Tag Archives: Megan Hart

Birthday Girl Megan Hart! <3

Hello hello hello! As you see today is Megan Hart’s birthday! I love birthdays! And Megan Hart isn’t bad either. 😉 She’s a fabulous writer – and I’m so excited she’s visiting with us on her special day. Whoo! Everyone give Megan a warm welcome and remember to wish her the best birthday evaaaahhhhh! And in true awesome ALBTALBS guest and birthday form – Ms. Hart is giving you (well, one of you) a present on her birthday! How’s that for generosity and celebration?! 😀

Birthday, Birthday, Birthday

Megan Hart

Hey, everyone, hi! Today’s my birthday, and thank you so much to Limecello for hosting me here today. Let’s have some birthday cake and champagne and open presents!

What kind of presents, you ask? Well, though it’s my birthday and that’s usually when I get presents, I’m going to give something away! How about a copy of your choice of any of the five parts to my digital serial Every Part of You? You could start with part one if you haven’t yet read any, or pick up where you left off, your choice!

Every Part of You, a story told in five parts, is perfect for readers who like to tantalize themselves with anticipation and draw out the reading pleasure, OR readers who, with a little patience, prefer to wait until all the pieces are released and gobble them up at once!

My favorite part of writing the serial was getting to explore the stages of Simone and Elliott’s relationship, each within its own story. They meet, acknowledge their attraction, act on it, deny it and finally admit it! But it’s also no secret that I love both of these characters. Simone’s sassy and confident, a masochist who’s not a submissive. Elliott’s a grouch with a damaged past who can’t admit what he wants and likes until he realizes he can’t live with Simone. Together, they’re electric.

Every Part of You: Tempts MeShe likes to watch. He likes to keep hidden. Total opposites on a collision course to a relationship neither can deny.

Simone Kahan’s been watching Elliott Anderson through her office window for months. He likes to bring women back to his office for late-night trysts, and Simone enjoys her voyeurism until one night, Elliott appears to go too far with his date. The other woman might not be into spanking, but Simone is, and when she meets Elliott in the elevator later that night, she makes sure he’s intrigued enough by her to ask her to go with him to the party he no longer has a date for.

Thrown together by circumstances he’d never have imagined, Elliott isn’t sure what to think about Simone. She’s nothing like the women he normally dates, but something about her draws him in until he can’t stop himself from wanting her…until their goodnight kiss becomes something harder. Harsher.  Simone responds to his rough hands as no woman ever has, and Elliott’s not ready to pursue what he’s always told himself is wrong.

Every Part of You: Resists MeThe dance has begun. Simone’s ready to follow all her desires, but reluctant Elliott isn’t ready to take the lead.

After teasing Elliott into going dancing with her, Simone seduces him. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid of asking for it, and Elliott appears to be as eager as she is to see where their passion takes them. The sex is electric, but Elliott is taken aback by his response to her, and when Simone reveals her kink for pain to him, he’s unable to accept it and tells her he doesn’t want to see her again.
And then they’re both invited to the same party.

Every Part of You: Taunts MeElliott made a mistake in pushing Simone away, but is it too late for him to pull her close again?

Admitting to Simone that he really likes her is a big step for Elliott, but before they can move on with this new relationship, there are some things they need to get straight. Amused by his “guidelines,” Simone is willing to try to understand Elliott’s point of view, so long as he gives her what she wants, too. Everything seems to be moving along until a misunderstanding about Simone’s relationship with an ex lover forces them to face their real feelings for each other.


Every Part of You: Denies MePassion has bloomed to love, but when Elliott’s estranged father shows up back on the scene, he brings trouble with him.

The dating thing goes well at first, with both of them taking things slow…though their passion can’t be contained. But when Elliott’s stepmother tells him she’s been in touch with his father, Elliott’s past comes back to remind him that hurting other people is wrong. Despite Simone trying to tell him there’s a difference between the sort of things they do in the bedroom and hurting someone in anger, Elliott again puts up an emotional block and Simone seeks refuge in a former lover’s embrace.

Every Part of You: Takes MeTogether, they were on fire. Apart, they’re miserable. Can Simone and Elliott find their way back to each other?

Bereft after Elliott leaves her, Simone is urged to find solace in a non-emotional connection with a stranger that leaves her body fulfilled but her heart still empty. When Elliott learns she’s been with someone else, jealousy prompts him to make a move on her, but passion is no longer enough. He needs to open up to Simone, who’s not sure she can accept even his sincerest apology. A final run-in with his father convinces Elliott he has to make amends with Simone, no matter what it takes.

Excerpt: Every Part of You: Takes Me

The elevator stopped. The doors opened. Nobody got on, but the doors didn’t close. Neither of them moved, though Elliott itched to slam the close-door button again. He wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction.

Simone shifted as the elevator doors closed. She wore a completely work-appropriate dress of some dark blue material with a scoop neck and three-quarter sleeves. The fit was vintage and hit her just above the knees. She curled her fingers in the material, inching it higher without looking at him, her gaze focused on the floor indicator above the elevator door.

All at once, Elliott couldn’t breathe.

Higher, slowly, revealing the first teasing hint of the edge of her stockings. He hadn’t noticed her shoes before but saw them now. Pointed toes. Low heel. She pointed one toe, cocking a hip as she eased the fabric of her dress just high enough now to show him the flash of a garter and the pale flesh of her inner thigh. She kept her body angled so that anyone getting on the elevator wouldn’t see that she was showing him anything at all.

She shifted once again as the elevator stopped. The door opened to reveal nobody waiting to get on. Simone tugged her dress up enough to show him the dark bruises on the insides of her thighs, just before she let the hem fall back to just above her knees. The doors closed.

His throat dried. His cock throbbed, thickening. His fists clenched again, but he kept them at his sides. Someone else had left those marks on her, and he wanted to find whoever it was and make them wish they’d never touched her. He wanted to pound his fists into the wall and break it.

Mostly, Elliott wanted to get on his knees in front of her and beg her to look at him the way she used to.

The elevator opened on his floor. He got off, meaning to keep going without even looking at her, to make her a stranger the way she’d done to him, but at the last second, he couldn’t stop himself from turning. His hand slammed the door open, startling her. Her eyes went wide and she moved a few steps until she bumped into the back of the elevator, though she wasn’t scared. He knew her better than that. Her breath might’ve caught in her throat, but the pounding of her heart was from arousal, not fear.

“Simone,” Elliott said in a low, grinding voice. He hated himself for the desperation in it.

He hated her more for the way she lifted her chin, giving him her attention but making it very clear she wasn’t going to soften by so much as a blink. She said nothing. She simply waited for him to speak.

And Elliott, tongue-tied, unable to find the words and cursing himself for it, simply shook his head. The elevator doors bumped against his hand again. Soon the alarm would start to buzz , but he couldn’t move.

Simone licked her bottom lip. Slowly. Deliberately. Then she took her gaze from his and made herself very busy with her paper bag.

Elliott stepped out of the elevator and let the doors shut.


Want to win your choice of one of the five parts of Every Part of You? Comment here with your favorite birthday memory! Winner must be able to accept the prize via Amazon.com, Bn.com or iBookstore.

Megan Hart on the Best and the Worst of Tear You Apart

Hello my lovelies! We have the totally awesome Megan Hart visiting with us today! Her newest book Tear You Apart is receiving rave reviews. It’s not a romance though, which might help explain the post.

The Best and Worst…

With any book, there are good things. There are bad things.  Here are the best and worst bits of writing Tear  You Apart.

The Best –

The writing part of it was easy. The words flowed. I sat down, words came out. I didn’t have to fight for them. Writing this book was one of the first I’d written in a while that wasn’t to contract – I’d started it purely for my own sake, and then it got picked up by Mira, so I finished it under contract. But there was that glorious beginning with no deadline, no pressure. Just a story I wanted to tell. That was the best part.

The Worst –

The worst part of writing Tear You Apart was, hands-down, having to write it. I mean, sure the words came out like butter, but ouch, oh my God, how hard was it to FEEL them? This book is overflowing with teh feelz. It was overwhelming, actually. Living with these characters and what they were going through. Elisabeth might’ve felt like she was on a train, but I spent a lot of time on a roller coaster. It was one of the easiest books I’ve written in terms of effort, but definitely the hardest in terms of being emotionally drained.

Megan also included an excerpt for us.

I’m on a train.

I don’t know which stop I got on at; I only know the train is going fast and the world outside becomes a blur. I should get off, but I don’t. The universe is playing a cosmic joke on me. Here I had my life-a good life with everything a woman could want-and suddenly, there is something more I didn’t know I could have. A chance for me to be satisfied and content and maybe even on occasion deliriously, amazingly, exuberantly happy.

So this is where I am, on a train that’s out of control, and I am not just a passenger. I’m the one shoveling the furnace full of coal to keep it going fast and faster.

If I could make myself believe it all happened by chance and I couldn’t help it, that I’ve been swept away, that it’s not my fault, that it’s fate…would that be easier? The truth is, I didn’t know I was looking for this until I found Will, but I must’ve been, all this time. And now it is not random, it is not fate, it is not being swept away.

This is my choice. And I don’t know how to stop.

Or even if I want to.

Late night, Will texts me when I’m asleep. I see I have a message when I get up to use the bathroom. I think about not answering it, but two a.m. is still the worst time to miss someone. I go downstairs and thumb his number across the keypad. He sounds tired when he answers, but I know he wasn’t sleeping.

“I want you to be here, right now,” Will says without even saying hello. “And you’re not.”

“No. I’m not.” I don’t say I wish I was there, too. There doesn’t seem to be much point. I’m not there. I could be there, if he’d given me the chance to make it happen, but even if I was there now, it wouldn’t be enough.


I curl into a ball on the lumpy recliner we relegated to the basement when we refinished the den upstairs. The girls used this room for their sleepovers and parties and, let’s face it, their boyfriends. It’s damp down here, and chilly, even during the summer. The blanket I pull over myself has cartoon princesses on it and smells a little of the dog we used to have.

“Where are you?” Will asks.

“At home.”

“Are you alone?”

“No,” I say again, “I’m not.”

“What does he think when you get out of bed in the middle of the night to talk to me?” I hear the click of his lighter, the hiss of his breath.

“He doesn’t notice.”

“How can he not fucking notice?” Will says, angry. “What are you going to do when he does? What would you tell him if he said, who the hell are you talking to at two in the morning?”

I’ve thought about that, of course. What I’d say. What I should say or do, but haven’t and probably won’t. “I don’t know.”

“Well, maybe you should fucking think about it!”

I’m at the disadvantage, because I can’t yell. I have to swallow my words, make them soft, though they’re nothing close to sweet. “What do you want me to say? If you don’t think I should be talking to you in the middle of the night, maybe you shouldn’t fucking text me!”

“You don’t have to answer!”

“No,” I tell him, soft and slow and low and bitter and angry. “I guess I don’t.”

More silence. I’m curled so tight against myself that everything aches, but I can’t force myself to shift and make myself comfortable. I want to hurt.

“But I always do,” I say eventually, when he doesn’t say anything.

“You shouldn’t.”

“Is that what you want, Will?” I’m weary of this. All of it. Even the brightest fires leave nothing but ash behind. “Because if that’s what you want, I can make that happen.”

“I just want you to be here with me. Now. That’s what I want.”

“Well. I’m not,” I snap. “I don’t like it either, but unless something changes, that’s how it is.”

Will’s voice is raspy. “Is something ever going to change, Elisabeth?”

Even in the damp chill of the basement, I’m suddenly flushed. Not with passion, but a sick sort of anticipation. I have to think very carefully about what to say, how to say it.

“Are you asking me to leave my husband?”


I’m angrier now than I was before. “If you have something to say to me, if you want something from me…”

“I don’t.”

I am tired, I am depressed, I am sad and lost and on the edge of a cliff I don’t want to jump off but might just have to. And though I know better than to poke the monkey because when you do, it flings poo, I poke anyway. Hard.

“A month from Friday, I’m going to be with Naveen, some buying thing. I’ll be out overnight here in Philly. Come meet me.”

“I don’t think I can.”

Of course he can. Even with his kid, his responsibilities, Will spends most of his time alone, and there’s plenty of time for him to rearrange whatever schedule he has to accommodate an overnighter out of town. Every time we’ve been together, it’s been me making the effort, me taking a trip into the city, arranging my schedule.

“You make things important. Or you don’t. I can see you in a month. Overnight. I can’t be there now, but I can be with you —”

“Sorry,” Will says in a cold, neutral tone that’s not sorry at all, not one bit. “It’s not going to work.”

He’s right, of course. What about this could possibly work? Me and him, nothing alike, the only thing we have in common is how good it feels to fuck each other until we are raw and hobbling. There’s nothing to us aside from…


Aside from everything.

I swallow and swallow again, all the anger, the disappointment, the tears. Sharp as razors, that’s what those words are against the tenderness of my throat, but I keep my voice as unemotional as his. “Fine. Whatever. I can’t make you do anything. You do what you want to do. In four weeks, I’ll be with Naveen at some stupid swanky club in downtown Philly, authorizing him to spend money he doesn’t have on stuff to impress some woman he thinks he’s in love with. You can be there, or not. I won’t ask again.”

“What about between now and then?”

“Every day,” I tell him, “you will either miss me a little less, or a little more. Until one day you will wake up and realize you don’t miss me at all, or you will find yourself incapable of living without me.”

“And then what,” Will says. “Then what?”

“Then,” I say just before I disconnect, “come find me.”


One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Tear You Apart. And reading it might just tear you apart. (You see what I did there? I can’t say for sure though because I want to read it but I’m scared – I need happy these days. But oh, Megan’s writing is so damn good.) If this taste wasn’t enough for you you can read another excerpt on Megan’s site.

So what do you think? Are you hooked? Do you read non romances? Is it all about the emotion for you? (Oh and you can also find Megan on Facebook and twitter.)

*ETA: The giveaway is open internationally!

Exclusive Excerpt and a Giveaway of Stranger from Megan Hart

Today we have the lovely and talented Megan Hart visiting with us. I was thrilled when she contacted me about giving away a copy of her novel Stranger with a shiny new cover! I loved Stranger. In fact, I gave it an “A” when I reviewed it. (And now I want to re-read it…)

If you haven’t read it yet, here’s your chance. Megan also included and exclusive excerpt for ALBTALBS readers! Whee!

I pay strangers to sleep with me. I have my reasons…but they’re not the ones you’d expect.
For starters, I’m a funeral director taking over my dad’s business. Not exactly the kind of person you’d expect to fork over cash for the intimacy and urgency only skin-to-skin contact can create. Looking at me, you wouldn’t have a clue I carry this little secret so close it creases up like the folds of a fan. Tight. Personal. Ready to unravel in the heat of the moment.

Unsurprisingly, my line of work brings me face-to-face with loss. So I decided long ago that paying for sex would be one of the best (and most arousing) ways to save myself from the one thing that would eventually cut far too deep.

But Sam was a mistake. Literally. I signed on to “pick up” a stranger at a bar, but took Sam home instead. And now that I’ve felt his heat, his sweat and everything else, can I really go back to impersonal?

Let’s just hope he never finds out about my other life….

    The knock on the door didn’t startle me, but I pretended to be surprised when I opened it, anyway. “I didn’t order a pizza.”

    The man standing outside the door wore a blue shirt and matching ball cap, and the box in his hand undoubtedly held a pizza. “Are you sure?”

    “I’m sure. I think I’d know if I ordered a pizza or not.”

    He frowned and made a show of looking at the front of the door. “This is the room they told me. Are you sure?”

    I put my hands on my hips, bunching the silk of my nightgown. “Yes! I’m sure!”

    The pizza boy looked confused, then annoyed. “Look, this is the third prank pizza delivery I’ve had to put up with this week, and I’m getting pretty tired of it.”

    “Are you saying I prank ordered?”

    He pushed forward, pizza in hand, and set it on the table. “Someone in this room ordered a pizza. You’re the only one here.”

    My heart thumped. He looked really angry. I looked at the door, ajar behind him, and he turned to look at it, too. But then he closed it with a swift shove and faced me again.

    “Pay up.”

    “But I don’t have any money!” I protested.

    I stepped back. He moved forward. Beneath his unbuttoned blue shirt he wore a white t-shirt that clung to him like a second skin. Beneath the ball cap’s brim his eyes flashed, brilliant blue. His hair was hard to see but I knew it was dark. His gaze raked me up and down, taking in my black silk nightgown and the glisten of glittery powder across the top swell of my breasts.

    “Then I guess we’ll have to think of something else.” His mouth tilted, half up and half down, and his voice dipped low.

    “If you think –” I started, intending but unable to sound angry. My voice shook, just a little, and I had to stop to swallow against my dry throat.

    “Turn around. Put your hands on the table.”

    I did, one on each side of the pizza box, still warm and smelling of cheese and sauce. I didn’t dare turn, not even to glance over my shoulder. I closed my eyes so I didn’t have to watch my fingers clutch against the sleek laminate of the hotel table, and I waited, every muscle tense and atremble, for him to touch me.

    He didn’t. Not as soon as I’d thought he would, and the waiting became torture. I felt the heat of his body behind me and caught a whiff of something more delicious than cheese and sauce. I heard the rattle and hum of him pulling down his zipper, then the shush of the material sliding over his thighs. I shifted my weight, leaning forward and moving my feet farther apart. The silk rode higher on my bare thighs. And still he didn’t touch me.

    The sound of our breathing mingled and grew loud in the silence. I counted seconds like drops of rain on a roof, a steady rising pattern of them. My fingers ached from their grip upon the slick surface, and I relaxed them. I opened my eyes. Started to turn, a question hovering in my mouth.

    Then, he touched me.

    His hands lightly clasped my ankles and slid up the backs of my calves, then my thighs, both at the same time and in one, swift motion that left me gasping. His hands slid up, over my ass. He cupped my flesh briefly, and in the next moment the whisper of his breath moved over all the places his hands had just touched.

    Oh, god. He was on his knees behind me.

    He tasted the invisible trail his hands had left, mapping the path of his touch with his tongue. He paused to lick the back of my knee, then moved to bite the back of the other. If the table had not been so stubbornly slick my fingernails would surely have gouged out runners in the surface, so fiercely did I clutch it. I opened my mouth but immediately bit back the cry as his mouth shifted higher. His tongue flicked the underside of my buttocks, a place nobody had ever kissed, much less licked. It was a good thing the table was in front of me, because his caress had buckled my knees. His tongue slid higher, along the seam of my ass. When it reached the bottom of my spine, that magic, secret spot that made me writhe, I couldn’t have held back the cry if I’d tried.

    Pain sizzled in my lower lip; I’d bitten it. My hair fell down over my face, and I closed my eyes again. I didn’t want to be staring at a pizza box when this happened to me.

    His hand moved between my legs as his mouth moved upward along the line of my spine. His fingers found my clit at the same time his teeth found my shoulder, and at the twin bursts of pleasure rocketing through me, I cried out again.

    The softness of his t-shirt brushed my back as he leaned in and the hard, small chill of his buttons pressed my hip. His fingers played upon my clit a moment more, not long enough, but when he withdrew to use that same hand to push my legs wider apart I could make no protest. I licked away the salty heat of blood from my lip.

    His hand found my heat again. His fingers traced the outline of my cunt and parted me, nudging inside just enough to make me tremble again. The chuff of his breath blew hot on my shoulder, left damp from his mouth. His other hand anchored my hip and held me still. I waited again, tense, for him to replace his fingers with the thickness of his cock.

    I felt him all over my back. His mouth again found the flesh left bare around the thin straps of my nightgown, and he fastened his lips there with the hard promise of his teeth beneath. The silk of my gown crumpled in his fist and fluttered around my hips.

    His hand replaced his mouth on my shoulder, and he pushed me forward. I bent and my hands jittered across the tabletop. I opened my eyes to see the pizza box teeter on the edge, then tumble off. The hand on my hip now guided his cock between my legs.

    He found my entrance with unerring efficiency but took his damned sweet time pushing inside me. He twisted a little, thrust a little, eased out and then in again while his hands kept me from moving.

    His low moan moved across the back of my neck as physically as if he’d used his hand to touch me there. For one endless moment we didn’t move, both of us still like a frozen river; solid and unmoving on the top and rushing, rushing underneath.

    “Please,” I said, then, in a voice so small and faint with pleasure I wasn’t sure he’d hear me.

    The first real pull and push caught me unaware even though I’d anticipated it, nearly begged for it, even. He did it all at once, nothing like the cautious way he’d pushed inside me, but fast. Hard. And harder, then, with the second. Hard enough to move me forward on the table, hard enough to move the frigging table itself.

    His hand returned to my shoulder. His thumb pressed the place that on angels sprouted wings, but there were no angels here. His fingers gripped me as he pounded inside me in the smooth rhythm he set all on his own without effort from me. I wanted to push back against him, or to lean forward and lift my ass so he could drive into me deeper, but his hands anchored me. Kept me still, no matter how I tried to writhe. His cock slid inside and against me, hitting spots unused to such attention.

    I was caught between pleasure and pain, feeling too good to protest though I wondered if I’d regret it later. Rough sex had a price, but at the moment I was too wildly turned on to care. Every thrust, each pinch of his fingertips on my flesh, sent me soaring closer and closer to the orgasm I craved.

    My mouth parted and a low moan seeped out. I closed my eyes again, wanting to get lost inside the sensations sweeping over me. The feeling of advance and retreat inside my body. The slap of our bodies against one another sounded louder with my eyes closed, and so did the harsh pant of his breathing. His low moan answering mine. Even the burble of voices from outside the hotel room sounded louder, and I gasped a small laugh at the passing conversation. They were talking about where to go for lunch while inside we were fucking like animals.

    I reached between my thighs and pressed my palm flat against my clitoris. I didn’t have to rub or stroke; his thrusts did that for me. I simply needed a little extra, just a little…

    “I want you to come.” This, said in the low, thick voice laced with desire, earned another whispering gasp from me. Something about the words, the way he said them, the command behind them, pumped my hips forward against my palm. His hand tightened on my shoulder. “Grace, I want you to come.”

    The sound of my name destroyed any final illusion I’d been trying to keep about him, but I didn’t care. He wanted me to come, but he didn’t say he expected me to answer. I wasn’t sure I could form words. I let my body reply, instead, as my cunt bore down on his cock and I spiraled into ecstasy.

    Release. It was so good, so strong, so…necessary. So freeing. In that moment I could do nothing but feel. I could think of nothing but pleasure.

    I went up, up, and then floated down, sated, the table beneath my cheek still warm from the pizza box. Jack thrust a couple more times and finished with a grunting sigh. His hands relaxed, letting me go, and it wasn’t until he was no longer holding me that I really felt how hard he’d been gripping.

    For a few moments we stayed still. I moved first with a subtle shift of my hips, and Jack pulled out. I took a second longer to lean against the table we’d so abused, giving myself time to catch my breath and my legs to stop shaking. I turned to rest my butt against the table. The strap of my gown had fallen down my shoulder, so I pushed it back up, and I let the hem fall back down to my thighs. Jack had turned to take care of the condom, and when he turned back to me he was already tucked away and zipped closed.

    We stared at each other in silence.

    Then, the smile.

    “That,” Jack said, “was totally hot.”

So what’d you think? I do want to note, Stranger was originally published with the Harlequin Spice line, so it’s an erotic novel, not necessarily a romance. More that than an erotic novel. Have you ever read anything by Megan Hart before? If you haven’t, or if you want the look with it’s new cover, here’s your chance! Megan is giving away a copy today – open internationally!

Just for reference, you see I included the original cover. Which one do you like more? What do you think of the current trend of book covers especially for erotica and erotic romance?

(And p.s. – the kindle copy of the “old version of Stranger” is currently $5.99 – it’ll go up to $8.13 on 9/24 with the new cover. Just a thought.)

What’s your poison? Erotic romance? Erotica? Erotic fiction? Sweet? And what about the covers? Or, you can “just” tell Megan Hart she’s pretty. 😉

Teaser Tuesday: Pleasure and Purpose by Megan Hart

Megan Hart is here today sharing an exclusive excerpt of Pleasure and Purpose – a book I’ve read multiple times and enjoyed. It definitely took me back to the days I read fantasy books. (P.S.? The print version is only $1.49 damn – it’s now $1.51, but uh, I think you can afford those 2 cents it went up since I wrote this. Totally worth it- right now. No joke. You should get it.)

Introducing the women of the Order of Solace

The handmaidens of the Order of Solace are each named for the exquisite service that best reflects their true calling. Their greatest delight is giving pleasure–devoted as they are to fulfilling the desires of the mind, the needs of the soul, and the cravings of the body.

Meet Stillness, called upon to soothe the conscience of a man in need of redemption after a shocking act from his sexual past. Then there’s Honesty, whose vow of Solace is to a prince looking for a submissive handmaiden. Instead, he gets the unexpected. And finally, Determinata, a handmaiden confronted with a client lost in a haze of random sex and drugs. She has just the plan to literally whip her man into shape.

Mina looked good in black. It was not her favorite color – she preferred red. But black suited her just as nicely and was better, for many reasons, at portraying the image she wished to uphold. A Handmaiden in red might as well be a whore, as far as she was concerned, though it wouldn’t do for her to say so out loud. Someday she might wear red again, but not now.

Now she had a purpose, and black suited it. She smoothed her hands down the fine cloth of her traveling gown, admiring the severe cut. The high neck. The long sleeves. She’d had it made with buttons of black ironwood, faintly shining, and she admired them too as they ran from her throat to her hem. Not a thread out of place, not a line hanging uneven. Not even a hair dared uncurl from the braid into which she’d pulled it. It hung now over her shoulder and across her breast, and Mina flipped it back to hang straight and sure the way she stood.

A chair, its cushions looking soft, had been waiting when they showed her into this room, but she didn’t take it. Her trip had been long, the ride rough enough that standing felt good for a while. She smoothed her gown again and adjusted the sleeves.

Where were they, by the Void? To have sent for her and be told she’d arrived, yet do nothing to greet her? Intolerably rude. Mina sighed and but didn’t shift from foot to foot in her impatience. She kept herself still and stern though she wanted to pace. It had been long enough, waiting to be sent to a patron. The hours of the journey had been long enough, too. Why was she being kept waiting?

When at last the door opened, she’d already made several circuits of the room. She’d looked out the window. Perused the rather shabby and unimpressive collection of books on the shelves. This office was for show, not function, and it told her much about its owner, King Cillian. He didn’t spend much time in here, which led to an interesting string of thought about where he did his business, if not in an office.

“Your Majesty.” Mina greeted him with her stiffest curtsey, as was appropriate for a man of his stature. To the unknown man coming into the room on the king’s heels she made a slightly less formal gesture.

“Oh. They said you were in here, but I wasn’t expecting…” the king’s gaze swept her up and down, and he grinned slowly. He elbowed the man with him. “Edward. What say you?”

His companion gave her the same sweeping gaze. “Perfection.”

“No,” she said. “Determinata. Perfection was not assigned to this house.”

Neither man laughed and she sighed inwardly at the confused looks they gave one another. “Gentlemen. I am Determinata, most often called Mina. Or My Lady. Sometimes, should I decide it appropriate, Mistress.”

The materials she’d read had provided great detail about the man to whom she’d been assigned, but next to nothing about the men who’d done the acquiring. One a king, she knew that much. His friend a nobleman of some sort, clearly a long-time companion, and with something there beyond mere friendship. She watched them closely. The King of Firth was new to the throne and not much about him had come as gossip to the Motherhouse.

The one called Edward rallied first, making a half-bow and inclining his head. “My lady, I am Edward Delaw.”

“Cillian Derouth,” said the king without using his title. His gaze turned admiring. “By the Arrow, you will whip him into shape, won’t you?”

“By him I assume you mean my new patron? Alaric Dewan, yes? Your friend. I wonder, sirs,” she said casually to them both, “what sort of friends you are to send away for a Handmaiden when he is either incapable or uninterested in procuring one for himself.”

“Incapable,” said Edward.

“Uninterested,” Cillian added. “But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need one. He does. Desperately.”

The men shared another look she couldn’t interpret. Mina plucked a barely visible speck of dust from her skirts. “The Order must have agreed, else I wouldn’t be here. But I think I shall be the one to decide, ultimately, if he deserves one.”

Both of them stared at her with frank appreciation, but it was Cillian who spoke. “Of course.”

They took her to a set of rooms that would have been impressive if they didn’t reek of sour breath, darkness and intoxicants. Mina looked around the outer room, small but furnished with exquisite and expensive taste. She ran a finger over the fireplace mantel and brought it away coated with dust. Alaric Dewan, the son of a merchant farmer, had risen to favor as one of Cillian’s consorts before he became king. Yet the papers the Order had given her said her patron hadn’t held a position of any worth within the Court.

“Who pays for this?” She gestured at the furnishings, the books, the accoutrements of a gentlemen’s life.

Edward and Cillian shared another look, but Edward spoke. “Alaric doesn’t pay rent to live in the palace. He’s ever been Cillian’s friend.”

“Since school. I know. But who pays for the rest of it?” She lifted a pile of what might have been rags, though made of velvet and sateen. “These clothes are fine, as is the whiskey in that decanter over there on the window, if it indeed came from the bottle I spy beneath the chair there. These books are all fine-bound and read, real books, not for show. The furniture is well-crafted.”

“Alaric has an income from his father’s estate. I think much of the rest of this came from…gifts,” Cillian said.

“Love gifts.” That made sense. The room did have a definite, feminine touch to it. “A woman with exquisite taste, yes?”

Edward’s lip curled. “A woman, yes. Her taste is a matter of opinion.”

From the adjoining room came a rustle of fabric and a snorting groan. Edward and Cillian turned, but Mina moved between them and the door. “You can go.”

“We should introduce you,” Cillian said.

“I don’t think so.” Mina smiled at him to take the edge off her response. The man was a monarch, after all, and it didn’t do to be rude.

“But he’s not been himself,” protested Edward.

“I imagine he is more himself now than ever he has been, else you’d have no need of me.” She looked toward the half-open door but made no further move toward it.

Cillian also looked toward the door. “He’s not been well, is what my friend meant. But you will help him, won’t you? He’s sore in need of solace.”

“He wouldn’t be the first. I know what I’m doing. You can go.”

Again from within the other chamber came a groan. Mina wrinkled her nose. Whatever aid her patron’s friends had provided, it hadn’t been the sort she intended to give.

“Edward,” said Cillian after a bare half-moment. “She’s right. Let’s go.”

Edward didn’t protest again. He shot a glance through the door but nodded and sketched another bow in her direction. “We shouldn’t doubt you, my lady. Your mercy.”

Mina regarded them both calmly, her mind already working on the puzzle of her as-yet-unseen patron. Much to learn and more to do. She smiled at them both.

“Sometimes,” she said, “they call me that, too.”

When they’d gone, Mina looked once more around the room. It would have been easy even for an untrained eye to see despite that the luxury, there could be no solace found here. Once it might have been a room of relaxation and peace, but someone – her patron, no doubt – had done his level best to turn on its head anything that might remotely provide comfort.

She knew how that felt.

However, his past was her problem only in how it related to his present; his future was her concern. Her duty was to give this man solace, whether for but a moment or something rather more, something upon which he could build a lifetime. She never knew in advance which she could provide, but there was no doubt in her mind she would satisfy them both during her stay here.

Rummaging in the desk pushed haphazardly kitty-corner by the window, she found a box of fine writing paper. Another search of the drawers turned up an inkwell and pen of carved wood, the nib showing no signs of even normal wear. Not a writer, then. Well, she didn’t require poems or love letters, and she would be the one making the lists, not him.

Mina straightened the desk until it sat squarely in front of the window, then pulled the high-backed chair from in front of the fireplace and set it behind the desk. There wasn’t much else to tidy there. Alaric Dewan had been a man of much leisure from what his papers told her. A few receipts, a bundle of letters in a masculine hand and tied with a piece of twine. No accounting books or ledgers, nothing to indicate he’d done much work. At least not the sort most fancy gentlemen of her acquaintance had ever done, the sort that required much conversation and very little physical effort.

Mina believed strongly in the benefits of physical effort.

When the desk had been sufficiently tidied enough to suit her, and her lists had been written, she stood and brushed off her hands. She tugged the bell-pull and waited an entirely inappropriate length of time for the plump-cheeked maid to knock on the door. The girl looked around the room with wide eyes and didn’t bother with even a curtsey.

Mina didn’t waste her time or breath correcting the chit. It wasn’t her job to train other people’s staff. Instead, she spoke slowly and clearly so as not to be misunderstood. “I need a pot of cocao along with a basket of yesterday’s bread. If you haven’t any from yesterday, fresh will do but make sure it’s crusty. I need a pitcher of milk, as well, and the things on this list.”

The girl took it and made to read it, but then shook her head. “I don’t know what this says, Miss.”

Oh, by the Arrow, what sort of place was this? “Take it to your chatelaine, girl. Bring me what I asked for before the five chime.”

The girl goggled, eyeing Mina’s long, dark gown. If she had any idea at all about Mina’s function here, it didn’t show. “Yes…yes’m. Will you be needing anything else? Lord Dewan hasn’t had anyone into his rooms in a right long time. They could use a good cleaning.”

“They could, indeed, but we won’t need anyone for it. Thank you.”

The girl looked around the room again and opened her mouth as though she meant to speak, but a look from Mina stopped her. “All right, then, Miss.”

When the girl had gone, Mina took one last look around the room before slipping through the doorway into the bedchamber. Dark curtains blocked the light. A lump huddled in the center of the bed, not even covered by the blankets that had been tossed into a heap on the floor. The room stank, not the worst reek she’d ever encountered, but one strong enough to assault not only her nose but her sense of propriety.

The first thing she did was go to the window and let in the light. It showed the disorder in greater detail as well as illuminating the lumpen figure on the bed, and Mina’s lip curled. Disgusting, that a man should allow himself to sink so low, and because of what? Love?

He didn’t move. She hadn’t expected him to. The low, irregular in-out of his breath told her he wasn’t even conscious. It would take more than light to rouse him.

She went back through the study and to the attached bathing chamber where she filled a pitcher with water. She studied him for a moment or so with it in her hands. Would he scream? Thrash about? Or would she have to rouse him more thoroughly?

A small smile stole across her lips at the thought.

“Wake up,” Mina said, and tossed the contents of the pitcher on Alaric’s head.

He muttered, arms and legs swimming against the bed’s dirty bottom sheet, but he didn’t get up. His eyes fluttered and closed again, his mouth lax. The water spread in a darkening stain on the sheet.

Mina put the pitcher carefully on a side table. She walked just as carefully to the side of the bed, leaned over and studied him. Alaric Dewan, beneath the dirt and despair, was a handsome man, but if he’d had a troll’s features it wouldn’t have mattered. What caught her breath would not be the shape of his mouth or breadth of his shoulders but something rather less tangible. Something…subtle. And as always the first time she met a patron, Mina wondered if he would have that silent, subtle something she craved.


She took his earlobe between her thumb and finger, the nails pressing into the tender flesh, and squeezed. Hard. Alaric squirmed under the sudden pain. His eyes opened wide. They were blue, she noted without releasing his ear. A lovely, pale blue. He struggled, but was no more able to get away from her grasp than if she’d had him bound with ropes.

She pulled.

He moved.

You can read another excerpt of the book here. Megan has also very generously offered up a prize! The winner’s choice of Pleasure and Purpose or Virtue and Vice! So – tell us. What’d you think? Does this interest you? Do you like alternative universes? Ever read fantasy?

Guest: Megan Hart

Really quickly: We have Megan Hart guesting with us today! Some of the links might not be working because a bunch of author sites were hacked into recently and there’s still some fall out. Thanks for understanding!

Writing Reality

Hello! First of all, thanks to the lovely Limecello for having me as her guest here today. *Waves*

I’ve been thinking lately about reality versus fiction. There’s this idea that writers, especially (or so it seems) of erotic fiction, must somehow live or do or experience what they write about. I think in the case of erotic work, readers assume that the author has, at some point, had some sort of sex, whereas maybe readers don’t assume a mystery or thriller writer has actually murdered someone. But why the automatic assumption that what we write about is…well…true?

It is, fiction, after all. What I write, anyway. I make stuff up. I tell lies for a living. I spin fantasies. Sometimes they’re erotic, sometimes they’re less so; sometimes they’re not sexy at all. It’s all still fiction.

But that doesn’t mean I also don’t use a lot of reality in my writing. Reality finds its way into my work via the small details — the flavor of coffee the character is drinking, the view from her window, the television program or song currently her favorite…often these are things I glean from my life. Not always my own preferences, mind you, but maybe those of someone I know. The color of a shirt, a pair of boots, a phrase, a joke overheard in the supermarket — these small bits and pieces are what thread my stories together and anchor them in reality. By using what I see around me, in my real life, I try to weave a fictional world that feels authentic.

Yet this doesn’t mean everything I write is real, that I’ve experienced it. And it doesn’t mean that just because a character thinks or feels or acts in a certain way that I feel that way, or act that way, or even condone that sort of thing (whatever it might be.) There IS a difference between me and my work, something that it feels like readers sometimes forget. And of course, I can’t speak for every writer. For all I know, there are writers out there who only write about things they’ve actually done or think or feel or experience or believe.

But that’s not me.

So yes, you will find my stories littered with a little bit of this, a little bit of that, tiny pieces of what’s going on around me at the time I’m writing the scene. If you know me, you might pick out some of those things, which are sometimes deliberate “inside” references and sometimes not. I try as hard as a I can when telling my lies to make sure they all sound as real as they can…
But in the end, it’s all still fiction.

Thanks for reading!

available now from MIRA

In the midst of a chaotic midnight assembly, Sunshine is forced out into the darkness. Holding a scrap of paper scrawled with a stranger’s name and address, Sunny grasps the hands of her three small children and begins her escape.

Liesel Albright has dreamed of starting a family. She never bargained on inheriting one already in progress…or one so deeply damaged. When nineteen-year-old Sunshine appears on the Albright’s doorstep claiming Liesel’s husband Chris is her father, all they can think to offer is temporary shelter. The next day, they’re stunned by the news that the Family of Superior Bliss, led by a charismatic zealot, has committed mass suicide. Sunny and her children haven’t just left the compound–they’ve been left behind.

Now, instead of a baby of her own, Liesel must play mother to the four survivors while Chris retreats into guilt and denial. For Sunny, however, a lifetime of teachings is not easily unlearned. No matter how hard she tries to forget, an ominous catechism echoes in her mind, urging her to finish what the Family started.

You can read more about All Fall Down here, or find Megan on twitter or facebook as well.

Comment below to win a copy of All Fall Down!

So… I have to admit I actually haven’t had a chance to read this book yet. I do, however, plan to give away a copy in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that. (And yes, I mean one other than today’s giveaway.) I did read Wendy the Super Librarian’s review – and I know I’ll be hitting this book at some point. I’m also just going to let Wendy talk about it because she says everything so much better than I ever could hope to.

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Megan Hart

Well it’s the first Tuesday of the month again! Let’s welcome October by welcoming Ms. Megan Hart to the blog! (It’s fitting because she’s got this new zombie serial out as well – you should check it out!) She chose to do an author interview. [Not?] Surprisingly, she’s not that chatty. Very succinct – which works for her often gritty writing.

So without further ado, the questions! Oh, but today? I barged my way in and added commentary. Guess I’m feeling especially bratty. :X Sorry for muscling in on your interview, Ms. Hart!

Did you play sports as a kid? If you could be a professional athlete of any sport, what would it be? BWAHAHAHA! SPORTS! OH, hahahahhahaaha. *wipes tear* No. No sports. Of any kind.

Putting your writing/author skills to the test… 😉 how does one  “drop it like it’s hot”? Can you do that move?I believe one drops it like it’s hot by squatting suddenly on the dance floor without falling over, then getting back up in a smooth, graceful move. Um. Can I do it? I can try… (I’m just impressed someone finally knows what “drop it like it’s hot” is. For all that it’s such a common phrase, so few people know!)

Would you rather be a unicorn, fairy, or a pirate? PIRATE! (I’m realizing I forgot to add the all important why here…)

What’s your favorite vegetable? Least favorite? How do you like it prepared? Hmm. Broccoli is my favorite, in any preparation. Lima beans would be my least favorite, especially in succotash. Succotash is the devil’s concoction.

If you ever had to teach middle school, which subject would you choose to teach? Why? If I ever had to teach middle school, I believe I would jump off a cliff.

How’d you come up with your author name? And “tagline’? My parents gave me my name. The tagline, “read in bed” just sort of happened, I wish I could tell you exactly how. But anything I said would be a lie, since I don’t remember.

What was your favorite book as a child? I loved Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, all the Wizard of Oz stories. Anne of Green Gables. (I’ve never heard of Trixie Belden! But I love all the rest. Love.)

Do you eat marshmallows straight out of the bag, hold them at the edge of the fire till they’re lightly golden brown, or torch ‘em till they’re black and crackly on the outside? I do eat them out of the bag but really like them toasted golden brown!

What would you put in your ideal candy bar? Peanut butter, chocolate and something crunchy. Maybe caramel too.

What tv show do you wish was still on the air? Or alternatively, what’s your favorite tv show ever? Hmmm. My favorite TV show ever, of all time, would have to be Supernatural. As for shows I wish were still on the air, I just can’t think of any…maybe the X Files, if it hadn’t started to suck so bad at the end.

What is the super power you would most like to have? And least like to have? I’d like to be able to snap my fingers like Mary Poppins and have everything clean itself. I think I wouldn’t like to be able to read minds, that would be terrible. (I agree on the mind reading. It’s not very useful without being able to control the person – all moral/ethics issues aside – and could be so hurtful.)

What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? Will you you still drink it now? What’s your current favorite? Type and/or mixed? The very first alcohol I ever tried to drink was sloe gin. I don’t even know if that’s a real thing, so no, I wouldn’t drink it now. I don’t drink very much, but I like margaritas and whiskey. (Not at the same time.) Jameson is my preferred whiskey though I was thinking of branching out and giving something else a try.

Would you rather live and deal with dinosaurs, or ice age animals? Hmm. Dinosaurs, at least it would be warm.

What would be the ultimate animal? You can use any creature real or mythical, and combine up to five. Oh, lord. I suppose a sharktopusgatorantula would be horrific. (I’d like to see a picture of that please… ;))

I’m *pretty* sure Superman is your favorite super hero. So why him over Wolverine, or Batman, Green Lantern, Iron Man, etc? And who do you most prefer as an actor depiction/in film? Hmm. I like Batman too. But Superman’s just such a nice, good guy. I like both the Christopher Reeve version as well as Brandon Routh’s.

Megan is giving away a copy of Virtue and Vice and whatever promo goodies she has at the moment. Good deal, yeah? So – here’s how you enter: comment and ask Megan any question you want. As wacky or as serious as you like. Or, answer one of the questions I asked her. Or try your hand at drawing a sharktopusgatorantula.

The winner will be drawn on Saturday, so get chatty!