Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Spotlight on Lily Harlem

I was able to nab one of my Ellora's Cave pals for an interview. Lily Harlem has multiple releases (heh heh yes, I'm grinning) due out with EC and she's sharing a bit about them. So let's get to it!

1. How did you come up with the idea for Mattress Music?

'Mattress Music' is part of the Love Note Series so music had to feature heavily in the story and let's just say I have a complete obsession with Kings of Leon! I play their music all the time, when I'm cooking, driving, ironing. I love their lyrics, I love the way Caleb says certain words, I love their cute young guitarist!! I probably shouldn't admit to all of that but its the truth! So when I wanted a story about music they were my inspiration. I can't say too much more or I will give the plot away. But it was wonderful creating such sexy characters that I could play about with in my own little fantasy world. In fact I fell in love with them all so much I went on to write two more in the series, 'Mirror Music' and 'Ménage à Music' which will be out after Christmas - I just couldn't leave those 'rock and roll' boys alone!

Mattress Music

Is it possible to lose one’s ability to orgasm? Nina has. Lately, her fun weekend hook-ups have been more “ho-hum” than “hot damn”! It doesn’t help that she has three flatmates and is forced to play loud music to mask the sounds of her lovemaking. Talk about distracting! Of course, there’s another reason Nina’s less than satisfied these days…she’s just having a hard time admitting it.

It’s a good thing she’s met Ian, then. Not content to be a weekend hook-up, Ian is set on giving Nina what she’s been missing while making her admit what she needs. His talented fingers—and other body parts—are up to the task. But Ian’s not admitting a few things himself. Turns out his fingers can do more than make Nina’s body sing.

When she discovers his secret, it’s time for both of them to face the music.


“You’re fucking awesome,” he whispered into my ear on a hot, panting breath.

“You too,” I said, running my hand down his perfectly smooth back. Not a pimple anywhere, just acres of glorious hot, male flesh and a deeply guttered spine lined with solid muscle. “Really good.”

He lifted his head and looked into my eyes. “Liar.”


“Liar, you didn’t come.”

“I did, it was great…you were great.” Lying to a man who was buried inside me was not something I was good at.

“I’m not stupid, Nina, I can tell when a woman orgasms. I can’t always tell the difference between real and fake, but bloody hell, you didn’t even try to pretend, not even a little wriggle and a gasp at the right moment.”

Frowning and shifting my hips I muttered, “Sorry,” as I pushed out from under him.

“Don’t be sorry.” He rolled to his side, bent his arm and propped his head on his hand. The flat silver cross around his neck hung toward the mattress. “Just tell me what I did wrong so I can fix it for next time,” he said, still catching his breath.

Next time? Not likely. One-night stands were my game. “You didn’t do anything wrong.” I pulled the duvet to my chin and turned to the wall. “It was me.”

He caught my jaw. “Tell me,” he ordered, tipping me to face him. “I want to know.”

Through the dim light, blushed orange by a streetlamp, I could see his dark eyes staring straight into mine, unblinking. One of my flatmates banged crockery in the kitchen next to my room then a deep rumble of laughter from one of the guys, Jerry I think, filtered through the thin wall.

“Why do you care?” I asked, toes and fingers curling.

“I’m lying naked in bed with you, we’ve just shared as intimate an experience as two people can, and you wonder why I’m bothered that you didn’t have as good a time as me? Would I be human if I didn’t give a shit?”

I shrugged. Candle in the Wind had finished, and in its place Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me was swirling around us.

Too late to save myself from falling—

That was me, I thought, too far gone on this road of shagging any cock I could find to be saved. In my old flat, living with Dee and Fiona, life had been great and mattress music was never needed. We all just went for it, having as much sex and as many noisy orgasms as possible. We would giggle about it over breakfast and swap stories about what racy shenanigans we’d been up to.

But now they’d moved on. They were both head over heels in love and settled in their own homes, leaving me out on a limb and living here with strangers.

Of course I wasn’t technically alone, but if I was honest I’d never felt so lonely. I didn’t want to be, loneliness was like a dull, gray hole swelling inside me. Starting in my stomach and stretching outward. And in the center of this hole was a new bitter emotion―envy. I envied what Dee and Fi had found, lasting love with respect and commitment. But admitting what I wanted and changing the fact that there was no one special in my life were two separate issues.

More pressingly, at the moment anyway, nor could I change the fact that I hadn’t orgasmed since I’d moved. My one-night stands just weren’t doing it for me anymore. The intimacy of getting naked and sweaty with someone wasn’t satisfying the hunger, the need that was eating away at me like an itch I couldn’t quite reach.

I’d been here three weeks, three fucks. But each week there had been something sneaking into my brain that had distracted me from the delicious build-up to climax. Deadly quiet the first week when I was with a bodybuilding scaffolder from Durham, every mattress squeak and grunt sliding under the door and echoing through the walls. With Dave, an earnest accountant from Chelsea, a knock on my door midway through a blowjob put me off my stride. And now this morose mattress music was stopping me from having a great time with the truly gorgeous Ian.

“Nina?” Ian pressed, dragging me from my depressed musing.

“It was the damn music,” I said with a frown. He wasn’t going to let it drop so I might as well fess up. “I couldn’t concentrate. You were doing it right, great, but I just kept thinking of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana and Elton singing at his piano with his big, wobbling white wig and that mole thing he used to paint on his cheek.”

Ian tipped his head back and laughed. A big guffaw that shook the bed.

“Shh!” I pressed my fingers to his lips.

“Thank God for that,” he said, grinning. “Thought I’d lost my touch.”

“It’s not funny,” I whispered.

“No, no.” He tried to straighten out his grin. “Of course it’s not. I’ve just never thought of it before, the words in a song competing for the attention of the woman I’m trying to please.” He dropped a kiss to my lips. “So why did you put it on if you don’t like it?”

“So no one will hear. The walls here are so thin, and I’ve got male flatmates who I don’t want perving with glasses pressed to the walls.”

“You think they would?”

I sighed. “Probably not, they seem nice enough, but just the same…”

“You want your privacy.”

“Exactly.” I paused then sighed. “We should have taken a cab and gone to yours.”

“Yeah, but this was closer, much closer, just a quick walk around the corner.” He smoothed the hair from my face. It always went wild after sex. The hundreds of tiny, copper corkscrews seemed to take on lives of their own. “Maybe we could leave the music off and do it really, really quietly,” he whispered, spreading springs of my hair over the pillowcase.

“No,” I said. “That won’t work, I’ll be too conscious of even our breathing, or if the mattress squeaks.”

His eyes narrowed and a muscle in his cheek flexed, then he got up, walked to the iPod and finally silenced Elton. “This isn’t over you know.”

Buy link for Mattress Music

2. You're website indicates you travel. Can you share some of the sexiest places you have been?

I do like to travel and I'm lucky that I've had many opportunities over the years. I'm a qualified nurse which opened up countries such as Australia and New Zealand for employment when I was younger and now that I write I travel with my man if he goes abroad on business - which he does regularly. We spent some time recently in Amsterdam and I loved it. Not for the gaudy sex shops and the red light district but for the lovely canals and bridges, the way everyone rides around on their bikes, hair flowing skirts billowing and ringing their bells at one another. The art galleries were amazing and the restaurants served wonderful food and great beer. There was something so relaxed about Amsterdam. It doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't, it's not competing with London or Paris or New York. It's just what it is, liberal and beautiful with an incredibly history. I guess that's the same things I find sexy in people, self assurance, being comfortable in their own skin and pushing the boundaries if it feels right and its what they want to do.

3. What's in the works for you?

I've just finished editing the first full length novel in my 'Hot Ice' series which is all about the bad boys of ice hockey. It's called 'Hired', it was a blast to write and Brooke is one feisty lady who knows what she wants.

Blurb:  One hundred grand for five days of babysitting ice hockey bad boy Logan “Phoenix” Taylor on an island paradise. How bad could he be?

Frankly, it didn’t matter. Not when the money would give my dreams of going to nursing school a very real chance of coming true. I wasn’t even expected to talk to him, just hang out in a luxurious villa on a private beach and study for the admissions test. Simple.

But I didn’t count on Logan being so deliciously bad that he was oh, so good. And somehow he saw right into the deepest, darkest part of my soul then gave me exactly what I needed.

But when our emotions become involved the situation spiraled out of control, making the truth that I’d been hired for his pleasure a secret I had to keep...even if it cost me a broken heart.

'Hired' is due for release in the New Year, the second in the series, 'Cross Checked' is finished and the third is still rattling around my head! I must be the only one hoping for a couple of months of bad weather so I can get my head down and let is spill from my fingertips!

4. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Okay, here goes, maybe I’m a bit kooky but this is what I do…

When writing dialogue just go for it, let it flow out of your fingers as fast as you would speak. Don’t even think about speech marks and punctuation, or if he is scratching his head and she’s licking her lips, you can add all that in afterwards – dialogue moves the story forward and if you can get it flowing naturally then you’re onto a winner.

Don’t get bogged down with adverbs, eg. he groaned ‘loudly’, she panted ‘heavily’, it’s considered much less lazy to write ‘his groans were loud in her ear’ or ‘her heavy pants filled the small space’. There’s usually a way to describe your scene better if you circle around the adverb and it will make the story meatier.
Let a story brew in your head. Have the idea, jot it down if you need to, and then sit quietly and play out the scenes like watching a film in your imagination. It will give you a clear picture of what you want to achieve in your writing and help you with the tiny details.

If the house is quiet make the most of the peace and get busy getting those words down. You can iron and dust and cook when everyone is around. Writing, for me at least, requires silence, so silence has become a very valuable commodity in my life.

Incubate the final product. When it’s written tuck it aside, for a few days, longer if you can, then go back to it. I can guarantee you’ll spot silly mistakes, inconsistencies or simply find better word choices to slot in. There’s nothing worse than sending a manuscript off and then on a re-read  seeing stupid errors. In fact now, when something has gone I refuse to look at it again unless it’s with an editor.

Check out it's a great site with a list of all the current calls for submissions.

5. Where can we find you?

Swing by my website to find links to all my stories, meet other great authors and check out my inspirational pictures!

Be sure to also watch for the release date for 'Mirror Music', the second in the musical series and sure to make you want to rock 'n' roll.


Thanks so much for sharing, Lily!

For a chance to win a FREE copy of Mattress Music, leave a comment on this post. One lucky winner will be drawn and posted here on Wednesday at noon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leap by Cindy Jacks

Just when Lila has resigned herself to the fact the most exciting chapters of her life are over, a blast from the past walks into her bakery. Six feet of gorgeousness named Gavin drops by as she’s closing up shop. They were once high-school sweethearts and it’s been more than twenty-five years since they’ve seen each other, but time hasn’t diminished the sweet heat between them. Soon enough the sparks—and the frosting—begin to fly.

As they rediscover each other’s bodies, it’s clear Gavin’s no longer a boy as he shows Lila the man and skillful lover he’s become. Though Lila knows this whirlwind romp could be an act of insanity, his touch unleashes the sensual woman she’s forgotten she could be. And she thinks—maybe—she has one more leap in her.

An Excerpt From: LEAP
Copyright © CINDY JACKS, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Gavin followed her through the swinging door to the back. With a low whistle, he looked around the kitchen and asked, “Is this place all yours?”
“All mine.”
She walked over to the Purposeless Cake and stared down at it. Pulling a box from beneath the worktable, she started to put it away, but then thought better of it.
“Are you hungry?” asked Lila.
“I could eat.”
“Good.” She pulled a knife from a drawer, cut slabs of cake and served them up on heavy-duty ceramic plates. Gavin grabbed two stainless-steel forks from a gray plastic silverware tub to his right.
She handed him his plate.
“This looks great,” he said.
“Taste it.”
He shoveled a bite into his mouth and moaned. “Oh my God. This is— Damn.”
Lila grinned. “Thanks.” She took a bite of cake. “Not bad, if I do say so myself.”
Pulling up two barstools, she sat and motioned for him to do the same. Lila studied him as he moved to take a seat. Taller, broader. Gavin had become fully a man. Though he was clean-shaven, she wondered what he’d look like with a beard. Could he grow one now? His dark hair led to about an inch or so of well-filled-out sideburns. Yeah, she was sure he could grow out his facial hair and he’d look pretty damn good if he did. Not that he didn’t look great as he was. The cropped, clean-cut look worked for him. A whisper of gray touched each of his temples and he wore that well too.
Her gaze wandered down his frame. No excess flesh or jutting bone. His tight musculature shifted his frame with ease. Clearly he took care of himself, worked out often. A picture of him shirtless in some imaginary gym, sweat dripping down a cut chest and abdomen, appeared in her mind’s eye. She blinked away the thought, trying to focus on his words and ignore the pounding of her heart. Her hand strayed to her matronly bun and the bobby pins holding it in place. She picked them out of her hair, one by one, and shook out her shoulder-length tresses.
“Mom said you’ve been at this location for the past ten years. I can see why,” said Gavin.
She cleared her throat. “Jack helped me set it up after we got divorced.”
“It was a pretty amicable split…as divorces go.”
“My ex, Irene, and I went through a pretty rough one a couple years ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
He took another bite of cake. “It’s all good now.”
Lila worked on her piece for a few minutes in comfortable silence and then asked, “Why did you come here tonight, Gavin?”
He glanced around the room and gave a little shake of his head. “To see you.”
“I get that. I mean what were you expecting from me?”
He rubbed his hand on the front of his jeans. “No expectations. It’s—it’s just good to be back. You’re part of my memories of home. I guess. No, I mean you are. Definitely.” He grunted and rolled his eyes. “I’ll stop rambling now.”
She let out an amused huff under her breath. “You’re fine.”
She slid her fork over her plate and scraped up the last of the frosting and crumbs. Her tongue darted over the fork tines and licked them clean.
Gavin reached out his hand. “You got a little chocolate…”
He brushed his thumb over her bottom lip. She let her tongue graze the tip of it. Shocked by her own audacity, she shied away from his touch but he cupped her face in one hand.
Eyelids lowered, Gavin leaned in. Dark lashes rested against his cheek. Warm lips skimmed across hers. The hand under her jaw slipped beneath her hair and cradled her neck. Lila’s body relaxed into the kiss, sliding her tongue over his. For a moment she lost herself in the scent and the taste of him—chocolate richness and the citrus undertones of his cologne, but all too soon, she remembered the shards of glass lodged in her heart. Pain at the memory of Alan’s departure stabbed at her.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this,” she murmured.
“Maybe not.” He gave her a quick, soft kiss and then a longer, more urgent one.
Shouldn’t be doing this, Lila thought. A list of reasons she should rebuff his advances scrolled through her mind. She was still getting over Alan. She hadn’t seen Gavin in over twenty-five years. Jesus Christ, a quarter century. Nothing good ever came from rushing into sex. But who said they had to go that far? Well, she did want to fuck him. No denying that. But the last thing she needed was…was…?
The feel of his heated mouth against hers overrode her common sense. Oh, to hell with it. Why not?

Available now at Ellora's Cave!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sold Bucking Hard to Ellora's Cave!

Woohoo! I'm shouting out!
My wonderful EC editor (waving at Jilly) wants Bucking Hard!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keeping Claire by KB Alan

Ellora's Cave

Claire’s been fantasizing about the owner of her company since she first saw him. Ryan is gorgeous, confident and sexy as hell. In other words, so not her type. With the crazy life she leads, it’s best to stick to men who are happy to do what she tells them to, then disappear. Since Ryan would never abide by those terms, it’s best to keep him right where she’s got him—in her dreams.
Ryan gets up close and personal with Claire while investigating a threat to his company. Once he’s convinced she’s not out to hurt what he’s helped build, he refocuses his more-than-human energies on his intriguing employee. When she quits, insisting it’s best if she leaves town, he’s determined to convince her otherwise. At least long enough to get a taste of her. And the more he tastes, the more he touches, the more he wants. Now he just has to convince Claire that what they have is worth fighting for, and he’s more than up to the task.

Copyright © KB ALAN, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
It took two trips before they had everything transferred to the lovely nook off Jacob’s kitchen. Instead of blocking her into the middle of the bench seat, Jacob pulled a chair from against the wall and sat opposite her. She wasn’t sure she could suppress her relief so she picked up her wineglass and hid behind it.

Jacob’s sigh suggested he wasn’t unaware of her hiding.

“I think it’s time you told us what’s going on,” he said.

She put down her glass and nudged the basket of garlic bread closer to Ryan so she didn’t have to look at it.

“Fine. I grew up with bad people. Monsters. I chose to leave and they’re not happy about that, so I need to stay hidden. Simple. It’s best to stay ahead of them, trust me, so I’ll just leave here and you don’t have to worry about me, or them, anymore.”

“Monsters?” Ryan glanced at Jacob in surprise before returning his attention to her. “Demons?”

She blinked at him. “Uh. No. Murderers. Rapists. Thieves.”

“Ah.” He sat back with a smile. “We can help you with that.” He resumed eating.

Fear for them tried to intrude but she pulled on her anger instead. “No, you can’t. And you won’t. You’ll stay out of it. Stay safe. Stay away from me.”

Ryan just waved his fork at her, his mouth too full to answer.

Crossing her arms over her chest she leaned back and glared at him.

His confidence should piss her off. Did piss her off. Too bad it was also sexy as hell. A man shouldn’t look sexy eating spaghetti, damn it.

“Let me be very clear. I’m not asking for your help. I don’t want it. The only thing I need from you is to let me walk away. And if you don’t, you won’t just have the monsters to deal with, you’ll have me. If I wouldn’t put up with being ordered around and kept in place by the people who made me, you can sure as hell bet I won’t put up with it from you.”

“Of course you can leave, if you want to,” Jacob said.

Ryan opened his mouth as if to object, but remained silent.

“I would appreciate it, though, if you would tell us your family’s name, so that we might be prepared,” Jacob added.

She looked back and forth between them but neither seemed concerned. Her well-developed sense of the truth told her that Jacob meant what he’d said. So, okay, they were just going to let her go. That was good. Right.

“I’ll think about it.” She tucked back into her dinner. She’d need all the good fuel she could get as she started on the next phase of her life. And the wine didn’t hurt, either.

Jacob managed to get them chatting casually while they finished the meal, then brought out ice cream and all the fixings for sundaes. She was too tired to be more than mildly amused that the elegant man kept such items on hand. Pouring heated caramel sauce over the French vanilla ice cream, she caught Ryan’s intent gaze as he added chocolate to his own. A sudden vision of him licking the sauce from her breasts rose in her mind. Her breath caught at the vivid image and she forced her attention back to her hands, righting the jar and placing it back on the table. Ryan picked up the can of whipped cream and slowly leaned over to dispense a long layer of creamy goodness into her bowl.

She refused to meet his eyes as she picked up the maraschino cherries and spooned a couple from the jar. What the hell, she would only have this one night with him, maybe she should give in to the heat that was building between them. Though he wasn’t her usual type, there was no denying that he made her body ache. A sprinkle of nuts finished off the sundae and she picked up the bowl and moved to the living room.

A fire crackled and she headed for that, taking a seat on the raised hearth. Jacob followed her in, sitting on the large leather sofa. When Ryan joined them he moved straight toward her, sitting close enough that the heat from his thigh rivaled that of the fire. She considered giving him a good death glare before changing seats but decided she would be spiting herself more than him. The truth was she liked the feel of him next to her. She relaxed her body, letting her leg fall slightly closer to his.

The first bite of the sundae was perfect, just the right combination of ice cream and toppings. She closed her eyes and savored the treat. Her mind wandered back to the vision of Ryan licking sauce from her breasts and she moaned around the delicious coldness.

Ryan shifted restlessly next to her and she suppressed a smile. Oh yeah. One night with him would carry her through years of the dishrags she usually limited herself to. Her nipples tightened at the idea. Another cold spoonful did little to counteract the heat that was consuming her body. Next to her, Ryan was shoveling in his sundae at an alarming rate. Hiding a smile, she slowed her own pace even more, letting the spoon slide out ever so slowly between her lips, eyes closing again to fully appreciate the deliciousness.

The clatter of bowl hitting hearth made her heart beat faster but she maintained her pace, bringing another spoonful to her lips. Her eyes opened slightly when Ryan leaned into her, bracing a hand against her back. She angled the spoon toward him and he parted his lips. She made sure to get cream on his lip before allowing him to draw the spoon inside. His eyes were hot on her, full of intent and promise. A shiver raced up her spine and he pressed his hand harder into her back, his thumb taking up a circular caress.

She pulled the spoon back and he swallowed before darting his tongue out to clean the mess she’d made. Was it intentional that he left the bit at the slightly pointed bow? She hoped so. Leaning forward, she darted her own tongue out to catch the speck of whipped cream. A tiny growl came from him as she pulled back. He tightened his arm, holding her close.

“Are we going to do this?” His breath whispered against her lips. “If you want me to leave, tell me now.”

She put her hand on his thigh and slowly inched it up, eyes steady on his, lips a breath apart. Angling her hand in, she found her prize. He caught his breath as she palmed his length, hard and growing harder.

“You won’t stop me from leaving in the morning?”

“I won’t stop you.”

“You would walk away, right now?” she asked, dismayed to sound so breathless. Damn it, she was going for saucy and in control. To compensate, she squeezed, hard.

“Only if you asked me to.” He brought a hand up to her cheek, a gentle caress that had her heart clenching.

But it wasn’t her heart that she wanted clenching so she closed the tiny distance between them and captured his mouth with hers. She wanted hot, hard, fast. Now. He tasted of chocolate sauce and vanilla and met her demanding kiss thrust for thrust. Her hands scrabbled at his shirt, desperate to find a way inside and feel bare skin. He stood, pulling her up with him, then lifted her so her legs came naturally around his waist. His obvious strength should have frightened her, but she could only be thankful as he stalked out of the room, never backing away from the kiss that threatened to consume her.

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