Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.

photo credit: the green gables via photopin cc
A Pearl for Your Fantasy--Getting to Know You #4--originally posted December 10, 2014

You’ve won a million dollars! Ever wonder what you’d do? Would you buy a sexy negligee or a Maserati? Take an island cruise? Make a loan to a favorite relative?

One of the questions authors are asked is, "Where do you get your ideas?" Well, by asking exactly that question--what if.

That million bucks (or quid or gold bars) that's now yours--what else would happen? Every investment broker on the planet would call you. Empty hands would thrust toward you (it's all fun and games until someone's eye gets poked out). The one relative you can’t stand would demand the biggest handout (but you could flip him a finger communication. Go ahead. Hey, it’s your fantasy).

Take one thing, just one, and change it. That is the seed of world-building. The grit to the pearl. Take the world you know, plus one what if. What if I won that million? What if my job were perfect? What if people lived forever (including that annoying neighbor/coworker)?

photo credit: seasonal wanderer via photopin cc
What one thing would you change? Let’s try—what if magic existed? Imagine cleaning with the snap of a finger, everything you want free! Wouldn’t life be grand?

Well, no. Remember, we only get to change one thing in our fantasy world. Basic human nature doesn’t change. People are still good and bad and just plain silly. You and I might use magic for good, but what about that neighbor/coworker? What about magical accidents?

Should you invent language? Let’s take our magic example. Every culture has a way people get extra energy. Tea, coffee. Coke, both the legal and illegal kind. Kaffey’s been overdone (IMHO) but you’d need to name the substance people use to jolt up the magic. MagiCoke? Maybe that’s illegal too, so you’d have MagiCoke pushers. Assign a shorthand. Call them Mushers…or Pushcokers…well, maybe not. But you get the idea.

Take one thing, and change it. Like a pearl, your world will soon grow!

Let's get to know each other! In my first year as a Magical Musings blogger, I'm exploring my 10 favorite things. This is number four.

What one thing would you change, and how would it affect your hero/heroine's life?

A holiday gift for you! Aunt Aina's Swedish Coffee Bread

My husband's family recipe. Every year we enjoy kneading, braiding, and smelling the buttery baked goodness of this holiday treat! Pretty enough to give as a gift. Tasty, especially warm from the oven with butter and coffee.

Ingredients:

2 c. milk
1 c. butter
1 cake yeast or equivalent (I use just over a tsp of dry yeast)
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt (I cut this back a bit, especially with salted butter)
15-20 shelled cardamom seeds, or 1 tsp ground cardamom
7-8 c. flour

Preheat oven to 375º.

  1. Scald milk and cool to lukewarm.
  2. Make a sponge of ~2 c. flour, salt, yeast and milk. This should clean the bowl, not stick to it. Cover loosely and let double.
  3. Cream butter, egg, sugar and cardamom until fluffy.
  4. Add creamed mixture to risen sponge and work through until smooth.
  5. Add flour by ½ cupfuls until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
  6. Divide dough for loaves. Two portions make larger loaves, eight portions are good for individual loaves as small gifts.
  7. Braid loaves and put on non-stick baking pans or sheets. Cover and rise until doubled in size.
  8. Bake at 375º until nicely browned on top.

Top can be brushed with egg white and sprinkled with sugar pearls prior to baking.

This recipe comes from Sweden and is very old. Consequently, I make some changes in deference to modern ingredients. For instance, with pasteurizing, I no longer scald the milk, but use the microwave to bring it to a temperature for adding yeast. 

A note on cardamom--it’s kind of hard to find. Generally a small container, a half ounce or so, is sufficient for a year’s holiday baking. I understand, although haven’t tried, that adding some cardamom to coffee grounds prior to perking makes a nice nutty addition to the coffee.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 1T Status Update

Many of my holiday gigs are already over and I'm digging out from under the heavy practice schedule, yay! Here's what's going on in my writing world.
  • Playing with Fire: The Battle of the Bands (A Starstruck Novella) is with my editor.
  • Bad Boy Billionaire's Lady will go up for preorder later this month. 
  • Revised proposal for Night's Kiss is with my editor.
  • Huge, very big, gigantico giveaways going on now!!!! (You know it's big if there are more than two exclamation points!) If you're not a newsletter subscriber, now's the time to sign up.
  • Did you review Night's Caress? I have a very very special giveaway for my active readers. Join my MH Readers Facebook group here or the MH Readers Newsletter group here. (There's also a special holiday giveaway for active MH readers!!!!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Santa's Little Authors Giveaway

With the passing of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I feel it's safe(ish) to dip my toe into the holiday waters.

Enter today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 27, 2017

New release--Guest Tina Susedik--Plus Giveaway!

Time: 1975. Place: Bourbonville

After the death of the grandmother Ellie Farrell had lived with since she was sixteen, she is tasked with the job of cleaning out the over-packed house. When Ellie begins to find love notes and money from a Burt to Randi spanning over four decades, she sets out to find out who these people are and what they have to do with her. An unexpected check for $100,000 dollars delivered to her house, ramps up the mystery – especially when death threats begin to arrive.

Patton Trullinger, an investigative reporter, comes to Chandler County to research bootleggers for a book he’s contracted for. As a Vietnam veteran, he’s dealing with PTSD. When he meets Ellie, he finds her mystery too good to pass up.

Who are Burt and Randi? Who is sending death threats? Will Ellie and Patton’s love bloom as the mystery deepens?

Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Goodreads



a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a child, Tina Susedik always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form as writing stories wasn't taught in her classes. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina was hooked and a love of reading, and eventually writing romance, began. Besides her romances, she is also a non-fiction writer with seven history books in print. She also has written and published two children's books. She also writes under a pen name.

Tina has been married for forty-four years and lives in Northwestern Wisconsin. She has two children and five grandchildren. After careers in accounting and teaching (not necessarily at the same time), she found her career in writing is what fulfills her the most. When not writing, she loves camping, hiking, photography, reading, and playing with her five grandchildren.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Tina's online and would love to hear from you!
Newsletter: http://tinasusedik.us11.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=874ff86e3f10f756a138fbc3a&id=1cfdf516fc
Blog: http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tinasusedik
Website: www.tina-susedik.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaSusedikAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1754353.Tina_Susedik
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tinasusedik/



Title: Missing My Heart
Author: Tina Susedik   
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Reviews & PR

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

3T Writing Tidbit (+$125 giveaway)(+KINDLE giveaway)

Text that does one thing is fine. But writing abounds in opportunities to make text resonate in one, two, or three dimensions or more.

Make world-building explanations part of the character's action.

Original: Today he simply pulled his wand from inside his vest—the thing hadn’t been there a moment ago but that was how wands worked, there when you needed them—and threw a frustrated blast at the mirror.

Better: Standing inside his shield as the bolt rebounded gleefully around the room, he cursed the magic that made a wand present instantly on need, not thought, and wiped his forehead with the back of his wrist.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Want to win one of FIVE $25 Amazon GCs? Check out the Fall Festival of Books!

★★★★Happy Holiday Giveaway Win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards!★★★★
A Kindle Paperwhite, an ebook from every participating author and $200 in Amazon Gift Cards are up for grabs in the Happy Holiday Giveaway offered by our romance authors.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.


photo credit: dezindzer via photopin cc
Hero--In or Out of the Shadows? --originally posted November 12, 2014

Who's your favorite book hero? Got him in your mind? Good. Now, what do you like about him? Is he honest, kind, caring? Brave, handsome, daring? Polite or a little rough?

Big question--would you put him in a white hat or black hat?

Do heroes always have to be good guys? I'm currently watching season one of The Blacklist, and so far, while the main hero does some pretty unnerving things, he has one redeeming quality--he always protects the heroine.

Yesterday saw the release of Assassins Bite, the eighth book in my Biting Love series of red-hot vampire romances with action and sass. It's a book I never meant to write, but my editor loved a secondary character, an assassin named Aiden, so much that she suggested--okay, twisted my arm a bit--that he have his own book.

The problem? Aiden Blackthorne was trained as an assassin by the most notorious vampire in the Midwest. He has one friend in the world and a whole lot of enemies. But he is brave, handsome, daring and kind, and most of all--he protects the heroine above all things.

Well, he tries. Police officer Sunny Ruffles doesn't think she needs protecting. But that's another story ;)

What about you? What do you like most about the hero you picked? And if you dare--is he sunshine or shadows?
AssassinsBite3x4.5_medium Assassins Bite (Biting Love, Book 8) Only her light can burn away his shadows.
 AmazonB&NSH

On her first night as a police officer, Sunny Ruffles takes down three felons…only to be attacked by a gang of vampires who are a whole new level of hurt.

Then a mysterious shadow man intervenes, saving Sunny before he disappears. She runs after him, telling herself her pursuit has nothing to do with his sharp, stubbled jaw, his powerful shoulders, or his sexy-as-hell, kissable lips.

Rescuing the humans makes Aiden Blackthorne late for a critical meeting with the vampire Nosferatu’s daughter. Yet clompy, bumbling Sunny draws him back like wild honey. He kisses her, and he’s almost got her down to her underwear when a bomb meant for him explodes.

The last thing Aiden wants is to drag Sunny into his hellish conflict with Nosferatu. But Aiden’s a loner whose only friend has mysteriously disappeared, and the woman who smells and tastes like his mate is the only backup he has left. He’ll need her, everything he is, everything he was—and everything he might have been—to defeat his evil master and claim the love he never dared hope to have.

Warning: This book contains shadowy assassins shooping off vampire heads, cops bumbling in at the worst of times, and opposites attracting, colliding, and exploding in lust—a.k.a., explicit fighting, humor, and sex.

AmazonB&NSHkigauk

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hunt Mates FREE + November 1T Status Update + Giveaway

FREE! Brand-new Pull of the Moon novella Hunt Mates is free for my readers TODAY to Friday only. Get yours now!

Her whole future is endangered by a theft. When her new boss finds out, will he condemn her or save her?

Iota wolf shifter Emma Singer has just snared a coveted job at Gabriel Light's Choice Buy store when a pricey high-tech phone is stolen—and it looks like Emma's the thief. How can she convince her new boss she’s innocent?

Wizard prince Gabriel Light has bigger problems than the fact that his store has been robbed. A chance touch of his new hire lights a bonfire of lust in him. But witch + shifter = stupidly huge taboo. If the Witches’ Council finds out, they’ll have his head. Literally.

Yet the more Gabriel uncovers about the crime, the more unsettled he is. Especially when the thief returns and seems to be deliberately targeting Emma…


Love FREE books? Here's some more, plus a great giveaway.

November FREE for All & Giveaway 11/6-10!
Our Romance Authors are offering over 35 books...

Most of them are FREE for a limited time. It's just our way of thanking our loyal readers.

Even better, we've pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.

Here's the link to the November FREE for All & Giveaway:

http://lovekissedbookbargains.com/2017/11/03/november-free-for-all-giveaway/

What else is going on? Well...
  • Hunt Mates released this month
  • Friend Elle J Rossi invited me to be part of the Starstruck universe! When I came up with a Romeo & Juliet style story with hot bass guitarist Connor and clumsy but smokin' fiddle-player Sheevawn, I knew I had to join in.
  • Thanks to readers like you, Hot Chips and Sand hit 898 overall ranking at Amazon!
  • Working on Night's Kiss. Wow, Enkidu is coming out sexier and bigger than I planned.
  • Starting to rehearse for all the holiday concerts
  • Getting ready for Bad Boy Billionaire's Lady's December release

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

5T Tossup--Calling All Readers! plus $100 giveaway



Love reading & reviewing? Like finding new authors?

Wanna join a review team/street team?

We have 15 authors of varying genres who would love to find new readers! Why join a team? (Or lots of teams?) There are so many perks...like FREE books, advanced notice of sales, giveaways, and new releases. Let's not forget the swag and signed books so many authors give to their team as a reward for the support.

Give it a try!

Join some teams
and be entered to win
$100 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Participating Authors:

Alexandria Bishop | Amanda Heartley | Ashlee Price | Beth Prentice | Connie Davé | Emma Nichols | Emma Slate | Jennifer Millikin | Lilliana Rose | M.C. Cerny | Mary Hughes | Melissa Stevens | Mia Kayla | Samantha Garman | Traci Douglass

Enter to win!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

4T Olio A Book I've Enjoyed

Here's a shocker. Reading for information doesn't have to be dry and boring.

Besides the few minutes I steal to read for pleasure, I read a lot for information, mostly to get the facts right for a character or her clothes or car or location.

But I read several writing manuals a year, the best recommended by friend and amazing author Edie Ramer. I always find at lease a couple gems in the links she sends, but this book...OMG this book, I have 28 notes, all of them BIG EFFING CONCEPTS that I wonder why I didn't learn RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING.

Why did I enjoy it?
He applies the principals of great storytelling to the material
He tells YOU how to apply  the principals of great storytelling to your material, whether a novel, a screenplay, a TEDD talk, or your PTA speech




Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t

by Steven Pressfield

Tough love from the author of The War of Art. Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t is Pressfield’s “lessons learned" from a career in five different writing fields—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, narrative nonfiction, and self-help.
This is wisdom from the trenches, teaching you how to obey the platinum rule of writing ... THOU MUST MAKE IT INTERESTING!

Amazon | Nook | Author




Frankly, doing book reports as a child was grueling. I just wanted to read the story, to experience the adventure and the emotion. But I do want to share my favorites with you. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a book I've enjoyed!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3T Writing Tidbit

I think I've done a 3T Tidbit on this before, but it bears repeating...writing is all about setting up expectations, then knocking them over in interesting ways.

But you have to set up the expectation before you can play with it.

One thing I see a lot is a line like, "She thought about doing the thing, but decided not to, because of reasons."

So, that sets up expectations, which is fine. But it's a little unsatisfying. Where's the danger, the intrigue, the conflict? The potential for, "No, Lucy, don't do that!!"

Solution? Let the character actually DO THE THING before the plot negates it.

Example:

Before




Robert had fought in the Dovaronian War. Glynnis suddenly longed to ask him about it, about the Battle of Boswin, about all those things Fearghas had told her about—and that this man had experienced.

But a warning glance from Caer kept her silent. Later, she promised herself. There would be time later.
After
Robert had fought in the Dovaronian War. Glynnis suddenly longed to know about it, about the Battle of Boswin, about all those things Fearghas had told her about—and that this man had experienced.

She opened her mouth to ask.

Caer sliced her a warning glance.

She closed her mouth. Later, she promised herself. There would be time later.

The difference here is subtle. She's not taking much action. But she does take action, opening her mouth. That lets Caer's reaction, the warning glance, have that much more impact, and for the conflict of that moment to burn just a bit more without using a lot more words.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2T Repeat Performance

In December 2016, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.

 5 Places to Travel to Feed Your Muse--Originally posted October 15, 2014

Author, writer or reader, we all feel dry sometimes. Here are 5 places to find rejuvenation.

photo credit: Rob Unreall via photopin cc
  1. London. There are 2 Alpha ++ cities in the entire world, according to Wikipedia. London and New York are both hubs in the global economy. Studded with restaurants, theaters, and libraries, and blessed with an amazing public transport system, London has centuries of history, learning, and arts to feed your mind and soul. Edie Ramer has just visited, ask her about her favorites. I personally enjoyed Shakespeare's Globe Theater, the London Eye, the BBC, St. Paul's, and All Flutes.
  2. Your basement or attic. Whichever one gives you less guilt. lol. As an adult these are places we shove taxes and yet to be unpacked moving boxes. But as a child, ah, these are mysterious places full of old, forgotten treasures. So try this. stick your head in your attic or take a short trip to the basement and close your eyes. Breathe in the scent and let it take you back to those days of mystery and adventure.
  3. The Grand Canyon. This is one of the places I have yet to go. I've heard it's one of the few that lives up to expectation. Almost 300 miles long. Breathtaking scenery and nearly 2 billion years of geological goodies. The Colorado River. Mule rides. Some of the cleanest air in the US. Condors. How cool is that? I love visiting the Badlands so I hope to get here one day.
    photo credit: Brian Auer via photopin cc
  4. A museum, travelogue lecture, iMax theater, observatory, conservatory, concert, park...? The important thing here is go someplace bigger (or smaller) than yourself, where you'll see or hear something brand-new. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse and your eyes and ears open.
  5. Books. You don't have to travel physically to refresh yourself. Treat yourself to a day reading, or just an hour. Move to a different room, pick a comfy chair or indulge in a warm scented bath. Have a selection of books to suit your whims. Biography, romance, history, fantasy, science or science fiction, just pick up a book and do your mind and heart a new world of good.


What's your favorite way to refresh yourself?

Let’s get to know each other!

In these first months as a Magical Musings blogger, I’m sharing my 10 favorite things and hope to hear about yours. This is #5 Travel/Books (Travel for the mind and soul.)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

1T Status Update--It's OCTOBER already?

Whew! That was a whirlwind of releases last month. First the explosion of activity to launch the 22-author Billionaire Ever After anthology/box set. Then the gnawing of the fingernails waiting for the lists to post...then the joy of learning that, at long last and after many attempts, we'd made USA Today. Then the giddy week of Night's Caress and a return to my favorite small Midwest town, Meiers Corners.

So I'm basking on my well-deserved vacation now, right? Um, not quite, lol.
  • Night's Kiss (The Ancients bk 2) proposal package submitted. Draft is coming along nicely.
  • Hot Chips and Sand--Sale coming up Oct 30-Nov 3
  • Hunt Mates (Pull of the Moon, #3 by the new numbering system) releasing early November
  • Bad Boy Billionaire's Lady releasing late 2017 or early 2018
  • I'm participating in a mind-blowing citizen's police academy. I'm going to have to adjust the Taser scene in Biting Oz.
  • Gearing up for the holiday season
  • My new orchestra is fun! There were nine cellos though so hubby is playing second violin. Keeps him out of trouble :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

New release, new Kindle FIRE giveaway, plus USA Today thank you!

Night's Caress releases today! Join me this week for all things Night Caressy and Kindle FIRE-Y!

Amazon | BN | iBooks | Kobo | Google | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

In this small town, nothing is as it seems…

When artist Brie Lark left her vampire ex and her straitjacket of a hometown to breathe free in New York City, she promised herself two things: she’d never go back to Meiers Corner, and no more vampires. The last thing she expected—or wanted—was to be sent back home on an assignment. But her boss at the FBI needs her undercover on a murder case, working with a black-haired, black-eyed giant god of a man who’s her idea of perfection, except for one thing—he’s a vampire.

FBI Special Agent Seb Rikare is an ancient vampire hardened by loss. He’s cut all emotions to protect himself and leads a deliberately steady, almost sterile life. The brash young woman forced to pose as his lover irritates him, with her jangling bracelets and colorful hair. But as much as she irritates him, he finds himself drawn to her lively spirit and he’s tempted to make fantasy a reality.

Read the entire first chapter on my website!

Kindle FIRE Rafflecopter! Plus visit the great sites on my tour to read another exclusive excerpt!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today's visits are at:
Book Magic-Under a spell with every page
CelticLady's Reviews
Evermore Books
Harlie's Books
Once Upon a Book Blog
Romance Junkies
Splashes Into Books


Thursday's visits:
Book Loving Pixies
Cathy's World
For Love of Books4
Joyfully Reviewed
Lisa's Book Blog @ LEL
Lisa's Loves (Books of Course)
OMG Reads
D.E. Haggerty
Romance Reviews Today
Victoria's Thoughts and Reviews

Wednesday's visits:
Delilah Devlin
Bibliophile Ramblings
Em and M Books
Fiona Reads
Not Enough Tomes
Read-Love-Blog
Those Crazy Book Chicks

Tuesday's visits:
Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama
Book Lover Promo
The Book Quarry
The World As I See It
I Smell Sheep
Ebook Indulgence

Monday's visits:
The Book Disciple
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
I Love Romance
Nikki's Book Nook
Rolo Polo Book Blog
Tangled Hearts Book Review
Yearwood La Novela



The world of books really is a wondrous community. My thanks to everyone, readers, editors, authors, bloggers, reviewers, publicists, friends, family, and the other 21 authors in the Billionaire Ever After anthology. You're the reason I have exciting news today. Billionaire Ever After hit the USA Today bestseller list!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Join me on my preorder blast! $25 Amazon GC



Have you Pre-ordered Night’s Caress by Mary Hughes yet?


Author Mary Hughes’ newest release NIGHT’S CARESS is book one in The Ancients series. Brie Lark has given up her hometown and vampires.  Too bad the FBI just teamed her with the perfect male specimen, special agent and ancient vampire, Seb Rikare.

Pre-order NIGHT’S CARESS and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek at NIGHT’S CARESS and to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!


Title: Night’s Caress
Author: Mary Hughes
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 25, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Series: The Ancients
Page Count: 288 pages
Format: Digitial
ASIN: B074DZH8YK
ISBN-13: 9781640633360



Synopsis:

In this small town, nothing is as it seems…

When artist Brie Lark left her vampire ex and her straitjacket of a hometown to breathe free in New York City, she promised herself two things: she’d never go back to Meiers Corner, and no more vampires. The last thing she expected—or wanted—was to be sent back home on an assignment. But her boss at the FBI needs her undercover on a murder case, working with a black-haired, black-eyed giant god of a man who’s her idea of perfection, except for one thing—he’s a vampire.
FBI Special Agent Seb Rikare is an ancient vampire hardened by loss. He’s cut all emotions to protect himself and leads a deliberately steady, almost sterile life. The brash young woman forced to pose as his lover irritates him, with her jangling bracelets and colorful hair. But as much as she irritates him, he finds himself drawn to her lively spirit and he’s tempted to make fantasy a reality.

Pre-order at:  

Google Play http://bit.ly/2wjslWc

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card from Mary Hughes!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Night’s Caress Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Mary Hughes
“I tell you, Sera, I’m never going back to Meiers Corners.” I spoke into my Bluetooth headset as I skimmed through the glass doors of 26 Federal Plaza, hitting the Broadway-side concrete concourse at the height of the lunchtime rush.

A pizza delivery guy ran toward me like a bullet. I dodged him then played do-si-do with a nanny shepherding three identically dressed little boys clutching brand-new balls.

One bright red ball slipped from chubby fingers, getting kicked away by oncoming traffic. The youngster’s face clouded. Before his thunderstorm could burst, I twisted and lunged, my rainbow bracelets jingling like bells, and caught the ball on a bounce. Tossing it back to the nanny earned me the boy’s bright grin, totally worth my getting knocked around by a pair of freight-train pedestrians.

“Never, Brie?” The voice in my ear was warm and compassionate, my friend and, until I’d gotten my job with the FBI and moved, one of my roommates, Serendipity Braun Thorsson. “But it’s Oktoberfest. And there’s beer.”

Practically a microbrewery on every corner. As I crossed the street, I admitted, “That’s tempting. Not tempting enough.”

She knew why I’d left the Corners. Cheating ex and stifling small town might be cliché, but add in the fact that the ex was a vampire? And the town was ambitiously folksy, to the point that my high-school job was making sculptures out of cheese and summer sausage? I was exhausted living with all that day in, day out. New York was the first place I could breathe.

“Brie, I miss you.”

I winced. Temptation punch crowned by guilt KO, the specialty of every Meiers Corners matron. Sera must’ve learned it from her mother.

“I miss you, too. Why don’t you visit me here? We can take in a Broadway show, go dancing—Oh, shit.”

“What’s wrong?” Her voice went high, breathless.

I’d been heading for a hot dog cart near the corner and had just spotted a man standing in line. He stood unmoved by the bobbing masses, literally head and shoulders above the crowd.

Only one man I knew that stunningly tall—Special Agent Seb Rikare.

Or rather, not man. I guessed Rikare was a vampire.

“Brie?” Sera prompted.

“It’s nothing. A ping on my asshole meter.” My last boyfriend had been a vampire. It had not ended well, like a marshmallow Peeps party held in a microwave. I’d vowed never to get involved with another fanged male.

Naturally, Fate, who was a snarky bastard, molded the very next guy I met into my idea of perfection—gleaming black hair, granite jaw, bedroom eyes, and muscles like bowling balls, plus a brain that catapulted him to top agent with the FBI.

I’d have tapped that in a second except for the likelihood that, along with his shield, Rikare carried the extra-large V-size condoms in his wallet.

Under my breath, I muttered, “Damn it, I just want to grab a sandwich. I don’t want to deal with him now.”


Other Books by Mary Hughes

BITE MY FIRE  http://amzn.to/2wleuUl
CIN WIKKID  http://amzn.to/2y6C2bV