The Siren’s Dance Out Today!

New ReleasePhew!

I’ve got so many balls in the air right now that it feels good just to let this one fly, or maybe I should say grand jeté!

I had so much fun writing this book, with its prickly heroine, the enemies-to-lovers trope, and all the fun paranormal goodness of dark slavic folklore. Initially, I was inspired by the movie Black Swan, but as I began writing, I realized Giselle was a far better fit for my story. I learned quite a bit about the ballet and its ties to mythology in my research.

So if you’re looking for something dark and suspenseful with my signature style (which a critique partner recently described as “the dirty, and the funny, and the dirty”) then the Siren’s Dance is for you!

 

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The performance of their lives is about to begin…

Death has transformed former ballerina Anya Truss into a vila—an alluring wind nymph—but her need for revenge has kept her trapped on the riverbank where she was drowned. Now, after fifty years of waiting, she finally has a chance to break free by getting even with her cruel dance instructor, the man who betrayed her and broke her heart. But for her plan to work, she must place her trust in a handsome but unlikely ally.

Straight-laced police investigator Sergey Yuchenko has spent years searching for the father he never knew, and he finally has a solid lead. Problem is, that lead comes in the form of a ghost—a gorgeous but stubborn vila with destructive powers she can’t control. Anya’s graceful beauty awakens a desire in Sergey like he’s never felt before. But when past secrets are brought to light, the lovers will have to face an evil that could tear them apart forever.

Now Available:  Amazon | Apple | Google | Kobo | Nook

Add to your TBR: Goodreads


It seems like perfect timing that just turned in edits on Siren #3, which turned out very different from the others but just as much fun to write.

Meanwhile, a fabulous crew of beta readers is sending me notes on Not Over Yet (Hot Under Her Collar #2) and I’m working on a top secret project that I could pour myself into and never come out if life would let me.

So, I guess it’s time to update the Coming Soon page and then get back to writing!

A Siren Romance Giveaway!

Squee! It’s only one week until The Siren’s Dance (Siren Romance #2) comes out! To celebrate, I’m giving away e-books of The Siren’s Touch (book #1) today, here and on Facebook! While The Siren’s Dance stands alone, the characters from the first book do appear in the second, and knowing them will make reading Dance even more fun!

So, if you’re interested in starting the series, comment below to be entered to win! In the comments, I’m asking about Las Vegas!

BelldeneAmber_TheSirensDance (2)Sirens Touch


IMG_7650My trip to Vegas last week for the Romantic Times Book Lover’s Convention was my first ever, and I had a blast. It was fabulous to see old friends and make new ones. I ate at a buffet (the Paris Hotel—delicious French food), drank a giant margarita, strolled under palm trees and gasped at the over-the-top hotel decors!

 

 

 

 


It was also fun to sign copies of The Siren’s Touch with my purple pen at the Kensington signing, and to meet real, live fans of the Hot Under Her Collar series! Nothing makes an author happier than the question, “how many of these do you plan to write? I need a lot!” 🙂

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I was revising the second Hot Under Her Collar book, Not Over Yet while at the convention, and I’d TOTALLY forgotten it has a scene at the Viva Las Vegas wedding chapel. That made meeting this guy even more fun!

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What I did not do was gamble. I really wanted to play a slot machine, but to be honest, I found all the flashing lights a little intimidating! I think I need to gamble on simpler machine, like the ones the make for toddlers!

 

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So tell me, what’s your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas, or if you’ve never been, what would you love to do while there?  I will give two commenters electronic copies of The Siren’s Touch! Contest ends Wedndesday midnight PDST.

 

Ready or Not, #RT16 Here I Come!

I’ll be in Las Vegas next week! Yaaaaaay!

I’ve seen some super-organized authors and bloggers posting about their Romantic Times Convention prep for weeks, but I’m definitely flying by the seat of my pants in a typical clergy post-Easter, post-vacation fog.

Well not pants exactly: white jeans. Because one bit of prep I did do ahead of time is tell my Stitch Fix stylist I needed some cute clothes for RT. She sent three adorable spring blouses and a pair of awesome white jeans. I’ve been craving a pair for a while, but I’ve been a chicken about it because between messy me and my 5yo twins….come on, white pants? I’m pretty sure I went to book group last night with mashed sweet potato in my hair (and it’s not like I’m feeding toddlers anymore). Oh well, I shall brave wearing them at RT!

In spite of my procrastination, I am SOOO excited about the convention. I’ve never been to Vegas, I love meeting readers, and I plan on connecting with some of my favorite bloggers!

Also, I’ll see some fabulous writer pals in person. (I’m rooming with the lovely Elisabeth Staab, who I haven’t seen face to face in two years!) And I get to meet some other pals that I so far only know online or via telephone. To me, that personal connection of hugging, grabbing a cocktail, and talking about our passion for /struggles with writing is the most valuable part of going to a conference. Writers need writing friends, or else we go all Jack Nicholson in the Shining, you know?

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In addition to clothes, I ordered some swag. I’ve got pins and pens to give away:

These fun Siren buttons are to promote my Siren Romance series with Lyrical/Kensington:

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I’ll also be signing copies of The Siren’s Touch at the Kensington book signing on Thursday.

Sirens Touch I’m so excited to get that book in new readers’ hands before The Siren’s Dance comes out later this month! Don’t forget that it’s on Netgalley and available for Preorder!

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I also have these classy looking ballpoint pens that riff on the motif of my gorgeous website by Amber Shah. It’s a little hard to see in the photos, but they say “desire is divine.”

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So do these buttons, which may be my favorite swaggy item. You know you want one of these!!!

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Lastly, I’ve got some gorgeous print copies of Not A Mistake to give away when I’m in Club RT or when someone wants to know what the heck “Desire is Divine” means 😉

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You can find me at RT here:

Thursday 4/14

4 pm CLUB RT

5 pm KENSINGTON BOOK SIGNING

And, if you want to connect for a coffee or a drink another time, message me via this website, Twitter, or Facebook. I promise I will be delighted to hear from you!

Sirens in the Desert!

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Where I am

 

This week I’m on a much needed vacation–our annual family pilgrimage to Tucson to visit my in-laws. The weather’s great, the kids can bob around in the pool, the cactuses are so freaking surreal and gorgeous, and in theory, I get to rest.

In theory. Because, fellow writers–do any of you know how to actually rest?

I do not!

 

This is me on vacation:

What I’m doing–but not with such a great manicure.

The day job is work. Writing is the thing I love, the thing I pour myself into in every spare second. But the truth is, writing is also work. It’s demanding, stressful, comes with ups and downs and deadlines, and I am no good at from resting from it. Just ask my husband. He’s giving my laptop the evil eye right now.

I got on the plane thinking I would just do a quick read-through of my third Siren book, The Siren’s Dream, which will release in November. (And man, every book I write about Slavic supernatural creatures is more and more fun–rusalkas, vilas, maras–all kinds of cool, creepy girl ghosts to write about!)

Quick? Ha! I don’t know why the read-through took so long–possibly the constant interruption from the almost 5yo twins, or my equally constant need to actually pay attention to them and be present to the fun moments of vacation. They are my offspring, after all–everything is fun with them as they grow and learn new things. Consequently, that read-through plus final tweaks took a while. I finally sent my fabulous editor the manuscript Monday night. Whoo hoo!

Then the vacation really started!

Oh, wait. I realized I need to promote my upcoming release:

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What’s coming next

And to remind folks the first book is on sale for another day:

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What’s on sale

Then, finally, the vacation could begin. We’ve seen trains, desert animals, a planetarium show. Of course, we’ve been eating and drinking. Did you know Tucson was designated by UNESCO as a world city of gastronomy? Yum!

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What I’m drinking

Aside from that glass of wine, I’ve been experimenting with cocktails made with this yummy cucumber vodka:

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I haven’t found the perfect recipe yet, but I’m working on it. And clearly I won’t get through this bottle before I leave, so I have time!

Also, I’m reading, and listening:

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A RITA nominee on my Kindle

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My book club book on my audible account

Also, when darling husband isn’t looking, revisions on Hot Under Her Collar #2 *might* be happening:

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What I’m working on while pretending to be on vacation.

Happy spring, everyone! May you get more rest than me!

Postmortem: Not A Mistake Release

It’s been nine days since Not A Mistake released and boy have they been a whirlwind. (Remind me to maybe NOT release a book three days after Day Light Savings Time and two weeks before Easter again would you?)

I still can’t wake up for the #5amWritersClub and my kids want to cuddle for an hour after bedtime. I’m feeling like this:

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Fried, and like eating fried things to feed my feelings.

But you know what? I had a blast and learned a lot!

Here are some things I discovered:

I really liked being on social media regularly leading up the release. Time wise, it got harder this week (It’s Holy Week, after all), and I missed it. Emotionally, it got harder too, as I was carrying around some heartache for people in my pastoral care and for a dear friend. I’m not always good at setting aside concern for others or the world to be chatty. I guess that’s something to work on. Hence, I share pictures of my experiments in cocktail-making instead 🙂

Also, I kinda developed a Canva.com addiction. If I let myself, I could make endless promo graphics on that baby. Too fun!

I also really like self-publishing. At first I was scared of being completely responsible for everything, but on the other side of my first Indie release, I now enjoy that feeling. Of course, I hope to keep having books published the traditional way too, but I can apply what I learned on this book to that partnership as well. I have another book–The Siren’s Dance–coming out next month, after all!

Not A Mistake has received a lot of great reviews, and that is thrilling! Yay! It turns out, some people really wanted to read a book about a pair of priests getting it on!

And I suspect some readers who received ARCs have been hesitant to post a negative review in spite of my assurances I have thick skin. The thing is, I DOOOOO want those reviews published! Critical reviews really help the right readers find the right book!

Not A Mistake Ebook Cover

Click cover for blurb & buy links.

Of course, the positive ones feel good too. Here are just a few of my many favorites.

I’m in a reading funk.  I’m starving for something new, something different.  Then this little gem falls into my lap and I am happy…Educational, thought provoking, and highly entertaining. –Sunny, Love Affair with an e-Reader

I always enjoy the emotion Ms. Belldene brings into her characters and this was no exception. Man, their story is definitely rocky and has plenty of ups and downs but it is such a beautiful one and I just loved it.  Oh, and the ending? Totally perfect! —Jillian, Read-Love-Blog

I really like this author’s voice. Great pacing and a sexy romance. I’ll read her again. — Mandi, Smexybooks

In her review, Mandi mentioned being annoyed that Dominic got “butt-hurt” over Jordan’s “mistake” and I agreed so hard I laughed out loud! Oh, how I wanted him not to feel that way, tried and tried to wrangle him into more calm acceptance by that point. Honestly, I don’t like to write super angsty, emo characters prone to grand drama. I like to crack a joke before things get too heavy. But he of all my characters is very real to me–right out of the world I inhabit in my day job. The Dominic I know simply refused get on board with a more understanding response.

I love this kind of criticism from a thoughtful reader! It’s made me wonder if I could have strengthened his characterization at other points in the book to make his response more predictable or sympathetic, and how doing so might have had a domino effect on Dominic later. Great readers definitely help me become a better writer! (And of course I’m glad she liked other aspects of the book enough to want to read me again.)

The second book in this series, Not Over Yet, will come out this summer. I wrote it about a year ago, and what a luxury to sit on a manuscript for a year! I had all kids of epiphanies when I returned to it, the flaws practically leaping off the page they were so easy to see! I’ve just begun those revisions–they’re my post-Easter project. That and sleep, cocktails, and fried chicken!

Wait for it…

Here’s the yummy again. Nom, nom, nom!

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For those of you that get into the whole Holy Week thing, I hope new life finds you on the other side of Good Friday and fills you with much joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not A Mistake: Release Day & Excerpt

1Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I’m up in the wilds of Northern California on my release day–not exactly the place I’d imagined experiencing Not A Mistake‘s entry into the world. In fact, my non-writing life conspired to make the week leading up to release day pretty rocky, and that left me busier than usual, and undeniably stressed out. So much so that I took heart in what a fellow clergy woman told me over email: A lot of crap had been coming her way at church, so she told herself that if Jordan (the book’s heroine) could handle it, so could she.

So I decided I too would cope with things the way Jordan did in the book. After all, I CREATED her and dreamed up her fabulous catch CdM3G1fWoAA-BC9phrase, “Love them like hell”–surely I could live up to her brave, compassionate example! When I said as much online, my awesome writer pal Ruby Lang made me this little gem: WWJoD?

I’m not saying Jordan’s perfect. Who would want to read a book about a woman like that? But I put all my ideals into her, and so it was cool that when life was making me feel less than ideal, I found I could cling to her example. It got me through, and every challenge I faced worked out with much help from several of my amazing colleagues.

I sent out so may ARCs for this book, and it’s been thrilling to know it’s in readers’ hands!

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite early reviews:

“In her humorous, sexy, and above all compassionate story, Belldene combines romance and religion with a respect for the passion that lies at the heart of both. And with a respect for a woman’s agency and power that is all too rare in Inspirational Romance.” — Jackie Horne, Romance Novels for Feminists

The passion at the heart of both?–Yeah, baby! That’s why I write romance novels. Reading this review was one of those angels singing moments for me as an author 🙂

Here’s a short excerpt from Not A Mistake:

Be warned, it might tempt you into eating a doughnut. Hopefully it might also tempt you into buying the book. We’re in Dominic’s point of Not A Mistake Ebook Coverview here, and he’s just about to give a presentation about his research into clergy sexual misconduct for a group of priests.

“I take it you’re feeling better?”

“Uh huh,” she mumbled, pointing at her full mouth and chewing, her eyes showing the tension of what might be a grimace, had her mouth been free to make the expression. 

On second look, she was still a little green around the edges. He couldn’t imagine two donuts was the recommended breakfast to recover from the stomach bug.

“Should you be eating that?” 

She wiped a pink sprinkle from her mouth with the back of her hand. “Doctor’s orders. Don’t get hungry. Keep something in my stomach.”

Interesting advice. But what did he know? He hadn’t had a stomach bug since he was in diapers. 

“What are you doing here?” Her whisper was strained, as tense as her eyes had been. 

Right. This wasn’t any easier for her. What did she feel? Shame, guilt, plain old now-that-we’ve-had-sex-everything-is-different awkwardness?

He raised his arm and pointed his laptop’s remote at the screen. The cover of Sins of the Fathers appeared. 

“You’re presenting? I thought Dan—”

“He has the same stomach bug as you, apparently. Why you aren’t in bed—?”

“I’m not your student anymore. Stop bossing me around.” She set down her plate to cross her arms. 

God. Why on earth was that so cute? And he’d never once bossed her around, simply advised her academically. Which had been a true pleasure—she’d been sharp and dedicated.

“I wouldn’t dream of it. I’m simply concerned for your health.”

“Oh, is that what you’re feeling?” She glanced back to the screen then leaned close. “Because I would have guessed you are feeling like Swiss cheese, eaten up by guilt and regret.” 

His shirt shrunk another size, right there on his body. How did she know him so well? He who made a point of being known by very few people. 

She buttoned up her jacket and hoisted her purse up higher on her shoulder. “I can’t stay here and watch you talk about this book while trying not to reveal your self-loathing.”

He scanned the crowd to make sure no one was watching them, then leaned close to whisper. That delicious sandalwood scent clung to her, stirring the parts of him deeper than reason, or right and wrong. “Then accept my apology and stay.” 

To his shock, tears shone in her eyes. Oh, hell. He’d made her cry. 

“I can’t, really. I’m sorry for that, and for so many things. But I just can’t be sorry about what happened. I don’t want to take it back, or call it a mistake.”

 

Buy Not a Mistake at these online retailers:

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A Christian Romance that’s not an Inspy

 

Yep, it’s true.

I wrote a book about priests having sex. It’s definitely not a closed-bedroom-door romance. And while I think there are some “conversions” in the story, none of them are to Christianity.

If that appeals to you—Yay!—it comes out next Tuesday 🙂

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The thing is, I tagged the book as Christian, but Amazon’s category is Christian AND Inspirational. So in sales rank categories it might look to book browsers like an Inspirational (no-sex) romance (at least until they decide to read the blurb).

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 11.22.57 AMI’m still not sure that was the right move, but it’s one I made for a reason.

I’m a Christian, and I’m sex positive. Not just about married, procreative sex, but ALL kinds of sex that fills us with love and gives us glimmers of God’s gracious, even gratuitous love for us. I believe sex can be sacramental: a physical, tangible experience of this grace, of God’s unconditional acceptance and desire to know and be known by us. In my mind, that’s the best explanation of the awesomeness that is an orgasm. Transcendent.

That said, my sexual ethics is not lax. I believe sex should ideally be loving, mutual, life-giving, not destructive, coerced, or devoid of intimacy. I also hold compassion for the fact we sometimes mess this up in our desperation to be loved. Haven’t many of us had sex that missed the mark when it lacked these ideals? Bad–or just blech–sex can be an important part of the romance arc, just as it can be an instructive moment in our lives.

Not all Christians share my take on sexual ethics. Our religion has a history of believing sexual pleasure is sinful, or only to be experienced within very proscribed relationships. But many Christians do agree.

The Episcopal Church in which I am a priest has a wonderful history of sex-positive teachings and practices. Our marriage liturgy is deeply romantic and sensual. Our clergy have been permitted to marry since the Reformation! In the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A., women were ordained beginning in the late 1970s. Most recently, we agreed gay and lesbian people have full rights to the sacrament of marriage, just as heterosexual couples do.

That’s not to say everyone in the Episcopal Church agrees on sexual ethics—if we did, I’d hardly have fodder for a book, much less a whole series about female priests. We harbor plenty of patriarchal prudes. Within this thing called “the church” there is enormous diversity of opinion on virtually all matters of doctrine and ethics, both across history and within and between current Christian denominations. There is no single Christianity.

belldane teaser 3 (2)Religious people from all faiths wrestle with sexuality, just like most human beings. We struggle with questions of desire, appropriate boundaries, shame, and judgment. Like everyone else, centuries—no millennia—of culture shape our sense of right and wrong, what is taboo and what is tantalizing. We all struggle to live authentically while doing what we believe is moral.

I’m really not an expert on the history and various subgenres of romance. I’m just a person who wrote a book set in a world I know and adore, a world that is full of flawed, funny human beings who are full of love and often perplexed what to do about it. But I do know the book I wrote is about Christians who are motivated by their faith, that it explores Christian themes and sexual ethics, and that it most certainly does not qualify as Inspirational.

Maybe I’m asking for a whole bunch of one-star reviews from angry Inspy readers, but I just can’t bring myself to remove NOT A MISTAKE from the Christian Romance category.


 

Not A Mistake Ebook CoverNOT A MISTAKE

Hot Under Her Collar, Book #1

Sometimes a scandal isn’t a sin…

On the night she graduates from seminary, Jordan Sykes finds herself in bed with Dominic Lawrence, the ethics professor she’s crushed on for years. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant and is determined to hide it to protect his career. Maybe, if she loves her new church like hell, they won’t fire her for being a single mother.

Dominic knows the difference between right and wrong, and he’s filled with remorse after sleeping with his favorite student. He’s offered the job of his dreams, but he’d be a hypocrite to accept without making things right with Jordan first.

Dominic proposes marriage to save their careers, never expecting they will prove a perfect—and passionate—match. But can Jordan give her heart to a man who still believes the first night they spent together was a mistake?

You can add Not A Mistake to your TBR:

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The Siren’s Touch is on sale!

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The first book in my paranormal Siren Romance Series, The Siren’s Touch is on sale for 99 cents all month. If you haven’t read this book, now’s the time–the sequel, The Siren’s Dance releases in April!

Here are some of my favorite reviews of the book on Amazon:

I have never read anything like this before. It is so much fun, even when there is danger. –Petula Reads Romance Blog

I’m looking forward to reading more! 4 stars for a unique and entertaining romance! — Maria Rose, Straight Shooting Book Reviews

Wow. I absolutely loved the mix up of Ukrainian mobster tough guy meets otherworldly spectral beauty… and what lengths they will have to go through to get to the bottom of a murder mystery. Ms. Belldene always puts a fresh and exciting view onto the paranormal and has always kept me glued to the pages she writes….This book is at the top of my favorites list of her books. – Jillian, Read-Love-Blog

When a book revolves around revenge, it can be difficult to know how to root for your characters or if you should even cheer for them. There were certain moral questions that came to light, and I loved how Belldene handled it all, and how the ultimate plot unraveled and concluded. — Jenny, Book Sojourner Blog

I am a total lover of supernatural/paranormal reads and this one was different, and fresh. The author really took the story to places that I hadn’t thought of before. It was fast paced and intriguing. There was also some pretty laugh out loud moments. — Melissa

Blurb:

One touch can change everything…

Hitman Dmitri Lisko is determined to avenge his father. Once he takes out the man he believes is responsible for his family’s tragedies, he’s done killing for good. But a mysterious woman may tempt Dmitri to change his plan.

Sonya Truss was murdered in a Ukrainian village in 1968. Now she’s reappeared in San Francisco as a rusalka—the ghost of a wronged woman. And she’s thirsty for the blood of her killer. But she has to make things right before she’s trapped between worlds forever.

Sonya’s enigmatic siren powers stir Dmitri’s long-buried chivalry, and he finds himself compelled to help her. He also can’t resist giving her a taste of the pleasures she never experienced while she was alive. Soon they discover that touch has surprising consequences. Yet when their shared mission comes to cross-purposes,
they must choose between deadly sacrifice—or surrendering to the one act that can save them both.


You can snag a sale copy of the book at any of these retailers:

   


Excerpt from The Siren’s Touch

The teapot jostled like there was a frog inside.

He had to be hallucinating. Holy hell, he’d never been this hungover. Then again, he’d never been on a thirty-day bender either. Quitting cold turkey after a vodka-soaked month was bound to be rough on the system. The teapot was definitely not jittering, only his sanity. Caffeine might help.

He lifted the little round thing by the handle. A gust of steam poured out as deep-brown liquid trickled from its spout into his mug—an antique glass cup wrapped in silver filigree. In his hand, the teapot shook, jostling his arm.

Damn it. That was no hallucination.

A sudden puff of steam collided with his face. He set the teapot down and wiped his moist eyes. When he opened them again, he was certain he’d lost his mind.

Hovering over Elena’s postcard-perfect traditional Ukrainian table setting was a shimmering tea-colored woman. No, not a woman.

He reached for his weapon, knocking his chair to the floor. Scrambling across the room, he got as far as he could get from that…thing.

Back pressed to the wall, his heart drummed against his sternum. What the hell was she?

She dripped brown droplets of smoky Russian Caravan onto the table and gasped for air with her gossamer hands clasped at her neck. Her brown eyes stretched wide in her heart-shaped face.

Had he completely lost his mind? “Fuck.”

The thing yelped, flying away and leaving a sprinkling of tea droplets in her wake. As they fell to the ground, she grew whiter, becoming the soft, shiny color of a perfect pearl.

A ghost. Holy hell.

All his skin rose up in goose bumps. Could you shoot a ghost? Or a hallucination? He was damn sure going to try. He took aim.

She coughed and coughed and coughed some more, making a horrible wet retching sound. Then she darted to a spot near the window, bending her spectral shape over to hack, as if she could clear her throat. Only it didn’t seem to be working.

Without thinking, he lowered his weapon. “Breathe, girl. Be calm.”

Slowly, she straightened, and her chest rose and fell in the rhythm of breath. The sun shone through her translucent form, highlighting a smoking hot set of curves under a long, wet nightgown. Large brown nipples poked through the ghostly, damp fabric, and a dark vee between her legs drew his gaze.

Hell.

This wet dream of a sexy, drowned ghost was proof he’d jumped into the deep end.

Cover Reveal — The Siren’s Dance

Wow! My head is spinning with two releases coming in the next two months! Not A Mistake is out to reviewers and available for pre-order (here’s a sneak peek), and it’s already time to tell you about The Siren’s Dance.

I’m thrilled to show you the beautiful cover for the next book in my Siren Romance series:

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I just love this cover–it totally captures Anya and Sergey, and I cannot tell you how much I adore this pair. She is sassy and talks smack, and he is everything that she needs. They have great dialogue and awesome chemistry. Sometimes people shy away from ghost story romances, because, well, NO BODY = NO SEXY TIMES. No spoilers, but I PROMISE my ghosts get to touch their guys!

Here’s the blurb:

The performance of their lives is about to begin…

Death has transformed former ballerina Anya Truss into a vila—an alluring wind nymph—but her need for revenge has kept her trapped on the riverbank where she was drowned. Now, after fifty years of waiting, she finally has a chance to break free by getting even with her cruel dance instructor, the man who betrayed her and broke her heart. But for her plan to work, she must place her trust in a handsome but unlikely ally.

Straight-laced police investigator Sergey Yuchenko has spent years searching for the father he never knew, and he finally has a solid lead. Problem is, that lead comes in the form of a ghost—a gorgeous but stubborn vila with destructive powers she can’t control. Anya’s graceful beauty awakens a desire in Sergey like he’s never felt before. But when past secrets are brought to light, the lovers will have to face an evil that could tear them apart forever.

This book contains ballet, a tour of Odessa that will leave you feeling like you’ve been there, and an adorable Good Cop who will make you swoon!

Reviewers can request an ARC on Netgalley or contact me.

Readers can add to your Goodreads TBR or Pre-Order:

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Sirens TouchAND…Good news!

If you’re new to this series, the first book, The Siren’s Touch will be on sale for $0.99 all of March.

If you take a peek at the reviews (I know, I know — I’m not supposed to read them, myself!), you’ll see a consistent theme: this book is unlike anything you’ve read before. Dark and yet funny (I really let my absurd side out), sexy and sweet.

This is the book landed me my wonderful agent Becca Stumpf, and I worked on it for YEARS. It’s very dear to my heart, and I love sharing it with readers!

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Valentine’s Rewind: Not A Mistake sneak peek!

val tie 2I’m breaking the Valentine Rewind rules just a smidge to give you a peek into my upcoming release Not A Mistake. Ages back, I cut a short version of this Valentine’s Day flashback from my draft, so it seemed ripe for revival in this blog hop. This scene is Jordan’s rewind to an old memory of Dominic from when she was his student nursing an epic crush.


Jordan glanced around the bustling café and saw no familiar faces. Thank God. She sank deeper into the battered sofa and raised the book higher to hide her face. Surely, with this particular paperback in her hands, anyone who caught a glimpse of the flaming blush on her cheeks would know exactly why she’d turned church-door red. More slowly, she reread the mortifying passage in Professor Lawrence’s book.

To indulge in sexual fantasies about a colleague, friend, or acquaintance is undoubtably a form of sexual abuse, rendering them an object with no opportunity to consent. Whether romantic or explicit, the fantasy inevitably alters the relationship—innocence and mutuality are lost. Furthermore, as reported in the case studies cited above, nearly all illicit transgressions begin with fantasies of breeching the appropriate boundaries of the relationship. The fantasy is the first step, the story that rationalizes the unethical behavior to come.

Was he right?

She’d certainly let her mind, and the middle two fingers of her right hand, go wild imagining him without his permission. In an absurdly porn-esque scenario, she’d fantasized about him approaching her after class with a stern, “There’s something I need to speak to you about in private.” Once they were alone in his office, his gray eyes would burn with feral hunger and he would say, “I can’t resist anymore. I have to have you, just this once. Tell me you feel the same way.”

Jordan would step near his lean, powerful torso, feel the heat radiating off him, and say “You know I do,” before she kissed him.

She made sure always to wear a skirt to this particular fantasy, even though jeans were her standard seminary attire, so he could reach under it to cup her butt as he pulled her close, stroked her (by this point in the fantasy) very wet slit, then bent her over the desk and said filthy, un-professorial things in her ear while he fucked her.

Sure, maybe she’d felt a little awkward the next time she saw him, but so what? No way were those lusty daydreams the first step leading anywhere. Dominic if-your-eye-causes-you-to-lust-gouge-it-out Lawrence would never sleep with a student, and she wouldn’t want him to. His principles, if somewhat rigid, were also entirely admirable.

Someone coughed and her skin tightened. Could a throat clearing sound familiar? Because, if so, that might very well be…She lowered the book just enough to peek over the top.

Crap.

Professor Lawrence towered over her, a red demitasse in his hand, his golden eyebrows arched, his sandy hair in that perfectly sculpted swoop back from his forehead.

He took a seat on another shabby sofa across a narrow coffee table from her and rested his ankle on his opposite knee. “A little pleasure reading?”

The blush radiated from somewhere deep inside to smolder under her skin. But she tried to shake it off. Even if he’d caught her in flagrante delicto, rehashing her allegedly immoral fantasies about him, he couldn’t read her mind. In fact, that’s why his whole ethical argument was bogus. Thoughts were private and secret, and almost always harmless.

She closed the paperback, using her ballpoint pen to mark the page. For a churchy book, the cover wasn’t bad. An artsy close up of a man’s neck clothed in a clerical collar, and the title in large white block print: Sins of the Fathers. In it, he’d detailed his studies of clergy who’d abused their spiritual authority by conducting affairs with parishioners or church employees.

Her thumb rested on the L of his name. “It’s not exactly a beach read, but it’s fascinating.”

“And informative, I hope.” He brought the espresso to his lips. The mug was ridiculously small in his big hands, and yet he looked perfectly suave and sophisticated drinking from it while wearing one of his designer suits, his free arm draped over the back of the ratty, salmon-colored sofa.

She couldn’t believe this lowbrow café even stocked demitasses. Perhaps they kept only one of the fancy little cups, under a sign that read For the Sole Use of Professor Dominic Lawrence.

“Yes, very informative.” She shrugged, knowing her answer wasn’t what he’d intended in writing the book and yet also how very much he valued honesty. “I feel sorry for the victims, but honestly, I pity these priests too. Their stress, their isolation, their longing to be fully loved.”

“Of course you do.” His tight smile was either affectionate or patronizing—she was never quite sure.

“Your analysis of their motivation is…” She was no expert, but it seemed ethically flawless, only it was missing something.  “It’s a little unsympathetic.”

A flash of white teeth tipped his smile in the direction of warm affection and she wanted to bask in it, to fan the flickering feeling that just maybe he found her special, interesting, pretty.

“I’d love to argue this with you,” he said. “But I have precisely two minutes to drink my espresso, and I wanted to respond to the paper proposal you emailed me.”

“Oh, okay.” Every conversation with him felt rushed, like he was always on the way somewhere, leaving her with unspoken questions and embarrassingly futile desires.

“Your outline is very solid and you’re taking an interesting direction.”

“You don’t think including the example of my brother is too personal?”

He swallowed a sip of the coffee, his Adam’s apple bobbing. Even after reading his damn book, she wanted to lick it.

“Not at all,” he said. “I think it’s very moving, and perfectly appropriate to the assignment.”

Very moving? It was always the little glimpses of his heart that made her most curious. “Thanks. I’ll go ahead with it, then.”

“I look forward to reading it.” He tipped the last of the coffee to his mouth, the red cup a match for the tie he wore—mottled with penny-sized red hearts.

Even if it was the day before Valentine’s Day, the tie was so unlike his usual power stripes or tasteful paisleys that she leaned forward and squinted to be sure she hadn’t mistaken the pattern.

He smoothed it with his fingers. “Ugly, isn’t it?”

“Not at all. It’s just not your usual style.”

He held her gaze, and his stare felt like a silent commentary on the fact she paid attention to his style, but it was probably just his typical cranked-up intensity.

“Well, I’m off.” He set the little saucer and mug down with a clatter. “I’m preaching on the Feast of St. Valentine in chapel today. Retelling the story of his martyrdom at the hands of the Romans as an antidote to all the saccharine romantic love greeting card and chocolate manufacturers want us to associate with the day.”

“Wow. Sounds festive. Sorry I have to miss it—paper to write.”

He chuckled from deep in his throat, tapped his watch, stood and walked away.

She reopened the book and underlined the passage she’d been pondering. To indulge in sexual fantasies…is undoubtably a form of sexual abuse.

She found herself doodling one of the hearts from his tie in the margin, carefully inking in the crosshatch pattern that gave it a plump, 3-D look.

Valentine's Rewind giveawayPoor, hot Professor Lawrence. Maybe she should send him chocolates and a romantic greeting card with an anonymous note reminding him that God made us with bodies, and desires, and that he might feel better if he indulged his once in a while. Lord knows, they probably both needed to get laid. The difference was, if Jordan could ever dislodge the fantasies of him from her mind, she might meet a nice if less hot guy to love her, while Professor Lawrence seemed dead set on denying himself that, and any pleasure.


Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this little preview of Jordan and Dominic’s story! The next stop on the hop is Jodie Griffin Be sure to comment on each story to be eligible for the massive giveaway at the end. Full Schedule Here.
Leave me a comment here for a chance to win a signed print copy of one of my backlist books in the Blood Vine or Siren series.
Thanks for joining us for #ValentinesRewind! ♥

Not A Mistake Ebook CoverNot A Mistake (Hot Under Her Collar, #1)

Sometimes a scandal isn’t a sin…

On the night she graduates from seminary, Jordan Sykes finds herself in bed with Dominic Lawrence, the ethics professor she’s crushed on for years. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant and is determined to hide it to protect his career. Maybe, if she loves her new church like hell, they won’t fire her for being a single mother.

Dominic knows the difference between right and wrong, and he’s filled with remorse after sleeping with his favorite student. He’s offered the job of his dreams, but he’d be a hypocrite to accept without making things right with Jordan first.

Dominic proposes marriage to save their careers, never expecting they will prove a perfect—and passionate—match. But can Jordan give her heart to a man who still believes the first night they spent together was a mistake?

Now Available for Preorder:  Amazon  | iBooks | Goodreads