I am currently participating in a blog hop organized by RJ Scott. It is for autism awareness. You can find my contribution on my blog (http://amariemay.blogspot.com/).
In my post, I talk about prejudice. I think we all face some form of expectations in our life, good or bad, and it is how we deal with it which is important. In this post here, I would like to talk about fear. There are many things in life which make anyone afraid: starting a new school, new chapter in life, or sometimes even just getting out of bed.
I’ve got a big change coming up. Not only am I going to change job, I am also going to move country, change my spoken language, and try to make a life for myself in a place I never thought I would strife. I still might not, but after years and years of contemplating, it was time for a change.
My last big change happened many years ago when I also moved countries. Seems to be a theme with me. I was a shy child growing up. I never said much, wasn’t overly popular, so everyone was really quite puzzled when I up and moved to New York. Contrary to expectations, I thrived there.
The big question now is: how do you deal with motivating yourself? How do you leave your comfort zone and step out into the world? And more importantly, do you really want to?
I know many people who lived their entire life in their home town. They’ve got families, a house, a boat, etc…there is nothing wrong with this, but what I would like to understand is why some people back their bags and leave and others don’t?
I don’t think I am brave. I don’t even think it is something all that special to move to a different country and try anew. Sure, it scares me. Sure, I might not like it. But the thrill! I can totally reinvent myself, I can be who I want to be, no expectations. And have I mentioned the thrill of doing something new? It is both exhilarating and scary at the same time.
I can only assume that this how Leif, a character in one of my contemporary novels, felt like when he had to leave everything behind. Darkest Hour (https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-darkesthour-1052231-145.html) is a book dear to my heart because, in many ways, there is a lot of myself in Leif. His tragic past spurns him onto new heights, and he doesn’t even see how damaged he really is. It takes coming home for him to face his old demons and to find love.
I guess, another way of dealing with reality when I don’t want to face it (yes, that does make perfect sense because I say so), to retreat into fantasy. When I wrote my Watchtower Series, I was in total denial. I wanted sweet, funny, adventure, feel good and angst. I wanted romance, I wanted talking, cute cats (because my cat only mews at me), destined love, legends, warriors…can you see where I am going with this? And I have to say, my Watchtower Series gives me all of that. The series made me smile when I wrote it, cry when it got sad, and smile again when it ended.
The last book in the series, called Siren Song, is out now, and I am quite proud of it. (https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sirensong-1145801-143.html)
So, to sum it up, how do I deal with stress, with new things, with motivating myself to break out of my box? By having good things around me that make me smile, that make me forget reality once in a while. It is important to note here though, that while leaving reality behind once in a while can be just what you need, sticking your head permanently in the sand is never a good idea. Who wants to be an ostrich, really?
Well, if you want to stop by, say hello, or stay in touch, you can find all my contact details on my website: http://www.annamariemay.com/
Please leave a comment below to win an ebook from Anna Marie May. I haven’t yet heard from her what the exact book up for offer is, but I will update the post when I do. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Monday, April 8th. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to the author so the winner can receive their book.
Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.
Thank you and good luck!
Thank you Anna for coming on the blog! And just a note about the post: First, sorry it was up so late, and second, all the pics are linked to Goodreads since Anna lists the links to ARe in the post. I hope everyone has a wonderful day!
Hey everybody! I would like to thank you for showing up for the release of the third book in the Sumeria’s Sons series. Everyone who leaves a comment today will be entered into e-book giveaway for Dreams of the Forgotten. Enjoy the excerpt!!
As Tristan and Ushna build a secure infrastructure for their rapidly growing tribe and family, Tristan is plagued by dreams he barely remembers. Factions and enemies threaten to destroy the peace they wish to build, even as Tristan keeps his condition under wraps from all but those closest to him. Amidst it all, Tristan struggles against the urge to bind Ushna to him because Ushna already has a Flame waiting for rebirth. Tristan would do anything to protect that bond, even if it means losing Ushna in the next lifetime. Unless, he remembers his dreams of the forgotten.
The sun was warm on my naked body, white haze over my closed eyes. The grass was slightly itchy against my skin but I didn’t care. I, Tristan Janick, felt whole. I hadn’t felt like that in such a long time. Not since my former Twin Flame had claimed me, then refused me in return. The euphoria from the orgasm, and the effect of the bonding bite had quickly dissipated with his denial. I didn’t find the promised peace and was forced to break the bond. Even with my husband, Ushna Ahura-Yzda, the man who meant more to me than life itself, I was less. Breaking the tie with my Twin Flame took something vital that left me incomplete.
Sometimes I wondered if that was the reason my predator, that primal part of me, desired to claim Ushna. I felt it, the possibility of being completely whole with him. The temptation to reach out and grab it was always there. Then I’d see Brian’s handsome youthful face, and I was reminded that Ushna would never be wholly mine. All Lycans were blessed with a Bashert, a destined Twin Flame, someone who would love them and be their balance, and eternal companion. Brian would’ve been Ushna’s Twin Flame—if he’d survived to adulthood. My consort would’ve never considered me as a potential partner because he would’ve had his Bashert. Why would they need me?
But here and now, I felt wonderful. It was a gift and I basked in it. I didn’t know when this feeling would go away. I breathed in the clean, warm salty air as I listened to the water trickle close by. A hand landed on my flat stomach and stroked, petted almost. I refused to open my eyes and break whatever spell I was under. Mentally, I followed the hand down my stomach to the nest of pubic hair. The fingers ran through the curls, not touching me anywhere else, even though I steadily grew hard. Hot breath blew in my ear, sending shivers down my spine, and I smiled with closed eyes.
Footsteps approached before cold water started sprinkling down on me. The contrast between the cool droplets and sun-warmed skin made me inhale sharply and sit up with a yelp. Deep, soothing laughter sounded at my side. I ignored it as I gazed into the blue eyes of a huge, wet, white wolf. His nose touched mine, tongue lolling to the side as he regarded me in return.
He was beautiful.
“Did you have to do that, Nikita?” asked the laughing voice. I glanced to the left at the man lying next to me on the grass. Tall, broad, and dark with arresting green eyes, the man watched me with heat as he stroked my naked hip.
I’d know this man, this soul, anywhere. I wasn’t sure how but I did. The man was unfamiliar but it was as if I could sense his Flame, his soul, and recognized it. I glanced back at the white wolf in time to see him transform, falling into his human body. Nikita wasn’t dark but golden. Sun-streaked dark blond hair, piercing blue gaze and a firm, aroused body. I knew him as well. I could practically feel the connection between their Flames. But it wasn’t the man next to me who Nikita regarded with desire. He gazed at me as if he would devour me in front of his Twin Flame. My fight or flight response kicked in.
I quickly crab walked backward to place distance in between us.
“Look, Angelo, Seth thinks to run from us,” said Nikita, his voice deep and husky. His gaze held mine as he prowled seductively toward me, growling low.
Why did he call me Seth? I should’ve been terrified. I should’ve been running. Angelo had touched me intimately mere moments ago. He wasn’t my Flame, he wasn’t bonded to me but to Nikita. The growl from Nikita didn’t scare me though. I was hard and aching, and Gods help me, I wanted him to touch me.
Angelo grabbed my ankle with a hot hand before I went too far. I shivered with his touch. Nikita and Angelo crawled toward me with heated looks of passion. They stroked and petted as they crawled up my body. Nikita licked from my thigh to my navel. I clamped my lips shut to keep from moaning aloud. This was wrong. Bonded Flames didn’t take on a third. Did they? I had problems thinking when Angelo licked and nibbled a nipple. Nikita slid a hand in my hair and clasped tightly, directing my gaze to him. I was confused and not sure what was going on. Why were they treating me this way?
“You cannot run from us, Seth. We’ve already talked about this.” Nikita’s blue eyes held mine steadfast. The desire was there, but so was another emotion that added softness to his brilliant blue gaze. “We want you, both of us. We want you to be with us. You know this. Do you not love us, Seth?” Nikita’s eyes clouded with worry. “Do you not want us?”
I opened my mouth to apologize, and tell Nikita I was sorry, but my lips didn’t speak those words. “You know I love you and Angelo with everything I am. I just worry… the Gods, they didn’t mean for this. Twin Flames are a sacred gift from Shamash. What if I ruin what is between you and Angelo? The priests say there can only be two.”
“When was the last time the priests have actually spoken to the Gods? What if the Gods aren’t all-knowing and omnipotent? What if there is more than Twin Flames? You need to claim us. I can sense your wolf struggle against you. He knows what must be done, but you don’t trust him because some priest says it’s not the will of the Gods. The Gods only have as much power over you as you give them, Seth. Can they perceive the love that I or Angelo have for you? I say no, they cannot! They hide in their paradise and forget we’re here. They don’t form families so how can they know what a family is supposed to be, how love is supposed to be? Our love isn’t empty, or fleeting, like what’s offered in the desecrated temples of Inanna. Her followers only know the love of the flesh of the body. Angelo and I, we love all of you. Your Flame belongs with us; you only have to believe in it. Have faith in us. Claim us, Seth, and bind us together. You know it’s the right thing to do.”
“Nikita.” His name came out of my mouth with longing. His eyes blazed as they gazed at me, his hand tightening in my hair. Angelo sucked on my collarbone and before I knew it, they bore me to the ground, their bodies covering mine. Nikita took my lips as if to conquer me. My mind screamed about the sanctity of the Flame’s bond, but my body burned from their touch. I didn’t know what to do. Nikita released my lips only for Angelo to take over as someone took my shaft in hand and squeezed. My hips bucked. Moans escaped me no matter how I tried to hold them back.
“Tell us, Seth. Tell us what we want to hear,” Angelo whispered in my ear.
I shook my head. No. Oh, Gods, no, I couldn’t say it.
“Tell us. Say it.” Nikita nipped my earlobe.
Overwhelmed with sensation, the smell of the two of them was so familiar, so much like home. The beast within pushed forward to answer their call, to do what I was afraid to do.
“You know what I want to hear,” Angelo said in my ear, his emerald green eyes so like Ushna’s gave me a look I couldn’t resist.
Suddenly I wanted to give up, to give them whatever it was they desired. I longed to lose myself in them. I remembered the sorrow of before, and I had no desire to go back to that. I needed them, wanted them, and yearned to bond with them. Today. Tomorrow. Always. I never wanted to be without Nikita or Angelo. They were my home.
They had always been there with me and I understood then. The incarnations, all the lives, the experiences, these two were there, always with me, always watching, always wanting, always inviting, and needing me as much as I needed them. But something always tore us apart, and we were running out of time.
It was me who held back, afraid and scared. I had believed they weren’t meant for me. And yet, all I needed to do was reach out and take them, to bind them to me. Then something would happen to keep us apart. I felt a new urgency. The scenery wasn’t as sharp and the time slipped away from me, from us, and I had to stop it. I had to claim them, to bond with them.
To save them.
“I love you,” I whispered. I desperately clutched them to me only for them to slip through my fingers! No! Not yet! I needed more time! Please! I screamed into the void, calling all the names I’d ever known them by. I prayed for the Gods to please give them back to me. “I love you!” I bellowed into the dark. “Wait for me! I will come for you!”
Where you can find Lexi:
About me: Lexi has always been an avid reader and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her 80 lbs. puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
Title: Magically Delicious
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Length: 7,238 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Mild & Sexy
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Ireland, College, Exchange Student, Leprechauns, Professors, Fae, HFN
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Sadonna
**Contains some spoilers**
Luke, an American exchange student studying abroad in Ireland, ignored his roommates when they told him to put back the gold coin he found in the garden. They warned him about what would happen if he kept the leprechaun gold. He might wonder if maybe he should have listened to them when a sexy, kilt-wearing leprechaun shows up that night to claim the last of the coins from his scattered pot of gold.
This is a really cute short story about Luke, an American student in Ireland. As he is working in the garden one day, he finds a gold coin. He polishes it up and when his Irish roommates see it, the back away and tell him to put it back because the Leprechaun will be looking for it and bad things can happen if he doesn’t find all of his gold coins. Luke laughs it off and keeps the gold coin by his bedside. Lo and behold Luke is visited by the leprechaun that night and he definitely wants his gold back. Arn offers Luke “anything” in exchange for the coin. When Luke makes a quite unusual request of Arn, he obliges. Luke thinks he’s dreamed up the man and he really enjoys their time together. Arn does as well and leaves the coin so that he can return to visit Luke again. Arn returns to the Fae realm where he is met by a guardian and taken to his mother – the Fae queen. She is not happy with Arn and his idea of taking up with a human. She offers him a very difficult choice that will allow him to see Luke again, but in a very different guise.
The Fae part of the story didn’t work for me as well as the interactions between Luke and Arn. I like both characters and appreciated the little twists and turns of the story. Of course it’s a bit insta-lovey, but hey, it’s magic 😉
Posted by Sadonna in 4 Pretty Good, Authors P-R, Contemporary, Fantasy, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, up to 15k Tags: Caitlin Ricci, College, Fae/Elves, HFN, Ireland, Leprechauns, Professors, Short Story, Silver Publishing
Title: Pack Business (Pine Hollow Wolves #2)
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Length: 22,138 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Adorable, Existing Relationship, HEA, Kids, Pets, Secrets & Lies, Series, Wolf Shifters
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
Division lines are drawn when Hannah’s unusual gift creates panic within the pack. Liam has to choose between his pack and his new family and the choice he makes could have deadly consequences for the ones he loves. A confrontation for Travis will alter his and Hannah’s lives forever and he’ll have to make his own choices for the future of all he holds dear.
Liam, Travis and Hannah are just starting to settle into their new lives as a family when things within the pack start to become troublesome. Hannah’s extraordinary gift is causing the pack to become fearful of what she represents. When push comes to shove, Liam must decide between his family and his pack but family always comes first. Now Liam has to figure out a way to keep Travis and Hannah safe by himself and build up the courage to let Travis know just how much he and Hannah have come to mean to Liam.
I liked this one better than the first one because it had more conflict that branched out to include more of the shifter community. I also felt like this one was livelier with more emotions in it. You see further into Liam as a character and realize he has a knack for the dramatic but also a world of love for Travis and Hannah. Travis is more accepting and laid-back in this book because his life is settled and not as rough as it was. Hannah is, of course, still extremely adorable and I loved the little scenes with her even if I did think once or twice that her attitude seemed like a girl older than a two-year old.
This story had more action than the last. Whereas Almost Paradise was a sweet, slow story, this one was slightly too fast for the amount of conflict within it. Regardless, I found all of it very entertaining because it was so different than the first one but also because Liam tended to get a tad snarky while he’s snarling at other shifters.
I believe this series still suffers from a lack of detail because I still have questions about Hannah and the shifter community. To be honest, there’s a six month gap between Almost Paradise and this book that would have been beneficial to read about because it seemed like Liam figured out what Hannah was, how she used her abilities and how he found out that information that would have been nice to read about. We are told instead of shown, though, and that actually created more questions than answers. Beyond that, this book was a bit too rushed, which made the resolutions for each conflict seem a tad weak. I think the fact the whole story takes place over 24 hours added to the rushed feeling. If it had been spaced out over a longer period of time with a bit more details around everything, this story would have been a very good one.
All in all, I still really enjoyed it. It’s sweet with more romance than the last book but also with more action as well. We get to see more into Liam’s side of things by meeting new shifters and getting a taste of what a shifter life is like. I do love the way Liam and Travis are progressing in their relationship even if it is very fast, it’s still sweet. I’m curious is Samson, Liam’s alpha, will be getting a story. Even though he was a bit of a bastard, I’d still love to read about him getting his own man!
Posted by Nikyta in 16-40k, 4 Pretty Good, Authors P-R, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex Tags: Adorable!, Caitlin Ricci, Existing Relationship, HEA, Kids, Pets, Pine Hollow Wolves, Secrets & Lies, Series, Silver Publishing, Wolf Shifters
Title: Almost Paradise (Pine Hollow Wolves #1)
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Length: 17,327 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Adorable, HEA-ish, Kids, Pets, Rich/Poor, Series, Wolf Shifters, Short Story
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
Travis will do anything to keep his daughter safe, now that he finally has custody. Financially ruined, he cannot even afford food for himself most days. Could a stranger’s offer to dog sit be the solution Travis has been hoping for?
Travis has done everything to keep his daughter safe. He’s fought a long, hard battle in the courts to gain full custody and has finally found some breathing room. But that security comes at a heavy price.
Staying in a motel and living off his quickly dwindling savings is no way to raise a toddler, so when Liam steps into his life and offers him hundreds of dollars just to watch his dogs for a weekend, it almost seems too good to be true.
But when he finds out there is more to Liam than he ever thought, he has a hard decision to make. Can he and his daughter stay and be safe or will he need to leave?
After two rough years, Travis is a man who has nothing now but his young daughter, Hannah. Out looking for any kind of work, he meets Liam, a strange man who gives him an opportunity to watch Liam’s dogs for the weekend for some quick cash. There’s instant trust between the two and Hannah takes a quick shinnying to Liam. There’s a connection between them but Liam’s hiding something from Travis and not only that but Hannah seems to know exactly what Liam’s hiding.
I found this story very enjoyable. While it doesn’t provide much information into Liam’s world, the characters themselves or even the relationship Liam and Travis are creating, there’s no denying that it was a cute story with some interesting road blocks. It’s a light read that was great between two heavy, long books.
I liked the fact that Travis was stressing about how to feed his daughter and his hesitance to accept Liam’s offer even though he knew Liam wasn’t a threat. I really liked Liam even if he is an enigma. He seemed simultaneously very old but young, yearning for a family of his own. Hannah was a real treat, though. She’s bubbly and energetic and I liked the fact that she fits right into Liam’s life.
Being such a short story, however, there’s a lot of questions I have left over because of the lack of details. For instance, I have so many questions about Liam and the shifter world but also about Hannah and her mysterious ability that is mentioned but never elaborated on or anything. Besides that, my biggest issue was with Travis’ ex-girlfriend. It was hard for me to understand how she went from a raving lunatic to cowering within a few sentences of Liam pulling dominance on her. It left me confused because she was human and crazy so it was hard for me to come to terms with her just giving up her pursuits.
Overall, this was a nice story although it felt like only the beginning to a journey. A light read that doesn’t dig too deep beyond the surface but enjoyable nonetheless with likable characters and a. I’m hoping the sequel provides the necessary information to answer my questions so I’m looking forward to reading it.
Posted by Nikyta in 16-40k, 4 Pretty Good, Authors P-R, Heat 1 - Sweet/None, Paranormal, Sex Freq 1 - None Tags: Adorable!, Animals, Caitlin Ricci, HEA, Kids, Pets, Pine Hollow Wolves, Rich/Poor, Series, Short Story, Silver Publishing, Wolf Shifters
Title: Return to Destiny (Moments in Time #1)
Author: Vona Logan
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Length: 16,584 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Time Travel, Second Chances, Insta-Love
Rating: So So
Dream visitations and déjà vu bring Wade Summers and Michael Turner together on a non-corporeal plane. Now they have to figure out how to bridge the gap between 2012 and 2022 to make their relationship a reality.
Wade Summers is a decent guy who happens to have a ghost taking advantage of his body at will. His attempts to escape it have failed, and despite their unorthodox nature, he enjoys the visitations far too much to complain. His body gets sated, but his soul longs for his enigmatic lover.
In 2022, erotic dreams and déjà vu of a gorgeous man are driving Michael Turner insane. A strange old man convinces him he let Mr Right slip through his fingers. Michael desperately tries to figure out at what point he missed getting the man of his dreams and will stop at nothing to return to his destiny.
I have to admit that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with time travel stories. I find that I don’t like them more than I do like them, and I think it’s because I have a hard time suspending disbelief in able to enjoy the story. And while I didn’t love this story (but did like it), it had nothing to do with the time travel. In that regard, I found it mostly well done.
I usually find myself not liking the story because things just don’t… add up, in the details of the time travel. Here, many of those details are purposefully left out of this story, which worked for me because I didn’t feel such a large disconnect. The way that the time travel scenario is set up is done in a way I could understand, a second chances theme, and while I did find a few of the extraneous details pertaining to the logistics of it somewhat strange (I could have done without them altogether — like, the eye?), for the most part that didn’t bother me.
The part that worked well for me was the relationship and the sex. The story starts with Wade in 2012, who had a phantom/ghost lover of sorts. An invisible man seems to engage his body without his prior warning or consent and he finds that he loves and hates it. We soon learn that Michael, in 2022, is having a similar phenomena, but only in his dreams of his phantom lover, a man he doesn’t know and can’t remember upon waking. The unique situation soon becomes entwined in the desperation of Michael’s life and past regrets, and the addition of an old Chinese man with a store full of strange artifacts sheds light on how to change his life.
I found that what worked best for me with this story was the relationship and the sex. From the very beginning the story is very sexually charged. While there’s little to no relationship between the characters — after all, that’s the only way they can connect — Michael’s POV soon sheds light on how they’re connected between time. The sexual chemistry was immediately steamy and brought me quickly into the story. Where I felt the story failed in some respects was the easy wrap-up. We see Wade and Michael together in the same time very, very little and most of that is taken up by sex. Once together they act as if there’s no impediment in their relationship and they’ve been together for years. I couldn’t quite connect how a few months of a strange sexual connection (when they didn’t know it was the other) could immediately translate into a happy, healthy and established relationship. So in that respect, this seemed very much like insta-love to me.
Still, I enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future.
Posted by Cole in 16-40k, 3 So So, Authors J-L, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 4 - Very Often Tags: Insta-Love, Moments in Time, Second Chances, Short Story, Silver Publishing, Time Travel, Vona Logan