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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where Do You Want to See the Characters Romance?

What role does the setting of a romance novel play in reader’s enjoyment of romance novels? I don’t know the answer, but I have been pondering this question for some time. Setting for the purposes of this blog post, refers to the geographical place where the novel is set—let’s leave the period in history aside for now.

On the one hand, for some readers a romance set in in the Sahara dessert will not bode well for the development of romance between the main characters while for others, this would be the ideal place to force the couple to rely only on each other for survival. How well the characters cope with the challenging circumstances is all up to the writer.

Setting the story in harsh physical circumstances could reveal the characters’ strong and weak attributes and it could curb or help the romance develop. But, can the romance compete with the constant thirst and heat exhaustion experienced by the characters? What about a setting in the Antarctic?
What if the writer used the cold, miserable and unforgiving circumstances as a setting for a romance novel? Take for instance Antarctic Affair by Louise Rose-Innes who used this setting to write a compelling romance. Do these external struggles influence readers into buying the book or cause them to pause, reconsider and move on to the next book on the shelve?

Images of white beaches with palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze fit the idea of a romance novel better. Places readers associate with traditional honeymoon destinations seem to be the preferred setting —or part of the setting— for most romance novels. The Trouble with Mojitos by Romy Sommer. These are relaxing settings where the characters can concentrate on their relationship without the interference of nature’s whims. Granted, a storm or two could spice up the setting, but it remains a traditionally romantic setting.
Examples of popular romance novels utilizing this setting is

If the cover of a book revealed the novel was set in a location you abhorred, would you pass on picking up the book or would you be lead by the blurb on the back despite the place where the novel was set?

by Yolande Pienaar
Author of Gogga op 'n Harley, Katelknaap vir Carlien, Speelgoed

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Excerpt from HERO'S HOMECOMING by Rebecca Crowley

My military holiday novella HERO'S HOMECOMING hit digital shelves on Thursday, both on its own and as half of GIFTS OF HONOR, one of Carina Press's holiday collections. I can't explain how proud I am of this novella, and that it appears beside the incredible STARTING FROM SCRATCH by Stacy Gail. Today I'm sharing an excerpt from the first chapter, which is the first appearance of the hero, Chris, an infantry officer recently wounded in Afghanistan.

--

Chris sat perfectly still amid the bustle and chaos of Manhattan, Kansas’s small regional airport. The normally quiet building, which consisted of little more than a check-in desk, a waiting area and a single departures gate, was teeming with holiday travelers delighted to have made it onto what would probably be the last flight to arrive before the blizzard dumped a predicted two feet of snow on the eastern part of the state.

Two children fought over a handheld video game. Their hassled mother halfheartedly scolded them, but
she was preoccupied with wondering aloud what was taking her sister so long to arrive to retrieve them. A group of soldiers discussed the trip to Washington, D.C., from which they were returning, and the marksmanship exhibition they’d taken part in there. Meanwhile another family—mom, dad and a young son—were walking toward him. He guessed from their earlier conversation that both were high school teachers in Dallas, returning to their mutual hometown for Christmas. Their voices hushed as they approached, and soon they came to a halt directly in front of him.

The father cleared his throat. “We just wanted to thank you for your service. We appreciate all that our
military does for our country.”

Chris nodded stoically. He knew he shouldn’t be ungrateful, but ever since he’d come back from Afghanistan he absolutely loathed the attention his uniform attracted. He hadn’t even wanted to wear his Army Service Uniform, but the hospital staff had encouraged him to wear something official in case he needed assistance and had to identify himself as military, and he couldn’t bring himself to put on his combat fatigues.

“That’s very kind, thank you.”

There was an awkward pause, and then the father continued, “Well, you have a merry Christmas.”

“You too,” Chris replied, and the family moved away. As soon as they were behind him, Chris heard the boy ask, “Why didn’t he want to shake your hand, Daddy?”

And in a whisper his father explained, “He just didn’t see it. He’s blind.”

Chris gritted his teeth against what was becoming an all-too-familiar sense of humiliation. Cringing, he let his sightless, useless eyes momentarily fall shut.

The hassled mother’s sister arrived. Chris heard the stress melt from the woman’s voice as she greeted her family, and he felt a twinge of jealousy. He’d insisted that he could travel home from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio by himself, and had dismissed his parents’ offer to fly down and meet him there. He’d taken the two short flights from San Antonio to Dallas and then Dallas to Manhattan with no problem, needing only minimal assistance, and was feeling triumphant when he came through the arrivals gate in Kansas. It was only as he stood near the baggage claim, waiting to hear his name called in a familiar voice or for the recognizable scent of his mother’s perfume to waft up to his side that he began to feel uncertain.

Then his phone had buzzed in his pocket and he took his mother’s borderline hysterical call, in which
she tearfully explained that the pickup was stuck in a snowbank somewhere near Route 77 and the roads going south were quickly becoming impassable. He’d assured her that he was fine, everything would be okay and he’d get himself to a hotel in Manhattan until the weather cleared. Then he stood stock-still, wondering what the hell he was going to do, for so long that an airport employee eventually came over and asked if he’d like to be shown to a seat.

Calling Beth had been inevitable from the moment he hung up with his mother, but that didn’t mean he
hadn’t spent a solid half hour racking his brain for any possible alternative. He couldn’t bring himself to call anyone from Fort Riley, not yet—he couldn’t bear the shame of his disability, his colleagues’ valiant efforts at concealing their pity or his own guilt at having survived an attack that claimed the lives of three men under his command. He didn’t know anyone else in town and the thought of asking airport staff for a taxi number, having to find the right bills to pay the driver and then navigating a hotel lobby on his own was simply too daunting after the two plane journeys he’d already undertaken that day.

And—if he was really, cruelly honest with himself—he wanted to be with Beth again, even if only to sit beside her in hostile silence for a ten-minute car ride. It would be as close as he would get to saying goodbye.

After the suicide bomber had penetrated the compound, after the days lost to anesthesia and painkillers,
after he woke up to discover that his world had shrunk to a shifting palette of grays and shadows, he’d known he had to hurt Beth to protect her. It was only fair—they’d spent less than a week together, and he couldn’t ask her to tie herself to him and take on the burden that he had become, especially since he knew she would unhesitatingly, ungrudgingly say yes. He knew this decision would have consequences, and he comforted himself with the knowledge that he was doing the right thing by letting her go.

“Chris?”

As if on cue, the voice that had haunted his waking hours for months was behind him, accompanied by the soft swish of a heavy coat and the scent of vanilla. He swallowed hard against a rush of nerves as he hastily brushed off the front of his uniform, although he knew full well that if anything was seriously amiss with his clothing he would be the last to know. He ran his hand through his hair, picked up the collapsible white cane he hated more than anything from the chair beside him and wished for the millionth time that he could see for himself whether the facial scarring was really as minimal as everyone assured him.

Then he stood and turned to face the only woman who’d ever mattered.

--

HERO'S HOMECOMING is available on its own: Carina Press * Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * ARe * Audible

Or as part of the GIFTS OF HONOR duology: Carina Press * Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * ARe

Rebecca Crowley inherited her love of romance from her mom, who taught her to at least partially judge a book by the steaminess of its cover. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense with smart heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, and never tires of the happily-ever-after. Having pulled up her Kansas roots to live in New York City and London, Rebecca recently relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Find her on the web at rebeccacrowley.net or on Twitter at @rachelmaybe.
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What my first #Nano has taught me

By Zee Monodee

Hey beautiful people!

Amid all the Nano madness, it almost slipped by me that I was supposed to post here today, about my experience as a first-time Nano participant. So where do I start telling you what a journey it has been since November 1?

I regularly describe myself as the quintessential headless chicken. Mind, I am organized, but to someone other than me, I just might look like a hot mess. Bridget Jones has nothing on me where being a basket case is concerned (just ask my husband!).

Now add the need to write 50,000 words in one month and you get...a freak show!

I'm a stay-at-home-mum, and November is prolly the worst month ever for me because my son is on summer break and my stepson, too, will be haunting my house during those free days. There's still chauffeur duty (to gym, jujitsu, all that lovely hoopla), and I seem to be on call in the kitchen 24/7 because growing boys will eat everything and the kitchen sink in a single day. I'm also a housewife, meaning I have no helper or cook or sous-chef to lend a hand around (that creature known as the hubby is at work all day).
I also hold a 'day' job (yes, I can work in my pyjamas and on my own schedule), in that I'm an editor with clients and deadlines and needing to answer to a boss. Life/work doesn't come to a standstill in November, sadly.
Then, too, as proud as I am to say this - I'm a 2x cancer survivor - I also hate this tag because it means I am not exactly able to power on at 100% the way 'healthy' people are. Yes, I do feel fine, but it's been 9 years since I last heard "you're in perfect health" coming from the mouth of a doctor.

And yes, I'm getting to my point, bear with me, please.

So I am the quintessential headless chicken turned freak show...but guess what? Today is November 20, and I am 893 words short of crossing the 50K mark on my Nano story.

My point would be? This:

If you want it hard enough, you can get/do it. It isn't simpler than this.

They say half the battle of fighting cancer is in the positive attitude. That's hard to do when you're chucking everything but your guts for 72 hours straight after a chemo session. That's almost impossible when you find yourself burnt like a nuclear bomb survivor 2 weeks before your radiotherapy sessions are supposed to be over. And it's like moving mountains when the biopsy results return and you hear that evil, evil M word - malignant.

But people the world over battle cancer everyday; I'm proof of the pudding. And I've seen folks with better-on-paper results and prognoses than mine not make it, because they didn't have the rage to fight.

So 50,000 words in under one month? Fight for it! Nothing will come unless you make it come to you. Find the time. Better yet, make the time. If I could do it, you can, too.

They say that where there's a will, there's a way. Clicheed idiom, but it became a cliche for a good reason - because it's the truth.

Will I attempt Nano again next year? You bet.

Will I try to write 50K in under a month again throughout 2014? Never on my life! I've got just enough in me to manage the freak show for a month, and not longer!

Believe in yourself, and only then will you reach the stars....

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This Sunday's Excerpt is from 'Life After 6 Tequilas' by Gina Rossi

Beth Johnson, an upbeat, hardworking, single mum living in London takes the humorous challenges of life in her stride. Her career is fast-tracking but that’s secondary to baby Jacob – his care and development are paramount. When her impeccably-organized childcare routine implodes at the worst possible moment, she has no choice but to leave Jacob with unlikely ‘nanny’, Davit Kacharava, a Georgian migrant. Is she making an enormous mistake, letting this stranger into her comfortable world, even if he is gorgeous? She’s drawn to Davit but he resists, so why does she reveal to him the shocking secret that overshadows her life? And can she face the truth – do what’s right for herself, Jacob and Davit – before it’s too late?

Excerpt:

“Do you have any experience?” I ask Davit.
His grey eyes, like dark steel, are intent on my mouth. I’m thinking aircraft carriers, the North Sea in winter, and all the Eastern Bloc baddies in 24.
“Say?”
“Childcare experience?”
He thinks for a moment. “I have small brothers, sister.”
“Great.”
“Mother, father.”
“And?”
I wait. Nothing. He looks down at his boots.
“Are you a professional nanny, um, Davit? Child carer?” I ask.
He looks up quickly, his face blank. I try again. “What job do you do?”
“Woodcutter.”
“You cut down trees?” That would explain the massive arms and the tan. But I’m having trouble working out the link between tree felling and baby care.
“I cut furniture,” he says.
I look at my kitchen and imagine the cupboards, table and chairs reduced to kindling in the flash of a wielded axe, possibly lurking in the bag at his feet – a bag that looks like a cross between Goliath’s golf bag and a size XXL body bag.
“Carpenter,” he says, rapping broad knuckles on my prized little butcher’s block trolley. It rocks with fright. “I make.”
I turn to Fenella. “Fenella.” I drop the “Ms Forsythe” in an attempt at authority. “I’m sure your childcare agency is the best in London, but he’s a carpenter, not a nanny. And, by the way, he can’t speak English.”
“Neither can your baby,” she retorts, reaching into her bag for a mobile phone that’s singing an aria from La Traviata. I glimpse a pack of Benson & Hedges. She ignores the bit about carpenter versus nanny, concentrating on her phone.
“This is Trevor,” she says, “your boss,” (as if I don’t know). “Time to go.” She ducks away, the phone to her ear. “Absolutely fine, Trevor. We’re on our way.”
Like hell. I’m numb all over, except for a small twisting, panicky knot in my tummy. The clock ticks on.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I say.
Fenella’s eyes narrow, stretching her face to breaking point. I fear backlash from the ponytail. She stretches out her arms, and pats the air in front of her, like the Pope.
“Everything will be all right, Beth.”
“I wouldn’t leave my child with a stranger for one minute!”
“Many people do.” She’s using a calm, slow, warning tone, like she’s talking me down from a ledge.
“They don’t.”
“Oh, but they do.” She folds her arms, furling the wings. “And they use professionals. Look at it like this. You go to a dentist you’ve probably known for years, right?”
“Yes.”
“But, if you need specialist work he refers you to a specialist dental surgeon and you go along happily and trust your precious teeth to a complete stranger, who charges you like a wounded buffalo.”
She’s right. She has a point and I tell her so. But Jacob is my human baby, not a tooth.
“And this guy is a Russian carpenter,” I point at Davit, “not a professional child carer.”
“Georgian,” Davit growls, dipping his heavy brows at me. “From Tbilisi.”
Fenella holds up her hands. “All right.” She inclines her neat head. “He was installing built-in cupboards in my friend Charles Davenport’s house in Marlborough Crescent. Charles is a heart surgeon and his wife, Francesca, a senior partner in a law firm. A huge law firm,” she adds, as if it matters. “They had an, er, housekeeping crisis and Davit took it all in his stride for a few days.”
“I see,” I say, although I don’t. “How old are the Davenport kids?”
“Sixteen and eighteen,” she says, proud as you like. “The Davenports are friends of Trevor’s too. Trevor will vouch for them.”
So what? Jacob’s weighing a ton in my arms. He’s sliding down my front, wet now because he’s been sucking the top button of my shirt.
Davit steps forward and takes him. I hang on for dear life, but am no match for those ginormous biceps. Muscleman Davit doesn’t register the slightest resistance. Jacob is thrilled (you could toss him into the lineout at a rugby game and he’d be thrilled) and he smiles and claps his hands, and then his face goes solemn. He’s staring at Davit with round blue eyes, reaching out, fingers stretched into a pink starfish. There’s a row of darling dimples where his knuckles are going to be. He touches the shadow of stubble on Davit’s cheek.
“Bub,” he says, patting, enjoying the texture.
Davit smiles, showing perfect teeth and a dimple of his own. He glances at me and our eyes catch for a moment. I’m not thinking aircraft carriers and wintry sea anymore, rather grey cashmere, and the warm silver ears of the Siamese kitten that comes over the fence from next door.
I subside onto the kitchen chair. “I don’t know—”
“Come on, Beth. Let’s not be late,” Fenella says. “I’ll drive you to the airport.”
No escape.
*****
Thanks for reading! If you'd like a glimpse into the world of Beth, Davit and baby Jacob, have a look at http://www.pinterest.com/ginarossiwriter/life-after-6-tequilas-by-gina-rossi-in-e-book-and-/

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How NOT to Write a Romance Novel

Recently, during an evening with family and friends, the talk turned to romantic novels. Great recent reads were shared and discussed. What made them great? Good writing, including good research, careful plotting, and respect for the reader by way of meticulous editing. Realistic characterization, humour and considered vocabulary were also mentioned. It was interesting.

But, as the wine flowed on, it got more interesting. We moved on to rubbish romantic reads, and what made them so bad. There are some old chestnuts listed below, and a few surprises (in no particular order), but what do you ‒ as a reader ‒ think?

Add your comments below, and share your advice on how NOT to write a romance novel:

1. Eyes are not people, people. ‘His eyes rested on her face.’ What? Did his eyes climb out of their sockets, find pillows, and go snuggle up on her cheeks for a bit of shut-eye? No, of course they didn’t. Likewise ‘His eyes dropped to the floor.’ Go figure.

2. Do not give your hero hard thighs because it sounds like, you know, it spread downwards.

3. Please, please ‒ particularly in erotic romance ‒ no throbbing, bobbing, thrusting, moaning or groaning. And no pulsing, okay? And cut the heaving while you’re at it.

4. If your heroine is a single mum out on a date with the kid in tow, please don’t present us readers with an angel child. As mums ourselves, we feel inadequate. Let that kid vomit on the hero. Just the once, on his shoes. There, we feel better already.

5. Stop the love-at-first-sight scenario. Stick to strong physical attraction to get off to a hot start.

6. Please have the decency to remember that sexual urge does not make a woman’s brain stop working.

7. No woman has breath like fresh rose petals first thing in the morning. Get your heroine to nip along to the toothpaste station before Mr Magnificent wakes up.

8. Pay attention to emotion in sex scenes. Go deep, deeper, deepest (LOL!). Include sounds, smells, textures, tastes, noises, sensations, colours, thoughts, and more. Sex scenes without emotion are no more than porn.

9. Don’t take too long undressing before a sex scene. If hero and heroine are crossing the North Pole in midwinter on foot just say ‒ when they get to the igloo ‒ ‘They took off their clothes’, otherwise we’ll be here all week as they discard the layers and forget, along with the reader, what was supposed to be happening. Summer is easy. He can wear shorts, she can wear a bikini. There, done.

10. Please dress your heroes after sex because once, apparently, in some or other historical novel, the Duke left off ravishing his stolen maiden in the boudoir, seized his weapon (his sword, his sword, dear reader) and raced off to do battle. The author forgot to dress him! Imagine the danger, rushing into battle, naked? Apart from anything else he could have got that sword between his legs and...oooh...oh...ow.

11. As far as characters’ characteristics go, interesting is more interesting than handsome or beautiful.

12. A hero or heroine with an unhappy childhood or abusive background is old hat, boring, and a lazy effort by the writer to produce character flaws and conflict. Likewise the love triangle. Enough.

13. Create normal-sized people. The hero doesn’t always have to be 7’2” with a chest as wide as a brick sh**house. He doesn’t have to be able to bend steel with his winkie. He doesn’t always have to have a tan, for crying out, particularly if he’s wearing a kilt. I mean, have you ever seen a Scotsman with a tan? Still on the subject, the heroine must not be perfect. Give us a woman whose cuticles are in bad shape, so we can relate.

14. Hey! Let’s have protected sex, please. A fleeting thought will suffice, or a crinkle of foil.

15. Aim for sensation and sensuality in sex scenes, not a biology lesson. We know what’s going to happen and how, without being told which part fits where. ‘Show, don’t tell’ never had a stronger role to play than beneath the duvet.

16. Too much sex in a book is really, really boring. Unless it’s a sex book.

17. Guys don’t orgasm six times a night, every night. Believe me, if they did, we’d know about it.

18. Beware the virgin heroine ‒ oft-times found simpering in an historical novel ‒ who is a sudden, sexy, hellcat behind the closed curtains of the four-poster, who renders the worldly hero a gasping devotee, on his knees, begging for her love. We figure she’s lied about her past. Be a credible writer.

19. It’s a hard world out there and in this post-recession gloom we probably don’t want to read about severe financial mismanagement problems that put the heroine off the hero. However, not every hero needs to be a bazillionnaire, okay? Just make him good with money, that’s the max we ask.

20. And, lastly but not least, for the love of Jamie Oliver, give your heroine a good appetite at mealtimes. No one likes a picky eater.

Please add your comments below, and thanks so much for reading!

Gina Rossi

‘Life After 6 Tequilas’ - http://amzn.com/B00BO1RP8E - Chick Lit
‘The Wild Heart’ - http://amzn.com/1612171087 - Historical, set in 18thC South Africa
‘To Hear You Smile’ - http://amzn.com/B00925BZ0S - Contemporary novella
Please join me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gina.rossi.7, Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/ginarossiwriter/gina-rossi/ and Twitter


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Excerpt from Love, in Writing by Elsa Winckler

He drew in a deep breath. ‘You were in the lift with me last night, weren’t you? You’re wearing more clothes now. What the hell are you doing here? Did you follow me here? What…?’

Margaret seldom got angry. She normally found it a useless exercise. No one took her seriously anyway and she always ended up with a terrible headache. But she was angry now. And the beginnings of a whopping headache stretched its tight tentacles across the back of her head.

 ‘I was unfortunate enough to have to share the lift with you last night, yes. But this is my shop. I did not follow you here.’

 ‘Your shop?’ He seemed to be at a complete loss for words. For a little while at least. Then he gestured irritably to the books on the shelves. ‘This is a ridiculous bookshop. You don’t have any science fiction books, no —’

Margaret lifted her chin. ‘You are most welcome to leave, sir. No one is forcing you to stay. And we do have science fiction books. There is a whole section behind you. You will also find the latest vampire stories there. The only difference between this book store and any other is that —’

 ‘You only have books with happy endings. I’ve never heard of anything so completely bizarre. It is, you know.’ 

‘Well, now you have. Goodbye, sir, I don’t believe we have anything of interest for you.’

 ‘You can’t kick me out, I’m a paying customer!’ He looked around. ‘And from what I can see, you need some of those,’ he sneered.

 Margaret walked towards the door. ‘Please leave. As the proprietor, I have the right to kick out anyone I want to.’

 From the corner of her eye she could see Jen vehemently shaking her head and trying to catch her attention. But she now wanted the man out of her shop, out of Kommetjie, out of her life.

He stared at her for a long moment and then walked passed her, muttering. ‘Margaret, do you have any idea who that man is?’ Jen asked breathlessly.

‘Yes. He’s the one I told you about this morning. He was the one who thought I was stalking him, as if I…’

Jen laughed and covered her face with her hands.

‘What?’ Jen dropped her hands and rolled her eyes dramatically.

‘That man, my dear Margaret…’ She giggled again. ‘That man, the one you have just kicked out of your shop, is Graham Connelly. The Graham Connelly. The world renowned Graham Connelly. Science fiction author. You even have one or two of his books here. Only those with happy endings, of course, but at least we do have a few of his books.’

Margaret groaned and sat down in the nearest chair. She swore.

Jen inhaled sharply. ‘Did you use a bad word?’ Jen giggled.

Margaret swore again. ‘Yes, and I know I never do, but that man…’ She got up and paced restlessly through the shop. ‘I was rude, but I had a reason to be. He is…he is…impossible.’

‘Impossible? Is that the best you can do?’ Jen laughed. ‘But I can see that you are really angry and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you angry. Your eyes are stormy, you are breathing heavily, your cheeks are red and you have been swearing. And all because of a man. Does any of this sound familiar to you?’ 

‘What do you mean?’

Jen only smiled. ‘You should read your own books. Any first chapter of any of your books. What we have here, Margaret dear, is a first chapter in one of your romances.’ And still smiling, she turned to a customer who had entered the shop.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Keepers: Sienna - Excerpt


A full moon in Rapid Falls.

Sienna Beckham is a powerful witch, and along with her four fiercely protective Keepers, it is her destiny to maintain the balance of nature in this world.

Tonight, it's the town carnival and everyone will be there: Sienna's family, her friends, her protectors. Archer.

Laughter and flirtation await.

But in a few hours, Sienna's life will have changed forever and her powers stretched to their very limits.

For something is lurking in the forest…

Murder. Sorcery. Revenge.

And no one sees it coming.

Find out how it all began…

The FREE PREQUEL to Rae Rivers' magical new series, The Keepers.

Excerpt

Setting the scene: Sienna is at the town carnival with her four Keepers and she's on the Ferris Wheel with youngest Keeper, Sarah Bennett. Sienna sees Archer waiting for her below, standing beside the school's caretaker...


And standing beside the old man was Archer.

Her breath caught as her gaze met his and all thoughts of the caretaker disappeared. Archer wore jeans and a suede black jacket, his hands shoved casually into his pockets. He was tall, with broad shoulders and a sexy presence that had a group of teenage girls standing nearby swooning over him.

The fact that their relationship was forbidden, cursed, did little to calm the butterfly flip in her stomach.

With a brief shake of the head, Sienna silently scolded herself for the direction of her thoughts.

He could never be hers. Ever.

“I’m going to be sick looking at you two ogling each other like that,” Sarah said, feigning a gag. “You’re going to have The Circle spitting snakes if you’re not careful.”

Sienna waved her off, not caring for the discussion that would follow. It was one they’d had far too often of late.

The Circle were a group of ancestral witches who governed the laws of magic, witches and their Keepers. Not wanting the emotional complication from a relationship between a witch and her Keeper that might influence their roles in maintaining the balance of nature, the old witches had long ago forbidden any romances.

So the handsome, charming and darn sexy Keeper was off-limits.

If only her womanly parts would listen to her head.

Sarah’s harsh intake of breath and soft curse snapped Sienna’s attention back from all thoughts of Archer and she glanced at her with a raised brow. “Sarah?”

She’d gone rigid, her previous playfulness abandoned, and stared at her brother with a harsh frown. A frown that matched his.

“Sarah, what’s wrong?” Sienna asked, knowing instinctively that trouble had reared its familiar head. Damn it. When she didn’t reply, Sienna reached for Sarah’s arm. “Sarah, what’s happening? What do you hear?”

Without looking at her, Sarah shook her head. “Nothing.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

“Blood,” she replied, her tone edged with an icy warning that sent chills down Sienna’s spine. She pinned Sienna with a sharp gaze. “I smell blood.”



The Keepers is a magical Paranormal Romance series published by Harper Impulse, an imprint of Harper Collins.