Please welcome today’s guest author Melissa Bourbon Ramirez to the blog. She’s here today sharing Her latest novel CURSE OF PASSION which weaves a rich tapestry of suspense and danger with ghosts, hauntings, and a serial killer. Not only that, but Melissa has a great giveaway. Read her blog post to find out what she’s giving away and how you can enter to win.
Cover Blurb For Curse of Passion
The ghost of la Llorona is said to haunt the riverbanks, always searching for her drowned child. She also haunts high school teacher Johanna Rios, whose own mother believed so deeply in the legend she tried to drown her daughters. And now the ghost has become real, a young woman murdered, and the safe world Jo created is falling apart.
Since returning home from his last tour of duty to become a school principal, Ray Vargas has fought his attraction for his employee, the sensual woman who’d once been the girl next door. But the Llorona Killer will not stop until he claims his final victim—Johanna—and Ray will do anything to protect the woman he’s come to love.
With a serial killer out to prove the curse is real, will Ray and Johanna’s future be drowned in the ghostly waters of the past? Or will the power of their love give them the strength to stop a killer…and heal their wounded hearts.
An Excerpt From Curse Of Passion
Johanna paced and turned toward him, but still hadn’t noticed Ray in the doorway. He catalogued her features. She was thirty-two, with honey-colored skin, cheekbones that gave her an exotic look, long, dark hair…
As it often did, his gaze hitched at her full, red lips. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d kissed lips like that. Maybe never.
The sliver of skin showing between her sweater and her pants drew his eyes. She looked far hotter than any teacher had a right to—certainly hotter than any teacher he’d ever had. Thank God, or he’d never have graduated.
He felt his eyes pinch and blinked hard to break the drugged feeling that suddenly slid over him. He’d done his best to steer clear of her for years, and after this conversation, he’d go back to staying away.
“Who is this? What do you want?” Johanna’s voice held fear, tinged with anger.
That was not a tone Ray associated with Johanna. He froze in place. He’d been trained well by the Army. Freeze first. Assess. Decide. Then move.
She spoke again, her voice rising in pitch. “Would you just stop calling?” she demanded, her voice shaking.
Distressed. Johanna was distressed. Time to act. Ray moved then, coming into the classroom, bumping a desk as he came toward her, startling her.
She whipped around, gasping as she saw him. Her face paled, and a second later she dropped her cell phone on her desk. She speared her hand through her hair, her fingers bending until they looked like claws digging into her scalp.
His heart pumped hard. What the hell? “Johanna,” he said, aware his voice was gruffer than he’d intended. “What was that about?”
She stared at him, her eyes wide, like a damn deer caught in the headlights. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds.
“Prank caller,” she finally said, snapping out of her trance.
Ray ran the pads of his fingers over his goatee. Prank caller, my ass. She’d been engaged in that conversation, had been responding to the person on the other end of the line. But her eyes stayed wary and he decided to let it go. He was here for a purpose. Marianne’s murder needed his attention, and he wanted to know Johanna’s secret.
“Sorry for barging in,” he said, “but I’d like to continue the conversation we started back in my office.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “You mean about Marianne? Are the deputies coming back?”
He shook his head. “They’re gone.” She looked puzzled as he continued. “You brought up la Llorona.”
“Yes,” she said flatly.
Her voice had lost the shaky edge it had held a moment ago on the phone. Hell, now it almost sounded like it could freeze water. Her own form of self-preservation, he supposed. “You wrote your master’s thesis on her?”
Johanna slumped against her desk and ran one hand over her face, down her neck, let it settle on her chest. “Yes.”
She hesitated, and for a moment looked like she wasn’t going to respond. Then she spoke, her voice softer, more thoughtful. “My mother believed in her.”
“A legend based on a real woman who lived five hundred years ago.”
“It’s a kid’s story. Like the boogieman and the chupacabra.”
Johanna shook her head. “My mother believed la Llorona was real. Because of that, I’ve always been…curious…about the legend.”
She started when her cell phone rang. Her sudden jerk sent the tips of her fingers slipping under the vee of her sweater. His eyes followed the path as her hand settled on the swell of her breast. He swallowed, narrowing his eyes as he forced his gaze back to her face. Her phone, playing a traditional cumbia rather than a regular ring tone, continued for a full ten seconds while she stood frozen. She didn’t even look at where it sat on the desk.
He tried not to think about whatever might be going on in her personal life that warranted heated phone calls. A bad break-up, maybe? He hadn’t heard she was dating anyone, but she might be. Much as he hated to admit it to himself, he didn’t want her to have a personal life. It messed with his fantasy.
Enough. He had to get his head back in the game. Had to focus on why he was here —and that reason was not to stare at her breasts or get jealous over imaginary lovers or remind himself of the fantasies he’d had of her—fantasies featuring her naked. Her hot mouth on his. Her skin sliding sinuously under his.
About Melissa Bourbon Ramirez
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.
She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the founder of Books on the House, the co-founder of The Naked Hero, and is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has two romantic suspense novels, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, all to be released in 2012/2013.
Follow Melissa Bourbon RamirezMelissa
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Please welcome today’s guest author, Misty Dietz. She’s here today to answer all your questions about Come Hell or High Desire. She’s also sharing the top ten things readers would be surprised to know about her – and she’s asking you to share surprising things about yourself. She’s got some great goodies to give away too. Read on to learn about those.
About Come Hell or High Desire
Framed for a series of brutal murders, rebel-turned-CEO Zack Goldman must go to ground. When he discovers that sexy boutique owner Sloane Swift has a shocking gift—terrifying visions that connect her to his mentor’s missing daughter—he can’t believe her refusal to help him. Nor can he believe he’s actually falling for the frustrating woman.
Their chemistry will either find its perfect equation…
Helping an accused killer ranks low on Sloane’s to-do list, no matter how hot the attraction burns between them. But putting to rest her overwhelming guilt over the missing girl’s fate proves more difficult than she ever imagined…that is, until her heart and conscience begin to align.
…or detonate everything in its path.
As the real killer locks in on Sloane, Zack will stop at nothing to keep her safe. And as they earn each other’s trust—with danger in hot pursuit—they may just lose their hearts in the process…
Her fingernails suddenly raked at her skull. “Lord! I almost forgot. We have to go back to Ann’s. She has a diary!”
He swerved into an empty parking lot and swiveled to face her, blood pounding in his ears. “What are you talking about?”
“Ann keeps a diary. We have to find it.”
“You’re just telling me this now? You should have goddamn said something right away!”
“Don’t you dare curse at me like that, you seismic jackass!”
He had to get out. He flung the truck door open and strode onto the cracked asphalt. Her door slammed shut moments later, and within seconds she was wagging a finger in his face. “And don’t you walk away from me, either!”
“Then don’t be such a damn shrew.”
Color flooded over her cheekbones seconds before she punched him in the gut. Hard. An ancient fire lit up his nerve circuits and adrenaline had him widening his stance. His heart gunned.
His groin tightened.
And she was still shrill.
“I’m not a shrew! How am I supposed to act in a situation like this? You think I’m enjoying this? I hate it! But unfortunately I have a conscience which would haunt me for the rest of my life if I don’t follow this through until we have some answers. You came to me and wanted to rule out the church first. Then with everything that happened, I forgot about the diary until right now. That clear enough for you, you—”
Clear enough, honey.
He vised her head between his palms and kissed her. He hadn’t meant to, but the moment her mouth opened to his, he was lost. Not breaking contact with her mouth, he wrapped one arm around her, his hand splaying across her ass, locking her hips against him. Her hands were in his hair, her hips grinding, driving him crazy. They feasted on each other’s mouth, tongues dueling, daring, seeking. He felt her fingers between their bodies, slipping underneath the waistband of his jeans, pulling at the hem of his shirt. Her fingernail scraped his abs and he groaned. She leaned away from his mouth, her eyes dead sexy. Liquid brown. He was gonna—
A car horn blew, jerking him back to life. Back to the parking lot. He looked over to see a man in a black minivan at a stoplight giving them the thumbs up. He honked twice more, waved, and drove on.
Sloane burst into a fit of laughter that quickly dissolved into tears.
And that clinched it. He’d woken up this morning in some creepy-assed Twilight Zone.
Misty Dietz In Her Own Words…The Top 10 Things Readers Would Be Surprised To Learn About Her
I’m a Train Wreck
AKA: Top 10 Things Readers Would Be Surprised to Know About Me
by Misty Dietz
Hey, Black Velvet peeps, I’m so thrilled to be here today! When thinking about a blog topic for you guys, I asked myself, what exactly is seduction? Well, it’s the act of being enticed. So what might entice you savvy readers to spend a little time with me, a lowly debut author you don’t know from freakin’ Adam?
SECRETS, I tell you! MY TMI! Because what’s better than reading about someone else’s dysfunctional life so you can feel better about yourself, right?! I mean, come on, why else has reality TV become a staple in our lives?
Okay, before I chicken out, let’s roll:
- Before I write a sex scene, I crank up the music and dance for a while. Yes. By myself. It gets my blood flowing (snicker!) and that puts me in the purrrr-fect state of mind.
- I cry easily. I laugh even easier. I pretty much wear my emotions on my sleeve. My kids sometimes hate me for this.
- I am self-conscious about my smile. I trace it back to the 3rd grade when the class bully threw a grasshopper at me at the city pool and I slipped and cracked my front tooth. You people have no idea all the shit that’s been done to my poor mouth. (sorry if that’s TMI!)
- I agonize over character names. In COME HELL OR HIGH DESIRE, one of my characters shared a name with someone in my family. When she started going through a rough time, I changed my character’s name in the eleventh hour because I killed that character off. I didn’t want that to symbolize anything bad for my relative.
- I’ve been boy crazy since First Grade. I remember every single boy I’ve ever crushed on or dated, but I couldn’t be more happily married. I kissed a few frogs to find him. He was totally worth it!
- I don’t drink coffee. Not ever. Not even the frou-frou shit at the expensive shops. Just the smell grosses me out.
- I can read a map like a boss. And I like to drive. I usually don’t do them simultaneously. Luckily now I don’t need to. Yo, what did we do before our smart phones?
- I love—absolutely LOVE—jumping on our trampoline with my kids. But I’ve learned (the hard way) that I need to try to pee before I even clamber up there. If you’ve had a vaginal birth (or 2 or 6), you know what the hell I’m talking about. (Dude, where are my Ben Wa balls?!)
- My husband is not embarrassed that his wife writes “smut.” He willingly tells people he’s my “research assistant.” LOL
- I’m afraid of heights. I let my kids talk me into riding a Ferris wheel—a goddang FERRIS WHEEL, for cripes sake—and I was a hot mess. I white knuckled the bar over my lap, and when my kids would lean down to look below us I swear my stomach dropped to my toes and then flew back up into my throat. “Don’t. Freakin’. MOVE!”
Now it’s your turn: What is something other people are always surprised to find out about you? There is no such thing as TMI with me, so do share, guys!!
At the end of my blog tour we’ll be drawing the name of two commenters from all of the blogs to gift not one, but two fantastic prize winners. See below for details, and thanks for being here! xo, misty
More About Misty Dietz
Misty’s love affair with words started in middle school when she penned dark stories set in exotic locales she knew nothing about. In college, her boy-angst spilled over into disturbing reams of poetry. After grad school, real life hit, and the writing went into hibernation until she found her own happily-ever-after with an ultra linear man who is the long-suffering counter-balance to her zig-zagging tendencies. Now, she spends her days writing emotionally complex, adrenaline-fueled stories, teaching Zumba, and praying her children don’t come home with math homework.
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Starla decided to pick two winners rather than the one she promised when she visited us on July 23. The names of the winners are in.
The lucky winners are:
Wilma and Eva, I just emailed Starla your email addresses. She will be in touch with you both to arrange delivery of your free ebook. Watch your inbox…good things are about to arrive!
Please welcome today’s guest, Karen Stivali. Karen is here to share a bit about her recent release DECADENCE. You’ll want to scroll down and read the excerpt as it is…well…pretty decadent. Be sure to leave a question or comment for Karen as some lucky person who leaves a comment at one of her stops will win a digital copy of his or her choice from Karen’s backlist. Check out her other tour stops and leave your questions and comments there to increase your chances of winning even more.
By Karen Stivali
A book in the Spice Rack series.
In eight years of marriage, Eric Carlson has never forgotten to kiss his wife Jessica goodbye—until this morning. As Jessica runs her errands, all she can think about is the missing kiss. When Eric calls to tell her he thinks he left the toaster oven on, she rushes home, annoyed and afraid her house may be burning down. Instead of smoke and flames she finds Eric, looking hot and sexy as hell as he prepares fresh waffles.
Eric knows he and Jessica have been drifting apart. He’s bought the hot new product everyone’s talking about—the Spice Rack, guaranteed to spice up your love life. The jar he opens advises them to “Spend a decadent day indulging all your senses.” With the whole day ahead of them, a fridge full of tempting treats and the house to themselves for a change, that’s exactly what Eric intends to do—in the kitchen, on the washing machine, wherever the mood strikes. And Jessica’s got a super-steamy surprise for him too.
A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Excerpt from DECADENCE
He didn’t even kiss me goodbye. Jessica knew it was silly to get upset over something so minor, but she couldn’t help it. In the eight years they’d been married, she couldn’t remember another morning when Eric had forgone the farewell kiss. Sure, the kids were running amok, a sea of backpacks and lunchboxes, but that was normal. Eric saying goodbye with a wave was not.
“See you later.” He’d thrown her his trademark sexy grin. She’d stood still for a few seconds, holding the door open as the kids piled out of the house, waiting. And…nothing.
While queued in the drop-off line at the elementary school, she flipped open the vanity mirror. She didn’t look like a beauty queen but at least she’d showered. Her skin was clear, her cheeks even a bit rosy from gardening the day before. She grimaced. I should have brushed my hair. Dark hair, wavy and out of control, pulled into a loose ponytail paired with t-shirt and yoga pants. I look like a teenager. Not exactly sexy. Frowning at her reflection, she heard the car behind her honk.
“Mom, pull up, it’s our turn.” Timmy, though only seven, had been a backseat driver for nearly five years.
“Sorry.” She inched the car toward the orange drop-off cone and stopped. “Have a good day, guys. I love you.”
“Love you too, mom,” the chorus of three came from the backseat as they scrambled out the door.
Taking a last quick glance in the mirror, she snapped it shut and eased back into the parking lot. As she was about to turn onto the main road, her cell rang. XXXXX, Eric’s ringtone. She fumbled in her purse and slid the purple case open. Holding the phone to her ear with her shoulder, she pulled onto the street, not wanting to get beeped at a second time this morning.
“Hey, sweetie,” Eric said. “Can you do me a favor?”
Sighing, Jessica shifted to keep the phone in place as she changed lanes. “What’s up?”
“I know you said you were going to the grocery store, but I need you to stop home first. I think I may have left the toaster oven on.”
“Can’t you go check?”
“I’ve got a really important meeting this morning. I need you to do it. Please?” She could hear the smile in his voice. The charming, irresistible smile to which she’d never been able to say no.
“Fine.” Even if you didn’t bother to kiss me this morning.
Did he just chuckle?
She hung up and tossed the phone back into her purse. Great. Now I have to go all the way home, which means I won’t get to the store for another hour. Not that it was a huge deal. With all three boys in school this year she had her days to herself. She’d been looking forward to that for years, but it wasn’t as fun and freeing as she’d expected. All the same responsibilities were there. The house still needed to be cleaned, dinner still needed to be made, laundry was always piling up. And she always had a stack of work on her desk. Freelance graphic design was the perfect work-from-home job and she could do it any time of day or night, but lately she felt as though everything was getting away from her. Somehow she’d had more structure to her days when the kids were home than she managed to have with them in school all day.
As she turned onto her block she couldn’t help but look for signs of smoke pouring from her windows. God, I hope he didn’t really leave the toaster oven on. What the hell was he even using the toaster oven for? Eric ate cereal for breakfast, though now that she thought about it she hadn’t seen him pour himself a bowl this morning. She’d been too distracted by the fact that he was wearing only pajama pants as he plodded around the kitchen. She’d been so busy the past few weeks with back-to-school shopping and beginning-of-term projects they’d barely spent any time together. Seeing him bare chested, hair tousled from bed, reminded her that it had been a while. Too long. Her stomach fluttered from a combination of longing for Eric and fear that her house might be burning.
Jessica slammed the door of the minivan shut, breathing in deeply to see if she could catch any hint of smoke in the air. Nothing. As she opened the front door, another scent greeted her instead. The incredibly delightful aroma of…waffles. Why does the house smell like waffles? She rounded the corner into the kitchen and saw the waffle maker on the counter with Eric poised before it, faded jeans slung low on his narrow hips, a t-shirt clinging to his muscular back, dark hair still damp from a shower hanging loosely into his eyes. A wave of heat washed over her, settling between her legs. Her mouth watered from thoughts of more than just a bite of the waffle Eric was lifting out of the grates.
“Perfect timing,” he said, grinning so wide the dimples on his cheeks were positively cavernous. Blue eyes twinkled at her, full of mischief.
“What are you doing?” She tossed her purse onto the counter, mystified.
“Celebrating Mother’s Day.” He plucked a strawberry out of the colander in the sink, swirled it in a bowl of what appeared to be freshly whipped cream, and approached.
“Mother’s Day is in May. It’s October fifteenth.”
“I know.” He held the plump red berry close enough that she felt the gentle brush of cream melting against her lips. “I was thinking it was something we should celebrate more than once a year.”
She curled her tongue around the cream-covered berry and gave a quick suck before biting off a piece.
The moan Eric emitted sent a tremor rolling down her body, making her knees weak. His lips were on hers before she finished chewing. The sweetness of his velvety tongue blended perfectly with the fruit and cream. This was already better than any Mother’s Day she could recall.
About Karen Stivali
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends, who never seem to mind the excessive quantities she tends to prepare. She attributes her ability to multitask to the fact that she rarely sleeps, which gives her more hours every day. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.
Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic tales filled with sarcasm and sexy details. Although she writes in three genres (erotic romance, contemporary romance and women’s fiction) all of her stories are love stories with happily ever after endings.
Karen has published several erotic romance novels with Ellora’s Cave including two award winning stories: Always You (published September 2011, First Place Winner of the RWA Passionate Plume Award – 2012)Marry Me (published June 2012, First Place Winner in the NEC-RWA Bean Pot Reader’s Choice Award – 2013) and Decadence (July 2013).
Her works of women’s fiction, Meant To Be, and its sequel, Holding On, (published by Turquoise Morning Press in August and November 2012, respectively) both made the Best of 2012 list at Literati Literature Lovers.
Karen’s contemporary romances Then, Again (May 2013) and Leave the Lights On (coming November 2013) are published with Samhain publishing.
To learn more about Karen you can visit her website karenstivali.com where she blogs original recipes, sassy commentary on The Bachelor, and tidbits about her journey in the writing world. Karen can also be found attempting witty banter on Twitter
Please welcome Starla Kaye. Today she’s talking about writing books in a series. Starla is one of the most prolific authors I know. She has several current series underway with three different publishers. Be sure to leave a question or offer a comment for Starla. She’s got a sweet giveaway, but you have to enter to win. Entering is easy…leave a question or a comment for Starla and be entered to win a free book of your choice. I know I personally would have a hard time choosing. I’ve had my eye on The Braddock Brothers Series for a while (I like western historicals a lot!) but His Lady Ashlynn intrigued me with the blurb when Starla first unveiled it here on the blog a couple of months ago. Besides those, there are a bunch of others that are not part of a series that I’d love to read too. Long story short, there’s something in Starla’s backlist for about every reader. Leave your comment. Enter the contest!
Starla Kaye On Writing Books In A Series
I write a lot of stand-alone books, but I also write a number of books in a series. I am slowly writing the Devils in Denim Series, which will have seven stories, for Black Velvet Seductions. The Cowboy’s Bride was the first story published and Rose’s Cowboys was the second one. Loving Her Cowboy will be the next book in the series.
For Blushing Books, I am writing the Braddock Brothers Series, which will have five stories. Daniel was the first story published and Adam was the second one. Caleb will be the next in the series.
Also for Blushing Books, I am writing a five book Regency series about the Duke of Claymore’s children. His Lady Ashlynn was the first book in the series. I am currently writing the second book, Abigail’s Earl, as a serialized chapter-by-chapter story, which will eventually published as a book.
I am also writing a mini two book series for Decadent Publishing, which is more of a story continuation. The CEO and the Cowboy was the first book. The heroes in that story return, along with a woman, in For Ruby’s Love.
When a writer creates a series a lot of thought goes into it, much more than for a normal stand-alone book. All of the basic details must be created: characters, plot, settings, conflicts, etc. But a more in-depth character background and plot line is necessary for a series because all of the stories need to be tied together with a basic common history. These overall backgrounds can get complicated.
In the Devils in Denim Series, my common thread revolves around Samuel Grayson. The older cowboy (now 75) inherited the Last Chance Ranch in Colorado that was won in a shady poker game in 1880. He never married but took in foster boys and girls over the years. The stories in this series involve some of the now grown up foster kids.
And the Duke of Claymore’s Children Series (I actually haven’t named the series yet) involves the five grown children of the powerful Duke of Claymore. The Duke had a complicated relationship history, having been widowed by two women he’d married for convenience and the love of his life, a mistress who refused to marry him. His mistress gave him three American-born children: twin daughters and a son. Now all five of his adult children live in England.
If you have read any of these series books, please let me know your favorite. And, since I am still writing each of the series of books, let me know what you would like to see in the sequel books. What character or background details need more explanation? What story elements would you like to see made a bit stronger? I am always open to suggestions.
CONTEST: One randomly chosen commenter who leaves a comment or offers a suggestion will receive an ebook copy of their choice of ANY of my books from My Complete Book List on my website.
Title: Rose’s Cowboys
Series: Devils in Denim
Genre: Contemporary romance, erotic, gay, ménage
Publisher: Black Velvet Seductions
Title: Adam, Braddocks Book 2
Series: Braddock Brothers
Genre: Historical Western romance, domestic discipline
Publisher: Blushing Books
Title: His Lady Ashlynn
Series: Duke of Claymore’s Children
Genre: Regency romance, erotic, domestic discipline
Publisher: Blushing Books
Title: The CEO and the Cowboy
Genre: Contemporary romance, gay, erotic
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
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