Despite my latest flare-up lasting for far longer than I expected, while Covid changed our world, I worked on several projects, and even co-authored a trilogy with my friend and extremely talented author, Christopher White. Although we started the series before the pandemic started, the setting is eerily similar for certain aspects.
In loved co-writing with Chris, and I think it shows in the story.
She’s a misfit with no present. He’s a bad boy with no future. And they have 23 days to save the world.
A deadly plague divided humanity into three different species. An ongoing ecological crisis has plunged the world into chaos. What’s left of the once-powerful United States in 2081 is a scorched wasteland where day-to-day survival is a struggle.
Life in the pristine bubble of the Greater Los Angeles District isn’t as idyllic as the Central Protectorate wants its citizen to believe. Iris Flores and her friends are relegated to the edge of a society that has no use for them—until the day she is hunted down and forced to leave her home to spy on the enemy.
Xander Kendrick, wayward son of Cascadian political royalty, is once again in trouble after pummeling a man in front of dozens of witnesses. When given the choice to serve his sentence in the Defense Force instead of a maximum-security prison, he accepts. Little does he know that the military stint will set him on a collision course with danger… and Iris. Together, they must find a way to save his homeland from total annihilation.
As loss and betrayal destroy their lives, Iris and Xander will risk everything to save the people they love.
If pressed to answer the age-old question about women and thoroughbreds, Andrew would have truthfully responded that he liked ladies and horses equally. Unless the topic of the conversation centered on Prince, his magnificent Arabian, and not on any hypothetical stallion. Then there would be no comparison.
Notwithstanding their short acquaintance, Louisa should have known where his loyalties lay.
“It’s just a ride in Hyde Park.” A pout on her fleshy mouth, the curvaceous actress stared at him with undisguised disgruntlement. His mistress for little more than a month, and she had already bored him with her bouts of jealousy—and if that wasn’t enough, she had just asked to ride his precious Prince. Unconceivable.
“Nobody rides Prince but me.” And Alexander, to whom Prince had belonged. His former owner would never ever ride again, though.
“My lord.” Louisa whispered the title in her sultry voice, her eyes cutting to the bed in a blatant invitation.
Her change of tactic didn’t alter his resolve. He had grown tired of the conversation, which had gone on for about ten minutes already. Most importantly, he had grown tired of the woman.
A possessive streak in a mistress wasn’t a trait he liked. Childishness even less. The two attributes proved lethal to a relationship when combined with a flair for the histrionics, which given Louisa’s profession was to be expected. He couldn’t blame her for that characteristic but had discovered he preferred women less prone to drama. Admittedly, he preferred those with nerves of steel—but this was a relatively fresh discovery.
Louisa moped, batting her long eyelashes. “But—”
“We’re done here.”
Silence followed his statement, and in the lingering moment of awkwardness, Andrew’s meaning became clear to his audience.
How had he become entangled in such a disastrous liaison? Louisa’s undeniable beauty notwithstanding, she had convinced him at first that she was a different person, strong and smart. Then she started following him around, and even tried to bribe his butler, seeking information about other women he might be seeing at the same time. Her witty retorts that had enthralled him, she had borrowed from her thespian training. He had become wary of her antics right away but hoped that, given time, she would settle into a more appropriate behavior for a mistress.
“You terminate our association over a horse?” Louisa’s eyes filled with tears. She was a consummate artist in and out of the stage.
“That horse happens to be special to me.” Whereas she was not. “But, in truth, I have come here today to end our affair.”
“Why?” Louisa asked as he walked back to the entrance hall where her butler had already fetched Andrew’s greatcoat, hat, walking stick, and gloves.
Besides the reason that he wouldn’t air out their personal problems in front of the staff, he wasn’t in the mood to witness one of the actress’s notorious tantrums. So, he opted for a reassuring platitude. “You need a lover who can appreciate all your gifts, who can give you the attention you deserve.” He gave her a nod and a smile. “I can’t be that man now.” Or never.
“Selkirk,” Louisa called from the stairs. “You’ll never find another one like me.”
That’s my most fervent desire, he thought, but instead said, “I will never forget our time together.” He wouldn’t want to make the same mistake twice, after all.
“You can’t leave me!” Her wail echoed across the hall. She collapsed to her knees and sobbed next. “I can’t bear to live without you!”
Cold anger filled Andrew. He stilled, frozen in his fury. His chest rose and fell as he took long breaths to dispel the darkness always threatening to swallow him whole.
“Selkirk!” Louisa fainted. A masterful act if he ever had seen one.
As the butler hurried to help his mistress, Andrew stepped toward the door, donning his hat. “The biggest tragedy in life,” he said, “is that we live to see others die—usually the ones who deserve to live the most.”
Andrew would task his lawyer with the customary buying of the congé. An emerald bracelet would be delivered to her to make the breakup as painless as possible for him. He bowed to the already stirring actress and strode out with a renewed sense of lightness.
In the last year, he had changed four mistresses already. Five, if he counted that one-week interlude with the too-consolable young widow, who realized from the start he wouldn’t have offered for her and looked elsewhere for her next husband. For the sake of accuracy, he should also include in the list a sixth woman—the soprano he had met in Bath when he had accompanied Aunt Theresa to take the waters. The dalliance had only amounted to three forgettable nights and one tedious musicale. The woman had no talent, and their affair ended before it could even start.
Andrew hadn’t spent any time considering why none of his recent paramours had outlasted the two-month anniversary—his mind was otherwise occupied with more pressing matters—but it was a topic of conversation among his friends. There was even an open bet at White’s which would make one peer richer as soon as Louisa made it official she was looking for another protector. Where Andrew was concerned, he couldn’t escape the woman’s long-reaching clutches fast enough. Good thing he hadn’t offered her housing in their contract, or his lawyer would need to take care of that as well.
As instructed, his coach was waiting for him in front of Louisa’s house. Also waiting for him was one familiar urchin who was leaning against the wall, whistling what sounded like a bawdy tune. Timmy was one of the orphans who lived at the House for the Children—Andrew’s sister and her friends’ charity project. He had met the boy during the harrowing circumstances surrounding the demise of the Earl of Kensington in the institute’s premises, a few months earlier. Timmy was courageous, smart, eager to work, and had two younger siblings he needed to provide for. So Andrew paid him handsomely to be his personal errand boy and keep him out of trouble.
“My lord.” Timmy pushed himself away from the wall but didn’t step closer to Andrew. He reached inside his threadbare coat and produced a letter. “They said is important.”
They was Lord Stanton, Andrew’s superior at the Home Office. Anticipation made him tingle with excitement. Lord Stanton hadn’t contacted him in several weeks. He gave Timmy a coin and told him to stop by his house where he could eat and warm himself up. Andrew had given his staff instructions to feed the urchin and let him sleep in the kitchen if the boy brought messages late at night, as had happened once or twice already.
Making a mental note to send a second donation that month to the House for the Children for new clothes, he climbed into his coach. Then, after rapping on the ceiling to let the coachman know he was ready to leave, he opened the seal and scanned the content of the letter.
A strong wind from the South of France is blowing the Suffolk countryside.
The cattle need to be corralled.
The orders Andrew had been waiting for had finally arrived. One of the field agents had spotted the French spy Mistral in Suffolk, and Lord Stanton now ordered Andrew to leave at once to investigate. He hadn’t felt such level of enthusiasm in months. It felt almost like joy—a sentiment he had forgotten was in his vocabulary.
After Alexander Hughes had died in Spain, Andrew swore to capture the man responsible for the ambush that had killed his friend and several others under his command. The fact that his sister, the Duchess of Wentworth, currently resided in Lavenham only added to his excitement. It would be the first time Andrew visited Albion Hall, and he looked forward to seeing Elizabeth and her husband, Sebastian.
Two days later, Andrew arrived in Albion Hall in his carriage while his coachman leisurely rode Prince with the plan to reach Lavenham later in the week. He had left his valet home. When he was on a mission, he preferred to travel light and unencumbered by social restrictions. This was a quirk of his, seldom shared by his peers who liked to surround themselves with servants to attend any detail of their lives. Andrew however sought solitude as much as possible. And the ducal abode would have had a valet in training or two if he needed help with his toilette or clothing.
“Andrew!” In the most unladylike manner, the duchess herself burst out of the door of the majestic Prodigy House and ran across the front lawn to welcome Andrew.
“Lizzy.” He hugged his little sister tightly, raising her from the floor. “I missed you, Duchess.”
“And yet, this is the first time you visit.” Elizabeth swatted his arm, and he let her down on her feet. “I would have understood if we lived in Northumberland.”
“I couldn’t leave London earlier.”
Since the death of the Earl of Kensington, the one known connection with the French spy, Andrew had been incessantly gathering intelligence among the peerage, hoping to finally catch Mistral.
“But I’m here now.” He gave her his winning smile, the one he used to ingratiate himself with Almack’s patronesses to gain access to the sacred halls usually denied to rakes.
Elizabeth tilted her head and studied him. “And I do wonder why.”
“Does a brother need a motive to visit his favorite sister?”
“I’m your only sister.”
“Imagine the utter tragedy if you weren’t my favorite.”
Rolling her eyes, she gave him a droll look. “It’s when the visit is happening that intrigues me.”
Andrew wondered about her words. Did she know the nature of his secret endeavors for the Crown? Did Sebastian tell her? That was unacceptable!
“We have a special guest.” A mischievous sparkle danced in her eyes. “And I am so happy you are here, so the numbers are even.”
Positively confused, Andrew patted her hand and motioned for them to enter the house. “I’m glad you’re as happy as I am about my unannounced presence, but what about this guest?”
“You’re my favorite brother, and Sebastian and I don’t stand on formality.”
“The guest?” As he took the marble steps of the staircase, a flurry of soft snowflakes bathed his face.
Elizabeth spun on her heels, hands in the air, laughing. “Esme is coming to visit,” she said when she stopped.
Andrew’s heart did a little flip at the mention of Elizabeth’s good friend. All the reasons that had kept him as far away as possible from Lady Esmeralda evaporated like snow on a hot plate.
If pressed to answer the age-old question about women and thoroughbreds, he would have truthfully responded that he liked ladies and horses equally. Unless the topic of the conversation centered on Lady Esmeralda, third daughter of the Earl of Corbyn, and not on any hypothetical woman. Then there would be no comparison. Even if Prince was part of the question.
Esme hated travelling. She found it a tedious occupation at best, and a downright fastidious endeavor at worst. Still, it was a necessary evil if one wanted to cross large expanses of land to visit friends and family. Or, more precisely, if one wanted to escape one’s own family. Still, the friends in question could have exhibited the good grace to live closer to Sussex, making her act of defiance less of an inconvenience.
The original plan had been to begin her journey a good twenty days later, but a most unpleasant conversation with her father had precipitated the situation, forcing Esme to leave.
In the last year, she had left Corbyn House only twice. When she traveled to London for the Season, in spring, and for her annual pilgrimage to Norfolk to join the Merriweather winter party house. But Elizabeth currently resided in Suffolk, which was on the way, so Esme had embarked on the journey during the gloomiest day of winter to see her friend. She was hard-pressed to believe she would have made the decision even during summer, but the latest verbal spar with her parent had left her unsettled and she needed a change in scenery alongside the support of good friends.
“That’s Albion Hall,” Nicholls said, looking outside the window. In some strange turn of fate, Esme’s lady’s maid enjoyed travelling more than anything else.
The seven-day ordeal Esme had forced on the young woman by stopping every hour for a walk, and by limiting the number of traveling hours to no more than four every day, had been received by Nicholls as the grandest of adventures. The experience of a lifetime in the words of the lady’s maid, who hadn’t stopped commenting about the landscape, the inns they slept in, the food they ate, and even the different trees she saw as they crossed counties.
Unable to contain her curiosity, Esme moved the curtain to the side of her window. “Rather an impressive sight.”
Wentworth’s ducal seat dominated the valley from its perch on top of a ridge. Whitened by a dusting of snow, the tall trees bordering the road seemed to point straight at the five-story Tudor building. The high elevation, the symmetrical architecture, and the multitude of windows marked Albion Hall as one of the few Prodigy Houses disseminated across England.
“Did Elizabeth the First ever visit this house?” Nicholls opened the glass panel to lean out of the coach.
“The duchess never mentioned the detail.” To Esme’s everlasting gratitude, she and Elizabeth corresponded regularly. Those letters and Charlie’s visits had kept her sane in the last few months.
“I’ll ask Taylor.” Nicholls was friends with Elizabeth’s lady’s maid, and Esme knew they missed each other since the duchess had left London.
Several minutes later, the coach stopped in front of the majestic façade, and an army of footmen appeared seemingly out of nowhere to help Esme’s retinue. As the servants began hauling the luggage into the house, Elizabeth came down the staircase to greet her. Laughter and cries followed sisterly hugs and half sentences they took turns to finish.
“You look radiant.” Esme leaned away to take a better look at her friend. “The married life suits you.”
A bitter emotion filled her. It wasn’t envy because she loved her friend and had been the first to rejoice when Elizabeth had married her duke. It was just an ache she carried everywhere with her. Like smelling salts, the emotion brought tears to her eyes by awakening her to a bleak reality.
“Indeed.” Elizabeth slightly blushed as she lowered her hand over her stomach.
Esme raised her hand to her mouth, stifling a gasp. “Are you…”
“Maybe.” The usually bold Elizabeth looked away. “I’m not sure yet.”
Taking her friend’s hand in hers, Esme spun them around. “We need to tell Charlie!”
Their friend would want to know the happy tidings as soon as possible.
“What do you need to tell Lady Charlotte?” a deep voice resonated behind her.
She didn’t have to turn around to know the Duke of Wentworth had just joined them. Even if she hadn’t recognized his voice, the rapt look on her friend’s face would have given away his identity.
“Nothing yet.” Elizabeth walked to her husband’s side.
When Esme pivoted on her dainty shoes to properly address His Grace, she noticed Wentworth wasn’t alone. Lord Selkirk stood a few feet behind, and he was staring at her. Her breath caught in her chest while her heart sprinted into a mad gallop. Elizabeth’s brother had always had that effect on her, but since that terrible night at the House for the Children, something had changed between them. The dashing baron had finally noticed her. It only made her daily struggle worse because the invisible tether pulling them together increased her dissatisfaction with her lot.
Sometimes, like at the present moment, Esme would have liked to succumb to hysterics. Or cry. She did neither, of course.
“Lady Esmeralda.” Wentworth made an elegant leg. “We have been waiting your arrival for the last week with great trepidation.”
Stirring, she blinked, summoning a bland façade. “Your Grace.” She curtseyed. “I prefer leisurely traveling to dashing across the country.”
Elizabeth snorted, making her duke smile. The only one who didn’t react at all was Selkirk, whose inscrutable gaze remained fixed on her.
“I’m so glad you’re finally here.” Elizabeth stressed the word “finally” with a mischievous grin. “Andrew was just complaining about the utter misfortune of having to endure even one more minute in our mellifluous, overly blessed ducal presence.” She shot her brother a wink, waving her hand for him to step closer.
Like a marble statue to which had been gifted life, Selkirk moved with the innate elegance that was his prerequisite. The man was grace personified. His clothes defined his athletic physique, leaving little to the imagination. He was a Corinthian with the deceptive mien of an angel, but Esme knew better. Her heart beat like the drums of war whenever they were in close proximity. She could not help her visceral reaction to his presence any more than she could control the night and day cycle.
“Lady Esmeralda.” Selkirk bowed at his waist but didn’t lower his gaze. She shivered under the searing warmth of his light brown—almost yellow—eyes, a shade unusual among the more English blues.
Lightheaded, Esme remembered to properly reciprocate the gesture. “Lord Selkirk.” His name escaped her mouth like a prayer, and it took all her willpower to not blush when he lowered his eyes to her lips.
The duke cleared his throat.
“It’s cold, isn’t it?” Elizabeth’s words broke the spell. “We had better move inside.”
Shivering, Esme blinked.
A dark shadow passed across Selkirk’s face before he nodded and bent his arm. “Please.”
Under the twin scrutiny of the duke and the duchess, Esme forced her mouth to curve into a smile and placed her gloved hand over Selkirk’s arm. Even through the many layers of fabric, she could feel his muscles flex under her touch. She fought the urge to squeeze or stroke the dark green superfine of his coat lest she make a fool of herself in front of everybody.
They strolled into Albion Hall, chatting about the weather while all Esme wanted was to run back to the coach and drive straight to Charlie where her chances to meet the handsome baron were none. Knowing that there would be no escaping the torturous days ahead, she straightened her back and prayed for a bout of megrims to overcome her as soon as possible. One could only hope.
“Get out!” Sebastian’s drunk bellow wasn’t as terrifying as he had meant it to be, which was a blasted shame.
“You ruined me, Your Grace!” the girl, Lady something or other, cried with a hint of a swoon that would’ve earned her a contract at Drury Lane.
Not again, Sebastian bitterly thought.
The harlot disguised in gentlewoman’s clothes had sought an introduction as soon as he set foot at the Derringer’s ball. Her brassy conduct should have been the first signal to stay away from the horrid creature, but today was the anniversary of his parents’ and sister’s deaths, and Sebastian had started drinking earlier in the afternoon at White’s and never stopped. By the time he arrived at the ball, he was three sheets to the wind and in a darker mood than usual.
Dallying with a pretty piece of muslin had sounded fun at first. Even though the flirting had taken place under the vigilant, and rather avaricious, eyes of the chit’s mother, a dowager whose name Sebastian hadn’t bothered memorize—he seldom did.
The mother’s slyness at cornering him should’ve been another warning, but again, drunkards rarely had full cognition of their condition, and Sebastian always thought himself cleverer than most. Clearly a gross misjudgment on his part. Especially after the unfortunate debacle of the previous Season when several debutantes had tried their worst to be ruined by him.
Sebastian should have learned his lesson and acted with a modicum of intelligence. After all, his friend Percy had found himself shackled, victim of a particularly determined mama who had wanted to trap a duke and caught an earl in her web instead. Whereas Percy had spirited his bride to the country and— according to his letters—seemed to relish the married life, Sebastian had no intention to follow suit.
And yet, here he was, once again having to extricate himself from a most compromising position.
Without knowing exactly how the chit and her title-hunter mother had contrived so—he remembered the matron hailing the servants carrying the Champagne flutes more than once—Sebastian had been led to a shadowy place, pressed against a wall by a girl whose hands roamed freely upon him.
“Stop this nonsense at once,” he ordered. Needless to say, his command was a waste of breath for all it achieved.
“I’ve always loved you,” the debutante proclaimed, throwing both hands around his neck.
“Don’t you dare use that word.” Her touch irritated him. What would a bird-witted girl know about love? The ones who had experienced the sentiment would never talk about it with such disregard.
“It is the truth!” She blinked her long lashes in what she must have thought was a powerful weapon in her seduction arsenal. “I love you,” she repeated. It was a mistake.
“I don’t even know your name,” he scoffed. “And I doubt you care a fig about me. My title is what you’re after.”
While being a duke had numerous advantages, it came also with the unwanted headache of attracting sycophants and reckless mamas, who would go to considerable lengths to see their daughters snatch anything above a baron.
Case in point, hurried steps and excited voices carried inside their corner.
“You’ll have to marry me.” A note of triumph colored the girl’s voice.
Very few antidotes to drunkenness worked fast but being faced with sudden marriage was one of them. In possession of his wits once again, Sebastian took the girl’s hands and gently but surely unhooked them, then put as much room between their bodies as he could muster in the narrow space.
“Listen to me,” he said, using his clipped tone he reserved for special circumstances. “And listen well. I am the Duke of Wentworth and nobody will ever dream to go against me in society. When your mother and whatever witness she has enlisted in this pathetic scheme of yours find us here, the only thing that’s going to happen is that I’ll tell everyone what you did.”
“You’re bound to do the gentlemanly thing and offer for me,” the girl spluttered. Gone were her malicious grin and aura of victory.
“See, that’s where you and your mother are wrong. I viscerally despise extortion and won’t fall prey to yours.” Evidently, they had thought he was too top-heavy and that she would succeed where the other debutantes had failed. The presumption of those greedy hussies had no limits.
The steps resonated closer. The matron’s voice filtered loud and clear as the woman steered her companions toward the rendezvous point.
“I’ll be ruined,” the girl whispered, her eyes widening in horror.
“You should’ve considered that possible outcome beforehand.” Sebastian stepped away from her, heading out to meet the group of witnesses to his planned downfall. A smile formed of its own volition on his face.
Before he could reveal himself, another set of steps, louder and heavier, entered the scene.
“Good evening, my ladies,” the low baritone of Hawk, the Earl of Hawkshead, interrupted the feminine gaggle. “Lady Derringer.”
So, the dowager had managed to involve the hostess to give credit to the charade. Sebastian couldn’t help but chuckle at the woman’s audacity and at his friend’s timely intervention.
“I hope I won’t disrupt your stroll much, but may I ask you to accompany me back to the ballroom?” Hawk asked. “I must confess I am in need of guidance navigating this beautiful and very large home, Lady Derringer.”
Sebastian repressed a snort. What a bag of moonshine. An army of footmen patrolled the halls, and they were more than capable of giving directions.
Apparently, Lady Derringer didn’t find the notion ridiculous. The earl’s handsome features and general amiability might have been the reason for her, “Not at all,” uttered with a flirtatious tone.
“But I thought I saw my daughter heading that way,” the matron hurried to say.
“Oh, but I saw Lady Carola hastily walking toward the gardens when I was leaving the ballroom,” Hawk said. “Perhaps we should go and see that she is well, Lady Winslet.”
Sebastian could barely suppress the laughter bubbling inside his chest. His friend was a genius if he had ever met one. He waited for the group to leave before addressing the girl, who was now silently sniffing. “I would count your blessings if I were you. Your reputation is safe, Lady Carola, and make sure never to follow your mother’s schemes again. Nothing but regret will come of it.” He rounded the corner to verify that anyone was about and left.
Instead of joining the throng of guests crowding the place, Sebastian went directly to the entrance hall to ask for his coach to be brought around. Hawk was already there.
“That was a close call,” his friend commented, eyes shining with mirth.
“I owe you one.” Sebastian ruefully smiled. In truth, Lady Carola owed the earl even more for having saved her from the social ruin that had marked at least two debutantes last year and sent them to exile in the country.
“The silly chit should’ve known better, but your title made her forgetful.” Hawk looked over his shoulder in the general direction of the party. “How many attempts had you this month alone?”
“This was the third.” Being a duke was trying.
“You should guard your virtue better. Husband Hunting Season has just started, after all.”
Sebastian couldn’t help but laugh out loud, drawing the other guests’ attention. “The most dangerous time of the year for the titled bachelor.”
“Indeed, Your Grace,” Hawk mocked him.
It was done in friendship, but it reminded Sebastian, once again, that he had never wanted to acquire the title so young in the first place. If only there had been an older brother, he would have been spared the trials and tribulations associated with being the heir. Not only was there no family left, but also both his parents were only children with no relatives alive. No doting grandparents to lighten his burden with soothing embraces. No cousins or meddling aunts to share holidays. No uncles to teach him the ways of life. If it weren’t for his closest friend, Sebastian would have been all alone in a world where everyone wanted something from him.
A maudlin melancholy possessed Sebastian.
“Let’s go back to White’s and have a drink.” It turned out that he had sobered up too much for his liking.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Hawk asked.
“I don’t want to dream tonight.” Sebastian didn’t need to explain further. His friend knew about Sebastian’s nightmares.
This is the second time, and hopefully the last one, I write this post because after composing a long, and rather witty story about Hexes & Kisses from Seattle my next series’ release, I clicked on the wrong arrow and deleted everything. The lesson here is to always save, every step of the way…
Anyway, you came here for a cover reveal, and I’ll give you three because I’m nice that way.
The pastry chef witch & the billionaire dragon-shifter: Not your usual meet-cute… So… it doesn’t happen every day that you see a dragon shifter’s junk, up close and personal. Well, you’d think it’s this witch’s lucky day, but nope. Not even close. In fact, this day has been disastrous so far. But let me rewind the story for you. Hi, my name’s Aubrey, and I own Lavender & Cinnamon, the award-winning pastry shop conveniently located in one of the coziest neighborhoods in Seattle. My life’s filled with cupcake and hexes, and I like it exactly the way it is. Yesterday, I received ominous news from Mr. Stuart, my landlord—you guessed correctly, he’s the owner of the junk mentioned before. Anyway, he wants to evict my shop to build a high-rise on top of it. The last thing I need is a domineering billionaire who thinks he can do whatever he wants because he’s rich. Sure, the man is unbearably handsome, generously endowed (I took a good look at it) and makes me weak in the knees… but rest assured I won’t give up my shop without a fight. PS If you want to know more about the junk incident, you need to buy the book…
Hi! It’s me, Aubrey, again! Lavender & Cinnamon remains open! Yeah for me! Unfortunately, that’s the least of my worries. It turns out Andrew (you remember Mr. Stuart and his enormous… attitude) and I were hexed and chained together by an invisible rope. It could be worse, you might think, being him a hunk and all. I’d agree with you if it weren’t for the small detail of the striking blonde who just entered the scene. She’s Andrew’s fiancée. What? Did you see that coming? I sure didn’t… Andrew better have a very good explanation for forgetting to mention he was engaged while he was enthusiastically groping me, or the chain hex will be the least of his problems.
Where were we? Right… I’m Aubrey, the witch and pastry chef from Seattle who got hexed alongside a handsome dragon-shifter. In the meantime, I might’ve fallen for the hunk (okay, I’ll admit I’m head over heels in love with him), and he seems to be quite smitten with me as well—which, given my sparkling personality, shouldn’t come as a surprise. The only problem is that both my dad and Andrew’s ex-father-in-law are vehemently opposed to our idea of happily ever after and are fighting us with fangs and spells. Plus, it would seem that our story started a few centuries ago… But love always conquers all, right?
Howdy! Let me brag a little bit–I promise I’ll keep it short 😉 It doesn’t happen often that one of your books is chosen by Kobo for one of their promotions. So you can imagine how stoked I was when I received the email confirming that my novel, the Fifth Moon’s Wolf, was among the titles featured in the Indie First in Series Reads, UK edition. It’s a good day to be an indie author!
After a long hiatus from blogging, I am happy to announce I am back with news about my Immortals. Book #12 in the series, Renegade Vampire is finally out. In the last year and a half, I’ve been so focused on my publishing schedule and advertising that I forgot about popping here for an update. Since my last post, I wrote more than I could publish, I experimented with shared-world projects and collaborations, I spent money on Facebook and Amazon ads… I have learned a thing or two in the process, but the most important lesson is that I need to take it easy. So here I am, hopefully sticking to the resolution.
See you soon,
If you’d like a sneak peek from Renegade Vampire, head here.
It’s official, in 2017 I wrote more books than I could publish, but hopefully, I’m right on schedule with my contribution to A K Michaels’ A Vampire’s Thirst series. Adrian will release January 19th, 2018, starting this new year with a personal bang, because I not only wrote the story, but I also created the covers for this brand-new series. I know I’m biased, but I really love this cover!
A Vampire’s Thirst: Dark, Dangerous, and Undeniable In his two thousand years on earth, Adrian, a day-walking vampire, has seen it all and done it all, and it’s left him jaded and aloof. He governs every aspect of his private life with an iron will, but his control is threatened when he begins suffering from a mysterious thirst wreaking havoc on his mind and body to the point that he fears for his sanity. Lavinia, a werewolf half-breed, longs for stability, something she’s never known after a childhood spent on the run from purist shifters intent on ending her kind. When she finally believes her life is set on the right path, her roommate is savagely murdered, and Lavinia is thrown into a nightmare of hellish proportions. On the night of the Directive’s Masquerade Gala, the thirst plaguing Adrian irresistibly draws him to Lavinia, like a moth to the flame. It’s an encounter that changes their fates forever. Fleeing her enemies, Adrian and Lavinia fight for their lives while the fiery sparks of their passion threaten to burn them to cinders. Monica La Porta brings you book 4 in A K Michaels’ brand-new world, A Vampire’s Thirst, full of hot as hades alpha males in this smoking paranormal romance story.
As I mentioned a few times already, 2017 has been my most exciting year as a writer. I’m pleased to say that I’m working from dawn to dusk to finish Dragon trilogy and Adrian, but I’ve never been as happy as I am now, and that’s worth celebrating with another announcement.
In the spring of 2018, my Bad Alpha Dad novel, The Alpha’s Gift will be published! A multi-author project, BAD stories are about alphas and their kids, and the women who help them deal with their fatherhood.
The Alpha’s Gift
Max Prize is a dragon shifter billionaire who thinks that Seattle is his playground. One night, a special package is left at his doorstep, and Max’s life is changed for the best.
The arrogant alpha billionaire, the unexpected baby girl & the sassy nanny who will take care of both.
And here is a snippet for you:
Max parked his yellow Lambo in the garage of the Wild Ride Nightclub. He popped a mint into his mouth and exhaled the cold aroma slowly, savoring the bite. It was two o’ clock in the morning and the night had just started.
Chuckling at the memory of his last heated encounter, he looked at his reflection in the rearview mirror and smiled. The brunette had left a small hickey on his throat, and the skin on his back still tingled from the woman’s long nails’ attention. Her screams of pleasure had almost given them away as he slammed into her in the dark back corridor of True, one of the many clubs that were his hunting ground in Seattle. His dragon had growled the entire time, enhancing his pleasure.
Life was truly wonderful for a billionaire alpha shifter in Seattle.
His cellphone rung. He checked the caller ID with a frown. It was from his penthouse’s doorman.
“Hugo, what is the matter?” Max asked, leaning against the black leather seat. Boy, that woman had scratched her way through his back well and good, and the pain had only excited him more. He grew hard at the mere thought of her long, black nails curved in a come-hither gesture—
His doorman’s voice interrupted his pleasant wandering. “Mr. Prize, I apologize for calling you this late at night—”
“What is it the matter?”
“Mr. Prize, you should come back home,” the man said in a rush.
“I’m kind of busy right now.” Or he would be soon. Max had every intention to make his statement a certainty the moment he entered True.
In fact, he remembered two blondes in their late twenties frequenting the club for the last two or three months, and forever giving him not-so-subtle glances from the opposite end of the bar. Tonight, early morning, whatever, he had in mind to take them both back to one of the hotels he owned in the city for some fun. His dragon paced in his mind, anticipating the celebratory flight Max always indulged in after a night of pleasure.
“I apologize again, sir, but a situation has arisen that needs your immediate attention.” Hugo’s voice was somehow covered by what sounded like a wail of some sort.
“What’s happening?” Max’s thoughts went immediately to the most probable scenario. A woman had found her way to his penthouse and was now threatening the doorman to make a scene if Max didn’t show up.
“You’ve received a package…” the man’s voiced trailed at the end, drowned again by the most infernal ruckus Max had ever heard.
“What in the name of all that’s holy do you have there?” Had Hugo brought a cat to work?
“The package’s content I’m afraid,” Hugo said. “Please, Mr. Prize, hurry. I’ve already taken the liberty to call Mr. Wilson, and Grant is here with me.”
Max’s frown deepened as he swore in several languages. If Hugo had called Wilson, Max’s best friend and PR, whatever the situation was at his penthouse, it needed professional handling.
With a last, disappointed look at the club’s elevators, Max turned the engine of his sports car, shifted into reverse and let the Lambo’s roar fill the silent garage.
I can’t believe that it’s fall already. 2017 has been, so far, one of my most productive years as a writer, and the best is yet to come. Among the many projects I’m involved, A Vampire Thirst sees me in the double role of invited author and cover artist, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you… but all in due time. If you wish to know more about this exciting new world created by New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author A K Michaels, pop over to the A Vampire Thirst’s Facebook page for cover reveals and snippets. My cover is up next.
The title says it all! After five years of tears, and sometimes laughter, ups and downs, and long nights spent writing, I am finally a USA Today Bestselling Author. Yesterday, the box set Creatures made the list. The Fifth Moon’s Dragon is in it alongside twenty other novels, most of them, like mine, exclusively for the set. I am giddy with happiness and barely coherent, but here you go, hard work eventually pays. Pursue your dreams with wild abandon and live at the fullest. It’s the only way, really.