Sometimes you just wanna say…. Awwww, sweet.


I received this in an email the other day, and thought these pics were too gorgeous not to share…

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Okay, altogether now.

Awwww, sweet.


An Englishman, An American and a Hollywood Film in Australia…

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MuscleForHire300(ARRC)No, this is not the beginning of a lame joke. It’s the hook onwhich Muscle for Hire is hung. And it’s available TOMORROW!!! Yay!!

So what better way to whet your appetite than with an exclusive excerpt. Ready?


Warm approval rolled through Aslin. It threaded through the base physical attraction he felt for Rowan. There was so much more to this woman than just a gorgeous body and sexy strength. She was protective, stubborn and not afraid to face any challenge to those she loved.

The realization was unsettling. It made the heavy pressure in his groin all the more exquisite and painful. Mindless fucking wasn’t mindless when the woman he was fucking stirred him on an emotional level as well. And Christ, did Rowan Hemsworth stir him on an emotional level.

His blood roared in his ears. The adrenaline still lingering in his veins from his earlier mechanical-bull ride surged through him again, this time fed by an excitement far more potent.

He could fall for Rowan Hemsworth if he let himself. Hard. Fast.

The thought made his mouth dry. He’d had numerous lovers in his time, but nothing serious. Protecting Nick—and then Lauren and Josh—had been his priority. He met his sexual desires when needed and went back to work. But that work, that life, was almost in his past. What did that mean for everything else in his life?

“So tell me, super soldier—” Rowan’s stare held his, a shadow deep in her eyes Aslin longed to understand, “—what exactly are you hoping to achieve working on Dead Even with my brother?”

To get to know you better.

The words, the confession, almost slipped from him. They were there, right on his tongue. They made his heart thump harder and his stomach coil. Instead, he leant forward, drew his gaze level with Rowan’s and said, “To make him the most believable super soldier Hollywood has ever seen.”

“Oh well, in that case—” she chinked her glass against his, a smile playing with her lips, “—here’s to super soldiers on and off screen.”

She downed her scotch in a single mouthful and then ran the tip of her tongue along her top lip. Aslin stared at the small pink tip of flesh, hypnotized. He wondered what it would feel like sliding against his. Would she taste of scotch if he kissed her now? Or would her mouth be sweet and warm?

Would he lose himself in the kiss? Would she moan into his mouth and wrap her arms around his back?

Would she press her hips to his?

Would she—


So yeah, that’s where I’m leaving it. I’m a tease, I know. Sorry 🙂

You can buy Muscle for Hire at Samhain, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all good ebook resellers TOMORROW!!! Yay!!

Happy Australia Day

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Aussie Author Showcase JPGThanks to all the lovely authors who participated in our January Aussie Author Showcase. Congrats to all the winners too, and thank you to everyone who came along and visited with our guests. It’s been a fun few weeks.

Happy Australia Day!


The Divas


Aussie Author Showcase day 12–Kaliana Cole


Welcome to the last day of our Aussie Author Showcase. It’s been a thrilling and busy few weeks meeting all these authors, hasn’t it? And we’ve saved one of the best (that is to say naughtiest J) authors until last. Kaliana Cole writes super hot and as she describes ‘earthy’ menage for Siren Publishing, and she’s here to tell us about her latest installment in the Liberty Springs series.

Open Season, Liberty Springs, Wyoming 4, is my favorite installment of the liberty Springs series so far. My books always feature strong, independent heroines so it was fun to start out with a helpless, shy little virgin and explore her personal growth and search for independence. And then there’s the guys… Jack Taylor and Danny Blake, ex-Army Rangers, now running a garage in the town of Danny’s birth. One look and they know the new school teacher is for them, they just have to convince Dale and her over-protective big brother they’re serious. Oh, and learn to share along the way….


Open Season

“Those two can’t share a goddamn wrench. They don’t have aOpen Season
hope in hell of sharing a woman.”
Danny Blake has never held a woman longer than it took to say
good-bye, and Jack Taylor has been plagued by shallow,
scheming, trophy hunters. When they both set their sights on the
timid little virgin, no one believes it’s going to work, least of all
them. But even as Dale McCabe falls for them, they realize she
needs a chance to settle into her new life before they make her
Jory Raines has every reason to want his little sister as far as
possible from the two ex-rangers, but he extracts a promise from
them instead. Their pants are to stay on until her birthday.
Dale is not impressed at having her sexual education cut short and
embarks on a mission to bend them to her will before Jory
declares open season on her twenty-fifth birthday.


Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation
between or among the men.


Genre: Contemporary, Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Western/Cowboys
Length: 91,570 words



“If I followed that home, do you think she’d keep me?”

“If you followed that home, her brother would skin you alive.” Jack Taylor didn’t even look up from beneath the hood of the Buick he was working on.

“Might just be worth the risk.” The slow drawl was downright wistful.

Jack hated it when Danny was right. There was just something about Dale McCabe that called to a man. He knew without looking at the clock it was just past four. You could set your watch by the little schoolteacher’s trek to and from Liberty Springs Elementary. He stayed clear of the doorway around four when Danny was watching for her—the two of them together would be enough to make a shy little thing like her break and run—but he made sure he was about when she passed by in the morning.

His big friend had begun to have a proprietary look to his gaze whenever he looked at the petite brunette. That was so far out of left field it wasn’t funny. Danny Blake liked big, strong, athletic types of women with questionable morals. Ones he didn’t have to be careful of his size around, ones who expected nothing more than a smile and a wave when he rode away. Danny didn’t give much change from three hundred pounds and he was only a thick pair of socks shy of six foot six. He’d make two of Dale McCabe with plenty left over.

“I wonder why she doesn’t drive Grant’s old pickup.”

Jack turned to look at his partner. Danny was leaning against the frame of the open roller door, absently wiping his grease-stained hands on a rag as he watched the path to Dale’s house. She had been wearing a long-line blazer to ward off the autumnal chill this morning, and with the stiff breeze that hadn’t let up all day she’d still be wearing it now. Danny wasn’t ogling her ass. “No idea. Maybe she enjoys the exercise.” It was a mile from Grant Raines’s old place to the school.

“Nah, she’s not the type.”

Jack shrugged. “Maybe she doesn’t want to drive a dead man’s vehicle.”

“She’s living in his house, so I doubt that’s it. I might ask Jory.”

A humorless laugh escaped Jack. “Yeah, he’s just gonna love the likes of you showing an interest in his baby sister. Dale might be a new addition to his life, but Jory takes his responsibilities seriously. He’ll be chasing you with a pocketknife bent on castration quicker than you can blink.”

“I think marriage has mellowed him. Bailey’s keeping his hands full now.”

“If you’re prepared to take that risk, let me know. I’d love to sit on the fence and watch.” Jack started packing his tools away, making sure everything was in its place. His nine-sixteenth open-ended wrench was missing. He took a deep breath and whispered a prayer for strength. “Danny, where the hell is my wrench? It’s got red fucking tape all over the handle, and I know you’re not color-blind.”

“Settle down. It’s beside the hoist. I couldn’t find mine.”

“No fuckin’ wonder.” It still stirred him to no end, but he was resigned to Danny’s slovenly work habits. The man was a maestro with a motor, possessing a real instinct for problem diagnosis, but he couldn’t keep his work space tidy if his life depended on it. Jack retrieved the spanner, checking it over for damage. Danny had a habit of using anything as a hammer if one wasn’t in reach. He was lucky this time. “I’ve had enough for today. I’m getting cleaned up and heading home.” There was no reply.

Danny hadn’t moved. He was still looking thoughtfully after Dale, even though she would be long gone from sight. Jack thought about throwing something at him to wake him from his reverie, but he’d only have to go and retrieve it. The big man would realize he was on his own soon enough.

Jack threw his dirty overalls in the laundry bag for collection and cleaned up in the washroom behind the office. The cracked mirror was stained and pockmarked around the edges but it clearly showed the same scruffy head that had looked back at him for the last four years. His scraggly blond hair hadn’t seen a barber in all that time and he guessed it was about a week since he’d run a comb through it. That was about the last time he’d trimmed his beard, too.

He ran a hand over the dark bristles. No wonder a decent girl wouldn’t look at him. The bright blue eyes were still the same, though filled with a restlessness even he could notice, but that and the battle-hardened body were all that were left of the soldier he had been. Shy or not, Dale would have fallen over herself to get to know the pretty boy hiding behind the hair. Women had lined up in droves to get a piece of the Army Ranger with the slow mountain drawl, but Jack had left the ladies’ man at his discharge debrief along with his sniper’s rifle. Both had brought him nothing but grief.

Jack turned from the mirror and grabbed a clean towel. The next time a woman paid him any attention it would be for more than his looks.

You can buy Open Season at Bookstrand and Amazon

Now for the Diva Couch Questions

  1. Name your fantasy manage combination: Chris Hemsworth, John Cena and Matthew McConaughey. Mmmm
  2. What super power would you like to have and why? X-ray vision and the why is self explanatory…
  3. Do you prefer a hairy or smooth chest? Hairy – contrast, ladies, contrast. I’ve got a smooth one, why the hell would I want my man to have one?
  4. Tattoos—love or hate? Love the ink, especially tribal tatts
  5. Imagine you had a time machine—oh let’s just call it a Tardis. What time period would you travel to and why? The Viking era, but I’d be taking a shitload of Imperial Leather, Colgate and rubbers. Imagine the fun a girl could have…once the inadequacies of personal hygiene were rectified.
  6. Describe your writing in 3 words: Earthy, romantic ménage.

You can find out more about Kaliana and her books at her website

Aussie Author Showcase Day 11–Jennifer Lynne


Our Aussie Author Showcase is coming to an end. But not before we hear from author of super spicy erotica Jennifer Lynne!

I’m delighted that my visit to Down Under Divas coincides with the release of my latest ménage a trois fantasy romance, Sex Club Secrets (Gods of Love 3). This friends-to-lovers erotic novella is the third in a series of stand-alone stories that are united with a common theme: the erotes.

In this version of the erotes’ myth, my gods of love represent aspects of Eros—the primal god of desire. Pothos (Platinum Passion), Himeros (Aphrodite Calling) and Anteros in Sex Club Secrets are the children of Aphrodite. Each of these gorgeous gods has a role in modern day society, answering the call of human desire and interacting with people in need.

Sometimes love can flourish in the most unexpected places…

JenniferLynne_SexClubSecrets800 Cover Blurb:

Ella is in love with her best friend Kade. But her love has not been returned, and when bisexual Kade shows no signs of becoming romantic toward her, she decides to call a halt on her unrequited love and accept an invitation to a celebrated Melbourne sex club.

Kade is distressed when the woman he is beginning to see as more than a friend decides to visit Secrets before he can tell her how he feels. He follows her into the club and witnesses her at play with the enigmatic Anteros, a sexy god-like man who seems to know exactly how to satisfy her innermost cravings. But Anteros also feeds the hidden desires within Kade. How can he admit his feelings for Ella when he’s not sure he can commit with his whole heart?

Anteros is one of the erotes, an aspect of Eros and the ancient Greek god of requited and unrequited love. He has heard the call of these would-be lovers and intends to show them that friendship can sometimes be the best place to kick start a lasting romantic relationship.

But love cannot flourish unless it is returned, and how will he convince Kade—a man who occasionally enjoys other men—that he can be true to the woman he loves? What will happen to this couple when the night ends and they return to the real world outside the door of Secrets?

Has one of the gods of love finally taken on a challenge he cannot fulfill?

 Excerpt (Rated R-18+):

Helpless. Ella felt utterly helpless and vulnerable in this crazy position, and it should have had her screaming to get out. In the past it would have, but here in the privacy of this club she felt safer than she had in a long time. There were rules here, and security checks, and the people who came to Secrets would abide by those rules, however unusual or kinky their needs.

She could trust Anteros. She knew it in her heart, and it gave her the courage to relax into the moment. “If Kade were out there, watching, I wonder if he’d want me right now.”

Anteros laughed, a quiet chuckle that flowed over her skin and left goose bumps as effectively as that feather would, if only he would lean forward and touch its delicate end to her quivering flesh. “Look over there, my girl.” He gestured toward the doorway and she gasped at the sight of the handle turning.

No, I don’t want anyone else to see—Kade! Um. You’re…Kade.” She must sound like a half-wit, repeating his name over and over, but she couldn’t comprehend that the subject of her imaginings was actually here in the room with them, right at the instant when her fanny was laid out like a Christmas turkey on a plate.

Sweat broke out on her forehead and she began to struggle against the bindings. “Kade, no, don’t stare at me! Anteros, please. Let me—”

“Shhh.” Her dark-skinned companion laid a gentle hand on her ankle. “He is not repulsed. Look at him.”

She couldn’t. It was impossible to meet Kade’s gaze. What would he think to see her trussed up like this? She stared instead at the window, biting her lip and willing herself not to cry. But then he stepped in front of her and his swollen penis was directly in her line of vision. It poked out of the gap in his trousers in a manner that was clearly far from revulsion.

“Do what he says, Ellie. Look at me.” His voice was familiar and gentle, yet the fingers that slipped under her chin and forced her gaze upwards were firm and uncompromising. When she finally looked into his eyes she read the truth in their brilliant depths. Not hazel right now. Green. Like the August birthstone, peridot.

A hesitant grin decorated his face. “You’ve never looked more beautiful to me than right here in this moment. I want you, Ella Harris.”

You can buy Sex Club Secrets at Amazon, Smashwords and All Romance ebooks

 Now let’s get Jennifer on the Diva Couch:

Name your fantasy ménage combination

Oh, definitely True Blood’s Eric and Bill…um…I mean Alexander Skarsgaͦrd and Stephen Moyer. With me sandwiched in-between, of course, so I’m afraid Sookie will just have to step aside for a bit! You get everything with those two, don’t you? Light-haired, dark-haired, sexy as hell, sexy as heaven and yeah. Sexy. Yum. J

Describe your writing in 3 words

Difficult, rewarding, necessary.

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy for yourself?

A new laptop. The print on some of my keys has worn off and I dropped mine recently so it’s all bent on one side. Still works, but I dream of an Apple Macbook Pro! Or a white BMW. Or an outdoor spa pool.

Imagine you had a time machine—oh let’s just call it a Tardis. What time period would you travel to and why?

I’d like to travel back to the late sixties/early seventies, so I could get to know my father better. He passed away when I was thirteen and I regret not being able to know him from the viewpoint of an adult, instead of just having the memories and perceptions that I developed as a child.

Describe your favorite outfit

My winter PJs, especially on a cold wet day when I don’t have to venture outside. Occasional pyjama days lazing by the fire with my kids were always warm and happy times. Doesn’t happen now they’re teenagers, but I still love my PJs!

Best writing advice ever received

Keep writing, no matter what, and eventually an unpublished writer will become published. My sister heard those words at a conference and I think they helped me persevere with my first MS (pubbed in 2009 with Red Sage). So, yeah, for me it worked! Every so often when the going gets tough I use that “don’t give up” sentiment to continue to reach for the dream of one day being able to write full-time.

You can find Jennifer Lynne and more about her writing at:

Website/blog: http://www.jenniferlynne.com.au

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Lynne-Romance-Author/297504180262670

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniLynnAuthor

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Lynne/e/B004VUPGDG

Aussie Author Showcase Day 10–Kate Belle

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Bonjour everyone, I’m Kate Belle. I’m a debut author of erotic fiction and creator of the Ecstasy Files blog. I live in the leafyKateBelle-glamfrontlores outskirts of Melbourne, but was born and bred in country Victoria. I’ve been writing all my life, more seriously for six years. 2013 is a big year for me with two e-books and a novel being released.

Today I’d like to tell you all about the release of my first two e-books in a series featuring the mouth-watering Ramon Mendez, a handsome and charismatic lover of women. Of Spanish extraction, Ramon has more animal magnetism than most women can handle. He’s a masterful lover, having studied sacred sexual practices, and understands how to unlock hidden pleasures in a woman’s body.

The women in my stories are everyday people who have hit a trouble spot in their love lives. Ramon seduces them and takes them on a journey of sexual awakening. Once he has his object of desire in his arms he holds nothing back, driving his lovers into a state of ecstatic bliss.

But there is a mystery about him. He makes it clear to his lovers that he isn’t interested in relationships. He helps them move on while he remains happily single. One can’t help but wonder why? And will there be a lover one day who captures Ramon’s elusive heart?

You can find out more about Kate and her work through her blog/website: http://www.ecstasyfiles.com

Breaking the Rules by Kate Belle - loresBreaking the Rules: Grace is a beautiful woman in complete control of her world. A long time ago she chose an academic career over children and marriage, and has never regretted it. Then Ramon Mendez walks into her office.

Ramon is about to commence his PhD, a work on erotic literature, and from the outset there is something about him that makes Grace’s blood run hot. Aware of the need to maintain her professional reputation, she rejects his advances, but he persists. And during their intimate supervision sessions, her defences start to crumble, for Ramon’s work is exposing desires within Grace she never knew existed.


Ramon stood silently regarding her, as if weighing up his next move.

‘Will you please unlock the door?’ she asked again, unable to look him in the eye.


His voice was gentle. Grace fiddled with pens on her desk, rearranging them, and then finally throwing them into the top drawer. She needed to make her agitated hands busy. She heard him take two steps toward her and stop. She refused to look up into those eyes she knew would make her come undone at the seams.

‘I have something for you.’

His voice was husky, filled with heat. Grace laughed. It came out too loud and echoed off the walls of her office.

‘Really? What could you have that I could possibly want, Mr Mendez?’

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a hand disappear into his pocket. When she turned to face him he was standing with a tiny scrap of lace and satin dangling from his forefinger. Grace clutched at her throat. Was that a g-string? She felt blood rushing to her face. She feigned outrage.

‘And what do you expect me to do with that?’ She couldn’t stop the shrillness in her voice.

Ramon moved languidly toward her, his eyes never leaving her face. Grace didn’t know where to look. She shifted to sit on the corner of her desk and folded her arms over her chest. Ward him off. Breathe deep, take control, force the uncertainty back.

One step away from her he halted. He folded the creamy satin underwear into his hand.

‘Wear it,’ he breathed.

A ripple of want ran over her skin. Grace clung to the edge of the desk with both hands to steady herself. She inhaled the musky smell of him, all spicy aftershave and shampoo.  Robbed of speech, she could only shake her head.

‘You have a beautiful body, Grace. It deserves to be dressed in beautiful things.’

It was only when he touched her she realised she had closed her eyes. She felt the warmth of his hand slide from her hip to the small of her back, the strength in his limbs as he pressed his body gently against hers. His other hand picked out a wavy strand of her hair and rubbed it reverently between his forefinger and thumb.

‘I like your hair like this. You should wear it out always.’

His face was dangerously close to her own, his breath warm against her ear. He lifted the underwear and stroked her cheek with it. Smooth, cool satin.

‘Wear it,’ he whispered. ‘Please.’

Grace quivered as her resistance crumbled. She placed her hands flat against his chest and pushed at him weakly, giving a tiny shake of her head. Beneath his shirt he was a wall of muscle. She thought of the picture of the Marie Claire model and desire flowed through her. Having read his book, knowing what he knew about sex, about women, what he may be capable of, how could she resist him now?

His hands drifted to her skirt zipper as he dusted her jawline with kisses light as butterfly wings. Grace struggled with her racing heart. She shouldn’t be allowing this, she should push him away, but it felt so good to be caressed.

‘Let me show you how beautiful you are,’ he murmured into her throat.

Unwillingly she tipped her head back. The sensation of his lips on her skin was exquisite. How had she lived so long without this? The fingers of his left hand tugged at her skirt zipper. It slid open without a hitch. His hands, deft and confident, tugged the skirt down over her hips until it slithered to the floor.

Buy links Breaking the Rules: iTunes & Amazon

Bloom: Thirty-six-year-old Emma’s life is perfect. She loves her solid, straight-laced husband Gary, who has givenBloom by Kate Belle - lores her three beautiful, if spoilt, children and a secure life. But something is missing. Gary hardly notices her anymore and she feels frumpy and invisible. Her friend, Lisa, talks her into joining a social boot camp class at the local gym. Emma immediately recognises their instructor as the gorgeous runner she sees each evening while walking her dog in the park. He introduces himself as Ramon Mendez. In spite of herself Emma is besotted.

Before long her mind is filled with guilty fantasies of him. One evening, when things at home have become too much to bear,  she bumps into him alone in the park. An opportunity presents itself and no one need ever know. Ramon promises and delivers everything that’s missing from her marriage – passion, romance and excitement – but Emma must discover if they are the things she really wants.

Buy links Bloom: iTunes & Amazon

Now for Diva Couch question time:

If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you’d buy for yourself?

A tattoo. Wait – I HAVE won the lottery. I have 3 books releasing in the next 4 months (Breaking the Rules, Bloom and The Yearning). And to celebrate I’m gonna get myself inked – again (see last question).

What food will you absolutely not eat?

Meat. I’m a vegaquarian (I eat fish) of over 20 years.

What is your worst vice or habit?

Biting my nails. Been doing it since I was 12 and can’t seem to kick it.

If you could kiss any fictional hero from history, who would it be?

Recent history? Can I choose Ramon? Because he’s my one and only you know. I can’t go past him. But, if I can’t choose my own fictional character, it would have to be Don Juan (of course) – although I think the jury’s still out as to whether he’s fictional or not.

Name your fantasy menage combination.

Johnny Depp (oh, be still my beating heart – I love a man with a brain – and he READS) and Antonio Banderas (because I have a thing for Latino men and I’m a sucker for a Spanish accent). If I could have those two dishes in my bed for a week (not greedy!) I’d die a deliriously happy woman.

Tattoos – love or hate?

LOVE LOVE LOVE. I got a tattoo for my mid-life crisis. My beloved gave me a voucher for one for Christmas three years ago because I wanted one and refused to spend the housekeeping on one. Now I’ve got one, I plan to get another (see first question).

Thanks for visiting with us today Kate!


Aussie Author Showcase Day 9–Nicole Murphy


Today’s guest is multi-published fantasy author Nicole Murphy, who is also writes contemporary stories under the pen name Elizableth Dunk. Read on to find out more about her upcoming book.

Why did I write ‘Arranged to Love’? It was 2011. I had just finished drafting the fifth of the Gadda books and it occurred to me that I could happily keepnicolemurphy churning them out, but it wasn’t going to be much of a challenge. They followed a pretty set pattern, had a set tone and style, so they wouldn’t necessarily do much to help improve my writing (I want to be constantly growing and improving as a writer).

I’d had this idea for a contemporary romance swimming around in my head, brought together by two different ideas – my career as a journalist and an Indian girl I worked with who came to Australia on an arranged marriage. The two combined with my need to challenge myself so I sat and wrote a contemporary. It was both harder than I’d imagined, and more fun! And now I’m kinda addicted to them.


 Arranged To Love_mediumAll her life, Madhuri Singh has been sure she’ll make an arranged marriage with an Indian man. But when the opportunity arrives at the same time a past lover returns to her life, Maddie finds herself torn between her culture and her desire.

 All his life, Jack Faulkner has been obsessed with being the one his father chooses to take over the reins of Faulkner Publications. When it seems it’s finally within his grasp, he finds himself face to face with the one woman who can make him forget everything.

 What will win out – the dreams they’ve always held for their futures, or the passion that even after seven years apart cannot be contained. Will they remain blinded to the truth – that they will only be happy if they can be together?


Jack started the conversation again. “So, do you think you’ll come to work at the paper when you finish uni?”

     “I’m not sure,” Maddie said. “It depends if they want me, I guess.”

     Jack smiled. “How can they not want you? I can’t imagine anyone not wanting you.”

     There was a heaviness, a depth in the way he said ’want’ that made Maddie’s toes curl inside her shoes.

     “I know I’d like you to be there.”

     Maddie stared down at her coffee, frantically trying to decide what to do.

     “Maddie.” Jack put his coffee down then leant forward. She watched his tan hand lightly touch her brown one as it lay on her lap. “I think you’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen and I’d really like to get to know you better.”

     Their children would be so pretty, Maddie mused as she stared at their skin, side by side. Particularly if they got Jack’s blazing blue eyes in her brown skin…

     She shook the thought away and lifted her gaze, but then she stopped when she was looking into Jack’s eyes. Heat. Desire. Want. Need.

     Transfixed, it seemed like she was standing outside herself, watching Jack’s other hand reach forward and gently cup her cheek.

     “So beautiful,” he murmured.

     “So are you,” she whispered.

     Jack smiled and it lit a fire deep within her, licking along her limbs and making her tremble. His hand moved down and he rubbed his thumb across her lower lip.

     “From the moment I saw you, I wanted you.” His soft words were like a benediction and Maddie was thrilled. “I know I shouldn’t—you’re an intern, I’m your mentor. And I’ve got this iron-clad rule about not dating people I work with. But I can’t see how we can keep ignoring this.”

     Not any more, Maddie thought. Not now that she knew the attraction was as strong on his side. Right then, the past, the future, cultural sensitivities—none of it mattered. All that mattered was that the most stunning man she’d ever known, the first and only man she’d ever wanted, wanted her too. She might never know this again.

     Maddie leant forward and their lips touched—hesitatingly, softly, and then more firmly as mutual passion rose to the fore. Jack’s hand moved to the back of her neck to hold her as his lips shaped hers, and then his tongue pressed against her mouth.

     Maddie shuddered, wondered for a moment, then accepted that if this was going to happen, she’d have to go with it fully. So she opened her mouth and his tongue thrust in and Maddie moaned, feeling the movement deep inside her.

     Her body loosened, tingled in ways she’d read about but never experienced before. She arched her back, leant closer, wanting more but not sure how to ask for it. Jack must have understood her silent invitation because he pulled her close and then her body was tight against his, her breasts crushed against his chest, her hips lying on his. He leaned back on the lounge, so she was sprawled on top of him and continued to kiss her, deep and strong while his hands learnt her body.

     Maddie kissed him back—loving the taste of the coffee on his tongue, the thrill of his body quivering against hers as she caressed his mouth. Certainty took over her and she pulled back, away from him, standing. She almost laughed at his pout, then held her hand out.

     “You wanted to see my bedroom,” she said softly.

     Jack looked at her hand, then at her. “Maddie, are you sure about this?”

     With every nerve in her body screaming, every inch of her skin begging for his touch? How could she not be sure?


     With a wide smile, Jack stood. Maddie took his hand and led him to her bedroom, to be made love to for the first time. By a man who would never be her husband.

Arranged to Love Releases February 1 and will be on special for just 99c for a short time through all the major electronic retailers and at Escape. Meanwhile Nicole’s Dream of Asarlai trilogy is available electronically and you might even be lucky enough to find it on a bookshelf at a bookstore (Australia only)

Nicole Trilogy

And now for the fun stuff:

  1. Name your fantasy menage combination – It would be difficult to pull off nowadays, but Star Wars aged Harrison Ford (aka Han Solo) and modern day hunk Nathan Fillion (aka Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly). Particularly in those costumes. Hot, hot, hot.
  2. What five items would you take if you had to get out of your house in 5 mins or less – Well hubby, obviously. My computer. My archived copies of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy (I’ve got them protected and wrapped in special plastic so I’ll have a pristine copy of each forever). My camera and finally, TiVo. I don’t know HOW we lived before TiVo – has changed how we watch television FOREVER!
  3. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy for yourself? A house. It would have lots of rooms – so hubby and I can continue to each have our own offices, but there would also be a dedicated library, with floor to ceiling shelves, a ladder, a big comfortable armchair and an alcove window so on rainy days you can curl up on it and read surrounded by the rain but totally dry. This house would have a big enough lawn for hubby to create his own professional croquet court (one of the best players in Australia, by the by) and finally, the bathroom would have a massive spa bath. But all that assumes my lottery win is massive. If it’s just a couple of dollars, then the answer is – another lottery ticket.
  4. Imagine you had a time machine—oh let’s just call it a Tardis. What time period would you travel to and why? Oh, that’s so hard, cause I’m a bit of a history nut and it’s so hard to choose. But I think it will have the be the court of Elizabeth I. I’d love to watch her run rings around all those men who thought they were so frickin’ superior but had to live with a woman as their monarch.
  5. What super power would you like to have and why? I’m torn. It would either be Super Speed cause that way the moment someone did something stupid you could race over, bop them for it and then away before they knew who had hurt them so you couldn’t get in trouble, but your frustrations would be relieved. Or it would be Mind Reading cause damn that would make life easier!
  6. Best writing advice ever received – it’s all about the details. Choosing the exact write details means you can say a whole lot in just a few words. Whereas fill the page with irrelevant details, or none, and the story is either boring or not interesting enough to grab.

To find out more about Nicole, visit her website or follow her on twitter @nicole_r_murphy

Aussie Author Showcase Day 8–Elise K Ackers


Join me in welcoming our next Showcase guest, Elise K Ackers. Elise was a storyteller before she was a writer. For Elise K  Ackershours on end she would recount every moment of her kindergarten days to her mum, pausing often for dramatic effect. She would help her dad finish bed-time stories – sending the family dog and cat to the moon, amongst other adventures. And almost from the start her parents knew. They just knew what she’d grow up to be.

A writer, obviously!

So Elise, tell us a little about your latest book.

Unforgettable is my latest contemporary romance and my first with Escape Publishing. It’s a second chance story about two people who once ruined their chance of being happy together, now facing the chance of getting it right. The book involves a redevelopment project subplot, deep characterisation, and the popular amnesia romance trope.

A small element of Unforgettable is non-fiction. I used to work on a big-scale redevelopment of a Melbourne concert hall, and it was that experience which inspired me. I was fascinated by the construction, by the dust and the progress and the innovative solutions to complex problems. I ended up inventing a cast of characters, dropping them amongst the rubble, and plotting my way out!

Unforgettable: Blurb

 Unforgettable_cvrIn hospital following a near-fatal accident, Connor has temporary retrograde amnesia, and there’s a blank slate where the last three years of his life should be. It’s a woman with haunted eyes and secrets who offers to help him rediscover his past.

​Colleague, friend and ex-lover, Emma warns him they must be discreet. No one knows about their past relationship, and for the sake of their jobs, no one can. She reintroduces him to his life and the fascinating redevelopment project they are working on, and the more time Connor spends with her, the more he wants a future with her in it.

But Emma blames herself for Connor’s accident and she won’t confess to what broke their relationship in the past. Now Connor is fighting for love, for his job, and for another chance.

A story about second chances, a second look, and the futility of fighting fate, Unforgettable explores the concept of walking a path already travelled and learning from your mistakes.


There was a long pause, and Emma knew it was time for the inevitable question. The one that could see her being shown the door again. Had she learned her lesson? Would she do things differently this time, or would she try again to hide what had eventually broken his heart?

“Why?” Conner said.

She didn’t dare look at him, she didn’t have the courage to see how he was looking back at her.

“You found out something about me.” A tear fell before she could look away. Mortified, she dropped back onto the couch and stared at her lap, her hair a blessed screen around her face. “And it changed everything.”

She heard him move, then the seat cushion beside her sagged under his weight. His hand touched her shoulder. “Were we in love?”

Damn him. Damn his amnesia and his awful questions. She should have gone home, left him to find his own way back here. It cost her a great deal of energy to answer. “If we were, we never said it to one another.”

She had loved him so much that it had kept her up some nights. Her life had become duplicitous: she had eaten and loved, breathed and loved.  Everything she had done, every thought she had had… It had all been done with a heart so swollen she had often wondered how she’d contained it within her chest. And still she loved. Every day a little more than the last. And every time she looked into those eyes—those eyes that had once watched her like she was all that mattered in the world—another little fissure appeared in her battered heart.

She started when fingers parted her hair and pushed it back from her face. She looked up slowly, numb with pain and longing and a terrible heartache that had been her constant companion for months now, and waited for the rebuff. This was too much for him to deal with right now. He had a life to rebuild, and it shouldn’t start with a crying woman on his couch. She had her dignity. He wouldn’t have to push her away twice.

A lie, she thought. She had no dignity when it came to Connor. She would wait in the wings for a lifetime, hoping for him to one day open his heart to her again.

But he shouldn’t have asked her about this so soon. She’d wanted to help him piece together what he had lost, and now they had crossed a line they couldn’t return from. She didn’t have a current role to play now. She was the ex-lover. She’d expired. And her second chance had lasted little more than three days.

“Hey,” he whispered. His fingers trailed along her cheekbone then down her throat. “Don’t cry. I’m sorry I pushed. Please don’t leave.”

She looked at him. “What?”

“I won’t hurt you again. Please stay, I still need you. That was wrong of me to… I had to make sense of how I feel whenever I see you. And why I miss you so much all the damn time.” He stared at his hand, which had curled around the curve of her neck. “I don’t remember you. But I ache for you. Everything inside of me is telling me that you’re all I need to know.”

He looked at her mouth, lingered on the sight of it, and then met her gaze. Something in her loosened and fell. Something else fractured. Her heart screamed with longing and her head tried to warn her, to save her.

But she leaned forward.

Okay I want to read this now! You can buy Unforgettable at Escape, Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. You can also take your chances in Elise’s GIVEAWAY. Details at the end of the post.

Now it’s time for the nitty gritty 🙂 Elise hits the Diva Couch

1.       Name your celebrity free pass

Jensen Ackles, hands down. That man has inspired many a male protagonist for me. I’m a big fan of the show Supernatural and I have to confess that sometimes I’m not really aware of what’s going on, so much as how he moves around the room!

2.       If you knew your next meal would be your last, what would you have?

Strawberry baked cheesecake and vanilla icecream from an amazing little deli in South Melbourne. Clearly I prefer dessert over a main course, but if it had to be a main, it would be lamb shank pie from one of my favourite pubs.  

3.       Tell us about the worst day job you ever had

It was a customer service position in a boutique kitchenware store. Once I discovered that my responsibilities wouldn’t extend beyond ringing up sales and dusting products for most of the day, I explained to the manager that I’d made a mistake. She agreed (I think the ‘caged animal’ look on my face was bad for business) and I left after the first day. It’s not high up there as far as bad experiences go, but maybe I’ve been lucky with my day jobs.

4.       Describe your writing in 3 words

Character driven, layered.

5.       If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy for yourself?

Insurance – ha! I’d probably buy myself something small but frivolous to enjoy for the length of time it took to get the money in the bank, into high-interest accounts and into some property investments, then I’d go on an overseas holiday with what was left. Sorry, no spending-bender from this one. I’m a little too deliberate with my money.

6.       Favorite comic book superhero

Superman. I have heaps of movies and almost all of the television shows featuring him and I’m hanging out for the next instalment on the silver screen. I just love the Clark Kent vs Superman persona/s, and the silliness of the disguise. A pair of glasses fools the world? Classic! It was the love story which dragged me in, though. Lois Lane loves Superman, Clark Kent loves Lois Lane – it’s the best love triangle I’ve seen! And he’s so idealistic and handsome. An all-round winner.

7.       Tattoos—love or hate?

I used to hate them, but then I dated a man who turned out to have a good half a dozen of them in discreet places. Imagine my surprise! However, each of them were so important to him – they represented people or moments in his life and that’s what really brought me around. If something is special enough to a person that they want to carry a reminder of it on their skin, then I’m mostly all for it. Now it’s just the bows that I don’t understand. What do the bows represent? Someone tell me!

8.       Best writing advice ever received

It’s actually a Winston Churchill quote, and I’ve turned to it a few times. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Simple enough, but perfect for a writer who’s been staring at a screen for hours, despairing about his or her progress. To me, that quote reemphasises the importance of perseverance; a skill every writer needs to have.

Thanks Elise! To find out more about Elise and her books visit her website or join her on twitter or facebook

And now for the


One lucky commenter will have their name drawn out at the end of the week and Elise will gift that person a copy of Unforgettable. It’s that simple! So tell us what you think–do you have a favorite amnesia plot book? (I love them myself).

The Trinity Masters – An Awesome New Series from Mari Carr and Lila Dubois


Authors of awesomeness (a self proclaimed title) Lila Dubois and Mari Carr have a new book out! They’ve finished their first menage story (heh–that sounds dirty) and I have them on the blog today talking about it.

Thank you for having us! We’re really excited about this book. Not only is it our first collaboration, but it’s the start of a great new series called The Trinity Masters.

Elemental Pleasure Cover

Elemental Pleasure, focuses on Carly, Preston and Lance, who are members of the super secret society the Trinity Masters. A secret society that demands the members be in menages are picks out their love interests What could go wrong?

When Carly Kenan joined the secretive Trinity Masters in college, she knew that one day she’d have to pay the piper. That day has come. Returning to Boston, Carly meets former Marine Lance Glassco, a mathematician for DARPA, and Preston Kim, a celebrated chemist. Though on the surface they have nothing in common, it’s clear the Grand Master thinks that together the three of them can do something amazing. And that’s why he’s declared that Carly, Lance and Preston must unite. In a ménage.

Tempers flare as they struggle to understand each other, but their physical attraction is explosive, and the sex leaves all of them begging for more. Pushed beyond her limits, Carly runs from Lance and Preston. What she doesn’t understand is that she now belongs to them, body and soul…and they belong to her, too. When Lance uncovers a dangerous crime in Preston’s firm, Carly is caught in the crossfire and the struggling lovers are forced to move beyond desire…to trust.

The Trinity Masters have the power to make careers and change lives, but there’s a price. All members know that the day will come when the Grand Master will select them, and pair them with two others. For the Trinity Masters the strongest bond isn’t a pair, but a threesome.

This book has sex, mystery, sex, adventure, sex, and two men who are alpha males in completely different ways.

Here’s where you can get the delicious Elemental Pleasure:



Smashwords (all other formats)

Here, just for you, is the prologue and first chapter. Yum!

Elemental Pleasure

Copyright 2013, Mari Carr, Lila Dubois


The Grand Master sat as his desk and studied the files lying there. Three people. Three lives. Their destinies lie in his hands.

Leaning back in his leather chair, he let his gaze travel over the portraits on the walls—paintings of the men who’d served in this position before him. Men who had been called to lead one of the most powerful organizations in the world. They had taken their position seriously, understood the gravity of their choices. His decisions, like theirs, could influence the future and bring fate to its knees.

The Trinity Masters were a secret society, as old as the U.S. sect of the Masons, but unlike them, the Trinity Masters were still a secret. It had been started by some of America’s founding fathers as they sought to replicate the networks and relationships that drove European society in America, a country that was wild and new. Hundreds of years later, the Trinity Masters counted some of the most powerful people in politics, science, the arts and even religion among its members. It was credited, though only in secret, for developing the relationships that had driven much of America’s success.

Being a member meant access to people, money and power.

In exchange, you gave them your future. And that future was the Grand Master’s to decide.

He looked at the pictures again. A pretty, dark-haired woman. Brilliant, creative. An attractive, serious-looking scientist, driven, powerful. And the final, a soldier. Strong and courageous.

Yes, he decided. All the pieces were there. He sealed the letters, prepared them for the messenger. It was time. Together, they would make a powerful bond.

A perfect trinity.

Chapter One

She’d made a deal with the Devil, and now the Devil had called to collect.

Carlene Kenan pulled her scarf up around her neck. At home in California it was a sunny, warm seventy degrees, but early March in Boston was still winter, and the wind whipped down Boylston Street as she stood outside the imposing Boston Public Library.

Carlene rubbed her cheek against the baby soft cashmere of her scarf. It cost more than her parents had made in a month when she was growing up. Those days were long gone, thanks to a deal she’d made nearly ten years ago. With her dark hair pulled up in an elegant chignon, a black wool coat, cream scarf and knee-high black boots she looked exactly like what she was: a beautiful, successful woman.

Had it been worth it? Her success had surpassed even her wildest dreams, but all her success had come at a price. Now it was time to pay up. She wouldn’t know if had been worth it until she went inside.

The city moved around her, everyone with somewhere to go, something to do. Another minute ticked by, but Carlene still couldn’t bring herself to mount the steps and face the consequences of her achievements. Someone bumped her, forcing her forward a step, and she hitched her designer bag higher. The man who bumped her, chatting away on his phone, turned to glare. When he caught sight of her he stopped mid-word, fumbled out a smile, then slunk away.

She mounted the steps. It was something she’d done a hundred times before while a student at Harvard. A computer science major, the public library had always been a chance for her to get away from her electronics, and to honor the lineage of scholars and invention that had been trailblazers to the world she knew.

And in her junior year the library had started to play a new, and secret, role in her life.

The grand hallway, with its arched and illustrated roof, was bustling with people, though the noise was muted, the hush of a library. The heels of her boots clicked against the stone floor as she made her way to the elevator. She rode it to the top level, where there were fewer people. By the time she reached the rare book room she was alone in the quiet hallway that smelled of books and secrets. There was a keypad on the door. She paused, realizing his instructions hadn’t included a code. Surely it wasn’t the same one the society had used when she was in college?

Pulling off her leather glove, she folded and tucked it into her pocket. As she reached out, she noticed her fingers were trembling. She curled her hand into a fist, willed herself to be calm, then reached out again.


There was a click as the door opened. Carlene turned the handle and let herself in, careful to close the door behind her. The code was the same. She wondered what else would be the same.

The rare book room was small, with each rack dedicated to a subject. There were a few tables, each with a box of cotton gloves placed precisely in the center, so the rare books could be handled without picking up corrosive oils. Behind a section containing maps and diaries said to belong to members of the semi-secret Masonic Temple was a section of wall with a triangle inscribed into the plaster. She touched her scarf, which hid the chain she wore with the same symbol hanging from it. Below the triangle were three words. “Mitimur in Vetitum.”

“We strive for the forbidden,” she whispered, tracing the words.

Her stomach clenched and her fingers trembled. She was terrified of what she’d find beyond that door, of what she’d discover in the temple of the Trinity Masters.

With their help Carlene’s company was now one of the fastest growing in the industry, and at only thirty-two she was well on the way to becoming very, very wealthy.

Taking a deep breath, she placed both hands on the triangle relief and pushed. A section of wall popped in, and then slid to the side, disappearing into a pocket. She passed through and waited in the darkness on the other side as the door shut, sealing her inside.

Once the door was fully closed the lights clicked on.

The small foyer was exactly as she remembered. The room was small enough to be mistaken as a closet, if anyone who was not a member ever found their way in here. The walls were paneled wood, the floor the same carpet as the outer room. An empty book cart took up a third of the floor space. Turning to her right she examined the panels there. There were numbers etched into the wood, seemingly at random.

The Grand Master’s instructions had said she was to open box thirty-one. Pressing her finger against the number she felt a click. When she pulled her hand back a small tray popped out of the wall. Reaching in, she took out a key and a small piece of paper.

You’ll find garments in room C. Right hand corridor.

Wait until you hear the bell.

-Grand Master

The note was written by hand, and Carlene shivered a little. The Grand Master was the head of the Trinity Masters, and a man of unspeakable power and influence. No one knew who he was, though there were plenty of rumors. At the Trinity Masters annual gatherings, hidden inside library benefit galas, Carlene had done her share of gossiping about who he might be.

Now she wasn’t curious, she was afraid.

Note and key in hand she moved the cart out of the way and, with another push, opened the door hidden in the back wall. It revealed a narrow elevator. When she pressed the button, the door opened and Carlene stepped in. She took a moment to gather herself as the small, wood paneled elevator took her down to the sub-basement. When the elevator stopped and the door slid to the side, she bit the inside of her cheek to center herself.

A long marble hallway stretched out in front of her. Columns supported the double-high arched ceiling, which was a smaller replica of the grand hallway above. Her footsteps rang as she made her way along the hall, the sound bouncing off the walls to echo down to the grand double doors at the far end. There were no books here to muffle the sound. At the midway point there were openings in the walls, one to the right, another to the left. She’d been in the left hallway before. There were changing rooms there, elegant as the locker rooms in a fancy spa. For ceremonies all members wore robes to protect their identities, and those with the most need for secrecy had private dressing rooms.

As she turned right she wondered if that’s where she was going—to a private dressing room. Now that she had been called to the altar by the Grand Master, she supposed she’d earned a private dressing room.

After all, she was about to meet her husbands.

Or maybe it would be husband and wife.

Her hands shook, and it took her a few tries to get the key into the lock on room C. Once in she found a small but well-appointed room. A white robe waited on a hook. Normally they wore gray.

Setting her purse on the vanity she touched the robe. “It’s like a wedding dress,” she whispered.

It would be the only wedding dress she’d ever wear.

In exchange for the Trinity Masters’ help, she’d given up her future, specifically her choice of whom she would marry.

Throughout history the world had been secretly controlled by relationships that defied societal standards. Some of those relationships had come to light, the most famous of which had been Vice-Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who’d been in a relationship with Lady Emma Hamilton and Sir William Hamilton. The gossip papers of the nineteenth century had called it an affair between Lady Emma and Lord Nelson, but it had been so much more. The three-way union between them had helped end the Napoleonic wars, and both Emma and William had mourned Lord Nelson after his death.

The Trinity Masters believed that when three people were united it created a bond far stronger than the pedestrian two-person marriage, and that these marriages, if made between those with power and intellect, had the capability of changing the world.

Carlene slid out of her clothes, leaving on the corset-bra, panties and garter set she’d bought especially for today.

She’d joined the Trinity Masters as a college junior, at age nineteen, when the idea of some crazy secret ménage marriage had seemed like a fun lark. In her twenties she’d enjoyed herself, knowing that there was no need for her to worry about falling in love or getting married. By the time she was twenty-eight and her friends were married, some expecting children, she finally understood what she’d really given up.

However, the consequences of crossing the Trinity Masters were too dire to contemplate, and so here she was, waiting to meet the people she’d share the rest of her life with.

She checked her hair and makeup in the mirror before raising the hood and tugging the chain out from under the robe so it lay on her chest in plain sight, the triangle glinting in the low light.

Taking a seat on a velvet chair, she breathed deeply, trying to calm herself.

A bell rang, the deep sound vibrating through her. She looked up as a door in the wall opposite where she sat opened.

Rising to her feet, Carlene took a breath and walked through.

Preston Kim stretched and then slowly sat up as the bell rang. He was in one of the Trinity Master’s private dressing rooms. It wasn’t the first time he’d merited the honor of one of the private rooms, but it was the most important.

Preston smiled and rose to his feet. He pulled the black hood over his head, hiding his dark hair and eyes.

It felt like Christmas morning. Anticipation hummed through him, and yet he didn’t want to rush. He wanted to savor it, wanted to remember every detail so that he’d one day be able to tell his children how dad had met Mom and Mom, or Mom and other Dad.

The same way his parents had told him.

Preston was a legacy to the Trinity Masters. His parents—Dad and both Moms—were members. His biological mother had married his father in a traditional ceremony several years after the three had been married by the Grand Master. He and his sister were raised by all three parents. He’d grown up knowing he was the child of something special, powerful, and secret. His Dad, Mother, and Imo—the name he and his sister used for their other mother, which was a bastardization for the Korean word for aunt—were now all immensely powerful in the world of education. They’d been joined together by the Trinity Masters at a time in their lives when it seemed they had nothing in common—an electrical engineer, a junior political aide and a mathematician. Many years and two children later, his father, the engineer, and Imo, the mathematician, owned an educational company that developed much of the technology and curriculum used at the country’s leading science magnet schools. His biological mother was a lobbyist, who worked to keep the money flowing to education no matter what happened to the national budget.

And now it was Preston’s turn to meet his partners.

The call from the Grand Master had been both welcomed and poorly timed. Though he’d been waiting for years to be called to the altar, his company was having financial trouble, with lower profits than projected in the last quarter. He’d walked away from a financial report—which was far from his favorite reading material—to fly to Boston. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to put work concerns away. Today was too important.

The door opened and he stepped through.

The room on the other side was small, intimate, not the massive gathering room with its stone altar. The floor and walls were marble. Three high-backed wing chairs sat in a semi-circle, facing a large metal medallion in the center of the floor. A rectangle of lighter colored stone led him to the chair farthest to the right. A soft sound made him look left, and he saw two other robed figures, one in black and one in white, emerging. Turning his attention to the center, he followed the path in the floor and took a seat in his chair. There was the rustle of fabric and the pad of feet as the other robed figures took their places. In the shadow of his hood, Preston grinned.

Light illuminated the bronze medallion with the Trinity Masters symbol and logo, as well as the chairs, but the corners of the room were cast in darkness. It couldn’t have been more than a minute before a patch of shadow detached from the wall and came forward to stand in the center of the medallion. He wore a black robe trimmed in gold. A heavy chain draped his shoulders.

The Grand Master.

Preston sucked in a breath. He’d been introduced to the Grand Master as a child, and seen him at the galas and initiation events, and yet he still scared Preston. He knew, from hearing his parents’ whispered conversations, that if crossed, the Grand Master was ruthless. It was said that he’d not only ruined members who disobeyed their laws and ignored their vows, but had them imprisoned, sometimes even killed.

“Welcome.” The Grand Master’s voice was deep, commanding. His hood moved from side to side as he looked at each of them. Preston thought he caught a glimpse of a nose or chin in the darkness off the hood, but he couldn’t be sure.

“Grand Master,” he murmured in greeting. He heard the others do the same.

If the robe colors hadn’t given them away, the voices would have. There was one man and one woman. He felt a small moment of disappointment. Secretly he’d hoped for two women—he’d always thought his father’s life seemed more than agreeable, but growing up as he had made him more open-minded than most. He would accept the other man into his life, and into his bed, if they were attracted to each other.

Preston had never been with another man, but there was a first time for everything.

“When you joined the Trinity Masters, you made a vow. You pledged your lives to our cause and our traditions. The time has come for you to meet your partners, your lovers, your spouses.”

The words rang, echoing off the walls. He thought he heard a small sound of distress from the woman, hidden in her virginal white robe.

“When I call your name, stand and remove your robe.”

Preston’s belly lurched. This was it.

Lance Glassco’s fingers tightened on the arms of the chair. The wood groaned as his knuckles turned white. He wanted to jump from his chair and pull down everyone’s hoods. He hated the secrecy, hated not knowing what was going on.

Hated not having control.

Joining the Trinity Masters had been a blessing. Without them stepping in at several key points in his career, he would probably be dead, another fallen Marine in some desert. As it was, he was a proud United States Marine Corps Reserve Officer, and mathematician for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research and development arm of the Unites States Armed Forces.

Personal relationships weren’t his strong suit. He needed rules and guidelines, and relationships—or more accurately women—didn’t come with either. Knowing that the Trinity Masters would someday step in and tell him who to marry had relieved him of the burden of worrying about it.

It wasn’t until he’d gotten the letter from the Grand Master that he realized exactly how much control he’d given up. He had no say in who he’d marry, and he didn’t even get to pick if they’d be men or women. Since receiving the letter, his frustration had grown to the point that he could now feel it boiling under his skin.

“When I call your name, stand and remove your robe.”

Lance froze, his shoulders cramping from the tension in his arms and back.

“Carlene Kenan.”

To his left the figure in the white robe rose from her chair. Her hands were slim with painted nails.

He was glad at least one of them was a woman.

She threw back her hood and Lance jerked in his seat. She was beautiful, with creamy pale skin and dark hair. Reaching back she did something so that her hair fell down around her shoulders in pretty waves. He wanted to bury his hands in her long tresses, to taste those pink lips. Her gaze met his, though he doubted she could see his face under the hood. Then her face moved from him to the other man, before looking at the Grand Master once more.

The Grand Master raised a hand, and Lance frowned when he noticed he wore gray gloves. The Grand Master motioned to her, the twitch of his fingers impatient.

The woman, what was her name? Carlene, that was it.

Carlene’s fingers moved down the front of her robe, undoing the small hook and eye catches that held it closed. As she did, the robe fell apart a bit, giving him teasing glimpses of flesh.

When the robe was open, she grasped the edges. There was an expression on her face that Lance couldn’t read.

He sat forward, anxious to see what she hid under the enveloping material. Her gaze focused on him. She raised her chin and dropped the robe.

Lance was sure he’d break the chair he gripped it so hard. She had long legs and full, lush breasts. She wore some lacy thing over her belly and breasts. A tiny pair of panties covered her sex, and garters held up dark stockings. Her face was beautiful in a way that made him think of the porcelain dolls his mother collected, but her body was lush and soft, made to be touched and stroked.

Lance sat back, his frustration gone, replaced by a need to have her.

He grinned.

And have her he would. She was his.

“Preston Kim.”

Lance had been so wrapped up in imagining what he’d do to Carlene that he’d forgotten this wasn’t just about the two of them. He looked to his right, where the other figure in black now stood. The hood fell back to reveal a tall man with a lean handsome face. He had dark hair and slanted eyes that probably meant he was at least part Asian.

Preston’s gaze focused on Lance, and Lance felt the challenge.

Black velvet dropped to the floor. The other man wore a pair of dark boxers. He was trim and muscled. Lance was sure he could take him in a fight, but it wouldn’t be easy. Preston reminded him of some jungle cat, maybe a black panther.

“Lance Glassco.”

Finally it was his turn to stand. Lance rose to his feet. Impatient he stripped off his robe, throwing it to the floor. He looked at Carlene, saw her brows go up as she caught sight of him. He’d kept up with his physical training while in the reserves. He wasn’t vain, but he knew that physically he was a good specimen. And his Mama always said he was handsome.

“You now belong to one another. Come forward.”

Barefoot, they approached the Grand Master, stopping when they too stood on the medallion. He grasped each of their right hands, bringing them into the center. Taking the chain from around his shoulders he bound their wrists with it. Lance saw Carlene shiver as the cold metal touched her.

Lance’s hand was on top of hers, and he squeezed her fingers. She looked at him, and Lance smiled. She tentatively returned the friendly gesture.

“Preston,” the Grand Master said.

The other man stepped forward, his hand, which lay atop Lance’s, tightened, and Lance tensed. Reaching out with his free hand, Preston cupped Carlene’s face. Her eyes widened as Preston pulled her head to his.

He kissed her long and deep, their cheeks only inches from Lance’s face. Desire warred with jealousy. Lance wanted to be the one kissing her, and yet he liked seeing Preston touch her. That didn’t make any sense.

Lance hated things he couldn’t make sense of.

The instant Preston pulled back, Lance jerked Carlene to him. Burying his hand in her hair he nipped her lower lip, demanding she let him in. When she took a breath he pressed his tongue into her mouth, tasting her sweet flavor.

Preston touched his bare back, hand sliding over skin and muscle. Startled, Lance ended the kiss when Preston reached for him.

Lance knocked his hand away. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Dark eyes examined him. “The same thing we just did with Carlene.”

They stared at each other, right arms held awkwardly, hands still bound together by the chain.

“Don’t touch me,” Lance snarled. It wasn’t that he had a problem with men touching each other, but if anyone were going to do the touching, he would initiate. Not Preston.

Preston raised one brow. “You must have known there was a chance you’d be placed with another man.”

“I did, and that changes nothing. We have a woman.”

“Oh, you must be fucking kidding.”

They both jerked, then looked at Carlene. Her lip was curled. Lance wasn’t good at reading people, but he was pretty sure the look on her face was one of disgust.

“You have a woman? I really hope you don’t mean me.”

Lance frowned. “You are our woman.”

“I’m not your fuck toy, or some baton you’re going to pass back and forth.” She jerked her wrist free of the chain and took a step back, rubbing the marks it had left.

“Carlene.” The Grand Master’s voice was menacing and dark, dripping with warning.

She stopped in her tracks.

“You are incorrect. You are theirs…and they are yours.”

The Grand Master reached out and undid the chain from their wrists. Preston and Lance both stepped away.

“Your relationship is yours. You will choose how to live your lives, but there are rules. No one must know about the trinity and you may never stray outside your marriage.”

The Grand Master focused on Lance. “You have one month. At that time you will return here and be formally bound in the marriage of the Trinity Masters.”

The words echoed in the suddenly hushed space.

“Now, go.”



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Showcase Day 7 — Jenny Schwartz!


JennySchwartz350Today I’d like to welcome another Harlequin Escape author, Jenny Schwartz, who’s going to talk about holiday stories–more specifically her Australia Day story, Mistaken Engagement. Take it away Jenny!

Setting stories at Christmas or Valentine’s Day or even Halloween is pretty standard, but when Escape Publishing launched, I thought why not an Australia Day story from an Australian publisher?

Luckily Kate Cuthbert, Escape’s Managing Editor, agreed with me. She accepted “Mistaken Engagement”, and Nas Dean (an amazing editor, I’m so lucky to work with her) and I raced to meet the tight timeframe to have “Mistaken Engagement” available for Australia Day, January 26.

Writing a story for a non-traditional holiday has some challenges. First I had to think of the feeling of the holiday. I wanted Beachthat to be the theme of the story. Then I knew I had to capture “how” people celebrate the day.

Australia Day happens at the height of summer. It’s about fun, family, friendship and community. Like the best holidays, it’s about love—loving your country because it’s home, the place where you and those you love belong. Because it happens in summer, Australia Day celebrations include beaches and barbeques, fireworks and cricket, and lots of laughter.

In writing “Mistaken Engagement” I got to celebrate all the joys of Australia Day, and it didn’t hurt that the setting included the glorious beaches of Western Australia.

Thanks to the Divas for making me feel so welcome. Happy Australia Day!

Mistaken Engagement

Mistaken Engagement_cvrSaul knows he crossed the line when he claimed a surprise engagement with Grace. But her hysterical denial – and the way she’s avoided him ever since – has made things awkward, but it can all be worked out. The Australia Day long weekend down at her family’s beach house is the perfect time to show everyone that they’re friends, with not a broken heart between them. But can a fake engagement become life-changingly real?

Buy now from Escape, Amazon or look for it at your favorite online bookseller.

 About Jenny:

Jenny Schwartz is a West Australian author. Her high school yearbook predicted she’d be a writer – something about always having her nose in a book. When not living up to others’ expectations, she enjoys lazy days in the suburbs and is working on a collection of life-saving recipes, “Simple Meals for Forgetful Cooks”. 

You can catch up with Jenny at her website, on Twitter and Facebook .

Now for the


Jenny is going to giveaway one copy of Mistaken Engagement to a lucky commenter (Australian winners also have the chance of winning a lovely art magnet to go with it!). So let us know what you think of the book, or tell us what’s your favorite holiday to celebrate?

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