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Meet Me in the Mating Arena

With rock-hard fortitude, Marohka Taunton battles to maintain her position as top mineralogist and refuses to see why she should marry even if the law requires she take a mate. Fighting her attraction for Stihl Fermesium, she struggles to save her father’s company.

Stihl, determined to win her as his mate, is faced with the commission deal of a lifetime and needs the money to save his family land. He wrestles with her emotional resistance and discovers someone other than Marohka is unhappy about their union. In fact, they want to separate them in the most basic of ways, death.

 Excerpt -

Palms sweaty—heart steady—battle ready—Marohka reviewed her strategy for the fight. A crowd sat watching her from the observation deck. One of the elders read the rules over the loud speaker. “The person who pins his or her opponent for ten itons . . .”
Her gaze darted to the man standing in the middle of the mating arena. Orange padded walls framed Stihl’s body. Sizewise, he stood over four leg-lengths’ tall, giving him a half of leg advantage. Weightwise, he out matched her by at least a hundred pounds. Yet, neither his size nor his weight worried her. She’d beaten bigger men before at the gym where she worked out.
Bigger, but soft, she amended.
Under his  skintight workout suit, she recognized a strong athletic man who worked out regularly. Her stomach churned at his muscle mass. The odds of her winning against a seasoned opponent ground to zero.
A blinding  force of reality struck her—she could lose.
Unwilling to  accept the possibility, she struggled with a way to win. She had two options, trick him with a fast maneuver or draw blood. Per the rules, any blood spilled disqualified him. Then, if she were lucky, the match over, and she’d be free forever.
She smiled at  the reassuring thought. A strangely sweet odor hit her senses. With a quick  glance at her target, she caught sight of his mischievous grin. A dimple flashed from the corner of his mouth.
Recognition  dawned. Her opponent, none other than the guy by the staircase last night, winked at her. A fleeting notion sped through her head. Does she really want to win?
“Marohka Taunton  meet your future mate, Stihl Fermesium,” the formal voice rang from the speakers.
With a nod of  greeting, Marohka placed herself under tight control. Every muscle on alert, she waited for the contest to begin. She clenched her teeth to hide the spark of fear vibrating through her nervous system.
“Now after being introduced and read the rules, let’s see a fair fight.”
“Looks like you  were wrong. It’s not over.” Stihl grinned.
She shifted into her fighting stance. Knees bent, one  foot a step behind the other. She pictured ways to defeat him. “It soon will

Read First Chapter of “Mating Rituals”
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Tina Gayle’s “Mating Rituals” – Rules of The Ball

“All right, ladies, please line up for the final event of the evening–The Ladies Parade,” a voice boomed from the speakers. “Give your partner a smile and a curtsy, and then ascend the stairs to the stage area.”
“Right,” Marohka reasoned, “like I need any man.”
Harold, the father presenter, liked to follow the old habit of bowing to one’s partner. The custom to him added romance and grandeur to the evening. She could’ve told him differently, but with him being an old stick from a bygone era and a hopeless romantic, he wouldn’t have listened.
“Now, gentlemen, here are the rules. Although, you might know them, I’ll restate them again so no problems will occur because you forgot what you’re supposed to do.” Harold paused a moment and scanned the crowd. “So listen carefully.”
Marohka and the other girls started up both sides of the twin staircases. Harold stood at the top of the landing, dressed in his usual green plaid suit. His cheeks colored with his excitement.
“Each one of these lovely ladies will be carrying a small placard with a number printed on it.” Harold showed them a sample card. “The number is not how many mates she desires.” The crowd broke into the expected laughter. Harold grinned.
She wished her sign displayed a zero. Even one man was more than she needed. All evening, she’d avoided them. If a man approached, she offered him a rude comment and walked away to prove her lack of interest in catching a mate.
“If you’re attracted to a certain lady and want to meet her in the mating arena, take note of her number. If you write down the wrong number, you’ll be matched with a different girl, which would result in an unwelcome surprise.” Harold released a small cough of humor.
“You can choose three women. In the end, however, you’ll only be mated with one.”
A good-natured roar of disappointment exploded from the men in the hall. Marohka rolled her eyes at the typical male response.
Harold sighed. “Sorry, boys, that’s the rule. The Council of Elders will determine which girl on your list will become your mate. Then it’s up to you to pass the next challenges. The first duel is at three sharp in the battling arena. Be sure to check the schedule. If you miss your fight time, you’ll be out of the running and will have to wait until next year.”
Turning to the girls standing beside him, Harold added. “Ladies, don’t worry. An escort will be sent to your room to make sure you arrive on time.”
As the oldest unmated girl, Marohka stood at the front of the line. Her future suspended on the edge of success. She’d led the other girls down the red carpet, along the edge of the dance floor, through the ballroom, and then back up the twin staircase on the other side of the room many times. She drew in a deep breath, preparing for her final steps to freedom.
Harold glanced at her and nodded. “At the top of the list from the Taunton family is our special princess, Marohka. A smart girl, she’ll offer any man a stimulating adventure, where life will never be boring. She works hard and . . .”
Stepping forward, she cut off Harold’s words by moving off the stage and out of the spotlight. She detested the Royal Presenter selling her to these men. With her job of finding qualtrilium and keeping her father’s company afloat, she had all the challenges she needed in life.
Lustralia’s law might require Royal girls to be present at the charade. But with this being her final year of mandatory attendance, victory stood in sight. All she had to do was navigate the man-infested waters between here and the staircase on the other side of the room. Freedom waited.
She reached the bottom of the staircase. Her path led her past a legion of men. From tall, dark, and handsome to fair-haired wonders, an array of eligible men lined her route. Dressed in fine, silk coats and tight fitted pants, they represented hundreds of Royal families across the great land. All showed excellent breeding and genteel manners. Any one of them would make a good mate to the girls behind her, but none tempted her to lose her freedom.
Staring straight ahead, she avoided eye contact with every man she passed. Moving along the edge of the dance floor, she wove her way back and forth across the assigned path. Her steps, jerky and clumsy, she hid her natural smooth gait. No man, in his right mind, craved an ungraceful wife. At least, she hoped not.
With the stairs a few steps ahead, she tasted victory and allowed herself a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness.”
A masculine voice in front of her chuckled. “It’s not over yet, princess.”
Read First Chapter of “Mating Rituals”
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Five reasons I love mythology-based paranormals


For a writer, the stuff of myth and legend is treasure. Pure story gold. Heroes and heroines who don’t simply embody the hero archetype, they invented it. Here are a few reasons I love paranormals based on mythology:

  1. Myths are classic. They’re the originals. The stories most every other story is based upon in some way.
  1. Immortality. Immortals particularly intrigue me. Existing since the dawn of time tends to lend interest to a character, doesn’t it? They’ve seen it all, done it all, but still have to keep up with the latest.
  1. Different versions of myths. Not all legends are the same, even about the same character. It allows for a little, ahem, leeway for writers. Some creative license. Room to play–expand the character traits, place them in situations they’ve never before faced.
  1. Kickass heroes to make you swoon. Don’t you love them? Alpha males with special talents or powers. When paired with a strong females who can bring them to their knees, the sparks fly off the page!
  1. The coolness factor. They may be old school, but immortals in the present have rock star cool. By definition, an immortal would still exist in present time, and I love nothing better than placing an ancient character in a modern setting — like Satan (though in this story, I used his very old mythological name of Lord Plouton).

I am not, however, a fan of stereotypes. I love to mix it up. Sometimes a lot! My Kensington release, Goddess, Awakened, isn’t strictly written around mythology. I mixed in a little fantasy, some intelligent and intuitive (not to mention adorable) animals, a modern heroine and a brooding, intelligent veterinarian who has more hero in him than he suspects, all in a magical setting of the small Pennsylvania town of Boiling Springs (a real town, but without the mysterious ley line!).

What about you? Do you love a little mythology mixed in your paranormals?


Goddess, Awakened

The Goddess Connection Book 1

Fantasy/paranormal romance novel

About 89,700 words

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | Kensington

About the Author

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Contact Details

Website: http://catemasters.blogspot.com

Email: cate.masters@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts

Twitter: @CateMasters

Doctor Who meets Romantic-Comedy in Leaving Who


After touring the universe with the sometimes inept time traveler John Smith, Cici Connors wants one more thing—to go home. Will the imminent destruction of Earth throw a kink into her plans?


“You want…more than…me?”

His wide eyes and quivering lip betrayed how stunned John Smith was by my revelation, but somehow he still sounded indignant. The depth of his self-love knew no bounds. I could see the first Doctor booming such an arrogant statement to his companions who, of course, would reply apologetically, “Right you are. You know what’s best, Doctor.”

But he didn’t always. And neither did my traveling companion. Sure, watching the embers of the universe flicker until they were no brighter than a dying campfire did bring a tear to my eye—but so did a good chick flick and PMS. After so many wondrous sights, I’d become jaded and bored. My Doctor substitute didn’t seem to get it. I took another stab.

“Yes, I need more than just endless travels, endless fascinating sights. I need structure and routine occasionally.” I spun around on him and gestured wildly. “I need to be with people who love me for who I am—and don’t try to pawn me off on an interstellar slave trader in payment for a rickety transmat booth.”

He glared down his nose at me. “I explained that to you thoroughly, Cici. It was an attempt to get him to lower the price. No one should have to pay that much for such substandard transport.”

“You’re damn right!” My voice rose an octave, echoing off the transparent dome above us. “It was worse than substandard. I’m still picking the splinters of wood bark out of my hair. As much as I love to hug trees, rematerializing inside a trunk isn’t something I ever want to attempt again.”

Leaving Who –available in e-formats, Kindle and trade paperback from Mojocastle Press

by Cynthiannahttp://www.cynthianna.com

Getting It Right by Zenobia Renquist

So that’s it for the Fey Holidays. Perhaps there are readers in the mood for something that isn’t Christmas-y. How about something from the realm of anime? Tentacle monsters, perhaps?

I’m revisiting the world I created in Taking It Back to bring you Haruto’s story. Readers asked what happened to him and now it’s time to find out.

Getting It Right by Zenobia Renquist

Getting It Right

by Zenobia Renquist

[Erotic Shifter Interracial/Multicultural Romance, MF]

He got grabby but it’ll take more than that to keep her.

Haruto’s first attempt to secure a mate failed, leaving him on the brink of death. And then he met Janine. Claiming her saves his life but Haruto and Janine both come to realize the bond they share is more than a simple cure. Learning to be a couple is the only option because the magic won’t let them live without each other.

Buy Now
Changeling Press

Read Chapter One Online

Hot Excerpt Ahead

Did you see the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special?

If you did–what did you think of it?

I’m not giving out any spoilers (in case you’ve not seen it yet) but I’ll post a bit from my Doctor Who inspired romantic-comedy, Loving Who instead. Enjoy! ;)

Loving Who by Cynthianna
Loving Who
by Cynthianna


Available in e-formats and in print at Mojocastle Press. Also available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.

The man…the magic…the movie?

Cici Connor’s life will never be the same when she takes a mysterious Brit into her bed and her life begins to change… possibly for the better. After all, how many alien assassins tracking her does one girl need?

An excerpt from Loving Who:

That’s how it all began. A week later, ‘John Smith’ sat next to me on my slate-blue sofa with a bowl of microwave popcorn balanced on his lap. His eyes seemed glued to the TV screen as if it was the most wonderful invention to come to St. Louis since the introduction of microwaveable toasted ravioli.

“The crazy things that bloke gets up to,” he murmured as the credits began to roll on the third episode of the latest series. “Quite unbelievable at times.”

I laughed. “That’s why it’s called science fiction. It sure the heck isn’t science fact.”

Suddenly those big brown eyes of his bore into mine. “You enjoy studying the sciences, don’t you?”

I swallowed hard. How did he know? I nodded automatically. “Yeah, sure I do. I didn’t get a chance to study any science in depth in college, but I’ve always had a layperson’s fascination with all things astronomical.”

“Yes, I noticed your Amateur Astronomer certificate on the wall when we came in. It hangs beside the bookshelf containing an astrolabe, a year’s worth of Sky and Telescope, and the hardback edition of Stephen Hawking’s’ A Complete History of Time.

Whoa. This John Smith was much more observant that I had credited him. Here I thought for the last three hours he’d been simply enjoying my TiVoed episodes of Doctor Who. Instead, he’d been scoping out my apartment.

“You know what an astrolabe is?” I wondered aloud. Most of my friends had mistaken it for an unsually shaped, miniature telescope.

He frowned, puzzled. “Of course I know what an astrolabe is.”

A chill raced down my spine. Perhaps bringing this handsome stranger home hadn’t been such a good idea after all…

“Is your fascination with the heavens why you’ve become such a fanatic over a television program about a time traveler?” he asked.

I blinked, but still I found myself glued to the spot. “Partly. Mostly it’s pure escapism for me. I have to have something in life that will rescue me from this dreary existence occasionally. Doctor Who is a godsend.”

Even when it went off the air for a decade?”

“Even then. There were the books, the conventions, the awful TV movie and the fans. The fans are the best. I’ve met a lot of lovely Doctor Who fans over the years. They’ve cheered me up enormously when I was down and out between jobs and husbands. When Southwestern Bell transferred me here from Dallas I didn’t know a soul, but the local fans soon became my family. I’m not alone in the universe as long as I know there are others out there who like the same thing I do.”

“Hmm.” He scratched his chin thoughtfully. He seemed to be seriously contemplating my heartfelt disclosure. “Then why do you frequent dodgy establishments such as the place I found you in earlier today?”

I blushed and averted my gaze. It was time to spill the beans, to let him in on the underlying motivation for bringing him back to my place. I suddenly felt ashamed of my actions. I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.

“Cici? Is there something you’d like to tell me?”

His voice sounded soft, yet demanding. He placed a hand under my chin and tilted my face until his penetrating eyes meet mine once more. My heart began to race and my breathing became ragged. His prying eyes continued to probe the depths of my soul. Every fiber of my being burned with a desire to make a clean start of our relationship.

“Okay, you caught me,” I confessed with a sigh. “We need you to star in our fan film. You’re a dead ringer for the Doctor. My plan involved kidnapping and seducing you, forcing you to stay in town for a while so we could film our friend Sammy’s screenplay. He’s terminally ill. We want him to see his movie idea made before he passes on. That’s all. I promise.

- See more at: http://www.mojocastle.com/erotica-writers/cynthianna/loving-who.html

An excerpt

Heat up your holidays with a bad boy angel

xGround-Rules-SMCan a bad boy angel and a dispirited mortal find a Christmas miracle together?

Luke, newly promoted to Watcher Angel, has been watching one human too closely—Alice. Unfortunately, she’s now his latest assignment. Good thing the ground rules forbid getting involved with a human.

Alice Garner scores a great contract to illustrate a children’s book by a famous author, but lack of inspiration forces her to cancel her holiday plans. Alone on Christmas to meet her looming deadline, Alice wishes on her treetop angel for help. She wasn’t expecting an angel to answer, especially one as surly as Luke.

As they try to restore Christmas cheer to another, Luke brings Alice more than inspiration. He reawakens her heart. Now Alice has to convince him he’s her greatest wish. With a little Christmas magic, can she convince him to break the ground rules and stay?


My Christmas fantasy, Ground Rules is now revised and re-released!

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/366969

Amazon:   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FV2LW3G


I hope you’ll pop over to my blog for the excerpt, Casting Call, book video and more: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/2009/08/ground-rules-christmas-fantasy.html


Reviewers said: “A perfect love story with a little hint of Christmas…

This was such a short, sweet, light-hearted story about finding love, even if you’re not looking. Ms. Masters took a simple love story and made it magical, drawing the reader into the world where angels can make your dreams come true. And the fact that Luke could make a mean margarita certainly didn’t hurt, either. I’m a sucker for a Christmas story – throw in a hot angel on a Harley and we’ve got a party!”


and “Luke is the Harley, hunky not-like-you’ve-seen-before Angel. Had his heart broken and doesn’t want to listen to his heart.  It reminded me of It’s a Wonderful Life with a love twist. If you want a good book to get you into the spirit of Christmas and miracles I recommend Ground Rules.”


and “This fun fantasy tale will keep you reading and waiting to see just what happens next. I didn’t see this ending coming, and I consider that an accomplishment for the author.”


Here’s an excerpt:

Rankled by her doubt, or maybe his inability to convince her, Luke heaved a sharp breath. Of all the bloody things to bring up, she had to ask about the wings. He hated to bend the truth—okay, he’d outright lied—but lesser angels deserved equal respect too.

“You don’t believe me? Do you really need the flash? The ridiculous special effects?” He hadn’t yet mastered those. If she demanded it, his demonstration would wilt her belief in an instant.

Her frustration apparently equaled his. With a wary look, she sat up and fingered the edge of a pillow. “It’s just that… you don’t look like an….” Brow furrowed, she swept her gaze over him. “If anything, you look more like a rock star.”

There you go, love. That’s more like it. Yes, given his love of music, a rock star made a fitting comparison. But he’d tolerate no others.

Lifting her feet, he rested against the sofa and laid her ankles across his lap. “Perhaps you were expecting Clarence from It’s A Wonderful Life? I don’t go in for theatrics. And don’t get any ideas about jumping into a freezing river. I don’t do cold water rescues either. Or rescues in general.” Though Peter would applaud the movie reenactment.

Sarcasm tainted her tone. “Well, that’s not very helpful, is it?”

“You’re the one who called. And at the last minute, mind you. It’s nearly Christmas Day. Most people put their requests in much earlier than a week ahead of time.” If she had, Peter would undoubtedly have sent someone else, someone more qualified to help her. Someone more objective about her.

Though Luke had to admit, she was even more adorable when angry. And the smooth curve of her ankles drew his attention to her toenails, painted cotton candy pink. His tongue darted to his teeth, wanting to taste each toe. Strange, he hadn’t had a notion like that in all his otherworldly days.

Somber, she drew her feet beneath her. “I see. If I wanted the best, I should have asked earlier?”

A tough cookie, indeed. “Hey, I’m here. Not willingly, rest assured. But everyone else had already been dispatched.”

Hugging the pillow, she took an unusual interest in its fabric. Looking up, triumph lit her eyes. “If you’re really an angel, then how, exactly, did I ask?”

Here we go. Heaving a sigh, he stood. “If we must go through this futile exercise…you stood by the tree.”

To appease her—and hoping the distance would remove his temptation to taste her toes or any other part of her—he traveled in a whoosh through a tunnel of prismatic light to stand beside the decorated fir. “Here. You said you couldn’t take one more night alone, too much work, yadda yadda yadda.”

Repeating every word might remind her too much of her sadness. And he’d forgotten the drudgery of human life, how day upon day could wear down a soul.

Her brows furrowed. “Save the sarcasm. It’s not very angelic.”

Yes, the label sounded preposterous, he had to admit, when applied to him. “Have I left anything out?”

Her lower lip curled, an adorable pout. “Yes. Your sensitivity.”

“Eons ago, babycakes.” He wouldn’t tell her his fiancée had murdered it.


Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at: cate.masters@gmail.com

Catch up to Cate

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Excerpt: Adrienne by D. Renee Bagby

Adrienne by D. Renee BagbyAdrienne by D. Renee Bagby
[Fantasy Romance, MF]

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Novel

Their uneasy alliance could lead to love–if the demon will allow it.

Melchior, King of the Bhresyas, is quickly growing tired of the war between his kind and the humans who view them as demons. He proposes a peace treaty with the most powerful human kingdom. His only stipulation? Once she comes of age, the human queen’s daughter must be his bride.
Serenity has spent her entire life preparing for her role at Melchior’s side. Other women might be frightened, but she embraces her destiny, knowing in her heart that she and Melchior have been twined together by fate.
While he wants cooperation between their two peoples, his union with Serenity cannot and should not lead to love. The more she tries to bring them together, the harder he pushes her away—until she lands in the arms of those who would do her harm.
Love is the answer. But before Melchior admits to his, it may be too late.

Read Chp1 Online:
Buy eBook Now:
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Excerpt #1 – Compromise:

Malik closed the gap between them, his body a hair’s breadth from hers. He bent his head and held her eyes in an unbreakable gaze. “None shall harm you so long as I rule here,” he vowed. “None would dare try.”
Adrienne swallowed. She tried to turn her eyes away from his and realized she couldn’t. She felt as helpless now as when Josh and Greg grabbed her, but Malik hadn’t touched her. He hadn’t impeded her escape in any way—except she couldn’t break eye contact or run.
“You can’t force me,” she said with a conviction she didn’t feel. “No priest, or whatever, will marry us if I don’t say yes.”
Malik moved his hand to her cheek and she flinched. “The Mage Guild master needs to hear nothing from you, Adrienne. She does not need your consent and will not ask for it. All she needs to know is that the spell my ancestor cast found you.”
All of a sudden, Adrienne could look away from Malik. She tore her gaze from his with relief and didn’t question why she’d held it as long as she had. Malik had done something to her, nothing else made sense.
“I don’t want this. I don’t know you,” she said in the barest of whispers.
“You will come to know me after the wedding,” he said matter-of-factly. He moved his hand from her cheek to cup her chin, though he didn’t make her look up at him. His thumb rubbed gently over her cheek. “Now that I have found you, I will not hesitate to make you mine.”
The feeling of paralysis returned. She wanted to turn out of his grasp but couldn’t.
“Just like them,” she whispered.
Adrienne looked up at him, proving herself wrong. She could move, just not away from him. “Josh and his friend, the guys you killed. Josh wanted me to do what he wanted—what was in his best interest. To hell with how that would make me look or what would happen to me.” Her gaze bore into his. “When I refused… Well, you interrupted what happened when I refused. Funny how this time I doubt someone’s going to jump out of nowhere and stab you with a sword.”
Malik’s hand dropped from her chin. Remembering his parents had hurt, but Adrienne’s words hurt worse. He didn’t want to be compared to the men who had attacked her. They’d wanted to hurt her. He offered her the life and the privilege of a queen, and her only concern was the vague possibility of an assassination attempt in the far-off future. He knew it would only be an attempt, since he planned to protect her.
The first person he needed to protect her from was himself and his lust. In his bid to keep her near him, he had used a light paralysis spell—involuntarily. He hadn’t meant to call the magicks, but neither did he stop them. Adrienne’s comparison held a ring of truth. She had refused him and he immobilized her with the intention of…
No, he wouldn’t have. She had to be pure on their wedding day. He knew her to be pure now—his magicks had discerned this while he healed her. He looked forward to introducing her to the carnal side of life and had hoped such an experience—an awakening—would happen tonight after their wedding ceremony, once he had calmed her fears.
“One week,” he said as he stepped back from her.
He took another step back. Being so close to her made him want to forget the ceremony and Derex’s rules and have her at that moment. Such wants were dangerous when his magicks seemed to be heeding subconscious promptings.
“I will give you one week to grow used to Ulan and life on Bron.”
“If I don’t, then what?” she asked, hope coloring her words.
“Regardless of whether you have come to accept your situation here or not, in one week you will marry me.”
“And to hell with what I want, huh?”
Malik moved to the bedroom door. He put his hand on the knob and turned back to look at Adrienne. She glared at him. Heat licked at his skin, painful heat.
The heat, a familiar feeling for him, belonged to Adrienne. She was angry.
“Once we are wed, your opinion and happiness will be important to me above everything else. However, I cannot let your momentary upset and disorientation hinder me from keeping the kingdom my parents died for.”
He watched a tear slip down Adrienne’s cheek and steeled himself against the pain it caused him. His time had run out and he couldn’t handle this in any other fashion.
A week would test the limits of his control. The small amount of time it took him to explain his past and Adrienne’s future had him wanting to rip the clothing from her body and run his tongue over her skin. He’d almost made good on the urge three times that he remembered. A week was all the time he could give her and hope to remain noble. He knew she would understand one day. Until then, he planned to make her comfortable and happy.

Read Chp1 Online:
Buy eBook Now:
Samhain :: ARe :: Kindle :: Nook
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Samhain :: Amazon :: B&N

D. Renee Bagby
Building New Realms of Passion…

Excerpt #2: Serenity by D. Renee Bagby

Serenity by D. Renee BagbySerenity by D. Renee Bagby
[Fantasy Romance, MF]

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Novel

Their uneasy alliance could lead to love–if the demon will allow it.

Melchior, King of the Bhresyas, is quickly growing tired of the war between his kind and the humans who view them as demons. He proposes a peace treaty with the most powerful human kingdom. His only stipulation? Once she comes of age, the human queen’s daughter must be his bride.
Serenity has spent her entire life preparing for her role at Melchior’s side. Other women might be frightened, but she embraces her destiny, knowing in her heart that she and Melchior have been twined together by fate.
While he wants cooperation between their two peoples, his union with Serenity cannot and should not lead to love. The more she tries to bring them together, the harder he pushes her away—until she lands in the arms of those who would do her harm.
Love is the answer. But before Melchior admits to his, it may be too late.

Read Chp1 Online:
Buy eBook Now:
Samhain :: ARe :: Kindle :: Nook
Buy Print Now:
Samhain :: Amazon :: B&N

Excerpt #2 – Not All It Seems:

Serenity winked at Haige when he finally joined the others in the dining hall. Theyn said something she couldn’t hear but she assumed was inappropriate since Haige smacked him on the back of the head. She laughed out loud.
No one understood Theyn’s sense of humor. Even if she didn’t truly understand, Serenity found Theyn funny. His amusement at his own jokes was enough to make her laugh along with him, but she was alone in her consideration.
“What has you so jovial this evening, Your Majesty?” the noble seated on her right asked.
“I merely find the antics of my Hell Hounds amusing, my lady,” she said with mirth in her voice.
“I must admit I find your…guards to be a marvel,” said the female’s husband. “To think they have lived in Cheslav for fifteen years, it is amazing.”
“Thank you,” Serenity said genuinely. She didn’t miss how the male hesitated on the Hell Hounds’ title.
“Here, here,” piped up another noble. “Sir Theyn—”
“Hell Hound Theyn,” Serenity corrected. She smiled and took a sip from her cup when the noble looked at her. “My personal guards are called Hell Hounds, my lord.”
Some of the nobles at the table murmured disapproval behind their hands to one another.
“I do not insult them when I call them that. It is a point of honor for them to be known as my Hell Hounds.”
Haige said, “Yes, my queen, it is an honor, a privilege and not something I would ever change.” He bowed to her. Theyn did the same then blew her a kiss.
She toasted them both.
The noble corrected grudgingly, “Hell Hound Theyn reminds me of King Melchior’s second son Likos.” He smiled at the memory and nodded. “Yes, I remember the lad was in trouble almost constantly. His sense of humor was his own and he was always a happy boy.”
The mood of the room turned instantly somber. Serenity looked up at Melchior and saw his grim expression. She reached out to put a hand on his arm, but he stiffened before she could touch him so she pulled away. He wouldn’t want the granddaughter of the man who had caused his first family’s death comforting him.
The noble continued unaware of his king’s change in mood, “The entire dining hall was moved to the other end of the palace because of the tragedy that befell that night. Such a shame it will probably be another seventy or so years before royal heirs will grace this hall again.” He shook his head.
“You say too much,” Melchior said in a low voice.
The male looked up at Melchior surprised. “I thought—”
“You thought wrong, Lord Halm.”
Serenity looked between the two males. “I would be happy to bear my husband’s heirs.” She thought that would solve the problem nicely. If it were possible, Melchior stiffened more and the mood of the entire room dropped below freezing.
She felt, rather than heard or saw, Haige and Theyn move until they stood a few paces behind her chair. Chigaru and Nym left their posts at the dining hall doors and moved towards her as well. Their manner let her know her words hadn’t had the desired reaction.
How stupid of her.
She laid her fork and knife onto the table and dabbed at the sides of her mouth with her napkin. “Am I to guess though you approve of my presence because it signals the end of the war, the idea of Melchior and I having children is out of the question?”
She looked at Melchior for some kind of support, but he stared straight ahead. “You’ve been without heirs for nearly twenty years. Are you truly going to wait?” she asked him.
He didn’t answer.
“Or were you going to wait the required ten years before marrying another and having heirs with her?”
More silence.
“No, that wouldn’t do. Someone with a robust appetite such as yours couldn’t be expected to wait. I suppose one of your concubines could mother an heir or two. You do have concubines, I presume?”
Melchior’s gaze jerked in her direction, though his body didn’t move. She couldn’t read his look, but knew part of the emotion in his eyes was anger. Good, because she was angry, too.
“I do have concubines, but no royal heir can be illegitimate. I would think you would thank me for having concubines as they would turn my attentions away from you.”
Serenity wanted to scream at him for his words. They were newly married and his attention should only be for her. She wanted more of his touch and had hoped they would engage each other that night as they had the night before. She had spent her whole day looking forward to it.

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D. Renee Bagby
Building New Realms of Passion…

Beautiful Experiment Paranormal Romance


Book one of ISLAND OF DEFIANCE TRILOGY by January Valentine

Available in Kindle and paperback on all Amazon stores internationally.








(Lead in: The teens have fished for their dinner at one of the tide pools, where Gabriella and Chapin have gotten into a fight. It’s evening, and everyone is now gathered on the beach where, following dinner, they sit around a bonfire. Detached from the others, Gabriella hears the mysterious howling coming from the forest. When Brook rushes the teens back to their quarters, he forgets to extinguish the torches. About to be locked into her room for the night, Gabriella begs to go back to the beach with Brook.)

The shrill rips through the air, and my ears. Nocturnal and ferocious. My nerves are live wires, fully charged and alert. The three moons that washed the beach, pillow soft and floating, have buried themselves in the thick, dark night. Are they turning their backs on the boy and the girl about to be torn to shreds?

My ears roar with pumping blood, the veins in my head ready to burst. I’m focusing on the glow of Father’s porch light. A speck in the distance, swelling and shrinking before my pulsing eyes. Have to get there. Fast. In daylight, a matter of meters. In darkness, an eternal flight. Hurry, my mind’s screaming. She’s your responsibility.

Gabriella’s hand is in mine. I’m gripping her fingers so tightly, I’m afraid her bones will crush. But I can’t let go. I’m pulling her faster than her feet can take her. Can’t let her fall behind. They’ll get her. Without slowing, I slide one arm around her back, the other under her thighs, scooping her up and into my arms. Cradling her like a baby.

Why are we running? There’s nowhere to go. Into the forest? No way. That’s where these beasts are. Should we head back to the beach? Then what? Jump into the ocean? Take our chances with the sharks? There’s no escape. We’re doomed.

Along with the blood in my ears, I hear Gabriella. She’s gasping. “Brook! Put me down!”

I can’t put her down and I can’t reply because they’re hot on our heels. I hold her tighter. The breath of the devil is flowing down my back. Sickly sour and wet. I should never have taken Gabriella with me. I’m bracing for the attack. I want to spin and face the evil that’s pursuing me, but I don’t want to stop running. I can’t stop running. Shadows wrap me in darkness. I’m choking on the fingers pulling my lips apart. Probing my throat.

“What’s wrong, Brook?” Her jostling voice vibrates. “Where are you taking me?” Gabriella is short of breath. We’re both short of time.

“It’s okay.” I want to tell her, but I’m panting. Then it hits me. The spray of light from Father’s lodge. Relief washes over me when my feet pound the solid earth of the compound. My breath slows.

Gabriella is warm in my arms. Her breath soft on my neck. She’s no longer squirming. “Damn. You run turbo speed.” She’s got one arm around my neck, the other clutching my shoulder. She’s staring wide-eyed. “What was that all about?” Her gaze drops to my lips, which are dangerously close to hers. For a second, I think she’s about to kiss me. Disappointed when she says, “I think you can put me down now.”

Reluctantly, I let her slide from my arms. “The beach energizes me. Sometimes I jog for miles, ’til I collapse from exhaustion.” A chuckle covers my faltering voice. Fatigue hasn’t stopped me yet.

“Really …” Her brow arches. She’s readjusting her clothing which has shifted, baring much of her midsection. “There sure are a lot of weird things going on around here.”

You don’t know the half of it …

While I rush her toward the lodge, she’s trying to figure things out again. “Maybe my parents had no choice but to put Isabella in that school. The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing, ah ha. They must have enrolled Isabella in Smoke Pond … and didn’t want to be around when she was picked up. They copped out of being there and shit … I wasn’t supposed to be home either! Oh my God! I was supposed to be in the city at a friend’s indie movie release. But Roanie wasn’t acting right so …”

“Who’s Roanie?”



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