Tag Archives: spicy romance

Goldi and the Bear is a Finalist!

Thursdays Bite

a hot, shapeshifter romance blog

I’m super excited to discover that my spicy, new adult, twisted fairy tale, Goldi and the Bear is a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Goldi is the third book in the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series of hot, shape-shifter romance novellas from Passion in Print Press.

I love this series of novellas. They are fun and fast-paced, and I had a terrific time writing them. I can’t wait to get back to this series and write a few more about my Colorado shape-shifters and fairy-tale twists.

Goldi Lycan’s father has gone wild wolf. She needs his signature and the money he’s hidden or the bank will foreclose and sell to a buyer she suspects is her ex-boyfriend, whose heart she crushed. Zeke has a secret. He’s never stopped loving Goldi, or forgotten their steamy nights together, and he’s determined to make her pay. When Goldi is injured in a Rocky Mountain blizzard she’s forced to take shelter in Zeke’s empty house. But look out! When Zeke arrives home to find a naked she-wolf in his bed, all hell will break loose.

Goldi and the Bear

Chapter One

Goldi took a last despairing look in the mirror. It had been a long time since she’d done anything as frivolous as looking good and dressing up. Today, of all days, it made her skin crawl.

Crazy blonde curls tamed? Check.

Conservative, navy dress? Check.

Medium heels to match? Check.

Well, sort of. She eyed the shoes. She’d taken an old black marker and covered the scuff marks. They’d do, as long as no one looked closely and saw that the black was a little smeary. With no money for the last two years for anything besides the needs of the sheep, the ranch, and paying the bills, there was nothing leftover for anything as impractical as a new dress or shoes.

The old navy dress and black pumps had better be up to the job of looking serious enough to impress Jonas MacGee at the Smittsville Savings and Loan. She didn’t have much choice. If Jonas didn’t give her father an extension on the loan, she’d not only be nearly dressless, she’d be homeless too.

She smothered another sigh and pasted on a smile.

This was the best she could do. She couldn’t make her wild curls look like she had a corporate job, and she couldn’t make Dad crawl to the bank manager twenty years his junior. All she could do was force him to go and hope he treated Jonas with respect. Something the old wolf would have trouble enough doing. Lots of trouble.

She grabbed her purse and headed for the living room, checking for wallet and keys and calling to her dad. “Dad, are you ready?”

No answer.

“It’s time to go.” The hairs on the back of her neck rose.

It was a short trip through the small, one-story house, sniffing deeply for her dad’s woodsy scent, a suspicious, panicky ache growing in the center of her chest as she checked each room. He wasn’t in his bedroom, the bathroom, kitchen, or living room. His scent was fresh, he couldn’t have left more than an hour ago. Just when she’d gotten into the shower.

She pressed her lips together, squashing the twinge of anxiety before it bloomed into a panic attack. Pushing open the wooden screen door, she hollered out into the ranch yard, the cold rising wind whipping her words away. “Dad! It’s time to go.”

Ned, their latest ranch hand, limped around the corner of the half-empty hay barn holding her dad’s best blue jeans, the shirt she’d ironed yesterday, and his only tie. “He’s gone, Goldi.” He stopped and leaned on the rusting, pale-green 1975 Ford pick-up. “I saw him running for the hills about twenty minutes ago.”

The tightness in her chest clamped down hard as panic blossomed into a full-blown attack. She sucked in air to shout once again for her dad, knowing it was useless. He’d shifted to wolf, run off, and left her here to face the debt all by herself.

Ned shook his head and pursed his lips. “You’d better go without him.”

Cold sweat dampened her fresh dress and she stifled the urge to rip it off her body. The urge to get rid of the tight shoes and confining dress and shift to wolf grew nearly unbearable. Why couldn’t she run for the hills and hide like Dad from the demands of the world?

Her lungs seized up.

She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t talk Jonas MacGee into extending the loan for a twenty-two year old, unemployed, high school drop-out.

“Maybe I can find him.” She gasped, struggling to breathe past the lump in her chest.

“You might, but you’d have to come back here, get dressed again, and still make it into town for your appointment.” Ned’s typical dour expression darkened. “I doubt you’d impress the banker.”

“You’re right.” Goldi dug into her purse for her keys. “Can you look for him?”

Ned’s eyes shifted away, and Goldi’s outstretched hand dropped to her side. She should have known it was futile to ask. Ned never did more than he had to, and looking for her dad would be actual work.

“I could…” He pulled a package of tobacco out and pushed a wad in front of his stained teeth. “But I was going to go check on the pregnant ewes in the south field.” He lifted his head and sniffed the air. “It smells like snow. What do you want me to do?”

A bank of dark threatening clouds loomed behind the western mountains. Rocky Mountain blizzards could be heavy in late February, and the cool breeze, carrying the taste of snow, smelled wet. Suddenly, it was all too much. She was exhausted from having to make all the decisions. Every blessed day her father left more and more responsibility to her and took off for the woods. Today, she’d really needed him. And he’d known it.

Ned slouched against the old pickup, his tobacco-full lower lip pushed out as he waited for her decision.

She tried to take a deep breath. “No, you’d better check on the ewes. If I can talk Jonas into giving us until May, we’re going to need every single lamb to dig us out of debt.”

He nodded and spat a brown liquid stream into the dirt. “Yup,” he said and turned away, heading back to the small cabin he had all to himself.

Once again, she wished her dad would let her talk to the other wolves in Radon. Then, they’d be able to hire someone from the pack, not some lone-wolf with a hidden history, like Ned. Somewhere, somehow, Ned had left his pack. Or been driven out. He didn’t say why, and Goldi wasn’t sure she wanted to know how, but she’d seen his leg. It was covered with scars from some wolf’s teeth.

But she had few choices. At this point, Ned was all she had keeping the ranch together. Her dad would never hire anyone else. All the things she didn’t like about Ned made her dad like him. He had no ties. Was loyal to no pack. And best of all, in her dad’s opinion, Ned didn’t care if her dad spent more and more time running as a wolf. Much as she didn’t like it, Ned was sticking around.

Goldi got into the old truck and cranked the engine. It fired up with no problem, the old motor rumbling unhappily away. Her panic attack loosened its hold on her chest. At least one thing was going right today. She drove away from the ranch and turned up the dirt road toward town.

An old country tune sang out of the radio and she sang along with it, howling out the high notes and trying to push all her worries out of her mind. It would take an hour to drive to town and she needed to be ready to face Jonas. Calm, collected, cool as the proverbial cucumber. Every inch the woman he would give an extension to. Not the scared little girl she’d become over the last few years since her mom’s death, prone to letting fear take over, panic attacks, and turning tail.

Today, if she didn’t face the world, the world would take over. She had to rock this appointment or lose everything.

Driving past the dilapidated house that marked the intersection to Rover’s Corner she made the left-hand turn onto the road that led into town. Out of habit she averted her eyes from the dirt road on the right that curved up the side of Beresford Mountain. The sight of it didn’t even hurt anymore, at least not much. She hadn’t been up there in years and didn’t allow herself to even think about all the happy time she’d spent up there. That was bear territory and if her father ever caught wind of how tempting it was every time she drove by to turn up that road, he’d be furious. It had been bad enough five years ago when her mom had passed, but now?

Wolves hated bears, bears didn’t like anyone else, and the closer her father came to slipping into the wild, the more he distrusted outsiders. Humans, bears, and wolves.

She shoved the yearning for the past back in the same place with her worries and turned her attention to forming careful arguments that would impress Jonas MacGee. Mr. MacGee, I…

The truck sputtered.

“Come on, you piece of junk, come on.” She hit the dash with her palm. “You can do it!”

The engine gave off a few guttural growls, coughed, and died.

“Noooo!” she wailed, and with the truck’s last rolling effort she guided it to the side of the road and into the high grass. She checked the mileage. One hundred and fifty-two miles. Nowhere near the two hundred and twenty mile mark that she needed to get gas. With the old truck’s speedometer broken as long as she could remember, they’d always re-set the odometer so they could get gas before they reached the two hundred mark. The twenty was just in case.

There should be an extra sixty-eight miles left before she ran out of gas.

She turned the car over and over, the grinding sound of the starter wearing on her nerves. No gas. And no one in sight on this lonely road that led nowhere but bear territory and Lycan Ranch. No one would be coming, and she only had half-an-hour to make it to town. On her own two feet. Or four.

She hopped out of the car and, for a fleeting moment, considered stripping off her clothes, tying them to her back, and running in wolf-form all the way to town. But, before she could put it into practice, she heard a motor. Someone was coming from the direction of Rover’s Corner. She turned. And as the expensive, shiny black pickup approached, dust blowing from its rear wheels, her lungs tightened and her heart sank.

Only one person in this area drove a new, black pickup.

The truck rolled to a stop next to the old, stalled truck, and the automatic window rolled down. Zeke Beresford leaned across the seat and asked, “Heading into town? Need a lift?”

At the sound of his voice, her heart skittered.

It had been over five-and-a-half years since she’d heard Zeke Beresford speak, and he sounded just the same. Sexy. Hot. Tempting. But he looked different. Way different. He still had thick, dark brown, straight hair, and deep, rich, chocolate brown eyes, but everything else had changed.

She couldn’t even get enough air to speak.

“I won’t bite.” His words were soft, almost flirty. But he wasn’t smiling. His face was hard, his eyes cold and assessing as he checked out her conservative clothes. And by the small shake of his head and sardonic lift to his brow, he found her wanting.

She looked up the road at the long, dusty walk to town and knew she had no choice. She had to take him up on his offer.

He started to pull his head back into the pick-up.

“No, wait.” She got the words out, grabbed her purse off the front seat, and slammed the creaky door of the betraying old truck. “I would love a lift into town.” Opening the door of the too tall truck, she raised her heeled foot up high, tugged her skirt down, and hauled her ass into the cab. “Thank you,” she said, with all the sophistication and air she could muster as she stared into the dark, dangerous brown eyes of her ex-boyfriend.

The one she’d stopped talking to when her mother had died and she’d dropped out of her junior year of high school. The one who had begged and pleaded with her to re-consider and whom she’d told she never wanted to speak to again.

Zeke Beresford, bad bear made good.

Goldi huddled on her side of the luxurious cab, working on breathing past the tight squeeze of her heart, as they drove to town. Zeke’s capable, large hands expertly handled the powerful truck and she caught herself staring at them, remembering the way they’d felt on her skin. How, a full year older, he’d taught her inexperienced high school self all the things her parents never wanted to know she’d learned. Especially at the hands of a bear.

Old desires, long forgotten, tingled along her skin. She yanked her gaze from Zeke’s hands.

“Why didn’t your date pick you up at the ranch? Afraid Daddy dear might see?” Zeke’s mocking tone raised her ruff.

“I don’t have a date,” she said, her voice stiff.

She darted a look at his hard face as he stared straight down the road. No one except Ned knew how close her father was to permanently turning wild wolf, and she wasn’t about to tell Zeke. Not now. Not with that callous tone in his voice telling her he’d never forgive her for dumping him.

He darted a look at her as they rounded the curve heading down the valley and into town. “Why are you all dressed up if it’s not a date? I don’t remember you being the kind to wear a skirt to grocery shop.”

“For your information, I have an appointment.” She didn’t want to tell him about her mission. But she was damned if she’d let him make fun of her. She felt uncomfortable enough as it was in the skirt and heels, and now being in his car was the icing on the cherry.

“Oh? What kind of an appointment?”

“A none-of-your-business kind.” That’s just what she needed, Zeke to know that she was begging the bank for time to pay off the mortgage. Her nerves pushed the tension from her tight chest into her throat. She swallowed past the lump.

“Well, you just let me know where you want to be dropped off.” Zeke eased the truck onto Main.

“Right here would be fine.” She pushed the words out past the straight jacket of her lungs, the lump in her throat, and her tightly clenched teeth.

“Here?” He pulled into an empty parking space and was out of the truck and around to her side before she could figure out which of the fancy buttons unlocked the door. He yanked the door open, and she was faced with Zeke Beresford at eye level. Anxiety clamped down on her chest and she couldn’t get any air.

“Let me help you,” he growled.

She had no choice.

She turned her knees to the side and slid out. He caught her and held her tight, pressed against his hard, muscular body. She gripped her purse in one hand, the other one landing on his shoulder as her breasts caught on his chest and he eased her down. Past his eyes, his lips, the dip of his throat, her pelvis and abdomen sliding down the thrust of his erection.

Her feet touched the pavement, but he didn’t let go. She gasped for air, drowning in the rich, spicy, familiar scent of Zeke and wished her traitor skin didn’t reveal everything she felt.

“Let me go,” she wheezed.

He didn’t move. His deep brown eyes held hers. Her chest fluttered with the unfamiliarity of being trapped.

Then he let go, and without the support of his strong arms she stumbled on the cement. Clutching her purse, she stood on shaky legs and mustered her voice. “Thanks for the ride.”

“No problem.” He backed up and bowed. “At your service, princess.”

Her already hot skin burned. She put her nose in the air and walked as fast as she could on her unfamiliar heels across the sidewalk and into the bank, putting Zeke and the past behind her. Right where he had to stay.

Upon entering the bank Goldi abandoned all pretenses and ran for the ladies’ room. Inside, she plopped her purse down and gripped the rigid sides of the grey Formica counter, panting and struggling for air. She turned on the taps, ran cold water over her wrists, and practiced slow, even breaths to calm her racing pulse.

Of all the days to run into Zeke, why did it have to be today?

It had nearly shattered her to break up with him, but she’d had to. She could still remember that last time, leaving Zeke in the sunny meadow and running home, ecstatic and happy. And then, her mother died and her world crashed down.

Goldi shuddered and turned off the taps. The whirring of the fan in the ceiling and the slow drip of water were the only sounds in the bathroom, but what she heard were the howls and recriminations her father would scream at her if he even had an idea that she still loved Zeke Beresford.

She dried off her hands and stared at her strained face in the mirror. Her heart had slowed down to merely fast. She could face Jonas MacGee now. But the one person she hoped she never had to face again was Zeke Beresford.

 

Available now from:

Amazon , Barnes and Noble ,  All Romance   , and Passion in Print

Add to your Goodreads page.

Subscribe to my new release only mailing list to find out as soon as Goldi and the Bear is available for sale and other new release information.

 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under fairy tales, Goldi and the Bear, Thursdays Bite, werecreatures

Free on Amazon The Dark Huntsman!

Get The Dark Huntsman FREE today on Kindle http://amzn.com/B00FN2P7A8

So many things happening today. Not only do I have my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, free on Amazon, but I have the pleasure of announcing that the winner of the Quarterly Release Blog Hop Prize from my site. BN100 has won a copy of one of my spicy, new adult, romances from the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series. Check the Rafflecopter link for more details of winners of the Grand Prize drawing.

And everyone is a winner today! Hop on over to AMAZON and download your FREE copy of The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court for your prize. Remember only available free on November 1st and 2nd, 2013.

Halloween is over and the Trick or Treat hop has drawn to a close. Check Sam Cheever’s website in the next few days for details of the grand prize winner and I’ll be sending her the name of the winner from my site for the grand prize drawing. I had a lot of people send me their picks from the treat bag! Great contest and I hope I get to  participate next year.

the dark huntsman free on kindle on halloween

Thanks everyone for a terrific release month for The Dark Huntsman!

And if you would like to know about new releases  Subscribe to my new release only mailing list and I’ll send you announcements of when I have new books out!

2 Comments

Filed under Bloghops, The Dark Huntsman

Happy Halloween!

Thursays Bite

Happy Halloween!

Today is the last day to leave a comment on the Quarterly Release Blog Hop to win! On my site, just leave a comment in the box to win an ebook. You need to enter at the Rafflecopter site for the general Huge Swag Pack including copies of my twisted fairy tale, spicy, new adult, paranormal series, Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods.

Also the last day to participate in Sam Cheever’s Trick or Treat contest. Tomorrow I’ll be drawing names for the prizes on my site and sending one lucky winner on to Sam’s super prize swag pack including a kindle paperwhite and a copy of The Dark Huntsman.

Crazy Halloween Week!

I was going to have my fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, Free today and with everything going on in my life, I forgot that I needed to schedule the free day! So it will be free on November 1st and November 2nd on Amazon. Check in tomorrow for the links and details!

3 Comments

Filed under Thursdays Bite

Digging Under the Bed at Gloria’s House

I’m on Gloria Richard’s Snark E. Pen today, blogging on Digging Under the Bed for the MS of The Dark Huntsman, my new spicy, fantasy romance that is on sale now. You can buy it on Amazon HERE or you can also enter the Goodreads Giveaway for ten print copies. Heck, you could do both. Buy the e-copy and win a print one to give as a gift. 🙂

I’ll be here tomorrow blogging on spooky romance, so check back!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends October 22, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Leave a comment

Filed under Bloghops, The Dark Huntsman

Teaser Thursday and Goodreads #Giveaway for The Dark Huntsman

Thursdays Bite

a last bite of spicy, fantasy romance

I’m giving away ten PRINT copies of The Dark Huntsman, my spicy, fairytale romance, to Goodreads Readers. Enter below to win! This is my very first Goodreads giveaway, so I hope to see some new readers and some great reviews of the book. Already I have people lining up to request books, so sign up. I do know real people who have won real books. This time, one might be you!

Today I’m revealing the last tender morsel of chapter one. You can find bite one HERE, bite two HERE, and bite three HERE. And after that, if you want more of The Dark Huntsman Subscribe to my new release only mailing list and you’ll be the first to know when it hits the shelves. The virtual shelves of Amazon and Kindle Select, that is. Unless you are here in Colorado where I’ll be ordering copies into my local book small book store, The Book Cellar, in Louisville. So thanks for coming by today to read my last snippet and click the link below to hop over to Goodreads and enter to win The Dark Huntsman.

Enter to Win

one of Ten Print Copies of my fantasy romance: The Dark Huntsman

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Dark Huntsman by Jessica Aspen

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

Giveaway ends October 22, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The Dark Huntsman, excerpt number four.

the dark huntsman by jessica aspenThunder boomed.

Trina looked up the valley. The dying light made it impossible for her to see much more than the silhouette of a horse and rider barrel through the boulders and uneven terrain, tearing down the rocky hillside at an impossible speed. But no barrel racer would endanger their mount careening down the mountain in a thunder storm. Or ride a horse the color of the absence of light, with freakish red eyes. Only something truly inhuman would light up her inner sight with that particular eerie blue glow.

The acid in her stomach rose into her throat.

An elven lord.

Oh Fuck! I’m screwed.

She swallowed the acid down. Her trap, her best effort, all her hard work. Dumb. Stupid. Pathetic. None of it would hold an elven lord, a full adult fae whose power would make her trap look like an art project. She wished she could hide the evidence, like a small child wiping up the crumbs of stolen cookies.

Horse and rider skidded and slowed in a shower of ricocheting rocks. The enormous hounds flowed out surrounding the labyrinth. The cloaked rider and his dark mount advanced.

She held still, athame at the ready in her sweaty hands, prepared to bolt if she had the chance. Her eyes flicked from the approaching rider, distracted by the lesser threat of the huge, sharp-toothed, and yellow-eyed hounds encircling the labyrinth. Silent sharks waiting for the command to take their prey.

Her.

“Damn shame to kill you, witch.” His voice was smooth, well-aged whiskey with a hint of brogue.

“Then don’t.”

“What will you give me instead? A life requires a powerful exchange. I was sent for your death.”

Trina tried to keep her face even and not reveal her panic, or sudden fear and loss of confidence. She had nothing he could want. Anything of true power, that a fae like this one might consider valuable, was safely out of reach and driving down the road in the van. Gone. Along with any reinforcements.

“How about honesty?” She offered in desperation.

“Funny girl.”

The nervous sweat on her back grew cold.

“Although I would enjoy taking the time,” he said, his low voice carrying easily over the wind and thunder, “we shouldn’t stand here bargaining. The queen awaits my report.”

The dark presence leaned forward, his impatient mount’s feet shifting on the gravel. The lord’s level tone distracted her, and she was unprepared when the horse moved. The pair crashed effortlessly into the labyrinth, cutting a destroying swath across the short, brushy, sage and heading for her at the center. The wards failed. Spectacular violent explosions burst into cascades of colored lights, as if they were merely firecrackers, instead of huge magical grenades.

The overwhelming smell of crushed sage rose, and she swore the evil-eyed horse laughed. She reached inside for what was left of her power, losing her grip on it when he leaned over and grabbed her arm. With no apparent effort, he hoisted her up.

She scrabbled for a handhold in an effort to not fly over the horse into the waiting sea of teeth and dogs. She tangled one hand in the long black mane and held tight to her slippery knife with the other.

Strong arms wrapped in leather tightened around her, forced her upright, her toes dangling sidesaddle. Everything happening too fast. She barely had a grip in the long black mane when the creature flexed under her and they flew over the candles.

The flames blew out.

They landed on the other side of the labyrinth in a hard jolt. She slipped.

If I fall, I could run.

Before the thought had been and gone, her grip on the mane loosened. She slid to the side. Hot breath and the scrape of teeth on her ankle warned her, just in time. She yanked her foot out of range of the snapping jaws, and lost her precarious balance. Making an instinctive grab for the mane with her right hand, she dropped the knife.

Her kidnapper growled and tightened his grip on her stomach and she gasped for her voice.

“Put me down!”

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that. I either kill you or take you with me.” The sparkling black blade of his laughter cut deep into her soul.

Accelerating faster and faster, they wove in and out of the treacherous rocks in a mad, blurring rush up the side of the valley. If she fell off now and hit a rock, she’d be road-kill. She anchored both hands firmly in the mane and leaned back into the solid chest of her attacker.

They raced on, licks of green fire lighting up the hill behind them. A deep maw of black within purple mist formed ahead, transforming the familiar landscape into a horror. The knowledge of where they headed slammed inside her brain.

Trina’s heart sped into a sharp staccato.

Words of denial formed in her constricted throat, gone long before she had a chance to know what they were.

Don’t make me go.

They rocketed to the top of the valley, the piranha hounds schooling tightly around them as they raced to the looming mouth of the portal. Steely muscles bunched and flexed under her. Launching into the air, they flew into the mix of fog and darkness encased in the sound of her scream.

That’s it, that’s the end of chapter one. Leave a comment and let me know how you liked it then put The Dark Huntsman on your Goodreads TBR shelf HERESubscribe to my new release only mailing list to find out when The Dark Huntsman is released, and then get ready for the book. It should be out in October, and of course I’ll be announcing it here and on Twitter and Facebook. How could I resist trumpeting it to the skies?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fae, fairy tales, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

Excerpt of Brand New Fantasy Romance: The Dark Huntsman

Thursdays Bite

a sample bite blog

The Dark Huntsman is coming and to celebrate the new cover of my latest spicy, paranormal, fantasy romance I’m on tour all week. Drop by the following stops and enter to win one of ten e-copies by entering my Rafflecopter Giveaway.

the dark huntsman by jessica aspen cover badgeFriday 13thLynn Cahoon

Monday 16thJoan Leacott

Tuesday 17th, ML Guida

Wednesday 18thGloria Richard

September 20thSelena Laurence

Or hop by last Thursday’s post and leave a comment to enter, or subscribe to my New Release email list HERE and receive another entry.

For teaser one Click HERE  and to read teaser two, click  HERE . Now on to teaser three.

***

The Dark Huntsman 

Riding into the dry-as-bones mountains on the back of the puca, Logan’s anger seared bitter in his chest. It rolled off him in waves, pulling thunder down from the sky. He toyed idly with the storm letting his anger draw the danger of the lightening to him as he seethed. Fifteen years away from his hounds. Fifteen years of Solanum’s running wild, the puca causing havoc wherever he went. Fifteen years of Logan’s life eaten away in the hole of the queen’s dungeons.

And now he was to kill witches for the queen. A fact that rubbed him raw.

Humans were amusing companions, why create trouble? Irritated with the brief flare of morality, he smothered it with brutal force. It didn’t fucking matter what he wanted. It never had.

Lightening cracked. The eerie silent hounds of the Dark Hunt tightened around him, their tense glances and snapping teeth reflections of his flaring emotions.

He had no room for second thoughts tonight. The Black Queen had given him no reason why she needed these witches killed, but if he satisfied her it might give him his freedom. At the very least it would give him some space. Maybe some time to figure out a way to stay out of the dungeons. And time to figure out how to truly extricate himself from her bloody dominion.

Because no matter what she had promised him, he knew, there was no way she would simply let him go. Not after the way he had betrayed her.

Solanum tossed his head and bucked. “Quit squeezing my ribs.” Lurid green faery flames leapt from his hooves, igniting short-lived cold fires in the dry Wyoming brush.

“Cease, horse,” Logan said, squeezing his legs a little more. Punching Solanum’s buttons felt good, really good. Just like his wrath at the queen felt good. Justified.

The puca tossed his long mane into Logan’s eyes. “Lay off, or you’ll be eating dirt,” the puca snarled, his nostrils flaring in the dimming light.

Solanum’s irritation put a hard smile on Logan’s lips. He tightened his legs and drove the puca harder down the hill through the brewing storm.

A hound pushed in close. Solanum’s hoof lashed out, connecting with a solid thud. The hound’s yipe sounded inside Logan’s head as he regained his balance, cursing the hound’s behavior and the puca’s intolerance.

He was back. The hounds would get used to him again. And Solanum too.

Thunder crashed in the sky, following him down into the shadowed hills as he approached the witches’ lair. Nostrils burning from the ozone, nerves tingling, he distracted himself with the dark moist wind, manipulating it to blow through the dry autumn brush like a child’s tantrum.

He laughed, the spiteful wind stealing away the dark sound as cracks of thunder echoed off the mountains. He let the anger simmer and the lightening moved further away. He wasn’t free yet, and he wasn’t suicidal. What he was, was trapped. And it pissed him off, the frustration riding him like a hag.

What could he do when the queen changed her mind and refused to release him from her service? What if the bitch thought she could use him then put him back into her dungeons Underhill, calling him to her side like a lapdog? He needed a way to show her there would be repercussions. He needed leverage.

In the distance, thunder rumbled and they tipped over the edge of the valley in search of the witch. A wavering glow of candles shone above the last few rocks.

Almost there.

The telltale traces of a spell raised the hair on the back of his neck. He extended his Gift to perceive what he couldn’t yet see. A labyrinth set by a single inexperienced witch. His lips twitched. As protection it might have worked, had the Faery Queen sent her regular henchman. Unluckily for the witch, the queen had unleashed him. The Dark Huntsman.

He would kill the wench, and be done with this thing between himself and the queen of the Tuatha De Dannan. And when the queen refused to release him? He’d deal with that when the time came.

The wind carried the hot dry smell of sage mixed with the smell of fear and musky female. He inhaled the raw flavor of the witch, the taste of her fear and anger and power slid down his throat, easing his rage.

The anxious hounds shifted around him, sensing the proximity of their prey. Solanum rounded the rock.

And there she was.

The sight of her rocked him back like a blow, almost knocking him to the ground. And he realized that despite the stasis, fifteen years had been too long a time to be without a woman.

Glimmers of power limned her naked body and the silver blade of the athame that gleamed between her breasts. Her legs were spread slightly apart, tensed for battle. Long black hair crackled and lifted with static. Her expressive face was poised on the edge of dilemma, her body caught between the need to hold the spell and the need for action.

He paused to let the feel of power and woman roll through him.

Beautiful.

Unexpected.

Green, almond shaped eyes widened. Her stance firmed, her shoulders pulled back, and her full breasts rose, nipples tightened with cold or fear. Something wild and raw he hadn’t felt in a hundred years stabbed low in his gut.

His agenda changed.

The queen wanted to kill the witch. Why? His plan of placating the queen suddenly seemed weak. She’d never let him go without leverage, and here was leverage standing naked and lovely before him. He had a new plan.

Screw the queen.

Ready for more? Tune in next Thursday, and meanwhile add The Dark Huntsman to your Goodreads TBR shelf HERE.

An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch, tangled together in a tale of Snow White…

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan, is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in her new twisted fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court…

The Dark Huntsman:  A fantasy romance of the Black Court 

Release date: October 2013 

ISBN e-copy: 978-0-9899558-0-5 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Fae, fairy tales, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite

The Dark Huntsman Cover Reveal and e-book Giveaway

Thursdays Bite

It’s here! The Dark Huntsman Cover Reveal

I’m happy dancing with my new cover for my spicy, fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, book one in my twisted fairy tale series, Tales of the Black Court and to celebrate I am giving away ten e-copies of the book. You can enter below by clicking on the Rafflecopter link, or  by leaving a comment on this post, or  Subscribe to my new release only mailing list. And here it is, the cover we’ve been waiting for!

the dark huntsman by jessica aspen

Isn’t it sexy! I want to thank Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs for working so hard on this cover. And let me tell you, this was not easy! We went through several design choices. Kari was super patient and had a sunny attitude with each one (although I’m sure her husband got an earful!).

And here is what my very first print book will look like from Abracadabra Publishing:

the dark huntsman by jessica aspen

And, since I know you can’t read the print on the screen, here is the blurb:

An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch, tangled together in a tale of Snow White…

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan, is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Dare to enter Jessica Aspen’s world of steamy, fantasy romance in her new twisted fairy tale trilogy: Tales of the Black Court…

Click HERE to read an excerpt from chapter one.

Want more chances to win The Dark Huntsman in e-book? Hop by these spots on my cover tour and the Rafflecopter link will be there too. You can tweet, FB and ENTER daily between now and September 24th. And don’t forget, you can enter simply by leaving a comment today on this post or subscribing to my New RELEASE email list HERE.

Friday 13th, Lynn Cahoon

Monday 16th, Joan Leacott

Tuesday 17th, ML Guida

Wednesday 18th, Gloria Richard

September 20th, Selena Laurence

The Dark Huntsman:  A fantasy romance of the Black Court 

Author Name: Jessica Aspen 

Name of series and book number in series: Book one, Tales of the Black Court 

Genres: Spicy, Fantasy Romance, Twisted Fairy Tales 

Publisher: Abacadabra Publishing 

Release date: October 2013 

ISBN e-copy: 978-0-9899558-0-5 

Word Count: 88,000 words 

Formats available: kindle, epub, pdf, paperback 

Cover Artist: Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs  www.covertocoverdesigns.com

Enter HERE for the Rafflecopter  contest and TEN e-copies of The Dark Huntsman.

And it’s Teaser Thursday! So here is another bite of The Dark Huntsman. You can find last week’s teaser HERE.

Trina raced out the door, forgetting again about the broken bottom porch step. The rotting wood gave under her foot. She hit hard on her hands and knees. The heavy duffle bag swung down and slammed into her arm, tipping open, the sacred ritual tools scattering into the dirt.

Her throat swelled tight. She swallowed back forbidden tears, sat up, and brushed off the tiny rocks embedded in her flesh.

“Damn it!”

She didn’t have time for this.

Scrambling around in the dirt and weeds, she grabbed the precious tools, tossing them like discarded toys into the duffle. Why hadn’t the Goddess Gifted her with time manipulation? Then she wouldn’t have to worry about all this crap.

Ignoring the gorgeous dusty golds and ambers of fall in rural Wyoming, she hauled the loaded duffle up the rapidly darkening hill. Something was coming to the peaceful valley. Cassie had dreamed it, and even if her dreams were subject to interpretation the meaning had been clear. Tonight at sunset, the queen’s dog would descend.

Whatever the hell “queen’s dog” meant.

Sometimes it took more talent than a whole family of witches to figure out the symbolism of Cassie’s visions. Whatever creature the Faerie Queen sent tonight didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was that the last of her family was safe, speeding away in the ancient avocado van.

Doubt quivered low in her belly. The trap spell required more knowledge and power than she possessed, but she had to try. She didn’t know if they’d have another opportunity to grab one of the queen’s scouts before the reinforcements arrived. It was all up to her. They needed information and they needed it soon, before they ran out of places to run.

She reached the point where the rocks began near the old cottonwood at the entrance to the sage labyrinth. An exact eighteen feet across, the sacred three-times-three-times-three, and barely hitting two and-a-half feet tall, it had taken much of her green talent to get it to grow into the classic winding spiral walk used for meditation and spells. No longer the place where she and her cousins had come for spiritual practice, now the stubby double spiral of green and its small center circle would have to change gears from sacred meditation spot to the place she made her stand.

Trina swallowed her fear and reluctance down deep in her gut, dumped her duffle, and stripped off her clothes. A hard gust of the ever-present Wyoming wind shook her.  The newly bared skin of her belly shivered and dread trailed chilly fingers down her spine.

She caught herself checking over her shoulder, finding nothing but the empty landscape. If there were any other way to do this besides bare-assed-naked, she would. But cotton was a downer, it dampened magical fields almost as much as wool. And tonight she had to be unfettered, able to draw as much power as she possibly could. She would need it all.

As soon as the goblin, halfling, or whatever, was in her trap, her clothes could go back on. Then she’d tackle the interrogation and be gone before the big guns arrived. Trolls, ogres, a horde of goblins, no, she’d be long gone before any of those arrived to do the actual killing.

She hoped.

Trying not to rush her steps, the wind lashing dirt against her bare skin, she walked the perimeter of the small labyrinth heading sunwise.

North, East, South, West. She set candles into lanterns at the four corners and lit each one with a prayer to Danu. With each step, apprehension uncoiled in her stomach, radiating out and shaking her hands until it was near impossible for her to light the last candle.

She shoved her anxiety back into her aching stomach and pulled her white handled athame out of the duffle. Breathing deep, she moved the ritual knife, sharp double-blade point up, between her breasts. Energy skidded across her skin. Small hairs on her body rose and her nipples puckered tight.

Time to begin.

Earth magic throbbing under her feet, Trina took the first step into the labyrinth to walk the outer circle and set the wards. Her Gift opened wide. The darkening valley glowed magical colors as the earth’s swirling energies, the soft green of growth and the rich brown of decay, flowed up her legs and into her solar plexus.

She used her body, her anger, and her fear. Anger at the Faery Queen for the constant harassment and extermination of her family and her tribe. Fear of what came next, what might be riding on the coattails of the sunset.

Pulsing with power, she paced deeper and deeper into the labyrinth, static lifting her long black hair into a crackling wild nimbus. She pulled and twisted the vibrant orange and red of her anxiety into the alchemy of the earth’s brown and green energy, weaving them together into an invisible net.

Each measured step layered power into the fabric of her spell. Each movement of the athame directed the energy where it needed to go. Just as darkness dipped its toes into the valley, she turned the last curve into the double spiral’s center.

Her rage and fear coalesced into the final strands of the spell leaving her shaking and exhausted as the last of the afterglow faded from the sky, a stunning show of deep purple on grey. A sonorous quiet descended. No birds, no coyotes. Just the wind sending small trails of skittering leaves through the labyrinth. Prickles of anticipation trembled on her bare spine.

It would be here soon. It was coming fast. And it was coming for her.

Ready for more? Tune in next Thursday, and meanwhile add The Dark Huntsman to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

12 Comments

Filed under Fae, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

I’m a Hot Paranormal Romance Author and you wouldn’t BELIEVE who I Write Like…

Moonday Mania

who do you write like?

So we all know what I write. Spicy, hot, paranromal, twisted fairy tale, romance. So which author would my writing be most like?I had to find out. There’s a great site called I Write Like   where anyone can post a sample of their writing and through the magic of their algorithms you can see which author your writing style is most like. So I had to go and see who I wrote like (duh!).

I chose some scenes from my latest WIP, Prince by Blood and Bone, the sequel to my book The Dark Huntsman that releases next month. The first one was an action scene and the second was a love scene. Both of them came up:

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

So I wondered if I tried a third scene what would come up. Using the very first scene in the book, click HERE to read, I now had:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Wait a minute! I write fairy tale romances. Don’t I? How did I end up with such dark authors. Horror even!
Curious to see if this held true for The Dark Huntsman, I chose three more scenes. Two action, one love scene. Anne Rice came up AGAIN for the love scene, and for the action scenes I now had:

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


Who I had to go look up. This is what came up:

  • Charles Michael “Chuck” Palahniuk is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is best known as the author of the award-winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film. Wikipedia

Freaky huh! I write romance.

Don’t I?

So, I wondered if my lighter, spicy, new adult, fairy tale romances, Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods, would come up the same. Enter Goldi and the Bear…

I write like
Agatha Christie

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

So, I guess my lighter fairy tales are a little lighter. If you think Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christe are light. But not much. And if you like sex á la Anne Rice, (well…and who doesn’t?) then I’m your gal!

Have you ever analyzed your writing? It doesn’t have to be fiction, it can be anything. The analyzer doesn’t care. Wonder what my grocery list looks like? Maybe Dean Koontz? Who do you write like?

7 Comments

Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft

Teaser: The Dark Huntsman

Thursdays Bite

a sample bite blog

It’s almost time! I have my cover for my brand new spicy, fantasy romance: The Dark Huntsman, and will be setting up my cover reveal blog tour ASAP. But I know you can’t wait! So I’ve decided to do Teaser Thursdays for the month of September. Here’s the opening to chapter one:

The Dark Huntsman

by Jessica Aspen

release date: October 2013

Sudden light burned into Logan’s face and his eyes flinched shut. He forced his shaking arm up and hid behind it as he tried to remember where he was. Cold seeped into his aching body from the uneven stone floor as he stayed under his arm and hid from the torchlight, staggered at the realization that he was alive. Weak, wobbly, and defenseless. But alive.

A heavy hobnailed boot kicked him in the side. “Here ‘e is sir.”

He groaned and curled into a ball, peering up through long matted and tangled hair at a heavyset chuckling troll with only one working eye. “I got ‘im out of the hole yesterday, but ‘e’s still not in good shape.” Another rusty laugh came from the troll. “But I guess that’s to be expected after fifteen year’n the hole.”

Fifteen years. Had it been so long?

Logan barely heard the troll’s dissertation on oubliettes, prisoners, and rates of death. Had he been in hibernieth, the Elvetian form of stasis, for fifteen years? What had happened to his friends and family? What had happened to the prince between now and the day their world had collapsed? The day he’d been stuffed into his tiny damp prison?

He pushed up on burning arms, collapsing in a panting heap. The troll laughed and kicked him again. Logan lay on the hard stone mentally apologizing to his clan and liege for his weaknesses. He had no strength to face whatever death was to come. His fate was sealed.

“Is this the best you could do?” A sharp male voice cut into Logan’s ears, too used to the sound of silence. “He doesn’t even look like a lord, let an alone the murderous Huntsman. The queen thinks he’s a fricking miracle worker.”

“Nope. No way.” Another chuckle wheezed out. “If you send me down a healer, might be we could get ‘im fixed up by afternoon, good as new. Then the queen can do with ‘im as she likes.”

“Hmph” came from beyond the glare of the torches. Then a sigh. “All right. I’ll send someone. Fix him up.” The voice curled in disgust. “And be sure to wash him. He reeks.”

“Yes sir.” The troll dragged Logan across the floor by one arm. He hummed a tuneless something that screeched into Logan’s ears but couldn’t cover the sound of Logan’s shoulder joint popping out of place.

Pain ripped through him. He struggled to stay conscious and ignore the excruciating messages shrieking in his arm from being hauled like a sack of grain along the rough floor. The troll dropped him on the stones, paused and opened an iron bound door. Logan tried to make his stiff muscles work, managing only to scrape and bang his limbs on the doorframe as the troll seized him and shoved him into the cell. He landed hard, his face grinding into the slimy stones. Curling instinctively into a ball, he managed to protect his gut from the last hard kick of the troll’s boot landing on his dislocated shoulder. His lungs seized up, his vision went black, and his head exploded into bright white stars.

The cell door clanged shut.

He sucked in slow aching breaths as the heavy footsteps receded down the corridor and reminded himself that he’d be out soon. And then he’d face the queen.

Fifteen years in this hell hole and the bitch thought he’d bow to her wishes.

He worked at unclenching his muscles. First his fists, then his jaw. Then each sore and aching muscle until he could sit up, his left arm hanging at an awkward angle. He guessed he wasn’t as ready to die as he’d thought. His body might be in terrible shape, but his mind was still sharp. He’d do what he had to do. Kill, cheat, steal. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t crossed lines before. But this time…

This time he would take down the Faerie Queen of the Black Court. No matter the price he paid. He reached up with his right arm, got a good grip on his left triceps and pulled. The shoulder ground and popped back into place, and Logan passed out from the pain.

Curious? Want more? The Dark Huntsman will be out October 2013. Please sign up for my new release email blast to find out first and to receive details of future sales and review opportunities. Subscribe to my new release only mailing list 

The Dark Huntsman, Book one: Tales of the Black Court

An evil queen, a dangerous man, and a witch tangled in a tale of Snow White…

Desperate to save the last of her family from the murderous Faery Queen, Trina Mac Elvy weaves a spell of entrapment. But instead of a common soldier, the queen has released the Dark Huntsman, a full blooded fae with lethal powers.

Caged for treason, Logan Ni Brennan is ready to do anything to win free of the manipulative queen, even if it includes running a last errand for her…murdering a witch. The sight of Trina, ready to fight despite the odds, gives him another option: use the witch as a chess piece, put the queen’s son on the throne, and bring down the queen forever.

As the queen slides into insanity and her closest advisor makes plans to succeed to the throne, Logan secrets Trina away in the enchanted forest and makes a decisive move in his dangerous game of manipulation. But the gaming tables of fate turn on him, and when Trina’s life is threatened he discovers he risks more than his freedom…he risks his heart.

Ready for more? Click HERE for teaser #2 and HERE for teaser #3.

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in my month long drawing to win an e-review copy, so let me know how much you’re looking forward to more twisted fairy tales and The Tales of the Black Court and enter to win! (As with all of my contests you must be over eighteen to enter.)

Check back here for more details on The Dark Huntsman. And wait! There’s more! We have winners from last weeks Labor Day Goldi and the Bear Review Giveaway. Congratulations Sherry Issac, Elaine Cougler, and Sharon Clare! Everyone’s a winner today and I’ll be sending you all e-copies of Goldi and the Bear. 

8 Comments

Filed under Fae, fairy tales, The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, witches

The Style and Substance of Switching Series

Thursday’s Bite

a blog about the fantasy in the romance

Today I’m guest blogging on Worlds of the Imagination and writing about World Building or World Changing, how authors can take a traditional fantasy world framework and make it their own. Check it out, it’s a cool site with frequent guests and sponsored by some fascinating authors.worlds of the imagination

I’m deep into world building this month because I’m not only doing a final run through on my fantasy romance,  The Dark Huntsman, but I’m ready to plunge back into the rough draft of Prince By Blood and Bone, book two of the Tales of the Black Court. It sounds like a lot to do, but the truth is it is a good thing because they are deeply intertwined and I need to make sure that I don’t drop the ball and change someone’s hair or eye color, or make a character speak a different way from book to book.

One of the toughest things about writing a series is keeping the author’s writing style the same. These books are deeper, longer, and more fantasy than my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods novellas, so they have a different voice. I didn’t realize until this final run through of The Dark Huntsman came in, right as I was doing final edits on Goldi and the Bear, that these books are very different. The novellas have a lightness running through the dark suspense. I think it may be because of the contemporary setting and the age of the characters. They are all new adult stories that have, at their core, the struggle with actually being grown up and an adult. Taking on real responsibilities and relationships.

The Tales of the Black Court series is different. Maybe because I started writing it years ago. Maybe because the heroes are so long-lived. Logan (the Dark Huntsman) has a chronological age of 300 years, but his real age is around 25. He’s not considered an adult by his uncles who are over a thousand years old and whose real age is around forty. Many of the characters have lived a long time and that flavors the book in a different way than the short-lived werewolves and werebears in my novellas. Logan and Trina’s real ages technically mean that I’m writing fantasy new adult, but because of the length of time Logan has lived it affects his speech patterns, and behavior, and he definitely feels like he’s from an older time and place even though he is a contemporary young hero.

In contrast, the characters in Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods know life can be very short. They are werewolves and werebears and are hunters and fighters. They take on problems with a quick intensity, from family issues to fighting the bad guy, to falling in love. The stories are set in a very contemporary setting, and the plots move fast. The characters are all young, they burn with deep first love. Even their resistance to love is hot and sometimes violent.

The pacing on the books is different too, mostly because of the length of the stories. In a 35K novella I have to pack in a lot of plot. There isn’t really a sub-plot, just the suspense and romance plots so all of the action centers on the main characters. They are intense and fast paced and with young hot headed main characters the emotional plot moves lightening fast. The Tales of the Dark Court have deep world building and you get a view of the antagonists, that takes extra words and extra plotting and moves the story into a longer pace. That’s not to say these books move slow, they just have longer story arcs with longer builds. Think about the novellas as a series of hot quickies where you rocket up fast and move on. In contrast the novels are a night that starts with dinner and ends with a long all-night marathon.

Also the novellas are spicy, and that means there are more sex scenes per thousand words. In fact both series have approximately the same amount of sexual encounters, but The Dark Huntsman is over 87,000 words. Proportionally, in the longer novels, there is a lot more plot to support the intimacy. That’s not to say that they aren’t hot. Just not quite as spicy as the novellas.

All of this: the pacing, the frequency of the sex, the setting, changes the author’s style even though each author has a particular boice. Short fast novellas lead to shorter faster sentences. Longer paced novels give an author room to describe scenes in more detail. So, when moving from book to book I need to be careful to take the right style with me and still keep my Jessica Aspen voice.

Have you read other authors when they write new and different things of varying lengths? Does their pacing shift? Their plotting move faster or slower? Is it a surprise when the short story wraps up fast and you are used to reading longer novels? What about writers? Do you find, as writers, that you need to pull yourself out of one series-style and into another? How do you do this? What works for you?

 

6 Comments

Filed under The Dark Huntsman, Thursdays Bite, Werewolves and the Fae, writing craft