James’s review of Trust in Me by Dee Tenorio Contemporary Romance released by Samhain Publishing July on July 23, 2013
Sometimes falling in love is the easy part…
A Rancho del Cielo Romance
Locke Jackman is single, childless…and he has a bad case of empty nest syndrome. For years, as he fought tooth and nail to keep his brothers and sisters together after his parents died, his entire life was focused on his responsibilities.
Now his siblings have all moved on with their lives, and there’s no one around to distract him from his overpowering attraction to his sister’s best friend. Their mutual desire is stunning…but then again, so are the secrets keeping them apart.
Susie Packard’s nightmarish marriage taught her what happens when she gives in to her weakness for powerful men. Too bad the big, stoic frowner across the street—the one who sets her bells jangling just by breathing—has her in his sights.
Try as she might to keep her emotional distance, Locke is determinedly knocking down all her walls. But as much as she wants to be the woman he needs, she knows better than most—passion may have its rewards, but every secret has its price.
Warning: This book contains a hot, modern-day Viking seducing his way to the heart of his woman, a stubborn lingerie designer with a world of secrets and a very deep bathtub… Enjoy!
Dee Tenorio is one of my personal favorite authors, so I jumped at the chance to review this one. I’m happy I did because this turned out to be my favorite romance of the year. Continue reading →
Hello my friends! To close out my year of Smithsonian Heritage Month posts, we’ve got Dee Tenorio!!! You might think “haven’t we seen her before for this?” And yes! You have! Which is kinda cool to my mind, right? Extra double heritage! 😀 Please give Dee a warm welcome!
When Indians Feast…
I’m an Indian—Chumash, Apache and a wee bit of Maidu, though nowadays, everyone just calls me Native American—so as you can imagine, that makes Thanksgiving a little complicated. It’s hard to celebrate a day that is universally recognized as the day that sealed the fate of my people. As a kid, the story of saving the pilgrims was told less as a unity tale and more of a cautionary one: no good deed goes unpunished. You gotta be careful who you help and all that. It’s understandable, of course, that the elder Indians wanted us to learn from what was considered the mistakes of the past. There wasn’t many of us left and lets face it, historically Indians had a habit of believing what they were told and then getting burned for it…literally.
So, let’s go ahead and picture young Dee trying to reconcile her culture with today’s society. Teachers didn’t like it when I protested wearing a paper pilgrim hat in second grade. They were less happy that I felt making a paper headband with two feathers stapled on was a racial stereotype and that a girl wearing a full on headdress was not only wrong but bordering on blasphemous. No, I could not bring up the small pox or that the pilgrims eventually turned on the Indians who saved them. We were supposed to think on the importance of the one day they came together in peace and harmony.
But it wasn’t that simple for me. The whole time, the lessons in my head fought with what was in front of me. Thanksgiving is bad….juicy turkey. Thanksgiving is bad….cute turkey parade! Thanksgiving is bad….smells so goooooooooood! Thanksgiving is bad….two days off school!
Clearly, a compromise had to be made.
Thankfully, Mom had the answer…she always does. Thus, our family created “Turkey Day”. It’s not thanksgiving to us, it’s the day we eat a hell of a lot of inexpensive turkey, watch a ton of movies and pretty much don’t move except to get more pie. Sure, it’s pretty much what everyone else does, but the root of it doesn’t feel like betrayal to our people this way. It’s about being together, pooling our resources so all of us have more than enough to eat and laughing together for hours on end. It’s how my family celebrates that we’re still here. It’s also how we plot surviving Christmas, but that’s another story…
Thank you, Dee, for this post. I think it brings up a lot of issues people just gloss over, or don’t even know (remember?) – especially with how this holiday has turned to consumerism. A good reminder to think of others, and reflect.
It’s been a long year of many unplanned things. I started working on Smithsonian Heritage Month features in 2012, and I never imagined it’d turn out like this. I’m glad I went on this journey of exploration and I’m thankful you were all with me on it. Forward and such!
My goodness this year has been flying by! Technically yesterday was the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, but ALBTALBS doesn’t do Monday posts. >.> To kick off this new celebration of Smithsonian Heritage Month I got the wonderful Dee Tenorio to come visit! I really loved this post and I hope you’ll chime in. 🙂
What Culture Means To Me
My mother and I were discussing culture the other day, as one of our local grocery stores was having a sale for “Dia De Las Patrias”. Now, I didn’t remember that being a holiday and neither did my mother and she was a bit confused. Allow me to explain. My mother is a Native American and in California, that often means she speaks Spanish, because that’s the language the Indians were allowed and it’s kind of stuck. Now, me? I mangle my father’s language horribly. I can understand it to a degree (especially Spanglish), but I read it a heck of a lot better than I verbalize it. Between the two of us…yeah, we didn’t know what that was. It translates to “Day of The Homelands”, which seems to be a very sweet reference to the Mexican Independence celebrations going on down south. To which my mother asks, “Why are we celebrating that here? It’s not OUR independence.”
Much to my surprise, I had a good answer: Because it’s their culture. Your culture is part of you no matter where you are.
I’ll be honest, being brown in Southern California has had some serious drawbacks in my time. (It was worse before my time, but that’s a different story.) So a lot of my sense of being Hispanic is wrapped up in my sense of being rejected because of it. Folks get it in their head what Hispanic means and judge accordingly, whether that’s good or bad or blasé. Being born Mexican didn’t make me automatically a “wetback”, it didn’t mean I would magically know the language. I didn’t have a mental blueprint for cutting lawns and I wasn’t inclined to clean houses or serve. That’s what it means to a lot of people here.
For me, being Hispanic—being Mexican—is a lot about food, lol. It’s about my Grandmother’s kitchen and the music she loved to listen to. It’s telenovelas starring actresses with fabulous hair sobbing streaks of make up down their cheeks while we peeled potatoes and stared in awe, demanding Grandma tell us what was going on. It’s about the sound of my grandfather speaking Spanish so fast no one could tell where any words ended. My mom teaching us Cumbias and and the utter glory that is pan dulce, fresh from the bread man’s truck. And, yes, it’s a lot about tortillas. There is a sound that not a lot of people recognize anymore—the sound of a metal rolling pin hitting the wooden cutting board with this perfect “ting” every time it comes down and rolls the masa into a perfectly circular shape. That’s the sound of being Mexican for me, a chime that encapsulates the smells and voices and memories of my childhood.
We talked then, about how culture isn’t just where you are or even where you come from. It’s about the experiences you have with your family and the traditions that you share with the ones who came before and the ones you bring up. My kids all know the sound of the tortillas being rolled out. They know the smell of the beans and deliciousness of menudo. But I think the best thing we’ve been able to share with them is the togetherness we feel when we sit at the table together and create memories they can share with their children. Hopefully memories filled with laughter, spices and commitment…and maybe a little cumbias on the side.
About the Author: Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.
The best part is, no more therapy bills!
Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…
If you would like to learn more about Dee and her work, please visit her website.
The only thing more dangerous than passion is the truth.
Retired Marine and new Sheriff’s Deputy Cade Evigan is hanging onto his damaged soul—and his personal code—by a thread. His current mission? Weed out a violent motorcycle crew from a small mountain town. The problem? Katrina Killian, a woman standing firmly on the other side of the law, smack in the middle of the gang he’s there to destroy. She may get under his skin, but the sultry biker has criminal written all over her. So why can’t he see her like any other convict?
For two years, Katrina has been a DEA agent hiding in plain sight amidst a pack of killers, working to put an end to the gang that has terrorized her hometown. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man who could blow her cover—and her heart—to pieces, but Cade’s become an addiction she can’t break. Unable to risk either of their lives with the truth, she plays both ends against the middle to keep him safe. But lies can only last so long, and Katrina’s time has just run out…
Today we’ve got Dee Tenorio visiting with us, and telling us a bit about one of her new books. I’m totally excited about the series, and I also loved the hero in this book, Kane. After reading what Dee wrote for the post [not book] she also scares me a little…
Craziest Thing You’ve Ever Done…
I’m not a crazy person—barring the occasional low blood sugar moment. In fact, I’m pretty darn pragmatic and adventures don’t often follow us stay at home, hole up until it’s done, naaaaah, too dangerous types.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve never had an adventure. Believe it or not, I’ve done some truly colorful things. Dumb things like jumping in front of a train (don’t do that. EVER.), flashing 30 guys on a $2 bet (because I’m stupid and miraculously, none of them noticed). I won’t even go into all the moron things I did with my sister—driving the car from the BACK seat (That’s right up there with the train thing, people).
And yet, some of those moronic things are my best memories. Funny how that works, huh?
So I think that’s why I wanted to write a story about two people who woke up married—probably—especially when one of those people was supposed to marry someone else… I wanted to take two normally reasonable people and make them do something totally stupid. Suddenly, “10 Ways To Steal Your Lover” was born. 🙂 Because reasonable folks need a little fun too, don’t you think?
I’m going to include a small excerpt of that here, but first, I want to ask, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Is it something you regret or something you remember with one of those wry smiles you never want to explain to your kids? Share yours and be entered in a drawing for a free copy of “10 Ways To Steal Your Lover”!
Hope you enjoy!
“I guess that means you don’t know how we got here either, then?” Delilah brushed her hair off her forehead, almost wishing she didn’t have this absolute lassitude. The melted-chocolate sensation throughout every cell of her body made it entirely too difficult to feel the guilt she knew she should be feeling. Her fiancé’s best friend was even now wedged deep inside her body, their skin slick and all but glued to each other, but instead of guilt or horror or self-disgust, she had the strangest urge to grin.
She’d just had the most incredible sex of her life with the sexiest man she’d ever known.
That was something to grin about, wasn’t it?
Given the way Kane’s jaw hung open and the abject horror on his face, probably not.
Wincing, she forced herself to turn away from him again, searching around for something to cover herself with. Naked with a man who looked at you like you were a snake who’d snuck into his bed had a way of tamping down any notion except escape. Seeing the edge of the sheet on the floor, she grabbed it, throwing it over herself and pulling away from the man behind/beneath her. He groaned, his hands tightening on her hips as if he meant to keep her right where she was, but she just couldn’t bear it.
“I’ll just be in the shower.” She was on shaking legs, determined to make it to the bathroom where she could close the door and be horrified all by herself. She got all of three steps to the closed door but he was right on her tail, spinning her around when her hand reached the knob.
“Wait a second, okay?”
She wasn’t about to make eye contact again, though. “No, I really need to get in the shower.”
“Delilah.” Oh, man, Kane’s voice dropped into that deeper, authoritative tone that did the strangest things to her stomach. She only heard it every now and then, like when her teasing was pushing his buttons or when he was talking to his foreman on the phone. She bit back a whimper. Dammit, Kane was lethally sexy, even when she was desperate to escape him. If she let him talk to her now, she was going to say or do something stupid. Stupider than waking up and letting him screw her senseless even after figuring out that he wasn’t Craig.
She was an engaged woman, for God’s sake! Engaged women did not have mind-blowing sex with men who were not their future husbands. Or at least, they shouldn’t. And she still had no idea how she’d ended up in that bed in the first place. No, now was the time to panic and hide in the bathroom. It was the only plan she had and she was determined to follow through out it, twisting out of his grip and pushing out of his hold. Thankfully, the door opened just enough for her to slip inside, but Kane was right there with her, making it impossible to shut the door on him. His big body wedged itself between the door and the jamb. Worse, the stupid sheet hadn’t followed her completely into the room, even if she could push him out, she’d never get the door closed.
“No.” She kicked at the sheet to drag it in with her, pushing at his rock-solid shoulder, her head down so she wouldn’t have to look him in the eye again.
“Del, damn it, you’re trying to lock yourself in the closet.”
Well, that brought her head up. She looked around, realizing he was right. Instead of tiles and a sink or toilet, she was surrounded by shelves and rods. The half-second distraction was all he needed to push her away from the door and follow her inside the walk-in. If she hadn’t tangled her feet with the sheet, that’s probably all that would have happened, but she did and so, when she started to pitch backward, she grabbed the only thing within reach—which happened to be his neck—and promptly found herself flat on her back with his very naked, very heavy body slammed on top of hers.
“Shit, are you you okay?” Kane scrambled to get off her, lifting his upper body on his forearms while she tried to blink her eyes enough times to make the stars go away.
“I think so,” she sputtered, feeling like a pancake and simultaneously realizing the sheet must have slipped away in the hubbub. Meaning that while the top of her body was covered well enough by the sheet, her bare ass had just gotten a hell of a burn on the carpet.
The utter ridiculousness of the situation finally sank in, tickling at her throat. Worse, when she looked up at Kane, the big rancher who usually moved like a well-oiled machine, he was balancing like a cat trying to walk on two high-wires above her. Her lips twitched, the tickling now an almost hysterical itch.
Kane’s brow suddenly furrowed, no doubt reading her mind with that almost eerie knack for it he had, a scowl darkening his handsome face. “Don’t you dare laugh, Delilah Anne.”
“Of course not,” she managed, a giggle messing up her attempt to be serious, but really, Kane was the only one on earth who used her full name and every time he did he was trying to tell her what to do. How could she possibly take him seriously like this? Just like that, the giggle turned into a snort, which only made him scowl more and by then she’d lost it completely. He looked so determined and worried about squashing her but he hadn’t given a thought to what he might be doing to her spleen when he’d been ramming her like jack hammer a few scant minutes ago.
That thought got her cracking up harder.
“Del, come on, this isn’t a laughing matter.”
She whooped, her hands landing on his shoulders while she tried to breathe. He rolled his eyes, but she could see the corners of his lips pulling upward. Ah, the smile… She loved his smile. Always had, especially once she knew how rare they were. Just getting the corners of his mouth to curl was a triumph in her book and it had been so long since she’d earned one. Even better, this smile hinted at the straight white teeth he always seemed to hide. As far as she knew, she was one of only a few to have even seen them.
Kane was an exceptionally handsome man, yes, but most people were put off by his stern disposition. His ranch kept him busier than anyone she knew, but he managed to find time every few months to visit them in Vegas for dinner and a little time out with the boys, as Craig called it. Craig, Kane and Jesse, three friends who’d met at summer camp when they were thirteen and maintained their friendship against all odds into adulthood. She couldn’t imagine three men more different—Craig the slick city banker, Kane the rugged rancher and Jesse the wild musician—but she had to admit, when they were together, she’d never seen more devoted friends. Through ups and downs, they’d stayed in touch with phone calls and letters, leading eventually to emails and texts and they never went more than three months without seeing one another.
At least, not until she’d come into their lives.
Finally, that sobered her.
Jesse always managed a trip, but after she moved in with Craig, Kane’s visits became more spaced. He blamed it on the ranch’s expansions, but Delilah knew it was her. Knew because she’d felt his eyes on her. Felt his desire like a caress, no matter that he never said a word or made the slightest move on her. If anything, the last year he gave her such a wide berth it was almost a joke. Finally, he stopped coming altogether, until Craig insisted he come for the wedding preparations. He hadn’t taken no for an answer.
And now, here she was, underneath the body of the wrong man.
But if he was wrong, why did he feel so damn right?
Dee is also running a contest where you can win one of five copies of this book! (Just click the link.) So – what’d you think? And come on – spill. What crazy things have you done? We’re all friends here!
Yes, I’m here to talk about Swagbucks again. They’ve got this new thing with a holiday wish list. You can see my Swagbucks Wishlist. (http://www.swagbucks.com/account/wishlist?rb=339789&cmp=123&cxid=0-twitter – WordPress won’t let me do the actual link. So sorry, you’ll have to copy and paste.) If you join Swagbucks using that link… there’s a chance of a $2,500.00 Amazon gift card. And you know what that can buy? Books. Scores and scores of books. Books galore.
Swagbucks has been pretty good to me already – I’ve (rough estimate) probably already gotten $500 in GC’s from them since joining in 09. That’s not bad for something completely free. Also? If you haven’t joined yet, I have a code for you that’s worth an additional 80 swagbucks at sign up, and it doesn’t expire until November 23. (Unlike last time when I was a moron. Sorry Liz!) So, if you want to join – click that link, but before you complete the sign up, let me know – email me, whatever, so I can give you the code to start you off right. 😀 There’s the contact form at the top – or if you leave a comment I’ll have your email.
Now – since you all are kind enough to let me babble on about this (although you know it ismy blog… :P). I’m using some of those Swagbucks orders of Amazon Giftcards to offer a prize. I consider authors Dee Tenorio, and Shiloh Walker my friends. (I’d like to think it’s reciprocated as well…) Both of them have had a rough few days, weeks, and longer. It’s not much, but I want to give away a digital copy of their newest book. One each – so Deceiving the Protectorby Dee Tenorio, and If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker.
I know a lot of you (some of you) read print only so sorry but… I can’t afford to pay shipping as well, so kindle copy it is. Maybe one day I can afford Amazon Prime and I can do “dead tree” books. But for now, all the money I’ve got is from Swagbucks. 😛 So there you go.
And before you think this is all altruistic… I chose these two books specifically, because both of them mention this little green citrus fruit. ;D So you know, that’s kinda awesome.
Have I sold you on Swagbucks then? Do you want to win a book? You know what to do. Comment. Tell me something good. No really – today, I’m judging on content!
Hi friends! Today we have Dee Tenorio guesting with us again! She had a new book out yesterday, which is totally exciting, right? If you haven’t heard about it, she’s sharing a blurb and excerpt with us! This is her paranormal series with Carina Press, and it’s got a lot going on in it.
Some of you may not know me, but that’s okay. Lime let me slide on into a blog spot here so I could introduce myself. Or rather, my slightly unconventional shifters from “Deceiving The Protector”. I wanted to introduce Tate and Lia, who are both wary, both a touch cranky and both about to face the first challenge they can’t tackle—each other. Hope you enjoy!
The mate he never wanted may be the woman he can never have…
After a series of murders is discovered along the trail of the Shifter Underground, wolf soldier Jensen Tate is assigned to find and protect a missing stray. But Lia Crawford doesn’t seem to want his protection. When she eludes his watch and returns with mysterious injuries, Tate knows she’s hiding something. To discover her secrets, he’ll have to win her trust…and get closer to the woman he thinks may be his mate.
Lia has reasons to keep her distance. The killer is haunting her steps, determined to claim her. He will come after them both if he sees how drawn she is to Tate, though it becomes increasingly difficult to deny her attraction to him. Protecting Tate is vital – but will her deception cost her his love?
Lia awoke in a burst of awareness, every one of her senses reaching outward for any trace of threat. Sight, smell, that tingle of danger at the side of her neck that rang so hard it stung whenever Asher was near. In a split second, her body relaxed, but not because she sensed she was alone.
The complete opposite, really.
Flinty gray eyes stared at her, the gaze locked on her face so intently she knew he’d been watching her while she slept. He sat on a large rock, pooled in sunlight, one long leg sprawled out while his elbow balanced on his bent knee. Afternoon sunlight, given the lack of moisture in the air. God, how long had she slept? It didn’t matter. The peril was in waking up to this brooder on the rock.
He stared at her while his hand moved slowly over something she couldn’t see. Something else spilled down between his cupped hands, swinging slightly as it gained length. She tried to focus on it, her vision blurring at the edges. Exhausted, she closed her eyes, the lids sliding like gravel over the delicate tissue of her eyes. A scent she couldn’t place was flooding her, probably whatever it was he was peeling…
She tried to lick her lips. Too late, she realized her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth and her limbs felt like lead. Worse, her belly felt hollowed out, the emptiness of it sending streaks of pain to every limb. Her blood felt like sludge, barely moving through her veins, which explained why her mind felt fuzzy, her thoughts disjointed.
It hit all shifters hard, making them sleep like the dead while their bodies worked at larger wounds and bruises. The more extensive the damage, the deeper the sleep. She should have been able to heal the bruises on her throat with normal sleep, but her body was empty, had been for too many days. It had nothing left to give.
Cool moisture touched her lips, her lids flying upward in shock. Tate knelt next to her, the hard muscle of his thigh pressing against her ribs. He wasn’t watching her eyes anymore, instead staring at her mouth. Where he held a piece of naked fruit.
Rearing back into the thin cushion of her pallet, she tried to escape, but her body couldn’t follow her command. The best she could manage was to turn her head, but after a muttered curse from the man leaning over her, that failed too. His hand, warm enough to penetrate the cold in her skin, caught her chin, pulling her back into position for the waiting fruit.
“You’ve been fighting me off for hours but you’ve got nothing left, Sunshine.” The apple touched her lips again, the tart aroma of it inhaled with each breath. Hunger ate at her stomach in greedy response. Oh God, how she wanted it.
“Eat,” he coaxed, a warm whisper that curled in her ears like a lure. The melted sensation in her limbs wasn’t so bad all of a sudden. “It’ll help.”
Her brain triggered a flash of Javak, the big man leading a few others to the Underground. He hadn’t taken no for an answer either, when he’d come across her on the road. “We know where there’s some food waiting. Come on, girl, we just want to help…”
Until Asher exacted his punishment, it would help. No, not this time. She clamped her lips together, trying to twist free.
Tate’s eyes went stormy, his mouth hardening into a frown. “Eat, goddamn it.”
So much for melting… All sweet and charming until he didn’t get what he wanted. If she opened her mouth to tell him so, he’d shove that fruit in, she just knew it. He’d probably smirk while doing it.
“Eat or the next time you close those pretty eyes, you die.”
She glared at him, but there was no threat in his eyes. Just cold, distant facts. He wasn’t wrong, she could feel that in her bones. In its need to heal her, her body would keep drawing on reserves she didn’t have, shutting down parts of her body one after another until there wasn’t anything left. She wouldn’t even be able to fight it, the sleep drawing her into a coma before eating her alive.
Who will save Laurel then?
The question rebalanced the scales the way nothing else would have. Closing her eyes again, she opened her mouth. The cold fruit invaded instantly, sweet and crisp where it dragged across the edge of her teeth.
“Open your eyes, Lia. Keep them on me.”
She chewed slowly, savoring the flavor, trying not to moan in relief. The next bite was waiting for her, another after that. She lifted her lids from time to time, just to prove she wasn’t falling under, but otherwise ignored him completely. He stayed quiet, feeding her without grumble or command, until she wasn’t sure how much time had passed. The fruit kept coming, loosening the heavy tightness in her muscles until the aches faded completely.
This was a side of him she could get used to, she decided, hoping the grin in her mind wasn’t on her face. Silent and beautiful would make him just about perfect…
“What the fuck is this?”
Her hand came up to push at the fingers pulling down the edges of her scarf to expose her throat. She didn’t have much strength, but she could move well enough to lift the scarf back into place. To turn away from him.
“Who did this to you? No more games.” A firm hand pulled on her shoulder, flattening her to the pallet.
He could roll her all he liked, be as angry as he wanted, but he was alive and she had every intention of keeping him that way. If by some miracle Asher could let Tate live for touching her like this, he absolutely wouldn’t allow anyone to know about him and survive.
“Stop!” she snapped, her voice coming out a graveled mess.
Was it her imagination or did Tate pale at the sound of it? It didn’t matter, because her hands were no match for his now that he’d sniffed out an injury. Tugs at the scarf had her pushing harder at him. Angry, desperate, she felt the acid burn in her fingertips as her claws extended, dragging a shredded scream from her as she slashed at his face.
In a blur, he was gone, backed away, but the agony of the small shift had her cradling her palm to her chest, gasping for breath.
“What the hell happened to you?”
Eyes closed against the waves of pain still radiating from her hand, from the concern in his tone, she knew he meant more than the bruises on her neck. She didn’t look at him. Couldn’t. It was one thing when he looked at her as if she were insane, occasionally as if she were food. She couldn’t stand for him to look at her as if she were a freak.
Even if she was.
“Leave me alone.” The words moved like blades through her throat. All that sleep had done nothing to heal what Asher had damaged in warning. He’d crushed her throat, done it remorselessly, just to prove he could have ripped it out if he wanted to.
“I can protect you, Lia,” Tate said softly. “It’s what I’m here for. I’ll keep you safe. All you need to do is trust me.”
She squeezed her eyes tighter at the solemnity of that promise.
He couldn’t protect her. No one could. She was all that stood between him and certain death. But there was nothing she could say to make him understand that. Nothing he’d believe, anyway. He hadn’t trusted a single word she’d said since they met. To him, lies of omission were no better than lies in general. She lifted her face to stare at him, wondering if he could see how soulless she’d become to stay alive.
Or was he blinded by the shadows where his own soul was supposed to be?
She lifted her chin, holding her arm closer to her chest. “Why should I?”
His mouth hardened into a flat line, his eyes little more than glittering slits of gray. Finally, he stomped over to his bag, dragging out a shirt tied into a knot at one end, bulging with fruit in the middle. He tossed her the makeshift sack. “Eat those. I’ll be back.”
“Where are you going?” She was apprehensive to let him out of her sight but in no shape to stop him. Next, he yanked out what looked like a leather belt, the swishing whip of it sliding out of the pack loud enough to make her cringe.
“Hunting,” he growled. “I have an irresistible urge to kill something. I’d rather it not be you. I’ll be back in an hour, maybe two. If you go anywhere this time, I’ll find you—and let me tell you, Lia, it won’t be pretty when I do.”
Those last words were tossed over his shoulder as he brushed past the bushes to the trees beyond, leaving her alone in their small camp.
Lia watched the spot where he disappeared for long minutes before reaching into the sack with her good hand. The deep, sizzling tingle in her neck began to burn, providing an ironic security to her mind. Asher was here. Watching her. She ate slowly, knowing every bite was being counted. Resented. Tallied.
It didn’t matter. The need outweighed the risk.
For now, she could only restore her body and wait for Tate’s return.
Whew. So – what’d you think? Obviously Lia is troubled. And quite the handful for Tate to deal with. One lucky commenter will win a download of the first book in this series, Tempting the Enemy. If you don’t win it here, consider getting it yourself. It’s $.99 cents right now at the Carina store only, as part of a promotion, where the first book in a series is discounted.
Do you read paranormals? What do you like about them? Or dislike/avoid? I want to discuss the genre with you. 🙂
Last be definitely not least, the fourth and final novella in Undercover Lovers is our exclusive excerpt today. It’s written by Dee Tenorio! I think Dee Tenorio is an incredibly underrated romance author, and often suggest her books to people. Especially ones that like contemporary romances. Stay tuned for a giveaway, and all. You likely all know it already, but the book blurb is as follows:
Saffron Burton – Sensual food critic posing as just another customer Tucker Lamb – Smooth as butter former conman posing as nerdy professor Shane Madison – Dead sexy private eye posing as a Strippendale’s dancer Katrina Killian – Brazenly sexual cop posing as a gang member
Four ultra-sexy stories by four great authors, with one theme!
Convicted by Dee Tenorio— Crusty sheriff Cade Evigan doesn’t date convicts, not even ones as irresistible as Katrina “K.K.” Killian. The woman may have gotten under his skin—and once, on the hood of his car—but the sultry biker had criminal written all over her. He has to stay away.
When the crap hits the fan and the case she’s been working on for two years cracks wide open, Katrina heads straight to the hills to protect the one man she cares about. But some temptations are impossible to resist and she knows if she stays with Cade for the night, odds are her cover isn’t the only thing getting blown…
“God, you say the sexiest things. Quick, say something else fun. How about, Grab your ankles, babe, I’m coming in for a landing.” Trina’s slow, dirty grin did terrible things to Cade’s self-control. She was always like this. Taking every little thing
and making it into something sexual, something that tempted him to laugh. Though he had to admit, he’d walked right into that one.
“We’re not having sex. Your clothes have blood on them and they’re cut up. Besides, I need to check you for any other injuries.”
“Aww, come on, Cade. You’re missing the point of the game. Hot to trot damsel-in-distress—”
“With bruised ribs.”
“—alone in a mountain cabin with inexplicably-single sex god—”
“Hardly.” There were plenty of explanations.
“Since I’m the only one of us who’s had sex with you, I don’t think you get a vote.”
He was not going to give her the smile she was hunting down. He couldn’t allow it. Trina collected his moments of weakness like a kid after baseball cards. But once they were hers, she cashed them in for pieces of his soul. He simply didn’t have enough left to let her play her games.
On the other hand, if she wanted to call him a sex god, who was he to argue?
“I’ll get you something to sleep in. While I do that, how about you get back to telling me what happened?” He got up off his knees, distancing himself from all that beautiful skin across her belly by heading to his chest of drawers on the other side of his bed, as many feet from her as the one room cabin would allow. Bruised or not, he’d never seen anything as tempting as her in his life.
“It’s pretty simple really. Carter has a delivery service up and down California. His crews pick up shipments of heroin in Tijuana, drive it up the Grapevine and drop it in Fresno for wider distribution. I was part of an infiltration team that fed into three different biker crews in California. Of the six of us, two have retired and three are dead. I’m the last one and none of us have managed to get enough evidence to knock out the main buyer pulling their strings. Or even find out who it is. My old partner cut off a major supplier last year, but he got made in the process and there were others just waiting to take the supplier’s place. All I know about the current ones is that they’re Colombian and about ten times more willing to kill than the last guy’s men. I was this close to getting what we needed and now there’s no way it can happen. If Frank or anyone else from Wheels of Pain finds me before I can reach my DEA handler, I’m dead.”
“You’re skipping something.” The sixth sense that had kept him alive in Afghanistan had a bead on Trina and her half-truths. It always had. Which was why he’d never been able to fully trust her. Want her, yes. Need her, even, but from the beginning he’d noticed the signs. The way she’d deflect by hitting on him. How she’d subtly look away before she talked. She had no trouble staring Carter in the eye as she lied to him—he’d seen her do it—but she couldn’t do it with him. It meant something that she almost never looked him in the eye anymore. Until now.
“Just that your department is corrupt.”
He snorted, reaching in for one of his T-shirts. “Tell me something I don’t know.” That was why Rick had asked him to join him in Marketta. Because he needed someone to watch his back. Only for Rick had Cade considered it, even if the Rick he’d found on arrival wasn’t quite the fun-loving kid he used to know.
He touched the plain cotton in the drawer, frowning at the texture. No, this wouldn’t work. He closed it slowly, listening to Trina shifting uncomfortably on the couch. Like him, she was too long-legged for it. There was no way to lay on it without bending a leg or letting something hang off it. Plus those cushions could support the Washington Monument without denting. No, she wouldn’t be able to sleep there and neither could he. She’d have to share the bed with him.
A pulse of dangerous elation danced through his veins.
Squelching it wasn’t even possible. A dead man would get excited about sharing a bed with a woman like her and for all that he’d tried to bury his emotions, he wasn’t dead. Unfortunately for him, no one drove that point home more than Katrina Killian.
From the start, she’d made him wish he could be different. Made him wish he was still the guy with all those hopes about changing the world and saving lives. The one who laughed easily and trusted. That guy had died with so many others, thousands of miles from here, under a killing sun that never seemed to set, in sands that never seemed able to satisfy its thirst for blood. He’d let him die, purposely burying his soul so he could survive. So he could wake up day after day and not hate himself for being able to walk away.
With her, though, he not only could feel, he felt too much. He had no choice about it. At first he’d fought it. Resented her slipping past his guards with a smile or a tease, mocking the control he thought he had. But then he began to look forward to it. To her insane little pick up lines. Her unexpected humor. The vitality she infected him with that made the rest of his day easier to get through. That made waking up something to look forward to instead of dread.
He wouldn’t be fooling anyone if he told himself he wasn’t mentally doing back flips to finally lay her in his bed, in his arms, and hold her all night long. But if he was going to live that fantasy, shouldn’t he go all the way with it?
He turned to the closet, pulling open the doors where he’d put stuff he didn’t want taking up space in the little house he rented in Marketta. Where, under thin plastic, uniforms he’d never wear again and crisp dress shirts from years gone by waited like specters. He pulled a shirt out, the snowy white fabric sliding across his fingers like cool water. It would fit over her lush curves with room to spare, probably covering her at least to mid thigh. His best imaginings starred her in his uniform shirts, a button or two giving little more than lip service between the high globes of her breasts. Those tiny silk panties of hers playing peek-a-boo with every step she took.
If he gave her this to wear, his cock would turn to fucking stone with no relief in sight. Just hours and hours of unrelenting sexual torment until he could safely get her out of there.
He stole a quick glance at her, all that ebony hair flowing like ink over the arm of his couch, her lean body encased in dirty white leather, the toes of her matching boots pointing up as she stretched her legs with a wince.
I’m a masochist.
It wasn’t anything he didn’t already know about himself. He gripped the shirt in a stranglehold and headed back her way. “You need help sitting up?”
She grimaced as he knelt beside her again, but shook her head, already lowering her legs to the ground. Biting off a curse, Cade fit his hand to her back, supporting her regardless of her grudging acceptance. She never liked help. He never gave a shit. He considered it one of the better quirks to their relationship.
Trina took a deep breath, carefully, while he held his in anticipation that she could do it. The air came in and went out with any serious hitches. “See? It was just running up this mountain of yours that made it so bad.”
“You still haven’t said why you had to.” He didn’t care how many deflections she threw out there or how pissed he was that she might actually be telling the truth now, after all this wasted time. He could play being calm better than most, especially knowing every second of that calm was keeping her off balance enough to stop lying to him. No matter what, he wasn’t letting her get away without answers. It had been more than a year of this. He deserved them and he damn well better get them.
Did you find yourself leaning in closer and closer to the screen as you read on? What’s going to happen? Will Cade have a night filled with torment, or bliss? (Personally I think the latter would be fantastic, but with Trina’s ribs, I’m betting not. Or, I’d actually be annoyed if they did because hello bruised ribs. Nothing to mess around with. Pun intended.)
Bio: Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.
The best part is, no more therapy bills!
Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…
If you would like to learn more about Dee and her work, please visit her site or her blog.
Isn’t that excerpt just “!!!” Even while I was formatting, before I’d read it and just skimmed it my thoughts were “oh mah gahhh.” Which yes. Is the epitome of all those years of lit crit and academia. Alongside the fact that it’s the wee hours in the morning. (Hello 3 AM!) Enough of me – and look. A giveaway! Complete with a very simple “how to!”
Dee wanted me to add for her:
I’ll give away 2 copies of UL to a randomly drawn winner who answers the question: Could you resist the one you love, if you knew they were keeping secrets?