Sunday, March 31, 2013

Love Sandwiches by Annie Zhu

Love Sandwiches
by Annie Zhu
A shopgirl volunteers to hand out sandwiches to the homeless, but helping others does not eradicate her self-hatred. After every act of charity, her long-distance boyfriend Paul suffocates her with his unconditional love.
 Between running into a childhood friend who has reinvented herself as a music video vixen, and confronting an unhinged homeless man, her evening snowballs into a night of self-destruction.
 Set in Toronto, Canada, this 6,300-word literary short story is about the nature of giving and receiving love . . . and sandwiches.

Author Bio:
Annie Zhu was born in Nanjing, China, and moved to Canada at the age of seven. She has a BFA in Film Studies from Ryerson University and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She lives in Paris.
Websites/social media:
After the first time I read this short story, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I was a bit confused as to what I was supposed to get from the story. I went through and reread it. This is not the typical story that I usually read. But, after reading it again, I still came up a bit short in the "what does this mean to me" department. I suppose the author may want us to fill in the blanks ourselves, which is something I can do very well. If this is the case then, ok I get it. If not, then I am still kind of shaking my head. Judge for yourselves.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cover Reveal...Stormy Surrender by Nicole Andrews Moore

Stormy Surrender

By Nicole Andrews Moore


Sometimes the life you planned isn’t the one you get to live.  Sometimes the pain of the past overshadows the future.  And sometimes to start over you have to go back to where it all began.  That’s how it was for Joe Masters.  That’s how he ended up back in New Hope.  And that’s why he was in his thirties and had nothing to show for his life.  He needed a complete overhaul, just like his father’s old house.  Instead of a fast track, he had slowed down and was on a ten year plan.  These days that was more his speed.  And as much as he tried to fight the inevitable, he was learning to accept and surrender.

Martha had weathered her fair share of storms in Vermont, was accustomed to the cold, both the chill in the air and the cold shoulder in her marriage, but after the miscarriage she felt like she would never get warm again.  So she did the research from the laptop while sitting in front of the fireplace.  She knew what she needed when she Googled hope, she just never imagined that it would bring her to New Hope, South Carolina.  She never imagined that her husband would trick her into leaving and never follow.  She never imagined that a southern storm with all its force and fury could be so destructive.  But after the storm, the land is washed clean.  It’s perfect for a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new love.

 Author Info:

Nicki has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina with her children for the past eleven years and her husband for the past three years.  Her journey has barely begun and she loves every minute of it.  Every day of her life seems to bring new adventures, some bigger, better, shinier and prettier than others.  She's still getting used to that new life smell she's experiencing, a combination of hope, love, and happiness.  (The perfect scents to build a new life on...)

For fun, she spends time with those she cares about, cooks, reads, writes, and especially lives to travel.  The current travel goal: visit every Margaritaville.  Two down!  (Eleven to go?)

In addition to writing on Suddenly Single Journey, Nicki is a contributor for Project Underblog.  Her writing can also be found on Shine, where she is a Shine Parenting Guru and an award winning Yahoo! Contributor on YourWisdom as the relationship and dating expert.  And she has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers.

 Author Links:


InThe Nick Of Time by Sylvie Fox spotlight, review, & contest

In The Nick of Time by Sylvie Fox
Today, the tour stops here!
Check out all the info & my review of the book.
Then enter below to win a $25.00 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!
Don't forget to check out the other stops along the tour for more chances to enter & win!
Book blurb:

Hot nights, huge consequences.

Divorced and done with her dry spell, Holly Prentice is ready to get back in the game. But with two conditions: her future mate can’t be married to his career, and he has to have a couch. Nick Andreis loves his job, and his only furniture is a king-size bed. He’s also single, sexy, and six years Holly’s junior. Any guy this hunky and carefree can’t be serious about the future.

After one spontaneous and explosive night, Holly decides that her search for Mr. Right can wait. Nick can be Mr. Right Now.

Nick has waited years for Holly. Now that she’s dating again, he’s determined to be the only man in her life. He wants what Holly wants: forever. Convincing her of that won’t be easy, but Nick agrees—with fingers crossed behind his back—to Holly’s idea that they can be bed buddies until someone serious comes along. His plan: use the time between their passionate nights to convince her that he is the one.

 Will Holly’s unexpected pregnancy change the rules of their games? Or can they both decide to play for keeps?
Book Excerpts:

When Holly heard footsteps coming toward the deck this time, she assumed it was her best friend Sophie coming back to cajole her into a better mood, but she was surprised instead to see the profile of a man, his face obscured by the darkness.

 From what she could see, he was hot with a capital H. Why couldn’t someone like this tall drink of water spill into her life? The casual knit shirt he wore, pulled across broad shoulders, lay across a washboard flat stomach. Was that a sexy bomber jacket, too? She loved long, thick, dark hair, and his fell over his forehead in such a way that her hands itched to brush it back. His distressed jeans hugged him in all the right places. He had bad boy written all over him. She’d always been a good girl with bad boy fantasies. Maybe it was time to end her celibate period and indulge in a few.
Right now.


 “Holly, is that you?”

 Wait, she knew that voice. “Nick?” she asked uncertainly.

 When he stepped fully onto the deck, Holly’s breath stuck in her throat, then hissed out slowly.

 Thank goodness. It was just Nick.

 She could put off a close encounter with an available member of the opposite sex for another day.

 She’d met Nick about five years ago, when he was fresh out of college and her ex was mentoring him at the network. She and Drew had sort of taken Nick under their wing. He’d been that young guy who’d come over for home cooked meals dozens of times. She’d seen movies with Nick and palled around with him while her ex husband had been working. None of that history could explain the sudden flutter in her heart. It wasn’t as if Nick were some attractive guy she’d just met for the first time at a party. He was just Nick, really. Nothing to get worked up about, she admonished herself.
Still, tonight, for reasons Holly couldn’t quite put her finger on, Nick took her breath away. Had he been this handsome and virile all these years? Had she been this lonely and shamelessly hard-up before?

 Surreptitiously, she gave him a good once over. Life was obviously agreeing with him. He was all planes and angles, hard muscles, and beautiful hair. She’d always treated him like a little brother, but the feelings he inspired this evening were anything but fraternal.
 ~~~ Something about the way he complimented her seemed more than superficial, but she didn’t probe it and scooted a few inches from him on the couch so she could look directly into his vivid green eyes.

“How’s your–”

“What are you–”

Their words crashed into each other, and they both laughed, dispelling some of the awkwardness. They’d been friends for years; she didn’t know why she was suddenly feeling uncomfortable around Nick.

“You first,” she said, pulling her hand back and rubbing both of them together for warmth.

He clasped her hands in his large ones again, rubbing them briskly this time. “You’re cold. Here, take my jacket.”

Before she could protest, he stood and removed the sexy-as-hell brown bomber jacket from his broad shoulders and wrapped it around her. He then rubbed her arms for good measure. His touch alone warmed her. Correction: his touch made her hot. She loved being wrapped in his jacket, even though she didn’t need it to keep her warm. As long as he was near, her body generated enough body heat to ward off the desert night chill. The jacket smelled of leather, saddle soap, and Nick. She couldn’t remember being this turned on just sitting next to, and not even touching, a man.
Nick didn’t say anything. He just looked at her with something akin to longing in his eyes. Feeling the need to fill the silence, to look away from his smoky green eyes, the golden flecks simmering with something like desire, Holly started asking questions, talking about anything to dispel the awkwardness that had returned as soon as he touched her, again.

Buy Links:

Author bio:

I write the kinds of books I love to read. The quirky characters in my romance novels experience angst, conflict, mostly great sex, and always get their "happily ever after." In my mainstream fiction, ordinary woman experience angst, conflict, and occasional great sex, but they also get embroiled in struggles against extraordinary odds, and I don't promise a happy ending. I also love thrillers, but I don't write those. I live in Los Angeles with my husband, son, and a whole lot of pets. When I'm not hanging out in Hollywood, I'm eating my way through Budapest.

 Social Media Links:


In The Nick of Time was a genuinly sweet rollar-coaster of a ride story. At times I found myself wanting to yell at the charactors like a sideline football coach...."Holly, open your eyes to the game and you'll have yourself a great catch!" "Nick, you've finally got the ball in your hands, now run with it!" These are the things running through my mind as I read the book. You know it's a great story when you spend time yelling at the main charactors in your head or slapping your forehead when they have messed up!
4 keys to a great book



Sylvie Fox will be offering a $20.00 AMAZON Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter throughout the tour. Please fill out the Rafflecopter to enter and check out the other stops along the tour for more chances to win!
You can find the other stops here:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Sex Demon Trilogy by Jaye Shields-COVER REVEAL

Cover Reveal!!!!

Jaye Shields just got the beautiful cover for the upcoming

Print Anthology of her Sex Demon Series

and here it is.....
The Sex Demon Trilogy
by Jayne Shields


Confessions of a Sex Demon
Zahra proves that sex demons do it better as she goes from captive to captivator.
Sex Demon Zahra Aniron is a closet romantic. Too bad she spends her time having hot, kinky sex with paying strangers. But she needs the money to pay off her sister's debt to wizard thugs. There could be worse things than getting paid for pleasure, especially since a sex demon needs climax to survive.
As a blacksmith, Lennox Aegros puts his fury to good use pounding steel into swords. When he arrives at a new town, his real cause for being there isn't to sell weaponry, it's for revenge. When he finds the succubus he's been searching for, her beauty means he can mix business with pleasure. But the joke's on Lennox, because as he succeeds in torturing his victim by repeatedly bringing her to the brink of orgasm and then denying her the release that she so desperately needs, he realizes that Zahra's slow demise means the breaking of a heart he didn't think he had.
Content Warning: strong language, graphic sex, light BDSM scenes
Buy Links

Claiming of a Sex Demon
It's not easy for a sex demon to find a wife, and it's even harder when the perfect woman is already taken.
Emmerie Winter has only been married a few months, but depression has made her a fragile stranger in the arms of her husband. She knows she should love him, but she doesn't, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't convince her heart otherwise.
When a sex demon with a boyish grin and a sinful body arrives in town, Emmerie's world is turned upside down. His intense passion for life sends her depression into hiding, but her feelings for the sinful male could get her in deep trouble.
A sex demon needs climax to survive, but that's never been a problem for Reza Aniron as women seem to be unable to resist his charms…all except for one, a timid, blonde angel who treats him with complete indifference. But in her eyes he can see a fire that's just waiting to be released. And he always did love a challenge.
Content Warning: strong language, extramarital relations, and graphic erotic situations
Buy Links:
Addictions of a Sex Demon
Sephina is about to trade one addiction for another—and his name is Axel.

Sephina Antara has gotten into a lot of trouble as a sex demon with a drug addiction. Moving to a new village was supposed to help her get clean. But when she relapses, it comes with a side of hot dragon man.
Axel Stavros may be a drug dealer, but he's also the town healer. Half-human, half-dragon, his blood can cure just about anything, but it has some erotic side effects for its user, as the new beauty in town is about to find out…
Content Warning: graphic language, hot foreplay, and even hotter sex, including light bondage and some girl-on-girl action.
Buy Links:
Author Info:
Jaye Shields holds a degree in Anthropology from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in archaeology. Her previous claims to fame include being a bass player for a grunge band called the Hymens, being mistaken for Britney Spears while in Tokyo, and commercial model. She insists the commercial still counts even though her lines were cut.
Born and raised in Seattle, she now lives in the realm of fog, skyscrapers, and redwood trees. Happy to call San Francisco home, she spends her time writing sensual paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Thanks to her grandmother, she's been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. Jaye sprinkles her love of history, mythology, and the occult into flaming hot reads.
You can find Jaye's website at:
Like Jaye Shields on facebook:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cassandra Carr stops in to talk about alpha vs beta heroes

I would like to thank Cassandra Carr for stoppng by today

Does a hero need to be Alpha to be sexy?
By Cassandra Carr

In my recent release, Velocity, you can call my hero many things, but Alpha isn't one of them. In fact, I'd argue that Paolo is very beta. He's no pushover, but he's got some insecurities and such not often found in the typical Alpha male hero. So I ask you, does a hero have to be an Alpha male for you as readers to think he's sexy?

I wrote Paolo as I did for a reason. From the beginning in book 1, Impact, he was portrayed as a young, sweet Italian bull rider. His story is book four, so a few years have passed. Paolo is still the young, sweet kid he was back in Impact, but now he's got a career crisis and needs to figure out how he wants to handle it. To do that, Paolo couldn't be an Alpha male. Beta was the way to go.

Why do I say that. Do I think an Alpha male couldn't have a crisis of confidence? Of course not. But a guy who's got the typical swagger of an Alpha male would react differently to that crisis than a kinder, gentler beta hero. Does the different reaction make the beta hero less sexy?

Not in my mind (obviously - I wrote him).

There are times when an Alpha male is awesome to write and exciting for the readers to discover. But if every hero is an Alpha, where's the fun in that? Why can't a beta hero capture our hearts?

I predict if you read Velocity that you'll just as much in love with Paolo as you would with his Alpha brother Marco. (And the totally hot cover won't hurt either, lol).


Paolo D'Allesandro has been content living in his older brother Marco's shadow since they both left Italy for the United States. But he's getting a little older now and realizing he doesn't want the same thing as his brother--to be a professional bull rider. He's never made his own decisions, though, and finds himself having a crisis of confidence.

Savannah Harrington is a grad student working on a thesis. Her topic is adrenaline junkies, and she's joined the bull riders tour for a few weeks to study the men and their motivation behind willingly taking part in a dangerous sport. She meets Paolo on her first day and both feel an immediate pull. Savannah recognizes quickly that Paolo isn't happy, though, and tries to draw him out even as the two of them draw closer physically. She can't stay away from the sexy Italian, but knows the relationship can't last. After all, she's going back to school and he's staying on the bull riding tour to be with his brother while he figures out his next step.

Both Paolo and Savannah wish their circumstances were different, but Paolo doesn't think he has anything to offer Savannah, and Savannah doesn't want to pressure Paolo into another life decision that will make someone else happy, but not fulfill him. As her time to go back to school draws closer, they need to figure out how to get their highest score yet--in the game of love


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kiss of Temptation by Sandra Hill-Blurb tour & Review

Kiss of Temptation

By: Sandra Hill
Official release day is March 26th, 2013. 

Ivak Sigurdsson had led a lustful life, leaving a trail of broken hearts--and lives--in his wake. Of course, a man can only live that way for so long, and when a vengeful husband finally breaks through Ivak’s defenses, he is given a choice: die, or serve the archangel Michael and become a vangel.

A thousand years later, determined to prove his worth to Michael and finally gain reprieve, Ivak is successfully avoiding temptation...until he meets Gabrielle Sonnier. The sexy lawyer is just his type, and Ivak wastes no time in telling her so. But Gabrielle has bigger problems on her plate than a horny Viking. So Ivak has no choice but to help Gabrielle, and in doing so, they might both discover there are more tempting things in life than work or love.
Author Info:

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.
The Norselands, 850 a.d., where men…and life…were always hard…
Ivak Sigurdsson was an excessively lustsome man.

Ne’er would he deny that fact, nor bow his head in embarrassment. In truth, he’d well earned his far-renowned wordfame for virility. On his back. On his front. Standing. Sitting. On the bow and in the bowels of a longship. Behind the Saxon king’s throne. Deep in a cave. High in a tree. Under a bush. On a bed. In a cow byre. Once even with…well, never mind, that had been when he was very young and on a dare and another story entirely.
He liked women. Everything about them. Not just the sex bits. He liked their scent, the feel of their silky skin, the allure of their secrets, the sound of their sighs and moans, the taste of them. And women liked him, too. He wanted them all.
You could say lust was a sixth sense for Ivak. He was a Viking, after all.
He’d been twelve years old when, swaggering with over-confidence, he’d tried his dubious charms on his father’s eighth concubine who’d laughed herself into a weeping fit afore showing him exactly which hole he should aim for. Now, twenty years and at least two hundred bedmates later--he’d stopped counting after that incident in Hedeby-- there was naught he did not know about sex. Men came to him for advice all the time. Women, too
The cold Norse winds blew outside his keep now, but he and his comrades-in-arms were warm inside as they sat before one of the five hearth fires that ran through the center of his great hall at Thorstead. Their body heat was aided by the mead they were imbibing and the satiety that comes from having tupped more than the ale barrel, and it not yet eventide.
When bored and having no wars to fight, or any other time for that matter, taking an enthusiastic maid to the bed furs was always a worthwhile pastime. Leastways, it was for Ivak. You’d think his jaded appetites would have waned by now. Instead, he found himself wanting more and more. And the things he tried these days pushed even his sensibilities for decency…but not enough to stop him.
And, of course, when bored and having no wars to fight, men did what men did throughout time. Drank.
In fact, Esbe, the widow of one of his swordsmen, walked amongst them now, refilling their horns from a pottery pitcher. When she got to him, she smiled, a small, secretive smile that Ivak understood perfectly. Women told him that he had an aura about him…a presence, so to speak. By leaning against a wall just so, or merely staring at them through half-slitted eyes, or gods forbid, winking at them, he sent a silent message. Here was a man who knew things.
He smiled back at Esbe, who shared his bed furs on occasion, and watched appreciatively, along with every one of his men, as she walked away from them, hips swaying from side to side.
Another thing men did when bored and having no wars to fights, and especially when drinking, was talk about women.
“Tell me true, Ivak,” demanded Haakon the Horse, a name he’d been given because of a face so long he could lick the bottom of a bucket and still see over the rim, not because of other bodily attributes. Haakon was a master at swordplay if ever there was one, a soldier you’d want at your back in battle, but an irksome oaf when drukkinn, and he was halfway there already. “There must have been times when your lance failed to rise to the occasion. It happens to the best of men betimes.”
Ivak exchanged a quick glance with his best friend, Serk the Silent, who sat beside him on the bench. Serk, a man of few words, did not need to speak for Ivak to know that he was thinking: Here it comes!
Ivak tapped his chin with a forefinger, as if actually giving the query consideration. He could feel Serk shaking with silent laughter. “Nay, it never has, though there have been times I’ve had to take a vow of celibacy to give it a rest.” He cupped himself for emphasis.
“For how long?” scoffed Ingolf, his chief archer. A grin twitched at Ingolf’s hugely mustached upper lip, knowing when Ivak was about to pull a jest.
“Oh, a good long time. Two days at most,” Ivak admitted.
Everyone, except Haakon, found amusement in his jest, including Kugge, the young squire he’d been training of late. Gazing at Ivak in wonder, Kugge blurted out, “Did it hurt?”
“The celibacy or the excess?” Ivak asked, trying to keep a straight face.
A blush crept over Kugge’s still unwhiskered face as he sensed having made a fool of himself.
Ivak patted Kugge on the shoulder.
Haakon glared at him, his question not gaining the results he’d wanted…a fight. Ivak returned Haakon’s glare, his with a silent warning that Haakon thankfully heeded. Haakon stood, tossing his horn to the rushes, and stomped off, hopefully to sleep himself sober.
Ingolf took a long draught from his horn of ale, cleared his throat, and proclaimed with a chuckle, “To my mind, a man’s cock is like a brass urn.”
“Oh, good gods!” Ivak muttered.
“How true!” Serk encouraged Ingolf and nudged Ivak with an elbow to share in his mirth.
“Now, hear me out,” Ingolf said, stroking his mustache. “Everyone knows that brass needs polishing from time to time, and--”
“Mine is especially shiny these days since I got me a second wife,” one of the men contributed.
Ingolf scowled at the interruption and continued, “Of course, a one-handed rub will do to ease the throb, but best it is if the polishing is done in the moist folds of a female sheath’s choke hold.”
“I don’t understand,” Kugge said to Ivak.
“’Tis a mystery,” Ivak replied with dry humor.
Ingolf, who fashioned himself a master storyteller, was on a roll now. ‘Twas best to let him finish. “The thing about brass is that too much rubbing and it loses its luster. Even grows pits.” Ingolf pretended to shiver.
“Pits? Like a peach?” Kugge whispered.
“Nay. Like warts,” Ivak told the boy. “You do not want warts down there, believe you me.”
“Even worse,” Ingolf told Kugge, “tainted oil in the sheath can spoil all it touches. Remember that dockside whore in Jorvik.” The latter Ingolf addressed to the other men. “Now that was a woman with teeth down there.”
“She had a lot more than teeth,” Serk remarked, “as many men soon learned.”
“The difference, my friend, is that some cocks are solid gold.” Ivak motioned a hand downward.
The other men rolled their eyes and guffawed.
“Mine is solid silver,” Bjorn No-Teeth said, his lips twitching as he attempted to hide his gummy smile. “I’m thinking about having it…etched. Ha, ha, ha!”
Others offered their own self-assessments:
“Mine is ivory, smooth and sleek, and big as an elephant’s tusk betimes. Not that I have e’er seen an elephant.”
“Mine is a rock. A rock cock.”
“Mine is iron, like a lance. A loooong lance.”
“Holy Thor! Do not make me laugh anymore lest I piss my braies.”
Someone belched.
Someone else farted.
More bragging.
Ivak sighed with contentment. It was the way of men when they were alone with time to spare.
Their merriment was interrupted by the arrival of Ivak’s steward announcing Vadim, the slave trader from the Rus lands, who had come from Birka before circling back home. He would probably be the last one to make it through the fjords before they were frozen solid for winter.
Ivak and Serk left the others behind as they went out to the courtyard and beyond that to an outbuilding that usually housed fur pelts. It was empty now, the goods sent to market, and cold as a troll’s arse in a blizzard. He waved to a servant who quickly brought him and Serk fur-lined cloaks.
Vadim was a frequent visitor at Thorstead. As often as he dealt in human flesh, Vadim also traded in fine wines, spices, silks, and in Ivak’s case, the occasional sexual oddity…dried camel testicles, feathers, marble phalluses and such.
Serk joined the steward who was examining some of the wares on display in open sacks while Ivak, at Vadim’s urging, walked to the far end of the shed.
“Come, come, see what delights I have for you, Lord Sigurdsson.”
Ivak was no lord, and he recognized the obsequiousness of the title dripping from the Russian’s lips, but it wasn’t worth the bother of correcting him. “So, show me the delights.”
Three men were roped together against one wall. Nothing delightful here. An elderly man that Vadim identified as a farmer from the Balkans. With the rocky landscape at Thorstead, Ivak had no need of a farmer and certainly not a graybeard. Next was a boyling with no apparent skills; Ivak passed on him, as well. The third was a young man that Ivak did want…a blacksmith’s apprentice. He and Vadim agreed on a price, although Ivak did not like the angry exchange of words in an undertone between this last man and Vadim that the trader dismissed as of no importance.
Next came the best part. The delight part. The women. Ivak always enjoyed checking over new female slaves. Serk, who had finished examining the household wares, joined him.
The five women were not restrained, but they were shivering with cold, or mayhap a bit of fear, not knowing that Ivak would be a fair master. They shivered even more when Vadim motioned for them to disrobe. While Ivak pitied them this temporary chill, he was not about to buy a piece of property without full disclosure. Once he’d purchased a prettily clothed slave in Jorvik only to find she had oozing pustules covering her back, from her neck to her thighs.
“I see several you would like,” Serk whispered at his side.
Ivak agreed, a certain part of his body already rising in anticipation.
The first was clearly pregnant, normally a condition that would preclude his purchase—there were enough bratlings running about the estate, including some of his own--but he had a comrade-in-arms who had a particular taste for sex with breeding women; so, he motioned for her to join the young blacksmith at the other end. With an appreciative nod of thanks at her good fortune, she quickly pulled on her robe and drew a threadbare blanket over her shoulders.
“This one is a Saxon, a little long in the tooth, but an excellent cook,” Vadim said.
“I already have a cook,” Ivak demurred.
“Ah, but does she make oat cakes light as a feather and mead fit fer the gods?” the heavy woman of middle years, whose sagging breasts reached almost to her waist, asked in Saxon English. The Norse and Saxon languages were similar and could be understood to some extent by either. She’d obviously got the meaning of his remark.
Ivak liked a person with gumption, male or female, and he grinned, ordering her to join the other two. Besides, a Viking could never have enough good mead.
All the thrall bodies were malodorous from lack of bathing…for months, no doubt…but this next one—an attractive woman of thirty or so years--had a particular odor that Ivak associated with diseased whores. He gave Vadim a disapproving scowl and moved to the fourth woman.
“This one is a virgin,” Vadim said. “Pure as new snow. And a skilled weaver.”
Ivak arched a brow with skepticism as he circled the shivering female who had seen at least twenty winters. He doubted very much that a female slave could remain intact for that many years. Still, she would be a welcome diversion. New meat for jaded palates. Not to mention, he had lost a weaver this past summer to the childbirth fever. He nodded his acceptance to Vadim.
And then there was the fifth woman…a girl, really. No more than sixteen. Red hair, above and below. Ah, he did love a red-headed woman. Fiery, they were when their fires were ignited, as he knew well how to do. He could not wait to lay his head over her crimson fluff and…
He smiled at her.
She did not smile back. Instead, tears streamed down her face.
He ran his knuckles over one pink, cold-peaked nipple, then the other.
She actually sobbed now, and stepped back as if in revulsion.
The tears didn’t bother him all that much, but the resistance did. Thralldom was not easy for some to accept, but she would settle into her role soon. They usually did. They had no choice. Not that he would engage in rape. Persuasion was his forte.
But wait. She was staring with seeming horror at something over his shoulder.
Ivak heard the growl before he turned and saw the smithy tugging to be free from the restraints being held by both Vadim and his assistant. At the same time, the young man was protesting something vociferously in what sounded to Ivak like the Irish tongue.
“What is amiss?” Ivak demanded of Vadim.
“He’s her husband, but you are not to worry--”
Ivak put up a halting hand. “I do not want any more married servants. Too much trouble.” He started to walk away.
“You could take one of them,” Vadim offered.
Ivak paused. The woman’s skin was deliciously creamy and her nether fleece was tempting. “I’ll take her. You keep him.”
The husband didn’t understand Ivak’s words as he spoke, but Vadim must have explained once Ivak and Serk left the building and headed back to the keep because his roar of outrage would be understood in any language.
“Is that wise, Ivak?” Serk asked. “Separating a man and his mate?”
“It happens all the time, my friend, and do you doubt my wisdom in choosing good bedsport over good metalwork?”
Serk laughed but at the same time shook his head at Ivak with dismay. In some ways Serk had gone soft of late, ever since he’d wed Asta, the daughter of a Danish jarl. Six months and Serk was still besotted with the witch. Little did he know that Asta was spreading her thighs hither and yon. Ivak knew that for a fact because he’d been one of those to whom she’d offered her dubious charms. He would have told his friend, but he figured Serk would grow bored soon enough, and then it would not matter. As long as she did not try to pass off some other man’s bratling as his own. When Ivak had mentioned that possibility to Asta, she’d informed him that she was joyfully barren. That was another thing of which Serk was uninformed.
And women claimed men were the ones lacking in morals!
That night he swived the Irish maid, and she was sweet, especially after having been bathed. It was not an entirely satisfying tup, though. The girl was too willing. He kept seeing her husband’s face as he was dragged away. No doubt Ivak’s distaste would fade eventually, but tonight he had no patience for it, especially as she begged him to be permitted to stay. Instead, he sent her away after just one bout of bedsport, wanting no more of her for now.
He drank way too much mead then, which only increased his foul mood. That was the only excuse he could find for his seeing Asta slinking along one of the hallways and motioning him with a forefinger to come to her bedchamber. Another round-heeled woman with the morals of a feral cat. He knew for a fact that Serk was serving guard duty all night.
Mayhap he should tup Serk’s wife and then explain to him in the nicest possible way on the morrow what a poor choice he had made in picking this particular maid for his mate. He would be doing his friend a favor, he rationalized with alehead madness.
Asta was riding him like a bloody stallion a short time later, and while his cock was interested, he found himself oddly regretting his impulsive invitation. Bored, he glanced toward the door that was opening, and there stood Serk, staring at them with horror. This was not the way he’d wanted his friend to discover his wife’s lack of faithfulness.
“Ivak? My friend?” Serk choked out.
“I can explain. It’s not what you think.” Well, it was, but there was a reason for his madness. Wasn’t there?
At the stricken expression on Serk’s face, Ivak shoved Asta off him, ignoring her squeal of ill-humor, and jumped off the bed. By the time he was dressed, his good friend was gone. And Asta was more concerned about having her bedplay interrupted than the fact that her husband had witnessed her adultery. To Ivak’s amazement, she actually thought they would resume the swiving.
Ivak searched for more than an hour, to no avail. It was already well after midnight and most folks, except for his housecarls, were abed. His apology and explanation to Serk would have to wait until morning. Without a doubt, Serk would forgive him, once he understood that Asta was just a woman, and a faithless one at that. Oh, Ivak did not doubt that Serk would be angry, and Ivak might even allow him a punch or two, but eventually their friendship would be intact.
Still, he could not sleep with all that had happened, and he decided to walk out to the stables to check on a prize mare that should foal any day now. What Ivak found, though, was so shocking he could scarce breathe. In fact, he fell to his knees and moaned. “Oh, nay! Please, gods, let it not be so!”
Hanging from one of the rafters was Serk.
His friend had hung himself.
What have I done? What have I done? She was not worth it, my friend. Truly, she was not. Oh, what have I done?
Ivak lowered the body to the floor and did not need to put a fingertip to Serk’s neck to know that he had already passed to Valhalla. With tears burning his eyes, he stood, about to call for the stablemaster in an adjoining shed when he heard a noise behind him. Turning, he saw the young Irish blacksmith, husband of the red-haired maid he’d bedded, running toward him with a raised pitchfork. Vadim and his crew were supposed to depart at first light. The man must have escaped his restraints.
Before Ivak had a chance to raise an alarm or fight for himself, the man pierced his chest with the long tines of the pitchfork. Unfortunately, he used the special implement with metal tines that Ivak had purchased this past summer on a whim in the open markets of Miklegaard, also known as Byzantium. Why had he not been satisfied with the usual wooden pitchforks for his fine stable? So forceful had the man’s surge toward him been that he pinned Ivak into the wall.
“You devil!” the man yelled, tears streaming down his face. “You bloody damn devil! May you rot in hell!”


I have loved Sandra Hill's books for many years, I read all of the Vikings series 1&2 and all of the SEALS series. So when I learned, last year, that she was starting a new series, I checked it out. Viking Vampire Angels-well, to be very honest, the idea of this kind of turned me off. I am not a huge fan of paranormal (vampires especially) I read them occasionally but, it's not something I normally go for when looking for a good book. So, I decided I wasn't going to bother with this series from Sandra Hill.

I was so wrong in that original choice!!!

The opportunity came about last week to join this tour and read this book (#3 in the series) for a review. I thought well, why not?!

 I am so glad I did!

Sandra Hill does it again! She brings her typical humor and fun story lines together and combined they make for a fantastic romance story! I love the way she writes, I love the titles to each chapter, I love listening to each character's thoughts as I read along. I especially loved see what Tante LuLu has been up to. To anyone who has read her Jinxed series & Cajun series (she is spoken about in the SEALS series too)  you know who I am talking about!

 I now have to go back and read the first 2 books in this series, Kiss of Pride & Kiss of Surrender, to catch up! I look forward to more Vampire Viking Angels in the future (and anything else Sandra Hill comes up with)