Category Archives: Uncategorized

Top 10 Advantages of Living in a Houseboat

I’ve always wondered about houseboats.

Joanne Guidoccio

I’m thrilled to welcome back Soul Mate author Ryan Jo Summers to the Power of 10 series. Today, Ryan Jo discusses the advantages of living in a houseboat and shares her latest release, Upon the Tide.

Here’s Ryan Jo!

ryanjosummers1I have long had a fascination of living in a houseboat, upon the tide. I liked television shows that featured some character living such the dream. However, in feeding my fantasy, I’ve learned a couple key differences between true houseboats and floating homes, which the names are sometimes used interchangeably.

The houseboat, which can be a cabin cruiser, trawler like the one used in the story “Upon the Tide” or a yacht, must meet certain requirements. It has to be capable of leaving the dock under its own power and fulfill the US Coast Guard standard call for having seaworthy hulls, engines, navigational equipment and more. It also needs to…

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Thursday Threads


Featuring Tina Susedik’s Short Story, The Valentine’s Proposal


Other Contributing Anthology Authors: Cheryl Yeko, Sage Spelling, Lynn Cahoon, S.C. Mitchell, Char Chaffin


Blurb for The Valentine’s Proposal: 
When a Valentine’s Day proposal doesn’t go the way she expected, librarian Janetta Simonson’s life changes in ways she’s never dreamed.

BUY LINK:  My Sexy Valentine:


EXCERPT FROM The Valentine’s Proposal:


Devlin Baran followed the statuesque brunette as she stomped from the woman’s room and headed to the bar. His cock twitched as her hips swayed in tight jeans. Was the guy who dumped her crazy? To trade in this hot piece for the washed-out blonde?

He’d noticed her the moment she’d walked into the building. Full breasts. Tapered waist. Not too thin. Tall. His body had reacted immediately. He liked his women tall. He’d been ready to join her when the jerk arrived. During their argument he’d called her Janetta. The name seemed to suit her.

Pseudo cowboys irritated the hell out of him. New boots, shiny belt buckle, cheesy western shirt were all signs. But even real cowhands dressed up for a Saturday night on the town, so he could be mistaken. When the man tossed his hat brim side down on the table, Devlin knew him to be a fake. Any real westerner knew you put your hat top side down so not to ruin the folds.

Since he was out of luck with the brunette, he’d headed to the men’s room, where he observed the encounter. He nearly applauded when the woman smacked the pretend cowboy across the cheek and threw the ring into the crowd. Hell. Not only did he like them tall, he loved them spirited, like his fillies on his ranch.

As she headed to the bar, he shook his head. He couldn’t let a hot woman interfere with the job he had to do, needing all his focus to find out who was slipping drugs into women’s drinks. As a rancher working undercover as an FBI agent, he always seemed to be one-step behind the assholes who thought it fine to have sex with unconscious women.

The man, or men, moved from bar to bar in the small rural area. This was the only one that hadn’t been hit. He hoped to hit pay dirt tonight.

He tried to ignore Janetta’s shapely ass as she sat on a stool next to another pseudo cowboy. She must have a thing for their type. After taking her time with one drink, the man tipped his overly white Stetson, leaned in and said something, making her laugh. The back of Devlin’s neck prickled. He seemed familiar.

What was she thinking, Devlin wondered as she let the guy put his hand on her thigh. Even though she oozed sex appeal, after her encounter with Fred, he had the feeling she wasn’t a sexually aggressive person. She seemed more like a kindergarten teacher.

Janetta took a sip of her orange-colored drink and spoke to the man—who threw his head back and laughed. The hand went a bit further up her leg. She took another drink and swayed into him. Maybe he was wrong and she was just another floozy looking to pick up an unsuspecting cowboy.

The man swung an arm around her shoulders and lifted the glass to her lips. Her head dropped into his neck. He glanced over his shoulder and snuggled her into his side. After a few minutes he pulled her from the stool, and like a man helping a drunk companion, headed toward the door.

Shit. She’s been drugged.

Tina Susedik


Riding for Love:

All I Want for Christmas is a Soul Mate:

Twitter: @tinasusedik


Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author


Thursday Threads

I have to apologize to RB for not getting this up sooner today. I don’t know why it didn’t post, but this looks like my kind of story.

Title: Fallen Redemption by RB AustinFallen-Redemption
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Heat Level: Sizzle
Buy Link: Fallen Redemption (The Trihune Series Book 1) – Kindle edition by RB Austin. Paranormal Romance Kindle eBooks @

Fallen Redemption is on sale for only $.99 until July 27!


Cade committed himself to saving lives before he learned the full consequences of his life-altering decision. It wasn’t until he was tending his sick wife that he learned the enormity of what he’d done and he was unable to save her from the monster he had become. Consumed with guilt and praying for absolution, he threw himself into killing every Fallen he could find to save the humans he’d sworn to protect. But then Emma, deliciously mortal and completely forbidden, swept into his world, stirring an overpowering desire. Now he’s not only fighting soulless creatures, but also his inner cravings, trying to maintain his distance and continue on his path to forgiveness. He won’t lose control again and lose another love.


The cut was small and not deep, it would stop bleeding in a matter of minutes.
Blood seeped from the wound. It trickled down Sarah’s wrist and pooled in her upturned hand.
He froze.
Changes overcame his body. Uncontrollable. Unknown.
Breath quickened. Heart pounded as loud as a horse’s gallop. Sarah hadn’t awakened. The pain from her cut was insubstantial compared to the pain of her sickness.
The thick, crimson liquid flowing from the wound was anything but insubstantial to Caderyn. Still unable to move, his eyes hadn’t wavered from the blood. The tray left his hands and clattered to the ground. His knees buckled and he sank to the floor, bringing himself an inch from the cut. The scent of blood filled his nostrils. Consumed all thought. Sight. He wanted to close his eyes and savor the reverent aroma filling his senses. Something awakened inside of him.
He was hungry, yet didn’t want food. Thirsty, but didn’t want to reach for a cup of water. Another drop of blood welled from the cut. A growl tore from his throat.
It was the switch and it had been thrown.
One moment he was himself. The monster inside separate. Next the wall between the two vanished. He was the Behnshma. His humanity gone. Another growl. It echoed around the house. Filled his ears.
He was ravenous. The fact he hadn’t eaten in a little over a week ached his empty belly and burned his dry, parched throat. There were two pricks of pain in his top gum. Finger in his mouth, he found two long, sharp as knives, teeth. Like Elias. Like the wolves in the forest when they tore into a deer carcass. Their muzzles bloody, meat dangling from their mouths. Blood.
He knew what he wanted to do, what his body demanded he do. Caderyn licked his lips and his tongue nicked an elongated tooth. His own blood melted decadently over his tongue. A flood of senses erupted. Never had he tasted anything this wonderful. His mouth zinged with flavor. The blood coated his throat. He’d been dying of thirst his whole life but hadn’t known it. Warmth spread through his body.
His hands shook as he brought them to Sarah’s arm. Grasping her wrist and forearm he leaned toward the blood. Inch by inch. He was a magnet and her arm was the polar opposite.
Her inaudible yelp of fright permeated through the rushing noise in his ears. He tore his eyes away and met her wide-eyed startled ones.
Fear was an acrid, burning stench in his nostrils. Her thoughts a chaotic jumble weaving through his mind. She tried to move her lethargic limbs. Tried to escape. To break free.
He flexed his hands, squeezing her arm as his gaze trailed from the vein in her neck to the one in her wrist right below the cut. The blood slowed and the edges of the wound begun to dry. The tangy, copper scent of the fresh liquid underneath her skin reached his nose. Caderyn listened to it pass through her veins. Faster and faster.
Ignoring his wife’s futile attempts to escape, he leaned closer and inhaled. A growl erupted from his throat. He bent. Licked the wound. Groaned. His cock hardened.
Sarah, panicked now, tried to yank her arm free. It was the most she’d moved in days. Growling, like a dog with his bone, he held down her upper arm and her squirming hand. Pushed it back until her forearm bowed, and the cut extended to him like a present.
Caderyn. Please. I beg you.
He was hurting her arm. Scaring her. She was begging.
Flicking his tongue over her wrist, he caught another drop of the thick liquid gold. Then another and another. It wasn’t enough. He bared his teeth, striking fast to sink them deep into her wrist. She gave a weak jerk. Caderyn drew her blood into his mouth with long pulls. His cock jerked and warmth spread inside his breeches. There was no stopping. Her struggles to escape were an annoying insect buzzing around the room. The pleas to stop were shouts in his head. Both were easy to ignore. Sarah ceased to struggle.
He was killing her.
He couldn’t stop.
And didn’t stop until she was dead.

Title: Fallen Redemption
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Heat Level: Sizzle
Buy Link: Fallen Redemption (The Trihune Series Book 1) – Kindle edition by RB Austin. Paranormal Romance Kindle eBooks @

Fallen Redemption is on sale for only $.99 until July 27!

Media Links: Website: RB Austin
Twitter: RB Austin (authorrbaustin) Twitter

Thursday Threads

An Enduring Love

Bio for Wareeze Woodson

I am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After! is the buy link for An Enduring Love (Regency romance filled with suspense) Heat level of 3, or so I’ve been told.

Blurb for An Enduring Love

Born and raised in Latvia, Rebecca Balodis marries Rhys Sudduth, an English diplomat. Shortly thereafter, he is summoned home to attend his father’s death-bed. Rebecca cannot accompany him at the time and becomes trapped in the turmoil plaguing her country. He is informed she died in the upheaval.

Nearly four years later, she escapes and arrives in London with their son in tow. Arriving in the middle of his sister’s ball is very awkward, especially since Rhys plans to announce his betrothal to a young debutante later in the evening.

Trouble, tangled in suspense and danger, follow her from Latvia. Can this pair ever find or even recognize an enduring love? Is it worth keeping?

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Excerpt 1

The gangplank of the Dragon’s Stirr had been lowered ready for Latvian passengers to board. The creak of the ropes tying the vessel to the dock rasped Rebecca’s nerves, reminding her that soon Rhys would sail back to England without her. Devastated by the thought of such a loss and at such a time, she swallowed hard. How can I bare to let him leave me behind?

Standing on the dock in the mid-day sun, she tried to hold back her sobs and for a moment, she feared her knees might give way beneath her. She clinched her jaw, trying to hold steady and caught the lapels of Rhys’s finely tailored jacket with trembling fingers. A rising ocean breeze stirred his dark hair and swirled her skirts about her ankles as he placed his hand over hers.

When Rebecca gazed into Rhys’ deep blue eyes, Gorgi Weister’s words intruded. Sudduth is almost believable when he claims undying devotion. I admire his talent. Her chest burned with apprehension and she gulped a deep breath. What if Weister is correct? Does Rhys wish to abandon me as Weister implied?

Weister’s sly innuendoes and the sound of his mocking laughter circled in her mind, but she pushed such negative views aside. Guilt for allowing a moment of doubt to fester filled her with shame, but that too, she brushed aside. Ne! I refuse to believe Rhys would desert me. Although we have only been married a few months his love is strong and will endure forever, as will mine. Nevertheless, doubt crawled into her head, impossible to completely deny. Still, why would a government official such as Gorgi Weister attempt to stir trouble with lies? It made no sense!

Excerpt 2

A liveried butler, stern of countenance and standing stiffly erect opened the door. “Your invitation, Ma’am.”

Rebecca trembled, but forced out, “Surely, I don’t need an invitation. Please inform Lord Rhys that his wife is here.”

Astonishment flashed across the butler’s face before he bowed his head and nodded for her to follow him. Sonja was seated in the hall while he led Rebecca to a small parlor papered with stripes of ivory and cream. The entire room seemed a little intimidating, with an elaborate sofa covered with gold brocade sitting before a wide window. Chairs were shattered about the room as well, but the beauty of the room did little to sooth her nerves. She glanced at the low table in front of the sofa then let her gaze shift to the fireplace, glowing with warmth. The softly burning coals added soothing comfort to the room and with that, her whole body relaxed.

After the butler exited, Rebecca quickly knelt down to straighten Johnnie’s apparel. “We want to look our best mans maz cilveku, my little man. You must learn English better now we are home. They are not expecting us, but no matter. Your father will love you.”

The door opened and Rhys stood on the threshold with a scowl of impatience on his face, speaking to the butler over his shoulder. “Some strumpet masquerading as my deceased wife. Be damned. You’re positive she said, my wife. Not a long lost relative wanting to sponge…?”

Rebecca jumped to her feet, took Johnnie by the hand and pasted a trembling smile on her lips. “Rhys.”

An Added Bonus Feature!

Letters discovered in the belongings of the villain. These letters are not revealed in the book but are held in my heart and give insight to the story. A tidbit solely for you. Enjoy.

Wareeze Woodson

The Year of Our Lord 1813

My Dearest Husband,

I write with my heart filled with sorrow. My beloved mother has passed on to join my father in Heaven. I can only be happy for her although sadness weighs me down. I am now acquainted with deep sadness and how you must mourn for your father. Grief makes it hard to write, but you deserve to know why I am delayed in departing this land.

At the moment, I am trapped in Latvia due to the up-rising in my country. I do not know how long it may be before I am allowed to travel to England to join you. There is a guard placed outside my gate to prevent my departure at present, but I will travel to Rica at the first opportunity and board a ship to London. Perhaps all will settle quickly. I can only pray it shall be so.

I cannot wait to be in your arms again, to kiss your dear face and gaze into your eyes once more. With words, you painted a lovely picture of your home in England and of your relatives. The thought of meeting your family holds much pleasure for me, especially since I am now alone.

Take care, My Love. I shall write to let you know as the hour of my departure grows closer. Keep safe and know you have my enduring love.

Yours Always,

Rebecca Sudduth

Another letter confiscated by the villain.

The Year of Our Lord 1814

My Dearest Husband,

I have not received any word from you since you sailed away from Latvia. I hope you are well. I must write quickly in order to send this to you. There is still a guard at my gate.

With your connection in the government, perhaps you can return and help me travel to England. There will be one added person in need of your assistance, our son. If you cannot come at once, please write. I am most anxious to hear from you.

Never forget my enduring love. Anxiously waiting.

Yours Always,

Rebecca Sudduth

Mrs. Hill’s Third Grade Class

tumblr_l3ghfxrZTr1qc426wo1_400[1]The last month and a half, on Friday afternoon, I’ve been doing a Junior Achievement program for Mrs. Hill’s third-grade class. The program encourages businessmen and women to bring a different perspective to students.

Each session was filled with discussion, games, projects and laughter. I think I appreciated the laughter most of all! I learned very quickly that you don’t always get the answer you expect when you ask students questions. While we were discussing finance I asked, “What kinds of things can you do at a bank?” I received many answers, such as withdraw money or get a loan. Things were happening as I expected until one little girl grinned when I called on her.

“Rob it!” Her response drew laughter from everyone, including me.

Junior Achievement gave me a program to follow, but my favorite part of the whole experience came from a project I created. As we were discussing entrepreneurs, I asked them to write a short paper on someone who had started a business. I explained that I’d be able to tell a lot about them by who they chose to write about, the words they used and how they told their story. In essence, I could discover their “voice” as writers.

I’m proud of the effort and creativity the students exhibited in their writing. From Steve Jobs to Joe the barber, the subjects were as diverse as the children. Every paper is a gem that shows me something about each child. I didn’t get to know the students well, but I’m keeping these papers as a reminder of them, along with the large ceramic piggy bank they gave to me as a going away present.

As writers, we are all different, and we all have a story to tell. The children reminded me that this is true, even at a young age.piggy bank

Thursday Threads

Title: Confederado do Norte by Linda Bennett Pennell
Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction due for Release July, 2014

Other Books:

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel now available from Soul Mate Publishing



Twitter: @LindaPennell

Confederado-Soulmate 505_505x825

October, 1866.
Mary Catherine is devastated when her family immigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately marrying the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem assured until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but the latest crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she posseses simply to survive.

Excerpt from Confederado do Norte

Chapter 1

I dreamt the dream again last night. In the small hours, I awoke in a tumble of bedclothes and bathed in perspiration despite the howling snowstorm blanketing the city. I rearranged quilts and plumped pillows, but sleep remained elusive. My mind refused to be quiet.
As often happens after such a night, I felt unable to rise at my usual hour and remained abed long after the maids cleared breakfast from the morning room. My daughter-in-law, bless her heart, meant well. I told her it was ridiculous to bring the doctor out on such a frigid day, but apparently the very old, like the very young, are not to be trusted in matters of judgment. After the doctor listened to my chest, a studied sympathy filled his eyes and he gently suggested that perhaps I should get my affairs in order. No doubt he wondered at my smile for he couldn’t have known I have no affairs other than my memories and the emotions they engender.
Unlike most elderly persons, I don’t revel in slogging through the past. It isn’t wrapped in pretty ribbons or surrounded by a golden aura. Instead, its voices haunt my dreams, demanding and accusatory. Until recently, I’ve resisted their intrusion into my waking life, but I now believe the past can no longer remain buried in nocturnal visions. It must be brought out into the light of day. From its earliest moments onward, the past’s substance must be gouged out, pulled apart, and examined bit by bit until its truth is exposed. While total objectivity may not be possible, I have concluded that committing the past to paper is my best hope for sorting facts from imaginings. Perhaps then I will achieve the peace that has so long hidden its face from me.
You see, when I was quite young—only a girl really—I killed four people. Two were dearly beloved, one was a hated enemy, and the last was a dangerous criminal.

Chapter 2

My story begins at the end of a terrible war, one that destroyed many lives and much property. But for that war and a handful of newspaper editorials and advertisements, my life would have turned out quite differently. Sometimes it seems no time at all has passed since I was a nine-year-old child standing on the deck of a ship watching home disappear over the horizon.
Warm Gulf breezes tugged at the brim of my bonnet, setting its ribbons dancing. Leaning over the Alyssa Jane’s railing, I stared back in the direction of Mobile Bay and pretended I could see the dock where my beloved Bess stood, probably still waving. Mama, her pretty features marred by a furrowed brow and down turned mouth, paced beside me.
“Mary Catherine MacDonald! Get down before you fall overboard. All we need right now is another crisis. And stop wiping your nose on your sleeve.”
Mama didn’t seem to understand anything anymore. Before we left home, she was calm and kind. Afterward, she snapped at the least little thing. I threw her a hateful glance, but she had already turned away, so I stubbornly leaned a little farther out over the railing. The wake trailing behind the Alyssa Jane looked like a blue-green path lined on either side by mounds of ginned cotton, a path pushing me away from the only life I had ever known. Only my sniveling broke the silence of that October morning.
A swish of crinolines brought Mama beside me. She grabbed my arm and whispered through clenched teeth, “Mary C., I told you to get off that railing. Go below and stay there until you can do as you’re told!”
I stomped across the deck, pausing once beside the mainmast to scowl over my shoulder. It was all so unfair. I hadn’t asked to be dragged along on this blasted trip. I wanted Bess. I wanted to go home, no matter how damaged it was, no matter who ran the stupid government. I wanted to be anywhere but here. But Mama turned away from me. She wasn’t even going to watch to see that I did what she said. Her indifference was like a slap in the face.
As I jumped through the open hatch leading below deck, the pungent odor of pine tar mixed with burning kerosene assailed my senses. I hated the smell. Besides making me slightly queasy, it reminded me of how final my losses were. Nothing at home smelled like the interior of that old tub. I hit the steps at a near run with plans to fling myself into my hammock and stay there forever. It would serve them right if I just upped and died. I bowled along toward the sleeping area blinded by tears and the sudden gloom of the narrow passageway.
Without warning, I crashed headlong into a pair of wool-encased legs. The trousers’ owner and I struggled momentarily in an awkward dance. With a standoff in the making, he harrumphed once, picked me up by my arms, deposited me on the other side of him, and stepped toward the hatch.
Tears forgotten, I tugged on his retreating coattails, ready to let him see my displeasure. Hooded eyes with ink black irises stared down in return. He didn’t look particularly angry, but authority hung about him like a mantle.
I swallowed, choked back what I intended to say, and instead muttered, “I’m sorry for running into you.”
He gazed at me for a moment and then simply nodded before turning away. The Reverend Jonas Williams might be a man of God, but his unsmiling countenance raised the hair at the nape of my neck as though someone stepped on my grave. Mama often fussed that Bess planted too many of her superstitions in my fertile imagination. I was now old enough to understand that some of what Mama said was true. But the Reverend Brother Williams still affected me like a haint. A slight shudder slithered down my spine, as though my body was trying to rid itself of his effect. I turned and fled down the hallway toward our sleeping quarters. Many months later, I would come to see this encounter as an omen, a foreshadowing of all that came afterward.
We passengers, immigrants one and all fleeing the defeated South, slept in a large open area that most likely was used as a cargo hold in the Alyssa Jane’s younger, more prosperous days. Most of the canvas partitions separating the fifteen or so families from one another had been drawn back in hope of allowing fresh sea breezes from the few portholes to circulate. Unfortunately, the plan wasn’t meeting with much success for the air remained stale and fetid with the odors of sweat and bodily functions.
I slumped on the edge of my hammock and kicked at the floorboards, allowing tears to drip from my chin unabated. Life wasn’t at all how it was supposed to be. It hadn’t been since the day Papa rode away to war. He looked so handsome in his gray captain’s uniform. He sat on his favorite stallion at the head of his unit and rode toward a conflict that everybody said would be over by Christmas. Everybody had been terribly wrong.
My ruminations, while sad and haunted, didn’t last long, for my mind turned to more immediate indignities and irritations. I hated staying below deck. I hated the stench. I hated the isolation. I hated the boredom. When I figured enough time had elapsed that it was safe to go above again, I bolted back into the fresh air. Mama now leaned on the stern railing, her gaze fixed on the faint line where the sky’s lighter blue met the Gulf of Mexico’s deep azure. She sniffed once as I approached and turned unusually bright eyes on me.
“Are you feeling better, child?”
When I nodded, she gripped the railing and resumed her observation of the horizon slipping away behind the Alyssa Jane. I eyed her for a moment, before sidling up beside her.
“Mama, why couldn’t Bess come with us?”
Her arm slipped around my shoulders and gave a little squeeze. “Why, darlin’, you’ve been told at least a thousand times. Bess has got to stay in Georgia.”
I jerked away from Mama’s grasp. “That’s not fair! She’s part of our family.”
A pained expression filled her eyes and her lips parted, but no words escaped. Her head lifted slightly and her gaze locked onto the space behind me.
“Mary Catherine MacDonald, you will not raise your voice to your mother.” Mama drew a quick breath as Papa strode to her and took her hand. His attention then returned to me. “No slave has ever been part of our family. It’s unthinkable! Furthermore, Brazil doesn’t allow slaves to be imported anymore. ” The more he spoke, the harder his voice sounded and the more clouded his face became. He concluded with sharper words than I had ever heard him use before. “So stop whining about that nigger mammy of yours and learn to live without her.”
Surprise made me momentarily mute, but my heart pounded and the sun was suddenly much hotter on my upturned face. I drew a couple of rapid breaths so hard that my cheeks puffed in and out. “Bess is too part of our family. I love her and she loves me. You love her too, don’t you Mama?”
A rosy flush crept over Mama’s face and her gaze darted around at the other people on deck. I ignored the warning in her eyes. “Bess took care of me all my life. That makes her part of our family.” Heady with righteous indignation, my eyes narrowed and I delivered my coup de grace. Jabbing an index finger in Papa’s direction, I yelled, “And besides, Bess isn’t a slave anymore and you damn well know it.”
My words rang across a suddenly silent deck. People turned from their own conversations, shook their heads and stared at us. The only sound I could hear was the blood thumping against my eardrums.
Papa’s face blanched. He stooped down until his eyes were level with mine and gripped my upper arms, nearly lifting me from the deck. My head snapped back and forth while he hissed, “You will not speak to anyone, most especially your mother or me, in that manner. Do you understand?” My hands went numb as his grasp tightened. “Now, stop your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Only when he stopped speaking did I notice tears streamed down my cheeks.
As we swayed in silence on the Alyssa Jane’s deck, Papa’s grip slackened and the fire in his eyes burned less brightly. “Besides, your aunts need Bess to cook and clean their house in town. At least that’s one thing that escaped Sherman’s destruction.”
Papa got a far off look in his eyes. His hands released me and dropped to his side as he straightened to his full height.
I knew better than to speak again. Spying a cargo box lashed to a railing on the main deck, I slunk down the steps and made my way to it. I wanted to stay up top rather than breathe the stale air below decks, but I also couldn’t bear being near my parents at that moment.
Papa’s present personality still caught me off guard. Before the war, he rarely raised his voice or hand to me. In truth, I was rather spoiled and cossetted. I begged for pretty dresses and china faced dolls by the dozens. Sometimes, I actually got them too. Now, we were on a ship bound for a place where they didn’t even speak English just because some stupid newspaper advertisements promised defeated Southerners free land. All I wanted was to go home, to have life the way it used to be.
Home. The way it used to be before Papa and Nathan decided they would not endure Yankees and carpetbaggers, our former enemies, being in charge of everything.
I was only five when the War Between the States began. Our old way of life now seemed like a gauzy dream—pleasant upon waking, but dissipating when you reached out to grasp it. Afraid of losing the last tenuous hold on that dream, I invented a little ritual, hoping it would glue fading images to the pages of my memory. Now that Papa and my mother’s only surviving brother were dragging us away from Georgia never to return, the ritual’s importance had taken on the stature of an obsession. I closed my eyes and once again conjured up my earliest memories.
In my mind’s eye, I looked down on the Oconee River from the deep porch of an unpainted dogtrot farmhouse. Cotton fields that came right up to the house stretched out as far as I could see in every direction on our side of the river. The house and the farm wouldn’t have been terribly grand by most people’s lights, but it was home and, therefore, my whole world. The clapboard house and outbuildings existed only in shadowy visions after the war. While I retained only a few hazy memories of the farm, one stands out clearly. It is of Mama’s favorite rose bush to which I did some considerable damage one spring by picking off all the buds before they even broke color and for which I received the first spanking of my life.
A few other people lived on the farm in tiny houses out back of the barn. They were the colored slaves, most of whom worked in the fields, but of their faces, it was only Bess’s that mattered to me. My Bess, who lived in the house, and who took care of me, and whom I loved as much as I did my mother.
My clearest memories of my parents before the war were that Papa spent his days with the field hands and that Mama loved music. Beautiful music filled the house when she played her pianoforte. Sometimes when Bess brought me into the parlor to say goodnight, Papa would be sitting beside Mama, kissing her neck as she played and she would be smiling at him in the special way she reserved only for him. I think they must have been very happy. They laughed a lot back then. Then, the war came. Nobody and nothing was ever the same again.
Papa had come back from the war haunted by what he had seen and the losses he had endured. For a time, we thought he had permanently lost his mind. These days, it didn’t take much to rile him. Mama said not to mind, that he just had so many worries it made him harder to live with than before. Even so, I still couldn’t understand why he spoke so cruelly about Bess of whom he’d always been so fond. My papa’s sunny nature was the most important thing destroyed by the war.
As the days under sail passed into weeks and America became nothing but a memory, Papa’s disposition evolved. To everyone’s relief he seemed more like his old prewar self. The farther we traveled, the more his mood lifted so by the time we docked in Jamaica to take on supplies, his good days outnumbered the bad. I even saw him and Mama kissing under the stars one night when they thought no one else was on deck.
The Alyssa Jane was an old clipper fallen on hard times, reduced to ferrying passengers and commodities along the trade routes extending from ports in the southern United States to destinations in the other Americas. Its confined space provided limited opportunities for me to get into trouble, so I was allowed unaccustomed freedom. The morning we sailed toward Kingston Harbor, I hung over the portside railing from the moment the city’s outline came into view.
Footsteps running up behind caused me to turn and I lost my balance. Papa grabbed a handful of my skirts. “Mary Catherine, you’re going to topple into the water if you keep this up. Get off that railing and put your feet squarely on the deck or you can go below and stay there.”
Instant compliance and a sweet smile seemed to go a long way these days, so I did as I was told. I didn’t want this new/old version of my papa to disappear again.
We passed through Kingston Harbor’s narrow mouth with sails snapping, pushed along by Caribbean breezes. In the distance, I could make out the familiar marks of human habitation trailing along the waterfront, but nothing in my experience had prepared me for Jamaica. Low emerald mountains surrounded an oval bowl of aquamarine water that rolled gently forward to kiss sand the color of cotton just breaking from the bole. Within minutes of entering the harbor, the city’s buildings became distinct and grew in size. A little thrill swept through me as the old clipper bumped against the dock and the sights and smells of Kingston spread out before us like a feast awaiting revelers.
“Papa, please, why cain’t I go with y’all?”
His mouth became a thin line. “Because Kingston isn’t particularly safe.” Then he placed his arm around my shoulders and pointed to the opposite side of the harbor. “Did you know that a wicked pirate city used to be right over there? An earthquake destroyed Port Royal. The whole city simply fell into the sea.” Papa grinned and his eyes grew big. “Why, I’ve heard you can see pirate ghosts rising from the water when the moonlight is just right.”
This was my old Papa, the one I hadn’t seen since war was declared. I slipped my arms around his waist. “Oh, Papa, you’re just so silly sometimes. Everybody knows there’s no such thing as ghosts.”
Papa smiled and picked me up, swinging me around like he used to when I was little. When he placed me on the deck again, I pressed my advantage.
“Please cain’t I go? Please?”
“You’re cutting me in half.” Papa pulled my arms away from his middle and smiled. “If it means that much to you, I guess it won’t hurt for you to go into town. But you absolutely must stay by your mama’s side. When she says it’s time to return to the boat, there will be no arguments. Understand?”
As I stretched up to plant a kiss on his cheek, angry shouts and the percussive report of a
pistol rang across the harbor.

Thursday Threads

Today we’re welcoming Elle Hill and finding out about her new book Haunted Dreams. It looks like a great paranormal with compelling characters!

Genre: Paranormal romancehaunted dreams
Heat level: Sensual.

Hook: A woman trapped in an endless cycle of nightmares. A handsome hero committed to rescuing her. It’s just like Sleeping Beauty – except the dreaming damsel is the sword wielder and the hero is a psychic vampire feeding off her pain.


“The Leeches got their nickname from the way they eat.” Reed’s voice was even.
“They drink blood?” she breathed.
He shook his head. “A little less literal. The Broschi are empathic. They can feel and even evoke other people’s feelings, negative ones like fear, pain, horror.”
“Sun and stars,” she breathed. She got it.
She got it.
“They’re eating me,” she said, and laughed, but not humorously. “These superhuman, psychic Leech people are keeping me trapped in nightmares, eating my feelings.” Her chest felt heavy. She pressed her left hand against it and felt its gentle rise and fall.
None of this is real. All this drama, all this fear, all the pain and anger and malice. None of it exists except in the form of juicy brainwaves that these beings sip like mint juleps. No wonder she couldn’t die, couldn’t escape, couldn’t ever wake up.
Reed’s face was flushed, his nostrils wide. Her handsome hero. For a minute, she hated him, hated that he got to wake up, hated this situation, hated everything boxing her in this narrow world.
Katana glared at him for a moment. “I’m trapped in here,” she grated.
His face relaxed into compassion. Hers hardened.
“I know,” he said.
She stared at him for a moment longer. Finally, with a sigh, she leaned her head against the glass. “Who are you, Reed?”
“I’m a Leech, too, Katana.”




Purchasing the book:

Twitter: @ellehillauthor

You Want Me to Write What?

Nicki Greenwood asked me to answer some questions on my blog about the books I’m writing at the moment. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nicki, she’s a wonderful author who adds paranormal elements to her stories.

What am I working on?
I don’t normally do this, but I’m working on two stories at the moment.
Morgan’s Folly is set in England and Ireland during the late Georgian Era. This is a rather dark story because of the subject matter and antagonist.
Highland Yearning is set in Scotland (1775) This is a light-hearted tale that involves time travel and a Highland Laird, Caden Mackay, who learns to believe in love’s magic.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I try to give my stories unexpected twists and a large dose of romance. I enjoy alpha heroes and strong minded women. The great thing about romance is that we get to watch as two people fall in love. I focus on that journey which can be devastating, daunting, or delightful, depending on the character’s choices.

Why do I write what I do?

I decided long ago that I wanted to write “Happily Ever After.” There is enough sadness in the world, and I believe love and romance inspire hope.

How does your writing process work?
I write in spurts. When I’m not actually writing, I’m thinking about my stories. Ideas come to me in all forms. Sometime I hear a name and think “That’s a great name for a hero.” And the story will start with him. At other times, I hear of a fascinating bit of history and want to wrap a story around the facts. Like the day I discovered there were men called “Witch Pricker’s” during the era of burning witches.(Highland Son’s) No matter how the story starts, it’s my characters and their decisions about what they want in life that matter. None of them think they are looking for love, but they discover true happiness when love finds them.

Thursday Threads

I haven’t read it yet, but I purchased the King’s Vampire because it struck me as an intriguing story set during a chaotic time in history. I do love stories with magic and romance!
Historical Paranormal set in London, England, after the Restoration of Charles II.

Heat Scale : Sizzling (This book does contain some scenes with descriptive sexual content.)

Darius Einhard, demon slayer, will stop at nothing to help Elizabeth Curran, immortal vampire, break the bonds of vampirism, even while helping her protect Charles Stuart II, who’s in danger of being entrapped into becoming an immortal vampire and leading his people into the abyss of hell by the psychic vampire demons.


A heavy mist swirled from the cold river, and the melancholy sound of the horns of ships and the mournful cry of gulls drifted into the room. A huge, black raven landed on the windowsill, a messenger who had come, but too late to be of use to Charles.

The priest pulled up a small Venetian table inlaid in gold, and covered it with a snowy white linen cloth before placing a silver candlestick on it. The crisp, cold sea breeze blew in from the Thames, causing the candle to flicker. He placed a jeweled rosary between Charles’s long fingers. Then put a bottle of holy water, a silver salver of oil, and a silver-plated bowl on the table next to a well-worn wooden crucifix.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Charles said. “I loved many women and committed much adultery, but the one woman I truly loved was my darling Elizabeth. Never would I have taken another woman if she were mine. The story I beg you to share with others is not my story, but rather hers, for she was the king’s own vampire.”

The priest paled and stroked Charles’s cheek. “There, Your Majesty, you are feverish. Don’t speak of this thing right now.”

Charles drew in a painful breath. He had to make the priest understand before he grew any weaker. “My Nelly told me the parts of the story I didn’t already know, and as for the rest, well, I was there. It’s a story that may frighten you, but it’s a warning to all–because it could happen again.”

That’s my snippet from The King’s Vampire, and I hope you liked it. Thanks for stopping by for SMP’s Thursday Threads.


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Thursday Threads

It seems Maggie and I both like the name “Cara.” My heroine in “The Perfect Duke” is also “Cara” for Caroline. It’s a great name and I’m sure her book is wonderful!

Sorry for the delay Maggie. For some reason my “schedule” didn’t work.

Title: Hidden Mortality by Maggie MundyHiddenMortality_highres_550

Genre: Paranormal romance

Heat level: Sensual

Cara kept searching but couldn’t find the book she wanted. The assistant at the empty counter smiled politely as she approached.

“I’m looking for a book called Immortality and Witchcraft, Fact or Fiction,” Cara said.

The woman typed the title into her computer. As Cara waited, someone walked up to the other counter beside her. She turned to look. Her world stopped as she met the slate grey gaze of the man staring straight at her. This wasn’t possible. He couldn’t exist. He was just a dream lover. Yet there he was, standing next to her as big as life.

She tried to smile, but it probably came out as more of a grin. He didn’t smile back. Her legs turned to jelly. If she didn’t breathe, she would pass out. She reached out and gripped the counter. One of them had to look away but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Someone was talking to her and the moment was broken.

“Excuse me.”
“Sorry.” Cara replied, as she forced herself to look at the salesperson. She was afraid if she glanced back, he would be gone. Her imagination must be playing tricks on her.

“It looks like we should have one copy left,” the woman said.

“I think I’m just about to sell it,” the other shop assistant said coming up to the register. “We could order it in for you. It might take a couple of weeks.”

“Please, take my copy.” The man at the other counter held out the book. His voice was deep, exactly as it was in her dreams. She was caught again in his gaze. The world disappeared and for a moment they were the only two people alive locked in the gaze they shared. Her hand went to her chest. She could feel her heart racing at the thought of him being near.

“Thank you, but no I couldn’t. You had the book first.”

“Please, take it. I have plenty of time to wait for another copy to come in.”

She found it hard to say no. Perhaps, it was the fact he was about six three and wore grey bike leathers. They added to the effect of making him look powerful. The shaved head and the stubble on his face gave a menacing look, but she wasn’t afraid of him. This wasn’t right. Her life was wild enough without dream lovers becoming real.

Plus, she wouldn’t want her other dreams to become real as well. She needed to say something, or he would think she was an idiot standing there with her mouth gaping. He held the book out to her. As she took it, her hand touched his. It was such a tiny touch and yet it meant he was real. She felt the heat rising up her neck as she blushed. She also sensed another heat inside her. It was the same way he had made her feel in her dreams.

“Thanks.” Cara paid for her book and listened as he confirmed his contact details. Seth Scanlon. She had a name. She wasn’t really stalking. Taking another book off a shelf, she flipped through the pages. He glanced her way before he left and caught her gaze once more.

She couldn’t fool herself. The look he gave her was so intense she felt he was seeing inside her soul. Her breath caught. She shivered although the shop was warm. For a split second, she considered following him and saying he must remember all the times they had made love.

She could just imagine the expression he would give her. He didn’t know her. She was a stranger. The shop became suffocating as she pulled at the collar of her jumper. She needed to be outside. There was no sign of him on the street. For a moment, she wanted to cry. At this rate, she would give the silly schoolgirls in the shop a run for their money.

Buy link Hidden Mortality