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Melisande – Blitz

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Châteaux and Shadows, Book 5
Historical Romance
Date Published: July 19, 2017
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Lucas de Granville—pious, respectable, impoverished, lonely—will do nearly anything for the godfather who raised him, even though his godfather doesn’t seem to want to do anything for him.
Melisande—mundane, illegitimate, dirt poor, lonely—will do nearly anything to make sure her mother and brother have shelter and food, even though they are critical of her lack of magical talent.
When Melisande’s father, a pious comte, sends his godson Lucas to bring her to Versailles and help him train her to be a fine, staunchly religious lady, their attraction is immediate, but so is their distrust.
Her eagerness to get as much money as she can as quickly as possible gradually changes into a wish for something higher, better, and holier. Something that Lucas can help her achieve: love.
Other Books by Philippa Lodge:
The Indispensable Wife
Châteaux and Shadows, Book One
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: October 2015
Aurore was delighted when a marriage was arranged with the boy she loved, her older brother’s friend Dominique, Comte de Bures. But in a few years the first rush of joy has worn off, and their promising life seems ruined by loss, betrayal, and misunderstanding. One terrifying morning mercenaries overrun their château and usurpers take Aurore hostage. Miles away at Versailles, where he is required to dance attendance on Louis XIV, Dominique is nearly killed by a crossbow bolt. Escaping, Aurore travels with a troupe of itinerant musicians, hiding in the open while discovering hidden resources within herself. Dom sets out to find his wife. He needs his old life back. He needs revenge. But his lands, his title, and his honor mean nothing unless he can win back the love of his indispensable wife.
The Honorable Officer
Châteaux and Shadows, Book Two
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: April 2016
France, 1668
Hélène de Bonnefoi’s spirit has been squashed by the ever-critical aunt and uncle who raised her. Serving as nanny and stand-in mother to her cousin’s child has saved her from the convent, especially after her cousin’s death. When suspicious accidents threaten the toddler, Hélène overcomes her near-blindness to seek the help of the child’s father, a colonel in Louis XIV’s army.
Jean-Louis, Colonel de Cantière, has spent his life proving his worth, integrity, and honor, first to his family and now in the army. When his daughter’s caretaker appears in his camp during a siege, claiming someone is trying to kill the girl, his loyalties are sorely tested.
Hélène must convince Jean-Louis the threat is real. But the true danger is to the heart of a shy young woman who has always loved her cousin’s husband from afar and to the colonel’s desire to resist complicated emotions.
The Chevalier
Châteaux and Shadows, Book Three
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: September 2016
Emmanuel, Chevalier de Cantière, youngest son of a baron, is happiest raising horses far from his complicated family. When news comes his mother is deathly ill, he races to her side only to find she has apparently recovered and moved on, leaving behind her companion, Catherine.
Catherine de Fouet blends into the background, saving up so she’ll never have to wait on waspish, scheming old ladies like the baronesse again. She has no interest in a resentful gentleman, estranged from his mother, no matter how broad his shoulders or intriguing the wounded soul behind his handsome face. She just needs someone to escort her back to Versailles.
But Catherine is suspected of poisoning the baronesse. She rebuffs a pushy courtier who tries to use blackmail to make her his mistress, and her reputation hangs by a thread.
The chevalier wants more than anything to protect this woman whose prickly exterior hides sweetness and passion. They need his family to help him through court intrigues—almost as much as they need each other.
Henri et Marcel
Châteaux and Shadows, Book 4
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Published: January 2017
Henri de Cantière has been surly since he returned from visiting his family at Versailles, but he doesn’t want to burden Marcel Fourbier, his longtime lover, with his problems. He can’t sleep and hurts all over at exactly the time when everything else seems to be falling apart.
Marcel can barely keep up with his usual duties of running their household and creating beautiful furniture in the de Cantière factory when more burdens fall on his shoulders. His estranged Huguenot family condemns him to hell but wants his help, a stranger attacks him in a dark street, an arsonist tries to destroy the factory, and Henri’s beloved sister-in-law, who has been like a sister to Marcel, is weakening after being in labor for several days.
Most of all, Marcel wants to find a cure for Henri, the man who holds his heart.
Excerpt
Chapter One
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago in France, there was a witch with no magic.
“Mélisande!”
The stranger’s shout echoed inside the damp walls of the tiny house she shared with her mother and her younger brother. If it were the house’s owner, who didn’t know they were squatting there, he wouldn’t have known her name. It didn’t mean the voice wasn’t trouble.
Her gut whispered unease. Well, who wouldn’t have a whisper of unease about a strange man shouting one’s name? In one’s home? After being the target of more than one lecherous oaf in the streets? And the target of religious people?
She leaned her scrubby straw broom in the corner and peeked up the hall, glad to be shrouded in darkness, grateful for the first time that there was no window except for the tiny, grimy one looking onto the narrow, dark street.
The front door stood open, letting in cold wind, the reek of filth, and weak evening light which left the man as nothing but a silhouette. Even so, Mélisande had another frisson of what her mother would have called premonition but was probably just fear. She was trapped in her house by a large, faceless man with a booming voice. What was not to frisson about?
She drew back into the room, hoping he hadn’t seen her. The front door scraped and thumped shut, leaving her in complete darkness. She waited, pressed against the wall much like the plaster: crumbling away from the inside. She held her breath and listened.
Maybe he’d left.
A footstep. Of course he hadn’t left; that would be too simple. This was more than her everyday fear: fear the other witches would discover she wasn’t one of them, fear they would starve, fear they would be arrested, fear a man would pull her into a dark room and rape her. Everything could go wrong in a heartbeat.
Footsteps in the front room, where her mother read palms and sold the potions her uncle —her half-brother’s uncle—made. She hoped the yelling man hadn’t tracked anything foul in, as she had just scrubbed those rotting floorboards. A pause as the man listened. At least there was only one man and Mélisande had a sharp pair of scissors, which rattled against the tabletop as she picked them up.
“Mélisande?”
The voice was softer now. Kinder. Lilting. Tempting. The man was going to try to lure her from her hiding place. She hoped he meant her no harm.
A scuff and heavier step as the man tripped on the uneven floor. He halted at the head of the hall, only a few feet from her.
“Ecoutez.” He cleared his throat, waiting for her to say she was listening.
Oh, she was listening, but she was hoping he would leave.
He cleared his throat again. She should offer him a tisane of ginger and honey. She shook her head at her rambling thoughts, swishing her hair against the wall.
“Right. I was told you were here. Your mother said you would welcome my news. I’m sorry, but… Well, my shouting is unforgiveable. Your brother and mother angered me on purpose, I believe. They said I wouldn’t find you unless you wanted to be found. I suppose it’s true, what with witchcraft…”
He paused, listening. Probably expecting her to blast him with a curse. Too bad the worst curse she had ever doled out was when she was ten and made her brother’s nose bleed. Of course, she’d hurled a cup at him at the same time.
“Your father wishes to claim you. I’m to take you to Versailles.”
****
Once upon a time, there was a French nobleman who didn’t belong anywhere: a younger son with no portion, fostered with his godfather.
Someone gasped softly in the dark room to Lucas de Granville’s left. She really was there. Or someone was, anyway. Some woman.
If it was the right woman, the bastard witch daughter of the Comte d’Yquelon, and she came with him, the count had promised Luc a reward. He needed new breeches and a new hat for Easter and was counting on the supplement to his tiny allowance to buy the fabric.
Of course, the girl would get a larger reward, eventually. If she could be trained and refined and her soul purged of evil, d’Yquelon would give her a large dowry. Luc smiled sourly, sure the woman would be a hag and thoroughly wrapped in satanic rituals. Her mother had been positively deranged and her brother snide and crude.
Three feet from him, a girl slipped out of dark gloom into the slightly lighter gloom, her footsteps silent and her pale bodice picking up just enough light so she appeared to float like a ghost, her face a skull in the shadow. Only by the way she raised her arm did he notice she was holding something – a knife? He staggered back, flinging out his hands to hold her off.
He really hadn’t meant to die in a dirty, smelly back alley of Paris while running an errand for his godfather. He stumbled over the uneven floor again, catching himself on the wall beside the door. She stepped into the feeble light from the oilcloth-covered window and he caught his breath.
She was pretty. Beautiful. Regal. From death’s head to beauty? Magic. He crossed himself.
He had seen her in a dream the night before as he tossed and turned and dozed intermittently in the rundown inn on the edge of this slum. Dark hair, pale skin, and irises so light they appeared almost white. In his dream, he had been fascinated and frightened. He shook his head to clear his mind.
She sighed and lowered her hand slightly to reveal a pair of pointed scissors.
Then her chin came up, and she was beautiful in spite of pallor and gauntness. It didn’t stop him being wary of her, though the fear was dissipating.
“I am Mélisande.” Her voice was low and soothing. Another witch’s trick, probably, to lull him. “I don’t approve of intruders in my home.” She raised her eyebrows imperiously, and he couldn’t stop himself from smiling at this bit of bravado. “And yet, if my mother invited you here, I suppose you are meant to be a guest.”
He was afraid his curled lip betrayed his disgust at the pitiful room and stench of semi-frozen rot and sewage seeping in from the street. At least he hoped the rot and sewage weren’t inside the hovel. He shuddered.
She scowled. “What, exactly, did my mother say to you?”
Luc shuddered again. He had cornered her mother in a different dark room off an alley, off a small street that led to a dirty little market. “She laughed at me and told me about a premonition she had about the Comte d’Yquelon. She said I should pick my friends more carefully.”
He hadn’t picked the comte so much as been abandoned in the comte’s household at the age of three. His parents’ money had run out and all the boys except the heir had been dropped off with their various godparents.
Mélisande’s lips pursed as if she were trying not to laugh at him. “What brought about this desire to seek me out?”
“His son died.” Even after six months, Lucas felt the weight of Charles’ death.
“Oh.” Her face fell. “I am sorry to hear it. I wish I had known him.”
Was she mourning her half-brother?
When Charles died suddenly from a fever, the count raged about witchcraft and curses. Six months later, the comte recalled Luc from Normandy and told him where to find this bastard daughter, child of the witch who had cursed his son. None of those words had made any sense at all to Lucas, who had known the comte only as a fierce, strictly pious gentleman.
I’ve never seen her. Her mother was a beauty. I told the comtesse she used a spell or potion on me, but, of course, it was just normal lust.
Just normal lust certainly described the feeling growing inside Luc. This girl might be using a spell on him, but he was fairly sure she was tempting enough without it.
“He had no other children?” She sounded wistful. Not at all lusty.
“Just me.” He grimaced. “I’m not related by blood.”
Her eyebrows went up.
“He’s my godfather. He raised me. I’m the seventh son of a duke’s seventh son, and there were far too many mouths to feed.”
Her face lit up with her smile. “Seventh son of a seventh son? And you’re not a warlock?”
Luc jerked back and crossed himself to ward off the evil eye.
“Sorry.” She dropped her head. “It’s a rather coveted place in a family of witches, you know. Though I guess if you’re strictly religious…”
Luc cleared his throat. He had to bring Mélisande back. He needed the reward the comte promised, if just to have something to tide him over as he looked for employment.
“You wish to take me to my father?”
She looked around the room, presenting her profile, and he caught his breath at the sight of the huge knot of dark hair, braided, pinned, and tied at her nape. There was probably enough there to hang past her waist when she let it down. If it were styled properly, she could wear it on top of her head in a rich swirl. Her nose was a touch too large. In fact, it was much like the beak the late Charles had inherited from his father. Luc had still to see her in better light to know if her eyes were her father’s pale, icy blue, but he was sure he had the right woman.
“It’s the task I was assigned, yes.”
“You do not wish to accomplish the task? I suppose he’s paying you well.” She sounded like she was laughing.
Luc stiffened. “I wish to please my godfather, the man who was a father to me, whose son was like my brother.”
“Yet you don’t particularly wish to take me.” It was a statement, not a question. Her lips quirked up wryly.
No, he thought it was a fool’s mission for his godfather to try to civilize her. Luc let his eyes travel around the room, taking in the single, rickety table with two stools; the chimney with a few chunks of charred wood; the damp, crumbling plaster; the uneven, rotting floorboards. He wanted to take Mélisande away from here. He would want to take anyone away from here.
He shrugged. “I will be rewarded, but not as much as you. I won’t kidnap you. I won’t drag you bodily to Versailles. You will need to say goodbye to your family. When the comte gives you gold and fine clothing, you will have to decide if you wish to share with your mother or keep it to yourself.”
She sighed, her narrowed eyes never leaving his, her face wary. “I wish I knew what to do.”
The door flew open beside him, and Luc spun to face the threat. As the man moved away from the backlit doorway, Luc saw it was Mélisande’s brother, who had needled and taunted him in the marketplace before leading him to their mother.
“Of course she’ll share with us,” the young man announced, strolling in, bringing the odor of muck from the street with him.
Lucas coughed, trying to force the stench from his nose and mouth. He wished he had adopted the affectation of carrying a perfumed handkerchief as so many nobles did.
“We’ve supported her all these years, and she’s not good for much more than carrying messages and cleaning. Since she refuses to marry or take a rich lover, we’ll look to her father to make our fortune.”
Luc clenched his jaw at the mention of a lover, relieved she was not a prostitute. Or her brother said she wasn’t a prostitute, which could be a lie. At least she had one fewer sin than he expected. He immediately wondered why she wasn’t good for more than carrying messages.
As if answering his thoughts, Mélisande’s mother swept into the hovel, leaving the door wide open.
“Well, Mélisande! Your father has finally sought you out. He certainly sent a handsome enough little lord to do it. Are you sure you don’t want me to read your palm, little lord?”
Luc pulled himself up straight and stuck his chin out. “My godfather frowns on any of the witch’s arts. Palm reading reeks of the devil.”
The old witch cackled, just as he thought witches should. Her hair was as thick as her daughter’s, though light brown threaded with gray instead of dark. Their faces were the same shape, with full lips. She would have been seductive twenty years before. “Oh, you pious prigs are so easy to tease.”
“Maman, would you please…” Mélisande looked embarrassed.
“That wasn’t always the Comte d’Yquelon’s attitude, you know. How do you think he got me with child? He was quite adventurous when he was younger. I heard he turned prudish and preachy.” The older witch strode across the room and dropped a cloth bag on a box in the corner. “Well, at least you have nothing to worry about from Mélisande. We’ve kept it secret around here, but she has no special powers. Weak premonitions, sometimes, but those don’t count for much. Healing skill, but not healing power.”
Mélisande looked down at her hands, her cheeks pink.
“And like Thomas said, she doesn’t want to be a whore. She does deliveries, cleaning, and cooking. She’d make some merchant a good wife, if we knew any merchants who wanted a bastard witch. Bunch of prudes they are, too, probably worse than you nobles.”
Her brother shoved Mélisande’s shoulder. “Go get your things. The sooner you get your inheritance, the sooner we can live someplace nice.”
“If you go, daughter”—the witch spread her arms—“don’t bother to come back without enough for all of us to live on. Better yet, just send us some gold.”
Mélisande’s mouth fell open in shock. “Maman…”
“You won’t wish to come back, and you’re no use to us here.” Her mother turned away.
No, Mélisande wouldn’t want to come back once she had a taste of a better life, but Lucas felt a pang of sympathy anyway. He didn’t remember his parents leaving him behind when he was three, but he had grown up separated from his family and without much contact with children his age. “The comte will make sure you have all you need. He will find you a husband. You’re his only surviving child.”
The witch looked him over. “The heir died? I foresaw it years ago. D’Yquelon thought I was cursing him, which would have been different magic, of a type I don’t approve of. What was your name, again, little lord?”
“Lucas de Gran—”
“Lucas, I foresaw the heir would die. I told your count he should recognize the child he would leave me with and raise her alongside his doomed son.”
Mélisande slipped from the room into the stygian hallway.
“He laughed at me. He didn’t believe I was pregnant. I knew, of course. When I had my Mélisande, I sent him word, but he replied I should leave him alone. He’s going to tell you I cursed him and his family. It was only later, when we realized Méli was hopeless in magic that I thought I should have cursed him when I had a chance. I still thought Méli would be worth something. And now maybe she will be.”
Luc pursed his lips. He wondered if the woman’s mercenary attitude toward the worth of her daughter was any worse than nobles paying a dowry to buy an influential husband.
The brother grunted. “Well, she’s a good sister, I have to say. It’s been hard to cover up her mundaneness, but she’s a good draw at fairs and such, as long as no one expects her to do any magic. Her sweet smile gets the gentlemen’s attention and the ladies trust her. They rush in to consult with me and Maman because she looks so wholesome.”
The sound of Mélisande stumbling made Luc turn. She had a kerchief in her hand, something rattling inside it. Probably those wicked scissors. For some reason, the thought reassured him. She was going to need protection in the coming weeks.
“Are you ready, Mademoiselle?”
She kissed her mother and brother goodbye. They responded perfunctorily and waved her off.
Luc led her off to her future.
****
Mélisande stumbled through the muddy streets, gripping the handsome young nobleman’s arm as he strode far too quickly up and down the streets. The neighbors stared. She spied her uncle bent double with mirth. She ignored them all as best she could.
“Finally found a protector, chérie?” an elderly man cackled as she passed by.
She stood up straighter. “I’m going to meet my father.”
The warlock pursed his lips, suddenly sober. “I guess we won’t be seeing you again.”
His hunchbacked wife made a sign of blessing with her claw-like, arthritic hands, bringing Mélisande to tears again. “Go with the goddess.”
Monsieur—What was his name? de Grandeur?—pulled on her arm as Mélisande made the same sign back.
They wove through the dirty streets and doubled back several times until they were a short walk from her house. In her shock at her mother and brother’s hard hearts, she hadn’t thought to point out that they were parading up and down seemingly at random.
“Monsieur de Gran…?”
His frowned ferociously. “De Granville.”
“I hate to question you, but where, precisely, are we going?”
He looked around. “I met your mother just over there.” He nodded toward the alley where her mother met with clients.
Mélisande nodded silently.
“From here, I believe I can backtrack my way out of here.”
“Or you could tell me where we’re going, since I know the quartier.”
De Granville went still. Mélisande ducked her head, afraid she had injured his pride. Her uncle or brother would have slapped her.
His chest expanded against her arm as he sighed. “I’m not really sure which way I came along this street.”
She risked a glance at him as he wrinkled his nose and stared down the street. He smiled just slightly. He was pleasant to look at when he smiled. His jaw became less sharp and his dark eyes squinted with amusement.
He told her at which inn he had left his carriage. Not a rich one, and Mélisande knew she wasn’t welcome inside, but she knew where it was.
When she resisted at the door, de Granville said, “I just need to ask them to summon the carriage.”
She shuffled in, head down, trying to look as if she belonged.
The innkeeper’s memory was long. “Witch!”
“I’ll wait outside.”
She darted toward the door, but de Granville caught her hand.
“She’s with me.” He faced the innkeeper, looking cool and confident.
“I will not rent you a room for a few hours. This isn’t that sort of inn.”
De Granville scowled, his eyes dangerous slits. Mélisande looked down at her feet, her heart pounding, Run, run, run.
“I paid you for last night. I only wish to reclaim my carriage and be off. I am taking the girl to her father. But it is not any of your affair.”
“Is her father a witch, too? And you? You looked respectable, but maybe you aren’t. Maybe you’ve stolen the fine carriage. Maybe I should call the guard.”
“The carriage belongs to the lady’s father.”
“The lady? What lady? All I see is a whoring witch.”
She stood up straighter. I am not a whore. I’m not even a witch.
De Granville banged his fist on the rickety table serving as a counter. His actions were fire, but his voice was ice. “Bring the carriage. I will pay the rate agreed on for stabling it and feeding the coachman. I am more respectable than you could comprehend.”
Mélisande sidestepped away from him as the innkeeper went out back, grumbling. Her brother would have taken out his anger on her. She stood in silence, waiting for the blow to come, but de Granville did nothing but cross his arms and breathe.
Several minutes later, when a boy came in and called his name, de Granville, jaw still clenched, held out his arm gallantly and led her out front to a small, dark carriage, an elderly man on the driver’s seat.
“That’s her, then, Monsieur Lucas?” The driver glared, taking in her stained, patched dress, not approving.
De Granville helped her up. “It will be night in only a few hours, Grosporc. Let’s get out of Paris and try to get to the usual inn before dark. It will be clean there. Unlike here.”
The innkeeper shouted his outrage from the doorway of his inn.
Mélisande wondered if this Lucas de Granville was really who he said he was and if she weren’t instead being kidnapped to be used, sold, and discarded. Her mother had not been worried, but there was very little that bothered her mother. Of course, her mother usually claimed she knew what was going to happen before it did.
De Granville held out his hand and helped her up.
About the Author

Philippa Lodge has a hundred stories in her head and a social media addiction.
She writes historical romance set in Louis XIV’s France; New Adult romantic women’s fiction set in small-town, small-college America; and contemporary romance with nerdy beta heroes and cranky heroines whose pasts can be healed with the love of a good man.
She lives with one husband, two cats, and three kids in the inland valley of California.
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THE CARETAKER by Dahlia Donovan – Release Blitz

NEW BOOK RELEASE
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THE CARETAKER
Dahlia Donovan
Series: The Sin Bin Book 2
Genre: MM
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Publication Date: July 8, 2017
Will age matter when love and lust become all consuming?
Nurse Freddie Whittle devotes every fibre of his being to his work with cancer patients. Their pain weighs heavily on his shoulders. Between losing clients, the expectations of his fathers, and bigot neighbours, he’s slowly reaching his breaking point.
Taine Afoa retires from a storied career as an international rugby star. He’s moved away from London for a change of pace, never expecting to meet a man who’s far too young for him. No matter how hard he tries, it’s impossible to get Freddie out of his mind.
Will Taine’s resistance dissolve in time for him to give love the chance to flourish?
A wonderful story on acceptance, love and finding the one you are meant to be with and fighting for them. Of showing patience and kindness. A great second story in this series that has you laugh, smile and cry but most of all feel the love and acceptance from the characters towards one another.
– books are love, Goodreads Reviewer
Dahlia Donovan has written a beautiful story full of conflict, lust and love. If you like M/M or this is your first time, I would recommend this book, I found it a nice ice breaker into a whole new world of books for me.
– sarahe32, Goodreads Reviewer
Dahlia Donovan is quickly changing the way the genre is perceived and it’s a good thing because now more people will want to read this genre and find that it is as beautiful as any romance story out there.
– Emma, Goodreads Reviewer

Purchase Links

Available now for $2.99 only. Grab your copy today.
The Caretaker Teaser

An Excerpt from the Book

Take an inside look at The Caretaker. Read this sizzling excerpt from the book.
“Are you going to continue to stare at my lips whenever you look my direction?” Taine’s voice dropped down to a husky whisper. “If you are, why don’t you bring yours a little closer to mine? You’ll see them far better with your mouth than your eyes.”
Cursing his exuberant and generally impulsive nature, Freddie leaned forward until their lips hovered a breath away from each other. One strong exhale could bring them close enough to qualify as a kiss. Taine didn’t move backwards or forwards; they both waited for the deadlock to be broken.
“Oh, why not,” Freddie muttered impatiently. He surged forward, closing the distance. His lips smacked awkwardly to the left of Taine’s, which caused the man to chuckle. “Oh, coc y gath, sorry.”
“Calm down.” Taine caught Freddie’s chin in his hand and guided him closer. His mouth controlled the connection. They had to tilt to avoid their noses mashing uncomfortably. The former rugby player’s tongue darted across Freddie’s lips and pressed the advantage. He delved expertly into their true first touch. “Now that is a kiss.”
“You should be ashamed.”
Freddie jerked away from Taine and snapped around to find a woman in her sixties glaring at them—or at Taine specifically. “Pardon?”
“You should be ashamed.” She pointed a bony finger at Taine. “Corrupting a young teenager. Is that legal? I’ve half a mind to report you. Are you okay, young man? Did he force you away from your parents?”
“A teenager?” Freddie swallowed down an irrational burble of laughter. “I’m twenty-six years old.”
“Oh. Oh, dear. I’m so sorry.” She covered her mouth in obvious embarrassment. “You look so young. I just assumed. Carry on then, loves. Never you mind me. It’s always good to see someone enjoying the pleasures of life.”
The two men stayed silent after accepting her apology. Freddie only dared to peek at Taine out of the corner of his eye once the woman had gone back to her seat. A clear mistake. It started with a snort, muffled quickly by his hand, but quickly dissolved into laughter anyway; it continued until their sides ached and they were gasping for air.
Freddie regained his composure just as the train pulled into Paddington station, forcing him to shelve any comments about the kiss. “Ready for the next stage of the journey?”

Other Books by Dahlia Donovan

Don’t miss the other books in the The Sin Bin series:
The Wanderer
THE WANDERER
Series: The Sin Bin Book 1
Graham Hodson lives for adventure. His entire life revolves around his wanderlust. The last thing he expects is a diagnosis to ground his travel—permanently. Boyce “BC” Brooks screws up his dream of being a rugby team captain. He’s lost everything. Can they find stability when their world spins?
Buy Links: Amazon
This book will have you laughing so hard at the easy banter between these two then clutching your chest as the emotions threaten to boil over.
– ~lil maso~, Goodreads Reviewer

Giveaway

WIN $10 GC AND MORE!
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Prizes up for grabs:
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Two eBook Copies of The Wanderer (Sin Bin Book 1)
Contest runs from July 19 – 25, 2017.

About Dahlia Donovan

Dahlia Donovan

Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
Official website: http://dahliadonovan.com/
Connect with Dahlia Donovan on social media:
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For more information, visit the The Caretaker Book Page at Book Unleashed.

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Interviewing For Her Lover – Blitz

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Steamy Romance/Erotica
Date Published: May 2017
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Sarah wants a lover, but she wants one on her terms.  She doesn’t have time to date and picking a guy up at a bar is not only dangerous but it doesn’t guarantee he’ll let her act out her fantasies.  Then she hears about La Petite Morte Club—a place for willing males and females to meet with rules and contracts so that all parties leave satisfied.
She signs up with the club and starts the process of finding the man who’ll be her lover for six nights.  Six nights of fantasy—his and hers. Six nights of sex and then they’re done.  Simple, uncomplicated and fun, but she doesn’t count on Nick’s ability to make her desire everything he has to offer and more.


Excerpt

Sarah opened the door and walked into the room, trying to stay balanced on these stupid heels.  Men wouldn’t find them so attractive if they had to wear them.  The room was dark except for one light highlighting a small platform.  That was for her.  She stepped up onto the small stage.  The room was silent but they were there, above her, hidden behind the one-way mirrors, watching her, deciding if they wanted to take the next step—to eventually take her.
She stared into the blackness of the room.  It wasn’t huge but its emptiness made it seem vast.  She glanced upward, the light making her squint and she quickly stared back into the darkness.  This was arranged for them to see her.  That was it.  She’d get no glimpse of them yet.  She’d seen their pictures, chosen them but meeting them in person would be different.  A picture couldn’t tell her their smell or the sound of their voices.
She tugged at her dress where it hugged her hips, wishing the questions would start, but there was only silence.  She shifted, the heels already killing her feet.  Ethan hadn’t liked them and if they weren’t going to impress, she might as well take them off.  She moved to the back of the stage, leaned against the wall and removed her shoes.  As she returned to the center of the stage a man spoke, his voice loud and commanding almost echoing throughout the room.
“Don’t stop there.  Take off your dress.”
She bent, placing her shoes on the floor.  That wasn’t part of the deal.  She wasn’t going to undress in front of five men, only one.  Only the one she chose.  She straightened.  “No.”
“What?”  He was surprised and not happy.
“I said no.  That’s not part of the Viewing.”
“I want to see what I’m getting.”
She stared up toward the windows, squinting a little.  She couldn’t tell from where the voice had come.  The speaker system made it sound as if it were coming from God himself.  “And you will if I pick you.”
Another man laughed.
“It’s not funny.  She’s disobedient,” said the man with the loud voice.
“Not always.  I can be obedient.”  These men liked to be in control but sometimes, so did she.
“Will you raise your dress?  Just a little,” asked another voice.
Author Bio

Ellis O. Day grew up with her nose buried in books and now enjoys writing the kind of stories she loves to read.  Romance—the steamier the better—as long as there’s love in the heart (and plot).
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FATE HEALS – NEW RELEASE

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Fate Heals

Twist of Fate #2
by Tina Saxon
Publication Date: June 24, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Fate has forced me down a twisted path. When I think it can’t get any worse, it reminds me that it can, pushing me into a thick, thorny maze and leaves deep, irrevocable scars.

My will to fight has taken hit after hit, that burnt-out fire leaving only embers to scorch those closest to me. My fears and demons rage inside me, destroying everything … including the man who loves me more than anything.

A hidden surprise and new danger brings Aiden back into my life, and he’s just as cocky and gorgeous as when we first met. My body jolts back to life the second we lock eyes, but I’m not ready for those sparks to fly. Can we put aside our feelings and work together to find a killer before it’s too late?

Will Fate allow me enough time to heal and glue back the pieces of my life before it decides I need more excitement? No matter what it throws my way, I’ll survive. Right?

Fate Hates

by Tina Saxon
Publication Date: May 8, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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It’s fate that led us to each other.
It’s fate that we can’t be together.

When something bad happens, you never hear anyone say, “It must be fate.” Yet fate was to blame for me being home to witness my mother’s murder. Fate paved the road my life was destined to take that tragic day. And that road led me directly to him.

We were never meant to be. Just a chance encounter with a bad boy who shocked my heart into submission.

Until fate pushed me down that road and led me to him again. Our paths didn’t just cross, they collided.

I need to fight the secrets from my past. He’s just fighting for me. Can two people destined to meet survive the devastation fate set in motion?

Welcome to my life.
Fate hates me.

About Tina Saxon

I’m a girl who doesn’t mind getting dirty but also loves to be pampered. It’s not uncommon to find me in the garage cutting wood to make a bookshelf or painting a new room because I’m bored with the old color. I have more power tools than most men on my street. The only thing I’m not allowed to have is a sharp knife and an avocado. A trip to the ER, a nerve repair surgery, two sets of stitches and a forever scar … I’m okay with that rule. Did you know they make little gadgets for avocado’s? Neither did I. Words of advice, don’t try and pop the seed out with a knife.

In between being a wife and a mom to two active kids, I love girl’s nights, laying in bed with a good book, football Sundays, drinking a fruity cocktail – with lots of cherries – and being in the sun. People who don’t know me see me as quiet and shy. I’m more reserved with a wild side I keep hidden until it’s appropriate to unleash.

When I tell people I’ve written books, the main question I receive is “Are they children’s books?” It makes me laugh every time. My books are about sexy alpha males and beautiful strong-willed women, with lots of sex. Definitely not children’s books.

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LOVE ON THE LINE – PROMO BLITZ

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Romance
Date Published: June 2017
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Andy may not have pipeline know-how, per se, but she’s got brains and every right to prove that she can do the job. Her estranged grandpa, Buck, believes she has what it takes to be his engineering assistant, and she’s not about to let him down.
Rooster isn’t a bad guy. He respects women, he was raised by one of the best. But that new girl is too small and… feminine. She’s a distraction, plain and simple, and she doesn’t belong on a pipeline. This job is his chance to impress Buck Brennan, a pipeline legend, and no girly greenhorn is going to ruin it for him.
Will Andy prove herself to her grandfather and forge a relationship with the old man, or will continuous disagreements and unexpected sexual tension between Andy and Rooster derail their hard work?
 
Excerpt
Excerpt From Chapter 12, Love on the Line by Kirsten Fullmer
Craning her neck, Andy stared down the right-of-way, but there was no sign of Buck. Rooster was now nearly the only man left on site, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to ride back to the access road with him.
As if she’d conjured it, Rooster hollered at her from across the right-of-way.
“Hey, I’ll give you a ride back. Get in the truck.”
“So that’s how is now,” she muttered. Just a hey you, get in the truck. “No thanks.” She yelled back, motioning down the road. “Buck will be along soon, I’ll walk.” Grandpa wouldn’t forget her, she reasoned. She wasn’t being difficult, just…
Rooster hesitated for a second then pulled a sour face and finished loading his equipment on his truck.
“Whatever,” she sighed, turning her back to leave.
The steep slope of the right-of-way as it led down the hill was a problem, but added with the slick mud, Andy had to concentrate on each step to not slip and fall. She’d slogged about a hundred feet down the hill when a noise ahead drew her attention, and she stopped to watch one of the crew trucks slide sideways. Mud flew up behind the truck’s tires like a fantail before the rig straightened out and continued on.
Rooster’s truck started up behind her with a roar, riling her anger even more. Allowing room for him to pass, she moved to the side of the right-of-way, but what looked like a puddle turned out to be much deeper, and to her horror, one booted foot sunk nearly to her knee. Desperate to get her footing, Andy worked to plant her other foot on some sort of solid ground so she could pull her boot loose. Unfortunately, the ground was thoroughly soaked and churned, and every move made her sink further in the mud and mire. Soon both feet were stuck to the point that she couldn’t lift either foot.
Rooster’s truck chugged passed, and she seethed, glaring at his face through the mud-splattered window. Steam likely came out her ears, she thought, clenching her teeth in frustration. Could the day possibly get any worse? Depending how long it took Buck to find her, it certainly could, she supposed. She may have to stand there all night.
Frightened more than a bit by the thought, she tried again to loosen her feet from the mud, but to no avail. She was stuck, no ifs, ands or buts about it. “See what being stubborn gets you, Andy?” she huffed under her breath.
Twenty feet ahead, Rooster’s truck came to a stop and Andy could see him peer into the side mirror to watch her struggle. Humiliation settled like a boulder in her stomach and she froze. Sure enough, right on cue, the day had gotten worse.
                                                            ***
“And… she’s stuck.” Rooster muttered.
Turning from the mirror, he leaned back in his seat, removed his safety glasses, and rubbed his hands over his face. As if trying to pretend she wasn’t driving him insane all day hadn’t been enough torture, now he had to rescue her. There was no doubt in his mind that she would not want to be saved, but he’d been stuck in the mud a few times himself and he knew what it felt like. Besides, she was Buck’s granddaughter, and the old man would not be pleased if Rooster left her out on the right-of-way alone. Not that he’d ever leave one of his crew, or anyone else out there alone, he reasoned. Buck had told him over the radio at lunch, that he’d be back for Andy, but he must have been delayed, which left Rooster to do his duty.
He’d known as he packed up, that he’d have to offer her a ride, but of course she’d told him to buzz off. Now he was just as stuck as she was, only this was a trap of his own making.
What a mess. This was supposed to be an epic job, he lamented, the one where he made his mark as a respected tie-in man. Now everything was going pear shaped. First he’d accidentally jumped the boss’ granddaughter, and then the relentless rain and mud had brought work to a stand still for nearly a week straight.
He took another glance in the mirror. She was still there, looking angry as a wet hen. He sighed. Would the memory of kissing the woman never let up? Every move she made reminded him of having her under him. When she was around, he could barely concentrate on the task at hand.
Andy hadn’t said a word to him since that night in his trailer, not that he blamed her. He’d been an idiot all the way around. She was the one woman within a hundred miles that he should stay away from, and he’d known it all along. Yet what had he done? Invited her right in and…
He pounded his fist on the dash. Fate was cruel. He was finally working with the one boss he wanted to impress more than anyone else on the planet, and all he could think about was getting the old man’s cherished granddaughter naked!
His red, tired eyes were drawn once more to the mirror. It was growing dark and Andy was obviously not going to get out of the mud without help. “Damn it all!” He cussed as he reached for the door handle.
                                                ***
“Well, here it is” Andy said with her shoulders slumped and her arms hanging limp at her sides. . “The moment I finally die of embarrassment…”
Unable to bear it, she turned her head and refused to look at Rooster as he approached, but she could see the scene play out in her mind’s eye. There they were, on the muddy right-of-way, his truck chugging where he’d left it with the door hanging open. He’d be stomping towards her with his fists clenched. Oh, and he’d be frowning for sure, likely more of a black scowl, she amended, adjusting the vision in her mind. He’d slosh up to her and say something snotty and condescending, like “Don’t you know better than to step in the mud after a week of rain?”
                                                ***
As he struggled up the hill toward Andy, Rooster had to admit that the walk was a treacherous one. He’d be lucky to make it to her without getting stuck himself. The afternoon sun had dried the mud to the thickness of wet cement, and since the crew’s trucks had passed, it was a damned disaster. If it rained tonight, they’d be lucky to make it up the hill in the morning.
He glanced up from his feet and his heart sank in his chest. The poor girl looked as if she wanted to cry. She was splattered with muck from head to foot, and two mud soaked gloves hung from each of her front pockets. She was sweaty and sunburned, and her face was turned away, as if she couldn’t bear to look at him.
He’d been a complete clod, he moaned. None of this was her fault. This wasn’t how he treated women. Especially women he liked.
Resolved to handle her with more consideration, he reached for her arm. Just as his hand made contact with her elbow, she whipped toward him, her expression angry as all holy hell.
“Yes, I know better than to step in the mud!” she snapped, jerking her arm away.
“I never said you didn’t,” he returned, stung by her response.
She sputtered momentarily, then continued, crossing her arms across her chest. “Maybe not, but I’m sure you thought something along those lines!”
He scowled. That hadn’t been his thought, but it could be…
“Just help me out of this, and I’ll be on my way.” she snapped.
“There’s no need—” he started, but she cut him off.
“Don’t bother to pretend you care.”
He tossed his hands in the air. “I’m not pretending—”
Eager to have the whole confrontation finished, Andy reached for his safety vest and grabbed hold, tugging hard in an attempt to gain leverage.
Startled, Rooster swayed, braced himself, and grabbed her arms. “Hold on a minute, don’t—”
Andy felt one of her boots move in the mud. Excited, she grappled her way up Rooster’s shirt and safety vest. “I’ve almost got it…just…”
Struggling to brace one foot behind him to keep his balance, Rooster shifted, right as Andy’s boot came loose. Barely managing to keep his footing, he glared down at her.
“I’m just about out!” she cried excitedly, clasping one hand around his neck to pull at her other foot with all her might.
“Wait, wait… don’t—” He stuttered, working to get his own footing secure.
Not listening to anything or anyone, Andy continued to tug at her boot. A sucking noise was heard seconds before her muddy, stocking-clad, foot slipped completely from her laced boot. Andy flew forward, hurling directly into Rooster’s chest.
He grasped her, knowing for sure that he could not stay upright, but he was determined to break their fall the best he could. His concern was needless, however, because they fell directly back into a giant pool of goo, with Rooster on the bottom and Andy riding on top. An enormous splash enveloped the couple, and neither could do much beyond sputter and blindly paddle at the mud. Rooster got the worst of it, by far, but Andy managed to get a mouthful of mud as they went down.
He knew she was okay when he heard her spitting. Beyond angry, he shoved her off his chest and grappled to stand, rubbing mud out his eyes. He made it to his feet first, still unable to comprehend the sheer amount of mud that covered him. Unfortunately, Andy’s similar attempt to stand resulted in her slipping and falling backward, causing another huge splash.
She pushed to a sitting position, looking up at Rooster exactly like a furious wet cat. Nearly every inch of her was soaked and most of her was covered in mud, even her face and her hair. It was like she’d been dipped in dirty chocolate. Mud was in her eyes and her ears. Bugs and bits of branches and leaves, rocks and gravel, stuck in the mud as well. Rooster couldn’t help himself, and laughter rang out into the twilight. Able to see humor in the situation, he reached out to help her up, only to be shocked when she gave his hand a solid jerk, sending him headlong into the mud at her side.
Spitting sludge, Rooster surfaced to see Andy grinning wickedly behind the mud covering her face, so he swung one arm around her waist and swung her over him and back into the mud. Laughing and screaming, she clutched at his clothing, struggling to get a grip so she could drag him down with her.
“What have we here?” a loud voice boomed over the couple’s heads and both froze. Rooster worked to swipe mud out of his eyes as Andy caught sight of Buck standing beside his truck with his arms crossed over his chest.
Paddling and splashing, Rooster hurried to stand, then offered a hand to Andy. She pulled herself silently to her feet, by his side. He bent to collect his hard hat and plopped it on his head, mud and all. Silence settled on the right-of-way, then Andy cleared her throat.
“I lost my boot…” She muttered, holding up one unrecognizable bootless foot.
Buck was silent for a moment, then one brow arched. “You’re either riding home with him,” Buck tossed his head toward Rooster, “Or in the back of the truck…”
The younger man took a step forward. “Sir, I…”
With a blush burning under the mud, Andy collected her hard had, turned it over to dump mud and water from it, then headed toward Rooster’s truck.
“Don’t forget your boot,” Buck reminded her, “You can’t come out here barefooted tomorrow.”
Andy did an about face, feeling like a naughty child, and gingerly picked her way back to the mud hole to search for her boot.
Buck and Rooster stood with their gazes locked, like stags in battle.
Rooster spoke first. “I’ll take her home, Sir.”
Finally a grin played at the corner of buck’s mouth, and he nodded at the young tie-in foreman. “See that you do…” He said with a wink.
 
About the Author

Kirsten Fullmer lives and writes in her 36 foot travel trailer, touring the country with her husband as he follows pipeline construction. Her three other novels, The Shabby Chic Trilogy, have spent the last two years rising to the top of the Amazon Kindle market.
Love on the Line is Kirsten Fullmer’s fourth novel, and it’s based loosely on her own daughter’s experiences working on a pipeline with a group of rough and tumble men. 

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