I haven’t posted for a while (kids, family, deadlines), but just had to say "hi" now that my August book Blood Rose is popping up in stores!
I also have a thrilling announcement to make. SIN, my regency set erotic romance about the daughters of an erotica artist, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for erotic romance at the Romance Writers of America National Conference.
I was stunned. I believe I made a brief acceptance speech in Klingon. Then tried to order a glass of wine, only to discover I’d left my wallet upstairs. It was all very exciting, and rather poignant, as I’d just turned in the last book in that trilogy, Hot Silk, on July 3. Writing the short epilogue, which gathers all my characters together, was surprisingly sad. Like saying the last goodbyes at a family reunion.
Another surprise for me—I had copies of Blood Rose to sign at the conference’s literacy signing even though Blood Rose wasn’t officially out until July 25. It was great to reel in those passing readers with the promise that they’d get a book NO ONE else could get.
To celebrate Blood Rose’s release (with that delicious cover above), I’m posting a quick excerpt. And a contest! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Blood Rose in the subject line, and I’ll enter you for a draw to win a gift certificate for Godiva chocolates (redeemable online).
From Blood Rose:
Her mouth dried as she saw his abdomen—the solid planes of muscle, more soft golden hair, the enticing indent of his navel. Her gaze dropped to his small clothes, riding on his lean hips…
It was as though she had stepped into one of her scandalous dreams.
"Do you know what happens to housebreakers, Miss Lark? Sometimes they get transported."
His voice was silky. "And, like me, sometimes they serve a sentence in prison—and learn about all the perversions of mankind." His eyes narrowed, hard and cold in the soft light. "You should be thankful that I found you. I don’t know what Sommersby would have done if he had."
Serena knew she couldn’t show fear. "And what will you do?" she asked.
He reached down and picked up the journal she’d been reading. She caught her breath—waiting to see his reaction. He threw it back to the table and grinned. Astonished, she felt her jaw drop. How could he smile at such monstrous thoughts?
"Meaningless scribble to me," he said.
"You—you mean you can’t read?"
"I was born in a whorehouse, love, where women serviced rough men for pennies."
"But Lord Sommersby—the previous Lord Sommersby did not teach you? I thought he had taken you in as an apprentice."
He shrugged. "From your look of shock, I take it that to a governess a lack of education is sinful indeed." Mr. Swift’s deep voice lingered on sinful and her quim dampened in response. "I could teach you to read," she offered. Perhaps it was a way to convince Mr. Swift not to have her arrested, to convince him to help her, but mostly she wanted to help him.
He had desired her in that brothel. He desired her now. She could read the heat, the male promise, in his beautiful green eyes, and it set her heart racing even faster.
"Why would you want to do that, love?" He paced to the table and leaned on it. Beneath his shirtsleeves, his muscles bunched, and she licked her lip nervously. Mr. Swift looked utterly unconcerned about being half-naked. But why should it startle her so? Vampires were often naked.
"You don’t know much about me, do you?" he asked, his voice husky, with a gentleness that wrapped around her heart.
"No, Mr. Swift," she answered with equal softness. "I do not." She read vulnerability, poignancy in his emerald eyes.
"I would like to know about you, Miss Lark. You fascinate me. Why does your past matter so much to you? You can’t bring your parents back, sweetheart."
"I know." She blinked away tears—tears at having to lie. "But my past has made me who I am—and I don’t know anything about it."
"What do you really want, Miss Lark? Vengeance on the vampire who took your parents? Perhaps that vampire is already dead. Is that the most satisfying thing you can imagine, Miss Lark?"