Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blog Hop - Thanks & Claiming the Temptress as an audible book

Wow - I can't believe how many responses I had to the Autumn Blog Hop and it was such fun for myself discovering such wonderful romance authors. My two lucky winners are:

LisaRayne  and Lona - look for my emails today.

Also I wanted to showcase my first ever audible and I'm so excited about this.
Check out my HQN Spice Briefs novella - Claiming The Tempress:

After centuries of slavery to Poseidon, demi-god Rourk has finally won his freedom—and the hand of Poseidon's daughter, Lily. She's a temptress he's long desired to claim, but she's unaware that Rourk is her intended husband. When Lily escapes to Earth to indulge in carnal delights before what she assumes will be a passionless marriage, Rourk is hot on her trail. He may be able to convince her to return home—but in exchange, he must grant her a night of pleasure….

Purchse today at:

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with Autumn

I'm thrilled to be participating in the Autumn's Harvest Blog Hop taking place Nov. 9 - 12. I'm giving away an e-copy of Kissed, and my latest HQN Spice Briefs novella, Claiming The Temptress to two lucky people. All you have to do to win is leave a comment and two people will be randomly selected.

To see all the authors participating in the amazing blog hop with lots of swag to give away check out:

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

As a Canadian I have mixed feeling with Autumn. 
 Here’s what I love about it:
  •   The beautiful colors like yellow, orange, red and copper that turn the leaves in the forest into a painters palette.
  • ·         Bottling jams and pickles – yes I do this and I love how all my bottles line up in my cupboard. This year I only managed to make blueberry and strawberry-rhubarb, along with cranberry sauce and of course my pickled beets. Who doesn’t love beets? Well, none of my children but my husband and I do so I make them every year. I also give my homemade goods as Christmas gifts to friends and family.
  • ·         Nano – In November I always rouse myself to tackle this write a book in a month international project. It’s very hard, and often daunting and I will admit I might not always succeed but I always try. Over the past years it’s enabled me to write three new YA books.
  • ·         Birds – Autumn truly is for the birds. I make a special recipe (very easy) of bird suet (1 package of lard/1/2 bottle of smooth peanut butter and 1 package of cornmeal  - melt the lard, add peanut butter and cornmeal and the birds will love you). Autumn brings out the woodpeckers (we get both the downy and hairy woodpeckers), the chickadees, and yellow finch in our area of Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • ·         Poetry – I wish I could explain it, but I can’t. I always start to write poetry in Autumn. Maybe it has to do with watching Mother Nature reclaim her land so she can gently put a sleeping spell over everything.
  • ·         Celebrations – In Canada we had Thanksgiving in October this year, which is a great time to gather with family. Then it’s Halloween and it only feels like a few short weeks later it’s Christmas.

What I don’t like about Autumn:
  • ·         Winter – I’m always cold in the winter no matter what I wear and seriously have to force myself to go outside.
  • ·         Snow – Shoveling it, driving in it, basically I hate snow.
  • ·         Lack of sunlight – Where I live it gets dark by 4pm and I’m a sun worshipper. I have to take vitamin D just to get through the long winter months. Winter is supposed to end in March but usually it takes until the beginning of May to warm up.
  • ·         Hockey – Now, don’t get me wrong I’m all for kids playing hockey but if you’re Canadian you’re supposed to love the sport and I don’t. I find it to violent and it’s on almost every channel. This year with the strike it’s been wonderful.
TTo celebrate Autumn I'm including an excerpt of my latest Ellora's Cave release called Kissed - it's set in the Highlands of Cape Breton and I used Autumn as my setting.

Fairy Curses: Kissed
By Renee Field

Chapter One

Cael pulled his black leather jacket tighter around his chest. Goddamn wind. He was sick of it. Ever since he arrived in Nova Scotia the wind had kicked his ass. It had even followed him to the Highlands of Cape Breton where the temperature had dropped. His kind had never tolerated the cold well. In a thousand years living on this ragged Earth he’d never grown accustomed to it. It went against his nature and brought back those bitter dark memories of his early life. But so did a lot of things these days. Take traveling to Canada on an Internet rumor that the Stone of Fal was located in an old cemetery in the Highlands. Highly doubtful.
Six hours of traveling on a bus from hell wasn’t helping his mood. The warmth of hell would be welcome and much more comfortable. Shut up! Cael knew it was a bad sign when he started to tell his subconscious to stop talking. Finally able to stretch his long legs, he rolled his shoulders, flexed the muscles in his arms and inhaled the scent of pine trees mixed with the exhaust from the bus.
Maybe I’m finally going crazy. He wished he could plead insanity, because he knew without a doubt he had as much chance finding the sacred Stone of Fal as he did a needle in a haystack.
The squeaky old ladies’ voices came from behind him. They were talking about him. People always did. Cael knew he radiated bad vibes, and the black clothing he wore helped add to that impression. He resisted the urge to turn around and growl, baring his teeth just for the fun of it. Instead, he stalked off and pushed his way past the bus crowd without a second thought. Moving his legs felt good. He had been so angry the vehicle he’d reserved at the car agency wasn’t available that for one moment he’d thought about buying a first class ticket back to the Cayman Islands, his island paradise, the place he’d called home for the past decade.
However, when he had reached for his wallet where he had shoved his confirmation number on a small torn piece of paper, he couldn’t believe it. His wallet was missing. Managing to get one of the stewards on the plane to look for it, he was informed it wasn’t on the airplane. He’d been robbed!
Serves me right for trying to drink myself to oblivion, again. He huddled his form against the hearty cool wind. All he had left was the sixty dollars he’d converted into Canadian cash. That was it. No plastic cards, no license, and no friggin’ passport. Of that, he was left with a twenty after paying for a one-way ride to the Cape Breton Highlands on the bus made by Hades himself.
If he had his powers none of this would matter to him. Since he didn’t he was left with that edgy, angry feeling that wanted satisfaction—and that wasn’t going to happen, either.
He trudged on down the paved road, wanting to put as much space as possible between himself and humanity. Eyeing the darkening sky, he frowned. Dusk was descending fast and he was in for a cold night. Too bad it won’t kill me. His limbs might bloody well freeze and he’d be uncomfortable all night but he’d make it. He’d live. And that was the crux of things. He wanted out. Wanted death, like a warm blanket, or better yet, a glass of dark Jamaican rum.
He swallowed. He was parched and hungry. It was times like this when he would recall the luxurious life he had at one time. He shook his head. That life would never be his again.
He trudged on. He’d check out the cemetery, hike his way to a place of civilization and then call his banker in the morning to get cash. A night with the elements might do his soul good. He laughed loudly, startling a few ravens eating road kill at the side of the road. I definitely need a drink. Wrong, I need my head examined.
An hour later he found a watering hole and slinked into the small tavern. Armed with twenty bucks, he was relieved it was happy hour. Two glasses of cheap copper-yellow rum sat in front of him. Another slowly made its way to his stomach. Since he had foregone food, dining on alcohol would have to do. He enjoyed the sting of heat from the rush of the liquor as it coated the back of his throat. For a moment he let down his guard and closed his eyes to his surroundings—loving the blackness that engulfed his mind.
* * * * *
Tara McNeil knew she shouldn’t have come to meet her friend, Katie MacLeod. She should have known better. Her friend’s breathy tone of voice on the phone was a dead giveaway that something was up. Instead here she was, being forced by one of Katie’s twelve brothers to make herself at home in MacLeod’s Tavern. All of Katie’s brothers tended to think of her as their baby sister.
She took off her warm plaid jacket, carefully draping it over the tall bar stool. A hot chicken pot pie dinner materialized in front of her within seconds followed by a warm apple dessert with a heavy dose of real whipped cream. She eyed the dessert eagerly while her friend’s voice filled the small bar.
Besides singing, Katie played the violin while Alec, the oldest brother played the drums; and the set of twins, Keelan and Keegan, jammed away at the guitar and piano. They were actually really good—all of them. Every single one of the MacLeods could play at least one or two musical instruments. And it seemed that tonight, all twelve of Katie’s big Highlander brothers were in attendance.
As well as the band members, Angus and Ross were behind the bar, Neil and Scot were acting as bouncers and Alistair was cooking tonight—hence the double dose of whipped cream. Devlin and Brody along with Curran and Fergus were huddled together in a corner booth probably arguing about hockey.
Every single one of the MacLeods was a hunk. They were known throughout the Highlands for their tall lumberjack physiques and dark looks, which they jokingly claimed came from the druid blood that ran in their veins.
Sure, why not. A little fantasy in this small town couldn’t hurt anyone. Tara took in the bar scene in a blink. The small, log cabin style tavern always made her feel comfortable. Her eyes glanced at the paintings that lined the walls, noting the mosaic jeweled gems and shells she and Katie had glued to the dark paneling. They were like fingerprints, each piece representing an aspect of their friendship and adventures in Skir Dhu, Cape Breton.
Tara caught Alistair edging her supper toward her, taking the dessert out of reach just to annoy her. “Tease,” she mouthed at him; a genuine smile lit up her face.
Every single MacLeod, including Katie’s father, Devon and her mother, MacCallah made eye contact with Tara when she walked in the place. It was their way. Had always been and as usual it eased her heart.
“And now for a special treat, everyone…give a warm hand for our very own Tara McNeil, who has agreed to sing what we believe to be a very old Gaelic song for us tonight.” Katie winked and dramatically waved at her.
What? Tara gulped. Surely to God she’s not expecting me to get up there and sing.
“That’s your cue, Tara,” said Alistair, from behind the bar.
“I…I…I’m not singing, Alistair,” stuttered Tara. She tried hard to ignore Katie’s on-stage pleas, turning her attention to her food.
“Ah, come on, it’s just us, Tara. No need to get all tongue-tied and all.” Alistair yanked the food away from her before she could steal a spoonful.
Tongue-tied? More like a full-blown stutter coming straight at you. That was part of Tara’s problem. When she got nervous she became a stuttering idiot. “Hey, I was eating that.”
“Now stop over thinking. You know you never stutter when you sing, and you get to eat it after you sing us a song. Just a wee song…It’s not going to kill you.” Alistair gave her one of his big, beautiful, friendly smiles. The warmth of his chocolate brown eyes made her feel slightly calm.
No, but my voice might kill all of you. Painfully so. Tara simply shook her head.
“Come on, Tara-girl. Sing for us. Okay, audience I think our Tara needs some encouragement. Open up your pockets to our girl here and let’s see if we can entice her to the stage.” Katie gave her another exaggerated wink.
Tara’s eyes widened as a ball cap appeared from somewhere and people throughout the tavern placed their donations in it. “What’s she doing?”
Tara knew practically everyone within the tavern. Besides the MacLeods it was filled mostly with unemployed coal miners, who like her father were living off a tight fixed income. Katie’s mother waved at her from the kitchen door and her father grinned at her. Great, everyone is working against me here.
“Okay, Keegan says we’ve got one hundred and twenty-five dollars and change here, Tara-girl. So come on up…you don’t want to disappoint us now, do you?”
You are so going to regret this Katie. I will get even. Tara’s heart pounded. The only other time she’d sung in front of an audience had been at a church supper and that was twelve years ago. She hadn’t liked it then and highly doubted she would now. However Katie was right. These were her people. They had donated their hard-earned cash for her. And boy could she use that money. For a moment she wondered if Katie knew just how desperate her living situation had become. With that money she could pay half the oil bill and keep the phone for another month.
Swallowing her pride and with a double-dose of trepidation Tara moved toward the stage. It’s no big thing…I can do this. I know everyone, so what could go wrong? Nothing. Tara’s little pep talk with herself motivated her toward the stage. She forced herself to breathe through the nervous, butterfly feeling eating away at her insides as she made her way through the small crowd of people.
“Ahh, now, ladies and gentlemen, here she comes. Our own Tara McNeil.” Katie gave an exaggerated cat whistle at her and then made a hasty exit.
Tara knew she did that on purpose to avoid coming face to face with her. Chicken!
“What are you singing, Tara?” asked Keelan, helping to haul her up onto the stage.
Wiping her sweaty hands on her faded jeans, Tara said, “A ballad, an old one my grandmother taught me.”
“Okay, we’ll follow your lead when you’re ready.” He turned to the rest of the crew and waited for her to begin.
Never. I’ll never be ready for this.
Thank God the stage lights were aimed directly at her. It made seeing the audience almost impossible. Almost wasn’t enough though. An anxious knot of dread clenched inside her stomach, making her throat feel parched. Tara swallowed, afraid she’d start to stutter any minute. She didn’t want to see anyone. Chicken that she was, Tara closed her eyes and sang.

Thank God humans discovered how to make alcohol. Cael twirled the third glass of yellow rum around, wishing again it was the dark Jamaican type he had developed a fondness for. Then every single hair on his body stood on end. A warm tingly sensation fired itself from the pit of his stomach straight to his groin. His breath hitched with anticipation, and desire coiled hot and heavy, singeing his body taut with ferocious passion.
Blast it, someone is singing a Tuatha Dé Danann ballad. He swallowed fast, downing the rum in one gulp. The alcohol burned hard as it went down his throat. He shifted forward on the small, hard wooden seat trying to see who it was.
The angle he sat at made it difficult for him to see the woman but the voice…her words, beckoned him forward. Her words were a throaty-dark rumbling promise of the same wicked carnal delights that had made up his existence at one time. Visions of limbs locked in passion, of tongues dueling, of a lover crying out in pleasure caused his cock to become painfully aroused as he absorbed the song. He forced his mind to pay attention and not delve into old memories, best forgotten.

Come to me, lover mine.
Feed my heart, lover mine
Seek my heat, lover mine
And together we’ll fly, lover mine.

He edged closer. He had to see her. Had to seek the source of the voice who spoke the Tuatha Dé Danann language with such eloquence that a fierce longing for his own kind, a desire he had thought long dead, broke through the effects of the three glasses of rum he’d consumed on an empty stomach.
His first impression of the woman was that she was small. Almost child-like in her appearance, but she stood regally proud on stage. He noticed her hands were fisted and her eyes were squeezed shut. She was uncomfortable being the center of attention. She turned and with the stage lighting he saw curly, long chestnut hair with streaks of red and yellow, reminding him of the lush colors from the S’alabah, the passion tree that grew in Tir Nan Og, his homeland. The place he’d been exiled from for eternity.
She wore faded blue jeans and a bright red sweater. He could make out the outline of small breasts as she took a much-needed breath at the end of the song. And she was half Tuatha Dé Danann. Half-fucking fey!
Damn! Of that he was sure. But she didn’t look one bit like a Tuatha Dé Danann. She wasn’t tall like the women of his race, pale or white haired. She was small and earthy in appearance. She was an exotic mix of innocence and mystery that fired his imagination and his cock to rigid attention.
Cursed to live his life as a mere mortal—to experience hunger, thirst, lust, and sorrow for eternity—he could still recognize his kind. But he’d never seen a hybrid, a half-human, half-Tuatha Dé Danann. They simply didn’t exist. Oh, sure they existed in folklore but he knew better. His kind didn’t like humans. They viewed them as pets or insects, either one depending on Queen Mir’s mood.
Belonging to a Tuatha Dé Danann Royal House, Cael had been chosen personally by Queen Mir to be her champion. For half a millennium he served her well, until he’d been cast out a thousand years ago. Why? Because I bloody well stuck my nose where it didn’t belong.
That’s what he liked to think but the reality was had he not interfered, the evolution of humankind would have taken on an entirely different path. One he thought they didn’t deserve.
So he had done the unthinkable. Well, that’s not true either. He was sure others had thought it but their brains had obviously been more awake and in-tune to Queen Mir’s rage for the ancient Druid race.
Often in the past Cael wished his brain could have shut down at that crucial moment when Mir made him choose between his race and the cursed humans. It hadn’t then and wasn’t about to now. Daring to interfere had cost him greatly. But did he regret his actions? No. Did he wish for an alternative punishment? Hell yes! Did he seek revenge? You bet.
That, however, did not explain the tempting apparition in front of him. Her aura was so bright that now without the stage lights glaring on her, he was amazed he hadn’t seen her enter the home-styled bar. Then again my bloody eyes were shut! Pathetic warrior that I am.
Plus he’d been too intent on drowning his miserable human-like existence in alcohol. Anything to dull the ache of loneliness that filled his mind. If he had a soul he’d say that was filled with loneliness too, but he didn’t have one.
No soul. None whatsoever. No Tuatha Dé Danann, born of a race from the beginning of time, had one. No Druid either. Only the blasted humans—Eve’s daughters and sons were blessed with the gift of regeneration. It was a cruel twist to immortality that he often wished for a soul.
“Sit down, Mister.”
Cael ignored the gruff, baritone voice that belonged to the imposing man who now stood in front of him—obscuring his view of the tiny woman. He shouldered the man out of the way so he could stand directly in front of the stage. His sight was fixed solely on the woman, whose aura hummed at him, lush with sensual passion and a promise of carnal delights that quickened his blood.
“Who taught you the tongue of the Tuatha Dé Danann?” Cael spoke using the high royal intonation she had used in her song. This was a riddle he wanted sorted out, now, not later.
“What?” she answered in English.
Amber eyes glanced his way. They scorched him. That one quick calculating perusal reminded Cael so much of the sexy, come-hither look his queen had at one time cast his way that it took effort not to growl and spring to the stage to demand an answer.
“You either sit or we’ll make you leave.”
The man once again attempted to block Cael’s view of the intoxicating woman who was trying her best to hastily exit the stage. Like before he didn’t bother responding. The threat of harm held little value to Cael. In fact the dark part of him welcomed a fight. Two burly figures abruptly blocked his path as he moved to the right of the stage.
“She ain’t for the likes of you, Mister.”
The dark-haired man now stood directly in front of him. Cael punched the man in the face. Yes, every time he did that it hurt like hell. He shrugged it off, eyeing the second man. In a blink he was surrounded by a dozen dark-haired men. A vibe of intense power swamped him. It had the feel of druid to it but that was impossible.
No more so than finding a wee feyling that speaks my language.
He slipped his leather jacket off, letting them get a good look at his arms. If they are Druid then they will know what they see. They will know what I am. Better yet, what I am capable of. Cael’s eyes dared them to come at him, while he tried to pinpoint exactly where the woman had gone.
He sensed the silent communication amongst the group as their power whispered to the dark recesses of his brain. He crouched, ready for action. The punch to his back hit him hard. He lurched, almost falling to his knees. Now, that won’t do at all. Thanks for playing fair.
Two tried tackling him from behind but it didn’t matter. He was bred and trained as a warrior for his queen. He was Tuatha Dé Danann to the core, even if he no longer wielded the power inherent to his race. He certainly hadn’t forgotten how to fight.
Cael laughed loudly, the eerie booming sound ringing in the small tavern as two men tried to grab his arms. He kicked and punched his way out of it, shaking them off with practiced ease.
“Halt!” bellowed a voice, causing all twelve men to instantaneously cease their attack.
All the men were panting, giving Cael time to get his bearings and look around. The word had been spoken in his language, but it lacked the proper accent.
Will wonders never cease! I end up in this backwater hole and run into wanna-be fairies. And if another bloody person speaks my tongue I’m going to rip it out of them.  Cael wiped his nose. It was bleeding and he was winded. Still he flexed his fingers and stood tall. He took the time to eye every single man that surrounded him—letting each, in turn, feel his dark rage. He practically hummed for them to come at him again. More than a couple of the men would sport black eyes in a few hours. He wished he felt something for his actions but he didn’t.
“Move aside Alec.” An old man pushed his way through the feisty crew.
Cael eyed the man’s approach, sensing the deep druid power that vibrated around him. He judged him to be in his late sixties, and power clung to him, effortlessly. Cael cleared his throat. “Who are you?”
“Name’s Devon. You’re not welcome here.”
“The woman, where did she go?” Cael scanned the crowd. I lost her. I bloody well lost her. He gritted his teeth in frustration and wiped his sweaty hands on his jeans.
“She’s not for the likes of you.”
The Druid grasped Cael’s forearms hard in a traditional warrior embrace. The intimate action stilled Cael’s thoughts. It had been such a long time that for one moment he almost let the Druid’s inner eye scan his thoughts. Quickly Cael blocked the probe that was testing his strength.
That wouldn’t do at all. He was surprised to feel such a strong current of power flow from the Druid. Well, well, well, a pure-blooded Druid, of the Lunar warrior clan, hiding in the backwoods of Cape BretonWill wonders never cease?
The knowledge that he was dealing with a Druid stirred a restless part of him that recalled a time best forgotten. In that time he and a Druid Priest, who he once called friend, used to test each other’s powers. That time was so long ago that for Cael it almost seemed like it had never been. 
Not breaking contact with the stranger, he snarled, “I want the woman.”
“I be knowing what you are and we will protect her from the likes of you.”
The Druid glared at him, while the surge of power singed Cael’s forearms.
“We will all protect her,” said one of the Highlanders, who had initially moved aside for the older man.
“It’s not like I’m going to harm her. I just wanted…” I am not going to explain myself. It’s none of their business.
“We be knowing what you want even if you don’t. The answer is still no. Now, get out before I let me boys beat you to a pulp,” snapped the old man.
Cael knew the old man said that more for show because there was no way in this lifetime the other Highlander Druids could actually do serious damage to him. While he might get broken ribs and all, his skill was too advanced for them.
Not that it mattered, anyway.
 Bloody hell, nothing like having burnt and blistering skin to top my day off. Cael didn’t flinch as more heat radiated from the old man straight to every nerve ending on his arms. Moving would be a dead giveaway that he felt anything at all. As strange as it was he knew this was a test.
“Pop, get out of the way so I can finish what he started,” snarled a dark-haired Highlander, whose lip was cut open.
He was the Highlander Cael’s fist had made first contact with. A feral smile lit up Cael’s eyes, daring him on. Cael sensed the darkness resting deep within this one Highlander and took the time to appraise him.
“Cut it out, Alec. He’s leaving.”
The old man finally let go of Cael’s arms, so he could step in front of Alec, blocking the dark vibe that radiated out from the younger Highlander. Cael didn’t bother glancing down. He knew there were burn marks on his skin. To hell with it. She’s not worth it.
He turned, picked up his leather jacket that had been trampled during the brief fight, and marched out of the tavern. Most of the patrons had already left when the first punch had been thrown. He pushed his still-burning arms into his jacket, noting the night was as dark as his mood.
The moon was obscured by heavy cloud cover, the temperature was even colder than before and Cael swore he saw his breath as he trudged uphill. Fuck the road. At least he knew where he was going—straight up.
Finally something simple for a change. It had taken one inquiry to discern the location of the Highland cemetery. Had he known he was that close after getting off the godforsaken bus, he’d have hiked there and back. But then I would have missed out on that wee bit of adventure and that voice. A fleeting smile creased Cael’s face.
 Just thinking about that throaty-sexy voice made him hard. Yeah, a few scrapes were worth it. Too bad I’ll never see her again. Then again, why bother with her? By tomorrow I’ll have proven to myself that the blasted rumor is nothing. I’ll have hitchhiked back to civilization, have my banker wire me money and then get my ass back home where the sun shines!
However, none of that made him feel any better. In fact, all he kept thinking about was the sultry voice that set his cock on fire. He had forgotten how much he enjoyed the slow, pounding rhythm of the song. And Cael knew that song, well. Too well, in fact, recalling the last night he’d spent coupling with Queen Mir and her consorts.
Yeah, better not to think of the past or that night. If I keep thinking about that, my cock might bloody well freeze straight up. He winced at his own humor. But hell, after a thousand years living this life it was a miracle he was still sane. Not one hundred per cent, but nobody’s  perfect.
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