Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stare Him Down by Riley Murphy (Excerpt, review and GIVEAWAY) GFT ADULT title

Stare Him Down
by Riley Murphy
ADULT title


GENRE: Contemporary Erotic Romance



This is Michaela and James’ story…

When he agreed to walk away from the lifestyle for her, he never expected she’d subversively push him back into it. Until she did…

After tragedy stole the only man James Barrington looked up to, his perfect and orderly life hit a brick wall. One minute he was the right-hand man to the owner of the company, and in the next he was the boss fighting to stop a hostile takeover the only way he knew how. He needed to marry his late mentor’s over-protected daughter, Michaela Donavan, and stay married to her until the threat to the company was averted.

While they were together, James had no intention of disrespecting his in-name-only wife by remaining entrenched in the lifestyle. For the time being he was prepared to walk away from his Dom-like pursuits. He had to. Michaela was the opposite of everything he embodied. She was soft, where he was hard. Gentle, when he favored rough. She was refined and elegant. The epitome of a virtuous woman, and he wasn’t going to do anything to change that. Circumstances may have forced them to enter into a marriage of convenience in order to keep her father’s legacy alive, but the moment that legacy was secured they’d both be free to go their separate ways.

Michaela knew this may be her only opportunity to finally get the one man she has always fantasized about. She’s spent years studying him. Idolizing him. Wanting him in a way she wanted no other. And now? Well, her father always told her to seize whatever good came out of the bad, and Michaela was ready to do just that. Heartbroken over what happened, and faced with the task of saving the company, she sees James’ sensible offer as the perfect solution. A way to achieve two things she desired most at one time. James may consider this a marriage of convenience, but she’s determined to covertly change his mind on the matter.

One submissive tease at a time.

Maybe if James had been a different man he wouldn’t have noticed her subtle actions. Maybe if he was any other guy he could have overlooked them. Truth be told, he might have had a fighting chance if each “accidental” midnight encounter didn’t fire his blood and call to the Dom in him to come out and master this beautiful woman.

He couldn’t do that. This was Michaela Donavan. The innocent vanilla who had no idea what her sultry actions were doing to a seasoned Dom like him. This was no time to let desire get in the way. He had to maintain control and stay focused in order to save the company. Surely, once this happened he’d able to put aside the wickedly dirty thoughts her unintentional actions inspired in him before it was too late and he acted on them.

Michaela wasn’t going to give up. But with the prospect of their arrangement coming to an end before she succeeded to re-Dom him in her direction, she knew what she had to do.

She had to go submissive on him.



She closed her eyes and softly banged her head against the door. If she didn’t get the romantic ball rolling with him soon, her every chance with him could disappear. She hated having to throw Logan in the ring every time to get a reaction from James, but damn, how else could she…?

Suddenly another idea came to her.

She opened her eyes and looked down at the package. Did she dare?

The sounds of James moving around in the room next door cemented her decision. Absolutely. She’d do it.

In fact, by the time she’d washed up, unpacked the box of toys, and had given them a thorough going over, she’d convinced herself that James had really left her with no choice in the matter.


James got into bed and was determined to push thoughts of his in-name-only wife out of his mind. He was ready to count imaginary sheep, pennies, bouncing balls, real balls—damn—a picture of himself stationed quite happily between Michaela’s legs as he slammed into her over and over materialized—no.

“Think sheep. Count sheep. Sheep, sheep, sheep,” he whispered. Hoping to use this power of suggestion technique to his advantage. And it was working. He was slowly drifting off to sleep watching the…mechanical sheep? He tried to sink deeper into oblivion by overlooking the gears and metal parts that made the robotic animals leap effortlessly across the starlit landscape in his mind until... He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling. Why was he dreaming about mechanical—?


That soft moan woke him right up, and when he snapped into a sitting position he knew why he’d been dreaming about machines. Mickey had opened her package and if he didn’t miss his guess, that was a Hitachi humming away.

Amazon link


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Riley Murphy writes sexy, humorous, and emotional romance, happy ending guaranteed. An optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are complicated, but in a good way, and we should never stop learning. Riley currently calls Florida home with her gorgeous husband. She has two phenomenal kids, one adorable-to-the-max grandchild, and a very bossy pooch.

When Riley’s not working she enjoys reading, oil painting, and getting to the Sunday crossword before anyone else does, so she can fill-in all the easy answers first, and pull the smart card with the family.

Things Riley loves:

Writing books
Connecting with readers
Doing giveaways for her readers

Things Riley Hates:

Laundry. Seriously. She’d rather slam her fingers in a car door than do the dreaded bleach load.

A few of Riley’s favorite reviewer quotes:

If you love intellectual mind candy, read Ms. Murphy’s work!

Creative, profound and soul searing scenes abound...

One wonders if Ms. Riley is in the sex therapy and marriage counseling business as a day job. The D/s part of this story is Fabulous.

If Riley wasn’t an author she’d be an international spy with top-level security so she could have a peek at Area 51 and decide for herself if those green guys are for real. Failing that, she’d likely go with chicken sexer.

You can visit Riley at the following links:




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The tour dates can be found here


My review:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Stare Him Down by Riley Murphy is part of the ‘Stare Down’ erotic romance series and follows the interactions between Michaela Donovan and James Barrington, the man who becomes a significant player at her father’s company. Michaela’s interest in James is complicated by their respective relationships with her father, Bran, not to mention James’ proclivities toward BDSM. It turns out that James is not the only one holding secrets, and the ones that Michaela is hiding may be too much for him to accept, particularly in the one woman who appeals so strongly to the Dom in him.

This sizzling story combines a mystery that follows machinations in the business world and a slowly evolving sensual relationship between two individuals who vacillate between showing their true desires and acting according to conventional rules. I initially was frustrated with the time progression as little scenes are presented showing encounters between the main characters over a series of years but I did like watching the shift in dynamics between them. There are deliciously spicy scenes depicted but sometimes it felt like being given a glimpse through a keyhole as the sensuality intensifies vividly and suddenly dials back to the pragmatic. The wonderfully comedic scenes counteract some of the intense emotionalism (the vision of three Doms in costume comes to mind). I confess to still being a bit confused about what was truly going on in the company and would have liked a little more comeuppance for one particular character, as well as a better explanation for the exceedingly extravagant purchase at the end of the story other than as a very expensive carrot. This was an entertaining and sexy story that is part of a series yet can be read as a stand alone.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

a love that Disturbs by Medeia Sharif (spotlight, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)

Note from ELF:  I am reposting this (so, no, you are not experiencing deja vu, lol) because I had a hiccup this weekend when I was supposed to do so...and I wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see this...

by Medeia Sharif

Evernight Teen Publishing/60k words

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. As a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily.

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together. 



At least Rafe wouldn’t bother her for a few hours. He knew it was her first day in a new school. Haydee blew her nose, wiped her eyes, and left the bathroom. She walked into first period English and handed the teacher the pass. Students stared. A few had tattoos peeking from the edges of sleeves and shorts, but nothing like what she had. She felt like The Tattooed Woman and avoided staring back at them. She wasn’t in alternative school anymore, where most students had a nasty attitude about anything related to academics. The students in front of her had their books open and had been reading and writing before she walked in. They weren’t looking to fight her and she wasn’t going to fight them.

“Let me write your name down,” the teacher said. “I’ll make a folder for your work. How do you say your name? Heidi?”

“No, it’s Hay-dee,” she corrected Ms. Tookes. “Haydee Gomez.”

Ms. Tookes wrote her name on a notepad and nodded toward an empty desk, so Haydee sat down in a seat in the back with a textbook. The assignment was on the board, but Haydee had trouble seeing. She had lost or broken so many of her eyeglasses in the past that she stopped wearing them. She was slightly nearsighted and lived with her blurry vision just fine. Tomorrow she’d come to class on time and get a seat in the front.

She continued to receive some stares, but then students went back to work.

Feeling like she was on display, Haydee twirled the drawstrings of her hoodie, chewed the inside of her mouth, and smoothed down the baby hairs on her forehead. The door opened and she was grateful for another distraction. It was Maysa, her pink-and-green silk scarf glistening under the fluorescent lights. Haydee’s vision sharpened, as if she could see Maysa clearly, while everything around her was fuzzy. Maysa caught Haydee’s gaze and smiled before turning to Ms. Tookes. “May I take a few pictures of the students working?”

The teacher smiled back. “Take all the pictures you want.”

Maysa had a sunny, innocent demeanor. Haydee wondered what it would be like to have her life. She must have two parents taking care of her. She probably had brothers and sisters who were as nice as she was. Her parents were strict, if she had to cover her head like that, but they most likely were loving. Haydee’s curiosity intensified. She needed to know more about Maysa, who was walking to the back of the room where she was.

“Can I take a picture of you reading the textbook?” Maysa asked.

“Sure,” Haydee said. Anything. She wanted to please this girl. Haydee opened to a random page. It was a Shakespearean sonnet, which was like another language to her. Haydee liked to read, but not classic works. She enjoyed romance books and read any that she could get her hands on. They helped her escape from her own reality by taking her someplace else for a few hours.

Flashes sparked as Maysa took a few shots of Haydee. “You’re very photogenic.”

“Really?” Haydee looked up. “Let me see.”

Maysa neared her and held the back of the camera to Haydee’s face. Looking at the screen, Haydee saw she didn’t look too bad. Her bun was messy in a stylish way, and her head was tilted down to her book. Her cheekbones were sharp, and her right side was on display—not the left one with the black eye. “It’s a nice shot.”

Maysa smiled, and Haydee blinked, not knowing what else to say or do. She wanted to keep Maysa talking so that she wouldn’t leave right away. Because of the picture taking, a few other students had started talking and sneaked looks at the two of them. Haydee knew they must seem like an odd pair interacting with each other. Maysa showed her the next few pictures, at different angles. “I have to go now and get to the next classroom,” she said.

“Oh, all right.” Her gaze was riveted to Maysa’s slender form as she walked out the door.

Haydee’s phone vibrated again. When the teacher wasn’t looking, she slid it out of her pocket.
Got a nice dress for you tonight
Come to my place later so you can try it on
Red, your perfect color

And just like that, the moment was ruined. She shoved her phone back into her pocket. Like she needed another reminder of everything that was wrong in her life. She gritted her teeth and made fists, then forced herself to loosen her hands. She didn’t want to think about Rafe anymore, but how could she not? He was like a virus in her system and she couldn’t get rid of him. She admitted that he took care of her: he beat up johns who mistreated her, handed over any money he promised her, and challenged anyone who bothered her on the rough streets of Miami. 
If it hadn’t been for Rafe, she might have been dead at one point, because one of the johns locked her in a bathroom, threatening to kill her later, and he took care of the situation. There were the existing issues of earning money and a degree of safety, but surely she could find another line of work. How would she tell Rafe that she wanted out without having his temper explode? She had seen him cut a man’s face with a razor. Would he do the same to her?

Buy Links:  
Evernight Teen   Amazon      ARe


Author Bio:

Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and presently calls Miami her home. She received her master's degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she's a public school teacher.




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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Invisible by Allie Harrison (Release Day Blast, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)

By Allie Harrison

Invisible Release Day Blast
June 28th

INVISIBLE by Allie Harrison is a sexy thriller that will steal your breath and set your chill your heart. Ellie Westfall is trying to live her life, raise her son, and keep out of trouble. Unfortunately, fate and evil have other plans. After surviving a bank robbery, Ellie is forced to put her life and son's life in the hands of FBI Agent Gil Trent, a man whose deep green eyes captivate her, and whose strength makes her feel safe for the first time in years. But Gil is hiding something. Can she trust him or will his secrets get them killed? Is falling in love worth the risk? Is trusting him worth dying for?

Genre: Thriller w/ Romantic Elements 
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Publisher: Indie Published
Print Length: 249 pages
Format: Digital

After a terrifying bank robbery brings her face to face with a masked gunman, Ellie Westfall hopes she and her son are safe. But Ellie soon learns there are worse things to fear, like dead bodies, or maybe becoming one. And as shadows close in and a bigger danger threatens, she has to trust FBI Agent Gil Trent to keep her safe from the monster bent on making her his own. But Gil Trent is hiding something. Can Ellie put her life in Gil's hands? Or will his secrets get them both killed?

Excerpt #3:
He looked through the rifle scope. He only saw the three people in the kitchen. The blond girl laughed silently. The dark haired girl picked up a cookie and took a bite. He should shoot her for her own stupidity, putting those worthless calories in her body when her body was so perfect. Didn’t she know empty calories now only led to heart disease and fat hips later?

No other movement anywhere. He supposed his target could be in the basement. He could wait. He had time. He had patience. He had perfection.

As he moved the scope and studied the rest of the house again, he took in the tree in the back yard. It was a red maple, beautiful and symmetrical. He loved how the leaves started changing into a brilliant red. Maybe, after he finished this job, he would stop at a nursery and buy one. It would look good in his own yard.

A tall, good-looking young man of about twenty entered the kitchen from stage right, obviously from a hallway. The target followed him.

“At last…” Cross hairs in the middle of the man’s back, he drew in a deep breath and let half of it out. He would love to stay here a few more moments and revel in the rush that came with knowing the man had no idea he stood in the line of fire. But the target could any second turn and disappear back into the hidden part of the house. He didn’t have the luxury of taking that chance.

He squeezed the trigger.

Available Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

About Allie Harrison:

Allie Harrison lives with her husband in Southern Illinois. By day, Allie works in the medical field, but when she clocks out, she hits the keyboard, crafting stories readers will love. When she isn’t enjoying fun family time, games with friends, reading, crafts, music, camping, biking, and hiking, she’s working to build fictional worlds and unforgettable characters.

Connect with Allie: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon


Join Allie Harrison and the Killion Group as we celebrate the release of Invisible with a Release Day Blast on June 28th. Included in this release day blast is exclusive content, reviews of the book, a spotlight of the book, and a giveaway. One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive an e-Copy of Hargrove House, book one of The Haunted Series!


Follow the blast to these participating blogs for new throughout the day:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Phantom Embrace by Dianne Duvall (interview, spotlight, excerpt and GIVEAWAY)

I have the great pleasure of hosting Dianne Duvall today, and she has kindly agreed to answer some questions!

DD:  Thanks for letting me visit The Reading Addict.  I’m so happy to be here today, celebrating the release of my Immortal Guardians novella PHANTOM EMBRACE.

ELF:  What was the most surprising thing you discovered on your road to publication?
DD: I think the most surprising thing I discovered was that most manuscripts are rejected sight unseen.  I had heard many authors say that they got their big break after receiving piles of rejection letters.  Before I started pursuing publication myself, I thought that meant dozens and dozens of agents and editors had read those authors’ manuscripts and passed on them.  Then I started sending out query letters, and discovered that most of those rejections come from agents and editors who have only read the blurb.  J

ELF: What do you do to mentor others?
DD: One of my favorite things about writing romance is how helpful and supportive other authors in the genre are.  I’ve sought advice from other writers in the past.  And as a new writer trying to land my first publishing contract, I appreciated authors who shared their experience.  So I try to do the same.  I answer questions from new writers.  I also answer questions in LinkedIn writing groups whenever time allows.  I blog on writing, too, from time to time, and post writing tips on Facebook.  Now that I’ve gone indie, I do what some of my fellow indie authors did for me and offer tips and advice to new writers who opt to self-publish, as well as traditionally published writers who are making the change.    

ELF: What's your favorite flower (or plant) and why?
I don’t really have a particular favorite.  Right now I’m loving geraniums and impatiens.  They’re both colorful and easy to care for.  And easy-to-care-for plants are important to writers like myself who tend to totally neglect plants while working to meet a deadline.

ELF: What's your go-to meal when you are in need of a pick-me-up?
Pizza.  And homemade pizza is my favorite.  It’s always exactly how I like it.  ;-)


I'm so excited to share with you a new release from Dianne Duvall! Phantom Embrace will be available at eBook retailers everywhere on June 28th! This is an exciting and captivating novella set in the world of the Immortal Guardians and I can't wait for you to read it!

Phantom Embrace 
(Immortal Guardians #5.5)
by Dianne Duvall
ebook, 112 pages
ISBN 1420143530
Across dimensions . . . 

Born with the ability to see spirits, immortal Yuri Sokolov avoids making contact with them, because such has always yielded negative results...until lovely Cat Seddon begins haunting his home and his dreams. As a new threat rises against the Immortal Guardians, Yuri disregards all the rules so he can be with Cat, even though the consequences are substantial.

For centuries, Catherine Seddon has been alone. When her brother is forced to join the Immortal Guardians’ ranks, she haunts the primary home of the powerful warriors to keep an eye on him, and soon finds herself captivated by Yuri. The handsome Russian immortal swiftly banishes her loneliness as friendship grows between them and deepens into love.  But can two people who are unable to touch find a future together?

Previously published in On The Hunt


Cat leaned into the frame of a large window behind the massive desk in David’s study. The sun’s rays, almost blindingly bright and sparkling with dust motes, poured through the clean panes and passed right through her, imbuing her with warmth.

The house around her was quiet. All the immortals slept. Many of their human Seconds slept as well, having worked until noon or thereabouts, running errands and conducting whatever business they did during the day for the immortals they served and protected.

Even David slept, exhausted by the long hours he had kept of late, aiding immortals in North Carolina and surrounding states whenever emergencies arose, then spending the moments in between poring over medical textbooks in search of any information that would help him and Seth carry Ami safely through her difficult pregnancy.

Outside, Roland’s cat, Nietzsche—as cantankerous as his owner—crept toward a squirrel.

The squirrel continued to nibble on an acorn, watching the cat from the corner of its eye.

A pleasant male voice spoke, startling her. “There you are.”

Her head snapping around, Cat stared at the tall figure in the doorway.

Yuri graced her with a charming smile as he entered and closed the door behind him.

“Why aren’t you asleep?” she asked, telling her treacherous heart to stop slamming against her ribs. She had never understood why she had continued to feel that particular organ after she had breathed her last breath. She never felt hunger. Never felt thirst. But her heart seemed to thump away in her breast. One of many mysteries for which she had no explanation.

“I was looking for you,” he said, tucking his hands in his pockets as he strolled toward her. He wore the usual garb of an immortal. Black pants. Black T-shirt stretched taut over the thick muscles of his chest, shoulders, and arms. Heavy black boots.

From what she understood, immortals and their Seconds dressed thusly so blood stains would be less apparent to any looky-loos who saw them after a hunt.

She frowned. Was that the right phrase? Looky-loos? It sounded odd.

Regardless, the clothing suited Yuri, accenting his dark hair and chestnut eyes.

She straightened as he approached the desk.

“I’ve only caught the briefest glimpses of you these last few nights,” he commented.

Because she had been careful to avoid him since their talk. As soon as he had entered a room, Cat had left it. She had even resisted the temptation to follow him on his hunts.

He arched a dark brow. “Are you avoiding me?”

For a moment, Cat considered denying it. But she had told him she valued honesty. So she nodded.

“Why?” He cocked his head to one side. “Did I offend you in some way?”

Shaking her head, she glanced down. “I fear it is I who offended you.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. “I owe you an apology.”

His expression remained impassive. “For what?”

“Now that I know you can see me, that you’ve always been able to see me, I realize . . .” Mortified, she looked away and began to pleat her skirts with anxious fingers. “You said you value your privacy, and I denied you that on many an occasion, visiting your chamber and following you on hunts. I—”


She shook her head and met his gaze. “I don’t want to be like that first spirit you mentioned, the one you spoke to. I don’t want to irritate you or make you uncomfortable. I—”

“You don’t,” he interrupted with a kind smile. “You didn’t.” He sighed as he circled the desk. “I feared this might be the reason for your absence.” Stopping a few feet away, he leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the window, careful to avoid the sun’s rays. “I confess I enjoyed your presence each time you joined me in my room or on a hunt.” His smile widened. “The former more than the latter. The latter proved dangerously distracting on more than one occasion.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not,” he said and glanced out the window.

Cat followed his gaze.

Without warning, Nietzsche raced toward the squirrel.

The squirrel dropped its acorn and shot up the nearest tree, not stopping until it reached the highest limbs, well out of the crazy cat’s reach. Spinning around, it barked a peculiar little bark at the disgruntled feline, its tail flicking wildly.

“It’s been so long, Cat,” Yuri murmured, his profile drawing her gaze. “It’s been so very long since I’ve spent time with a woman around whom I can relax and be myself.” He cast her a smile, both wry and sad at the same time. “Five hundred years or so, if you can believe it.”

She couldn’t.

“Even when I was mortal, I had to hide my strange ability to see spirits. If I didn’t, I was believed to be quite mad.” He shrugged. “Once I became immortal, I had a great deal more to hide.”

Surely there had been women over the centuries. Even Bastien had not remained celibate since his transformation.

“This life is not conducive to forming lasting relationships with women,” he went on, almost as though she had spoken the thought aloud. “Human/immortal relationships never end well. Most end bitterly when the human ages and the immortal does not. The human always seems incapable of believing that the immortal who loves her will continue to do so as she grows wrinkled and stooped with age. That disbelief sows distrust. The elderly human convinces herself the immortal must be seeing a younger woman on the side and launches accusations each night as he leaves to hunt. The immortal always grows bitter himself that the woman he loves has so little faith in him.”

He grew quiet, his handsome face pensive.

“Does it never work?” she asked.

“Very rarely. When it does, it always ends in tragedy when the human inevitably dies. Until Roland met Sarah, the same held true for immortal/gifted one relationships. Sarah is the first gifted one in history who actually asked to be transformed so she could spend eternity with an immortal. In the past, gifted ones always refused, which spawned even more bitterness.”

He faced her once more. “I suspect you were born in another era, so I hope this will not offend your sensibilities, but . . . casual, meaningless sex has held no appeal for me for the past . . . oh . . . four hundred years, give or take a decade. After a century or so it just grew . . . tiresome and interested me about as much as eating the same meal for dinner every night for hundreds of years would. Periodically one feels the need to sate the hunger, of course, but it’s just the scratching of an itch. There’s no real satisfaction in it. And certainly no affection.”

She fought back a blush. No man had ever spoken so plainly to her.

“I miss the company of women,” he said with something akin to apology in his voice. “And while I was a bit wary of you the first few times you joined me in my room, I soon found I enjoyed your presence there. Enjoyed the companionship you provided. Enjoyed watching your expression change as you listened to audiobooks with me when Stanislav didn’t join us.”

Revelation struck. “You started listening to them for me, didn’t you?” she asked.

“Yes,” he admitted. “I couldn’t help but notice the looks of longing you cast the books on my shelves.” He glanced at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves around them. “Or these.”

What a thoughtful gift he had given her. Cat had always been a bit of a bluestocking when she had lived, burying her nose in a book whenever she could. “Thank you.”

He inclined his head. “I even enjoyed watching television with you.” He smiled. “As though we were an old married couple.”

That enigmatic heartbeat of hers quickened.

“You brought me a peace I haven’t experienced in many long years, Cat. I’ve missed that these past few days.”

She swallowed. “I didn’t want to be like that other spirit. I didn’t want to make a nuisance of myself.”

He huffed a laugh. “If you knew how much I’ve missed your company since we spoke, you’d understand just how impossible that is.”

Hope and disbelief battled within her. Could she be so lucky?

He straightened away from the window frame and took a step toward her.

Cat reached out instinctively to push him away from the sunlight. “Careful,” she admonished. Warmth suffused her hands when they touched his chest and started to pass through him. She jerked them back. “Oh. I’m sorry. I—”

He raised a hand to stop her apology, then held it out to her, palm-up, as he had that night in his room.

Cat stared down at the large, masculine hand as sunlight bathed it.

“I’m old enough that I can sustain some exposure without suffering.”

“Oh.” Cat glanced up at him, then tentatively placed her own hand atop his, careful to ensure hers wouldn’t pass through it.

That wonderful warmth filled her where they pretended to touch.

Smiling, Yuri leaned down and mimicked kissing the back of her hand.

More warmth suffused her where his lips contacted her intangible skin.

He straightened. “Dmitry downloaded a new audiobook for me today at my request.”

Cat smiled. One of the many things she had learned about Yuri in the time she had been haunting him was that he was not at all comfortable with the electronic devices and advanced technology of this time.

“He teased me mercilessly about it,” he continued with a wry smile.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I asked him to download something called a paranormal romance.”

Paranormal romance. The term sounded familiar. “I think Tracy likes those.”

He nodded. “According to Marcus, female readers love them. Some men do, too. Though some—like Dmitry—mock them for it.”


“Romance is considered a woman’s genre by many. Love and happily ever after and that sort of thing. I think most men equate romance novels with chick flicks.”

“Men don’t like love and happily ever after?”

He shrugged. “I don’t have a problem with it, but don’t know that I’ll enjoy listening to it for twelve or thirteen hours. Marcus claims paranormal romances also have a lot of action and violence in them, though, so I thought it may be something we could both enjoy.”

“That was thoughtful of you,” she said, pleased by the overture.

“My reading, or—in this case—listening preferences can be a bit dull and dry,” he said apologetically.

“No, not at all,” Cat protested.

He arched a brow.

She bit her lip. “It’s just . . . some crime stories . . .” She tried to think of a diplomatic phrase that wouldn’t offend.

“Bore the petticoats off you?” he supplied, his brown eyes twinkling with amusement.

She laughed. “Yes. I’ve watch too many of those police shows on television with the Seconds. The stories all seem to blend together now.”

“Well, let’s see if this paranormal romance will spark your interest, shall we?”

“Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” she asked, hoping he would say no. It had been hard to stay away from him this past week. She had missed his company.

“Yes, but let us at least listen to the first chapter or two and get a taste of it. I’ll turn in after that.”

She grinned. “I’d like that.”

He circled the desk and headed for the door.

Cat followed, as excited as a girl being courted for the first time. As he reached for the door handle, she passed through the wall beside the door. In the hallway, she turned and found him holding the door open for her.

Both laughed.

“Forgive me,” she apologized. “Habit.”

He shook his head. “I claim the same. Opening doors for women is second nature.” He stepped out into the hallway with her. “This will be fun, I think,” he said with a smile. “Never a dull moment.”

Cat agreed wholeheartedly and accompanied him down to his room.

Don't miss a single Immortal Guardians tale!
Book 1, Darkness Dawns
Book 2, Night Reigns
Book 3, Phantom Shadows
Book 3.5, In Still Darkness
Book 5, Night Unbound
Book 5.5, Phantom Embrace

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and "wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit You can also find Dianne online . . .

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1st Prize - $35 Amazon Gift Card
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3rd Prize - Signed copies of Night Unbound and Shadows Strike+swag