I am way beyond ecstatic to share the news that Claimed by the Enchanter, Book 3 in the Bayou Magiste Chronicles, is a finalist in the paranormal category of the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. And I am in good company – my pal and critique partner, Elizabeth Shore, is a finalist in the contemporary category with Hot Bayou Nights. Notice a theme here?
To say I'm excited would be a huge understatement. Many of you are aware of the struggles I went through with a previous publisher, and because of that, this book sat collecting dust for some time while I had to work through all that BS. When the time finally came that I could submit the book to Sizzler Editions, I also wrapped up the nightmare with the other books in the series. When Enchanter was finally released late last summer, with the other two books revised and ready to go, I felt finally, these tales were told the way they were meant to be. Enchanter was the final piece of this trilogy and it killed me to have it sitting on the sidelines for as long as it did.
I really enjoyed Reggie and Cameron. She was a bit like me in some respects, though I suppose all my heroines have some piece of my soul in them. But she was a bit of a wild child, which I was at the same age (and sometimes still am!), she loved horses, though she had the money I didn't to really make a go of that, and she liked kink. Putting that all together was a hell of a ride, and I had a hard time letting go of her. Cameron is probably one of the nicest of all my heroes, but he was still a very strong Dom, and he wasn't above using a few underhanded tricks to get his way. For the right reasons of course.
So now the book has been recognized by NJRW as one of the best in paranormal romance fiction. How freaking awesome is that? NJRW is one of the foremost and well-respected chapters of Romance Writers of America. Just to final is a huge honor, in my opinion. Their annual conference, where the Golden Leaf and Put Your Heart in a Book winners are announced, is on a par with RWA's national conference, and I attend just about every year. This year will be super fun, for obvious reasons, and I really hope this means a lot more people will get a chance to know Reggie and Cameron.
Kindle readers can get a copy of the book here:
If you don't have a Kindle or the Kindle app, check out the book page at Sizzler Editions to see where you can get your hands on a copy in every format:
And of course, I'm including a snippet here, to share some of what the judges thought worthy of recognition. But before I do: SQUEEEEEEEEE!
Ahem. Now that I'm composed again, here's the cover, blurb and an excerpt from the book:
Cameron McIntyre is fascinated by the cool façade Regine displays, but he senses the depth of her passion lurking under the surface; despite her protests, he recognizes her desire to submit and be dominated. But when he is forced to suspend her from competition due to performance enhancement spells used on her horse, he worries he may drive her away, instead of into his arms. Believing her innocent of the charges, he vows to help her uncover who set her up while convincing her that submission to him is what she truly wants and needs. Submitting to the tall Irishman brings a new level of pleasure Regine has never known, at the same time making her question everything she knew about herself.
Regine is unaware that an enemy from her past has targeted her for revenge. Together, she and Cameron must discover who wants to knock her out of competition for good, possibly killing her in the process.
And now for the excerpt:
Despite her position in the furthest corner from him, the way-too-small elevator gave her no space, and his presence seemed to surround her. She watched him warily. What game did he play now?
"You have the most incredible eyes." His voice remained just above a whisper, deep and with a hint of danger that sent a shiver along her spine. "They're almost silver, like shards of deadly ice."
"Remember that." She lifted her chin.
"The ice? A sexy biscuit like you? I doubt that."
"No. Deadly." Why did she take such delight in knowing he found her attractive? She pulled her gaze from his. Big mistake, as it landed on his lips. Full lips, above which, to the right, lay a tiny scar. She wanted to lick it.
He chuckled, the sound oddly loud in the quiet of the elevator. "I have no doubt you would be deadly, in the right circumstances. Bet I could disarm you. Leave you helpless as a kitten."
"You might try."
"Retract your claws, kitten. No need to draw blood."
"According to you."
He smiled, an almost feral grin, and her heart beat in a strange uneven rhythm.
"That doesn't mean I won't enjoy feeling those claws on my back, when I'm fucking you so hard, you see stars."
She gulped, once again at a total loss for words. She lifted her chin, her gaze still held by his. He stepped closer. She backed up. He repeated his step and so did she, but found any further retreat halted by the wall. The movement of his arm drew her attention and she realized breathing came a little easier when free of his piercing gaze. Until she realized what he'd done.
The elevator ground to a halt after he pushed the button, but the expected alarms didn't sound.
"What are you doing?"
"Testing a theory." He inched still closer, and she held up a hand. Unfortunately, because of his proximity, her hand came up against his chest. A solid, muscular chest, with a heart beating under her fingertips. She drew away as if scorched.
"Enough nonsense." She winced at the tremor in her voice.
"This is anything but nonsense." He angled his head, moving in for a kiss. She started to turn away.
"Don't move," he ordered.
She froze, once more caught by his gaze, the knowing glint in his eyes pinning her.
"You take orders well."
Before she could protest, he covered her mouth with his. His lips burned. She lifted her hands to his shoulders, but instead of pushing him away, she tightened her fingers, as if trying to hold on.
He moved slowly, tasting and nibbling, but made no move to otherwise deepen the kiss. Giddy sensations started deep in her belly, uncurling through her body, settling with a pulsing ferocity in her clit. When he drew away, she blindly followed, not willing to give up the delight building within.
His chuckle rang in her ears, and her eyes fluttered open. His smug smile quickly cooled the heat blistering through her veins. She lifted her hand, intending to slap him, but he caught her wrist, then did the same with the other when she again moved to strike. All too soon, her arms were pinned behind her back when he pressed his full length against her. Her heart threatened to explode out of her chest.
"Hitting a dom will get you punished."
"I'm no sub," she hissed. "Let go of me."
He gave a nearly imperceptible shake of his head and she tugged against his grip. Her attempt seemed weak against the iron hold he had on her.
"I will have such fun taming you."
"You can try, but you'll never succeed."
One dark eyebrow arched, and she attempted once more to free herself. She couldn't and remained helpless in his grasp. Liquid pooled between her legs, and her clit ached, needing to be touched.
"It's obvious you like it when I subdue you. I have so many ways I'd like to do that."
Her breath hitched, and his lips curled in a knowing smile.
"So the kitten does like to be caught. I thought so."
"No, I'm a domme. I get off on being in charge. I do not want to be controlled."
"Surely you know the sub is the one with all the true power."
He ran a finger along her jaw and she fought to keep the shiver suppressed. She failed.
"You have an exquisite fire, one that should be stoked and not extinguished."
She closed her eyes, wishing she could leave. Damn her body for reacting this way. She got off on dominating, not submitting. Then why was she wetter than she'd ever been before? Her breasts hurt with the need to be touched, suckled. She groaned, wishing she'd never decided to come to this party tonight.
"Look at me."
His words held a stern order, and despite her intentions, she obeyed. She caught his stare a split second before his mouth crashed down on hers. This time he was forceful, demanding entry with his tongue. She had no will to resist and allowed him in, her knees buckling as the rush of desire overcame her. He continued to hold her captive against him as he tasted her, finding every spot that left her a panting puddle, ready to melt at his feet.
Abruptly, she found herself released, and the car once again began to move. She didn't dare look at him when she tried to right her coat over herself, patting her hair, and trying with little success to steady her racing heart.
"I can't wait for the chance to really teach you how to submit: To me."