Thursday Threads – Highland Deception

This week on Thursday Threads we feature Meggan Connors and her fun historical romance, Highland Deception:

Highland Deception

Title: Highland Deception
Heat Rating: Sensual
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3D2JS6/

Blurb:
When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she’d long since given up hope on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if there were family. Who, for the first time, cares about her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

Excerpt:

She ignored Grant’s angry protests behind her and ran for her husband’s bedchamber. Slamming open the door, she stumbled inside.

Malcolm lay in the great bed. Alone.

Alone. She tried not to speculate about what meant.

His breathing was shallow, as if he’d been running. As the door bounced back and closed, his sky-bright eyes shot up and met hers.

No, not sky-bright. Darker, the color of the forget-me-nots that bloomed in the gardens in spring. The color of the night sky as it lightened with the first rays of dawn.

“Milord.” She gasped for breath.

Malcolm had never looked at her like he did now. This time, when he studied her, it was as if he didn’t dislike what he saw.

Being honest with herself, Malcolm had never disliked her. After all, the term dislike implied a depth of feeling he almost certainly lacked.

“Wife.”

Isobel flinched.

Grant was suddenly at her back. “Sir, I apologize. She’s faster than you’d think.” He laid a hand on her shoulder, as if to steer her from the room.

She shook him off.

“Indeed.” Malcolm smiled, and a charming dent in his cheek appeared.

How had she not noticed that before?

“We will leave at once.” Grant took her by the arm.

She wrenched out of his grasp. “I’m not going anywhere. Not until I have my audience.” She glanced around the room and saw no sign of Malcolm’s mistress.

“Lady Mackay,” Grant began.

Malcolm held up his hand. “‘Tis fine, Grant. I can always make time for my lady wife.”

Isobel barked a hollow laugh, alleviating the ache, just a little.

“Are you certain?” Grant’s eyes shifted from Isobel to Malcolm and back again. A wrinkle formed between his brows, and the muscle in his cheek worked as he ground his teeth together.

He’d only ever done that when he was agitated or anxious.

But there was no reason for that, as Malcolm had never truly cared enough to keep secrets from her in an attempt to spare her feelings. Nor had he ever forced others to do the same.

Malcolm’s eyes met Grant’s, and something passed between the two men. Her husband gave Grant a clipped nod. “If you’ll excuse us, Grant.”

Grant released his breath slowly. His eyes narrowed first at Malcolm, then at Isobel. Scowling, he bowed his head. “Mackay,” he said stiffly. He turned to Isobel. “Lady Mackay.”

Isobel watched him go then waited until the door had closed behind him. “So, where is she?”

Malcolm arched a dark brow. “Where is who?”

“You know. Her.”

He lifted a single shoulder, as if she didn’t have a right to know. “I doona ken.”

The silence that fell between them was deafening, damning.

Finally he said, “Your arrival was unexpected.”

She breathed a mirthless laugh. “I have no doubt.” She expected him to look ashamed, but his expression didn’t hold even the slightest hint of remorse. She swallowed against the betrayal rising in the back of her throat and tried again. “Why are you abed?”

“I’ve been ailing. Naught to fash yourself over.”

She approached his great bed tentatively. “Ailing how? Has your cough worsened?”

He glanced down at his coverlet and then brought his gaze back to her face. “For a time, aye. I believe I’m on the mend now.”

Isobel pressed her hand to his forehead, then his cheek. His skin felt cool beneath her palm, if a little damp.

His breath hitched, then he cleared his throat. “Satisfied? As you can see, I am on the mend.”

“Perhaps,” she whispered. She ran her hand around to the back of his neck, then descended to his back.

He wore a thin linen shirt, unsuitable for the cool nights of the Highlands in late fall. She placed her hands between his shoulder blades. He was thinner than she remembered, but there was no mistaking Malcolm’s unique strength.

“Breathe,” she said, and then reminded herself to do the same.
Malcolm.

“I hardly think—”

“If you want me to leave you be, you will appease my curiosity. Breathe.”

Malcolm tilted his head up and studied her.

She fought the desire to look at him for as long as she could before meeting his gaze. Her heart skipped a beat as she saw something in his eyes she hadn’t seen before.

Curiosity.

“Breathe, milord.” Heat spread up her neck to her face, and, to keep her free hand from shaking, she clenched a fist. The warmth of his body seeped through his nightshirt, scalding her hand not with fever but with something else.

The corners of his lips tilted upward before he smoothed his features. He paused for a moment too long, then held her gaze as he took an extended, deliberate breath.

She shoved the raging emotions aside and forced herself to view him as a person who needed her help.

She felt no hint of the cough that had been nagging him before she’d left.

Swallowing hard, she slid her hand between the linen and his skin, against his chest.

His heart rate kicked up.

“Breathe.” She struggled to force the word out.

I feel nothing. Nothing. He needs my help.

She closed her eyes and listened to his breathing, feeling the rise and fall of his chest beneath her hands, the steady beating of his heart. His skin scorched hers.

Her mouth dried, her tongue thick and heavy. She removed her hand. “You seem to have mended nicely.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded strangled.

His gaze searched her face. “Aye.”

Isobel cradled her hand against her chest and stepped back from the bed, nearly tripping over her own feet. “I will leave you now, sir.”

Malcolm gave her a clipped nod. “Very well, my lady wife.”

“I—I will be in my chambers should you require me.”

He didn’t laugh, as he normally would have. “Then I shall find you there if I do. Or I will send for you.”

She backed up a few paces, bumped into a trunk, and immediately turned her attention to her skirt, trying to smooth wrinkles undoubtedly permanent from long days of travel. It was better than looking at Malcolm.

“By your leave.” Her eyes locked on the floor as she dipped into a hasty curtsy and fled.

The moment the door closed behind her, she put her back against the cold, stone wall, cradling the hand that had touched him as if she had injured it.

She’d touched his skin, felt the heat of his body, and the responding heat of hers.

He hadn’t forced her hands away. He hadn’t mocked her.

Instead, for the first time since their marriage, he’d called her wife.

***

Meggan Connors

Meggan Connors
http://www.megganconnors.com

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Hawk Vision

Today I’m turning over my blog to my friends C. D. (Catherine and Donald) Hersh. Take it away guys:

Steve,
Thanks for letting us share some background on one of our character’s special skills.

When most readers hear the word “paranormal” along with the term “shape-shifter” they immediately think werewolves. While the shape-shifters in our books could be a wolf, more often than not they have other animal forms. The Keeper of the Stone, Eli, tells another character, “Our animal egos can be anything, even a titmouse, although ’tis nae an animal most would want.”

Readers might wonder why we chose to step outside the bounds of “normal shape-shifting” characters. It’s because we thought that other creatures in the animal kingdom had interesting abilities that could contribute something special to our stories.

In Son of the Moonless Night a hawk shifter plays a special part in the story. Why a hawk you ask? Here are a few things about the hawk that caught our attention and worked very well with the skill sets of our shifters.

In our shifter world, shape shifters can sense each other from thirty feet away. To make our hawk shifter special, we gave him a larger sensing range than the normal shape shifter. It follows then, that his animal ego would have enhanced visual/ sensing range.

Normal human beings have 20/20 vision. When standing 20 feet away from something you see it as if you are 20 feet away. Hawks, however, have 20/2 vision. When 20 feet away, they see an object as if it was 2 feet away. They could read a book from twenty feet. A hawk for example can see a hare or mouse from a mile away.

This makes it very easy for our hawk shifter to soar in the air and see the bigger picture when he is hunting for rogue shifters. Also, normal bystanders would think nothing of seeing a hawk in the air, but a wolf in the city would cause alarm. Additionally, there is something majestic about a hawk compared to a wolf. We do have some of the canis lupus family creatures in our books, as well as felines. To date, however, we have not created a titmouse. But we still have three stories to go, so who knows.

Do you have a favorite animal with special abilities that you’d like to see in a book as a shifter? Let us know, and maybe we can work your animal into one of the remaining books.

SON OF THE MOONLESS NIGHT_805x1275

Title – Son of the Moonless Night, The Turning Stone Chronicles, book three
Author – C.D. Hersh
Genre – Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense Romance
Heat Level – Sensual
Release Date: May 27th, 2015

HOOK
Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.

BLURB
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

Excerpt:
A crash in the alley stopped Katrina Romanovski mid-stride. Like the October mist swirling in off the lake, her gypsy blood stirred sending her intuition into high gear. Something unnatural was happening.

Go see what’s wrong. She heard her father’s voice as clearly as if he stood next to her.

On the heels of his words came her mother’s pragmatic warning in clipped British tones. You know what curiosity killed. Katrina pushed the ever-present warning aside. Mom never approved of Dad’s supernatural hunts and even less of his drawing her into them.

Pulling the oversized cross she always wore out from under her shirt, Kat looked around for a weapon. Please, not a vampire. I hate vampires! A piece of wood sticking out of the trashcan at the front of the alley caught her eye.

Grabbing it, she broke the end off into a sharp point. The mist-filled air filtered the light from the single bulb over one of the alley doorways. The wind swirled the loose trash around making a quiet approach difficult. Sidestepping the paper, with the stake in one hand and holding the gun she took from her purse in the other hand, she crept into the alley.

A roar echoed against the buildings, the sound nearly sending her running. That roar wasn’t a vampire. It sounded more like an animal. Kat inched closer. In the yellow pool of light from the back door of the building, a black bear, over seven feet tall, reared on its back legs and swung its paw at the man standing at the edge of the light. He crashed to the ground, shirt torn open from the slashing claws. Blood covered the fabric, and he clasped his left hand over his shoulder to stem the flow. The bear bent toward him, teeth bared in a smile. A wicked smile.

Kat aimed her gun, but before she could pull the trigger, a shot rang out. The flash of gunpowder lit the face of the injured man. The blast reverberated against the buildings. With an enraged bellow, the bear staggered backward against the wall. Shaking his head, the animal dropped to all four paws. Weaving like a drunk, he lumbered toward his attacker. The man took aim again, shooting the animal between the eyes. Animal and human collapsed on the dirty, littered pavement.

As she started to move forward, Kat’s gypsy senses crawled over her skin like angry red ants. As she slipped back into the shadows, the bear shed fur. Changing size. Then, finally, turning into a man.

Shape shifters. Her stake wasn’t any good against them, and her bullets weren’t silver. This one appeared dead anyway. Had the wounded man seen the shift? Tossing the stake aside, she paused by the shifter and quickly moved to the wounded man. Out cold. Still human.

When she touched him, his eyelids fluttered open. “Did I get it?”

“What?”

“The bear.”

Amazon buy links:

The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1):
eBook: http://amzn.com/B00DUMODKI
paperback: http://amzn.com/1619353504

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2):
eBook: http://amzn.com/B00OVNFC8W
paperback: http://amzn.com/1619358271

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3):
eBook: http://amzn.com/B00XK3E172

hershRFP_4075

Bio:
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first two books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. The third book in the series Son of the Moonless Night will be released May 27th by Soul Mate Publishing.

Where you can find CD:
Website: http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/
Blog: http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/blog-2/
Soul Mate Publishing: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cdhershauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.-D.-Hersh/e/B00DV5L7ZI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCDHersh
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh

Thursday Threads – The Tithe

Thursday Threads returns with a new season kicked off by Elle Hill’s Science Fiction Romance The Tithe:

thetithe

The Tithe
By Elle Hill

Genre: Science fiction romance
Heat level: Sensuous

Back blurb:

“Every seven years, seven persons from each of the ten towns must go into the desert, where they will enter into the realm of Elovah, their God.”

No one knows exactly what happens to these seventy Tithes, but everyone knows who: the “unworkables,” those with differing physical and mental capacities. Joshua Barstow, raised for twenty years among her town’s holy women, is one of these seventy Tithes. She is joined by the effervescent Lynna, the scholarly Avery, and the amoral Blue, a man who has spent most of his life in total solitude.

Each night, an angel swoops down to take one of their numbers. Each night, that is, except the first, when the angel touches Josh… and leaves her. What is so special about Josh? She doesn’t feel special; she feels like a woman trying to survive while finally learning the meanings of friendship, community, and love.

How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.

Excerpt:

The lights in the Great Room went out.

No flickers, no dimming, no sizzling sounds—nothing. Just darkness where light used to be.

A man cried out and several people gasped.

“It’s all right, everyone,” Marcus called. Really, he was beginning to annoy Josh, too. He didn’t know that. No one did. “I’m sure this has—”

A whooshing sound, like air displaced, sliced through the room. For a tiny, tense moment, no one spoke.

“Is it an angel?” a child’s voice asked.

Several voices broke out then, some in shouts, some in startled cries, one or two in terror.

Just like the night before, the fold and crack of feathered wings in motion breathed through the room. Weak light from the multiple hallways leaked through the perimeters. Now that her eyes had adjusted to the sudden darkness, Josh found she could identify vague outlines.

Someone a few seats down leapt to her feet and hurled herself toward Josh, perhaps seeking the sterile safety of the kitchen. She stumbled over Josh’s outstretched legs and hurtled to the ground. Josh gasped in pain.

And still, the snap and sigh of wings overhead.

Josh wanted to stand up, to defend herself. She wanted to shrink into the upholstery, to make herself as small as possible. In the end, she sat still, trembling in indecision.

“The angels!” someone cried in something like terror, or perhaps ecstasy.

“Keep them away from me!” Someone—she thought it might be Len—shrieked.

Several people jumped to their feet and pushed their way through the room, seeking some kind of safety. The woman who’d tripped over Josh lay whimpering on the ground.

Whump, whump . . .

A warm arm encircled Josh’s shoulder. She shrieked before realizing it belonged to Blue. The baggy sleeves of his black tunic partially covered her head. She turned to him, and he pressed her closer.

I don’t think I want to court you, she remembered him saying, and almost sprayed laughter. Who knew they’d practically snuggle later that day?

The thump of wings grew closer. An outline of a human-sized object hurtled through the air and the darkness toward her. What had to be its wings spread around it, moving and tilting. Some stray ray of light gleamed whitely off the area where eyes should be. They seemed fixed directly on her.

elle hill

Links:

Email: elle@ellehill.com
Website: www.ellehill.com
Blog: ellehillauthor.blogspot.com/
Book buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Tithe-Elle-Hill-ebook/dp/B00MVCPJFG