Cover Reveal -- The Griffin's Secret by Cate Masters

I <3 fairy tales. They're how I fell in love with books. Naturally, I love modern takes on those beloved stories. May 12 is the release date for Cate Masters' retelling of The Griffin, and you can bet I've marked my calendar. Check out the sexy cover!

The Griffin’s Secret by Cate Masters

In this contemporary re-telling of Grimm’s classic fairy tale The Griffin, two people must risk everything to free themselves from the invisible prisons that keep them from love…

Jackson Grant had it all—the girl he loved, his Harley, and his guitar. Until a tragic accident stole it all away. Now, more than scars and a tattoo remain. Jackson has a secret. Cursed by his dead girlfriend’s mother, he can never fall in love again or his beloved will die. With his heart on lockdown, he keeps to himself—until a roadie gig with Malcontent, the world’s most popular band, entwines his fate with sweet, wounded Layla’s…

 Music is what Layla lives for. She has no choice. She’s bound by magic to serve Malcontent, cursed to propel them to stardom with her musical powers. Then Jackson appears and gives her hope that he’s the hero who will save her. A reluctant hero, yet one she can’t resist. But freedom will come at price—and who will pay…?

 

Excerpt from The Griffin's Secret

The faint scent of an exotic flower on an ocean breeze hit him the second the girl walked in. Every part of his body stood at attention, taking in the way she moved. The curve of her slender hips. Those long legs…they’d wrap around the back seat of his Harley perfectly. Wrap around him perfectly, too.

A flip of her onyx-silk hair sent it behind her shoulder as she sat opposite. “Who are you?”

Good question. He’d been seeking the same answer for too long. “Jackson Grant.”

Her eyes darkened, deep brown to charcoal diamonds. “Why are you here?”

“For the roadie job.” Was she the first gatekeeper? A gate she kept locked, he’d bet. Or maybe she was another test. Kev had warned him there’d be tricky questions and to answer straight. Something told him she asked out of curiosity.

“You think you’re up for such a demanding job?”

Again, the impression hit him she was making these questions up as she went along, ad-libbing off his replies.

He’d play. “I’m strong. Dependable. I follow orders, keep my head down, and stay out of trouble.” And he liked his privacy.

Her features smoothed, hard as porcelain. “Do you.” Not a question.

He’d answer anyway. “Yes.”

Did disappointment curl her lip? Or boredom? Why did he care? If he could, he’d blast out of there before his own curiosity got the better of him. Already, she’d gotten under his skin. Crazy how the tat no longer singed him, but now twisted like a trapped animal.

With a plastic smile, she batted her eyes, and the false flirtation didn’t suit her. “So. You’re a yes-man.”

The way she said it, he’d be no different than any other roadie serving the great rock star, Malcolm Fetterman. Fine by Jackson. The less he stood out, the better. Except for her. He hated to think of her glossing over his presence, but that would be better, too.

He drummed his fingers on the table. “I need the job.” Where the hell was Malcolm anyway? The longer he stayed with her, the more he wanted to. Definitely couldn’t afford that kind of trouble. He glanced at the open door, hoping he wouldn’t have to go through the same interrogation again.

She tapped the table. “You’d have to travel constantly.”

“Perfect.” No different than his usual way of life. Except this time, his paycheck would remain steady.

“You wouldn’t miss your family?” She dipped her head. “Your girlfriend?”

He curled his lip this time. No one’s business but his. He shifted in his seat. “They’re better off.”

Her brows knit, and then her expression became unreadable as the Sphinx. “The hours are long, and the equipment’s heavy. Everything has to be exactly as Mal orders.”

Did he imagine it, or had she winced at her own words?

He shrugged. “It’s his show.” Someday, Jackson would have his own roadies. And would treat them much better than Malcolm Fetterman did, if the stories proved true.

Her steely focus cut into him. “Mal doesn’t hire musicians except for those in the band. And there aren’t any openings in Malcontent.”

He didn’t allow himself to blink. “No problem.”

“But you play, don’t you?” Her gaze dropped to his callused fingertips drumming the tabletop.

He drew his hand down. “No.” A necessary lie. She might suspect, but couldn’t possibly know the truth. Almost like leaving one of his limbs behind, he’d locked his Fender in storage in New Jersey with his paltry possessions for six months. By then, he’d know whether this gig worked out.

Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | 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 including Facebook and Twitter

TO SHARE THIS POST, CLICK ON THE SHARE ICON BELOW. IT'S THAT SYMBOL TO THE RIGHT OF THE HEART. ALL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS WILL MAGICALLY APPEAR.

 

Texas Wishes by Kristina Knight…3 books for 99 cents. Hello, Bargain!

How about a little Texas steam to ward off the chill winter has cloaked around us? Kristina Knight turns up the heat under the Texas sun with three cowboys ready to rope your heart and the feisty ladies who wrangle them. Enjoy a boot-stomping good time with these captivating couples.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     iBooks

What a Texas Girl Wants: The last thing Jackson Taylor wants in his life is a down-to-earth girl like Kathleen Witte, so why did he just wake up next to her on a Mexican beach with a ring on his finger? Once they’re back in Texas though, this all-business marriage might just turn into an all-consuming love.

What a Texas Girl Needs: Matias Barnes knows all about society women like Vanessa Witte. It’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. But while Mat knows she’s so not right for him, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?

What a Texas Girl Dreams: They are opposites in so many ways, but the more veterinarian Trickett Samuels gets to know footloose and fancy free Monica Witte, the more he wonders if he can convince this Texas girl that having roots will only help her soar higher.

Here's a glimpse at what reviewers are saying...

"Filled with enough drama, suspense and passion, this is one romance story that will keep your interest as Kathleen and Jackson's love story unfolds" ~ Jersey Girl Book Reviews, What a Texas Girl Wants, 5 stars

"What a Texas Girl Wants was a fun read. Kristina Knight did a fabulous job with this story, it had the right amount of sexy & emotional to keep me engaged to the end" ~ What a Texas Girl Wants, Harlequin Junkie, 5 stars

"I love when a cast draws me in so much I stay up way past bedtime to see how they'll get themselves out of their troubles. Vanessa was a riot, Mat was a hunky mystery, and I actually *cared* about all the secondary players in the background" ~ RomCom Lover, What a Texas Girl Needs, 5 stars

"Kristina Knight doesn’t hold back on the sass, emotion, and passion, keeping her readers riveted right up until they reach The End" ~ Aimee Carson, author of Secret History of a Good Girl and How to Win the Dating War

"This book is hot, steamy and entertaining" ~ Harlequin Junkie, What a Texas Girl Dreams, 4 1/2 stars

"What a Texas Girl Dreams is a fast, passionate beach read, perfect for an afternoon by the pool" ~ Manga Maniac Cafe, 4 1/2 stars

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     iBooks

Big congrats on this release, Kristina!

TO SHARE THIS POST, CLICK ON THE SHARE ICON BELOW. IT'S THAT SYMBOL TO THE RIGHT OF THE HEART. ALL YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA OPTIONS WILL MAGICALLY APPEAR.

Cover Reveal -- Blood Stitches by Erin Fanning

Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi, fantasy…anything with an otherworldly touch…are totally my thing, and I get excited when I find a new one. I'm definitely excited about Erin Fanning's upcoming release, Blood Stitches. It's an urban fantasy based on Mayan mythology with a touch of romance, coming May 12 from Lyrical Press. Today, I'm honored to be part of her cover reveal celebration. 

It’s called El Toque de la Luna—The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving—or devastating—the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head—until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters—and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.

Here's a sneak peak at the book….

A gust of wind scattered leaves across the University of Seattle campus. My hair tangled over my face. New contacts tortured my eyes, and books weighed down my backpack. It didn’t matter. A tornado could have snatched me up. As long as it carried me home and put an end to the anniversary of the worst day of my life.

“Watch out, Gabby.” My best friend Frank thrust his hands deep into the pockets of his pinstriped suit. “We’re being followed by a giant candy corn.”

“Giant candy corn? Yeah, right.” If I turned around, Frank would laugh and say, “Gotcha”, or some other dorky thing. The mind-numbing boredom of Calculus I, our last class of the day, always set Frank off, making him zanier than usual.

“I mean it. We’ve got a candy corn on our tail.” Frank whistled a Lester Ruben song as he sauntered ahead.

“Okay, okay. Let me see this Halloween wonder.” If I didn’t give in, Frank would never leave me alone. I whirled, ready to hear Frank’s laugh, and almost ran into a man. His face glowed orange, like someone who’d spent too much time in a tanning booth, and he wore a white cap pulled down to his ears. A yellow scarf hid his neck and chin. For once, Frank wasn’t kidding. The man resembled a giant candy corn.

Shredded paper and a postage stamp poked out of his scarf, and a moon decorated an edge of the knitting, like one of my older sister Esperanza’s creations. It didn’t seem possible, but no one else I knew added garbage and a signature moon to their knitting. A wool coat covered the rest of him, except his face and steel-tipped boots.

“Sorry.” I jumped back.

Frank’s chuckles mixed with squirrels chattering in a nearby tree. Drizzle moistened my forehead, and a cold dampness seeped into my bones. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, like watching Esperanza unravel her knitting one stitch at a time to fix a mistake.

About the author

Erin Fanning spends her summers on a northern Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes. She’s the author of Mountain Biking Michigan, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories. 

Author links:

Erin Fanning's website        Goodreads        Amazon

Congrats on the upcoming release, Erin! And gorgeous cover!

To share this post, click on the Share icon below. It's that symbol to the right of the heart. All your social media options will magically appear.

The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

My thoughts...

I love the Iron Seas books and am absolutely thrilled when one is released. I read this book as a serial. At the time, about half of the serial had been released. I gobbled up as much as I could and impatiently waited for the next parts. The experience taught me that I do not like serials. If another of my favorite authors releases one, I hope I have the patience to wait until all the parts are released before I start reading it. 

This book is full of adventure and romance. The romantic tension between writer Zenobia Fox and former rebel leader Ariq is absolutely fabulous and kept me reading. Some of Ariq's lines swept my heart away. 

"You are my queen," he told her. […] "I am your sword and your shield. I am your wolf and your steed. Mountains will tremble at my approach for they know I will tear them apart if ever they stand between us."

Gosh, what a guy!

Many different political plots thread through the story. If you haven't read the other Iron Seas books, this probably isn't the one to start with. Read The Iron Duke first. (One of my ALL TIME FAVORITES.) As for this book, it's on my keeper shelf and I know I will re-read it again and again.

Back Cover Blurb:

A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes.

But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…

 

The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Genre: Sci Fi Romance

Backcover Blurb: 

Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters - the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past. 

Some of us intend to do more than survive. 

Asha and Pax - strangers and enemies - find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource - information - viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other's secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

My thoughts:

Good sci fi romances are hard to find. I can only guess that this is because the romance reading masses have yet to discover the pleasures of this particular sub genre. I think its day to shine is coming though. Books like this are sure to help. It had intrigue and sexual tension from the start and is riddled with plot twists.

The author doesn't tell the reader everything up front. I love reading books like this if the writing is gripping and I like the characters. I'm quite happy to keep reading to figure out what the heck is going on. It takes a certain type of writing to skill to pull off and this author does it very well. For the first quarter of the book, there's a bit of a mystery around exactly how the two main characters ended up together. Even the characters don't know.

 I liked Asha and Pax from the moment they appeared on the page. Despite their curious circumstances, the chemistry between them was instant and continued throughout the story. Just when it looks like everything might be alright between the two of them, tricky plot twists appear and pull them apart. I love how the author stayed true to the characters, even when I was wishing the romance would hurry up and blossom. 

In the acknowledgements at the front of the book, the author mentions going to a ScienceOnlineSeattle seminar where they discussed "garage bio," a kind of DIY bioengineering that, among other things, has the potential to create havoc in our world. She uses this concept in her world building. I adore that! Taking a nugget of real life and twisting it into a whole new world is one of my favorite pastimes. The author won my heart with that little reveal. Plus I'd never heard of garage bio. Learning new things from romance novels is a quite pleasurable way to learn! 

I'll definitely be looking for more books by this author. 

I highly recommend this book to readers of sci fi and paranormal romance, as well as romance readers who like post-apocalyptic settings. 

Bitter Spirits: A Roaring Twenties Novel by Jenn Bennett

Genre: Paranormal romance with a hefty dose of mystery

Winter Magnusson, top bootlegger in San Francisco, has been cursed. A friend points him toward Aida Palmer, spirit medium, for help. Though Aida is on her own in the world, she's a good girl, just looking to get to by. Winter has "bad boy" written all over him and is completely intrigued by Aida. For all his toughness, he falls for her and woos her with a charming gentleness. But his curse pulls Aida into trouble too and he's determined to protect her. Off they go on their adventure and tracking down clues to the bad guy. 

I've read enough paranormal novels that I'm always craving something different. The time period that this novel is set in is just that. Plus, Winter is of Swedish descent, another novelty in this type of book. Or at least it hit the right spot for me. I loved it when he'd slip into his native tongue. Plus, Bennett's writing style is just right to grip a reader and pull her in for a fabulous escape.

I read this book about a week before the second novel in the series was released. I've already gobbled up the second one too. I think I'm in for a long wait for the third. Being a series reader is a lesson in patience!

The Mark of the Tala: The Twelve Kingdoms

Genre: Adult romantic fantasy

I'm a big fan of Jeffe Kennedy, and I had my eye on this book from the moment I learned of it. This is a new series about three sisters. The first book is about the middle sister, who hides in the shadows of her to-be-queen older sister and beautiful younger sister. But Andi is the one who carries the mark of the Tala…the mark of her people's enemy…a mark she inherited from her mother. Because her mother died when Andi was five, she doesn't know about her heritage. Enter the hero…Rayfe, a Tala who's been waiting for Andi for a long time and is eager to teach Andi about her powers. 

The story is very much an adventure, which I love. The romance is steamy and there are explicit scenes. It's written in first person, which is not my favorite, but I definitely loved Andi's voice. In fact, I'm sad that the second book will be in the youngest sister's voice. I want more Andi! 

The book doesn't end on a huge cliffhanger. It's more that the story is unresolved. Be prepared  to wait a long time for closure. The second book comes out at the end of 2014 and the third book is scheduled for June 2015. Word to the wise: if you don't want to know what happens at the end of this book, do NOT read the blurb for the second book before you finish this one.

I hope this series goes beyond the trilogy. There are some great characters in this book that I'd  love to see in their own books…especially Dafne!

(Dear Jeffe Kennedy,

Would you please write Dafne's story?

Thank you very much,

Anise Rae)

Rae Reads Romance: I <3 Books

I love romance novels. I've loved them since I was in high school. In fact, I'd say I loved them before that too. Anne of Green Gables was my first taste of real romance in a book and it left me wanting more, more, more. A great number of years later, I still haven't gotten enough. 

Though my favorite romances usually include magic, I read all types, from historical to contemporary to paranormal, fantasy, and sci fi. I love strong heroines, whether they are strong in mind or body or both. Capable heroes who respect their heroines are a necessity, as is some steam. Indeed, the more steam the better. ;) In fact, the only type of romance I don't read is sweet. (For those of you not familiar with romance sub-genres, sweet romance doesn't have any sex.)

Though I'm a writer, on this page, I'm a reader, one who's being happily swept away by someone else's adventure. When I read a romance, I'm looking for an escape. I'm not looking to criticize. I only post about books I love. The Rae Reads Romance site is a descriptive list of books that took me on that great escape. Unless otherwise stated, these are all books I purchased for myself. If a book is posted here, consider that a four or five star rating. 

I'm always looking for books to add to my TBR. If you have a suggestion, please leave me a comment.

Happy reading, all!