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Sherry Thomas, Ravishing the Heiress and an ARC Giveaway!
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Help me in welcoming talented, multi-award winning author Sherry Thomas! I got so used to seeing her accept the RITA every year at RWA, I’ll be discombobulated she isn’t there this year. Sherry is one of the most unique women I know, and certainly is one of the most talented. Here’s her blog post to you all.

My July release, RAVISHING THE HEIRESS, has porn in it.
by Sherry Thomas

And I am not talking about people snickering at romance as porn. There is bona fide erotica, i.e., literature intended to arouse sexual desire.

It came about like this. When I conceived of the Fitzhugh trilogy, my agent advised me to make it tightly knit. And to do that, she felt it was best to make sure the story of the third and final couple is threaded throughout the trilogy, starting from the first book. So in BEGUILING THE BEAUTY, book 1 of the trilogy, I establish that Helena and Hastings, the hero and heroine of book 3, have a love-hate relationship, in that he loves her—though she doesn’t know it—and she kind of hates him, for having always been an ass to her.

So in RAVISHING THE HEIRESS, book 2, Helena and Hastings run into each other. They trade their usual insults. As much as I enjoyed watching them needle each other, however, I felt the scene needed some momentum and some revelation.

And the following happened. (Helena owns a small publishing firm, by the way.)

“I’m looking for a publisher,” he said abruptly.

She had to yank herself out of the memory of their midnight kiss. “I didn’t know you were literate.”

He tsked. “My dear Miss Fitzhugh, were Byron to come back to life today, he’d take a club to his good foot, out of jealousy of my brilliance.”

She had a horrible thought. “Please don’t tell me you write verse.”

“Good gracious, no. I’m a novelist.”

She breathed a sigh of relief. “I do not publish fiction.”

He was undeterred. “Then consider it a memoir.”

“I fail to see what you have done in your life that is worth setting down in print.”

“Did I not mention that it is an erotic novel—or an erotic memoir, as it may be?”

And it isn’t just any kind of erotica, but a bondage story–a total coincidence, as this manuscript was completed long before I’d ever heard of 50 Shades of You Know What.

To wit, this is the opening of THE BRIDE OF LARKSPEAR, Hastings’s grand oeuvre,

I shall begin with a description of my bed, for one must make the setting of a book clear from the first line. It is a bed with a pedigree. Kings have slept on it, noblemen have gone to their deaths, and brides beyond count have learned, at last, why their mothers ask them to “Think of England.”

The bedstead is of oak, heavy, stout, almost indestructible. Pillars rise from the four corners to support a frame on which hang heavy curtains in winter. But it is not winter; the heavy beddings remain in their cedar chests. Upon the feather mattresses are spread only sheets of French linen, as decadent as Baudelaire’s verses.

But fine French linen is not so difficult to come by these days. And beds with pedigrees are still only furniture. What distinguishes this bed is the woman attached to it—her wrists tied behind her to one of the excessively sturdy bedposts.

And this being a work of Eros, she is, of course, naked.

My bride does not look at me. She is determined, as ever, to shunt me to the periphery of her existence, even on this, our wedding night.

I touch her. Her skin is as cool as marble, the flesh beneath firm and young. I turn her face to look into her eyes, haughty eyes that have scorned me for as long as I remember.

“Why are my hands tied?” she murmurs. “Are you afraid of them?”

“Of course,” I reply, “A man who stalks a lioness should ever be wary.”

The restraints actually symbolize the bonds of marriage, as Hastings, in real life, is concerned that he and Helena might be pushed into a hasty marriage of convenience if she is found out to be overstepping the boundaries of acceptable conduct with another man, one she loves but cannot have. Hastings fears that Helena would hate being married to him, and the erotica is his way of dealing with that fear.

I don’t know about you, but I am totally tickled that TEMPTNG THE BRIDE, my October release, has a porn writer as my hero. I’m not sure whether he is completely unique in that sense among romance heroes, but he has to be unusual. ?

There will be more excerpts in that book, but only excerpts. So I’ve decided that if other deadlines and life allow, I will self-publish THE BRIDE OF LARKSPEAR in its entirety as an e-novella sometime in September. In the meanwhile, I have an ARC of TEMPTNG THE BRIDE for a commenter. If you’ve read another porn writer hero, by all means, let me know. ?

RAVISHING THE HEIRESS by Sherry Thomas

Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.

It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…

As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?

Excerpt

His name was George Edward Arthur Granville Fitzhugh—the family name and the title were the same. But apparently those who knew him well called him Fitz.

Fitz, her lips and teeth played with the syllable. Fitz.

At dinner, the earl let Colonel Clements and Mrs. Graves carry the majority of the conversation. Was he shy? Did he still obey the tenet that children should be seen and not heard? Or was he using the opportunity to assess his possible future in-laws—and his possible future wife?

Except he didn’t appear to be studying her. Not that he could do so easily: a three-tier, seven-branch silver epergne, sprouting orchids, lilies, and tulips from every appendage, blocked the direct line of sight between them.

Through petals and stalks, she could make out his occasional smiles—each of which made her ears hot—directed at Mrs. Graves to his left. But he looked more often in her father’s direction.

Her grandfather and her uncle had built the Graves fortune. Her father had been young enough, when the family coffer began to fill, to be sent to Harrow. He’d acquired the expected accent, but his natural temperament was too lackluster to quite emanate the gloss of sophistication his family had hoped for.

There he sat at the head of the table, neither a ruthless risk taker like his late father, nor a charismatic, calculating entrepreneur like his late brother, but a bureaucrat, a caretaker of the riches and assets thrust upon him. Hardly the most exciting of men.

Yet he commanded the earl’s attention this night.

Behind him on the wall hung a large mirror in an ornate frame, which faithfully reflected the company at table. Millie sometimes looked into the mirror and pretended that she was an outside observer documenting the intimate particulars of a private meal. But tonight she had yet to give the mirror a glance, since the earl sat at the opposite end of the table, next to her mother.

She found him in the mirror. Their eyes met.

He had not been looking at her father. Via the mirror, he’d been looking at her.

Mrs. Graves had been forthcoming on the mysteries of marriage—she did not want Millie ambushed by the facts of life. The not-so-pretty reality of what happened between a man and a woman behind closed doors usually had Millie regard members of the opposite sex with wariness. But his attention caused only fireworks inside her—detonations of thrill, blasts of full-fledged happiness.

If they were married, and if they were alone…
She flushed.

But she already knew: She would not mind it.

Not with him.
****


Sherry has generously agreed to give away a brand new ARC of her upcoming release, Tempting the Bride, to one lucky commenter here on her post! And if you haven’t yet entered the Huge Because You Are Mine contest, with prizes like a Kindle Fire and Nook, make sure you do here!

One In a Billion Releases Today and The Winner of Bethany’s contest is
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I do have a winner announcement to follow, but I also wanted to remind everyone that I will be at RWA, taking place in Anaheim, CA from July 25th to 28th. If you are in the vicinity, please stop by for the enormous Literacy Signing, which takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday, the 25th, from 5 to 8 pm. It is not required to be signed up for the convention to attend this event. Soooo many of your favorite authors will be there. I’ll be at table 202, near check-out.

Also, Julie James and I will be doing our workshop: The Contemporary Challenge: How to write 300 Page of Romance without Demons, Death, or World Destruction on Thursday, July 26 from 2-3 in Platinum 3. If you are attending the conference, hope to see you there!

I’m pleased to announce that ONE IN A BILLION, the fourth story in my Home to Harbor Town series from HSE releases today (ebook release on August 1). One in a Billion should be out at your grocery or local store now! I woke up this morning to this awesome Grade A review of it from The Good The Bad and the Unread! So excited!

Now, the winner of my contest is Tory
Comment 9

Tory, write to me at bethkery@aol.com to claim your prize! I will just need the email addy where you want your novella and gift certificate sent!

Up next, the talented Sherry Thomas! If you aren’t familiar with Sherry’s books yet, you are in for a treat!

The Winner of Shayla’s Giveaway and a Few Announcements!
Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Anas Attic Sexy Tales
Comment 16

Ana, write to me at bethkery@aol.com to claim your book (please give your backlist choice and your snail mail addy).

I have a few other announcements to make. First off, if you are in the vicinity of Anaheim, CA next Wednesday, I hope you’ll stop by the giant Literacy Book signing which will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center 7/25 from 5-8 pm. I’ll be signing along with hundreds of other authors. I’ll be at spot 202, near the cash registers. (The authors are not in alphabetical order this time). If you’d like a pdf of author’s seating to help you find your faves, write to me at bethkery@aol.com and I’ll send a seating chart in PDF.

Also, just a quick announcement that things have been really exciting on the publishing front. Berkley plans to do another serial novel, due out in January of 2013. I also signed on to do three other books with Berkley. Lastly, Because You Are Mine, the second serial and my entire backlist will be published by Headline publishing in the UK. They are super excited about Because You Are Mine, and plan to release it at the same time as Berkley in the U.S., beginning July 31st!

Up next, my super sexy long novella BOUND TO YOU from my One Night of Passion series, which will be given away on Tuesday morning! Also, I do hope you’ll enter the Huge Because You Are Mine contest. Anything you can do to spread the word about the contest and a comment will get you entered. If you are having trouble with the widget, you can just post a Because You Are Mine cover along with a link to the contest, or tweet, etc. I have several eReaders and gift certificates that will be given out to four lucky commenters on July 31, so what are you waiting for? 🙂

Shayla Black and Mine to Hold (with giveaway)
Friday, July 20th, 2012

Please join me in welcoming the lovely Shayla Black to the Because You Are Mine contest! Shayla is here to tell us about her latest, Mine to Hold, and she’s included a cute interview with her characters, Tyler and Delaney.

Mine to Hold by Shayla Black

Tyler Murphy was an LAPD detective, single and happy—until a near-fatal tragedy crippled his friend, fellow detective Eric Catalano. While he supported Eric, he also became a shoulder for Eric’s wife, Delaney, to lean on. But with one naughty suggestion from Eric, a drunken night with Delaney spilled into erotic abandon. Before it was over Tyler saw his best friend’s wife as a woman and yearned for more. When Eric struggled to deal with the aftermath, Delaney begged Tyler to leave. Crushed, he fled to Louisiana, hoping to escape his longing for the one woman he could never have again…and unaware of what he’d left behind.

A lover’s desire.

After two years of living with regret, Tyler finds Delaney on his doorstep, her husband having abandoned her long ago. She’s protecting a shocking secret and desperately needs refuge from a killer determined to see her dead. As they fight to stay alive and catch the stalker, they struggle to resolve the guilt of their past pleasures. But they can’t deny that what was once a spark is now a flame burning out of control. To possess Delaney—body and soul—Tyler must heal her pain and thwart the evil that’s a mere breath behind her…

MINE TO HOLD EXCERPT

“Please, let me go. I know best, really. If you’ll just . . . do this for me—”

“You mean leave you now when you need me most, just like I did after I touched every inch of your body and got deeper inside you than any man ever has? Leave again, simply because you asked me to? Because you think you know best?”

Tyler advanced even closer, and suddenly, his bedroom door was at her back. He planted both of his large hands on either side of her head and leaned in. Her heart picked up speed viciously. That woodsy, testosterone-oozing scent swamped Delaney, and her legs trembled beneath her. She flattened herself against the door . . . but Tyler kept coming closer, leaning in, his green gaze darkening, drilling into her.

“How well do you think me listening to you worked out last time?” he challenged.

Terribly. Eric had eventually screamed that Tyler slinking off only made him wonder how long they’d been fucking each other. Her protestations otherwise had fallen on completely deaf ears. The positive pregnancy test had been the death knell of their marriage. By then, Tyler had been long gone, and she’d missed him so much. But . . .

Delaney closed her eyes. “This is different.”

“Yeah. It’s worse. Seth could lose you for the rest of his little life. I could lose you forever instead of for two years. Not happening, angel. Last time I saw you, I listened to you about everything. This time? It’s my way.”

Tyler cradled her face in his big hands. His stare zeroed in on her mouth. He pressed the length of his body against hers. The thin T-shirt she wore did nothing to protect her from the blistering heat of his body. He notched his heavy, steely erection against her mound. Delaney’s heart stuttered. And then his lips hovered right above hers, his head cocking to the side as his gaze ensnared her. He lowered his mouth so, so close. She curled her fingers into fists at her sides so that she didn’t wrap her arms around him, her legs around him, and beg for everything he could give her—safety, comfort . . . feverish desire, shattering pleasure.
He exhaled against her mouth, parted his lips. God, she couldn’t breathe. Already, she wanted him desperately. Her heart pounded. Her pussy ached. If he kissed her, it would only make everything ten times more difficult.

“Don’t,” she whispered.

He hesitated, dropped his head near her ear. “My way, Del.”

Then Tyler nipped at her lobe with his teeth. A shiver wound through her, all the way to her toes.

She didn’t get in another breath before Tyler’s lips took hers, at first hungry but searching, as if testing his reception. The past, his long list of conquests, the pain between them—all instantly obliterated in the comfort of his solid embrace. His aching familiarity. His seductive kiss. There was no way she could stop the welcome bubbling inside her. Her lips turned pliant, yearning.

An instant later, Tyler groaned, bulldozing his way into her mouth. His heat crashed over her, inside her, surging low in her belly—then spearing deep between her thighs. The warmth of his breath as he seized her mouth and shoved her lips farther apart with his own burned her up. His arms twisted around her body, jacking her tight against the inferno of his taut muscles and steely cock.

She gasped into his mouth. He went deeper, even as his palm worked under her shirt, branding the suddenly feverish skin of her back, holding her against him without a breath of air between them.

Without conscious thought, she whimpered, her body melting into his, hands fisting his T-shirt, then clutching his shoulders to drag him closer. She opened wider for the hot thrust of his kiss. Needed it. Tyler gave it to her, then grabbed her thigh in one hand, slung it over his hip, and pressed harder against the needy flesh throbbing between her legs. She moaned.
Then Del caught herself.

No, no, no . . . Please let the response shimmering inside her be like a mirage on a hot highway, glimmering with promise. Not real.

Because if it was, she was in a whole world of trouble.

But it felt all too genuine, too intense. It had been so long since she’d experienced the tug and pull of attraction, that agonizing want making her sink against a man’s body.

Now wasn’t the time to be distracted. Her life—and her son’s—were on the line.

Interview with Tyler & Delaney

Okay, I want to give a warm welcome to, Delaney Catalono and Tyler Murphy (Waving franticly, trying to get the besotted couple’s attention). I know you two have gone through a lot to get to your happily ever after so I will try to be brief. (Blushes scarlet as she catches the intimate glance between the soon-to-be newlyweds, clears her throat). Okay, so you two are still in the “honeymoon stage”, I see. I would like to know what each of you thought when you first laid eyes on the other. Was it love at first sight?
Delaney: Not at all. He was my ex-husband’s partner at the LAPD and his best friend. The first thing I loved about him was that he became my friend, too. He was my rock, my shoulder, and my confidante when I needed him.

Tyler: Lust at first sight, sure. But I wasn’t poaching on my buddy’s fiancé, you know? Total violation of the man code. Then her ex, Eric, turned into a douche in about every way possible. His loss was my gain.

I’m curious. Delaney what was your first impression of Tyler? Tyler, I would love to hear your thoughts about the first time you laid eyes on Delaney. =)

Delaney: Strong, gorgeous, tough…and an absolute player.

Tyler: Sexy as hell, smart, and totally off limits. Damn it…

Was it love at first sight or lust at first sight?

Delaney and Tyler together: Definitely lust.

Tyler: But I suspected pretty quickly there was something more. I just didn’t want to admit it.

Delaney: Same for me.

Delaney, when was the moment you knew that Tyler was for you?

Delaney: *blushes* The first time he kissed me, I think deep down, I knew. I just fought it for a long time.

Tyler, name one thing about Delaney that you believe changed your outlook on love.

Tyler: Her faith in me as a protector and a father. She didn’t believe at first that I had the staying power to be a husband. But she’s so smart and sexy and funny…and perfect, that, hell, I just had to have her. She made me want to be a better man.

Delaney and Tyler, I absolutely adore you two. I have become addicted lately with books about time travel. This got me to thinking. If I handed you my time traveling piece would you use it to go back in time to change anything?

Tyler: Absolutely! When Del tried to put distance between us a few years ago just before her marriage fell apart, I would refuse to walk away, if I could go back in time.

Delaney: If I could go back in time, I would never try to put distance between us. It was a huge mistake, I admit. I thought I was doing the right thing… I had no idea how badly trying to be noble in that instance would turn out.

Delaney did you have any apprehension about getting involved with Tyler?

Delaney: *snorts* Should I give you a list of all the reasons? Yes, I was really apprehensive. How does a leopard change its spots, after all. Tyler was always going to be a player, right? And I had our son to raise. But…he’s proven me wrong, and I couldn’t be happier.

Tyler, what about you? Did you have a sliver of doubt about becoming involved with Delaney?

Tyler: Only at the beginning. I worried that I couldn’t be what she needed. But I quickly realized that I wanted—and needed—her. I resolved to get my shit together and be not just a man, but her man. After that? Not a shred of doubt.

Do you, Delaney and Tyler, believe that love conquers all?

Delaney: Completely. We’ve overcome so much to be here, and I’m grateful.

Tyler: Are you fucking kidding me? We wouldn’t be sitting here together if it didn’t. Of course, I’d rather be home and naked in bed celebrating that fact with Del, instead of here flapping my jaws. No offense. Or looking at flower bouquets and fabric swatches for the wedding. Can’t we skip that, angel?

Delaney: *Elbows him.* Behave!

One more thing before I let you go. Do you believe that everything you two went through to find one another, fall in love and finding your happily ever after was worth the price you had to pay?

Delaney and Tyler together: Yes. Without question.

****

Shayla has generously offered to give away a copy of winner’s choice of her backlist, signed, to the winner! Please leave her a relevant comment on her post to enter. And if you haven’t yet entered the Huge Because You Are Mine Contest, with giveaways including a Kindle Fire and a Nook, do so here!

The Winner of Sylvian Reynard’s Giveaway is
Friday, July 20th, 2012

Rachel (27)
Congratulations, Rachel!

Write to me at bethkery@aol.com to claim your prize.

Thanks to Sylvian for joining us at the Because You Are Mine Contest!

Up next, Shayla Black!

Sylvian Reynard and a Giveaway!
Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Please join me in welcoming Sylvian Reynard to the Because You Are Mine contest! You have a treat in store!

Gabriel’s Inferno

USA TODAY BEST-SELLER!

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, “Gabriel’s Inferno” is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible…forgiveness and love.

Gabriel’s Rapture

USA TODAY BEST-SELLER!

Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell. Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the raptures of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover. When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he succumb to Dante’s fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever?

In Gabriel’s Rapture, the brilliant sequel to the wildly successful debut novel, Gabriel’s Inferno, USA Today Best-Selling Author Sylvain Reynard weaves an exquisite love story that will touch the reader’s mind, body, and soul, forever.

Excerpt:

He grabbed Julia’s hand and quickly pulled her away. The guests parted like the Red Sea in front of them as they made their way through the Botticelli room.

Julia saw person after person stare at them and she blushed even more deeply.

“Where are we going?”

He led her into the adjoining tiled corridor and began walking toward the end of it, far beyond earshot of the other guests. Pushing her into a dark corner, he positioned her between two large marble statues perched high atop plinths. She was dwarfed by the towering forms.
He grabbed her purse and tossed it aside. The sound of the leather hitting the floor echoed down the corridor.

“What were you doing with him?” Gabriel’s eyes flamed and his cheeks were slightly red, which for him was a rare occurrence.

“We were just making small talk before he—“

Gabriel pulled her into a searing kiss, one hand tangling in her hair and the other sliding down her dress.

The force of the contact propelled her until she felt the cold wall of the Gallery against the naked skin of her upper back. His hard body aligned with hers forcefully.

“I don’t want to see another man’s hands on you again.”
He parted her mouth roughly, penetrating with his tongue, while his hand slid over the curve of her backside, massaging the flesh with his fingers.

Julia realized instantly that he’d been careful with her every other time he’d touched her. He wasn’t careful now. Part of her was inflamed, desperate for him. Another part of her was wondering what he would do if she said stop …

He lifted her left leg, pulling her thigh around his hip and pressing against her.
She felt him through the fabric of her dress, hearing the silk taffeta rustle like a breathless woman. The dress clearly wanted more.

“What do I have to do to make you mine?” he groaned, mouth against mouth.

“I am yours.”

“Not tonight, it seems.” He tugged her lower lip backwards into his mouth, nipping it with his teeth. “Didn’t you understand my lecture? Every word, every painting was for you.” His hand slid up her dress, teasing the skin of her thigh until it reached the string that stretched across her hip.

He pulled back to see her face. “No garters tonight?”

She shook her head.

“Then what’s this?” His fingers tugged at the very thin string.

“Panties,” she breathed.

His eyes glinted in the semi-darkness. “What kind of panties?”

“A thong.”

He smiled dangerously before pressing his lips to her ear. “Am I to assume that you wore this for me?”

“Only for you. Always.”

Without warning, Gabriel lifted her, pressing her against the cold wall. His lips on her neck, he pushed their hips closer. The long, thin heels of Julia’s tangerine stilettos caught the curves of his ass. He fixed her with wild, blue eyes.

“I want you. Right now.”

With one hand, he tugged at the string until it tore. Suddenly, she found herself bare. He reached back to stuff the thong in his jacket pocket and her heels shifted, digging into his ass so much that he winced.

“Do you know how difficult it was for me to control myself after the lecture? How I longed to take you in my arms? Conducting small talk was torture when all I wanted was this.

“I wish you could see how sexy you are with your back against the wall and your legs wrapped around me. I want you like this, except I want you panting my name.”

Gabriel dipped his tongue in the hollow at the base of her throat and Julia’s eyes closed. Her passions were struggling with her mind, which urged her to push him away and take a moment to think. In a mood such as this, Gabriel was dangerous.

All of a sudden, Julia heard voices echoing down the hallway. Her eyes flew open.

The sound of footsteps and merry laughter grew closer. Gabriel lifted his head, bringing his mouth to her ear. “Don’t make a sound,” he whispered. She could feel his lips curve up into a smile as they pressed against her.

Sylvian has been generous in offering up BOTH Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture to one lucky commenter on this blog post. Winner announced tomorrow. And if you haven’t yet joined in the huge Because You Are Mine contest, do so here!

The winner of Jaci’s book is
Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The random counter chose #19

JessieO

Jessie, Congrats! Write to me at bethkery@aol.com with your address and I will forward to Jaci!

Thanks to all who participated. Up next, Sylvian Reynard!

Beth

Jaci Burton is Playing to Win! (with giveaway)
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I’m a big fan of Jaci Burton’s work and I can’t think of a better author to jump start the BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE contest! Let’s give this talented author a big welcome!

PLAYING TO WIN by Jaci Burton

Someone’s going to have to let down their guard…

Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.

When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.

Excerpt

She was beautiful, sure, with a face that would stop traffic. And the way she was put together screamed money or high society. Her hair was piled up on her head, she wore a pearl necklace that he knew damn well wasn’t fake, and he’d been with enough women to learn designers, and that little purse on the table cost a lot of money.

Maybe she was related to the team owner. But he hadn’t seen anyone come within ten feet of the table in the past two hours. She was no wallflower, but she wasn’t giving off vibes that said “Come talk to me.”

Wasn’t his problem. He didn’t know her and he intended to have fun tonight. Team parties were always a blast, and even better, this one was media free. He could down a few drinks, chill with the ladies and have a good time.

There were plenty of women here to have the kind of fun he was looking for. The blonde wasn’t the right type. He could tell from the rigid set to her shoulders and the stick up her ass way she sat that she wasn’t a partier. She surveyed the room and gave off definite “keep the fuck away from me” signals, which was likely why no one approached her.

Still, his gaze kept gravitating back to her. He hated seeing anyone sitting alone. He went up to the bar and nudged Grant Cassidy, the Traders quarterback.

Grant turned, then nodded. “Hey, Riley. What’s up?”

“Do you have any idea who that blonde is sitting by herself over in the corner?”

Grant followed the motion of Cole’s head, then frowned. “No. Who is she?”

“No idea. I figured you know everyone on the team. Is she related to the owner?”

Grant shook his head. “Ted Miller’s daughter is a brunette. And she isn’t here tonight. I have no idea who the blonde is. She looks mean.”

Cole laughed. “That’s what I thought, too.”

He should ignore her and concentrate on the two other women. But for some reason the blonde in the corner kept grabbing his attention and wouldn’t let go.

Maybe it was because she kept staring at him. Not in the way other women looked at him—the take-me-home-with-you-tonight plea. Her gaze was different. Cool and assessing, an occasional brief glance and then she’d look away, like she wasn’t at all interested in him.
Oh, she was interested all right. They all were.

So maybe she was a game player after all, and this was a new kind of game.

He pushed off the bar and headed her way. She could throw off all the stay away signals she wanted, but he was curious now. Someone that beautiful was alone for a reason.

He stopped at her table and her gaze lifted, slowly assessing him. She didn’t smile, but she didn’t frown, either.

“You here alone?” he asked.

“As you can see, I am.”

Southern accent. It fit her. She was all peaches and cream complexion, full lips and the prettiest eyes—like his favorite whiskey.

He slid his hand out. “I’m Cole Riley, wide receiver with the Traders.”

She slipped her hand in his and finally gave him a smile—the kind of smile that made a man glad to be a man.

“Hello, Cole. I’m Savannah Brooks. Won’t you sit down?”

Bingo.

Lord have Mercy, but Cole Riley’s photos and videos did not do the man justice.

In person he made a woman go weak in the knees. Savannah was glad she was sitting down, because now she understood the mystique she’d read about in the tabloids and all the articles about him as a lady killer.

Sure, she’d seen the photos, and he was certainly pretty. Great body, beautiful dark hair. She could see how some women might be attracted to him, but she didn’t understand why he was such a hot commodity.

But in person? Oh, yes, definitely. He had charisma, a way of looking at a woman that would make her drop her panties faster than he could flash those unusual eyes in her direction.
She certainly felt the heart palpitations when he slid his very large hand in hers and graced her with one look of his drop dead—what color were his eyes anyway? They were grey, tinged with blue, like a sky coloring up for a storm.

Amazing. When he looked at her it was as if everyone else in the room fell away, and she as the only woman on Earth. Which she knew wasn’t true, because she’d studied him all night long, and there were at least twenty women focused on him like they were a starving pack of wolves and he was meat.

He wasn’t meaty at all. He was perfect and absolutely delicious. About six-foot one, two-hundred and fifteen pounds of sex on a stick would be her guess.

If she were out scouting for a man—which she most certainly wasn’t—she’d pick him out of a crowd. He stood out, with his inky black hair and gorgeous, well toned and muscled body, even if he did wear his hair a little long and shaggy. There was a certain presence to him.

Arrogance, maybe, though she was surprised after reading his file that he wasn’t standing on top of the bar or involved in a brawl or wrapped around two or three women in a dark corner.
Maybe the media had blown his off-the field antics out of proportion. Maybe his reputation was more hype than anything.

“So, Savannah Brooks. Why are you sitting here all alone?”

“I’m observing.”
He cocked a brow, his defenses obviously up as he bent forward, on the edge of the chair like he was ready to take flight. “You’re not a reporter, are you?”

She smiled at him. “No. I’m definitely not a reporter.”

He relaxed and leaned back against the chair, stretching his long legs out in front of him.
“Okay, then.”

“You don’t like reporters.”

“Nope.”

“And why is that?”

“They lie.”

“About you.”

“All the damn time.”

“What kind of lies have they told about you?”

“I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you. You have a beautiful southern accent, Savannah. Where are you from?”

Not at all what she’d read about him. That he was an egomaniac, that every conversation centered around him, his stats, his prowess in the bedroom, that he hit on women as a second career, pressuring them to go home with him.

Maybe the media did lie.
****
Jaci has generously offered to give away an autographed copy of Taking A Shot, the previous story in my Play by Play series, to one commenter on her post today! And if you haven’t yet entered the Huge Because You Are Mine contest, with prizes including a Kindle Fire and a Nook, please do so here!

HUGE BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE CONTEST
Sunday, July 15th, 2012

This Contest is Closed

Week by sizzling week, Intermix forecasts the hottest summer on record with an addictive all-new eight-part serial novel of contemporary erotic romance.


OR



HOW TO ENTER THE BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE CONTEST

1. The contest runs through 7/31, the date of the release of the Because You Are Mine first installment. The prize winners will be announced 7/31/12.

2. To enter, copy the code (click on ‘get widgit’) of either the larger OR small graphic (see above) and post it to your blog, Facebook, Website, where ever you want to share it. Add the location link to my blog and say “Click here to enter the BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE contest. If you tweet it, just include the link to the contest.

The smaller countdown widget has been provided for people who would like to display the widgit in their sidebar. Either graphic is fine to copy.

NOTE: Some people are having trouble posting either widgit to their sidebar. If you are, then just make a copy of one of the covers, add it to your sidebar or facebook, etc., with a link to the contest that says, Enter the Huge Because You Are Mine contest.

3. Come back here and reply to this post with a link to your blog entry or wherever you’ve posted the graphic and your answer to the following question: If I could be swept off on a private jet by a gorgeous, alpha-male billionaire like Ian Noble, I’d have him take me to_____ for a sexy, romantic summer getaway.

4. No Facebook or blog? If you are having difficulty posting, you can still enter the contest. Here’s what you can do: Comment at a book site about the contest link or the BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE serial, mention it at a book or romance online chat, tweet about it Tell me about what you did in your entry. Don’t forget:

1. No matter how you spread the word, be sure to leave a comment with links and/or applicable information, and
2. Answer the question: If I could be swept off on a private jet by a gorgeous, alpha-male billionaire like Ian Noble, I’d have him take me to_____ for a sexy, romantic summer getaway. (If you have not entered correctly, you will not be in the final drawing, so please follow the instructions).

5. On July 31, I will randomly choose 4 names from the pool of commenters here. The prizes are pretty exciting! Here they are.

1st Prize: A Kindle Fire
2nd Prize: A Nook Simple Touch Reader
3rd Prize: A $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card
4th Prize: A $25.00 Amazon gift card

6. International Entries: For international readers, if you are an international participant and you are drawn for the 1st or 3rd prize, I will give a gift certificate to Amazon for the equivalent amount of the Kindle Fire (U.S. dollars). I will do the same for the Amazon gift card. However, the other two prizes (Nook and Barnes and Noble gift card) are not replaceable for a gift certificate. International commenters can still win them if they are chosen but they can’t be replaced for gc’s.

That’s not all! There will be DAILY PRIZES AND INTERACTION WITH SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ROMANCE AUTHORS IN ADDITION TO THE large prizes!

You will always find the DAILY prize just below the contest post.

Some wonderful authors will be coming by my blog, helping us to celebrate the release of BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE, talking about their latest or upcoming releases and giving away free books! to commenters EVERY MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, so be sure to visit daily. Scheduled authors will tell us about their books and give away a copy to one commenter per day. Check out this fabulous list of authors, and make sure you stop by and say hello to them to enter their daily contest.

July 18: Jaci Burton
July 19: Sylvian Reynard
July 20: Shayla Black
July 23: Bethany Kane
July 24: Sherry Thomas
July 25: Hanna Martine
July 26: Julie James
July 27: Sylvia Day
July 30: Beth Kery
July 31: Contest Winners Announced!

It’s very important that you return the next day to see if you won. If you haven’t contacted me within forty-eight hours of your name being announced, a new winner will be drawn.
That’s it! I hope you enjoy the contest, and thanks for helping spread the word about my upcoming serial erotic contemporary romance from Berkley, BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE!

PLEASE NOTE: You will always find the daily guest author post just beneath this post.

Because You Are Mine!
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I’m finally able to show off my gorgeous covers for the erotic romance serial, BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE. See all 8 covers and check out the blurbs here. All eight books are up now at Amazon, and soon all of them will be at other sites, as well.

This has been such a fun project to work on–and an author first. I just finished the last part and Part I comes out July 31st. A new part comes out every Tuesday, for sort of a fanfic/weekly TV show-type reading experience. Mostly, I’m excited about Ian’s and Francesca’s love story. I’ve lived, thought and dreamed this couple for months now. I feel so close to them.

And…good news! I’m having an awesome BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE contest start very soon, with awesome guest authors like Jaci Burton, Sylvia Day and Julie James! I have great prizes as well, including a Kindle Fire, a Nook, and gift certificates!

Stay tuned for more news on that.

Week by sizzling week, Intermix forecasts the hottest summer on record with an addictive all-new eight-part serial novel of contemporary erotic romance.

From national bestselling author Beth Kery comes Because You Are Mine, an exciting tale of erotic obsession. When they met, the instant attraction was unmistakable…a purely, exquisitely physical charge. Succumbing to their desires is the easy part. But when passion opens the door to an intimacy neither has known, can a man known for being unbendable learn to love?

Be there when Ian and Francesca meet, July 31, 2012. You’ll come back for more.



Steam for the Sophisticated Reader www.BethKery.com Go back to the top