then I wouldn’t be staring at my own grave on the anniversary of my death. My Phillip wouldn’t have set up that table right there.” He pointed to the memorial Jared had been waiting to capture.

His heart stopped as the man’s words replayed in his head. His own grave. The anniversary of his death. His Phillip.

“Wait. You. I mean…this…”

“Yes. This is my grave. Turn around. Look to your left.”

Jared’s skin broke out in goose bumps when a blast of cold air passed over him. He’d been watching Markus and didn’t realize the man had lifted his arm and pointed over Jared’s shoulder. Jared shook his head. Surely, this was a dream. He’d sat down in the cemetery to wait for the crowd to thin so his pictures would come out perfectly.

No way was he standing next to a ghost. It wasn’t possible. Not even today. Not on El Dia de los Muertos. Because ghosts were not real.

Yet, he did as instructed. He turned and looked to his left. Another man knelt at the memorial. His head buried in his hands. Silent sobs shook his shoulders. Jared’s feet moved on their own, no longer rooted to the ground.

As he moved to the newcomer, a sense of knowing settled in his chest. This was Phillip. This was Markus’s lover.

“Take care of him for me, Jared. He is the most loving, caring man I ever met. For the five years we were together I was the happiest man in this world. He will give that to you as well. You just have to let him. My Phillip needs a man like you. A man who will be there for him. Who will take his pain of my loss. When you worry that he will always miss me. That I will always hold a special place in his heart, know that I am the one who sent you to him. I’ve chosen you to fill the void I left behind.”

The words filtered through Jared’s thoughts. He didn’t hear them as though someone stood next to him and spoke. They came from inside. From his soul.

“Phillip?” Jared whispered the name. The man kneeling on the ground looked up to Jared. Black streaks ran down his cheeks.

“Yes. Who are you?”

Jared didn’t know exactly what to say. The truth seemed too strange. And right. Phillip would believe him. Of that he had no doubt.

“Name’s Jared. I…well, I think I just talked to Markus.”

Phillip sat back on his heels. “My Markus?”

Jared nodded. “It sounds crazy, but yes.”

The other man laughed. Not a chuckle, but a howling, throw your head back laugh. He clutched his stomach and fell forward.

“Son of a bitch. He told you he chose you for me, didn’t he.”

How did he know? Then again, it didn’t really matter. Jared had just talked to a ghost. “You knew?”

Phillip stood and extended his hand to Jared. “Yep. The bastard told me just before he passed that he’d find someone to love me the way he did. Said he’d send him to me when the time was right.” “I guess the time is right.”

His smile was so bright Jared actually took a step back. “Looks like it. What are you doing here? How did you find this place?”

“I’m a photographer. I’ve planned this trip. Everyone told me to come here for the best pictures. So here I am. Coincidence brought us together I suppose.”

Phillip shook his head. “No. Markus brought us together. I can show you some other places with even better scenery if you’d like.”

Wow. Jared couldn’t believe his luck. He twisted back to where he’d seen Markus. No longer did a man in gray stand looking down. Jared smiled. Maybe ghosts really were true. “I’d like that.”

 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

HER EVERYTHING by Tara Andrews

Thank you, Jennah, for having me on you blog today.

I’m really excited about Her Everything, my latest contribution to Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand series. For those not familiar, this is a fun collection of short stories by various authors and written for a variety of genres. All the stories have one thing in common; Madame Eve, the owner of 1Night Stand, whose goal is to provide her clients with a happy ending beyond a single night.

The clients in this case are Rachel and Mark. They had the good fortune to wind up on Madame Eve’s radar and get the surprise of a lifetime. And since the story takes place in Las Vegas, I guess I could say they hit the jackpot! :)

Not that I know what it feels like to hit a jackpot—I shy away from gambling because I don’t find losing money all that enjoyable. And that’s about sums up my experience. LOL.

So, here’s a little about Her Everything.


Rachel Turner made a mistake—a couple, in fact. Ruining a surprise meeting with the front man to her favorite band is just the beginning. But agreeing to switch places with her famous sister may spell the end of both of their careers. With rumors flying and an unexpected invitation from Madame Eve, Rachel hopes she can put the mistakes behind her.

Attending an event to support a charity close to his heart, Mark Travis wasn’t looking for love, or even company—and definitely not with a fan. But when he puts in a hasty bid at a silent auction and wins the services of 1Night Stand, Madame Eve has something different in mind. A single evening with a woman she claims can fulfill his needs. But one night might not be enough.

Come morning, will Mark and Rachel’s unexpected one-night stand give them more than they bargained for?


Excerpt:
On the dance floor, Mark tugged her waist to pull her close. With one hand clasped in his and the other resting on his shoulder, she followed his lead. He danced with the same confidence and style as he walked—sure, commanding, and…so incredibly hot.

Thanks to the four-inch Louboutins Rachel had borrowed from her sister, the top of her head barely reached his chin, but high enough, if she dared, to rest her temple against his cheek. Though tempted to find out if the stubble along his jaw was as soft as it looked, she didn’t dare. But, oh, how she wanted to. At least they were close enough that the spicy scent of his cologne surrounded her.

A love song played, its lyrics about longing the perfect fit for her one-and-only dance with the man she’d admired so long from afar.

“You didn’t come back.” His voice, rough and low, vibrated against her cheek.

She tilted her head to meet his gaze. The intimate proximity allowed her an up-close-and-personal view of his brown eyes, their color reminding her of the amaretto she favored. His hold on her shifted, bringing them closer, the difference slight, but welcome. The nerves at her waist sizzled under the weight of his palm, while his thumb rubbed the exposed skin of her back. She shivered again from the simple touch, and an answering heat flared in his eyes.

“I…I got called away to help my sister.” She stumbled on the near lie. But, truth be told, she never dreamed Mark would give her a second thought after she’d left, his disinterest so plain to see.

“Sasha?”

So he knew who she was then? “Yes, she’s my sister.”

“Your twin.”

Rachel allowed him to spin her before replying. “That’s correct.”

“I didn’t realize at first. The glasses threw me off, as did your hair.” He smiled then. “Even so, you two are not identical.”

Aside from her and Sasha’s obvious style differences and voices, very few people were able to tell them apart. A knot formed in Rachel’s throat. She didn’t like where his comment appeared to be leading or the way his movements slowed and his brow furrowed.

He met her eyes. “Was that you on stage tonight?”


Tara Andrews divides her time between a full-time job as an office manager, an even more full-time job as a wife and mother, and her dream job as a romance author. An avid reader and writer, Tara continuously seeks to hone her craft in order to provide readers with stories that are provocative yet romantic.

Tara lives in upstate New York with her wonderful husband and two fabulous children.

Website: http://www.taraandrews.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tara.andrews.author
Twitter: @tara_andrews1
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/taraandrews1/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8578362.Tara_Andrews

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HUNTER'S MARK by V.S. Morgan


Please welcome V.S. Morgan to the blog! She's another great author in the Beyond Fairytales line with Decadent Publishing.


Artist Casey Smith lives a quiet life, under the radar of his enemies, until one fateful night he loses control and the astonishing image of a wolf racing down a suburban street splashes all over social media. Hunter’s bullet never misses its target. The assassin seeks out and kills his prey with a clear conscience by following two simple rules: 1) Don’t kill innocents 2) Don’t kill shifters.

Realizing his latest assignment violates those rules, the hunter activates Princess Protocol and the assassin becomes the protector. Red hot attraction flares between the hit man and his former target.

Can Hunter resist the sweet shifter in his care?

Purchase: Decadent Publishing | iTunes | Kobo | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | ARe


EXCERPT:
He stepped closer to Casey’s stall but stumbled over something small and furry. The toe of one Birkenstock caught on a clump of grass as he attempted not to trample the little beast, and he ass-planted with said beast jumping onto his chest to give him a broad doggie smile.

His buddy laughed piss-your-pants-hard in his ear. Fuck a duck.

“Miss Priscilla!”

The target he’d worked so hard to observe remotely sank to the ground between his sprawled-out legs, peeling the tiny hairball off his chest and setting it on the ground.

“I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”

Big blue eyes fringed with long, pale lashes scanned his body while strong yet gentle hands moved over his ankles and legs, searching for an injury. Oh, a toucher. His wolf basked in the tactile attention. His breath hitched as those hands glided past his knees and skimmed his thighs.

Damn, he needed to get laid after this assignment.

“Oh, my, what a li’l sweetie. Look at those freckles! I wonder if he’s got them everywhere. I’d like to lick them,” Rex crowed in his ear.

He growled.

The other man chortled. “Possessive, much?”

He inhaled deeply, only to be slammed with the force of a Mack truck. Strawberries on a warm summer’s day and fresh-cut grass—shit, his target smelled delicious. He took another breath, and his brain reeled. He’s a wolf shifter, too? Fuck. Casey’s brows furrowed. “Where are you hurt?”

He forced a smile. “I’m fine. No worries.”

Casey returned the smile, his wide and high beam combined with sparkling eyes. Hunter stared as warmth wrapped around him like a blanket. He had no ammo against such a happy, open expression. The guy freaking glowed.

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About the Author

V.S. Morgan has lived all over the US but calls Minnesota her home now. Her family includes her hubby, son, and a menagerie of pets.

She's been writing stories since she could hold a pencil and dreams of happily ever afters - even for two hot men - because love knows no boundaries. V.S. writes MC/IR contemporary, paranormal, and suspense m/m and m/f with heart. She plans to branch into fantasy and sci fi romance, as well.

V.S. is a GLBT ally and a lifetime contributor of The Trevor Project.

Website: http://www.vsmorgan.com
Facebook and Goodreads: V.S. Morgan
Twitter: @vsmorgan1