Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One, two, three, Mistletoe and Merry!

Happy Holidays Readers!

I know it's early and yes my post title is a rip off Britney Spears's Song "Three." Read on and you'll discover why! *Tee hee.

But first, I have to announce the winner of the 7 Days of Seduction Giveaway.  

Congratulations Melissa Limoges!  You will be provided with your free copy of the wonderful erotic romance by the talented Jenna Jaxon!  Beware, your e-reader is bound to burst into flames!

Now, for something completely different!  I'm trying my hand at writing a threesome story. *GASP! I know, I know. Totally racey and wildly different from most of the things I've written. But I am excited to try it out and see what happens. Thus the post title's reference to Spears's racy song.

My current WIP, currently titled Silent Night, is about Zoey Blake, a young woman, homeless and living on the streets. When she's attacked by a man and wounded in an alley a week before Christmas, she's rescued by a handsome stranger.

Meet Ian, the Irish vampire and rescuer of all things. He's got a soft spot for sweet damsels in distress and he's saved more than a couple of cats (who now reside in his home).

But let's not forget the third person in this story. Connor, Ian's best friend and fellow Vampire. Connor is the last person to be happy when Ian brings Zoey home. A dark secret from his and Ian's past makes Connor unable to trust himself with Zoey, or to ever love again.

But Christmas is the around the corner and some winter magic may yet work its spell over Ian, Zoey and Connor.

Here's a brief excerpt:

Zoey was warm. So warm. When was the last time she hadn’t woken herself up with her own shivers? As weariness bled out of her, leaving only a pleasant sense of quiet, she wondered, almost sadly, if she was dead. There wasn’t any way else to explain the sudden change in her physical surroundings. Forcing her eyelids up, it took her several seconds to adjust. She was lying in a massive and incredibly soft feather down bed with a thick blanket wrapped snuggly around her body. She felt like a human burrito. The thought made her giggle. She had to be dead. This was obviously heaven. The last thing she remembered was…
Pain, agony. The bright lights of the diner, Christmas bells ringing in her ears. And the attack. The flash of the knife, the snarled words of the man who took her life. Her heart pounded at an unsteady rhythm and her breath quickened.
Breath? How was she breathing if she was still alive? And then it came back. The man with the face of an angel, the voice of a sinner who could tempt her to sell her soul for one caress of his gentle hands. Had he saved her? How? Zoey’s hands started to shake as she distinctly remembered blood oozing from the stab wounds on her chest. She was terrified to look, but more scared not to look so she tugged the blanket down and lifted her blood stained shirt up to just beneath her breasts. The skin was clear, except for two tiny pink slashes. Zoey pressed her fingertips down on the marks, testing them carefully. They were a little sore, but it felt like an injury weeks old, not something that would have killed her the night before.
Confused, she looked about the room, hoping to see the man who’d saved her. It was empty, but the room itself distracted her. The bed was huge, bigger than a California king size bed, its frame was a dark wood that looked black. Despite the dimness of the room, she could see the walls had lovely black and white photos of Paris, Italy and a few other places she thought she recognized but couldn’t pinpoint where they were. The crisp contrast of the photos was stunning and made her strangely homesick.
Before her life had fallen apart, she’d been studying photography at a local community college. It had been her dream, to live her life behind the lens, capturing moments for people. Weddings, baby showers, children’s sporting matches. She wanted to capture life in vibrant color and in contrasts of grays. Nothing would have made her happier than to take photos of the events that marked milestones in people’s lives. But that was gone, all gone. Her camera was likely still in some pawnshop collecting dust. Food and rent had been a priority, not her future. How long ago had that been? Zoey didn’t want to count, but she knew it was around eight months ago.
Shrugging off the uncomfortable memories she sat up, pushing her hair out of her eyes. She still couldn’t figure out how she’d come here, wherever here was, or why. Had the handsome man with the accent, Irish, she thought, brought her here? Why? Panic struck her right behind the eyes. Maybe he thought to take advantage of her. She’d heard horror stories of women living on the streets forced into the slave trade. Was that to be her fate? As quick as her fear had risen, it settled back down and faded.
The man who’d helped her had stroked her tenderly, gently, as though he’d treasured her. That was not the actions of a man who would sell her into slavery. Maybe he was like a good Samaritan, a handsome man who stopped to save a complete stranger. She wanted to believe that was the truth. That there were still good people out there. After everything that had happened in the last year, she was afraid to hope. But it was almost Christmas. The holidays always brought the best out in people. There was a piece of her that wanted to believe good still existed.
If only she could stay in this bed forever, wrapped snugly in the blanket, with the peaceful quiet all around her. Too many nights under the underpass had left her nervous and tense while she caught a few hours of sleep. Zoey glanced around the room, checking for a clock, but there wasn’t one. The large window next to the bed was gray through the slatted blinds. It could be evening or early morning, she couldn’t tell.
She jumped when someone knocked at the bedroom door.
“Excuse me, love. Alright if I come in?” The voice. The beautiful, whisky rough voice. Definitely an Irish accent.
“Uh…yes. Come in.”
Her hands curled into the blanket and raised it up to her chin. She felt oddly naked and exposed as the man eased the door open and slid inside. Zoey craned her neck back to look up at the man. He had to be at least six foot three. With black hair long enough to touch the collar of his white button up shirt, and thin layer of night beard, he looked like a pirate off the cover of a romance novel. His shirtsleeves were rolled up revealing muscled forearms and the top couple of buttons were undone below his throat. He swallowed and her eyes locked in on the movement of his muscles working with the action. She was struck again by how incredibly large he was. His shoulders were massive and she had the sudden urge to touch them and feel the strength of the muscles beneath her palm.
“How are you doing?” He strode to the bed and raised a hand to her forehead. His hand was cold, shockingly so and she flinched from the contact. The man’s face paled and he pulled his hand away. “Sorry about that.” His face fell when he seemed to think she didn’t like his touch.
“It’s okay. I didn’t expect it to be cold, that’s all.” Even though she didn’t want to ever be cold again, she’d suffer it just have his hand back on her forehead. The whisper of a secret thrill skated along her skin and she missed having his hand on her.

Stay tuned readers to find out what happens to this threesome!

Feel free to drop by and leave a comment about the holidays, post your own excerpt from a current WIP or favorite holiday excerpt or whatever else suits your fancy! It is Christmas after all, or will be soon! But who's counting? *wink.


  1. Great snippet, Lauren. Loved it. Can't wait to see you Saturday. Here's a short snippet from Miss Merry's Christmas:

    Lips twitching, but maintaining his austere demeanor, the butler opened a large wooden door with elaborate carvings, and sniffed before announcing, “Lady Charlotte Spencer, Lady Clare Spencer, and Miss Meredith Chambers.”

    The girls clung harder, making it practically impossible for Merry to enter the room. She dragged one limb, then the other, until she reached the massive oak desk. Breathless from her effort, she looked up into the most arresting brown eyes, with specks of gold, she’d ever seen. Above the eyes, sharp black eyebrows rose almost to the hairline of wavy black hair. Below the eyes an aristocratic nose led to sensual lips drawn into a tight line.

    “Your Grace.” She puffed and attempted a clumsy curtsy.

    The only sound in the room was the soft click of the door as the butler exited. Merry waited patiently to be invited to sit. Instead, the brown eyes kept staring at her, then leisurely slid their way down her person, and obviously from the additional tightening of his full sensual lips, finding her wanting.

    Eventually, a long-fingered hand flicked in the direction of one of the two leather chairs in front of his desk. “Sit.”

    Merry sat abruptly, feeling like a dog panting in front of its master. The two girls ended up on their knees on the floor, still buried in her skirts.

    “Is there something wrong with the young ladies?” The deep voice rolled over her, setting her heart to pounding.

    Merry grasped the girls’ arms and attempted to pull them to their feet. They held tighter. “No, Your Grace. They’re merely a bit anxious.”


    How was it possible to put so much disapproval into one word?

    After a moment, he settled back in his chair, his fingers clutching a quill pen he tapped on the desk. “I trust you had a pleasant journey?”

    With all the liquid in her mouth dried up, she merely nodded.

    “I understand from my solicitors you’ve had sole charge of the girls since their parents passed away a month ago?”

    “Yes, Your Grace.” Good. She was finally able to pry her mouth open.

    “And you cannot control your charges enough to insist they sit as proper ladies?”

    Heat rose to Merry’s face and anger washed through her. The arrogant arse! “They’re confused and a bit distressed.” She bent and whispered furiously to the girls. “Please get up, His Grace is not happy.”

    “No.” Two voices piped up, muffled in her skirts.

    She smiled slightly at the duke and shrugged. If possible his eyebrows rose further, disappearing underneath the wave that rested against his forehead.

    “It appears to me, Miss Chambers, that Lady Charlotte and Lady Clare have arrived here just in time.” He pushed his chair back and stood. “I arranged for a governess to train them in proper behavior. She will instruct the girls in the skills necessary for a lady.” He waved his hand. “Sewing, French, watercolors, and so forth.”

    Merry stared at him, her jaw slack. Well over six feet, David, Duke of Penrose, was a sight to behold. Every inch the lord of the manor, his coat fit him as if it had been painted on. His white-on-white waistcoat hugged his impressive body above well-fitting tan breeches tucked into black Hessian boots. A snow white, intricately tied cravat was a stark contrast to his lightly tanned skin.

    Lord Penrose rested one hip on the edge of the desk, peering down at her, his foot swinging back and forth. “I shall allow a bit of transition time for the young ladies. You may stay on for a week or two. Then I will see you receive a generous stipend to tide you over until you can secure another position.”

    Two blonde heads popped up from behind Merry’s skirts. “No!”

    1. Thanks for stopping by Callie! Fantastic Post! I was giggling as I read it! I can't wait to see you on Saturday too! It's been ages and I miss my OKC friends!

  2. Very nice excerpt. Can't wait for the rest of it.

    1. Thank you Ella! You'll be the first victim of my beta reads haha.

  3. Loved it, Lauren! Here's a sample from a Christmas story I'm trying to finish this year. I call it Christmas Comes But Once a Year:
    “Time to pull on your big girl panties. Life goes on, whether you like it, or don’t.” With careful attention to detail, Sapphire James dressed and then assessed her image in the full length mirror. Standing in her bedroom, giving herself the pep talk, as she did many days, she frowned. Twisting this way and that, the twin reflection scrunched its face. The emerald outfit didn’t seem to fit the same as it had when she’d tried it on at the department store two months ago. Had they sent the wrong size? The label on the jacket disagreed. She’d lost weight…lost more weight. “Well, nothing to do about it now. It’ll have to do. Besides, you’re not out to impress, just make an appearance. Please Mama-the-Mayor and go home.”
    With her store closed for the weekend, Sapphire didn’t have any obligations to keep her from attending the annual family Christmas gathering. No excuses. Her mother being the mayor had no bearing on her participation, but she found it difficult to refuse just the same. ‘I’m sad and want to hibernate the rest of my life away’ wouldn’t fly with her parents. Sapphire made the drive out route 3 to the ranch she’d grown up on with four over protective brothers. The last thing she wanted, or needed, was her family to guess how much she did not want to be there. Or rather, how much she wanted Perry there with her.
    Screams of laughter and delighted welcomes met Sapphire as she let her sister in-law take the German Chocolate-Applesauce cake she carried. “You look beautiful Sapphire! Where did you get that suit?”
    “Hammonds, over in Butler City. Does it look all right?” Sapphire knew it didn’t, but she also knew Tiffany.
    “Only like it was made for you.” There was the expected reply. Her oldest brother’s wife was the peacemaker, always trying to make everyone comfortable. But it was difficult to miss the pity in her soft blue eyes.
    She smiled her thanks, and set the Banana Cream cookies on the table to offer her mother a hug. Before the women could drag her into a conversation she slipped out to hang her coat in the foyer closet. Before shutting the door she leaned against the jamb to take several deep breaths. This was not going to be fun. Not that she didn’t want it to be, but without Perry, nothing ever was anymore. Not even the family she adored. Especially not Christmas time. With a resigned sigh, she returned to a quiet kitchen.
    Her mother had changed into her party clothes, and was alone, holding two mugs of homemade cocoa and marshmallows when she entered, one held out to Sapphire. Her mother was elegant in blue chiffon with her soft brown hair up. She glanced around, wondering where everyone had run off to hide. Probably to the barn for a rousing game of some sort. It happened a lot since her dad had put a game room in the loft. “Where did everyone go?”
    “They just left to take the kids on a short hayride while dinner finishes. I’m surprised you didn’t go. Which reminds me, I have to get the table set. Jamie has a friend coming and Art and Tiffany have a guest arriving soon, so there’ll be, let’s see…” Sara Baker held up fingers as she counted while Sapphire held her hands up as well. A minute later her mother was counting off guests on her fingers. “Fifteen. We’ll have fifteen for dinner tonight.”
    “You forgot yourself again.” She hadn’t known they were going for the ride, but she wouldn’t have joined them in what had been Perry’s ‘thing’ anyway. Not without her husband there to orchestrate the event.
    “Sixteen, then. Sapphire, get the good China from the China hutch, please. The silver is in the right hand drawer, and the linen is in the left. The Christmas table cloth is below—”
    “I know, Mama. It’s all in the same place it has been every year for as long as I can remember!”

    1. Thanks for stopping by Calisa! Great excerpt, I love the little details you worked in, it's so visual!

  4. Great excerpt, Lauren. You are such a strong writer. Your words immediately captivate me, and hold me hostage. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Anna, you are so sweet! You know I feel the same way about your writing! I'm excited about your Scrimshaw story!

  5. Delicious excerpt, Lauren! Can't wait to read the whole thing!

    Their eyes met across the swirling kaleidoscope and diamond glitter of the ballroom. A summer wind blew in from the formal gardens and brought with it the scent of roses, the inky velvet of the night and the man Bella St. George hoped never to see again. Damn him.

    His lips curved into the merest hint of a smile. The crush of brightly gowned ladies and crisply dressed men – the scene before her in all its jeweled glory faded until it was no more than a watercolorist’s rendering. Pale. Blurred. Faded. He alone held color and life. The lines of his face stood sharp and clean beneath the frame of hair so black as to appear blue beneath the light of the chandelier’s candles. Sea green eyes stared at her so intently she could feel his hands on her body. She shivered and burned all at once.

    He moved among the dancers, a dark tumultuous creature not even the most tormented of artists could capture. A leopard prowled through a herd of oblivious gazelles and she, the only one aware of the danger, refused to save herself. The ancient carved seal suspended between her breasts by a silver chain once touched by a saint began to grow heavy and hot. Her gift had not failed her. She knew what he was and she refused to flee, not even when the ebony surface of his boots stopped closed enough to touch the garnet red silk of her skirts.

    “Miss St. George.” His voice drifted across her skin like a caress. “I believe this is our waltz.” His bow, a negligible nod of his head distracted her just long enough for him to take her hand.

    She gathered her wits, the ones he’d scattered with just a smile. “I’m sorry, my lord. I don’t dance, especially not with men to whom I haven’t been introduced.”

    He towered over her, no mean feat when one considered her own ungainly height. Broad shoulders tapered down muscled arms defined to perfection by the cut of his coat and ended in hands sculpted by years of horses and swords. “I’m quite certain you know who I am,” he bent to whisper in her ear, his breath hot as the fires of hell. “All these weeks you’ve hunted me and now that I’ve fallen into your snare.” He snatched her into his arms and sailed her out onto the dance floor. “You don’t know what to do with me?”

    The brush of his thighs sent shocks of liquid flame into her belly and lower to places she dared not contemplate. He knew it. His eyes smoldered with the knowledge. The music washed over her and took control of her body. It had to be the music. She’d prepared too long for this battle to allow him the advantage he now took.

    “Lord Balingstoke, I—”

    “So you do know who I am.” His hand wandered from her waist to rest on the spot where her hip slid into her bottom.

    Bella caught herself before she arched into his touch like an eager kitten. The game was becoming dangerous. “You are Lord Adam Balingstoke. Your father is the Earl of Worthy.”

    “So I am.”

    “It doesn’t mean we’ve been introduced.”

    “That hasn’t stopped you from following me.”

    “Don’t be ridiculous. Why would I follow you?” The light from a thousand candles blended into one long ribbon of light. The pulse of the waltz throbbed in her chest. She felt as if they danced on that carpet of flame and no power on earth could save her.

    He brushed his thumb down the back of her hand. “If I were more vain and you less bright I might believe you followed me because you want me, Isabella.”

    1. Louisa! You tease! This excerpt is fantastic! You better finish Wicked in his Arms and get to work on this awesome story!

  6. The above excerpt is from a Regency paranormal I plan to finish once I finish Wicked in His Arms.

  7. Loved your excerpt, Lauren! An Irish vampire--who could ask for a sexier creature? :) This excerpt is from one of the stories in my Christmas Collection All Wrapped Up, called "'Tis the Season."

    “I believe we are all here, my dear. Will you carve the goose?”
    Jenny watched Mamma smile expectantly at Papa, who looked very splendid in his new white silk cravat. She had picked it out herself last week and presented it to him this morning along with all the other Christmas gifts. It was a very special gift, perhaps the last Christmas gift she would give her father as an unmarried woman.

    The same thought occurred over and over. This time next year I may be presiding over my own Christmas table. Jenny’s eighteenth birthday had been on the first day of December, which meant this spring she would make her come out with all the other young girls and be unleashed on London to find and secure a husband. And Jenny was confident she would do just that amidst the social whirl that was The Season: balls, musicals, masquerades, excursions to the theatre and Vauxhall Gardens. She looked forward to her season for so many reasons.

    She smiled as she gazed around the table. The whole Crowley family had gathered for Christmas luncheon, which of course included their dear neighbors, Sir John and Lady Ellen Isley and their son, Thomas. The Crowleys and the Isleys had been friends since before she was born, Papa and Sir John having gone to university together. Their daughter Margaret had been Jenny’s bosom friend until she made her debut two years ago. Now she was married to a viscount and had just presented her husband with a son and heir not two weeks ago. Jenny could only hope she would be as fortunate two years hence.

    Papa carved busily as plates were passed back and forth and vegetable dishes, bread, and Yorkshire pudding made their rounds of the table. But when her father at last sat and picked up his napkin to say grace, it was Great-Aunt Maude, sitting at the mid-point of the table, who spoke. “So, Charles, when is the wedding to take place?”

    “Wedding, Aunt Maude?” Papa’s voice rose in a question, but he cut his eyes toward Mamma, who sent a frightened look at Jenny. The look puzzled her, but no more than her great-aunt’s question. To whose wedding was she referring?

    “Yes, Charles. Jenny’s wedding to young Thomas here.” Maude nodded across the table to Thomas Isley, whose eyes shifted from side to side, as though he thought the old lady quite mad. Jenny thought so herself. “She’s eighteen now, and you promised me when she was of age I’d see her married into the Isley family. I have lived for the day I could see one of my family move into the titled class.” She glared at Mamma, who blushed and turned to Jenny.

    “It’s not as bad as it sounds, Jenny darling.” But Mamma’s wide eyes said yes, it was that bad.

    “Is this true, Mamma?” Jenny’s voice didn’t sound like her own, stilted with shock at the revelation.

    “Yes, my dear, it most certainly is.” Aunt Maude nodded with such vehemence the flowers on her hat bobbed back and forth. “When your mother refused to marry up, I swore none of your family would ever see a penny of my money. Then when you were born, she came to me and promised you had already been betrothed to young Thomas here. She showed me the betrothal papers.”

    The rest of the table sat in stunned silence. Jenny looked down at her hands, clasped together so tight her knuckles showed white. All her dreams of excitement and romance during her Season had just exploded with her great-aunt’s words.

    1. Jenna, I totally agree, Irish vampires, heck yes! And two's even better than one! *wink wink. Great excerpt! I'm on the way now to amazon to get my own copy! :)

  8. Hi Lauren,

    AWESOME!!!! I absolutely love this and can't wait to see more. Who would have thought, an Irish Vampire with a sexy brogue...yummy!

    Its an affair of the heart.

    1. Thanks Maxine! I'm so glad you liked it! I'm hoping to submit it to Carina Press for their erotic romance Christmas collection for next year. Cross your fingers that they like the finished project! I'll post an announcement on the blog if they choose it and it gets published next year.