xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Kryssie Fortune: January 2016

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Itchy Balls? Stained Clothes? Period Pains? The Romans had a cure for you.

A visit to the Museum of Roman Wales taught me some ancient herb law. Let me share some of their cures. Beware though, one’s nasty and the last one’s deadly.

So, back to those itchy balls. Try rubbing them with sage soaked in red wine. Sage is one of the good guys. It helps stop bleeding, and if you’re ever stung by a stingray, the Romans believed sage soothed the pain. Not that I’m volunteering to try it. However, since stingrays avoid the UK’s North Sea, I don’t think that will be a problem.


The Romans like their entertainment too. Emperor Nero believed eating chives gave him a good singing voice. I wonder what it did for his breath. Of course, he might have been chewing down on leeks. The scholars of Roman cuisine aren’t sure which he used.

An obvious cure for worms is a distillation of Wormwood. That makes sense, but pity the poor pregnant woman suffering from constipation. Please don’t try this at home, but if you mix wormwood with myrrh and rue and it can cause a miscarriage, but it does cure constipation. Was ever a woman so torn.

Pliny, the Roman historian had a couple more cures. He believed the juice of beetroot brought stains out of clothes. Funny, it’s the stuff I’m trying to wash out of mine.
 


Here’s the nasty one spoke about earlier. He thought mixing lily roots with honey and calf dung then smearing it on your leg you could cure your varicose veins. Definitely not my favourite form of perfume.
 

Finally, here’s the poisonous one. Don’t try this EVER. The Romans brought peony’s to Britain for their medicinal uses. They believed peony root relieved period pains, reduced the pains of childbirth and even that it stopped nightmares. It makes sense to me. A dead woman can’t feel pain and she certainly can’t dream.
 

Why my interest in herbs? Well, when I wrote To Seduce an Omega, I made the heroine,  Viola, a herbalist and healer. She certainly knows more about pain than any woman should since she was attacked by thugs with hammers.

Want to know more about her, then read on.

 
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Blurb
The Rock Prowler alpha condemns Viola for her inability to shift. Forced into poverty and isolation, she ekes out a meager existence as a healer. As the pack omega with a crippled knee, she’s forbidden to mate. Her first heat beckons, but no wolf will dare to bed her.

Titus, a wolf rejected by his true mate, overflows with violence and anger. The Lykae King sends him to take over the Rock Prowler pack. He condemns Viola for wanting payment before she treats her patients and threatens to bring in a new pack healer. With her crippled knee and no other income, she’d starve.

She-wolves from families who disagree with the alpha have vanished. When Titus investigates, the alpha’s allies imprison both him and Viola. To escape, he must seduce Viola—the she-wolf he insulted and reviled. If that’s not bad enough, she despises him for his seeming allegiance to the alpha. As he gets to know her, she steals his heart, but after all that’s happened, how can she accept him when even his fated mate refused him? 

Excerpt
“Heal her.” The stranger scowled and thrust the injured woman at Viola. 

She blinked and stepped back so quickly she almost overbalanced. After taking a moment to stand up as straight as her crippled leg allowed, she donned her professional healer persona. “For a price. Cash. Up front.” 

Viola lied, of course. Leaving anyone in pain was beyond her, but the man with the broad chest and gold-flecked eyes didn’t need to know that. Besides, unless she got hold of some cash soon, she might never eat meat again. 

The low growl that rumbled from his throat and the way his eyes narrowed made her wish she’d stayed silent. He bared his fangs, and although she wanted to retreat, she stubbornly held her ground. 

His lip curled. “Do it. I’m good for your fees. Just get a move on.” 

His deep, angry rumble made her think of a volcano ready to erupt. And damn, when she stared up him, he looked as tall as the mountains that trapped her in Rock Prowler territory. Out here in the midst of the forest, miles from the nearest settlement, she should be wary. This stranger emanated strength, protection, and…flat-out fury. At her. 

His jaw clamped as he shoved past her into the hut. She followed, mentally triaging her patient. Tansy’s clothes hung off her in tatters, and an arrow stuck out of her leg. Deep scratches, the sort only a murder thorn could inflict, covered her torso. The woman’s breathing came in fast, shallow pants. Her skin looked as though it had been touched with frost, and rivers of dried blood stained her leg. 

Absently, Viola wondered what the other woman been up to that involved tangling with a bush renowned for shredding skin. Not running from Mr. Fix-It here, I hope. Ignoring her concerns and her attraction to a newcomer with the short hair and bad attitude, she reached out to stroke Tansy’s hair. Rather than gather her supplies, Viola hardened her heart and met the stranger’s gaze. 

With his torn ear and bent nose, Mr. Fix-It looked ready to tear out her throat. Her stomach clenched as though he’d punched her, and his disgusted look promised a reckoning once she’d tended Tansy’s wounds. Viola’s tender heart went out to the woman in his arms. Despite her bold words, she’d never let Tansy suffer, but she needed to bargain to survive.

As the pack’s omega wolf, she expected nothing from anyone—except insults, of course. Chin high, spine stiff, she kept her hands at her side. “Perhaps you shouldn’t have chased her into a murder thorn in the first place. Of course, I’ll help her once we’ve agreed on a price.” 

The stranger’s furious growl cut to her heart, but unless she demanded her cash in advance, she’d starve. 

Rather than pass the woman into Viola’s arms, he stared around the two-room hunter’s den she’d moved into when her home burned to the ground. “And you call yourself a healer. Just for the record, I heard her whimper from the middle of a thorn thicket, and unlike you I couldn’t leave her to suffer. You care more about money than your calling, but once the woman’s back on her feet, I’ll pay your price.” 

This man didn’t fit any classically handsome mold, but he oozed charisma and power. If circumstances had been different, she’d have welcomed him with refreshments and maybe her body. Recently the need to screw someone—anyone—stirred her blood, but no self-respecting wolf would screw the pack’s omega. 

Even if one approached her, the alpha would kill them. Despite their shared blood, the alpha hated her. No way would he let an omega wolf reproduce and dilute the pack’s gene pool. Deep down, she hated being so alone. 

Mr. Fix-It’s presence fired up her body in a lightning strike of sensual heat, but with his bad-boy attitude and take-charge nature, women probably threw themselves at him. She sighed over another broken dream and coolly met his gaze. 

She couldn’t shift and hunt prey, so she needed to scrape together what coins she could just to buy meat. Unlike most Lykae, she couldn’t turn wolf to heal her injuries. Her heart told her to run through the forest and let off steam, but her twisted knee prevented her enjoying such a simple thing. Thanks to the beating that killed her inner wolves, that was another pleasure Zebadiah had stolen from her. 

Lately, she’d been teaching herself to shoot with a bow and arrow, but archery didn’t come easy to her. What spare time she had, she spent tending her vegetables and herbs, but all that bending made her knee feel like someone hit it with a hammer—again. 

She persevered because she needed fresh food to survive. The herbal remedies and potions she’d crafted from her surplus and traded for fresh meat were an unexpected bonus. After all, a wolf couldn’t live by vegetables alone. 

The stranger’s eyes darkened until his gaze felt like copper blades cutting through her composure and condemning her poverty-stricken surroundings. His disgust curdled something inside her, but his narrow-eyed look and curled top lip were all too familiar. The pack had looked at her that way for years. 

Her fleeting attraction for Tansy’s rescuer shriveled beneath his I’ll-wipe-you-off-the-planet gaze. With his huge muscles, short-cropped hair, and inbuilt arrogance, he looked more a brawler than a hero. She should shove him out the door, not that her flimsy wattle and daub hut would protect her. Then, despite everything, her stupid hormones flared with desire—for him. 

The bend in his nose, as if he’d broken it and it hadn’t healed right, puzzled her. Most Lykae healed when they shifted, but not him. When he wasn’t looking daggers at her, pained shadows filled his eyes. 

Her antagonism melted when she thought of how he’d rescued Tansy from the murder thorn. Viola wanted to curl her body around his and taste every inch of him. Why was it that the only wolf her stupid oversexed body wanted in her bed had already condemned her. 

He glanced down at Tansy, then turned his death stare back on Viola. “Bustle about, or I’ll find the Rock Prowler pack a new healer. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would be better than you.” 

She blocked the bedroom doorway. “You will pay me?” 

He hurled three gold coins onto the floor of her hut. “There. Take your blood money. The drayman who pointed out your home said you were a hard-hearted bitch. Stupidly, I dismissed his opinion. Biggest mistake I ever made. I should have flashed that poor woman to someone who knew what they were doing, not depended on an unskilled hedgewitch like you.” 

How dare he! Viola’s hands shook, and her cheeks flushed. She opened and closed her mouth, then clenched and unclenched her fists. She’d never wanted to hit anyone so badly. At least he’d paid her, so she’d ignore him and help Tansy—just as she’d intended all along. 

This stranger watched her intently, and under his scrutiny her hands shook. What sort of man could walk in and announce he’d replace her? Someone important, that was for sure. If he voiced his misgivings to the alpha, Zebadiah would have the perfect excuse to cast her out completely. He’d wanted to do it for years. If she knew of any safe haven, she’d have already left. Not that any of the other packs would adopt a damaged wolf like her. 

All she could do was stay put and take life one day at a time. 

Pack members could take their woes to Zebadiah, the pack alpha, and on a good day he might even listen, but an omega wolf was a different story. He’d just laugh Viola and her troubles out of the great hall. Besides, she’d already suffered enough at his hands. She should warn Mr. Fix-It about the alpha’s murderous tendencies. Strangers who strolled into Rock Prowler territory didn’t usually stroll out. 

Even though he condemned her, this stranger oozed so much masculinity that her mouth watered. Not that she would ever act on the deliciously sexual feelings he kick-started in her womb. Omega wolf, remember? 

Looking at him rekindled her dreams of love and romance, the ones the alpha’s thugs had beaten out of her. This newcomer woke something wild inside her, but Viola had long since resigned herself to a solitary existence. No mate. No cubs. No decent home. Little fresh meat and rarely a kind word. She was sick of being isolated and alone. When the alpha had declared her the pack’s omega wolf, he hadn’t expected her to last long, but her stubborn streak had kept her strong. 

Zebadiah’s harsh rule crushed the Rock Prowler pack, and even the cockiest of the Lykae males didn’t dare defy him. Too many sisters and mated she-wolves had vanished from the families that protested his rule. 

Viola poured distilled wine over her hands and winced when some ran into a cut in her finger. “Who are you? And do you have the alpha’s permission to cross Rock Prowler lands?” 

He shoved past her and carried the unconscious woman into the back room of her hut. “I’m Titus, and I’m here by your alpha’s invitation. He wants me to marry his daughter.” 

Any attraction Viola felt toward him withered. She had no respect for any friends of Zebadiah Lightfoot—the man she refused to call father ever again. Even if she didn’t despise Titus, she didn’t own a chair she could offer him. Then again, since he’d come here at her father’s behest, she should ram her hands against his chest and shove him out the door. Not that she could move a man-mountain like him. 

She wanted nothing to do with one of Zebadiah’s brought-in bullies. The quicker this strange attraction she felt toward Titus faded the better. Her hut with her makeshift dresser—more rough pieces of wood propped on stones and her pallet of moss—shouted poverty and defeat. She leaned against one of the hut’s uprights and flexed her leg, glad to take her weight off her knee. Much as she wanted Mr. Fix-It’s hand on her breasts and his lips against hers, she hated the unexpected jolt of mating heat. Her throat constricted as her libido went wild. 

His presence overwhelmed her, and his sheer size made her hut seem crowded. The look on his face, as though he struggled not to gag at a bad smell, hurt more than she’d expected. Though he seemed unconcerned about Tansy’s blood dripping on his expensive clothes, Viola knew the shabbiness of her home disgusted him. 

He had a good heart to tangle with a murder thorn and rescue Tansy despite his allegiance to the alpha. Just knowing he planned to join Zebadiah’s squad of mercenaries sucker punched Viola. Titus was muscle for hire, a wolf paid by Zebadiah to grind the pack into submission. She knew about the alpha’s bullyboys firsthand. 

After a quick assessment of Tansy’s injuries, Viola grabbed a knife and a packet of herbs from her dresser. “What happened to her?” 

Titus’s expression softened as he stared at the injured woman. “I don’t have a clue. I heard a whimper from a thicket of murder thorns, and the poor woman was lying unconscious in the center. Elves’ blood, you’ve got your gold. Get a move on. Can’t you see she’s lost so much blood she’s going into shock?” 

The arrow topped Viola’s priorities. Once she’d pulled a threadbare apron over her head, she poured alcohol over Tansy’s wound. If the archer had barbed the head, pulling the arrow out would tear the flesh from Tansy’s thigh. Given that this looked like a deliberate shooting, Viola prayed the bowman hadn’t poisoned the arrowhead. 

Titus laid Tansy on the moss and sweet-herb pallet, his touch so gentle Viola wondered how it would feel if he laid her down with such care. Just once, she wanted someone to be gentle with her. That or teach her about orgasms and sex. I should be concentrating on Tansy, not drooling over Titus’s ass. 

She swallowed hard and settled on the floor beside her patient, her bad leg extended in front of her. Getting up again would be hell, but Viola would manage somehow. She always did, but on bad days her knee ballooned to twice its normal size. Her gaze strayed back to Titus’s ass. She pictured herself running her hands over it or stroking it or rubbing up against him and breathing in his musky vanilla essence. 

Her nipples ached, and she felt as though flames licked at her cunt—all that for one of Zebadiah’s personal army. Despite his gentle treatment of Tansy, Viola couldn’t trust Titus an inch. This stupid urge to wrap her body around his and run her fingers through his short-cropped hair would fade soon. It had to. Nothing good could come of her having a fling with a stranger, no matter how much he made her heart race. 

Tansy moaned when Viola cut the remnants of her skirt and probed her wound. 

Titus’s eyes narrowed, and his jaw clenched. “Do you enjoy hurting the helpless?” 

Her? Hurt the helpless. Viola would have laughed if he didn’t make her so fluttery and hot. She stood on quicksand, and the only way to stay safe was to cling to Titus. Yeah, like he’d ever offer his hand. 

Her chin rose. “I’m a healer. Only an idiot would think I meant to hurt Tansy. I needed to know if the arrow had struck bone. Fortunately, the head’s embedded in her thigh muscle, but we still need to push it through rather than just yank it out. Once I’ve poulticed the entry and exit wounds, I’ll clean up her scratches.” 

“Then get a move on.” Titus’s fingernails turned into claws, and he bared his fangs. At her. She should be scared or even screaming. Instead, she almost came when she pictured those fangs sinking into her flesh as she orgasmed around his cock. No. Not feeling anything for him…really. Besides, who the hell does he think he is? Judging me as though he’s the Rock Prowler alpha. 

Viola did her best with limited materials. The alpha refused to let her leave Rock Prowlers’ territory to train further even though that left the pack without a qualified healer. She’d lost her books in the fire that had destroyed her home, and she hated when she didn’t know enough to help. 

If Elspeth hadn’t taken Viola in when her mother vanished and her father banished her from her home, she wouldn’t have survived. Twenty-two years later, survival was still a struggle. 

Healing was all she had left. She understood difficult childbirths and kept a stock of herbal remedies for the rare occasions a wolf couldn’t heal himself by shifting. Sadly, nothing would fix her knee. Without her inner wolves, Viola would never be whole again. 

She stole a quick glance at Titus, and her heart rate sped up again. His confidence and strength along with the way he took charge of a bad situation made her envy his mate—assuming he had one. 

The bonded couples in town never left each other’s sides unless they had to, which made her wonder what Tansy had been doing out here alone. Jealousy hit Viola like a fiery arrow. The thought of Titus bonding with another woman turned her stomach sour. Not that she’d ever have children or a mate, but a she-wolf could dream. 
Copyright © Kryssie Fortune

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Five Fact Thursday - please welcome Pamela Thibodeaux

Five Facts about Circles of Fate


My husband (now deceased) was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA while in the Army. That was before I knew him but he talked about it often.

Thibodaux is an actual city in Louisiana although spelled slightly different than my name (Thibodeaux), the two are pronounced the same – Ti-ba-dough with the i as in “it”.

There was a cafĂ© in my hometown of Iowa, Louisiana named the “Feed Trough”.

Although more regulated now, military in lieu of jail was an option in the past especially during war time.

Circles of Fate was initially written in 1989 and comprised of two five-subject notebooks. I typed it using a word processor in 1994 then the files were converted to rich text format (rtf) by a friend so that I could put it on my computer. That was in 2000. It sat virtually untouched on my computer until 2014.





Blurb:


Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson. Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined. Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Excerpt:


“What?” Todd Jameson’s hand trembled so hard the phone he held threatened to slip through his numb fingers. He wiped a sweaty palm down his thigh and grabbed the receiver then switched ears. The anguish in Mike Ferel’s voice made the pleasantries they shared the first few minutes of the call seem like a distant conversation.
“I’m sorry, Todd, to be the one to tell you this, especially after what you’ve been through this last year.”
He’d spent nine months at war, nine months facing and dealing with death, but not even those things prepared him for the death of his hopes and dreams in nine short minutes. “When?”
A heavy exhale preceded Mike’s answer. “Margaret died six months ago. Shaunna married three months after.”
She said she loved me. He hadn’t meant to utter the thought aloud, but somehow the words slipped past the knot in his throat.
“She cried a long time after you left, didn’t understand why you never wrote or called.”
Though his voice held no accusation, Todd heard the chastisement in Mike’s tone.

Purchase Links:


Create Space: http://bit.ly/1qRN3cb
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/136qK7n



Author bio:


Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”


Links:


Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Truth or Dare: To Dare a Werewolf by Kryssie Fortune #free #short #story #kindle #amreading

Please drop by the Loosen Your id blog and check out my mircofiction.
It's a chance to meet my hero, Titus, in a small adventure and know why he's heading for Rock Prowler Territory.
Of course, like all well laid plans, things don't go as he expected.

http://loosenyourid.com/truth-or-dare-to-dare-a-werewolf-by-kryssie/

Friday, 22 January 2016

Find your She-wolf Name, Character, and Cast.


Like your shifter males sexy? 
 Love sassy heroines who makes their mates’ hearts melt? 
Then you should dive into my Scattered Sibling series.
 Each book is a stand-alone romance set in a fantasy world of shifters, vampires, witches, and Fae. 

While you're here, please check out my latest book - 
To Seduce an Omega 

Blurb

The Rock Prowler alpha condemns Viola for her inability to shift. Forced into poverty and isolation, she ekes out a meager existence as a healer. As the pack omega with a crippled knee, she’s forbidden to mate. Her first heat beckons, but no wolf will dare to bed her.

Titus, a wolf rejected by his true mate, overflows with violence and anger. The Lykae King sends him to take over the Rock Prowler pack. He condemns Viola for wanting payment before she treats her patients and threatens to bring in a new pack healer. With her crippled knee and no other income, she’d starve.

She-wolves from families who disagree with the alpha have vanished. When Titus investigates, the alpha’s allies imprison both him and Viola. To escape, he must seduce Viola—the she-wolf he insulted and reviled. If that’s not bad enough, she despises him for his seeming allegiance to the alpha. As he gets to know her, she steals his heart, but after all that’s happened, how can she accept him when even his fated mate refused him? 

Buy Links

“Heal her.” The stranger scowled and thrust the injured woman at Viola. 

She blinked and stepped back so quickly she almost overbalanced. After taking a moment to stand up as straight as her crippled leg allowed, she donned her professional healer persona. “For a price. Cash. Up front.” 

Viola lied, of course. Leaving anyone in pain was beyond her, but the man with the broad chest and gold-flecked eyes didn’t need to know that. Besides, unless she got hold of some cash soon, she might never eat meat again. 

The low growl that rumbled from his throat and the way his eyes narrowed made her wish she’d stayed silent. He bared his fangs, and although she wanted to retreat, she stubbornly held her ground. 

His lip curled. “Do it. I’m good for your fees. Just get a move on.” 

His deep, angry rumble made her think of a volcano ready to erupt. And damn, when she stared up him, he looked as tall as the mountains that trapped her in Rock Prowler territory. Out here in the midst of the forest, miles from the nearest settlement, she should be wary. This stranger emanated strength, protection, and…flat-out fury. At her. 

His jaw clamped as he shoved past her into the hut. She followed, mentally triaging her patient. Tansy’s clothes hung off her in tatters, and an arrow stuck out of her leg. Deep scratches, the sort only a murder thorn could inflict, covered her torso. The woman’s breathing came in fast, shallow pants. Her skin looked as though it had been touched with frost, and rivers of dried blood stained her leg. 

Absently, Viola wondered what the other woman been up to that involved tangling with a bush renowned for shredding skin. Not running from Mr. Fix-It here, I hope. Ignoring her concerns and her attraction to a newcomer with the short hair and bad attitude, she reached out to stroke Tansy’s hair. Rather than gather her supplies, Viola hardened her heart and met the stranger’s gaze. 

With his torn ear and bent nose, Mr. Fix-It looked ready to tear out her throat. Her stomach clenched as though he’d punched her, and his disgusted look promised a reckoning once she’d tended Tansy’s wounds. Viola’s tender heart went out to the woman in his arms. Despite her bold words, she’d never let Tansy suffer, but she needed to bargain to survive.

As the pack’s omega wolf, she expected nothing from anyone—except insults, of course. Chin high, spine stiff, she kept her hands at her side. “Perhaps you shouldn’t have chased her into a murder thorn in the first place. Of course, I’ll help her once we’ve agreed on a price.” 

The stranger’s furious growl cut to her heart, but unless she demanded her cash in advance, she’d starve. 

Rather than pass the woman into Viola’s arms, he stared around the two-room hunter’s den she’d moved into when her home burned to the ground. “And you call yourself a healer. Just for the record, I heard her whimper from the middle of a thorn thicket, and unlike you I couldn’t leave her to suffer. You care more about money than your calling, but once the woman’s back on her feet, I’ll pay your price.” 

This man didn’t fit any classically handsome mold, but he oozed charisma and power. If circumstances had been different, she’d have welcomed him with refreshments and maybe her body. Recently the need to screw someone—anyone—stirred her blood, but no self-respecting wolf would screw the pack’s omega. 

Even if one approached her, the alpha would kill them. Despite their shared blood, the alpha hated her. No way would he let an omega wolf reproduce and dilute the pack’s gene pool. Deep down, she hated being so alone. 

Mr. Fix-It’s presence fired up her body in a lightning strike of sensual heat, but with his bad-boy attitude and take-charge nature, women probably threw themselves at him. She sighed over another broken dream and coolly met his gaze. 

She couldn’t shift and hunt prey, so she needed to scrape together what coins she could just to buy meat. Unlike most Lykae, she couldn’t turn wolf to heal her injuries. Her heart told her to run through the forest and let off steam, but her twisted knee prevented her enjoying such a simple thing. Thanks to the beating that killed her inner wolves, that was another pleasure Zebadiah had stolen from her. 

Lately, she’d been teaching herself to shoot with a bow and arrow, but archery didn’t come easy to her. What spare time she had, she spent tending her vegetables and herbs, but all that bending made her knee feel like someone hit it with a hammer—again. 

She persevered because she needed fresh food to survive. The herbal remedies and potions she’d crafted from her surplus and traded for fresh meat were an unexpected bonus. After all, a wolf couldn’t live by vegetables alone. 

The stranger’s eyes darkened until his gaze felt like copper blades cutting through her composure and condemning her poverty-stricken surroundings. His disgust curdled something inside her, but his narrow-eyed look and curled top lip were all too familiar. The pack had looked at her that way for years. 

Her fleeting attraction for Tansy’s rescuer shriveled beneath his I’ll-wipe-you-off-the-planet gaze. With his huge muscles, short-cropped hair, and inbuilt arrogance, he looked more a brawler than a hero. She should shove him out the door, not that her flimsy wattle and daub hut would protect her. Then, despite everything, her stupid hormones flared with desire—for him. 

The bend in his nose, as if he’d broken it and it hadn’t healed right, puzzled her. Most Lykae healed when they shifted, but not him. When he wasn’t looking daggers at her, pained shadows filled his eyes. 

Her antagonism melted when she thought of how he’d rescued Tansy from the murder thorn. Viola wanted to curl her body around his and taste every inch of him. Why was it that the only wolf her stupid oversexed body wanted in her bed had already condemned her. 

He glanced down at Tansy, then turned his death stare back on Viola. “Bustle about, or I’ll find the Rock Prowler pack a new healer. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would be better than you.” 

She blocked the bedroom doorway. “You will pay me?” 

He hurled three gold coins onto the floor of her hut. “There. Take your blood money. The drayman who pointed out your home said you were a hard-hearted bitch. Stupidly, I dismissed his opinion. Biggest mistake I ever made. I should have flashed that poor woman to someone who knew what they were doing, not depended on an unskilled hedgewitch like you.” 

How dare he! Viola’s hands shook, and her cheeks flushed. She opened and closed her mouth, then clenched and unclenched her fists. She’d never wanted to hit anyone so badly. At least he’d paid her, so she’d ignore him and help Tansy—just as she’d intended all along. 

This stranger watched her intently, and under his scrutiny her hands shook. What sort of man could walk in and announce he’d replace her? Someone important, that was for sure. If he voiced his misgivings to the alpha, Zebadiah would have the perfect excuse to cast her out completely. He’d wanted to do it for years. If she knew of any safe haven, she’d have already left. Not that any of the other packs would adopt a damaged wolf like her. 

All she could do was stay put and take life one day at a time. 

Pack members could take their woes to Zebadiah, the pack alpha, and on a good day he might even listen, but an omega wolf was a different story. He’d just laugh Viola and her troubles out of the great hall. Besides, she’d already suffered enough at his hands. She should warn Mr. Fix-It about the alpha’s murderous tendencies. Strangers who strolled into Rock Prowler territory didn’t usually stroll out. 

Even though he condemned her, this stranger oozed so much masculinity that her mouth watered. Not that she would ever act on the deliciously sexual feelings he kick-started in her womb. Omega wolf, remember? 

Looking at him rekindled her dreams of love and romance, the ones the alpha’s thugs had beaten out of her. This newcomer woke something wild inside her, but Viola had long since resigned herself to a solitary existence. No mate. No cubs. No decent home. Little fresh meat and rarely a kind word. She was sick of being isolated and alone. When the alpha had declared her the pack’s omega wolf, he hadn’t expected her to last long, but her stubborn streak had kept her strong. 

Zebadiah’s harsh rule crushed the Rock Prowler pack, and even the cockiest of the Lykae males didn’t dare defy him. Too many sisters and mated she-wolves had vanished from the families that protested his rule. 

Viola poured distilled wine over her hands and winced when some ran into a cut in her finger. “Who are you? And do you have the alpha’s permission to cross Rock Prowler lands?” 

He shoved past her and carried the unconscious woman into the back room of her hut. “I’m Titus, and I’m here by your alpha’s invitation. He wants me to marry his daughter.” 

Any attraction Viola felt toward him withered. She had no respect for any friends of Zebadiah Lightfoot—the man she refused to call father ever again. Even if she didn’t despise Titus, she didn’t own a chair she could offer him. Then again, since he’d come here at her father’s behest, she should ram her hands against his chest and shove him out the door. Not that she could move a man-mountain like him. 

She wanted nothing to do with one of Zebadiah’s brought-in bullies. The quicker this strange attraction she felt toward Titus faded the better. Her hut with her makeshift dresser—more rough pieces of wood propped on stones and her pallet of moss—shouted poverty and defeat. She leaned against one of the hut’s uprights and flexed her leg, glad to take her weight off her knee. Much as she wanted Mr. Fix-It’s hand on her breasts and his lips against hers, she hated the unexpected jolt of mating heat. Her throat constricted as her libido went wild. 

His presence overwhelmed her, and his sheer size made her hut seem crowded. The look on his face, as though he struggled not to gag at a bad smell, hurt more than she’d expected. Though he seemed unconcerned about Tansy’s blood dripping on his expensive clothes, Viola knew the shabbiness of her home disgusted him. 

He had a good heart to tangle with a murder thorn and rescue Tansy despite his allegiance to the alpha. Just knowing he planned to join Zebadiah’s squad of mercenaries sucker punched Viola. Titus was muscle for hire, a wolf paid by Zebadiah to grind the pack into submission. She knew about the alpha’s bullyboys firsthand. 

After a quick assessment of Tansy’s injuries, Viola grabbed a knife and a packet of herbs from her dresser. “What happened to her?” 

Titus’s expression softened as he stared at the injured woman. “I don’t have a clue. I heard a whimper from a thicket of murder thorns, and the poor woman was lying unconscious in the center. Elves’ blood, you’ve got your gold. Get a move on. Can’t you see she’s lost so much blood she’s going into shock?” 

The arrow topped Viola’s priorities. Once she’d pulled a threadbare apron over her head, she poured alcohol over Tansy’s wound. If the archer had barbed the head, pulling the arrow out would tear the flesh from Tansy’s thigh. Given that this looked like a deliberate shooting, Viola prayed the bowman hadn’t poisoned the arrowhead. 

Titus laid Tansy on the moss and sweet-herb pallet, his touch so gentle Viola wondered how it would feel if he laid her down with such care. Just once, she wanted someone to be gentle with her. That or teach her about orgasms and sex. I should be concentrating on Tansy, not drooling over Titus’s ass. 

She swallowed hard and settled on the floor beside her patient, her bad leg extended in front of her. Getting up again would be hell, but Viola would manage somehow. She always did, but on bad days her knee ballooned to twice its normal size. Her gaze strayed back to Titus’s ass. She pictured herself running her hands over it or stroking it or rubbing up against him and breathing in his musky vanilla essence. 

Her nipples ached, and she felt as though flames licked at her cunt—all that for one of Zebadiah’s personal army. Despite his gentle treatment of Tansy, Viola couldn’t trust Titus an inch. This stupid urge to wrap her body around his and run her fingers through his short-cropped hair would fade soon. It had to. Nothing good could come of her having a fling with a stranger, no matter how much he made her heart race. 

Tansy moaned when Viola cut the remnants of her skirt and probed her wound. 

Titus’s eyes narrowed, and his jaw clenched. “Do you enjoy hurting the helpless?” 

Her? Hurt the helpless. Viola would have laughed if he didn’t make her so fluttery and hot. She stood on quicksand, and the only way to stay safe was to cling to Titus. Yeah, like he’d ever offer his hand. 

Her chin rose. “I’m a healer. Only an idiot would think I meant to hurt Tansy. I needed to know if the arrow had struck bone. Fortunately, the head’s embedded in her thigh muscle, but we still need to push it through rather than just yank it out. Once I’ve poulticed the entry and exit wounds, I’ll clean up her scratches.” 

“Then get a move on.” Titus’s fingernails turned into claws, and he bared his fangs. At her. She should be scared or even screaming. Instead, she almost came when she pictured those fangs sinking into her flesh as she orgasmed around his cock. No. Not feeling anything for him…really. Besides, who the hell does he think he is? Judging me as though he’s the Rock Prowler alpha. 

Viola did her best with limited materials. The alpha refused to let her leave Rock Prowlers’ territory to train further even though that left the pack without a qualified healer. She’d lost her books in the fire that had destroyed her home, and she hated when she didn’t know enough to help. 

If Elspeth hadn’t taken Viola in when her mother vanished and her father banished her from her home, she wouldn’t have survived. Twenty-two years later, survival was still a struggle. 

Healing was all she had left. She understood difficult childbirths and kept a stock of herbal remedies for the rare occasions a wolf couldn’t heal himself by shifting. Sadly, nothing would fix her knee. Without her inner wolves, Viola would never be whole again. 

She stole a quick glance at Titus, and her heart rate sped up again. His confidence and strength along with the way he took charge of a bad situation made her envy his mate—assuming he had one. 

The bonded couples in town never left each other’s sides unless they had to, which made her wonder what Tansy had been doing out here alone. Jealousy hit Viola like a fiery arrow. The thought of Titus bonding with another woman turned her stomach sour. Not that she’d ever have children or a mate, but a she-wolf could dream. 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Five Facts Thursday - please welcome Beverley Oakley

Beverley's Five Facts

1.  I didn’t learn to walk until I was seven. The surgeon who performed the world-first hip operation on me had recently perfected the procedure on dogs and was knighted for his work.
  
2.  Apparently I speak French “like a Belgian farmer”. (This is according to the horrified Parisian teacher who took over the Alliance Francaise class I attended for three years in Adelaide.)

3.  When I was 18 and travelling through Germany, I got off a train close to midnight and discovered to my horror after the train had gone that I was standing on my own in the middle of a large field by a forest with no town or light in sight. (No mobile phones in those days!)

4.  I’ve been mauled by a lion. Admittedly it wasn’t much bigger than me but it did pin me down and roll me down a hill at the safari lodge where our crew was based in Namibia.


5.  I lost 10kg during a single gruelling survey contract in French Guiana due to the number of times I threw up during daily eight hour sorties in steamy, turbulent conditions over the jungle.



Dangerous Gentlemen Book Blurb:

Shy, self-effacing Henrietta knows her place—in her dazzling older sister’s shadow. She’s a little brown peahen to Araminta’s bird of paradise. But when Hetty mistakenly becomes embroiled in the Regency underworld, the innocent debutante finds herself shockingly compromised by the dashing, dangerous Sir Aubrey, the very gentleman her heart desires. And the man Araminta has in her cold, calculating sights.
Branded an enemy of the Crown, bitter over the loss of his wife, Sir Aubrey wants only to lose himself in the warm, willing body of the young “prostitute” Hetty. As he tutors her in the art of lovemaking, Aubrey is pleased to find Hetty not only an ardent student, but a bright, witty and charming companion.
Despite a spoiled Araminta plotting for a marriage offer and a powerful political enemy damaging his reputation, Aubrey may suffer the greatest betrayal at the hands of the little “concubine” who’s managed to breach the stony exterior of his heart.


Excerpt: 

In this extract, Hetty, a debutante and viscount’s daughter, is returning from the mending room at a ball when she learns that a certain interesting and ‘dangerous gentleman’ is a house-guest.
With a furtive look around her, Hetty hurried left and up the stairs, at which point two corridors at right angles disappeared into darkness. Choosing the one to the right, she found herself face-to-face with a series of closed doors.
Foolish, she chided herself. Of course they were closed and she could hardly open them. As she turned back toward the ballroom, a faint light shining from the crack beneath a door that was slightly ajar gleamed beckoningly.
Glancing over her shoulder, she approached it, and when she gave the door a little nudge with her foot, it swung open.
Excitement rippled through her.
“Hello?” she asked in a low voice. She took another step into the room. “Is anyone in here?”
Silence. A low fire burned in the grate before which was a table, against which were propped several items, including a familiar silver-topped cane. Her breath caught. The last time she’d seen that cane was when Sir Aubrey had exchanged several words with Araminta in the street as Hetty had been bringing up the rear with Mrs. Monks. Of course Sir Aubrey had not looked twice at her, excusing himself before having to be introduced to the younger sister and the chaperone who’d nearly closed the gap.
Heart hammering, Hetty closed the door behind her and went to pick up the cane.
How fortunate to have stumbled into Sir Aubrey’s room, she thought when she observed the fine coat lying upon the bed, apparently discarded in favor of what he was wearing tonight.
He really was a nonpareil, wearing his clothes as if they were an extension of his athletic physique.
Yet he was dangerous, she had to remind herself. Meaning she should not be here, which of course she shouldn’t, regardless of whether he was dangerous or not.
But how such a scion of good breeding and genteel society could be guilty of such a heinous crime as treason, Hetty could not imagine. And surely the story of the runaway wife was a gilded one. It was all the stuff of make-believe and Cousin Stephen was only telling Hetty he was dangerous to curb her schoolroom daydreams.
Turning, she saw half protruding from beneath the suit of clothes what appeared to be the edge of a silver, filigreed box. It was partly obscured by the overhang of the counterpane, as if it hadn’t properly been returned to its hiding place.
A moment’s indecision made her pause but soon Hetty was crouching on the floor, closing clammy fingers around the box. Might it contain secrets? Ones that would reveal, conclusively, what Cousin Stephen claimed was true?
Alternatively, proof that would exonerate Sir Aubrey?
Hetty fumbled for the catch. Dear Lord, this was too exciting for words. Perhaps Sir Aubrey was a secret agent working for the English, and Stephen had no idea.
Perhaps he was—
Protesting door hinges made her squeal as the door was flung wide. Hetty let the lid of the box fall and retreated into the shadows as Sir Aubrey strode into the room.
He was breathing heavily as he shrugged off his jacket with a curse, raindrops spattering into the hissing fire as he raked his fingers through his hair. A curious stillness overtook him and he froze, obviously sensing all was not as he left it.
He sniffed the air. “Orange flower water,” he muttered, stepping closer to the fire, fumbling for the tinderbox on the mantelpiece to light a candle.
Immediately he was thrown into sharp relief and as he stared at Hetty, it was not his look of shock and suspicion that made her scream—but the copious amounts of blood that stained his shirtsleeves and once snowy linen cravat.
“God Almighty, who are you?” he demanded as his gaze raked her finery. “You’re no parlor maid, that’s for certain.”
Gaping, unable to formulate a sensible answer, Hetty finally managed, “What happened to your arm, Sir Aubrey? Are you injured?”
“Sir Aubrey, is it? So you know who I am but you still haven’t told me who you are?” He grunted as he looked down at his arm, the bloodied linen shredded over the long graze. “It’s not as bad as it looks and I assure you, I gave a good account of myself.” His laugh was more a sneer. “Indeed, my assailant lies dead in the gutter.”
Hetty gasped. “Dueling?” Myriad questions crowded her mind. Could this be to do with Araminta? Had Sir Aubrey left Araminta in the middle of the ball to fight some other contender for her affections?
“Dueling?” he repeated. He shook his head and Hetty drew back at the coldness in his eyes. “There was nothing noble about my activities this evening. I was set upon in a dark alley. A short scuffle ensued, I drew my knife, then…” With his hand, he made a gesture like the slitting of his throat, adding, “I am slightly wounded but as I said, my attacker does not live to repeat the insult.”
Her horror clearly amused him, for his eyes narrowed while his generous mouth quirked. He looked like an incarnation of the most handsome demon she’d ever seen depicted in the fairy stories she loved to read.
“We all have enemies, madam. Enemies who must be eliminated if we are to breathe freely.”
***
Aubrey was enjoying the girl’s wide-eyed terror. No doubt she imagined he’d sliced the throat of a footpad, not the snarling, mangy cur who had leapt upon him as he’d been returning from his brief assignation to settle a gaming debt incurred by his favorite reprobate nephew.
Taking pity on her, he said reassuringly, “Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.’ Her wide-eyed look as he removed first his jacket, then the bloodied shirt he tossed upon the bed before he rose to his full height, bare chested, afforded him the most amusement he’d had in a long time. “So, you’re the girl Madame Chambon sent?”

Buy Links:



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Reviews by Crystal




Dangerous Gentlemen 
Daughters of Sin Book 2
By Beverley Oakley

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and 1 ebook of Her Gilded Prison (Book 1 in the Daughters of Sin). Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. Those locations may be found here

Meet the Author: 


Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances filled with mystery, intrigue and adventure. Most are set in London ballrooms and country estates during the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras.
Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes less steamy historicals and romantic suspense set in Colonial Africa, where she was born, as Beverley Eikli.

Beverley's Links: