Mid Week Tease: Eloisia, Episode One: Stowaway

MWTease15Good morning. Welcome to another session of the Mid Week tease. As always, thanks go out to Sandra Bunino and all of the regular participants and readers who make this possible. You are my inspiration and my support.

Last week, I stepped out of my comfort zone and posted a sci-fi story I’d been working on. My hubby is a sci-fi aficionado, so I thought it might be nice to write something he’d like. I was so amazed by the response I got, that I’ve decided to finish it, or in this case begin it. Eloisia,a post-apocalyptic space opera as they’re called, will follow the exploits of Space Marine Colonel Jim Striker and the passengers and crew of the Intergalactic Peace Council Ship, Alpha Explorer. Lost in time and space, they travel through uncharted space looking for a suitable planet to call home. Inspired by all of the sci-fi series I have enjoyed over the years, I hope I can do justice to them.

Eloisia, will be written as a series of episodes similar to the way television series is made-recurring characters, long term goals, and regular crises to keep the viewer, or in my case, reader coming back. Each episode will be between 10 and 12,000 words long, and I intend to have at least the first one up for sale by the end of August.

Here’s the premise:

Earth is gone. In the year 3015, in an effort to save what little humanity they can, six ships carrying three thousand humans and animals, similar in some ways to Noah’s Ark, set out beyond the known galaxy, searching for a new home. Alpha Explorer, commanded by Colonel Jim Striker, is one of those ships, and the five hundred men and women aboard are his responsibility. In cryogenic stasis, the captain, his crew and his passengers are unaware that another faction believing in Doomsday and the end of time, has sabotaged the ships, determined that humanity cease to exist when its planet does. Now, it’s his job to save as many people as he can, find the traitors aboard his vessel, and finish the mission–a piece of cake for a dedicated space marine.

star for coverThis Week’s Teaser:

Opening his eyes, he gazed out at the ceiling that seemed farther away than he expected and wondered where the hell he was. It took him a few moments to identify the cryotube designed to keep him alive during the long space voyage. He and Vic shouldn’t have had that last drink before getting into their tubes. Judging from what he saw above him, he was in the wrong one. Oh, well. That didn’t seem to matter now. He smiled. They’d done it. They’d found a new home for humanity.

Taking a deep breath of surprisingly fresh air, he tried to flex his stiff muscles. His slight movement was all the tube’s computer needed to open the casing so he could sit up. The dizziness and nausea associated with space sickness swamped him. As a space marine, he’d logged thousands of hours aboard ship, but this was the first time he’s been in cryogenic stasis for more than a couple of years at a time. No doubt the queasiness he felt could be attributed to that as well.

Moving slowly, he raised himself up to a full sitting position and looked around. Beside him, the indicators on Vic Anders, his Science Officer and Second-in-Command’s tube, flashed as it went through the reanimation process.

“Alpha, this is Colonel Jim Striker, authorization code two seven six beta tau omega. I’m taking control of the ship. Acknowledge and respond.”

“Voice pattern recognition engaged. Authorization code two seven six beta tau omega recognized. Colonel James Striker of the United World Marine Service. Command restored to you as per protocols. Are you in distress?”

“I’m a little dizzy and nauseous, but otherwise, I’m fine. What’s the date?”

“Unknown.”

He frowned. “What the hell do you mean unknown?”

“The chronometers are not functioning.”

“Explain. Why are they not working?”

“Unknown.”

Striker cursed silently. This was why he hated computers, even super-duper, semi-humanoid ones. “I know you aren’t much of a conversationalist, Alpha, but you’ve got to give me more than that. Was that why you reanimated me? Has the ship been damaged?” A meteor storm or other space accident might account for a malfunction.

“Unknown. I did not activate your cryotube, Colonel Striker. It was preprogramed to open.”

“Have we reached our destination?” The cryotube was designed to open automatically when they entered the Eden galaxy, the place they hoped to find Eloisia, the new planet they’d call home. It also activated in an emergency, and he was afraid this might be the latter case.

“Unknown.”

Damn! Alpha Explorer, and her five sister ships, had been built secretly by the Intergalactic Peace Council, made up of humans and aliens who didn’t want to see the end of humanity. Controlled by one of the fastest, most complex android mind of its time, capable of thinking and reacting to any situation within nanoseconds, the fact she was currently unable to explain what the hell was happening didn’t bode well. Things were looking worse by the second.

Moving slowly but surely, Striker stood, noted he wasn’t wearing any clothes, reached for the thin metallic sheet that had covered him in the tube, and wrapped it around his waist. He wasn’t exactly sure what Alpha was, but he wasn’t in the mood to provide her with a peep show. Vic had shown him the robotic body she could enter when necessary, and machine or not, she’d been hot. Until he knew more about the way she functioned, he’d keep his private parts just that. Stepping away from the tube, his head pounded the way it had when he’d been on that four day drinking binge just after he’d been given command of the mission.

“Okay, what do you know?”

“Colonel, many of my systems appear to be offline,” Alpha said in the calm voice that belied the terror her words produced. “We are moving at ten sols, but there is no course programmed into my navigational controls.”

“How the hell did that happen?” He looked over at Vic’s unit and wished the lights would quit flashing so that the tube would open. Snafus like this were his expertise.

“Unknown.”

Damn! Didn’t that overblown, supposedly incredible, hunk of circuits have any other words in its vocabulary? Ten sols meant they were moving ten times faster than the speed of light, much faster than the ship should be travelling. What was going on here? None of this made any sense. Maybe his brain was still in low gear, but he distinctly remembered programing a destination into the navigational controls.

Along with the other ships crews, they’d boarded their vessel at the secret base on the far side of Mars, where they’d believed themselves safe from an attack by those religious nuts who expected humanity to roll over and play dead. Creator’s wishes, my ass. Obviously, they’d miscalculated, and there’d been a snake in their Eden.

After two weeks of working and planning, the ship’s passengers and crew had entered the cryogenic tubes for the deep sleep necessary to leave the galaxy. Six ships had set out on the mission with six different destinations. Three thousand humans hoping to save their species. In the event a ship found a suitable planet, they’d contact the others. One of them had to make it. Humanity had to survive.

The civilians aboard had been put to sleep first, then the science team, and finally the other eighteen members of his command crew, leaving him and Vic to batten the hatches for the long voyage.

Assuring themselves that everything was ready for the long trip beyond the Pandora cluster, he and Vic had entered the tubes, turned control of the ship over to Alpha, and activated the cryogenics. At that time, they’d had a destination. If they’d all been frozen, who’d programed the changes and why?

“Colonel, I am unable to download my consciousness to my android body.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“It is missing.”

“Vic must know where your body is. How long before he awakes?”

“Commander Anders should be awake now. I have provided the necessary energy and vitamin beverage to stabilize your anatomical functions. You must consume it all.”

“Yes, Mother. Will do as soon as I get Vic out of bed.”

“I am not your mother.”

“It’s a joke, Alpha. I thought they programed you with a sense of humor.”

“That subroutine is currently offline.”

Great. He shook his head. Just what they needed a super-serious malfunctioning computer. Walking over to the second tube, he pressed the open button. “Alright, you stupid son of a bitch, get out of my bed. Alpha says we’re lost, and she can’t find her body…”

The tube’s casing opened, cutting him off mid-word. Staring in horror at the shriveled, mummified remains of what had been his best friend, he vomited.

“What the hell happened to him?” he asked, his voice barely a whisper, his stomach still spasmming, the tang of vomit assaulting his nose adding to his discomfort.

“Analyzing.”

Panic filled him. What if he were the only one alive? Swallowing the bile threatening to choke him, he moved over to check the other tubes encasing the frozen bodies of his command crew. He checked the controls, reassured when he looked through the small glass plates on each one and saw his crew’s healthy faces.

“Colonel, I have finished my analysis. Cryotube 1 tube malfunctioned early in the journey, but I cannot currently explain why.”

At least she hadn’t said “unknown.” He pursed his lips and took several deep breaths hoping to calm himself. He was the one who should’ve been in that tube. “Are there any other tubes that malfunctioned?”

“Unknown.”

God, he could grow to hate that word.

“A number of my basic functions have been disabled. Please consume the energy drink I’ve provided. Your heart beat is accelerated and irregular.”

“Of course it is. For god’s sake, I just found my best friend dead, and all you can do is say unknown? How’s that going to help? And don’t you dare say ‘unknown’ again,” he shouted, swiping at the tears spilling down his cheeks. Vic had been like a brother to him.

The ammonia scent of the automatic deck cleaner assaulted his nose as the ship cleaned up his mess. No sense getting mad at Alpha. Whatever had happened to Vic wasn’t her fault. Stepping over to the replicator, he wished he had a gallon of water to drink to clean the taste of vomit from his mouth. No time for a pity party now. Stepping over to the replicator, he took out the glass filled with a pale, yellow, opaque liquid and downed it. It wasn’t as unpleasant as he thought it would be, and he did feel slightly better. “Can you bring life support up to normal parameters for the ship?”

“Affirmative. I began the process as soon as you activated me. Oxygen levels on the command deck and officer quarter levels are optimal. Replicators are online.”

“Activate cryotubes three to twenty. Contact me when the process is done. I’m going to my quarters to get dressed. Begin self-diagnostic. Report to me when you know what’s working and what’s not.”

“Yes, Colonel. Cryotubes activated. Beginning self-diagnostic. This may take some time. I appear to have a number of disabled systems.”

Sighing, hoping everyone else came through the reanimation sequence properly, he headed out of the command nursery as Vic had jokingly called the bay where their cryotubes were stored…

That’s it for today. I’d love to hear your comments.

Now, please take the time to visit the other Mid Week Teasers.

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Look Who Dropped By Today: L. Marie

ReclaimMyHart_MEDIt’s always a pleasure to welcome back an old friend. Today, my guest is SCP author, L. Marie, here to tell you about her newest release, Reclaim My Hart, Book Two of the Hart Brothers Series, a contemporary erotic short story.  

About the Book: 

Boyd Hart is content with his life. He’s a licensed contractor who has a way with wood. He and his brothers, are rehabbing an old farmhouse. Imagine his surprise when the first love of his life, Sunshine O’Hare, returns to Haydensburg and buys the house before it’s even finished. Old feelings are rekindled, and Boyd’s ready to burn.

Sunshine O’Hare is a woman on a mission. A mission to seduce the first person she’d ever loved. They had fallen in love as teenagers and she’s carried the torch into adulthood. She had to walk away from him fifteen years earlier and she wants back into his life. She can only hope he’s a willing participant in her grand scheme.

Desire comes quickly. Will they light a fire? Or had the flames fizzled out fifteen years ago?

Excerpt :

The hours ticked by, and he thought perhaps there had been a change of plans and Sunshine wouldn’t come around. The afternoon sun slanted through the windows. He glanced at his watch. Only three o’clock.

A stack of two-by-fours that he had marked earlier needed cut to length or ripped, so he started that task. The repetitive action of placing a board on his chop saw, cutting through it, and then tossing it aside became cathartic. His mind emptied of everything except his love of carpentry. The whine of the saw. The sawdust flying in every direction. It calmed him.

A hand landed on his shoulder, and he completed the cut he was doing. Then, he spun around, expecting to see one of his men.

Instead, his heart leapt into his throat.

Sunshine.

He needed a moment to gather himself so he turned off his saw and laid the most recent board on the pile. After taking a deep breath, he faced her. “Hi,” he began.

That was as far as he got.

Suddenly, Boyd found himself securely in a bear hug. Her ample breasts were crushed against his chest. At a loss, he awkwardly returned the embrace, lightly patting her back.

She released him. “Sorry. I just planned on saying hello and shaking your hand. But…” She toed the floor with the tip of her shoe. “I guess I became overwhelmed.”

He smiled. Sunshine had grown into the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen. She’d gained maybe only an inch or two height-wise, leaving her at roughly five-foot five-inches. But gone were the straight lines. A shapely, hourglass figure had replaced them. The billowing, multi-colored skirt she wore enhanced the curve of her hips, and the hot pink of her tank top did little to hide the lushness of her full breasts. Even the bright pink polish that adorned her toenails, left bare by the open toe of her sandals, turned him on.

Boyd was afraid all his blood would rush to a certain part of his anatomy. “You’ve changed,” he finally managed.

She glanced down at herself and chuckled. “Yeah, I guess I have. I’m not the stick figure I was when I left.”

“No. You definitely do not have a stick figure.”

She giggled again, and Boyd’s heart thudded hard in his chest. Just as it had the day she had told him she was leaving. When he’d realized she was much more than a friend.

And now, he wanted. Wanted to be with her on a level far beyond mere friendship. He locked gazes with hers, and soon, the pull of her turquoise-colored eyes began to drag him in.

He’d never been so drawn to a woman. Sure, he’d seen plenty of pretty ones, but the woman standing before him made the rest look homely and common. He didn’t understand how Sunshine could enrapture him by nothing more than being in close proximity, but the need to gather her to him again almost became more than he could take.

Instead, he’d admire her from afar.

However, she was a temptress, and he had a feeling he’d give in to temptation eventually.

But he was good with that.

Buy Links:

Amazon- http://amzn.to/1Ijurbw
Secret Cravings Publishing- http://bit.ly/1g6rC34
Barnes and Noble- http://bit.ly/1SCQWJQ
All Romance Ebooks- http://bit.ly/1KlASKJ
Bookstrand- http://bit.ly/1g6rZLc
Kobo- http://bit.ly/1JyZoFf

Author Bio:

I live in Pennsylvania just a hair shy of the Maryland border. I live with a family I adore which includes two furry feline children and a furry canine daughter.

In my spare time, I’m more than likely watching television. I watch Bones, Blue Bloods, NCIS:New Orleans, or some sort of car show like Wheeler Dealers.

I’m a huge sports fan, football in particular. During the fall/winter, I’m watching Notre Dame or Penn State on Saturdays and the Saints or Colts on Sunday.

I’ve been known to have my nose buried in a book. Nora Roberts/JD Robb and Clive Cussler are favorites of mine. I know, I know…Clive Cussler isn’t a romance author. The man can weave a tale of adventure like no other!

Find me at:

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Tuesday Tales: Hello Again: Bloom

Badge for TT - very small (1)Good morning. It’s great to be back in saddle so to speak. This week’s word, is bloom.

I’ve picked up Hello Again where I left off.  Here it is. Enjoy.

fhq_medium5-238x300Bill reluctantly turned off the cruiser’s AC as he pulled into a parking spot in front of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council offices. Stern-faced Emile Martin, Tribal Chairperson and Chief of the Carry the Kettle Nation, stood outside the council building next to the giant teepee out front, and from the scowl on his face and the stiff way he held himself, Bill knew the elderly man wasn’t a happy camper. Beside him, four other men wearing their formal eagle feather headdresses, smoked and chatted amongst themselves.

Break time. Great. He’d hoped the only one he’d have to deal with was Martin, but it looked as if the gang was all here.

There was Lavelle of the Little Black Bear, Crow from the Pasqua, Riel form the Standing Buffalo, and Sanschagrin from the Star Blanket. No doubt the other six had chosen to stay indoors out of the heat. Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota—east, central, and western nations originally all under the Sioux—were now so distinct and disparate that one nation couldn’t understand the language of the other. He chuckled—and how was that any different from Canadian English and British English or even the Australian or American versions? People drifted apart as necessity demanded and evolved accordingly.

The Nakota, or Stoney nation as some referred to them, had separated themselves from the Sioux hundreds of years ago, and moved from their ancestral lands in what was now Minnesota to take up residence in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Recently, they and their Assiniboine cousins in Montana and North Dakota were discussing the benefits of reclaiming their Sioux affiliation. In the original language, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota, meant friend or ally, but over the years, the various groups had become enemies competing for the same assets for survival.

It was nice to think they’d reunite again. Bill was all for family harmony and peace, probably because that was the one thing lacking in his own life. A half-breed, as he’d been called in his early years in foster care, he had one foot in each nation—Metis, was a nicer way to put it, but he’d grown up belonging nowhere. No one knew who’d left the hours-old infant in a basket, wrapped in a woven blanket proclaiming his native ancestry, on the floor of the ER at Regina General, but his hair color and eye color along with his skin tone told its own story. There were few red-haired, green-eyed First Nations people in the area, and despite the blanket, woven in a traditional Sioux design and several years old, none of the local tribes had claimed the child. He’d been raised as a crown ward, placed in a foster home, but never adopted. The red tape around such a venture was too long and thick for anyone to attempt.

Seeing Martin walk toward the cruiser snapped Bill out of his blue moment and he got out of the car.

“Constable Murdock,” Martin said. “Commander Anderson called and said you were coming. Nice to see you again.” He held out his hand. “Hot enough for you?”

Bill chuckled. “Definitely. You’re looking well, old friend. I heard you had a little trouble last winter. I thought you’d have retired to spend your days fishing with your grandsons.”

“I do that, but in this heat, even the fish are having a hard time keeping cool. Besides, Sandra tells me we’re in for a storm this afternoon, and I’d rather be in my own home than out on the river if it strikes. That old woman says there’s a tornado coming. My people know she’s right far more often than the weather forecaster in Regina.”

“Well if your wife says there’s a twister coming, I’d better get your statement and get the hell back to the city.”

He looked over at the flower beds in front of the building, the various native plants, including the Saskatoon lily all in bloom.

“I see your granddaughter’s green thumb at work here.”

“Laurie is gifted that way. The land speaks to her as it did to our ancestors.” He raised his hand and pushed his headdress off his forehead. “The doctors in Regina fixed me right up last winter and put a stent in my heart, but this old man gets tired. Especially in this heat. Come inside. I’ll have Leo take my place for a while—they’re discussing the wisdom of opening a casino on the reservation. He knows more about that than I do anyway.”

Bill followed the chief to his offices and waited while he removed his eagle bonnet and set it on the stand.

“I think my ancestors must’ve had stronger neck muscles if they wore these for days on end.” He opened the mini-fridge and handed Bill a bottle of water. “Sit.”

Taking the bottle and mumbling his thanks, Bill opened it and half-drained it in one gulp. He pulled out his pen and notebook. “So can you tell me what happened?”

“You should really talk to Shirley Smoke. She’s the one who shot at them, scared them away, so she said, but she lost a calf and half her garden. I guess they decided to have a barbecue while they were there. The men rounded up the rest of her cattle, but the loss of that animal hit her hard. She didn’t say much except that there were a dozen of them, on big motorcycles, but one left this behind.”

Martin reached into his bottom desk drawer, pulled out a plastic bag containing a man’s shirt, and handed it to him. Bill opened the bag and took out the shirt, wrinkling his nose at the stench.

“Whew, this guy must’ve been a little ripe. I’m sure the lab can pull DNA from this. Was Shirley hurt?”

“No, but she’s afraid they’ll come back. I’ve parked a Tribal Council police car out there since it happened, but I think they’ve moved on.”

Bill pursed his lips. The logo of the Madre Diablo motorcycle group was one he recognized. A nasty offshoot of Hell’s Angels, the Diablos got off on doing as much damage as they could wherever they could. No place was off limits to them, and they seemed to target Reserves and small holdings. If Shirley Smoke thought they’d be back, she was right, and if they held a grudge against her for spoiling their fun… He flipped his notebook shut. “Where’s Shirley’s place? I’ll go over and talk to her, check out the damage for myself, and get pictures.”

“She’s three miles east of town on the river road. My wife tried to get her to come into town, but she’s a stubborn one. Eighty-three next month.”

Bill stood and held out his hand. “I can’t promise we’ll catch them, but if they’re still in Canada, every RCMP officer will be on the lookout for them.”

“Thank you,” Martin said holding out his hand and escorting him from the office.

Bill returned to the squad car and frowned. The clear blue eastern sky he’s seen on the horizon was replaced by ominous black clouds. The easterly wind blew in his face, but the breeze carried no relief. If anything, it was hotter than the air around him. The FMTC banner snapped smartly in the brisk breeze. For thousands of years, these people and their ancestors had relied on the buffalo for everything from food to shelter and clothing. The Council had chosen the buffalo, a calf inside the larger figure surrounded by hoof marks as their logo because the animal represented strength and survival. It was a good choice. Opening the car door, he stood back as the superheated air gushed out, and then entered the vehicle, amazed the steering wheel hadn’t melted in the heat. He’d go out to Shirley’s have a look around, and then head back to Regina. East winds always brought the worst storms.

That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to check out all the other great story starts at Tuesday Tales

Reviews By Sue: To Live Again by V.L.Edwards

booksGood morning. Hope your Sunday is shaping up to be a wonderful day. It’s been a while since I’ve brought you book suggestions and reviews, but thanks to my recent holidays, I’ve had the opportunity to do some phenomenal reading. Over the next few Sundays, I hope to inspire you to pick up some of these great books, written by a variety of newer and established authors, showcasing their remarkable talents.

As many of you know, I’m an eclectic writer. I flit from genre to gene like a butterfly sampling nectar from a variety of plants. My reading tastes are similar, since I tend to read what I like to write, but I’ve begun to spend more time outside of my reading and writing boxes than in them, and I’m very glad I have. There are some excellent books out there to consider and enjoy. These reviews are in chronological order based on the order in which I read the books.

51ZoIDa0IXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’m going to begin my summer reviews with To Live Again, an erotic historical novella by author V.L. Edwards. This author works with Secret Cravings Publishing, one of my publishers. This was her first foray into the world of erotic romance and while I’m no expert, I think she’s done an excellent job of it.

I’ve long been a fan of historical romance, but this one packed a whole lot of surprises, and I enjoyed it a lot. I’m a sucker for injured, scarred heroes as you all know, so the gorgeous Warren DeWinter, widowed Earl of Broadmoor fit the bill perfectly.

Here’s the premise:

Warren DeWinter, the Earl of Broadmoor, a widower, with a young son, grieves for his late wife. Warren hunts for his pleasures on the streets of London, rather than the ballrooms of the ton. On his monthly excursion, he meets a young woman he believes is a lady of the evening. What he finds…is an untried virgin, desperate to feed her brother and sister.

When Warren bribes Amelia’s tale from of her, he finds that not only did he take her innocence, she’s a gentlewoman. He feels compelled to marry her. Determined to protect his wife’s memory, he only spends time with Amelia in the bedchamber, where passion threatens to burn them up. However, Amelia’s determined to win his affections by lavishing love on his son. Will Warren be able to resist Amelia’s beguiling ways? Can Amelia bring the walls surrounding his heart crashing down, allowing Warren…to live again.

My Review:5 stars

To fully appreciate this review, you have to realize that while I’d read the book blurb when I got the book, I didn’t look at it again before reading the story. For the record, I rarely do, letting the plot grab me as the story unfolds. Whether I’m reading as a beta reader for fellow authors or as a reviewer, I prefer to let the book surprise me. Sometimes, I get more than I bargained for!

You only have to look at the cover to realize this isn’t going to be your typical early nineteenth century romance, in fact, the blindfold put me in mind of a BDSM novel, not my favorite type of reading, but because I believe it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover, I continued reading, and am I ever glad I did because the book is full of surprises.

The first few pages had me convinced this was a murder novel a la Jack the Ripper–strange man haunting the streets of London looking for a red-headed hooker–what did he have in mind? Was he looking for a particular fallen woman? He’s about to give up when along comes the prey–a sweet soul, quiet, possibly out of her element, and scared. She should be! What the heck do you think you’re doing, woman?

But then, instead of the grizzly murder I’d expected, there is the first of many well-written, love scenes, not really BDSM, but they do involve a blindfold and restraints, but not for punishment purposes– they are there out of the hero’s fear and self-loathing, the agony he lives with each and everyday as he attempts to keep anyone from touching him. I was hooked.

The next surprise came when the lovely lady wasn’t an experienced courtesan down on her luck I’d thought her to be, but a virgin who’d sold her maidenhead for a measly ten pounds. It was obvious this turn of events stunned the hero, not enough to slow him down completely, but he did try to make things better for her.

A gentleman, DeWinter goes out for breakfast and surprises the young woman getting ready to leave with the money he’d left on his dresser. Ignoring the fact that she’d taken the money, (which she’d done innocently, and incidentally I thought he’d up and left and they’d meet again in the story under other circumstances giving light to a whole embarrassed scene) he gets Amelia to confess the reasons behind her drastic actions. Because of who she is, a guilty conscience, and a sexual appetite he can’t quite suppress, he  takes her back to her rooms to collect the brother and sister for which she sold the only thing of value she had left, deals with a thoroughly obnoxious landlady, and offers Amelia marriage in exchange for the fact that he’s ruined her. Bearing in mind the mores of the day, this is actually very noble of him. He could’ve shrugged it off. After all, he’d been using women this way monthly for three years, but there’s something about Amelia that makes him go the distance instead. Class distinction was alive and well at the time.

There’s the set up. Since she was willing to sell her body to pay the rent and put food on the table, the fact that she agrees to marry a rich stranger who can make her body do things she’d never imagined is beautifully set up and in keeping with the tradition of this type of historical romance. I loved Amelia’s grit and determination.I expected more conflict, possibly a scene where the way they met would come out, maybe even  inappropriate actions on the part of Warren’s womanizing friend, but all in all, the fact that these plot threads weren’t explored didn’t take away from my appreciation of the story.

To Live Again is a beautifully crafted story of love and redemption. It is set in the early part of the nineteenth century, with excellent descriptions and well-written dialogue. The characters are well-rounded and as a reader, I found myself hoping Amalia would succeed in her campaign to win her husband’s love. The paranormal twist at the end is surprising, but it just added a sense of completion to the tale. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a happily ever after tale with more than a taste of spice to it.

You can get a copy of To Live Again from Amazon

Look Who Dropped By Today: Janet Gibbs

Good morning. It always gives me great pleasure to help promote the efforts of other Secret Cravings authors, and today, I’d like youSo Much More to meet Janet Gibbs. She’s here to tell you about her latest release, an historical romance titled, So Much More.  A mainstream romance, So Much More is available to download to your device from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.   The paperback will be available in January 2016.

About the Book:

In 1902, three very different young women live in the millionaire’s enclave of Morristown, New Jersey. Alice Hastings is an accomplished painter who wants to prove her artistic talents to the world.  However, her adoring, devoted widowed father has other plans as he insists she must marry a successful young man from town. Francesca Dunbar may be of royal lineage and feels superior to the citizens of the small town near New York City.  Her exquisitely beautiful mother and powerful wealthy father spoil their only child and harbor a secret that could shake up this small conservative town. Claire Armstrong loves her horses and will only marry a man who gives her the freedom to pursue her devotion to her horse farm and stables. She comes from a boisterous family of daughters and is head strong.  Claire’s father is intent on having at least one of his daughters marry well, but Claire has other ideas.

All three women are members of the elite in this small wealthy town yet each yearns for more. The arrival of a handsome, charming member of the English aristocracy complicates the plans of fathers and daughters alike. To this, add an old friend and a surprising newcomer, and you have the formula for an exciting summer. Each young lady finds herself at a crossroads as did many women in 1902.  For Alice, Claire, and Francesca, it means taking three different paths to finding happiness and so much more.

Excerpt from the Novel:

Five miles down Normandy Heights Road a rather obstinate father was attempting to convince his daughter who should be her husband.

“Of course you’ll marry Richard. The Dickersons are a well-respected family and he makes quite a good living as a banker,” sputtered the tall, handsome man with a ruddy complexion. He’d never considered for a minute that Alice, his only child, would disagree with him.

Colonel Arthur Hastings puffed on his favorite Bavarian pipe and strode around his desk, addressing his daughter as if she were a new recruit in his regiment. “Any other girl would be glad to have such a fine young man wanting to marry them. You’re eighteen and should be settled by now. It’s what your mother would have wanted.”

A flicker of sadness flashed over the Colonel’s face as he softened and seemed wistful, but it didn’t stop him from continuing his well-meaning tirade as he marched around his book lined library.

Alice sat perched on the edge of the brown leather chair, trying her best to control the rage bubbling inside her. Any minute she thought she’d erupt, how dare he orchestrate her life. She didn’t want to marry anyone. Her life was wrapped up in her painting. Though her father thought it a hobby, to Alice it meant so much more. She’d rather spend an entire day painting than go to a tea, or a dance or a ladies club meeting. Somehow she had to make her father understand that marriage was not an option. If she met someone who understood her dream of being a professional painter, then perhaps she would entertain the idea. But she certainly wouldn’t follow the marriage game as she called it and succumb to her father’s wishes. Most of the fathers in town orchestrated their daughter’s lives and advised them who to marry. Unlike political alliances in the past, these marriages were made between families who had known each other for decades and wanted no outsiders in their safe enclave. Alice was determined not to be one of those daughters. She adored her papa but he had to know that she could not bend her will to follow Morristown’s unwritten law of marriage.

Her father seemed oblivious to Alice. It was as if she weren’t even in the room. He just kept rambling on with his argument. “Alice, be reasonable. Richard Dickerson wants to announce your engagement at the Field Club Ball on July Fourth. You could be married in November and settled by Christmas.”

About the Author: 

Janet Gibbs has researched and written extensively on women’s history.  She has written non-fiction which has appeared in several newspapers including The New York Times.   She was awarded a grant from the AAUW to complete a novel and was asked to read her poetry at the Princeton Arts Center.    Born in England she now resides in Northern New Jersey where she continues to write novels about strong women with a mind of their own.    Janet Gibbs can be reached at

https://instragram.com/janetfgibbs/

https://twitter.com/JanetFGibbs

https://www.facebook.com/JanetFrancesGibbs

Mid Week Tease: A Look at a Work In Progress

MWTease15Hello all! I’ve been MIA for a few weeks and am thrilled to have gotten back in time to share something with you all. Since I’m currently in writing purgatory, waiting for edits, I’ll share one of my w.i.p with you.

This story started as a Clever Quickie, a 140 character scene that morphed into my first attempt at a sci-fi novel. I’ve called it Blood Moon Rising.

Here is your teaser:Blood Moon

Colonel Jim Striker stood guard in the sentinel tower, the charged weapon hanging loosely at his side. Eloisia’s double suns hung low on the horizon. Soon, its three moons would fill the sky, bathing everything in an eerie, red-gold light. That light had been mesmerizing and exciting those first few days, but now all it did was inject fear into his heart and that of what was left of his team. Everything was bigger here, more plentiful, and deadlier—definitely deadlier.

How had everything gone so wrong? When the ship had landed a year ago, they believed they’d found Eden. The uninhabited plain where they’d made landfall had abutted a jungle paradise full of lush vegetation. Nearby the crystal blue water was pure, unpolluted. It was as if God had sent them here. They knew better now.

Inside the ship, they’d followed protocol. His science team had checked the air for oxygen count, and dangerous gasses, but the air was cleaner than even their own bottled supply. Once they’d left Explorer Alpha, they’d gathered plants and found them teeming with vitamins and lacking any pathogens. Animal life was plentiful, and they’d taken down a deer, slightly smaller in size than the elk he’d seen in museums on Earth. The animal’s meat was tender and tasty, free of harmful bacteria, and so different in taste and texture than the replicated food aboard ship. He’d felt a little like what his ancestors must have felt like, foraging for food and carving out a home for themselves in the wilderness—until the savages had come.

He’d done everything right and yet wrong. He’d gone into the jungle with a reconnaissance team and sent another across the plain. His squad had walked twenty miles through the lush vegetation, and had found no sign of life.

We should have gone farther, he berated himself for what must be the thousandth time. Fifty men and women dead, and it was his fault. Why hadn’t he waited for the other team’s report? Twenty people changed, his own sister and her husband among them.  No, he’d blindly radioed Earth to send out the ark. The ship was due any day now. Unless he could find a way to control the indigenous population, humanity would be extinct within ten years.

He heard someone approaching the electrified fence. Probably some idiot civilian from the rapidly dwindling science team who’d wandered too far into the jungle to get back before the gates were sealed. Only a fool would be out when the creatures hunted. As alert as he was, he recognize her sickly sweet smell drifting on the air and it turned his stomach. He knew that scent. He’d smelled it too many times—had lost good men because of it, too.

This female’s hungry, but there’s something else—fear?

When was the last time she’d feasted on his cattle? He’d found a bloodless fawn a week ago, but it wouldn’t have been enough. She had young to feed, and food was scarce in the Eloisian Desert. The electrified barbed wire he’d strung would keep her at bay, but only so long.

“She’s out there, isn’t she?” Brad handed him a java substitute.

“Yeah. I don’t know if she’ll take the bait, but it was worth a shot. We’ve got to stop her before the last change. Once she’s airborne, no one’s safe.”

“You mean kill her? I thought this stuff was only going to know her out. She’s your sister!”

“Was. Isn’t anymore.”

Striker took a mouthful of the bitter brew. “You know as well as I do, Marissa isn’t human anymore. Once infected, she’s as good as dead. I’m just saving her some pain and making sure she doesn’t take any more of us with her.”

“What about the twins?”

“They’re half-breeds, probably more dangerous than either of their parents. The sister I knew wouldn’t want them to live.”

The shrieks of an enraged animal rent the air. Striker looked up. She’d stumbled into the trap.

I’m sorry, Marissa. I did it to save you. But had he? Or had he done it out of fear?

“Get Mack and a lantern. We’ll go out and get the body and cremate it.  At dawn, we’ll follow whatever tracks she left to wherever she’s hidden the twins. They’ll be hungry and easier to find.”

“What will you do with them?”

“I’ll do what I have to do. Half-breeds can’t be allowed to survive. Otherwise, they’ll destroy us in the end.”

“What if they aren’t? What if they’re one hundred percent human? You can’t be sure she wasn’t pregnant before her captured her. He killed Denis only a few days before he took her.”

“If they are human, do you think I want that monster raising them for food?”

The roar of an anguished beast filled the night. Striker cursed.

“I didn’t think he’d be hunting with her. I figured he’d be out stalking prey in the settlement.”

The anguished cry sounded again. “Damn you, Striker,” the monster called. “She loved you. Why can’t you leave us alone?”

“Let’s go after him. He’s in humanoid form.”

“No, it’s too dangerous. He’s angry, and he’s probably calling his followers to him right now. The SOB will take her body with him and try to bring her back.”

“So it’s all been for nothing?”

Striker smiled. “Maybe not. If he sinks his fangs into her, he may ingest enough of the poison to hurt him—maybe even kill him. This could work out just fine. One bloodsucking monster down, a thousand more to go before we can make Eloisia home. They’re counting on us back on Earth to make this planet safe. They can’t last much longer there. The sun is frying the place.”

“Doesn’t it bother you that we’re killing these creatures? It’s their planet. We’re the interlopers here.”

Yes, it bothered him, damn it. He wasn’t a murderer, but it was him against them, and this mission couldn’t fail. There were less than 5,000 humans left. He couldn’t allow his race to die out. This planet was changing, evolving, and the natural inhabitants were losing their food source, just like the dinosaurs had on Earth millions of years ago. The brass thought these creatures were vampiric, but they were and they weren’t. Striker knew the truth. It wasn’t the blood they needed, it was the salt. Marissa had kept Kynan at bay for weeks with salt tablets. In fact, he’d done the same himself with Yrenna, conversing with her, trying to understand her kind. It worked, but only for so long. Once the salt tablets disappeared, so did any chance they had of surviving.

“You saw what he did to Denis, and then he took Marissa.”

“It’s not right. None of them had been in the least bit violent until that confrontation with Denis. I think Denis provoked Kynan. I know you don’t believe me, but your brother-in-Law was a mean son of a bitch. ”

“Brad, I’m sorry, but coexistence won’t work. We’re nothing but walking meals to them. You know that.”

“But he didn’t feed on her.”

“You’re right. He stalked her, attacked her, and manipulated her mind and body to suit him. Is that what you want? A female to mate with?”

“Damn you, Striker. Do you always have to have it your way? They aren’t all killers. Some can control themselves. Reyna isn’t like that.”

Striker gritted his teeth. Brad didn’t see the danger here, just the exquisite haunting beauty of the Eloisians and their lush, green planet.

Now, please take time to read the other teasers this week.

Holidays Are Over For Now!

deerGood morning. It’s been a while since I let you in on what I’ve been up to. I’m sure if you followed my travels across Alaska, you know it’s been a busy summer. I’ve just returned from the second part of my summer vacation–tenting at Higley Flow State Park near Potsdam, NY. We had a wonderful time–unbelievable weather.

This is the view from our campsite. Each evening, that lovely doe walked or trotted by on her way to or from her resting place during the day. We saw several deer, a fawn, a rabbit, and a few squirrels and chipmunks during our two-week stay. The call of the loons in the evening gave the place a haunting beauty, but the caws of the crows–well, those I could’ve done without. While most of the park’s occupants tend to camp in RV’s and fancy trailers, we saw more than the usual number of tents and tent trailers this year. Not all of th20150706_173237_resizedem were as large as ours, of course, but I do need a few basic comforts–like a two-story air mattress, a portable toilet, and the ability to stand inside the tent. The way you see the tent in this picture only lasted one night because with the threat of rain the next day, we tarped it and stayed tarped for the duration.

Our canoe saw a lot of use too. Of course, if I wasn’t such a spaz, I could get in and out of it with a modicum of dignity, but such is not the case. How that man expects me to raise my leg a good four feet and somehow step into the center of the canoe when I’m thigh deep in  water is a mystery we have yet to solve!

The grandkids spent four days with us and we all had a wonderful time. Now, it’s time to clean it all up and put it away until next year!