April 09 titles Hope Springs Eternal
by Ginger Simpson
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-62-3
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-70-8
With Chloe nestled at her feet, Hope settled back at her desk, relieved to have her annual exam behind her. Now she had only to wait for the test results before taking a deep breath. She prayed for no unpleasant surprises.
After adjusting her headphones, she reached over to push the start button on the recorder, but paused. Visions of Dr. Carlson flashed through her mind. Those eyes, the slight dimples when he smiled. He possessed masculine qualities that would make a nun consider changing her faith. At least Hope would, except she wasn’t Catholic. There was something about the man that drew her like a magnet.
At first she wondered if perhaps it had to do with the fact she’d gone without sex for so long, but that wasn’t it. If she’d been intimate ten minutes before she saw him, she’d still be attracted.
by Rhonda Parish
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-63-0
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-71-5
Xaphan had a lot of minions-a lot. They swarmed on Bayne like flies on shit, a living wave of fists and feet, all determined to bring him down.
None of them reached him. His face, contorted by battle fury, looked every bit like a demon, all trace of humanity erased. He moved the sword as though it were an extension of himself, each movement calculated to destroy as many of his foes as possible. Within minutes, the roar of battle subsided to the whimpering of wounded and Bayne’s once white hair was stained pink with blood. An occasional cut ripped through his shirt; one or two even managed to draw blood. But in less than ten minutes, he’d reduced the vampire’s army to a pile of mangled corpses and unidentified gore.
I entered as he replaced his sword in the scabbard strapped across his back, careful to watch my step lest I slip on the blood and goo and find myself covered in things I’d rather not contemplate. From a far corner, buried in shadows that mortal eyes couldn’t hope to penetrate, the distinct sound of feminine sobs could be heard. The leech had hostages after all. Good thing I’d decided against the fireball.
A Gift of Love
by Wendy Stone
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-64-7
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-72-2
“My Lord,” she said, her words almost whisper soft and breathless with nervous anticipation of his reaction. “I…I need to ask something of you.”
Christopher sat down his fork, wiped his mouth with his napkin, and gave her his full attention. “Whatever I can do, Danielle, you have but to ask,” he said simply and with a gentle smile.
Danielle could hear David’s insidious voice in her ear, his words of previous wives and the horror of her husband’s perversions making her even more nervous. And confused. His actions with her, his manner had been kind and gentle, not that of a horrible beast who planned abominable things that she couldn’t even imagine.
“What is it, my Lady?”
“I… I don’t want to share your bed.” The words blurted from her mouth quickly and without thought. As soon as they were spoken, she wished she could call them back. She saw the look in his eyes grow bitter, and he stared down at his gloved hand with animosity. Did he think his scars were….
“No, Christopher. Oh, God, no, it’s not that.” She flew from her chair around the small table until she knelt by his legs,looking up at him. “I just mean, we have only just met and don’t knowhow we will deal with the other yet. A few days, time for both of us to grow accustomed to the other.” Her hand reached out and touched his face, her fingers gentle on his unscarred cheek. “Can you not give me this, Husband?”
by Regina Paul
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-65-4
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-73-9
Crew left his older lover Eagle to go into space, realizing his lifelong dream. He was not ready to settle down when Eagle wanted to make their bond formal. Eagle, a professor, has no use for space faring. Crew knows Eagle was deeply hurt and angered by what he believed was Crew’s desertion.
Now Crew is back. He’s not sure what kind of homecoming he will find. Will the man who still holds the keys to his heart and desire make him welcome or only tease and then reject him in revenge?
by Andrew Richardson
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-66-1
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-74-6
“The omens are not favorable to your quest.”
“That’s bullshit.” Darren responded to the Arch-druid’s words by placing his hands firmly on his hips. He glared from face to face, as if daring anyone to disagree with him.
The withered old man gave a heavy sigh and raised his blood-splattered hands to the ceiling once more. Drops fell to the straw as he spoke through his red-tinted beard. “But I have sacrificed a lamb and divined the omens from its entrails-“
“You might still believe that claptrap. But Kath and I have proved in our book, that sort of thing never really happened.”
Mandi gave a quiet gag as she clutched her holdall against her chest.
“But I have asked Dana, Lady of the Earth, and Balor, Lord of the Shadow World, about the success of your visit to their realm.” The bloodied old man’s voice was quiet but firm.
Authoritative, Kath thought. But he actually believes this, she realized, feeling the knot that the mead had loosened retighten in her stomach.
“Danger will be your companion should you choose to undertake your journey.”
“Cool,” Aaron muttered.
Darren’s eyes narrowed. “So, I’ve come all this way, into the middle of nowhere, to take part in this adventure. And now you’re saying I can’t because some dead sheep has a gammy stomach?” His fists clenched at the side of his body. “Give me strength,” he muttered.”
Now, dear boy, I don’t think there’s any need to get excited,” Max said. The Arch-druid’s face remained tight, the hearth-fire giving his greying eyes a burning light that complemented the sheep’s blood splattering his features. “With nine of you, protected by your number, the gods may have been prepared to overlook the omens. But you lack the safeguard of the sacred triple three. You are only twice three.” He shrugged, the gesture seeming to Kath to be out of keeping with his imposing stature and scarlet tinted flesh.
The Sarran Plague
by A.C. Katt
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-67-8
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-75-3
“Thirsty,” she whispered. Then a strong, gentle hand lifted Anya’s head. She nuzzled closer, breathing deeply of fresh linen, vanilla, and man- definitely man.
“Drink, Pa Mici, drink,” a deep basso voice rumbled.
Anya’s eye caught a snapshot of dark blue eyes, tousled midnight black hair. A thin white scar traced along the outline of a square jaw. Her vision was fuzzy around the edges. The hair on his muscled arm tickled across her back. His palm cupped the nape of her neck, supporting her head. The thumb stroked downward. She trembled, leaning into the light caress.
The thick fingers of his other hand curved around a filigreed silver tumbler with maroon and gold swirls.
“Please, thirsty,” Anya mumbled as her lips pursed round the proffered straw.
“Careful, Pa Mici, lips that shape beg a kiss,” the deep voice murmured.
The juice flowed through her mouth and down her throat, easing the dryness. Voices in her mind, one was here, the basso. The other, a baritone, was close by. The vibrations sang sweet music to her sex. Anya’s skin flushed rose. She reached up and traced a finger along the thin scar.
“Your skin is exquisite, Pa Mici. Do you feel us yet? ” His soft, mobile lips swept light kisses across her cheek and nibbled at the corner of her mouth.
“Name?” she insisted, sticking out her lower lip, her mouth in moue.
“Jonal. Rest now,” the voice soothed.
“‘Tis such a good dream,” Anya whispered, as she grabbed his arm.
“Please, don’t make me wake up.”
Rome’s Perfect Boy
By Alex Fox
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647-69-2
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647-77-7
Hurry up and buy me!
Bargaining began between two matrons, but the women were stopped by a tall, lean man with short dark hair; he looked like a centurion to me even though he was not in his armour. I took eyes with him, as I should not, but I was so hot standing here, sweating a rivulet down my naked chest. The man eyed me very carefully. I saw him go to speak to my old master and begin bargaining a price. I could not hear them over the noise of the slave market, but my heart began to race with excitement.the tall man was so handsome and lean, muscled and powerful to look at. Yes, I was sure he was a centurion, for he carried a military bearing about him.
And he wanted me.
He bargained strongly, forcefully, and solidus coins were given out to my old master-how much did I sell for? I saw my old master smiling and laughing, so, I must be a good price for him. And I almost wept when he went off to sign the selling papers and not once did he look back at me. He had owned me for years, and now, not even a goodbye glance.my eyes filled with tears of sorrow, and a fly settled in the corner of my left eye and I squinted it away. The tall man came for me.
My heart raced when I took eyes with him again. So handsome! Oh.so handsome.
The Golden Hour
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647- 68-5
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647- 76-0
Sarah doesn’t mind the heat. She sits on the terrace of Il Fortuna, a small café pinched into a corner of Old Nice, the same corner she sat in twenty years ago. The café is mostly unchanged except for the large green awning protecting the terrace from the oppressive sun. The old town has a haunted, run-down feeling. Paint peels off its walls. Yellowed dust cloths cover the furniture. The few people who still have business here flit through the shadows of the afternoon like wraiths. Brightly colored scarves protect their faces. Their footsteps ring out on the cobblestones, an echo of when metal-shod horses cantered through the streets.
From the terrace, Sarah listens for these footsteps thinking, “Is that him?” She tries not to peer down the winding lane, but inevitably gives in to nervous curiosity. When it turns out not to be her date, she sits back heavily in her chair, fiddles her napkin and checks her teeth for stray lipstick in a cosmetic mirror.