by Sidney

Guest Blog & Giveaway with Karen Stivali

August 27, 2012 in Contest, Guest Blog by Sidney

I’d like to thank the lovely Ms. Bristol for turning her blog over to me for the day. Thanks, Sid! We’ve known each other for about a year now, having met on Twitter around the time my first novella, Always You, released last September. Now we not only both write for Ellora’s Cave, but we also have short stories in the same Foreign Affairs Anthology.

The stories in the anthology are all romances starring sexy foreign men. My story, ALL I NEED, is actually a prequel to my first full length novel which officially releases today. (Squee!) Daniel, my charming, witty, utterly irresistible, adorably British main character is without question my favorite of all the characters I’ve ever written, which probably explains why I’ve spent two novels and two short stories telling his tale. And, truth be told, I may not be done with him yet.

MEANT TO BE is women’s fiction with strong romantic elements. It’s a friends-to- lovers story with a bit of a twist. I’ll be honest, it’s on the steamy side for women’s fiction, but it’s not as spicy as my erotic romances. No matter what genre I’m writing I focus on the relationships, and adult relationships involve sex, so that’s a feature in all of my stories. Fade-to-black sex scenes always leave me wanting to know what happened, so you won’t find those in my books.

Karen has offered to give away a copy of the anthology, Foreign Affairs. Contest will run until Wednesday, when the comments will close and I will select one winner at random. Simply answer the question: What is your favorite romance trope?

Here’s the blurb for Meant To Be, and a sneak peek at an excerpt:

Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti.

She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.

Purchase at: Smashwords | All Romance eBooks | Turquoise Morning Press | Amazon


Marienne watched as Daniel grabbed a bottle of Coke out of her fridge.

He unscrewed the cap and took a drink. “It’s quite difficult to understand American slang when English isn’t your native tongue.”

He continued speaking but Marienne’s mind was caught on the words native tongue. Or, more specifically, tongue. More precisely still, Daniel’s tongue. She’d always loved the sound of his voice, the expressiveness of his choice of words, but sometimes she just enjoyed watching his mouth. This was one of those times. She studied his tongue as it moved to form his words, as it licked his lips when he paused to think, as it pressed against the Coke bottle when he drank. Heat prickled through her.

Is it hot in here or is it him? She was unable to focus on the thought as once again she was mesmerized. Now it was curved upward, pressing against the back of his top teeth as he looked at her, eyes narrowed.

“Are you all right?” he asked. The concern in his voice caught her attention as did the puzzled look on his face.

“What?” She no longer remembered what they’d been discussing.

“You’re not listening to a word I say, and that’s not like you. I’ve been speaking total gibberish and you didn’t even react. Are you okay? You’re all flushed.”

She tried to think of a way to explain to her best friend that she’d been too busy obsessing to concentrate. He’s divorced. Frank’s gone. Maybe I should. Her heart galloped.

He leaned over and felt her forehead. She held her breath, dizzy from his touch. She wanted to scoot forward and kiss him, hard, on the lips, but didn’t dare to move. Thoughts of the kiss, and his tongue, flashed through her mind.

“You’re really warm.” His hand trailed to her cheek, flipping over so he could assess her with the back of his fingers. They felt cool and silky along the contours of her face and she pressed against them.

His brow furrowed. “You’ve got a fever.”

What? Her hand flew to her forehead. “Shit,” she said, as even she could feel the burning warmth.

He grabbed a glass from her cupboard and held it beneath the ice dispenser. The crystal chunks tumbled into it. “You must have finally caught whatever Ella had last weekend.” He filled it with water and handed it to her.

“Oh, God. You’re right.” Ella had come home sick from preschool three days ago and that was the standard grace period Marienne usually got before catching things from her daughter. She rested her head on the kitchen table.


Daniel smiled at Marienne’s whining; she was acting like Ella.

“Drink your water.” He opened another cabinet and reached for the Tylenol. He shook out two and returned the bottle to the top shelf.

“Here.” He rubbed his knuckles against the top of her hand. “Take these.”

She groaned.

“Take them.” He nudged a second time. Heat radiated from her skin. Enticing. Alluring. He shuddered, trying to shake the thoughts from his mind. “Come on now, be a good girl.”

She sat up and scowled. He smiled and dropped the tablets into her upturned hand. The backs of his fingers grazed her palm and a tingling flush rippled through him.

She stared at him, eyes defiant, then popped the pills into her mouth and took a sip of water. She flipped her head back and swallowed hard, an action that caused Daniel to gulp as well. He wanted nothing more than to swoop down and kiss her with total abandon, to feel her overheated body, to be immersed inside her.

He said the only words he could think: “Let’s get you up to bed.”

Author Bio:

Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking extravagant meals and serving them to family and friends. Prior to deciding to write full time Karen worked as a hand drawn animator, a clinical therapist, and held various food-related jobs ranging from waitress to specialty cake maker. Planning elaborate parties and fundraisers takes up what’s left of her time and sanity.

Karen has always been fascinated by the way people relate to one another so she favors books and movies that feature richly detailed characters and their relationships. In her own writing she likes to explore the dynamics between characters and has a tendency to craft romantic love stories filled with sarcasm and sexy details.

Amazon Author Page:


by Sidney

Hot Heroes Blog Hop

August 13, 2012 in Contest, Let Me Tell You, My Books by Sidney

Welcome Dear Reader!

Some of you are regulars, some are hitting me up through the hop, which you can find the links for below. Today, and the rest of this week, I’m participating in the Hot Summer Heroes Blog Hop. I feel like this is rather appropriate since I returned from Author’s After Dark late last night. Please, forgive my typos and lack of caffine. There’s an update about the conference coming, I swear, but today I want to talk about the theme of the hop.


Last week I started watching a TNT science-fiction drama called Falling Skies. The basic premise is that aliens have invaded, killed billions of people, stolen our children and now small bands of survivors are fighting back. How many things have you read or watched with a similar plot? Yeah, I can name a few as well.

What sets Falling Skies apart for me is our nerdy, former professor hero. Now, he also has a military background, but whenever some set back or other occures with the invaders, he pulls from these lessons he would have taught his students. In the ending of season one in particular he delivers a moving speech about how through history a few, passionate people with everything to loose have defeated greater forces.

I like unusal heroes.

The former military turned professor turned resistance guy.

The low-man-on-the-totem werewolf.

The handicapped, unassuming hero who can do everything his able-bodied fellow men can do.

Those are the books that make my fingers itch to turn the page and figure out what happens! In a way all of romance features unusual heroes, big burly men who secretly like to cuddle, or the big bad alpha guy who also knows how to waltz. We’re attracted to these out of the box characteristics. Every time I sit down to write a new hero I ask myself, what sets him apart?

In my first book, Flirting with Rescue, Scott is the ultimate animal lover. In Personal Adventures, Carey is the kind of guy who leaves a comfortable life to do something that makes him happy. In Under His Skin, Brian sets out to take back his life after tragedy and spits in the face of those who tell him he’ll never walk again. In Dream Vacation, Luc has transformed himself and takes the chance to fly halfway across the world to meet the woman he thinks he’s in love with.

Think of your favorite books, what was unusual about the hero? What drew you to falling head over heels for him?

I’m offering one of my three Ellora’s Cave books (Flirting with Rescue, Personal Adventures or Under His Skin) and the winner’s choice of a gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble to one commentor. Simply answer my above questions. The contest is international, since this is an electronic delivery, and ends on the 19th.

by Sidney

Jayne Kingston dishes about Ink Lust and youth.

July 30, 2012 in Contest, Guest Blog by Sidney

Today I have my very last Pricked Party guest. I can’t believe July is almost over! Without further ado, here is the lovely Jayne Kingston…

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Sidney! I appreciate the opportunity to share a little about Ink Lust, my contribution to the smokin’ hot Pricked series Ellora’s Cave released this month, and to talk about my love of tattoos.

To say that I’m something of a late bloomer is a gross understatement. Despite that fact that I have always been fascinated with tattoos, tattooed people and the art itself—although it sadly isn’t art at all in way too many cases… but I’ll save that rant for my own blog—I was the ripe old age of twenty-seven before I got my first. And that little guy was twelve years in the making.

It was a little green snake wrapped around a little red heart that I doodled when I was fifteen. I was seventeen when I got the idea to get it low and off to one side of my lower back after watching the James Bond movie Octopussy with my then boyfriend. Cut to ten years, one marriage and three kids later, and I was ready to go!

My first tattoo artist was a guy a friend of mine dated for a summer when she was a teenager. She wanted me to go first to make sure he was good before she sat in his chair. (Nice, right?) I’m happy to say he’s beyond good, and not just because he didn’t roll his eyes at me when I handed him that somewhat tattered square of yellow legal paper proudly displaying my little doodle.

It took forty-five minutes from start to finish, and I was in love. Not with the artists—although he is a hottie—but with the little green and red doodle that has been a permanent part of me from that moment. I showed it to everyone but my father. I spent too much time with my butt propped on the bathroom sink admiring it. I would giggle to myself in dressing rooms when it would catch my eye as I was trying on clothes.

More than that… I was hooked!! I wanted more.

I’ve been to my first artist twice since then, both times for progressively bigger and more detailed work that I LOVE! I’ve sat for two more artists since then—one I shouldn’t have because I knew better going into it, and one I should have started going to a LOT sooner.

Do I regret any of my tattoos? Only one that got no farther than an outline on my hip, and I can either cover it or *gulp* have it removed. Will I do it more, even though I’m rolling well into my forties? You bet I will. How else am I going to be the most colorful granny on the block?

What’s your tattoo story? Do yours have significant meaning? Were they spur of the moment or well planned out in advance? Any you’d like to get but haven’t so far? I’d love to hear your story.

Sharing has its rewards. One randomly chosen commenter will win a copy of Ink Lust.


Leni Brewster should have been disappointed when her twin sister had to bail on holding her hand during her first tattoo, but going to her appointment solo means time alone with the sexy-as-hell tattoo artist who falls into the Do Not Touch category two-fold.

Only Jamie Rodriguez isn’t as off-limits as Leni thinks. Privately single for months, Jamie finds himself more than looking forward to having the hot little librarian in his chair. And when she accidentally reveals a naughty secret about herself, he can’t get his hands on her fast enough—he has to know what else she’s hiding under that buttoned-up exterior of hers.

What he discovers sets his blood to boiling, igniting a burning determination to test every single one of the boundaries, both personal and physical, she’s set for herself.


“You ready for me?”

Leni looked up at well over six feet of lean, muscled and tattooed man, bit the inside of her bottom lip and thought, More than you’ll ever know, buddy.

“You bet,” she answered, giving Jamie her sweetest smile as she sent the text she’d been writing to her sister, tucked her phone into her purse and stood.

“Are we still going with the ribcage?” he asked, leading her out of the tattoo shop’s busy waiting area and through the hall to his room at the back of the building. “It’s a tough spot for even the most seasoned aficionado. You think you can hang getting it there your first time out?”

She caught the small smirk on that beautiful mouth of his, the glint in his mossy green eyes. He was fucking with her.

“You calling me a wimp?” she asked, arching an eyebrow at him.

“All right.” He shook his head, his tone dripping skepticism. He stepped aside and swept his arm through the open door to his room, motioning for her to go first. “We’ll find out what you’re made of when it gets down to it. Are you all right with me locking the door so no one walks in on us?”

“Please do.” She nodded and felt the first shiver of nerves. Whether it was from the long hours she had ahead of her in the chair or being locked in a room with a man she’d started fantasizing about long before her love life went to hell, she couldn’t be sure.

Jamie Rodriguez was off limits. Way off limits.

Leni lived by the rule “you don’t do your ex’s friends or your friends’ exes,” and Jamie fell woefully into the category of the former. Which was a big, big shame. Just the sight of him made her feel all warm and gooey inside.

She loved the contrast of his purposely mussed black hair and olive skin with his deep green eyes. More rugged than outright handsome, he had an edgy look that intimidated some people, and with good reason. He’d more than earned his reputation for being tough when the situation called for it, but he was also the kind of guy who’d do anything for the people he held closest to his heart.

On top of that, he had a warm, wide, readily available smile that was absolutely breathtaking. Factor in his tall, athletic frame, arms tattooed to the wrist on both sides—she had no idea how far they went under his shirt as she’d sadly never seen him without one—and the man was sex on two very long legs.

Available here:

Ellora’s Cave:


Barnes and Noble:

Jayne Kingston is a fledgling erotic romance author. She loves telling stories about people with a lust for life in pursuit of love hereafter. You can find her all over the internet, starting with her website: See you there!


by Sidney

Saranna DeWylde and the meaning of tattoos.

July 25, 2012 in Contest, Guest Blog by Sidney

This entry is part 12 of 15 in the series Pricked Party

Saranna is going to give away ONE copy of Furyous Ink per TEN comments, so comment away people! I will draw a winner on the 27th and announce it here on my blog.

I have a tribal tattoo on my thumb.

I got it when I was sixteen to piss off my mother. I was at a friend’s house and her brother had just gotten out of prison and asked me if I wanted a tattoo. He said he’d do it for free. Sixteen and intelligence don’t always go hand in hand. I nodded vigorously and he set about giving me my first tatt. The homemade gun didn’t have a needle, it used a piece of guitar string and hurt like holy Hell.

And I didn’t get the tribal art I wanted, I got something that looks like a cross between a tick and a spider. It’s the only tattoo I have that I regret. It kept me off of Missouri Highway Patrol because of its resemblance to a spider. A spider tattoo on your hand is a common tattoo among the Aryan Brotherhood—a gang that is believed to have its roots in San Quentin. Most commonly it means that the wearer is a racist. As I am not, I usually wear a ring over this tattoo. It gave me no end of trouble when I was working in the prison. I had lots of inmates think I would either treat them better or worse than they deserved based on that tattoo.

In prison, tattoos are another language with which to communicate information. They can note a person’s crime, status, sentence, and even their “specialties.” Some have multiple meanings. Teardrops, for instance, can mean the wearer has killed someone and the number of teardrops means how many, or it can be a tear for a loved one they’ve lost. A spider web can mean a web of addiction, but most commonly when its placed on the elbow, it means that the wearer is killer.

Many of these tattoos that are specific to certain gangs, if an uninitiated person is found with them, they will give the wearer the option to remove the tattoo themselves or said faction will remove it for them—usually by cutting off the offending tattoo.

There was inmate I knew who got “Evil Minded” tattooed across his forehead. He was only doing a short bid, though. Most inmates don’t get tattoos on their forehead in they’re doing life without the possibility of parole or belong to MS-13. In MS-13, every tattoo has a significant meaning and the more tattoos you have, the higher your place in the gang.

I think about these things when I write tattooed characters. My heroine in Furyous Ink is a tattoo artist and tattoos are an intrinsic part of her culture, especially with the Amazons. I designed the tattoos myself that marked the Arachne and the Amazons. They utilize a spider, but it is never on the wearers’ hands. Each signifies the others triumph over their enemies. For the Amazons, it’s a great horned owl clutching a spider and for the Arachne, it’s a spider clutching the owl in its legs.

Furyous Ink was a fun book to write and I hope readers have just as much fun with it as I did.

Marcus Kage has four dead women on his hands. As a detective, he knows that’s more trouble than his city needs. As a Lycanos, he knows that’s more trouble than his city can handle. A tattoo found on each vic identifies them as Amazons, and Athena’s tribe of warrior women need half an excuse to start a war on a good day. A clue leads him to the artist who tattooed the victims—and suddenly Marcus can barely keep his horny beast at bay.

As a Fury, Megaera Eumenides can see straight to the soul of a man, and she likes what she finds in the strong, honorable Alpha. They claim each other, mark each other, and with every heated mating their bond grows stronger. Life would be just about perfect if they didn’t have a supernatural assassin to avoid…and Marcus’ past haunting him…and Meg’s secrets to overcome…and a murderer on the loose.

Buy Here: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Saranna bio:Saranna De Wylde has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Since then, she’s published horror, romance and narrative nonfiction. Like all writers, Saranna has held a variety of jobs, from operations supervisor for an airline, to an assistant for a call girl, to a corrections officer. But like Hemingway said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.” So she traded in her cuffs for a full-time keyboard. She loves to hear from her readers.

Email: ">

Website | Twitter | Facebook

by Sidney

Guest Blog: A Cowboy by any other name? A Gentleman!

July 24, 2012 in Contest, Guest Blog by Sidney

Contest reminder: You can still enter my contest from Saturday!

Today I have the lovely Cerise DeLand joining us to chat about men, cowboys and manners. As a fellow Texan, I’d like to tip my hat to her for appreciating the God’s gift to women that is a true Texas Cowboy.

While tough talkin’ Texans seem to fit the cliché for cowboys, another set of generalities is really the truth.

These tough men are tender, funny and gentlemen.

How do I know this?

Well, I live here. Have for nearly 17 years and I hail from the East Coast where the men are different.

So, lemme just say, that Texas men are a big change from the guys in the suits in major cities. How so? For openers, Texas men open doors for women. Yes. Car doors. Restaurant doors. Even gym doors. They rush—did I say, rush?—to do that?

Dear Reader, they do.

What else?

They do wear hats. Big broad brimmed hats. Why? Cuz cowboys work in the hot, smoldering, scorching, bejeezus-it-is-blistering sun. But they wear their hats with fine style. Favored are Stetsons, but Gamblers and … make a hit. And in the good ol’ summertime, Resistols in white are charmers.

They take their hats off in church, but most often not in bars. On Friday or Saturday nights, they leave them on in the dance halls too. Yum yum yum. Helps them dance better. Why?

Balances out the broad shoulders.



Back to business. Cowboys here in Texas have the gift of gab. I have never, and I do mean NEVER, met a man here who did not want to tell you about his cattle, his truck, his gun, his dog and his wife/honey/girlfriends. They are as my father used to say, vaccinated with graphophone needles! Why?

Because until recently, most folks in Texas never saw another living soul except on Sunday at church. Or Saturday night at the local Bend-Your-Elbow Saloon. So talk might be cheap, but it is plentiful, baby, when you have the chance to use it!

Most striking thing of all about Texas men is that they are downright funny. Have a sample of phrases I have heard coming from the mouths of these men:

A man who is a skirt chaser–The only folks who know he’s married are the ones who were at the wedding! or

Will change everything about you but your name!

Stuck up woman–Uses so many mud packs, she could drain a swamp!

Getting married--holy bedrock.

Bad cook–If she’d been cooking for the Yankees, the South would’ve won the war.

Foolish–Would pick a fight with a skunk.

Hangover–The Baptist bell choir is ringing in your head.

My Texas men in print reflect these funny endearing men!

To 2 people who come and comment, I will give away to each one, one of my westerns, either FALLING FAST or HARD DRIVIN’ MAN.

And my latest is a sheriff in a romantic comedy with a touch of suspense in IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET?

Available at Amazon

and ARe

Texas Men: The finest males since God created Adam!

by Sidney

Giveaway Winners!

July 20, 2012 in Contest by Sidney

Contest winners!

I have two contests to announce the winners for.

First up is my contest from last Saturday. The winner was Ashley! And she said:

Under His Skin sounds fabulous! I love books about tattoo artist/musicians. To have them both together is super exciting.

Thanks Ashley! You’ll get an email from me soon.

The second contest was Regina Cole’s. The winner of her contest is Laura B, who said:

I don’t have a tattoo but I do want one. I haven’t decided what I want but a friend once told me I had too many books and I replied that you could never have too many books so I would like to get a tattoo that represents that somehow. I can’t wait to read this book – It sounds really good! Laura

Congrats to both of the winners!

by Sidney

Sidney Bristol is SO INKED

July 20, 2012 in Contest, Let Me Tell You, My Books by Sidney

Under His Skin is out in the wild!

As of now it is up for purchase and you can get it in your hot little hands NOW and read it!

Under His Skin, So Inked #1, Pricked Series   Ellora’s Cave | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

A woman who doesn’t believe she deserves love…

Toe-curling kisses and enough sex to fill a weekend were all Pandora wanted from a fling with her teenage crush. She’s never forgotten how he played the knight in shining armor to her damsel in distress. She’s ready to say thank you in several naughty ways, so long as she can walk away when it’s over with her heart intact.

A man moving on from tragedy…

Brian has no intention of allowing the feisty tattoo artist to leave him after one taste. He hasn’t had enough of her inked curves. The packaging might have changed, but Pandy is the woman he hasn’t been able to excise from his memory. He’s ready to put together a new life, one that includes her. But he’s not the only one vying for her attention. Someone else wants her, dead or alive.

 For more information, to read ead an excerpt or watch the trailer here.

by Sidney

Regina Cole’s First Tattoo and WIN Indelibly Intimate!

July 17, 2012 in Contest, Guest Blog by Sidney

Don’t forget about my contest from Saturday!

I have another Pricked author here today! Welcome Regina Cole to the site. Her book Indelibly Intimate is on my ereader now, so excuse me while I go read something spicey. If you want to catch up with Regina, check in with her in any of these venues: Website | Twitter | Facebook

When I was a freshman in college, I decided I was going to get a tattoo. Of course, I was completely clueless about them. Google wasn’t quite as useful to me back then as it is now, so I didn’t put in the necessary research. But I did find this cute little graphic of comedy/tragedy masks, and decided to get them on my hip. I had forty bucks to spend, and I HAD to hide it from my parents. Period.

My roommate and I went to this sketchy little place across from my college. I think it was called Start to Finish Tattoo. Lots of hot rods and checkered flags and none-too-clean floor tiles. I asked the jaded guy behind the counter how much my tiny little tattoo would cost. He laughed at me, said it’d have to be at least triple the size I’d wanted, and said it would cost me 80 bucks.

Hrmph. I walked out of there feeling like a stupid little girl (which I was,) who’d just been schooled (which I had.)

I was too chicken to get anything bigger than a postage stamp at the time, so I waited. I was barely out of the nest, and a rebellion like a real-live tattoo would have gotten me tarred and feathered at the very least.

A year later, I had a bit more cash to spend, a fiance and a wedding on the way, and a few friends who were into the idea, so we got a tattoo together.

We were all theatre majors (thus the previous drama mask idea.) We met while auditioning for a play called “Selkie.” It was based on this children’s story about the Scottish legend of the Selkie, or seal shapeshifting women. We all got parts as selkies. We were all sisters. We found the perfect tattoo idea: The word “Piuthar”. The Scots-Gaelic word for sister. It sits on my lower back, a constant reminder of my forever sisters.

In a way, I’m really glad that I didn’t get that tiny mask tattoo. It would have looked really crappy after a year or two. No tattoo that small can have any kind of intricate detail. The skin changes, so the ink changes, and small tattoos don’t weather the storm very well. I did love the design, but I didn’t know the things I know about ink now.

I don’t regret any of my tattoos though. They’re all badges of where I’ve been in life. Kind of like a living scrapbook, made of my own skin. I can’t imagine getting a tattoo I wouldn’t love. Of course, I’ve been really lucky with my artists.

I’m just glad I didn’t let a jerk ex-boyfriend put his initials on me. Sadly, Quinn LaBrea, from my new release INDELIBLY INTIMATE, wasn’t so lucky.

Want to win a copy of INDELIBLY INTIMATE? I want to give one to you! Tell me about your favorite tattoo. Don’t have one? Describe your perfect imaginary tattoo. Hate tattoos? Yeah, you’re probably in the wrong place, but comment anyway. Maybe Hammer and I can change your mind. ;) We’ll select a random commenter for a FREE ebook copy of II!

Read on for an excerpt!

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.


Copyright © REGINA COLE, 2012

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

He rolled a stool up beside her chair and straddled it, sitting much closer than a perfect stranger should.

Despite the way her body reacted, or maybe because of it, she leaned forward, crowding him a bit. He didn’t take the bait.

“I’m Quinn. Quinn LaBrea.” She stuck her hand out, nearly hitting his chest. He’d have to move back now.

“Hamilton Dean. You can call me Hammer.” Smooth as a milkshake, he shook her hand without budging his torso a bit. The awkward angle didn’t prohibit his touch from causing a flutter in her chest.

“What kind of a name is Hammer?” She didn’t pull away and he didn’t let her go.

“The kind of name people respect in this business. Try telling some of these customers that their tattoo artist is named Hamilton.”

Quinn laughed and pulled from his warm grip. “I guess you’re right.”

He smiled in the silence. She’d have to be an idiot not to notice the way his gaze lingered on her mouth. Despite her conscious brain saying no, her tongue darted out to dampen her lips.

“So,” he said, moving away abruptly. Quinn had to fight to keep from clutching her temples. He’d spun so quickly it made her dizzy. “What did you want to cover that bad boy with?”

Decision time. Why hadn’t she thought about this before? She blurted the first thing she could think of. “A dragon.”

She couldn’t blame him for the dubious expression he quickly hid. “A dragon.”

“No,” she sighed. “A rose?”

He didn’t say a word, only stared at her with raised brows.

“All right, fine.” She smacked the leather arms of her seat. “I have no freaking clue. I don’t want to see his damn initials every day.”

Hammer nodded sagely. “I thought it was something like that. What kind of crap artist did you get who would put a boyfriend’s initials on you?” He grabbed his sketchbook and a pencil from the cupboard.

Quinn was glad he looked away. The annoyance and frustration boiled away at her insides and she needed a second to control the venom. After all, she needed this shit covered tonight. Even if she had to survive on Ramen noodles for the next three months, she wasn’t going another night with the reminder of her loneliness emblazoned like a neon sign reading “pathetic loser” on her thigh.

“The so-called ‘artist’ was my boyfriend at the time. I’m not an idiot and I won’t be doing anything like that again. So if you could save the lecture, Mom, I’d appreciate it.”

Hammer was not a stupid man. He kept his gaze glued to his sketchbook. He hadn’t meant to pluck a nerve with Quinn but that was obviously what had happened. He’d have to choose his words more carefully if he wanted to get to know her. And if the slow, deep throb in his groin was any indication, he really, really wanted to get to know her.

“I’d love to help you figure out what would be best to cover that spot with. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?” He glanced up in time to see her nod. “Great. Just relax and we’ll come up with something special. So your name is Quinn. And you’re a waitress.”

Her knuckles went white and Hammer began to be nervous for the leather chair arms. Surely she wasn’t digging her fingernails into them.

“So help me god, if you suggest a waitress-themed tattoo, I will kick your ass so hard…”

His laugh interrupted her. “No worries, Sparky, I wouldn’t do you like that.”

Her glare was murderous and it made him laugh harder. She was definitely a firecracker. The nickname was perfect.

“So nothing waitress-like.” He nodded down at the sketchpad’s blank page. An idea gripped him, something that would be the perfect combination of Quinn’s fire and his ability. He began sketching as he talked. “So what do you like? What’s your favorite hobby, color, animal? Talk to me, let me get to know you. I’m thinking we can get some good ideas for your cover-up that way.”

“I like to read, I guess. Um, I write poetry now and then. Red and orange are my favorite colors. Like a fiery sunset.” Her voice was a little husky when she wasn’t busting his balls. He liked it. “I have goldfish at my apartment. I love dogs and cats but I’m not home enough to take care of them, so I stick with fish.” It wasn’t hard to hear the little thread of regret in her words.

Hammer stopped sketching and looked at her. She stared across the room at nothing at all, the corners of her full lips downturned. Her bangs nearly covered her left eye, almost making her appear as if she was hiding from the world.

“Hey,” he said, reaching out to brush her cheek with a finger. “You okay?”

She nodded but drew back a little. His fingers went cold without the soft heat of her skin. Dipping his head, he went back to his sketch.

“Goldfish, huh? I’d have figured you were more into the aggressive aquarium life, Sparky.”
Her angry snort lightened the mood by a ton. “Why do you enjoy irritating me so much?”

“Because you’re cute when you’re pissed.” He didn’t pause, even though her outraged gasp covered most of his next sentence. “So where are you from? Where’d you grow up?”

Quinn scooted up to the edge of the chair, readying herself to jump down. She was apparently in such a mood she didn’t notice how her white skirt rode up indecently high on her thighs.

Hammer sucked in a breath and put down his sketchpad. Standing up, he straddled her legs. “Hey. Relax. This is business, okay Sparky?”

He’d stepped much closer than he intended to. But once he was there, he couldn’t stop. Leaning forward, he braced himself on the armrests of the tattoo chair. Her sweet mouth was only inches away now.

“Hammer?” Quinn’s eyes were wide and soft as she looked up at him.

“Yeah,” he whispered, halfway to her mouth already.

She nearly spat the words. “Back the fuck off.”

She didn’t hit him but her knee jerked upright enough to show him that she could have if she’d wanted. He backed up slowly.

“Business. That’s it. Nothing like that will happen again.” He turned back to his sketchpad. The “tonight” came out so softly he was sure she didn’t hear. He might not have won this battle but he was patient. And Quinn had something he desperately wanted.

“The only reason I’m not leaving is that deal you were going to cut me. I can’t afford another artist and I refuse to go one more day with Guy’s shit on my leg.” Quinn sat back in the chair. “It doesn’t matter a damn bit what you cover it with as long as it’s not his name.”

Hammer smiled down at the sketch he’d finished roughing in. “Are you sure?”

She crossed her arms tightly beneath her breasts. “Positive.”

“Well,” he said, holding the sketchbook toward her, “what about something like this?”

She was completely silent, not even breathing for a long while. Hammer’s gaze never left her, searching for some response to what he’d drawn. Did she like it? Hate it? Would it matter either way? He was afraid he knew the answer to that question, but he sure as hell didn’t know why.

“Hammer,” she whispered, tracing a line with her forefinger. “It’s perfect.”

Leaning against the top of the chair, he watched over her shoulder. The phoenix rising from the flames on the page wasn’t what he meant when he said, “You’re right. Perfect.”


Buy Here: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

by Sidney

Giveaway Winner!

July 16, 2012 in Contest by Sidney

I have another winner to announce! The winner of Kate Hill’s contest is Jacki! Who said:

I LOVE the big cat shifters – all of that animal grace and power. Really makes me want to see what makes him purr. :)

Congrats to Jacki!

Don’t forget about stopping by Sabrina’s blog today, or entering my contest from Saturday.


by Sidney

How Writers with ADD can — SQUIRREL! with Sabrina York

July 16, 2012 in Contest, Guest Blog by Sidney

Contest reminders: you can still enter my contest from Saturday!

Today I have the wonderfully naughty Sabrina York here with plenty of distracting shiny bits to share. I’m a huge fan of her Trillo Brothers books, if you’re into a little office romance with some kink. So sit back and enjoy a little spazy fun.

They didn’t have ADD when I was growing up.

Well, they had it. They just called it something else: Spastic.

At least that was what my older sister called it. Called me.

And I was.

Like a windup toy, I would keep plugging on, bumping from one baseboard to the other until I eventually fell down the stairs—and even then, crumpled in a heap at the bottom, my legs would keep moving. From dawn til dusk, and long after bedtime, I was going.

Some people think that attention deficit disorder occurs when a person isn’t really interested in anything. That’s not true. It happens when a person is interested in everything.

That’s been my challenge my entire life.

There is just too much I want to do, to learn, to explore!

How do you decide? How do you commit? How do you excel at any one thing when there are so many more possibilities in the offing?

Thank God I discovered an early love of books. And thank God I lived on an Army base in the middle of an enormous rice paddy in China so when I ran out of books to read in our—rather limited library—I started writing my own.

Yeah, I discovered that obsession for writing—for controlling the universe, or at least my tiny corner of it—early on.

But it wasn’t the only thing I was interested in. Oh no. I was also interested in… everything else. I’m the kind of person who loves buffets—because I can have a little of everything. 

I’m a crafty chick so I’ve ‘done’ it all. One year everyone in my family got a quilt for Christmas. The next year, handmade stationery. The next, stained glass windows. Rubber stamps? Tole painting? Beading? Been there, done that.

Right now, I’m into Pintrest.

Oh and writing.

And speaking of writing… What a challenge that can be for someone with ADD. Even when you can settle down long enough to pick a story to work on, plotting and editing require focus. Sometimes hours upon hours of focus. The only solution is to find a story that is so absolutely fascinating, it captures and holds your attention. Characters you are so in love with, you want to spend time with them. Maybe need to.

As a new writer, I wasn’t even really sure who I was. I dabbled in romance and women’s fiction and sci fi and fantasy. I wrote screenplays and execrable poetry. Pedantic literary fiction. Articles on how to entertain your children over summer vacation. Technical treatises on veritable grade septic systems (not kidding about that, by the way). I wrote everything.

I think the phrase I’m looking for here is, “Jack of all Trades, Master of None.”

Then one day I was whining to a published friend of mine about how my writing career wasn’t getting any traction. She looked at me askance (she often does) and politely suggested I consider finishing something.

Well. What a novel concept.

I think her exact words were: “Finish the damn book!”

But finishing something meant making a commitment. Picking one of those genres and powering through the prose, slogging through the edits and polishing. That would take a lot of focus.

Because what they don’t tell you when you sign up to be a writer is: Writing is the easy part. Gushing words on a page is a breeze.

It’s getting them in the right order that will kill you.  And, even worse, figuring out which of them needed to die a brutal death. 

I much preferred writing—endlessly, in fact—to editing.

And, did I mention—squirrel!

But she was right. And I knew it. So I looked at my project pile. And yes, it was a pile. A mile high. There was my wonderful 175,000-word (so far) epic fantasy inspired by George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones—with no fewer than seven major story lines threaded throughout—a young adult sci fi horror, a plethora of 90,000-word historical romances, a sprinkling of women’s fiction, a 120,000-word WWII novel and, oh, a short erotic novel.

Guess which one I picked.

Well, I finished that short erotic novel in record time. Partly because I enjoyed the hell out of writing about sex. I also discovered that when I wrote a shorter piece, I had better tolerance for the drudgery of editing. I fell so in love with the story and characters, I had to write the sequel.

And then I had another idea—wrote it. And another.

Oh my heavens! Before I knew it, I had a litany of completed erotic novels, novellas and short stories.

For me, that’s the true beauty of writing erotica—aside from the fact I really enjoy writing it and reading my work over and over and over again (because, let’s face it, it’s hot!). Erotic fiction doesn’t have to be 175,000-words to sell. Or even 90,000-words. In fact, sometimes, the shorter the better.

Because I’m not shooting for those marathon lengths, my stories are tighter and hotter and harder. I think we can overlook the fact that they are not always long…

(That was an erotica joke by the way, in case your mind’s not as dirty s mine.)

I still have to edit them, though, which requires focus. But I’m getting better. It really helps to get feedback from readers—to know I’m writing for someone. I just wish I had the good sense to write perfect prose the first time.

So how does a writer—or anyone—with ADD silence the noise in their brain? Rein in the stampeding steeds pulling them in too many directions?

The answer is passion. And not just the sexy steamy passion in my books. It’s the passion in your heart. It’s finding that delightful nugget, that chunk of the universe that excites you, inspires you, drives you to excel.

For me, that chunk of the universe is erotica. The wonderful genre wherein I can write anything and everything. As long or short as I desire.

Until I catch a glimpse of something shiny out of the corner of my eye., released to rave reviews followed quickly by the second book in this duet about a pair of tormented, sexy brothers, Tristan’s Temptation.

Sabrina York is an award winning author writing for Ellora’s Cave. She specializes in writing hot, funny romances with lots of steam, but—since she has ADD—has been known to wander off the path and flirt with stories featuring alien plant sex and BDSM. Her debut novel, Adam’s Obsession

Connect with Sabrina on Twitter at @sabrina_york or on Facebook. If you’re feeling brave, check out her naughty postings (definitely NSFW) on Pintrest. Of course, you can always check out coming books or read an excerpt at

Contest: Sign up for Sabrina’s newsletter to enter her contest to win a sexy pair of rhinestone handcuffs at Drawing Date: September 1, 2012.Check out Sabrina’s newest release, Rising Green, a true departure from her romantic dabblings. Forget happy endings and get ready for steamy erotic horror that will shock you even as it turns you on.

Rising Green

By Sabrina YorkChaos erupts for the members of a scientific expedition on a remote island in the Pacific when the team’s botanist, Sage Green, is impregnated with the spores of an alien plant form. She’s always been the crew’s Ice Princess, but now something’s changed. Now, something is driving her, raging through her, compelling her to screw every man on this desolate rock. Again and again and again.

What the very appreciative men don’t realize is that each illicit interaction, each hedonistic comingling, will take its toll on them as well. And no one can survive the torturous pleasure unscathed.

Reader Advisory: Forget happy endings and get ready for steamy erotic horror that will shock you even as it turns you on.

Rising Green Excerpt

Copyright © SABRINA YORK, 2012

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

From the middle of the thicket, a thick stalk topped with a bulbous bud rose. It was reminiscent of Pinguicula grandiflora, but instead of purple it was a blood-red hue with bright-yellow streaks.

Sage set down her rucksack and pulled out her sample kit. Carefully, she sliced several cuttings into vials and dropped them into the sack. Then she pulled out her camera. She started with several long shots and then moved closer, stepping carefully on the leaves and vines for a tight shot of the flower. Its petals were tightly folded with a waxy velvet sheen. They shimmered in the weak sunlight. Smelled like poppies.

She stepped closer. Stroked.

It was silky-soft.

As though reacting to her touch, the petals began to curl back, unfurl. Sage stared in fascination as the stamen was revealed, long and thick, bright yellow and heavy with pollen. A swollen pustule throbbed at its base. She leaned closer, pulling her camera up for another shot.

And the bud exploded.

In a great puff, it ejaculated a cloud of tiny seeds. A thick haze surrounded her. Seeds crawled up her nostrils and clung to her lips. Her hair was dusted with them.

“Shit,” she said under her breath as she backed away. Coughing and sputtering, she brushed the spores from her shoulders, her chest.

A strange flutter danced through her belly, followed by a wave of dizziness. Her vision blurred and weakness washed through her. Her thighs trembled and she stumbled, unable to negotiate her own feet. Fighting unconsciousness, she dropped to her knees.

And then she fell into the embrace of a soft bed of leaves.

She awoke to a dream. A misty, murmured haze.

Struggling to rouse herself out of the muddled cloud, she shook her head. The infinitesimal motion made her reel. She closed her eyes against the miasma, the exotic thrill skating through her. Her heart beat, distinct thuds pounding in her ears among a rushing tide.

Somewhere through the haze, she sensed movement. She wasn’t sure if she was moving or if the world moved around her. She felt as though she were floating, suspended, lighter than air.

A soft, questing tendril stroked her ankle. She tried to look at it but she couldn’t move. She couldn’t move at all.

The tendril tightened and another licked at her, on her other ankle.

A nip, gentle and oh so soft. Warmth blossomed at the spot, blossomed and rose within her until it flooded her being. A feeling of excitement—and impending doom—swamped her.

The tendrils at her ankles twined slowly, making their way up her calves. With each pass, they nipped again and the warmth expanded. A vague awareness of myriad movements captured her attention. Other tendrils twined slowly over her body, everywhere. They were on her face, her torso, her abdomen. They crawled and curled under her shirt, questing.

One of the tendrils found a nipple. As the soft, furred vine passed over the sensitive tip, it pebbled. The tendril froze. Returned. Made another pass.

Sage moaned and tightened her muscles, trying desperately to move away. But she was frozen, frozen in place, a statue.

A sacrifice.