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Naomi Bellina’s winner

My winner is AF Green. Thanks so much to everyone who entered and thanks to TRS for putting on their usual fabulous party!

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Barnes and Noble
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Kobo
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Naomi Bellina

Provocative tales of love, lust, passion and magic

http://www.naomibellina.com/

http://www.facebook.com/NaomiBellinaAuthor

https://twitter.com/TheGoddessNaomi

A shapeshifter attacks

How about one last excerpt today? I hope you’re doing something sweet and Valentiney, even if it’s just for yourself. I’m going to make us some snacks and snuggle with my honey and my cat, the two loves of my life. Thank you so much for joining me at the party! I hope you win lots of goodies.  

 

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An accident gives her vision to see a secret, dangerous group. His job, protect her, whether she wants him to or not. Working together, they might both come out alive.

 

Grabbing her suitcase from the top shelf of her closet, she threw it on the bed and dusted it off. It had been a long time since she’d gone anywhere. She flung clothes from her drawer and started to get dressed, mentally reviewing her hotel options. A look at her checkbook confirmed it would have to be the least expensive one she could find. She added a can of bathroom disinfectant to her pile.

She was nearly dressed when a scratching noise at her front door caused her to start. She stopped what she was doing and held still. Silence. Then the sound started again. Tiptoeing across the room, she looked out the peephole. No one was there. Visitors seldom stopped by and certainly not this early in the morning. She backed away and waited.

If not for the events of the previous two days, Tara would have just opened the door. Now she stood in the living room, heart pounding, wondering what to do. The scratching began once more, louder this time. And was that the sound of breathing she heard?

It couldn’t be Marshall. This subtle approach did not seem to be his style. Was it Denzel? She bit her lip. She had to get out of here. She didn’t have time for delays. She gasped and jumped at the sound of a sudden thump on the door. Her gaze went to her phone, plugged in to charge, all the way across the room. She took a step toward it when the thump came again, this time stronger, as though a large object slammed into the wood. The door, not the sturdiest, shuddered and groaned ominously and she heard the screech of screws pulling loose.

Tara ran the few steps to her bedroom and looked out the window. She could probably jump to the ground with minimal damage but suspected that whatever was on her front step would be able to catch her before she ran too far. Regretting her decision not to own a gun, she bolted to her kitchen and grabbed the largest knife she owned.

With a final bang, the door burst open.

A huge panther stood there, lip turned up in a snarl, a growl coming from low in his throat. Tara clamped her hand over her mouth to stifle a scream, the knife falling to the floor. It would be useless against this beast. The animal approached her, slowly. Tara backed away, heading toward her bedroom. The second door might hold him off a little longer and she would have to take her chances on the ground.

“Good kitty,” she whispered, her throat constricted with terror.

He wasn’t really a good kitty, though. He continued to advance, the growls becoming louder. Tara knew not to look an attacking animal in the eyes, but she couldn’t help herself and when she did she saw rage and deadly intent. This creature meant to kill her. She was almost at her bedroom door when the animal paused. He crouched and licked his lips, his muscles tensed to leap.

A sound like a whip zinged through the air, then the cat gave a yelp and crumpled to the floor. Marshall stood in the doorway, holding the odd weapon she’d previously seen.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She nodded, unable to speak. A smell like ozone filled her nostrils and as she watched, the animal on the floor changed into a man. It wasn’t Denzel and she didn’t recognize the figure.

“Come on, we have to get him out of here before anyone sees us.” Marshall picked up the body and slung him over his shoulders. “Grab my keys out of my right pocket.”

Tara stood stock-still, her feet like blocks of ice. Marshall seemed far away and fuzzy and the room began to turn gray.

“Tara, breathe, now. Two big breaths, come on, don’t faint on me.”

She gulped in air, swallowed twice and the room came back into focus.

“Reach in my pocket and get my car keys. I need to put him in the trunk. We don’t want anyone to see this.” Marshall spoke slowly but Tara heard the urgency in his voice.

Her feet finally cooperated and she walked to him.

“That’s it, reach in this pocket,” he jutted his pelvis toward her, “grab the keys, and go to my Jeep.”

She slipped her hand into the tight pocket, the warmth of his body welcome relief to her cold hand. She was aware of the proximity of her fingers to his man parts. Heat traveled from her hand to the rest of her body and she felt her cheeks flush. She fished out the keys and walked out the ruined door to his vehicle. Birds chirped noisily, welcoming the day, but otherwise the parking lot was silent. She popped the trunk and Marshall deposited the body inside. More blood flowed slowly back to her brain.

 

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 Box set pre-order links:

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http://amzn.to/1fNUczQ  
Barnes and Noble
http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M  
#iTunes
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http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

 

 Naomi Bellina

Provocative tales of love, lust, passion and magic

http://www.naomibellina.com/

http://www.facebook.com/NaomiBellinaAuthor

https://twitter.com/TheGoddessNaomi

 

 

The Power of Three from Witch’s Awakening

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you have something special planned today. Right now, enjoy another excerpt from Witch’s Awakening by Neely Powell.

The Power of Three

Muscles worked in Eva Grace’s throat. Fiona’s eyes filled with tears. Without further ado, they each clasped one of Brenna’s hands and linked together as well.

“Thank the goddess,” Brenna murmured. She glanced over at the cat. “Tasmin? Won’t you join us?”

The tabby slunk toward them, wound herself around their legs several times, sniffing at Fiona’s high-topped sneakers and Eva Grace’s elegant high-heeled sandals before she settled in the middle of their circle like a gray sphinx.

Brenna, Fiona and Eva Grace looked at each other, down at Tasmin, then up at the hall ceiling. Brenna felt her mind falling, blending into the familiar rhythms of the other two women’s thoughts. Eva Grace was open and accepting, but Fiona still held some fear.

Brenna squeezed her sister’s hand. “Let go now. It’s just us. Just as we’ve always been.”

With that, Fiona released her anxieties. The craftsman-style chandelier overhead began to sway. The front screen door banged open as a breeze blew into the hall. The three of them united as only family witches could.

Locking her gaze with Tasmin’s, Brenna said, “Cats do roam and cats do know, all the secrets houses show. Cat, use your powers to search every nook. Find our family’s magic book.”

Tasmin blinked. For a moment, Brenna feared the spell hadn’t worked. Maybe she was wrong about this feline’s abilities. Then the cat meowed, a surly and demanding sound.

As if on cue, books flew off a long, low shelf outside the dining room, making Fiona jump and Eva Grace gasp. Their circle held and at the rear of the top shelf sat the bulging, untidy mess that was The Connelly Book of Magic.

“Oh, good grief,” Brenna muttered. “Only Sarah would hide a book in a bookcase near the front door.”

“She knows us too well,” Eva Grace added. “We always overlook the obvious.”

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Box set pre-order links:

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1fNUczQ
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http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M
#iTunes
https://itun.es/i66T5Z3
Kobo
http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

Neely Powell

Finding love in a world filled with mystery and magic.

http://www.neelypowell.com

http://www.neelypowell.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Writing.partners

Hot lovin’ during a storm… steamy excerpt

It’s late, it’s close to Valentine’s Day, time to get out the hot excerpts. I hope you enjoy this one from Her Wild Protector, coming out March 3rd as part of a box set. This is a great deal and you can pre-order at the links below.

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Tara could tell Marshall and his companions had weathered a few storms together. No one panicked and their relaxed attitude set Tara’s mind at ease. She soon sank into the easy flow of the group, and as she laughed along with them reflected that this was the most fun she’d had in some time. A Scrabble board and a dictionary were produced, along with a Monopoly set, and Tara found out just how knowledgeable her companions were. The competition soon became wicked and Tara joined in wholeheartedly, determined to show these people she was not afraid to play rough.

At around noon they took a pause to make sandwiches and coleslaw, then settled back into the games. Maybe insulating herself from the world to avoid pain was not the best idea, Tara thought as the day went on. It might be time to open her heart, even at the risk of being hurt again. She watched Marshall as they played. He was at ease, his guard down. As she’d suspected, he was a lot of fun and though she knew the alcohol contributed to his high spirits, she also sensed he had an enjoyable personality when he was not under stress and his dark demons took a vacation.

Finally, toward late afternoon, Emma stretched and yawned loudly.

“I’m about ready for a nap,” she said, and turning to her husband, winked broadly.

Even in the dim light Tara saw Craig’s nostrils flare and she could swear the temperature in the room rose ten degrees. He licked his lips and his eyes followed his wife’s movements as her arms rose above her head and her tank top lifted to reveal her bejeweled belly button.

“Anyway, it’s time for the last push on the stock market. We don’t want to miss that, do we, hon? I think we can pick up the report on our cell phone.”

“Stock market?” Tara asked.

Craig chuckled. “You can take the girl out of New York, but you can’t totally take New York out of the girl. She loves her day trading. And she loves a good nap during a storm.”

“It keeps this old girl’s blood flowing,” Emma said, and Tara thought the very air would burst into flame if the looks the two lovebirds traded got any more scorching.

Marshall apparently picked up the same vibes. He cleared his throat.

“We’ll be fine here. You two go on home. We’ll call if anything comes up.”

“Don’t count on that. I’m sure the phone lines are down by now. Just holler out the window if you need us. Try not to.”

They departed, arms wrapped around each other’s waist.

The room suddenly seemed very small. Tara was all too aware of Marshall and their mutual attraction. Her nerve endings were raw and her heightened senses almost on overload. She was suddenly tired of being so timid, of not going after what she really wanted. Right now, she desperately wanted Marshall. She stood and went to him, took his hand and put it on her breast.

“When this is over, I may never see you again,” she said simply.

He gathered her into his arms.

“I know,” he answered and bent to kiss her.

His mouth covered hers hungrily, the touch of his lips lighting a fire in her veins. Her body reacted to his and she pressed into him, moaning with desire. The pull she’d felt since they met grew stronger with this physical contact, and she badly needed to feel the touch of his skin on hers. With shaking hands she began to unbutton his shirt. He felt the same sense of urgency and pushed her away, then ripped the garment off his body.

For just a moment he looked at her intently. Fire burned in those gold-flecked eyes and they seemed to drink her up. Then his lips were on hers again, his tongue exploring her mouth, sending a wave of desire through her body. She returned his kiss with a passion that surprised her. Never had she felt such longing for a man. Her panties were drenched and her nipples were almost painfully hard. She knew part of it was purely physical. Marshall was certainly attractive and sexy, but this intense longing for him came from a place deep in her soul. On some level, she connected completely with this man. Wrapped in his arms was the place she needed to be. Like the yin-yang symbol, they fit together to form a perfect circle.

His hands fumbled with her zipper and they stepped apart again, pulling off the remainder of their clothing. He gazed at her naked body, his chest rising and falling rapidly.

“You are the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen,” he said hoarsely and scooped her into his arms. He pressed his lips to hers again and kissed her all the way to her bedroom. This time he took her mouth with a savage intensity, causing a shiver to run down her spine as she anticipated the ferocity of his desire. She felt him vibrate with a barely contained urgency. He laid her on the bed and kneeled next to it.

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Box set pre-order links:
Amazon
http://amzn.to/1fNUczQ  
Barnes and Noble
http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M  
#iTunes
https://itun.es/i66T5Z3  
Kobo
http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

 

 Naomi Bellina

Provocative tales of love, lust, passion and magic

http://www.naomibellina.com/

http://www.facebook.com/NaomiBellinaAuthor

https://twitter.com/TheGoddessNaomi

 

 

Action and ink

How about some fast-paced action to start the day? Enjoy this excerpt from Misty Simon, author of Wicked Ink. 

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Dark glass shot out from Garrett Ravenwell’s palms as he ran down the alley behind his apartment building. The college student from 4A screamed at the top of her lungs, grappling with the man in the black ski mask who held her by the throat. Garrett’s shards of glass struck true as they bloodied the assailant’s hands, giving the girl a quick second of release.

          “Run,” he yelled to her, but she was already sprinting down the narrow road without looking back.

          “You son of a bitch.” The girl’s attacker shook his bloody hands in front of him, splattering crimson against the brown brick walls.

          “Truer words were never spoken,” Garrett said.

Drawing from the darkness around him and in the man opposite him, he mentally called up a long, double-edged blade into his right hand. A black tribal tattoo from his right bicep slithered down his arm, wrapped around his wrist, and pooled in his palm, materializing as a dagger. He readjusted his shoulders to soothe the crawling sensation as the tattoo did what he’d asked of it. The blade shone midnight black in the dim light of the quarter moon above them.

          The perpetrator started to back away before Garrett had fully gripped the dagger. “Oh no, you’re not getting away that easily,” he said.

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#iTunes
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Misty Simon
http://www.mistysimon.com
Romance with Quirk
http://www.thewholeshebangsite.wordpress.com

 

The kind of Temptation we like

Tonight’s excerpt is again from Neely Powell and the book Witch’s Awakening. It’s called Temptation and it’s a little hot. The way we like it!  Enjoy.

 

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Temptation

 They emerged into the June twilight. “Whoa. I didn’t realize it was so late. Can I buy you something to eat?”

Brenna shook her head. “You need more than food.”

The sparkle of her eyes and the curve of her lips set off a serious ache inside him. Damn, she was tempting. What would she do if he stepped forward, cupped her face in his hands and kissed her? Did she remember their kiss from last night or had she been too tired and too under the influence of Sarah’s magic to be aware?

Her gaze lingered on his, and then moved away. “You need to shift,” she said again as she fumbled in her handbag for her car keys.

The keys jangled to the ground. Jake stooped and reached for them at the same moment Brenna did. A blue arc of light shot out when their fingers touched. His skin tingled and Brenna jerked up. His mouth was inches from hers. It seemed natural to kiss her, so he did.

Oh, she remembered their kiss from last night. He was sure of that now as she gave herself briefly to the same longing he felt.

But she pulled back before the kiss could deepen. “This is not a good idea.”

“Absolutely not,” Jake agreed as he moved away. He straightened and held out her keys, careful not to touch her again. It was an effort, however, because he was picturing her as she’d been in the moonlight last weekend. Proud and naked. Glowing with her power. How would it feel to be inside that magic?

Brenna backed away. “You’ve had an intense few days. You just need to shift and run. You can forget about this…us. I mean, there can’t be an us. I don’t do…”

He held up a hand to silence her. “It’s okay, Brenna. You’re right about this not being a good idea. I’m the sheriff, and we have to get to the bottom of what’s happening in town. We can’t let anything cloud that.”

Did he see a flicker of disappointment in her eyes? It was fleeting and was maybe just his imagination. “Go on,” she urged him. “Go run.”

He stepped back, too, both eager and reluctant to leave her. “Okay, I’m going to shift. You might warn your housecats to stay out of the woods while I do.”

She stepped toward her car. “Do white tigers howl at the moon?”

“Sometimes.”

“Let me know when you pass the house.”

Aching with need, he watched her drive away.

Later, when he was chasing deer through the woods near the Connelly home place, he roared.

Somehow, he knew Brenna heard him.

 

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Box set pre-order links:

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1fNUczQ  
Barnes and Noble
http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M  
#iTunes
https://itun.es/i66T5Z3  
Kobo
http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

 

 

 

 

 

Neely Powell

Finding love in a world filled with mystery and magic.

http://www.neelypowell.com

http://www.neelypowell.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Writing.partners

 

A shapeshifter in a coffee shop

Happy hump day! I’m going to try to schedule this one to post, since I’ll be working a lot on Wednesday. This excerpt takes place as my heroine, Tara, has just figuring out something odd is going on. Enjoy!

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A server took her order, then he leaned in close and lowered his voice.

“When I saw you yesterday, you said something about seeing some kind of light. A blue light. Is that correct?”

“I was having a problem with my eyes. Too much staring at a computer, that’s all.”

“You’re a poor liar, Tara. This is important, so please tell me the truth. You saw me change to another form last night, didn’t you?”

Tara tried to keep her face neutral, but was sure he saw her eyes widen.

“Have you ever seen anyone do that before?” he asked, studying her closely.

She shook her head and he reached over and lightly moved her bangs from her forehead. A tingle danced through her body at his touch.

“You’re hurt. Did this just happen?”

She nodded, speech eluding her.

“Maybe that’s why you could see me change,” he murmured, almost to himself. “I need to talk to you more, find out what you can and can’t see. You’ll have to come with me to a more private place.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” Tara said, finding her voice at last. “Whatever I saw yesterday was a hallucination, from this bump on my head.”

“You’ve been seeing other things, haven’t you?” he asked. “Colors a little off, shadows where they shouldn’t be, flashes of light?”

Tara stared at him, dumbstruck. That was exactly what she’d been experiencing since she hit her head.

“What’s going on? Do I have a serious injury?” Even as she asked the question, she knew that wasn’t the reason for the weirdness she’d witnessed. A blue light had come from this enigmatic man sitting in front of her, not from a figment of her imagination or the bump to her head.

“I can’t tell you any more here. Please, come with me. I promise you’ll be safe.”

“Take off your sunglasses,” she said. There would be no further discussion until she could see past the mirrored surface.

He pulled them off and her jaw dropped. His eyes were extraordinary, a deep emerald color, flecked and ringed with gold. Her own eyes were hazel and had been called beautiful, but were nothing like what she gazed into now.

Then he smiled and she was lost. The face that had struck her as ruggedly handsome now became so sensually appealing, her mouth curved unconsciously. He radiated confidence and warmth, and the sincerity she saw caused her defenses to crumble.

“Please, say you’ll come with me,” he pleaded.

“I…” she began, but stopped as Marshall suddenly stiffened. He swore under his breath and she followed his gaze to a man who had just walked into the shop.

“We should go. Now,” he said in a quiet voice, and put his glasses back on.

The man stepped up to the counter and spoke to the cashier, then turned to look at them. He smiled at Marshall, and as he did, his features changed swiftly. His face and form shifted until suddenly, a large cheetah was standing a few yards away, holding a paper cup.

Yet he was not just a cat. This creature was part animal, part man, and totally freaky. Tara’s blood froze.  She yelped, and then jumped up from the table, spilling her coffee.

“Don’t move. Sit down,” Marshall said quietly, urgency in his voice.

She put her hand over her mouth.

A scream threatened to emerge and Tara couldn’t understand why no one else in the shop seemed concerned that there was a wild animal in their midst.

“Sit down,” Marshall said in a deep, low voice that was almost a growl.

“Th-that man,” she stuttered.

“I know. Sit down and look away before he sees you looking.”

It was too late. Cheetah Guy stared right at her. She took a step back and knocked over her chair. His eyebrows drew together initially in puzzlement, but in a moment his gold eyes flared with anger. He lifted a lip in a snarl, showing long, pointed teeth. Tara let out a shriek.

Marshall put a hand on her arm but Tara shook it off, grabbed her purse and ran to the door. To her horror, the large cat followed with Marshall right behind.

Regretting her decision not to drive, Tara pushed open the door, kicked up her heels and ran. She was halfway across the parking lot when she heard Marshall yell.

“Get down!”

Tara whirled and saw a figure standing halfway between her and the coffee shop, pointing an object that looked like a gun directly at her. It was the man from the coffee shop, no longer in cat form. She had never seen him before in her life but she knew he intended to kill her.

All this registered in a split second. Without thinking, she dove under the nearest car, as a strange sound zinged through the air. She felt a crackle of electricity, almost like the electrical shock she’d received two days before. From beneath the vehicle she saw the man’s feet as he ran toward her. Did he just fire that odd-looking gun at her? She heard Marshall’s voice again.

“Stop! Back away.”

She slid out a tiny bit to see Marshall pointing a weapon at the man.

“You’re not going to shoot me,” he said, then pointed his odd-looking gun behind Marshall. “You do, and I’ll blow up that building and everyone in it, I swear.”

The man kept the weapon pointed at Marshall and backed away, then turned and ran.

Marshall started to run after him, but stopped and headed toward Tara instead.

“Are you all right?” he asked as she dragged herself out from under the vehicle.

“I’m fine, don’t worry about me. Go get him!”

*********************

Box set pre-order links:

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1fNUczQ
Barnes and Noble
http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M
#iTunes
https://itun.es/i66T5Z3
Kobo
http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

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Naomi Bellina

Provocative tales of love, lust, passion and magic

http://www.naomibellina.com/

http://www.facebook.com/NaomiBellinaAuthor

https://twitter.com/TheGoddessNaomi

Tai Chi in paradise

Happy Wednesday! Here’s another post from (cue the creepy music):

 

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That’s right, the Paranormal Urban Fantasy box set, coming your way March 3rd. This excerpt is from my book, Her Wild Protector and involves Tai Chi. Marshall looks mighty fine doing the exercise and I had fun picturing it in my head. Enjoy!

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Once in bed, Tara tossed and turned for twenty minutes. Due to her heightened senses, she could still faintly smell Marshall’s scent on her skin even after a shower. The memory of the hard muscles of his chest pressed against her infused her body with heat. Knowing he was in the next room and they were separated by only a bit of drywall added to her discomfort. She wondered what he wore in bed. With a heavy sigh, she willed her mind to think of something else. Like the fact that a dangerous man wanted to kill her. Her heart sped up and she admonished herself. Think of something boring, like those audit reports. Focusing on that dreary line of thought, she eventually drifted off to sleep.

***

The sound of a shutter flapping woke Tara, and after an initial moment of confusion, she remembered where she was. From her cozy spot in bed she could look out the window and see palm trees swaying in the breeze. A strong wind had arisen. She pulled on some clothes and followed a delicious aroma to the kitchen where a still-warm pot of coffee awaited. She poured a cup and went to the back porch.

Marshall was in the yard doing some type of exercise. She stood in the doorway and watched, enjoying the lithe movements he performed. Most men she knew looked like unemployed slobs in sweatpants, but Marshall wore them well.

“You’re welcome to join me,” he called.

Tara felt a moment of embarrassment at being caught in her observation. Did this man have eyes in the back of his head?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. What are you doing?”

“This is tai chi, a Chinese martial art.” He continued the slow, graceful movements.

“That’s a martial art? It looks more like yoga on barbiturates.”

“It’s really a meditative exercise using circular stretching movements and balancing positions, if you want the technical definition, but it is considered a form of martial art. Come here, I’ll show you a few movements.”

“Uh, no, I’m not very coordinated. Remember? I tripped and hit my head, that’s why I’m here.”

“This will help with your coordination.”

“There’s too much wind. I’m smaller than you, I’ll blow over. Is a storm coming up?”

“Yes, there is one headed our way, which is why it’s a good idea for us to be calm and centered. That’s what tai chi does. We’ll only perform the positions that keep both feet on the ground. Come on, you’ll enjoy it. Trust me.”

Marshall held out his hand and despite her reluctance, Tara was intrigued. She hadn’t lied; she was essentially clumsy. He looked so graceful, however, that she couldn’t resist giving this new exercise a try. Besides, she suspected physical contact might be involved and however brief, it would be delicious.

Following his lead, Tara put her body in the first position he showed her. He adjusted her posture slightly, setting off little sparks where his fingers touched her skin. They shifted to the next position and Tara was surprised at the amount of energy it took to hold each one. He then had her combine several positions and they flowed through them slowly together.

“You’re a quick learner,” he said. They were now up to eight forms. “So why is a good-looking, smart woman like you all alone?” he asked as they glided along. The movements were so slow and precise she had to concentrate fully on what she was doing.

“Maybe I enjoy being alone,” she said.

“Maybe. I think you’ve been through a bad experience with a man and now you’re stuck and having a hard time moving on to the next stage.”

“You’ve been poking around in my business, I see.” Ordinarily, this comment would have pissed her off enough to start an argument. Moving her body in this graceful manner produced a feeling of calmness, however, and she continued with the exercise.

 Box set pre-order links:

Amazon
http://amzn.to/1fNUczQ  
Barnes and Noble
http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M  
#iTunes
https://itun.es/i66T5Z3  
Kobo
http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

 

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Naomi Bellina

Provocative tales of love, lust, passion and magic

http://www.naomibellina.com/

http://www.facebook.com/NaomiBellinaAuthor

https://twitter.com/TheGoddessNaomi

  

 

 

 

Reap and Repent…an awesome Paranormal/Urban Fantasy tale

This excerpt comes from Reap and Repent, part of the

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Do you like the cool logo I made? I’m reading Reap and Repent now and can’t wait to climb into bed to see what happens next. Enjoy the excerpt!

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Prologue

 

What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him. 

 

For all that’s holy, move the hell along already.

 

It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.

 

He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.

 

He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain. While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare.

 

When it got topside, a demon’s M.O. was to steal a human body, poach a few souls from the dead and dying, and then make its merry way back to Hell, taking its host’s soul along for the ride. The only way to save the souls a poacher was carrying was to behead the host with a scythe. Not a pretty thing to do, but the poor suckers were too far gone by then to survive anyway. No human could withstand the pressures of being ridden by a demon. And it was worth it to save a handful of souls, not to mention inconveniencing the demon.

 

Deacon refused to lose any souls from his territory. At all.

 

So far the score was Deacon, 3. Demons, 0.

 

As a reaper, carrying souls to Purgatory for judgment was his job and he wasn’t about to cede his territory to poachers who used up their hosts like they were disposable Tupperware. So now, in addition to his normal day job, he also had to keep an eye out for more demon invaders.

 

While demons burned through most human hosts in a matter of days, some in a matter of hours, they had discovered long ago that under the right circumstances they could ride a reaper. Of course, they couldn’t just worm their way in like they did with humans—they had to be invited. But once a deal was struck? They were in.

 

And reapers? Yeah, they could hang on for decades inside a reaper. Deacon knew that fact firsthand.

 

His stomach twisted at the thought, but he shook it off, looking ahead with a heavy sigh.

 

Seriously, this line? Still. Not. Moving?

 

God, he needed a freakin’ vacation. Extended. He dragged a hand through his hair in frustration as his mind flipped through postcard-esque locations of reapings past. He snarled at the thought of New Orleans in summer. He would definitely want to go someplace cool—cool as in frigid, not hip. He was sick of the heat, and it was only the beginning of summer in the semitropical Midwest.

 

Come to think of it, he was sick of a lot of things.

 

This place was high on the list. It was as hot as…well, Hell actually. Or at least what he imagined Hell to be, although he’d never actually been there. Thank God.

 

Steam rose from random cracks in the stone floor of the underground station, veiling the place in a humid sulfur stench.

 

He pushed forward, finally making his way to the front to deposit his cargo of souls. He didn’t bother chatting. In. Out. Move on. It was a motto that served him well.

 

Mission completed, he hustled through the crowd, forgoing the bar-side frivolity of some of the more socially inclined reapers and their small talk about their glory days in the field or—even better—the missteps of the newest reapers. Newbies often tested their limits to humorous if not disastrous effect at least once in their early careers. That was exactly why new reapers had mentors or at least worked in teams. From all the laughter, he could tell that the stories were good ones. It didn’t tempt him.

 

He slapped his palm against the black granite monolith and flashed out of Purgatory to what he prayed was his last stop of the day.

 

Urban Fantasy & Paranormal  Box Set 3D medium

 

BUY LINKS: Reap & Repent is available March 3, 2014 in a Harlequin E Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Box Set with the works of three other amazing new Harlequin authors! Reap & Repent will be available for single-title release June 2, 2014.

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A Ghostly Encounter

 

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As promised, here’s an excerpt from another book in the Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Box Set coming out in March from HarlequinE. This one is from Witch’s Awakening by Neely Powell

 

 

“Get help,” she screamed at Jake. “She’s dying.”

He grabbed the radio off his hip and called for an ambulance.

Eva Grace knelt on Doris’s other side. She put her hand on top of Brenna’s and closed her eyes. Jake could see her lips moving. Brenna began to murmur in rhythm with her cousin. The pool of blood under the older witch stopped growing. Delia dropped down beside Brenna and took over the pressure on Doris’s neck. Brenna sagged back, her shirt wet with perspiration.

Jake pulled her to her feet. “Are you okay?”

Brenna shook her head. “She can’t die. She just can’t.”

A siren sounded in the distance and Maggie ran outside. The rest of the coven joined hands, voices rising in a chant that Jake couldn’t understand. Ancient words. Healing magic.

A wave of power rippled through the room. Frances fell to her knees, clutching her chest.

Beside her a woman dressed in white rose up from the wooden floor. She was blond and pale. Her features were beautiful, yet terrifying. Exactly as Brenna had described her to him.

The Woman in White.

She pointed at Sarah.

Sarah raised the wand. “Leave us be. You’ve taken enough from our family. No more.”

“I will have my tribute,” the ghost roared. “I will have what is mine.”

Before Jake could grab her, Brenna wrenched away from him and took Sarah’s hand. A streak of fire pushed out of the wand.

The ghost flitted back. “Damn you, Sarah Connelly, I will have what is mine!”

Sarah pulled the wand back against her chest. With one hand still joined with Brenna’s she again swept the wand forward. Small balls of magic pelted the ghost.

The Woman shrieked in pain, an awful sound that pierced Jake’s skull. He winced and saw Brenna stagger.

But she didn’t fall. She held tight to Sarah. When the wand flashed again, there was a loud pop. The ghost was gone.

Brenna and Sarah fell against each other, gasping. The wand’s light disappeared.

***************************

Neely Powell

Finding love in a world filled with mystery and magic.

http://www.neelypowell.com

http://www.neelypowell.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Writing.partners

 

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 Box set pre-order links:

Amazon
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Barnes and Noble
http://bit.ly/1gz4x7M  
#iTunes
https://itun.es/i66T5Z3  
Kobo
http://bit.ly/1bsKT92

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