Donna Michaels | Cowboy vs Military Hero

Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Hello, I’m thrilled to be here on Fresh Fiction and to talk to you about two of my favorite subjects: Cowboy Heroes, and Military Heroes. I write hot, humorous, heartwarming, contemporary romances, and nine times out of ten my hero is either a cowboy or military hero…or both.

When I’m asked which is my favorite to write I always answer with both. It’s way too hard to choose one over the other. I even made a long list of their attributes to help. Here are the top 4 of each:


  1. Respectful. The cowboy heroes I write about are contemporary, but modeled after the John Wayne, Audie Murphy, Roy Roger cowboys of the big screen. They are righteous and live by a code of honor. Even when they go all alpha and my heroines knock them down a peg, they remain respectful.
  2. Loyal. Cowboys put family first, their women, their friends, sacrificing their needs to help those they care about.
  3. Swoon-worthy drawl. It doesn’t take much imagination on my part at all to hear the handsome cowboy in my head whisper, “Darlin’”, in a deep sexy tone to my heroine. It’s goose-bump city for me.
  4. Hard body. Muscles and ridges and V’s…oh my. Yes, my cowboys have ripped bodies from the all the physical work they do around the ranch, not a gym. My heroines happily reap the rewards.

Military Heroes:

  1. Respectful. The military heroes I write about are based on my husband (he’s fulltime National Guard) and other soldiers in his unit I’ve observed over the past *cough* three decades. They are polite, and have manners, and live by a code of honor. Even when they go all alpha and my heroines knock them down a peg, they remain respectful. (Sound familiar?)
  2. Loyal. Military heroes never leave a man behind. Always have your six (your back). It’s ingrained in them. They form tight brotherhoods with comrades, and it spills into their personal life with their families, friends…their women.
  3. Tattoos. Sure, there are cowboys that have them, but tattoos and service men kind of go hand-in-hand. The ones my military heroes sport always have a deeper meaning, and I enjoy peeling back the layers in his backstory to find out just what kind of tattoo I need to give him and why.
  4. Hard body. Muscles and ridges and V’s…oh my. These men are ripped. They have to be in order to carry out their orders, and even though most of my heroes are former military, they still have the hard bodies and muscle definition that turns my heroines stupid. In a good way. J

This list could keep going on and on, but I think you get the idea, and notice a lot of similarities. That’s why I can’t choose one over the other. They are very similar. And man, when I get to combine them? Doesn’t get any better than that to me.

In my new release, IN A RANGER’S ARMS, the first book in The Men of At-Ease Ranch series, my hero is a cowboy and former Army Ranger who owns a ranch with his brother and two former ranger buddies to help returning veterans transition back into society. It was a hoot to write, and I had a bit of fun throwing in a cow who has a crush on the hero and is less than friendly toward the heroine.

If you want to be kept in the loop of my new releases, and to participate in exclusive contests, join my Newsletter

Thanks for reading,



$10 Amazon Gift Card

Do you prefer a cowboy hero, military hero, or both? Put your answer below and you’ll be entered to win!

IN A RANGER’S ARMS by Donna Michaels

The Men of at Ease Ranch

In a Ranger's Arms

Former Army Ranger Stone Mitchum doesn’t have time for sex. Since starting a company with his brother and two buddies, he’s had more important things on his mind. Like transitioning veterans back into society. But when his curvy new tenant falls into his arms—literally—his libido snaps to attention.

Jovy Larson has four weeks to prove she’s worthy of taking over the family business. Her challenge? Sell gluten-free, vegan food—in the middle of cattle country, Texas. It’s a tough task, but not half as tough as fighting her attraction to her sexy, surly landlord.

Before she knows it, Jovy’s tangling sheets with the hot cowboy, stalked by a jealous cow, and strategizing ways to help Stone’s ranch. But by the time her lease runs out and the test is over, she’s faced with a new challenge…competing against Stone’s sense of duty to win his heart.

Romance Western | Romance Contemporary [Entangled Lovestruck, On Sale: November 28, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633757653 / eISBN: 9781633757653]

About Donna Michaels

Donna Michaels

It’s all my mother’s fault. She read to me when I was little and sparked my imagination. Now, my mind is the limit, and believe me, there’s no limit to my mind. Hello, I’m Donna Michaels, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Award winning author of Romaginative fiction. I write romance through the H’s—Hot, Humorous, Heartwarming reads with strong alpha cowboys and military men who are equally matched by their heroines. With a husband in the military fulltime, and a household of nine, and several rescued cats, I never run out of material. From short to epic, my books entertain readers across a variety of sub-genres, and one has even been hand drawn into a Japanese Translation.


Lindsay McKenna | Stalked!

What would you do if you were being stalked? Those who have had it happen (and I have), realize the terror of feeling like a hunted quarry and it’s only a matter of time until the man hurts you. It is a paralyzing and helpless feeling because more law enforcement won’t believe the woman in the first place. I wanted to address stalking of women by a man in this book because it’s important to understand just how a woman feels when she’s in the gun sights of her hated hunter.

WIND RIVER WRANGLER is about a romance author being stalked in New York City where she lives. Hit with writer’s block, she wants to escape it all. Maud Whitcomb, owner of the Wind River Ranch in Wyoming, a family friend, invites her out. Shiloh Gallagher has no idea of how many ways her life is going to be upended. Meeting Roan Taggart, the wrangler from the ranch assigned to “babysit” her for the months she is out there, doesn’t exactly agree with him. Roan is an ex-Special Forces operator. He’s come to the ranch two years earlier to deal with his PTSD, and he’s on the mend. But having this romance author assigned to a company house where he stays, upends his life, too. Shiloh was not intending to be drawn to the tall, intense cowboy. Roan wasn’t prepared for his reaction to her, either. And in the midst of it, the stalker isn’t going to sit idly by after he finds out she’s escaped New York City for the wild West.

Shiloh Gallagher comes from a wealthy New York City family. Her mother was an artist, her father a bestselling author in fiction. She is a romance author and very famous for her books. I wanted to see Shiloh move from being a “city slicker” to a capable, confident Westerner, working at the Wind River Ranch.

Roan Gallagher is all military, with a decade of US Army and black ops behind him. I wanted to see if he could come out from behind that wall he lived within and become far more human.

Still waters run deep . . .


Wind River #1

Wind River Wrangler

Still waters run deep . . .

From the moment Roan Taggart picked up the pretty redhead at the Jackson Hole airport, his training and experience told him she was spooked. She’s left New York City to visit the Wind River Ranch, where Roan is a wrangler, and just as he can pick up a horse’s mood, he can feel the tension coming off her body. And that vulnerability is triggering all his protective instincts…

Shiloh Gallagher likes the gray-eyed cowboy’s dry humor—and the Special Forces background that lends him a stoic, powerful presence. But she’s been scarred by trauma and her mother’s murder . . . and knows a strong man can be dangerous. She came to wide-open Wyoming to flee a threat that’s left her unable to write her novels. Now, as she rides horses with Roan and helps him build an isolated cabin, she’s slowly letting down her guard. But danger has followed her west, and they won’t have a future together unless they defeat a killer from her past…

Romance Contemporary | Western [Zebra, On Sale: October 25, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781420141740 / eISBN: 9781420141757]

Exciting new series from best-selling author, Lindsay McKenna!

About Lindsay McKenna

Lindsay McKenna

The “Top Gun of Women’s Military Fiction,” Linsday McKenna has had 145 books published under the McKenna name since 1981, most dealing with military or mercenary subjects, for several publishers: Simon and Schuster, Warner, Avon and Berkley, Harlequin/Silhouette. She is the originator of the Military Romance genre, with “Captive of Fate,” Silhouette Special Edition, 1983. She has sold 23 million books worldwide and in 33 foreign languages. She proudly served in the US Navy and was a meteorologist.

Perfect, Wyoming | McKenna’s Wyoming | Jackson Hole, Wyoming | Shadow Warriors | Delos | Kincaid Trilogy | Wind River – McKenna | Delos Series: 2B2


Cowboy Rising: Meet Daniel MacKinnon

Hi, I’m Mia Hopkins and I write supersexy cowboy romance. My newest release, COWBOY RISING, is about an introverted cowboy who butts heads with the feisty newspaper reporter who’s writing a story about his family’s ranch.

On the surface, Daniel and Georgia have little in common. He’s a conservative country boy with deep roots, she’s a liberal city girl with a taste for adventure. Despite these differences, they constantly surprise one another. Soon their shared passion, intelligence and stubbornness lead them to the bedroom, where a scorching one-night stand turns into something much, much deeper.

For strong-minded Georgia Meyers, only an intelligent, capable hero will do. Here’s what makes Daniel MacKinnon tick.

  1. He works hard. Daniel is a third-generation cattle rancher, trained by the best of the best. When his older brother deserts the family and his father falls ill, Daniel does his best to keep things together. At 24, Daniel will do anything to make the 5,000-acre ranch succeed, including oversee a lengthy organic certification process that places a nosy (but sexy) reporter right in the middle of his business.
  1. He’s got deep roots. Daniel’s grandparents started the cattle ranch and almond orchards. His swaggering father and his rodeo superstar older brother are beloved figures in town. Daniel is expected to be a role model for his two younger brothers, who are watching his every move. For an introverted cowboy, these are some big boots to fill. He doesn’t want to let anyone down.
  1. He’s restless. Everyone assumed his older brother would take over the ranch, so Daniel made his own plans to move away and start a life of his own. When everything changes, he finds himself right back where he started—on the ranch.
  1. He’s intelligent. Daniel dreamed of moving away and getting work in the oil industry. This country boy surprises the fancy reporter when he tells her about his degrees: a double major in petroleum engineering and geophysics and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering. Daniel MacKinnon is a proud cowboy nerd.
  1. He’s looking for someone he can open up to. Daniel has the capacity for deep emotion, even though he doesn’t always show it. He’s loyal and determined and looking for someone who has the same passionate heart that he does. He’ll find that someone is Georgia Meyers—but only if they can get over their differences and risk it all for a chance at love.

COWBOY RISING by Mia Hopkins

Cowboy Cocktail #5

Cowboy Rising

Feisty reporter vs. gruff cowboy—buckle up for a hard ride…

Come back to the rodeo with Mia Hopkins and the newest release in the Cowboy Cocktail series, COWBOY RISING!


Journalist Georgia Meyers is writing an article about MacKinnon Ranch in a last-ditch effort to save her job at a failing newspaper. At first, the hot-as-hell rancher wants nothing to do with her. But butting heads leads to knocking boots, and soon she’s getting the real story—in bed and off the record.

Cattleman’s son and petroleum engineer Daniel MacKinnon turned down a lucrative oil career to take over the family farm. Frustrated about giving up his dreams and worried about money, Daniel buries himself in ranch work—that is, until gorgeous Georgia shows up and rocks him to the core. A blazing one-night stand leads to something deeper. Despite their feelings for each other, he’s tied to the land and she’s a rolling stone. When the time comes to part ways, will the lovers choose duty over desire? Or will they face their fears and rise to the challenge of love?

Warning: Get ready for sassy banter, sizzling sex, orgasms galore, and a nerdy dirty-talkin’ cowboy who can go all night long.

Romance Western [Little Stone Press, On Sale: November 22, 2016, e-Book, / ]


Grand Prize: Digital copies of Books 1-4 in the Cowboy Cocktail series plus a delicate gold and quartz crystal necklace from FeminaHandmade.

5 Runner-Ups: Digital copies of Cowboy Resurrection (Book #2 in the series)

rafflecopter contest


His cheeks red from working outside, the new brother removed his gloves and tucked them under his arm. He took off his hat and shook her hand. His rough fingers were warm.

“Daniel MacKinnon.” He didn’t smile.

Georgia couldn’t explain it. With a heavy jaw and dirty blond hair styled high and tight, he was as clean cut as a cadet—she usually preferred tattooed, bearded types. He looked to be in his mid-twenties—she usually liked seasoned men who were older than her, not younger. But this guy’s hotness seared her eyeballs, nailing her feet where she stood.

“Georgia Meyers, L.A. Chronicle,” she said automatically, all other words escaping her. She was too old, too experienced, and far too smart to react this way—and yet, here she was. Staring slack-jawed at a pretty-faced cowboy like some blue-stockinged virgin at a rodeo dance.

“I know you’re here to see my father,” he said, the low rumble in his voice stroking a sweet spot inside her chest, “but he isn’t available today. You need to reschedule, Miss Meyers.”

His bright green eyes were so distracting, she almost didn’t register his words. “Reschedule?”

“Yeah. You need to come back. Do the interview another day.”

“What?” Snap out of it, Gigi. The story. She yanked her professional persona back in place. “Mr. MacKinnon, I’ve just driven an hour and a half from Fresno to be here. Two days ago, your father said he’d give me a tour of the ranch and walk me through the organic certification process. Isn’t there anyone else I can talk to?”

Daniel’s stoic expression was both infuriating and unspeakably hot. “No.”

Hot or not, who does this guy think he is? She stood up straight. “Okay, let me lay it all out for you. If there’s no one here who will speak with me today, just to make sure my time isn’t wasted, I’ll be more than happy to find another rancher. There are plenty of spreads in your neck of the woods, aren’t there? I’m sure my readers wouldn’t mind learning about conventional ranching operations. Maybe someone at the Hughes Ranch will make time for me. What do you think?”

He narrowed his eyes at her and took a deep but silent breath. His broad chest rose and fell as he looked her over. At last he said, “Can you ride?”

“A little.” Which was completely true, depending on one’s definition of “a little.”

Fresh impatience lit up Daniel MacKinnon’s eyes. “All right. Let’s go.”

See what people are saying about the Cowboy Cocktail series:

“Mia Hopkins knows how to put characters on a page.” – HEROES AND HEARTBREAKERS

“Mia Hopkins is an imaginative author who doesn’t take the easy road to a formulaic book.”

“Sweet and filthy at the same time, just the way I like it. This book made me so happy.”

“The writing is excellent, the emotions leap off the page, and the sex is downright earthy.”

“Beautifully descriptive…hot, sexy and full of yearning!” – DELILAH DEVLIN, AUTHOR

“Off the charts hot.” – THE ROMANCE STUDIO

“A tantalizing slow seduction of the senses.” – STRANGE CANDY REVIEWS

“Hopkins packs a lot of heat and romance on the pages…Caution: hot, sexy times ahead!”

“Filled with sizzling chemistry, hot sex, and just enough sweetness to leave me wanting more…And those sex scenes…Holy hotness!” – CRYSTAL BLOGS BOOKS

Check out the other books in The Cowboy Cocktail series!

Cowboy Valentine

Cowboy Resurrection

Cowboy Player

Cowboy Karma

About Mia Hopkins

Mia Hopkins

Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends.

When she’s not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good “teacher voice” and “teacher stare.”

She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs.

Kings of California | Cowboy Cocktail


Dev & Meda– Inside the Characters of THE WATCHER, Crossing Realms Book 2

Meda regarded him silently. “What is ‘Dev’ short for?”

“Devlyn.” He laughed half-heartedly. “It means brave. Or misfortune. Take your pick.”

And that just about sums up Dev Geary, former Keeper and reluctant Watcher. This hunk and his Harley will take on the human realm in the seven days he’s been given to save his clan—and conquer the very thing that killed him.

I enjoyed the challenge of crafting Dev. He’s a bit of an anti-hero—he’s belligerent, hell bent on his own agenda, an opportunist, a unique blend of strengths and vulnerabilities. His catch phrase and philosophy on life is to be ‘between the inches’, or to embrace his death wish. It’s a fine line between thrills and terror, and it’s the only place where he can feel alive, free from the darkness that lives inside him. Free from the secrets and shame he suffers.

Combine all that angst with some super human powers, and you’ve got yourself a hard ass hottie, fiercely determined to guard and rescue humans. The irony, and the beauty of his character is he doesn’t realize he could use a little rescuing himself.

Enter human Meda Gabriel, a cagey, street smart bar owner with a unique skill set, who might just be of some help in that area—and his quest. But she too, harbors a few secrets.

And the clock is ticking. That kind of pressure is bound to bring out the best—and the worst—in both of them. Will bravery, or misfortune win the day? Find out in THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms series.

THE WATCHER by Rebecca E. Neely

Crossing Realms #2

The Watcher

Hellbent on avenging his own death, former Keeper Dev Geary eagerly accepts when the Watchers task him with returning to the human realm to discover the secret for rendering Similitude—the very thing that killed him.

But to succeed in the seven days he’s been granted, he’ll need to work with the one human who wants nothing to do with him, and who he can’t help falling for—Meda Gabriel, a cagey, street-smart bar owner with a unique skill set and, maybe, the key to his mission.

With the clock ticking and the Betrayers barely a step behind, can Dev conquer his demons and find the answers the clan so desperately needs, with Meda at his side? Can love find a way, or will he be forced to abandon her and the clan, leaving them all to face imminent destruction?

Romance Paranormal [Soul Mate Publishing, On Sale: November 30, 2016, e-Book, / ]

About Rebecca E. Neely

Rebecca E. Neely

Raised on a down home blend of Johnny Cash, Jack London, Sherlock Holmes, the Steelers, and all things small town, Rebecca feels blessed to have grown up in a close knit, fun loving and artistic family. Her mother, a voracious reader and scratch cook, and her father, an entrepreneur, English teacher and lover of literature, taught Rebecca and her brother to work hard, aim for the stars, and live life.

With music, books and laughter as constant companions, she grew up working, cooking and eating in the family’s restaurant business. A certified book and hoagie junkie, Rebecca thrives on live music, mysteries and the outdoors.

She’s a cheddar enthusiast, lover of cats, teddy bears, hot coffee, cold beer, thunderstorms, the blast of a train’s whistle, the change of seasons, country roads, woodpeckers, spoon rings, cool office supplies, and the Food Network. She’s a sucker for a happy ending, and strives to write the kind of stories she loves to read—those featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.

Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer.

Crossing Realms


Don’t miss signing up for Barbara’s giveaway in November!


Tina Gabrielle | Where Ideas Originate

Hello Fresh Fiction! Thank you for inviting me to celebrate my newest release, REAL EARLS BREAK THE RULE. It’s the second book in my Infamous Somertons series about the three daughters of an infamous art forger.

I’m often asked where I get the ideas for my historical romances. I love writing smart, savvy heroines who are an equal match for my strong, sexy heroes. I’ve written a heroine who has been an anonymous investor in the London Stock Exchange, a daughter of a barrister who is more knowledgeable about the law than most of the barristers at the Inns of Court, a lady spy, and a successful shopkeeper.

REAL EARLS BREAK THE RULE is Amelia’s story. She is the only Somerton sister who inherited her father’s ability to forge priceless works of art. Of course, this talent has gotten her in serious trouble in the past. But this time, she’s truly put to the test when the handsome rogue, Brandon St. Clair—the Earl of Vale—asks her to paint his portrait in secret during a house party in the country.

I researched female artists when I plotted the novel. Amelia was partly inspired by a French female portrait painter, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, who received a royal patronage by Queen Marie Antoinette. The Queen played an important role in Le Brun’s admission into France’s prestigious Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Not surprisingly, prejudice against professional female painters existed in France and England. It was perfectly acceptable for young women from the aristocracy to learn to paint or play the pianoforte, but as soon as they sought to do so professionally, they were shunned. The Académie limited female membership to four, and England’s Royal Academy had only two founding members.

REAL EARLS BREAK THE RULE, Amelia also seeks to overcome society’s prejudices. For years she’s painted under false male names in order to sell her work at their Peacock Print Shop, but her dream is to paint the laboring poor of London under her own name. So when the handsome Earl of Vale scandalously offers her the one thing she’s always wanted, temptation is hard to resist.

Here’s a blurb about the book:

Brandon St. Clair, the Earl of Vale, has never been one to follow the rules. Even though he must marry a wealthy heiress so that he can be rid of the pile of debt he inherited with his title, he can’t stop thinking of another. Amelia Somerton is the daughter of a forger and is not a suitable wife. But that doesn’t stop Brandon from making Amelia a different offer, the kind that breaks every rule of etiquette…

Sin runs in Amelia’s family. And even though she now rubs elbows with the aristocracy, she knows the truth—she has the ability to forge priceless works of art. She’ll never be seen as an acceptable wife, not that she wants to marry, anyway. So when the earl scandalously offers her the one thing she’s always dreamed of, she can’t help but take it. But what begins as a simple arrangement, soon escalates into much more, and as the heat between them sizzles, each encounter becomes a lesson in seduction…

So what type of historical heroine do you like best? Bluestocking? Commoner? Professional woman? Please share. One commentor will receive a free ebook of the first book in the Infamous Somerton series, An Artful Seduction.

Also, sign up for my newsletter to learn about upcoming releases and to enter free monthly contests to win my books and books from other great authors at

Thank you and good luck!

About Tina Gabrielle

Tina Gabrielle

Tina Gabrielle, an Amazon Best-Selling author, is a former NJ Deputy Attorney General and mechanical engineer who pens novels about intelligent and ambitious heroines at a time when brains were not appreciated in a woman.

Tina’s popular Regency Barrister Series, which launched with In The Barrister’s Chambers, is the story about the daughter of a Master of the Bench, who has a voracious hunger for knowledge and the law at a time when women were not permitted to become barristers. The series is well researched, and Tina drew upon many of her experiences as a female in the law profession. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a wonderful review: “Former attorney Gabrielle launches a Regency series with legal backbone…the tale is bolstered by tantalizing love scenes, enthusiastically detailed portrayals of England’s Regency-era legal system, and witty comradely repartee.” The book was also a Barnes & Noble Top Pick.

Tina is a literacy advocate, and she has given free workshops to the Girl Scouts, public libraries, and writers’ organizations.

Crown’s Secret Service | Infamous Somertons | Regency Barrister



Infamous Somertons #2

Real Earls Break the Rule

His offer leads them into temptation…

1816 England

Brandon St. Clair, the Earl of Vale, has never been one to follow the rules. Even though he must marry a wealthy heiress so that he can be rid of the pile of debt he inherited with his title, he can’t stop thinking of another. Amelia Somerton is the daughter of an infamous art forger and is not a suitable wife. But that doesn’t stop Brandon from making Amelia a different offer, the kind that breaks every rule of etiquette…

Sin runs in Amelia’s family. And even though she now rubs elbows with the aristocracy, she knows the truth—she has the ability to forge priceless works of art. She’ll never be seen as an acceptable wife, not that she wants to marry, anyway. So when the earl scandalously offers her the one thing she’s always dreamed of, she can’t help but take it. But what begins as a simple arrangement, soon escalates into much more, and as the heat between them sizzles, each encounter becomes a lesson in seduction…

Romance Historical [Entangled, On Sale: November 21, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633758100 / eISBN: 9781633758100]

The Ultimate Guide to Tortured, Scarred Heroes

By Miranda Owen

They’re a sign of your strength. That you’ve been tested like no other man and you emerged victorious. You will always be victorious. They make me feel safe like nothing else.THE WOLF OF KALININGRAD by Sara Wylde, (Lola referring to her husband’s scars)


Dubious #3

The Wolf of Kaliningrad

How far will she go for her family?

Lola Carter’s addict brother stole from the wrong man: the legendary Wolf of Kaliningrad, a scarred beast of a man who shows no pity and no mercy. When her brother is taken captive by the Wolf, Lola will do anything to save him. The Wolf offers to trade her life for her brother’s… if she’ll marry the monster.

Only this is no beauty and the beast tale. The Wolf is about to learn that Lola is a fierce adversary who can be just as beastly when it comes to saving herself and claiming something she wants more than anything else: her monster’s black heart.

Romance Erotica Sensual | Romance Contemporary [Self Published, On Sale: May 1, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781943576777 / ]

If you search the internet, you’ll find an amazing number of romances featuring scarred or wounded heroes – with both physical and mental scars. It was difficult for me, initially, to pinpoint exactly what I am drawn to in these stories. A common accusation by heroes in these novels is that the heroine is only attracted to them out of some misguided desire to play Florence Nightingale, or out of a bizarre fascination for the freakish. It’s an accusation that I feel is also somewhat directed at the reader of these types of stories as well. Even though I know those are not the reasons I enjoy reading about these heroes, I was never quite able to articulate my reasons until reading THE WOLF OF KALININGRAD by Sara Wylde.

In Sara Wylde’s novel, the heroine expresses how the hero’s scars represent strength and make her feel safe. Like the heroine in THE WOLF OF KALININGRAD, Kresley Cole’s heroine in “The Warlord Wants Forever” takes the hero’s scars as a mark of virility and a sign of a warrior, and a badge of courage. Something that applies to just about every story I’ve read with a scarred hero, is that whether the wounds are physical or psychological, the scars indicate a strength of character or some type of physical or mental fortitude. That strength can’t help but be an admirable trait, and something that sparks your interest to learn more about that character.

Do you want to know how your scars affect me? Do you? They cause me to ache for a time I was not there for you, for the stupidity and ignorance shown you, but your appearance does nothing to change my feelings, except to widen the understanding between us. My love is unconditional…BEYOND THE MASQUE by Kae D. Jacobs


Beyond the Masque

The theme that created hope out of desolation in the beloved story of The Phantom of the Opera come to life in Jacobs Beyond the Masque.

Burdened from birth with a facial deformity, musical genius Erik Gautier once strives to master humanity, making his will law, but now he struggles to accept an offer of love from the woman he loves, the woman who once betrayed him. How can he bring himself to trust again? Should he? Will he knowing submit his mind and heart to quench the emotional deprivation when others have turned away?

Learn of the compelling opposite that flood Erik s life as he confronts justice and mercy when he is unable to escape his past.

Romance Historical [Granite Publishing, On Sale: March 11, 2009, Paperback, ISBN: 9781599360324 / ]

In my youth, I – like many others – was drawn to the classic stories of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and the beloved “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale. Admittedly, for a book junkie, the first incarnations of these stories that caught my imagination were THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA film featuring Lon Chaney, and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as interpreted by French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. As I got older and began reading romances, I unconsciously searched for the perfect blend of myth and eroticism that I found in those films. Like with Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, there are a multitude of books reinterpreting Gaston Leroux’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Some stay in a historical setting, while some are more contemporary. Each author deconstructs the story and reimagines it with results that vary from the fantastic, the sweet, and even veering into unabashed erotica. The quality spans the good, the unusual, as well as badly written fan fiction.

Each reader has their own preferences and there is something out there for everyone. As a historical romance fan, I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled on BEYOND THE MASQUE by Kae D. Jacobs. The book is about 700 pages, and the prose is flowery at times, but I love it. The book is very romantic, almost very Song of Solomon-esque at times. Jacobs’ story picks up just about where Leroux’s story ends, and she weaves together a convincing historical romance.

BEYOND THE MASQUE is told from alternating perspectives and fleshes out the two main characters and enables the reader to sympathize with them and cheer on their unconventional romance. This book has the best version of the “Christine” character. In this book Christine is a product of her times, but she is not quite the passive damsel in distress that she appears to be in some incarnations, and is more self-aware than in other adaptations. This book does not, as I’m told other “Phantom-inspired/spin-offs” do, make Raoul into a villain.

If you enjoy THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, or if you just enjoy romantic historical fiction, you might enjoy this book. It is written in the style of the time period being written about. There is an extensive character description/biography at the end that I found very helpful to refer back to. In spite of its length, I find this story thoroughly enchanting and it is a favorite re-read for me.

She felt an overwhelming tenderness for Sydnam Butler, who had demonstrated almost incredible courage and suffered so much yet had pieced his life back together with determination and dignity though he believed himself untouchable ever since.SIMPLY LOVE by Mary Balogh

SIMPLY LOVE by Mary Balogh

Miss Martin’s School for Girls #1 Simply Quartet

Simply Love

She spies him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening- a lone figure of breathtaking strength and masculinity, his handsome face branded by a secret pain. For single mother and teacher Anne Jewell, newly arrived with her son at a sprawling estate in Wales on the invitation of an influential friend, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows- and passions- run deeper than she could have ever imagined.

As steward of a remote seaside manor, Sydnam lives a reclusive existence far from the pity and disdain of others. Yet almost from the moment Anne first appears on the cliffs, he senses in this lovely stranger a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs. Unable to resist the passion that has rescued them both from loneliness, Anne and Sydnam share an afternoon of exquisite lovemaking. Now the unwed single mother and war- scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives. For Sydnam, it is a chance to heal the pain of the past. For Anne, it is the glorious promise of a future with the man who will dare her to reveal her deepest secrets…before she can give him all her heart.

Romance Historical [Dell, On Sale: February 27, 2007, Paperback / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9780440241973 / eISBN: 9780440336228]

Mary Balogh has created one of the most beloved scarred heroes, and one of the most beloved group of scarred heroes in the minds of many romance fans. When hunting down the best stories in this subset of romance, time after time fans expressed their love for SIMPLY LOVE. In SIMPLY LOVE, Mary Balogh takes a man scarred physically by war with PTSD and throws a woman with mental scars from a sexual assault in his path. Despite the heavy themes and powerful emotional resonance, Mary Balogh manages to tell a compelling and entertaining story about two flawed characters without resorting to melodrama, or creating happiness that seems hollow or artificial. The beauty of this story is the friendship that develops between the hero and heroine and the small-scale triumphs and tragedies that lead to personal epiphanies and a revised definition of what happiness means.

One of my favorite scenes in SIMPLY LOVE is one in which the heroine gently admonishes the hero’s well-meaning family to stop treating him as though he is a tragic figure, and to focus on his heroism and bravery instead. Like in her later “Survivors’ Club” series, Mary Balogh takes two characters who were victims to tragedy and transforms them into survivors. Through knowing each other and talking through their problems, they move forward in life and experience joy.

Mary Balogh has said on her website that she never did research before creating these many fascinating characters with various injuries and survivor’s guilt, but rather relied on her writer’s imagination and sense of empathy. Her “Survivors’ Club” series is a tour de force and each Survivors’ Club member occupies a special place in the heart of readers who adore the series as much as I do. Although each character has different ailments and personalities, the individual emotional struggles are very similar and very human. Mary Balogh is one of my favorite writers because she chronicles a character’s imperfections, making them seem very real and pulling the reader on their journey with them.

Although she was ashamed to admit it now, the darkness in him had been the largest part of his allure. It was such an anomaly, a contrast to what she’d known from life. It had made him dangerous. Exciting. Sexy. But that was a fantasy. This was real. He suffered. And there was nothing sexy or thrilling about that.


Black Dagger Brotherhood #3

Lover Awakened

Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

Paranormal | Romance Paranormal [Signet, On Sale: September 5, 2006, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451219367 / ]

In LOVER AWAKENED by J.R. Ward and STEALING KATHRYN by Jacquelyn Frank, Zadist and Adrian both come by their beastly appearance under incredibly different circumstances, but both have outer appearances that reflect their inner turmoil and self-loathing.

In LOVER AWAKENED, Zadist is a vampire whose innocence, sense of self, and face are forever altered after years of sexual slavery to a female oppressor. Even after physically being released from his imprisonment, his mind remained a place of torment until meeting, falling in love, and being loved in returned by beautiful fellow vampire Bella. Fans can’t help but get sucked into the whirlpool of emotion in LOVER AWAKENED. I love how J.R. Ward followed up with Bella and Zadist in the novella FATHER MINE.

STEALING KATHRYN by Jacquelyn Frank is very much what I’d consider to be a “Beauty and the Beast” type of tale with an otherworldly and unique spin on the classic fairy tale. Somewhere between erotic dreams and nightmares, Kathryn is pulled into Adrian’s world – first as his prisoner and later as his lover. Adrian’s physical appearance is tied to the build-up of negative energy that surrounds him. As the unlikely bond and attraction between Kathryn and Adrian grows, he resembles a normal man more and more. Jacquelyn Frank does such a stellar job of building anticipation and creating sexual tension that sparks and sizzles. STEALING KATHRYN is one of the most intoxicating and deliciously erotic “Beauty and the Beast” stories I’ve read.

STEALING KATHRYN by Jacquelyn Frank

The Gatherers #2

Stealing Kathryn

New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank invites you to explore a strange and sensuous world of darkest desire ruled by an extraordinary being who is about to meet his earthly match. . .

Sandman. Angus. Morpheus. He is known by many names, except his true one, Adrian. When he departs his world, it is to enter the sacred space of sleep, and he is not there to sow sweet dreams. Adrian’s mission is to reap the dark energy of nightmares, work that has twisted his soul as well as his once-handsome face. Now, he lives only to await the day darkness finally overcomes him. . .and to collect exquisite reminders of what he’s lost. . .

But there is one treasure that stands apart. Having risked everything to obtain her, Adrian soon realizes his mistake. For Kathryn has a wholly unexpected power over him, not only for what she represents, but for what for she is: a soul with desires as strong as his own, tempered by compassion that could save Adrian from his self-made hell–or condemn them both. . .

Romance Paranormal [Zebra, On Sale: May 1, 2010, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781420109849 / eISBN: 9781420119312]

I am mad…I always will be. But if I hadn’t been mad, I wouldn’t have found Jamie…I work. So, I want to stay mad.


HIghland Pleasures #7.5

A Mackenzie Clan Gathering

The author of The Stolen Mackenzie Bride returns to the tumultuous and passionate world of the Mackenzie clan as a family celebration is shaken by an unexpected danger…

The Mackenzie clan has gathered for Hart’s birthday at the sprawling family estate in Scotland. But before the festivities can start, the house is robbed, and thieves make off with an untold fortune in rare art.

Ian Mackenzie and his brothers must do what they can to retrieve the family treasure, but Ian is distracted by a family friend who claims he might have the power to “cure” Ian of his madness forever. All the Mackenzies must draw together as courage, love, and a tantalizing mystery serve
to strengthen their bond, and redefine the meaning of family.

Romance Historical [InterMix, On Sale: November 17, 2015, e-Book, ISBN: 9781101615959 / eISBN: 9781101615959]

Jennifer Ashley weaves a spell of Mackenzie magic!

To Ian Mackenzie – We Love You Just the Way You Are

Most fans of historical romance know who Lord Ian Mackenzie is. Years ago, when Jennifer Ashley first wrote about Ian in THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE, something about that character spoke to romance fans which made him an instant fan favorite. Ian is a Scotsman living in the 1800s and he has Asperger’s. Jennifer Ashley does a great job of detailing the dangers somebody who is different faced back in that earlier point in history. I love Ian because of his loyalty and love for his family, his quirky charm, and his Sherlock Holmes kind of brilliance. I don’t know whether it’s the author or the fans who have fallen more in love with the character over the years, but Jennifer Ashley certainly has painted a richer portrait of him over the last few years. Although any story Ian pops up in is delightful, I think the most recent installment – A MACKENZIE CLAN GATHERING – really brings the character full circle. In A MACKENZIE CLAN GATHERING, Ian seems to finally give the same kind of acceptance he gifts others with to himself. I can’t wait for the next Jennifer Ashley story about the tightknit Mackenzie family.

More books to find your perfect scarred hero:

5 Series I Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout

  1. Sarah J. Maas A Court of Thorn and Roses Series

The fantasy hooks you in with realistic portrayals of PSTD, something you don’t often see in paranormal and fantasy books, enough action and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat, and a super sexy, steaming hot love story.

  1. JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood Series

Those who know me, know I’m the number one Rhage fan in the world.

  1. LJ Smith The Secret Circle

There’s nothing like being drawn into the Secret Circle and sitting among this intoxicating coven of witches.

  1. Lara Adrian The Midnight Breed Series

Her vampires and their partners, both mortal and not so much mortal, have amazing storylines and the novels are full of action.

  1. Kristen Ashley’s Dream Man Series

I’m a huge, obsessive fan of Kristen Ashley, having read almost all her books.

FIRE IN YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout, J. Lynn

Wait for You Series #6

Fire in You

From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…

Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.

Romance Contemporary [On Sale: November 28, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 2940156749089 / eISBN: 9780997969115]

Order a digital or paperback copy of FIRE IN YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout, writing as J. Lynn, AND fill out THIS FORM by December 3rd, and get an exclusive bonus scene-an Epilogue featuring POVs from all the major couples throughout the Wait For You World!

FIRE IN YOU will be available in paperback and eBook November 28th, 2016!

Just enter your name, age, email address, and the order number from your digital or paperback pre-order receipt at here to receive your exclusive FIRE IN YOU bonus scene! All entrants will receive the bonus scene on December 5th, 2016 through email using the email given when the entrant filled out THIS FORM.

About Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout

#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Lux | | Covenant | Wait for You | Dark Elements | Armentrout Wicked Trilogy


Top Five Reasons to Fall in Love with your Neighbor

When Allison, the main character in TROPHY WIFE, divorces her rich, selfish husband, she’s left with almost no money, thanks to an iron-clad pre-nup. She’s never worked before, but she has to move to a small, rural town and get a job as a waitress. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with the sexy guy across the street who owns the local hardware store. She’s never been interested in blue-collar men before, but she never knew how many advantages there are to falling for your neighbor.

  1. He can help you carry all the heavy stuff. Allison is determined to be independent, after spending eight years as a trophy wife, but doing everything on her own isn’t as doable as she was hoping. Fortunately, Rob is just across the street to help her carry in grocery bags and haul furniture up from her basement (whether she wants him to or not!).
  1. He’s right there to help with odd jobs around the house. Being right across the street, Rob always seems to be around whenever Allison has to weed the beds in her yard or fix her toilet. He’s good at tinkering and likes to help, so why should she refuse?
  1. He can introduce you to all your neighbors. Rob has lived in town all his life, so he knows everyone—and he might even have a cookout so Allison can start to make friends.
  1. It’s easy to sneak into his house at night when you start having sex. Since Allison doesn’t want to jump into a relationship too soon, she doesn’t want everyone to know when she starts sleeping with Rob. Fortunately, he’s right across the street, so she can sneak into his house without alerting everyone in town of what they’re doing.
  1. He’ll never treat you like a trophy wife. Allison spent years being treated like an object by her husband—as a pretty possession he could use as he wanted—and she never wants it to happen again. But Rob’s mama raised a gentleman, and he knows how to love someone for real. Sure, he has his own romantic history to get over, but with a neighbor like Allison, it’s not likely to take him long to figure out what he wants.

About Noelle Adams

Noelle Adams

Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she reads any book she can get her hands on and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

The Protectors | Eden Manor | Heirs of Damon | Beaufort Brides


TROPHY WIFE by Noelle Adams

Trophy Wife

From the New York Times bestselling author of Fooling Around comes a steamy novel about a pampered princess who’s starting over—and the hot guy next door who knows exactly how to melt that tiara right off.

Alison Davies used to just be a trophy wife. Now she’s just flat broke. Thanks to an ironclad prenup, she’s worse off than she was before the day she rushed down the aisle with a wealthy jerk eight years ago. After her steep fall from riches to rags, Alison refuses to shackle herself to any man who treats her like a possession—no matter how good he looks in a pair of well-worn jeans, or how his muscles ripple while he’s carrying her couch.

Underneath his rugged exterior, Rob West is a gentleman. So when he sees his beautiful new neighbor moving in, he’s going to help her out no matter how loudly she protests. In fact, Alison’s determination to go it alone just strengthens his resolve—and his desire to find out what makes her tick. But after one spur-of-the-moment tumble in the sheets, it’s clear that their connection goes way deeper. And that Rob won’t be happy until Alison surrenders to the passion they share.

Romance Contemporary [Loveswept, On Sale: November 6, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9780804181334 / eISBN: 9780804181334]

Elle Q. Sabine | Niche Romantica and the Tattoo Artist

What’s your favorite romance? What was your first?

Did you name an author, a title, or did you go with an entire genus? We are all familiar with the traditional major genres of romances: contemporary, historical, paranormal, suspense, fantasy, westerns. In recent years, LGBT books have become a significant genre in their own right. But a number of smaller niche genres have been identified, as well. We can enjoy tales about motorcycle clubs, professional athletes, sex or BDSM clubs, racing teams, gangs, angels and demons, rock bands, actors, and gothic mysteries. Amazon has entire sub-sections devoted to holiday romances, romantic comedy, new adult romances, interracial romances, African-American romances, multicultural romances, time travel, and science fiction. If you can think of a hobby or a type, the odds are high that someone has compiled a list of romance books that have featured that specific interest, from airplane pilots to Zen masters.

The wonderful thing about this great diversity of categories is that readers can seek out books that fit their particular interests and cultural expectations, and others can explore the vast array by deliberately hunting out these special topics and finding great stories in each area of interest.

Some authors reach out to these smaller audiences with targeted stories and series, while other writers have an affinity for a particular category and excel at it. I, personally, love reading a variety of romance genres, even though I am particularly susceptible to the wiles of a good British historical and the lust in a kick-ass paranormal. I have a favorite vampire author, a favorite historical author and a favorite author who writes about relationships with heroes so dominant I’d never go near them in real life. As for my own writing, with Totally Bound Publishing, I’ve published three historical novels, a historical ménage romance featuring two male lovers and their female partner, and a paranormal romance set in Michigan with Vampires and Tuatha Dé Dannan warriors. It’s safe to say that I love to explore different worlds – both real and mythical – when I write, too.

Today, Totally Bound Publishing is releasing a new title from me named Ink Her. This novella is set in a paranormal world with a series of heroes called Vamp Hunters. (The first Vamp Hunters book, Hunt Her, is available from your favorite retailer, too.) Ink Her is a standalone novella, featuring one of these romantic niches I love to read. The hero, Stephen, is a vamp hunter. He is also a tattoo artist.

Tattoo art is one of those specialty genres that we can read and enjoy without ever stepping foot in a tattoo shop. It is also a genre we can enjoy because it is familiar. Tattoos are immensely popular in modern culture. Whether we are covering scars from breast cancer surgery, marking a significant turning point in our lives and family, honoring ourselves and others with a simple semi-colon inked on our wrists or neck*, or simply out on vacation with an urge to return different, tattoos are art that represent life. The canvas for them are our bodies, and the artists who transfer their imaginations to our skin can be creative geniuses. Tattoos can be beautiful, or they can be a disaster and the subject of television reality shows. No matter their genesis or their rebirth through cover ups, tattoos are a characterization of us.

In Ink Her, our hero is a tattoo artist with a Pinterest-worthy mobile tattoo shop built from an Airstream trailer. He’s tired of inking tattoos of cartoon characters and black anchors on strangers. Vienna is just what he’s been hunting for centuries, and if a little ink is needed to seal the bond between them, then Stephen is prepared to be the best extra-human male for the job.

Enjoy a free excerpt from Ink Her. You can find the book at major e-retailers.

INK HER by Elle Q. Sabine

Ink Her

After centuries of hunting, Stephen has finally found his vamp. But Vienna, a small-town veterinarian, isn’t waiting to leap into life at a vampire’s side.

Stephen finds his vamp at a county fair in Central Michigan. As had been predicted centuries earlier, he discovered her while in pursuit of his passion—tattoo art. Just because he has found her, though, doesn’t mean all will be easy.

Vienna has her own career and plans for what her future will be. She accepts Stephen as a lover, but is suspicious of a relationship with a man who seems to thrive with nothing more than a mobile studio and an SUV.

But Stephen is relentless. He has no intention of backing away and every intention of solving her problems. Vienna is his everything.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene involving blood sharing.

Publisher’s Note: This book is a standalone story that relates to the world of the Vamp Hunters series.

Erotica Paranormal [Totally Bound Publishing, On Sale: November 22, 2016, e-Book, / eISBN: 9781786510952]

Exclusive Excerpt: Ink Her

Vienna maintained her silence in the SUV, even at the campground, humming in acknowledgment when he spoke. The Airstream served as more than his mobile shop, it appeared. When he ushered her inside, the tattoo chair—that entire end of the trailer to her left—was shrouded in darkness. In the opposite direction, though, lights flickered on. Behind her, Stephen must have flipped a switch near the door. She stepped into the small space, open in the center, and smiled at the charming decor. It was not large—it couldn’t be, given the size of the trailer—but the interior was lovely. Instinctively, she crouched to remove her shoes, but Stephen objected, tugging her upright.

“No, leave them on,” he insisted. Neither had worn a jacket, but he took the sweater laid over her arm and her handbag, to hang them beside the door on a peg near a black leather jacket. Vienna looked around her, liking the wooden floor and the dark paint. The modern, miniscule kitchen lined most of the back wall. Along the wall to the side of the door was a lounging sofa in black leather, with cabinetry above and below it. The rounded front end of the trailer was concealed from sight by a wooden panel, but Vienna suspected it was the bedroom.

In the center, Stephen had created just enough space for a small table and two black round-back dining chairs, upholstered in black leather to match the sofa. The table was covered with a white linen tablecloth and set with white china, edged in silver. Crystal wine glasses glittered in the low light, and he’d even added a centerpiece—a short vase with white hydrangeas.

Vienna stared.

Stephen chuckled. He held out a chair. “Sit, angel,” he murmured. “Let me pour you some wine, and you can tell me about that tattoo you want me to ink on you.”

Vienna sat. She cleared her throat. Stephen opened the wine that was waiting for him in a neat, narrow cabinet beside the refrigerator. He poured it with the expertise of a sommelier, and suddenly Vienna felt out of her depth. “I thought we’d barbeque and eat on a picnic table while I looked at a binder of tats,” she blurted out.

Stephen shrugged. “I do that sometimes, too.” He clicked on the oven, slid a covered dish into it, then settled into the chair across from her.

She hadn’t seen him turn on any air-conditioning unit, but cool air drifted over her legs.

“I like barbeque. Hamburgers, dogs—kosher only, though. I’ve always been suspicious of American hot dogs—ribs, steak, chicken, kabobs…all of it.” From his chair, he opened the door of the refrigerator again and pulled out a plate of antipasto that had been waiting.

“First course,” he announced. “Appetizers.”

Vienna ate happily. She loved Italian food, and he’d provided an excellent sampling. Still, she couldn’t help but study her surroundings. After a few moments, Stephen smiled at her, stood then flipped another light switch, illuminating the other end of the trailer. Vienna stared.

“That,” she finally ventured, “is Pinterest-worthy.”

“Thank you,” he acknowledged sincerely, bowing his head. With a devilish grin, he pulled two large binders from a shelf beneath the granite countertop then hefted them across the room. He handed the tomes to her and took away her salad plate. Vienna opened the first, amused to see that all the art inside was of men. She went through the sheets carefully, looking at each one, blushing slightly at some of the suggestive locations where the men in his portfolio had been inked.

“What about you? Where’s your art?” she asked.

Stephen blinked. “Only around my navel,” he admitted. She thought he said the words a bit grudgingly, but then he added, “While you can see that I’ve done many sleeves and extensive back tattoos, for myself I’ve only ever wanted ink as an accoutrement—something to enhance the skin.”

“Your skin is beautiful,” Vienna announced, then closed her eyes and hid her head as best she could, mortified.

To her surprise, Stephen did not try to take advantage of her humiliation. When she eventually lifted her head, he was waiting. Meeting her gaze directly, he said softly, “Thank you, angel.”

Vienna nodded. He moved in the tiny kitchen and turned to the table with two full crystal goblets of water and a small plate of summer fruit. “And where would you propose inking me?” she asked.

Stephen blinked. She thought she saw his jaw twitch. After a long, heated moment when their gazes did not break, he made a low, inarticulate noise in his throat, then rasped, “I’d have to examine my palette very closely—extensively—before I could answer that question.”

Shuddering, Vienna saw her fingers jerk involuntarily, nearly ripping out the photo of an exquisite dragon that graced a man’s hip. It was red and purple, its tail curling along the seam between the man’s thigh and his pelvis, pointing directly to where the man’s penis— thankfully, out of sight—would be. Gently, oh, so gently, Stephen’s hands brushed hers before he eased the books from her grasp and set them on the sofa behind her.

“Eat first.” The words were guttural, spoken almost to himself, but Stephen’s movements were still graceful and smooth, firmly in control. He delivered a plate of ravioli, dripping in mozzarella cheese. She inhaled deeply and managed to hold her fork, taking a bite even as he sat with his own plate.

Her senses, already abuzz from the aroma, happily erupted. She knew Stephen was watching her, but all she could do was blink and swallow.

“I should have asked,” he teased, “if you like spinach and artichokes.”

“I like,” she agreed, taking another bite…and another. Stephen did, too, but he studied her more than he ate, until she’d finished her plate of ravioli and melon while at least half remained on his. Uncertainly, Vienna chewed her lower lip, debating what he would think if she asked for more. Across from her, Stephen scooped a bite of the concoction onto his fork, lifted it and, to her surprise, held it over the table to her lips. She opened them, without thinking, and he slid it inside her mouth. A hardness came over Stephen’s face as she tightened her lips around the fork and took the ravioli. Without comment, he ate a bite, then offered her another.

Vienna kept her gaze locked on his, almost willing him to stay interested. They’d ratcheted up the heat in the room to scorching. She wanted him to touch her, was already imagining how she could convince him to do so. By the time she’d taken a fourth bite of his ravioli, she was no longer hungry. They hadn’t once broken eye contact, and her skin was alive with an electricity she didn’t understand at all. Her nipples had tightened and were hard, pressing against the lined bodice of her dress. Between her legs, she was so wet that her panties were uncomfortable.

Stephen set down the fork and sniffed. He clenched his fists and stood abruptly, his natural gracefulness in abeyance. “I hope you aren’t ready for dessert.” The words were harsh. He pushed his chair out of the way, harder than necessary. He ignored the clatter of it landing against the kitchen counter as he reached for her hand.

She didn’t hesitate to put it in his and let him draw her to her feet. Vienna had no idea how long Stephen would be staying in town, so she would take every opportunity to enjoy his company while it lasted. Oddly enough, she trusted him, despite their short acquaintance. Just why she was certain he would not harm her, Vienna didn’t know, but perhaps her safety filter was skewed. The situation, when she looked at it abstractly, was risky. No one knew where she was. He’d been in her home, though he hadn’t taken advantage. He knew where she worked, but she didn’t know the first thing about him, other than he looked, smelled and sounded better than a night with a bottle of fine wine and her secret collection of erotica.

Vienna hoped to hell that he was as dominant in the bedroom as he’d been in engineering this evening together. Stephen stopped abruptly and turned his head to look at her, narrowing his eyes. “Aren’t you taking me to the tattoo chair?” she asked directly. She raised an eyebrow and pushed him further. “I thought we were going to look at the binders.”

She didn’t know if Stephen understood her underlying question. If he reversed course and led her to the chair, then it would be a fun evening not repeated. She’d had compliant lovers when she’d been away at school, and the experience had been, at best, bland and awkward. Vienna loved her father and was devoted to the animals in her life, but she had a need for a strong-willed man who was much more commanding than any sweet romance from the shelf of books at the local drugstore. Vienna yearned for a demanding lover, like the one she imagined when she was alone in bed with her Hitachi ‘massager’.

Stephen, thankfully, rose to her challenge. The rumble that emanated from his chest came out as a sound of disbelief. He dropped her hand, stepped to the side then motioned for her to precede him toward the panel in the wall at the back of the trailer. Catching her eye, he uttered, “You are going to be the most luscious dessert I have ever had, angel. Now walk past me and put away whatever reservations are in that head of yours. Tonight the only thing you need to consider is whether I’ll allow anyone in the next county to hear your moans or not.”

Vienna caught her breath, suddenly eager to step forward. As he’d asked, she walked past him, directly to the sliding panel. When she reached it, he shot his arm around her and grasped the handle. Looking down, Vienna saw the hard muscle of his forearm brush against her rib cage—not roughly, but certainly present.

Behind her, Stephen crowded her forward, using his other hand to palm her stomach, just below the waistband of her dress. The heat of his hand sank through the material and into her skin. Vienna swayed on her heels, but the door before her slid open.

As she’d suspected, the hidden room was nothing more than a bed. In fact, it fit tightly into the available space to the side of the panel, with a low ceiling above it. A wall to the right concealed another small area, making what must be nothing more sophisticated than a bathroom the size of an airplane lavatory. Stephen didn’t give her time for an inspection.

Without pause, still palming her stomach to hold her up, he bent her forward until her face and hands were on the black cotton blanket that covered the bed.

Vienna gasped. Stephen, apparently, did not consider that noise any sort of discouragement. With his free hand, he tugged the back of her skirt up enough to flip it forward, revealing her panties.

As she’d hoped.

He grunted again. Vienna loved those inarticulate noises—the grunts, groans and growls that seemed to come straight out of that hard chest instead of his voice box.

“Mary Mother of God,” he muttered. Stephen traced the line of her panties with his fingertips, slowly moving along the white lace on each hip that accentuated the red silk stretched over her bottom. He shifted, and his hard erection brushed against her thigh for just a moment before he dropped to his knees behind her.

She gasped. The heat from his hand rushed up her spine, making her head spin. He inhaled deeply, then groaned again and kissed the lower edge of the panties, where the fabric met her right thigh. The sensation of his lips on that sensitive skin was beyond evocative.

Vienna vibrated in reaction, her entire nervous system and skin responding to the touch with rippling currents of lust and heat. He trailed kisses along the curve, down to the red silk at the cusp of her thighs, and she cried out in her own madness when he pressed his mouth to the wetness seeping through the fabric.

Vienna jerked, tottering on her heels. She’d forgotten she was still wearing them. Stephen steadied her. He moved his hand upward from her stomach until he cupped the underside of one breast. He fingered the back and inside of her knee for a moment, then lifted his head.

“Did you wear these for me, Vienna? Were you hoping I’d see them, that I’d appreciate them?”

“Yes,” she gasped.

“Use my name,” he demanded. “Show me that you know who makes you feel this way.”

Vienna had to inhale at least twice before she could summon any control over her voice.

“Stephen,” she replied.

“Good girl,” he crooned, rewarding her. He caressed the luscious skin on the back of her upper thighs with his lips.

She shuddered for him again, wishing she could watch the scene behind her. She tried picturing it in her head, surprised when the image formed easily. It wasn’t the detached view she’d expected. Instead, it was almost as if she was tuned into Stephen’s view—of her bottom, round and responsive, of the wetness soaking her panties and easily visible, of the long curve of her legs down to where her ankles were anchored by the vintage-style red and white heels.

“I’m going to take these down now,” he told her. The deep tones of his voice caused a quiver in the pit of her stomach, amplified when he added, “just to your knees. And you, angel, are going to spread your legs apart enough to keep them there, where I put them. Understand?”

Vienna’s heart raced. The orgasm was unexpected. It hit her deep in her core, erupting outward. Stephen supported her legs again, but he was insistent on lowering her panties. Even while she continued to rock backward and forward in response to the release, he tugged on the stretchy material, pushing down the lingerie until it caught at her knees. He helped her resettle her legs farther apart, stretching the panties to hold them in place, as he’d said. When had she ever been so obedient? But there was no denying the lust that roared in her, even post-orgasm.

“They are beautiful panties,” he whispered behind her, sliding his hands up the outside of her thighs and rearranging her skirt to hang as he wished. “But they are nothing compared to this loveliness, angel. You are exquisite.”

A rush of relief hit her, as though she’d been waiting to see if she pleased him. Vienna suddenly squealed, a loud noise in the enclosed space, but it was in response to his mouth, rather than his words. He pressed his lips to her bottom and spread kisses across it and down until he was caressing her labia rather than her ass. He lapped at her, drinking up the excess arousal she leaked. When had she ever been so unbelievably wet? Certainly the vibrator, even on its highest setting, never had the effect his lips and tongue had.

His beard scraped against the sensitive skin of her inner thighs. He tipped her slightly, and he set both palms to her bottom to spread apart her cheeks. Vienna sucked in a sharp breath, trying to speak, but nothing came out of her. “I’m going to feast from this perfect pussy now, angel,” he informed her, so close to her that the warm air that came from him as he spoke tickled the bare skin coated with her juices.

“Heaven help me, please,” she finally begged.

Heaven didn’t help, but Stephen did. He licked at her, then speared her solidly with his tongue.

Vienna screamed.

About Elle Q. Sabine

Elle is an author of erotic romance, or romance that contains erotic content. The romance – the falling in love – is the beautiful part of the story. The erotic content is the interesting part. In Elle’s mind, the best books are erotic and romantic at the same time, and these are the sorts of stories she wants to tell. Elle lives in the great state of California with a devoted Mr. Sabine, a golden-haired pup, and a golden-haired daughter. If she had spare time, she’d like to sleep at night, visit museums, and spend more time with the Pacific Ocean.

Joe Cosentino | Interview with RAG DOLL Characters

Interview with Jana Lane and Brian Otley from RAG DOLL, the fifth Jana Lane mystery

Interviewer: Welcome Jana Lane Otley and Brian Otley from Joe Cosentino’s RAG DOLL, the fifth Jana Lane mystery.

Jana: Thank you. Five novels. I must be getting old.

Brian: Think how I feel sitting in hotel rooms away on business worrying about you solving crimes.

Interviewer: Since the readers can’t see you, tell us what you both look like.

Brian: My wife is gorgeous, petite, with blonde hair, blue eyes, a button nose, and a loving heart for everyone.

Jana: I’m blushing. Brian is tall, handsome, muscular, with chestnut-colored hair and very sexy hazel eyes. He comes off a bit gruff, but he’s sweet as pie.

Brian: Speaking of pies, are you ever going to bake one for me?

Jana: Let’s move on to the interview.

Interviewer: How did you two meet?

Brian: We were at a local town hall meeting. I took one look at Jana and fell head over heels in love.

Jana: Brian was the glue that put me back together when I came back from Hollywood.

Interviewer: Yes, you were America’s most famous child star.

Jana: Until I was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen and came back to Hyde Park, New York with my family. A few years later I met Brian, the love of my life and the father of my three children.

Interviewer: Tell us more about that.

Jana: In PAPER DOLL at thirty-eight I live with my family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. I venture back to Hollywood, which helps me uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love. I also embark on a flirtation with the devilishly handsome son of my old producer.

Brian: That was ulcer number one for me.

Interview: And in the next Jana Lane mystery?

Jana: In PORCELAIN DOLL I make a comeback film, co-starring America’s heartthrob, and I uncover who is being murdered on the set and why.

Brian: Ulcer number two. I’ll take the next one. In SATIN DOLL Jana, the kids and I head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation the local detective. Ulcer number three.

Jana: I also rub elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. And in CHINA DOLL I head to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by my gorgeous co-star, and faced with murder on stage and off.

Brian: Book and ulcer number four.

Interviewer: In addition to making a terrific comeback and solving numerous murder mysteries, you seem to have a lot of flirtations with men, Jana.

Jana: Brian is the only man for me, but you can’t blame a girl for looking.

Interviewer: In addition to your loyal husband, Brian, your agent Simon has been by your side in each book.

Jana: Simon is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, and totally loyal.

Interviewer: How old is Simon Huckby?

Brian: Somewhere between senior citizen and rigor mortis.

Interviewer: How have the reviews been for the series so far?

Jana: Amazing.

Brian: How else could they be with my wife as the focus?

Interviewer: Tell us about RAG DOLL, your latest mystery, Jana.

Jana: With the success of Miami Vice and Murder She Wrote, I was excited when my agent, Simon, told me I would be starring in a new television murder mystery series, The Detective’s Wife. It was quite a surprise when I found out Detective Bove from SATIN DOLL had become an actor and was playing my husband on the series.

Brian: Ulcer number five.

Interviewer: And rags to riches ingénue Christa Bianca is the guest star for the pilot episode. Jana, you and Christa became fast friends, and wouldn’t you know, there was an attempt on Christa’s life. Before we knew it, murder ensued.

Jana: Christa’s past as a poor, small town girl who the other kids called, “Ragdoll,” touched my heart. I was incredibly concerned about Christa and those dear to her when it became clear there was a murderer on our set.

Brian: I can’t believe anyone works with this woman? She attracts murder like bees to honey.

Interviewer: And the suspects include dominatrix Karen, Bove’s ex-wife who covets Christa’s role, and Herm the director who is enticed by Karen.

Jana: There are also Christa’s agent, and her uncle who was also guest-starring on the episode.

Brian: And trying to hold on to Christa’s coattails when his career was in decline. See? I listen when you tell me the suspects and clues during out late night phone calls.

Jana: I’m impressed, Brian. Here I thought you were designing your next mall in those hotel rooms during out talks.

Interviewer: Who else is suspect?

Jana: Andrew, Christa’s controlling manager/husband.

Brain: Lucky for you that you don’t have one of those.

Jana: And two couples playing bit roles who have a personal conflict with Christa and Andrew.

Brian: Don’t forget our son’s nanny and her boyfriend, your mysterious prop master with a secret.

Interviewer: Everyone seems to have a secret in RAG DOLL.

Brian: But Jana Lane exposes them all. Once again The Littlest Detective and School Spy uses her knowledge from her movie roles as a kid and figured it all out in a nail-biting climax, especially for me.

Jana: This one was quite difficult. The clues somehow didn’t add up, until the final reel.

Interviewer: Is Christa Bianca, the ingénue, based on any young successful actress past or present? How about Christa’s Uncle Nick, the aging character actor?

Jana: Christa is a beautiful, talented young woman who escapes her impoverished small town life and embarks on a successful film and television career. I’m sure there are many young actresses like her, past and present. In our youth-oriented society, there are also many aging character actors put out to pasture before their time. The interesting thing about Nicholas Hartford is how his niece looked up to him when she was a child, and now he looks up to her—hoping to ride on her coattails back to the top. I think we’ve seen that happen in a number of show business families.

Brian: Like your father with you.

Jana: No arguments there.

Interviewer: Jana, you are interviewed by a very funny, aging, gossipy female television interviewer in RAG DOLL. Is Harriet Hologram representative of Barbara Walters?

Jana: I believe there are many television reporters and interviewers who wield their power over celebrities. I see it as a love/hate relationship, where both interviewer and star need each other to promote their work and their careers. It’s a shame the process needs to be so hurtful. I believe that is stoked by many viewers’ interest in celebrities’ health crises, divorces, bad reviews, and other misfortunes.

Interviewer: And Jana opens the Jana Lane AIDS Foundation in this novel. Was that patterned after Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation?

Brian: Though Jana is quite different from Elizabeth Taylor, like the great actress and humanitarian of yore, Jana is one of the very few celebrities to pick up the banner and raise money for treatment and a cure while our government representatives ignore the crisis that affected millions of Americans. I’m proud of my wife for that.

Interviewer: And you both go through personal crises in the novel and support one another.

Brian: Always.

Interviewer: Jana, in this novel you are again confronted by a character who uses his religious beliefs to attack the rights of others. Do you think Christians will be offended by your reaction to Andrew Bianca’s verbal attacks on your gay co-stars, Jana?

Brian: Jana is a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. As Jana says, freedom of religion means the freedom to worship as you choose, not try to take away the civil rights or self-worth of others.

Jana: See why I love this man?

Interviewer: I find it fascinating how Jana uses the skills she learned as a child star to solve the crime. How do you remember all of your old movies, Jana?

Jana: Simon never lets me forget.

Interviewer: Is it fun living in 1985 in RAG DOLL?

Jana: I love the hairstyles, clothing, makeup, music, movies, television shows, and dances. You should see Bove in his parachute pants, colored T-shirt, and white jacket.

Brian: No thanks.

Interviewer: Everyone in RAG DOLL seems to have a secret.

Brian: And Jana Lane exposes each one by the book’s end.

Jana: Yes, each Jana Lane mystery is its own story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel, as you said, full of revealed secrets.

Interviewer: You play fair in your mysteries, meaning the clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.

Brian: That’s for sure.

Jana: I don’t like mysteries where characters are introduced and the writer arbitrarily picks the murderer at the end. The readers feel cheated. At the end of a mystery, the readers should say, “Of course! How did I not see that?” I agree about the surprise ending. It still makes my heart race when I read it.

Brian: Mine too.

Interviewer: And everything you do and say comes out of the head of ex-actor/current college professor Joe Cosentino.

Brian: Like me, Joe Cosentino is definitely the man behind the woman.

Interviewer: Does Joe Cosentino have another mystery series besides the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: Yes, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press. Each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since Joe is a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

He also has his MM romance novellas published by Dreamspinner Press. They are Rainbow Award Honorable Mention IN MY HEART (An infatuation & A Shooting Star), A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. Finally, there is the MM series Rainbow Award Honorable Mention COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

Interviewer: As a college professor/department head, how does Joe have the time to write?

Jana & Brian: We help him.

Interviewer: Who is the ideal reader of the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: A lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

Interviewer: How can your readers contact you?

Jana: Via Joe Cosentino. He tells us everything.

Brian: Joe loves hearing from readers. Contact him via his web site

Interviewer: Thank you both for stopping by.

Jana: It was a delight.

Brian: Back to the books for us.

RAG DOLL by Joe Cosentino

Jana Lane mystery

Rag Doll

Murder, romance, and scandal on and off the set of Jana Lane’s new murder mystery television show. America’s most famous ex-child star Jana Lane is starring in The Detective’s Wife, a murder mystery television show in 1985. Guest starring on the show is Christa Bianca, a rags-to-riches ingénue who has flooded the entertainment press. Life imitates television as cast members are murdered, and once again it’s up to Jana, along with sexy ex-detective Chris Bove, to save the day before the lights fade to black.

Mystery Historical [The Wild Rose Press, On Sale: November 16, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781509210015 / eISBN: 9781509210015]

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back,Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015!