Archive for November, 2010

Guest Author: Nico Rosso

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Today my guest author is Nico Rosso. Welcome Nico, it’s great to have you here. Today Nico is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card/certificate so be sure to say hello.

When you first started writing, did you write purely for pleasure or with the goal of publication?

I’ve been writing my whole life, so it hasn’t always been for publication.  There is a lot of pleasure and necessity in it.  I find the longer I go without writing, the more off-balance the world becomes.  When I dove into TAKEN TO THE LIMIT, I wanted to have a good time and create something appealing to publishers as well as readers .

How do you maintain your creativity?

I can’t stop it.  There have been many a shower when I had to hastily dry off before running to a note pad or the computer.  Ideas are often swirling around in my head and I need to write them down in order to get them out and make room for the next one.  It’s a very organic process for me, mostly about keeping my eyes and ears open.  Small details in our world can lead to stories.  Or a fragment in a history or research book can spin into something much larger.

Is there a particular subgenre in that you specialize in and like the most, or do you write in whatever subgenre appeals to you at the moment?

For romance, I feel that Sci-fi is a subgenre that best fits my storytelling style.  It’s a venue for really big action, which gives the characters opportunities to overcome dangerous obstacles to prove their love for each other.  Also, I love to invent cultures and creatures and technology – it’s part of that constant thought flow I can’t turn off.

Do you believe a writer is born with talent or can learn to write a great novel regardless of inborn talent?

The nature or nurture question is complicated and I’m sure you have a lot of people straddling the fence on this one.  I think if someone is going to write a great novel, they have innate senses that lead them to see the world in a unique way.  If they are not already a practiced writer, the learning comes as they work to write well enough to articulate that vision.

Are there subgenres you don’t read?

I honestly and unfortunately don’t have a lot of time for reading (thanks, day job).  Because of this, and because I’m just starting in Sci-fi romance, I’m trying to stick to reading that subgenre to see what the other great authors are doing in that world.

Where do you get your ideas? Just kidding. Okay, here’s the question. Do you ever get tired of people asking where you get your ideas?

No, I don’t get tired of people asking.  I really like talking about the creative process.  A lot.  It gets intense.  Ask my wife, romance author Zoë Archer.  We are constantly discussing writing and creating, stories and characters.  When unknowing innocents ask me about writing, they get more than an earful and usually back away slowly as I gesture wildly.

Tell us a smidgen about your latest novel and where we can buy it.

TAKEN TO THE LIMIT is a Sci-fi romance e-book that introduces readers to the Limit War.  It is set on Earth, where ER Doctor Korina Antonakis thinks she has seen it all.  Then Sergeant Morrow appears.  He is a Nightfighter, the most elite commando of the Core Army.  And with him comes the enemy, the Dusk.  Korina is swept into the Limit War and must learn to fight along side Morrow.  Not only does she battle for the safety of her entire world, but also for the survival of the new love that grows between her and Morrow.

The book is published by Liquid Silver Books

And you can find me at my website Nico Rosso

And follow me on Twitter

And be a Facebook fan

Here’s a blurb and excerpt:

“Welcome to the Limit War.” E.R. Doctor Korina Antonakis thinks she has mastered the chaos of her work and life. In a flash of light, everything changes. A man appears, a soldier from another world. Sergeant Morrow is a Nightfighter, an elite soldier who always battles alone. But he needs an ally on Earth, a doctor. In the dark of night, he opens Korina’s eyes to The Limit War. And Earth is on the front lines.

More amazing than the interstellar war, is the soldier before her. He is strong and stoic, a veteran, but beneath the armor, Korina finds the heart of a man. And in Korina, Sergeant Morrow finds the soul of a warrior to match his own. Their lives had started light-years apart, but the attraction between them pulls like destiny. Their desire is real, but the enemy needs to be driven from Earth. Can Korina and Sergeant Morrow’s passion survive in the Limit War?

**

Morrow threw himself between Korina and the blast, shielding her from the flames. But she felt the concussion of the shockwave. The bright light subsided and Korina felt herself moving again. The gloved hand of Morrow was around her arm and urging her forward. He could crush her bones with his strength, but he held himself in check and treated her with more care than she thought this armored man was capable of.

The fresh outside air hit Korina as she saw a dazed Dusk Warrior pursuing her and Morrow through the blasted wall. Morrow didn’t stop his quick pace to twist behind them and fire. Not a single round of energy was wasted. Every shot hit its mark and the Dusk Warrior fell among the rubble of the broken wall.

The battle seemed over, but Morrow continued his run, Korina keeping up. Dim lights showed on Morrow’s gauntlet and he spoke into it in a low, efficient voice. “Core. Morrow. Sending containment coordinates.” He paused, listening, and the tension tightened in his voice. “Negative. Repeat, negative. Exfil impossible. Mission ongoing.” The lights snapped out on his gauntlet. Morrow took a deep breath and Korina saw some of the tension to drain out of him.  He slowed their running pace to a jog. “Sub, Suzy.”

“Of course, Sergeant,” his gun replied and shrank down to the size Korina had first seen. He let the weapon drop and it hung by the sling at his side.

It was night in Los Angeles. Korina knew these streets, the smell in the air. It was late and only a couple of cars drifted up a wide boulevard two blocks away. This area of closed shops and restaurants was dead quiet with dim yellow streetlights that hardly lit the sidewalk. She grew up in this city and there weren’t too many surprises left in these streets. But it was all different now. Nothing was real. Everything had changed. She tried to stop running and felt the grip of Morrow tighten around her arm.

“Wait. Wait,” she protested and tried harder to get out of his grasp, though she knew if he wanted to hold her she could never escape.

Morrow stopped and grudgingly released her arm. But he stayed close. And his blue eyes never stopped scanning the area around them. “I can’t answer all of your questions here. We need to get farther away.”

“I need to get back.” They were only a block away from the hospital and she could see the hole in the wall leading into the ER. “That’s where I belong.”

“Not anymore.” There was a shade of sadness in his voice.

“People may be hurt in the ER. They need me there.”

“There are others to help them.”

“I need to go back.” More than merely returning to the ER, Korina really wanted to return to the normal world, the place that existed before Sergeant Morrow burst into her life.

Morrow shook his head. “You can’t return.” He reached for her arm, but she twisted away from his grip. His frustration grew. “After tonight, you’ve seen more than anyone else on this planet.”

His words hardly made sense. She was desperate to wake up from this nightmare she knew was somehow real. “Can’t I go back? I can forget.” Korina tried to convince Morrow and herself. “I’ll forget everything.”

“I’m sorry.” With his great care, Morrow placed his armored hand on the small of her back to steady her. “You’ll never forget.” The soldier’s touch felt almost intimate through the armor. This man from another world had taken Korina from everything she had ever known. She was lost, weightless and drifting through perilous space. Morrow’s blue eyes blazed in the night and Korina wondered if she could navigate to safety with those two luminous stars.

His face was grim, a statue of a veteran soldier. “Welcome to the Limit War.”

Daryk Rogue & Upcoming Guest Authors

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Newsflash! The second book in the Daryk World series will be released by Ellora’s Cave on December 22. I just heard about the release date, so it’s a bit of a rush to get the news out. But hey, we roll with the flow, yes? My newsletter is in production right now and won’t feature an excerpt of Daryk Rogue, but never fear. It has a great excerpt of Marshall’s Law, which is out in paperback at Samhain Publishing on December 7. I’ll post some teaser excerpts here on the blog of Daryk Rogue until my webmaster has the opportunity to make a book page on this website for Daryk Rogue. Thanks again to my awesome, hard working, understanding webmaster Stacy Chitwood!

Also, I have some guest authors this month. November 30 is Nico Rosso, December 1 is Nancy Henderson, and December 6 is Rhonda L. Print.

So stay tuned this week for some sneak peaks into Marshall’s Law and Daryk Rogue.

Winner of Thanksgiving Contest Is….

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The winner of the Thanksgiving contest is Jan. Jan, you know who you are. 🙂 Please email me at danovelist@cox.net to claim your prize. 🙂

News Flash: Bridge Through The Mist In Print

Friday, November 26th, 2010

News flash! I just learned that BRIDGE THROUGH THE MIST, one of my favorite books that I’ve written, is available at Ellora’s Cave www.jasminejade.com in print. Woot! Just in time for Christmas giving. The cover for the print book is altered a little…mostly the color. Below is a blurb and a very steamy excerpt. If you are easily startled by hot content, beware. This is an erotic romance.

**

When Alenna Carstairs is hurled through time into 1318, Scotland’s medieval world brings her face to face with hot, sexy Tynan of MacBrahin.  Infuriated with his barbaric manners, and yet sensing vulnerability within him, she vows to discover the heartbreak that has scarred his soul.

World-weary knight, Tynan of MacBrahin lost two loves to the brutality of other men. He can’t forgive himself for failing to protect the women who depended on him. When Alenna saves his life, her independent spirit stirs desires so strong within him he can’t resist her. A depraved baron soon wants Alenna for his own, and Tynan must find a way to conquer this powerful man to save her. Alenna struggles with soul-staggering desire for Tynan, but most of all, she must convince Tynan his love is not lethal, and she is the one who can bring shine to his armor again.

The door opened with a loud creak. She started, spilling ale down the front of her jacket. “Damn it.”

The door slammed shut. She opened her mouth to speak, but the sound strangled in her throat as she caught her first sight of the man standing inside the door.

“Aye, so I see ye are awake now,” he said, in the husky, deep voice that belonged to the man who had carried her.

Nothing, in her wildest, most fantastical dreams could have conjured a male like this man. Okay. Maybe in her most outrageous, sex-filled evenings with her vibrator. Still, she’d never encountered a man like this one in real life. With her dating and almost-married record, she didn’t think guys like this existed.

Most women would run in fear from him. A few inches over six feet, his sheer size swallowed the small room. Did a man this outrageously feral have a concept of tenderness? Of restraint? He looked ready to spring, to dominate. His brutishly handsome face arrested her. Time slowed, and all the fantasies she’d harbored about gorgeous men over the years dissolved, overwhelmed by the sheer male animal presence in front of her.

Unfastening the broach at his shoulder, he allowed his heavy brown cloak to fall open. Under the cloak, he wore a dark shirt of rough material open at the throat. The gap revealed a bit of muscled chest sprinkled with dark hair. Broad of shoulder, his powerful frame demanded attention. His black trousers revealed just enough with their cut to suggest strong thighs and calves. She licked her lips involuntarily. His gaze landed on her mouth and stayed for one stomach-dropping second, then glided over her body with a mix between curiosity and pure male appreciation. His hungry appraisal sent a coil of heat deep into her loins and a blush to her cheeks. She couldn’t speak and she almost couldn’t breathe.

Taking off the cloak, he settled it over a chair. Crossing the room, he stood next to her makeshift pallet. “Are ye deaf, then, lass? Or mayhap a mute?”

“No,” she said softly, her throat feeling as parched as if she’d crossed the Sahara. His strange questions threw her, and she couldn’t think of a retort.

His brow crinkled and she noted a deep scar ran down the right side of his forehead, as if he’d suffered a severe blow at one time and never had it stitched properly. He shoved a hand through his inky black hair and it fell about the top of his shoulders in thick waves.

Turning to the skinny boy, he said, “Clandon, ye had best get back to yer duties. And visit yer sister at the donjon to see how she fares.”

Continuing to look at her as if she might decide to bite him, the boy nodded. He scrambled up from his chair and started for the door.

“She must be a witch, sir,” the boy said, his voice squeaking in his excitement.

The man smiled slightly, a twinkle leaping into his eyes. Before the boy could open the door, the man clasped his arm. “Tell not a soul about the woman.”

Tell not a soul about the woman.

A curl of apprehension wandered along her body.

“Aye, sir,” the boy said in a whisper, and rushed out the door as if the devil were on his heels and fast closing.

Maybe the boy knew something she didn’t. She looked at the door with longing. It really wasn’t far, and Alenna wasn’t that ill. She could dash by this big man and make a run for it.

No. The man had planted his solid bulk in her way. If he caught her, she knew she wouldn’t be a match for him. He possessed a sheer, brutal power she felt could overpower if provoked.

“Why did you send him away?” she asked.

The man turned back to her. “His sister worries about him.”

As he stared at her, Alenna shivered and realized that although her stomach no longer lurched like a drunken sailor, a heat wave invaded her. She pushed the pungent fur off her shoulders. Again his eyes traced over her, penetrating and searching. He didn’t guard his emotions well, she realized. She saw unadulterated sexual interest overlaid by curiosity.

Sexual interest? Another warm wave settled over her and then she shivered. God, since when did extraordinary men like this enter her life?

Never.

“I wouldnae try to stand,” he said, pinning her with a hard look. “Yer no well enough.”

“I’m fine,” she said, aware her statement sounded lame.

“Fine?” he asked, looking confused by her choice of words. “Ye no sound Scottish or English.”

Hadn’t the man spoken with an American before?

“I’m American.”

“American?”

She sighed. “Look, I don’t know what game you’re playing here, but I’d really—”

“I dinnae play with ye,” he said softly, with a hint of menace lacing every word.

“Then will you please tell me if you have a nurse or doctor here at the castle? Or maybe a first aid station?”

“Nurse? Ye have a child that needs a wet nurse?” he asked.

“No, no. I mean someone who helps the ill.”

“Father MacDougald helps those that are poorly. And Elizabet helps those she can.”

He squatted beside the pallet and stared at her as if she’d sprung from the floor like a demon from hell and he was a scientist sent to explore the oddity. Confusion lent sharpness to her feelings, and she was in no mood to play whatever game this man had in mind.

“Thanks for your help, but I think I’d better go,” she said.

She shifted on the pallet and he reached out for her, his grip on her forearm tight enough to restrain but not enough to injure. She looked down at the multitude of white, thin scars crossing the back of his broad hand.

“Stay,” he said.

“Let me go.”

He removed his hand, but he didn’t back away.

Despite her wariness at his close proximity, she had an unhindered view of how kind nature had been to him. Sculpted with an artist’s hand, his nose was strong but not overly large. The cut of his mouth looked designed for kissing—not too full…not too thin. More disquieting than the unabashed way he stared at her was the smoldering, dark-as-night quality of his eyes. Framed by thick, black lashes, his gaze penetrated with an intensity that unnerved her down to the bones and made her feel as if he could read her every thought. Despite her desperation, a warm well of arousal stirred in her lower belly. Her vaginal muscles contracted and a tight, sweet longing pulsed inside her.

Oh, God. I really have gone nuts.

“What is this aid station?” he asked, once again bending the words awkwardly.

“You know. First aid.” When he continued to stare at Alenna as if she’d lost her mind, irritation bolted through her in an impatient wave. She twisted at the waist so she could prop herself against the wall. “If you’re worried I’ll tell someone that your horse hit me—”

“Dragon dinnae hit ye.” His tone came out certain, clipped and brooked no argument. “Ye fell in the path of my war horse.”

War horse. This man played his part a little too close to that delicious, broad, muscled chest. “Look, I’m not out to sue anyone.”

The man sighed. “Eh? What’s this sue? His lordship willnae listen to anything against me, lass. He trusts my word above all else.”

Who was this lordship? She recalled the guidebook said the castle belonged to the National Trust. For over twenty years, no lordship had been in residence.

Every second that passed cemented her belief that this guy might be a few bricks short of a load.

Too bad. A man this hunky and he was loony as hell.

A ripple of caution twisted in Alenna’s gut. If she escaped in one piece, she’d contact security and let them know one of the reenactment people had gone south on them. But obviously this man was in no mood for her to pop up, say “ta ta” and hightail it out the door. She’d have to make a run for it.

“Why didn’t you want the boy to tell anyone about me?” she asked.

One corner of his mouth tilted in a smile far from amused. He shook his head. “Word of a strange young woman within the castle walls would spread fast.”

“What? Why surely, with all the other tourists—”

“I dinnae ken what you mean by tour…tourists.” He reached out slowly and touched the metal tab of the zipper on her jacket. “’Tis a strange thing, this cloak. And ye are wearin’ a man’s trews.”

Alenna shifted away from him and swung her feet off the pallet. “I’d like to stand, please.”

He twitched an eyebrow and nodded. “Risk it if ye will.”

She stood slowly, gratified when everything stayed exactly as it should. “I think I’m fine now.”

Time, as the cliché said, to get the hell out of Dodge.

Taking a chance, she headed for the door, her feet sprouting wings. She hit the door at the same time she heard him spit something that sounded like a curse.

Before she could fling the door open, the man’s hands slammed down on either side of her head, bracketing her in and pinning her entire body from chest to toes to the door. Every tight, hard muscle of his body pressed against her. A lightning bolt of fear paralyzed her only for a moment. Then her body betrayed her. He smelled musky, like subtle man sweat. But it wasn’t unpleasant and her heartbeat skittered in her chest. His chest braced against her, and under those trews his cock pressed aggressively into her mid-back. She shivered in pure sexual awareness. Her nipples tightened into points. Total, utter surprise and shame gathered inside her.

How in the hell can I feel like this? Horny and scared all at one time?

“What do ye think ye are doin’?” Deep with indignation, his voice whispered low in her ear, his warm breath tickling the back of her neck and her cheek. “Ye no can go out there.”

She quivered once, his harshness and the wild feelings careening through her adding to her panic.

“Let me go!” She twisted toward him, trying to recall her self-defense training. She stomped on his foot.

He let out a bellow and another curse but he barely budged. Adrenaline pounded through her system and she aimed up with her knee. He was too fast. Blocking her aim at his groin, he leaned against her so her palms plastered against his broad chest. She sucked in a breath as his hips jammed against her and pinned her legs against the door.

This time his cock felt bigger. Bulging against his trews and pressing into her stomach in a way that screamed one thing.

Feral, unadulterated, pulse-pounding sex.

Fear slammed through Alenna. The heavy pressure of him against her forced the air out of her lungs. She looked up and realized the top of her head just peaked over his shoulder. Enveloped by his strength, she forced herself to relax, trying to give him the illusion she’d surrendered.

His dark gaze blazed with angry fire, his arms caging her to the door with a strength she’d never experienced. More fear poured through her system. Oh, God. What the hell did he have in mind? Maybe if she tried to reason with him, he’d release her. If he thought he could rape her, the bastard had a fight on his hands he wouldn’t forget.

“Let me go and I won’t scream,” she said, attempting to lace her words with steel.

“Do ye really think anyone will come to yer aid if ye scream?”

“Of course.”

“No one,” he said quietly. “But ye dinnae need to fear me. I willnae force myself on ye.”

“What do you call this?” she asked, wiggling against him.

She sucked in a strangled breath as he pressed his hips closer. His dark eyes perused her face with undeniable interest, his chest rising and falling, his lips parting. “I cannae help my cock responding to such a fiery woman. Make no mistake, my body wants ye. But I would never hurt a woman.”

Thanksgiving: What I’m Thankful For & Contest

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Wow, I am one busy lady. But you know what, I can’t complain one bit. As I said on Twitter yesterday, I want for nothing. I qualified that by saying that there was an exception. I wanted another slice of apple pie. (We had apple pie Sunday night.)

What’s new? A heck of a lot.

MARSHALL’S LAW

Print edition available December 7, 2010

Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com

You can also preorder at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m looking forward to bringing you many new stories in 2011. Here’s a rundown of the novels and novellas I know will be out in 2011 fur sure:

FOR A ROMAN’S HEART

Historical Romance/Paranormal/Suspense

January 4, 2011

Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com

BEFORE THE DAWN

Historical Romance/Suspense

June 2011

Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com

A list of stories I’m pretty sure will be out in 2011 but I don’t have publication dates yet:

HOT PURSUIT

(Hot Zone Series)

Contemporary Military Romance

Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com

DARYK ROGUE

(Book 2 of the Daryk World Series)

Ellora’s Cave www.jasminejade.com

DARYK CRAVING

(Novella, Daryk World Series)

Ellora’s Cave www.jasminejade.com

Possible books coming out next year include three novellas featuring military men, but I don’t know if these will make it out in 2011 or will end up being 2012 books. There’s also my Secret Society series that hasn’t been completed yet, and there’s the Asylum series I’m creating. Whew! So you can see, I have a ton of work ahead of me, but it’s the greatest job in the world for me.

How about you? What are you grateful for? Tell me and you might win a print copy of Marshall’s Law.

Tina Gerow & Writing Updates

Friday, November 19th, 2010

First, I wanted to send out good thoughts and positive energy for fellow author Tina Gerow. Tina and I have talked off and on over the years, and she came down to my neck of the woods and was a speaker for our now defunct Sisters In Crime group. Tina had brain surgery this week and is expected to have more surgery next week. Sending all the hugs and love to her and her family for her quick recovery!

Second, you’re probably wondering why I have the cover for my SIA novella OVER THE LINE up on the blog. Well, impulse actually. I really, really like this story, and I bring it out occasionally to remind people it’s there. It has a Scottish hero I love. If you like Scottish heroes, check out the book page for OVER THE LINE and read the excerpt.

Third, some publishing updates. I received the very hot cover for DARYK ROGUE this week. I think the artist did a great job of showing the essence of the hero. As soon as I have a book page and release date, I’ll announce it here and will have a book page up for DARYK ROGUE.  As for works-in-progress, I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to have too many books going at one time. While I’m writing the first book in a new trilogy, I’m also researching the heck out of the second book. It just won’t shut up. But that’s okay, I’m happy to research and get tidbits for all three books. More than happy to do so. I’m one of those writers that if I don’t get that spark of inspiration written down, it’ll disappear. I don’t know if that’s “mental pause” or the normal state of the mind. Anyhow, this trilogy has got me so excited that it’s hard for me when I can’t get to the writing as quickly as I want. My muse is demanding I write this NOW. “Write me,” the second book says with a scream, but I can’t do that without writing the first book.

As for my video blog, I haven’t tried to fix the problem again this week. Too much going on. I decided instead of making myself crazy I would just worry about it later or maybe spend more time this weekend tinkering with it. Eventually I’ll fix it.

Okay, enough for now. Everyone have a wonderful weekend. I may have a quick contest on the blog this next week for Thanksgiving, so keep checking back!

Zoe Archer Blog Winner

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Okay, quick flyby! Congratulations to Sheree T for winning Zoe Archer’s Rebel! Please email me at danovelist@cox.net and we’ll get your prize to you. 🙂

Second, I’ll stop by within the next day or so to update everyone.

Day In The Life: Hitting The Reboot

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Hey there. You were getting a video blog today but technical things are just not working for me today. Or the last few days for that matter. I think it started last Friday night when I got lost for fifteen minutes trying to find the site our paranormal investigation group was investigating. Our batteries kept draining on the equipment we were using during the investigation, too. At Saturday’s investigation I forgot to insert the charged battery in my camera and left the battery at home.

Yesterday I noticed one of the tires on my car had a slow leak. Had to get that fixed. This morning I knocked over a cup of water and cursed a blue streak. Also this morning my dog’s allergies got worse, so I sat for forty-five minutes in the vet’s office with him before the doctor could see him. He’s fine, but he’s getting antibiotics just in case.  Today I recorded the video blog and I can’t get it to share with You Tube right now. So all the great and wonderful things I planned to tell you aren’t getting told because I’m too lazy to write them out. WINK. But never fear, I will get it figured out. Then I knocked over a Pepsi One onto my keyboard and mouse. Much screaming and cursing. Thank goodness the keyboard and mouse seem to be working just fine. Knock on wood.

Now, to try and get some writing done please! Everyone have a great day.

Excerpt: For A Roman’s Heart

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Good day everyone. I’m doing a fly by today. Sort of busy from now through Sunday. 🙂 Story editing, story writing, and two paranormal investigations. Whew! I wanted to get this clip from For The Roman’s Heart (January 4, 2011 Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com) to you as promised.

Warning, this excerpt has some salty language and references. In this scene the heroine Adrenia is confronted by a woman who is plotting to have the hero for her own.

***

The shrine to Coventina stood away from the main villa building by fifty yards. Adrenia often wondered why Decimus Caelius Cordus had chosen this spot. She knew she might encounter others worshipping there at any time of day. As luck would have it, no one stood there making offerings. She arrived at the marble pedestal carved with an image of the goddess as a nubile woman, both aristocratic and beautiful. Adrenia looked around. Two slaves worked in the fields beyond with oxen and plow.

Seconds later, Adrenia knelt in the patch of cut grass and drew a simple white bead from a pocket in her tunica. She placed the bead next to several other items already left in offering to the goddess. She closed her eyes, drew in a substantial breath, and started her silent prayers.

Coventina, by all that is holy and wise, by all that is sacred and clean, please heal Pella completely and keep her and Pontius safe.

She sank into a quiet, contemplative place where wind, birdsong and other noises faded to a distant background. This time the words came out loud. “Coventina, please keep Terentius Marius Atellus safe and assist him in finding Publius Sergius Sulla.”

A twig snapped. She swung around. The villa owner’s daughter, Decima Prima Cordia, stood less than ten yards away in all her aristocratic glory. The sun sent streaks of light over her braided hair, as if the heavens weaved gold within and without the strands. The hard expression in Cordia’s eyes belied the fact that she was only a tender sixteen. Then again, the tenderness had left her many years ago, if she ever owned any.

Cordia lifted her nose and walked toward Adrenia with a sly twist to her lips. Adrenia stood so she wouldn’t be kneeling when the younger girl reached her.

“You know the centurion Terentius Marius Atellus?” Cordia’s voice held genuine scorn, as it always did in any conversation with Adrenia.

“I do.” Adrenia stiffened, ready for inevitable verbal battle.

Cordia’s eyes flashed with annoyance. “You know him well enough to pray for him?”

“In my estimation.”

Cordia crossed her arms. “I prayed here this morning for Terentius to visit us at the villa. He is a very powerful and handsome man.” Her grin turned smug. “This proves Coventina is with me and approves of an alliance with him.”

Alliance? Adrenia’s heart sank like a stone in a pond. She shouldn’t feel this hurt when she’d only known him a short time. But she did.

The next words out of Adrenia’s mouth were the hardest she’d ever spoken. “Then let me be the first to wish you joy.”

Cordia walked around her and the altar, her steps light, her slim frame and stature still taller than Adrenia. Everyone seemed to be larger than Adrenia, and right now she felt her lack of height more than she had in a long time. “My mother is determined I will marry him if he is good husband material. Would that worry you?”

Adrenia frowned. “Why would I care who the centurion marries?”

“Because a friend told me she saw you in Terentius’s company at the fortress.” Cordia sighed. “I don’t suppose it is wise to tell you. Then again, I am always honest.”

Adrenia had experienced enough of younger women lording it over her today. “You are always honest, or you speak of your opinion as if it is fact?”

Cordia’s face reddened, her gaze turning from self-satisfied to scathing. “You are an uncouth peasant. If my father hadn’t freed your father you’d be a slave right now, wouldn’t you? You are dreadful. You do not seriously think Terentius is interested in you?”

“Did I say he was?”

“My friend said you looked quite cozy with the centurion. Of course, if he had sex with you I understand. After all, a man must have release. I wouldn’t expect him to be choosy about a whore.”

Adrenia drew upon her reserves of control when she wanted to slap Cordia.

The younger girl’s full lips pursed for a moment. “You shouldn’t think you can influence him in your favor. He is a higher station in life than you.” Cordia laughed, the sound brittle and harsh. “But then, everyone is of a higher rank than your family.”

Despite being used to verbal degradation, the words stung Adrenia. She dusted her hands off on her tunica and didn’t speak.

Cordia’s smile came thick with secret insinuation. “My father sent an invitation to Terentius, but the centurion’s duties keep him away for present. But I’m not worried. Once he sees me again, I think he will succumb to an alliance. He’s so masculine I imagine he’s hung like a horse. Tell me, Adrenia, is he big?”

While Cordia always had an uninhibited attitude, Adrenia hadn’t heard this much tripe issuing from the girl’s mouth before. She didn’t know whether Cordia had experienced a lover’s touch before, but it wasn’t impossible. Hanging on to her temper by thread, Adrenia stared the woman straight in the eye. “Actually, no. I think you’ll be disappointed in the marriage bed because he’s pitifully small. But I think with your dry cunny you probably wouldn’t notice.”

“You bitch,” Cordia whispered the words like a hiss. “You plan to put a spell on our marriage, don’t you?”

“I don’t know any spells, Cordia. You can have Terentius and good riddance.”

Cordia’s hand flashed out and the impact against Adrenia’s cheek sent her staggering.

For A Roman’s Heart: Official Cover!!

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

WOOOTTTT! I’ll admit it, the cover above is REALLY BIG. But you know what? Not only am I tremendously excited about this cover, which I think is one of the best I’ve ever had hands down, the knowledge that this story will soon be out thrills me. I’ve written a ton of books, but FOR A ROMAN’S HEART is like DARK, DEADLY LOVE and LOVE FROM THE ASHES and the upcoming BEFORE THE DAWN. They are historical novels that took sweat and research and  I loved creating them. Stay tuned next week, when I will post an excerpt from FOR A ROMAN’S HEART which comes out January 4, 2011 at Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com

The page page isn’t up on this website yet, but it will be soon.

Until my next post, have a fantastic weekend.