Shira Anthony on Fated Love and her new release ‘Blood and Eternity (Blood #3)’ (author guest blog, excerpt and giveaway)

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Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Reese Dante

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Shira Anthony on tour today for her latest release, Blood and Eternity, the last story in her Blood Trilogy.  Welcome, Shira.

 

 

“Blood and Eternity” Blog Tour: Fated Love

Thanks, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, for hosting the Blood and Eternity blog tour today! I’m so excited to share the final book in the Blood Series from Dreamspinner Press with everyone. Be sure to read down about how to enter the blog tour giveaway for a handmade unisex bamboo bracelet featuring bats and other vampire-ish dark themes.

I realized while I was writing the Blood Series that there’s a familiar theme in my books, or at least in my fantasy/paranormal books: fated love. It’s hardly a new concept, of course. There are stories as old as humanity’s recorded history that use some form of the trope.

The fated love trope takes a few different forms in fantasy stories, in particular. You’d recognize some of these: souls that connect and reconnect over many lifetimes (reincarnation), mates for life (a hugely popular shifter trope), and recognizing the other person/immediately knowing them in spite of the fact you’ve never met them. I used the reincarnation theme in my Mermen of Ea Series.

In the Blood series, I use a variation of the “I’d know you anywhere” trope. The series’ main pairing is between the immortal vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert and the ancient vampire (born a vampire, not created from a human) he loves, Nicolas Lambert. Through Nicolas’s powerful blood, Adrien not only becomes immortal, but he gains powers beyond those of vampires or hunters. In book 2 in the series, Blood and Ghosts, Adrien discovers he has the ability to travel through time. Unfortunately for Adrien, controlling that power is something just beyond his grasp.

There are three timelines, or “timestreams” in the series: the original timestream Adrien lives in which is chronicled in Blood and Rain, the timestream Adrien inadvertently changes when he’s sent back to a time before he ever met Nicolas we first experience in Blood and Ghosts, and finally, a confusing new future Adrien finds himself at the end of the second book. In each timeline, Nicolas and Adrien meet. How do they know each other? The answer, maybe not so surprisingly, is in their blood.

For the vampires of the Blood Series, sharing blood is more intimate than sex. Blood is a window into a person’s soul—your deepest secrets and all of your memories are available for the person drinking your blood to see. This is the reason that even when Adrien cannot find Nicolas after a century of searching for him, he will not share his blood with anyone but Nicolas.

Adrien wants to spend his immortal life at Nicolas’s side. In each timeline, Adrien and Nicolas find each other. I hope you’ll enjoy their story of eternal, fated love, and the conclusion of the series. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from the first book (no spoilers here!). Don’t forget to comment on the post to be entered to win the cool spooky bracelet! –Shira

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Excerpt from Blood and Rain:

Chapter One: On the Edge of Forever

Miami, Florida

 

SUNSET WOVE fingers of purple and red through bands of clouds and vapor trails that crisscrossed the sky. The scent of exhaust from trucks and cars mingled with the tang of salt from the ocean. People scurried about as they returned from work, trying to finish last-minute errands before dinnertime, all oblivious to the lone figure perched atop the high-rise at the edge of the Miami River.

Adrien Gilbert gazed down at the tiny figures below, vaguely aware of their presence. For more than a century, he had seen generations of humans be born, reach adulthood, start families, grow old, and die as their loved ones watched, helpless to slow time. He had grown numb to the cycle of life—a cycle to which he was immune. He was an immortal, a hunter who had shared the soul of an ancient vampire. His beloved soul.

He closed his eyes, trying to picture that perfect face. It had grown strangely difficult to remember over the years, and yet he could still easily remember the face of his mother, who had been killed when he was just a child.

I won’t forget you… Nicolas.

It would have been far easier to give in, to erase Nicolas from his memory forever. Certainly far less painful than knowing Nicolas was out there somewhere, unable to find the way back to him. Less painful, too, than admitting he couldn’t find his way to Nicolas. He would suffer the pain of knowledge; it was a small price to pay to preserve the memory.

I’m sorry.

The irony that a hunter sworn to protect humankind would suffer the loss of a vampire so deeply was hardly lost on Adrien. He’d believed that in spite of the treaty between hunters and the hunted, vampires were not to be trusted. He’d believed his duty as a hunter was simple, straightforward: kill those who threatened humanity, tolerate those who did not. But that had been before he’d met Nicolas. Before he’d lost his heart. Before Nicolas had given him immortality.

Adrien had everything a human might wish for. The small transportation business he’d started when he moved to the United States over a hundred years ago had blossomed into an international empire with cargo ships, airplanes, trucks, and dozens of storage facilities around the globe. He owned homes in Europe, Thailand, Japan, the US, and a dozen other places he rarely visited. Despite his prosperity, the men with whom he shared his bed—human, vampire, hunter—rarely stayed long. He had seen to that, with his aloof manner and his cold heart. Only one man had ever touched his soul.

 

 

THE EVENING had started, as it always did, on a far better note. Adrien had stopped by one of his favorite haunts, an upscale martini bar not far from the city center. He’d developed a penchant for gin over the past few decades, enjoying the quick work it made of his long-term memory. Three or four martinis and he could forget, even if only briefly.

The bar was small and full of people. A Sinatra song played in the background as he walked over to the stainless-steel bar, filled with men, some of whom he’d already discarded, others new faces. Eager, all of them. He sensed their eyes on him and felt the hunger they didn’t understand. He understood that hunger. The scent of his blood created it in them. The same irresistible scent that had lured many a human to fall prey to the vampires now drew them to him.

He sat down at an empty barstool and nodded to the bartender, who set to work making the driest martini possible with his most expensive gin, dropping in a tiny bit of lemon peel instead of an olive. He handed Adrien the drink without saying a word, and Adrien brought the glass to his lips.

“Nice,” a male voice said from behind him.

The man was beautiful, tall, with shoulder-length black hair and deep green eyes. He wore a pair of tight-fitting jeans and a crisp button-down shirt that emphasized his muscled chest and narrow waist. Late twenties, perhaps. A new face, but a familiar presence.

“It’s not bad.” Adrien took a sip of his drink and pretended not to care. It was easy.

“I wasn’t talking about the drink.” The man lifted his drink to his full lips but watched him intently.

“I wasn’t either,” Adrien replied without missing a beat.

“I’m Cole.”

“So you are.”

They left the bar together for his apartment, where his housekeeper had already set a table for two. A bottle of Puligny-Montrachet chilled in a cooler by the table. Between them, they finished that bottle, although Adrien drank very little. Alcohol affected immortals far more than humans or vampires.

After dinner Cole stood and walked over to the railing, looking out over the river below. “You know what I am.” Cole’s voice was as smooth as the wine.

“Yes. I know what you are.” Adrien had sensed Cole was a vampire the moment he’d seen him. No self-respecting hunter would have missed the subtle electricity in the air or the scent of mingled blood. He lifted Cole’s hair off his neck, then trailed his lips over his silky skin. Cole smelled good—an earthy and primal scent that caused the bloodlust to rise in Adrien. Once, he had embraced his lust for blood.

When he’d first become an immortal, Nicolas’s blood had done far more than sustain him. They had shared their bodies, their blood, and their souls. The blood had been their bond, the bloodlust a welcome reminder of Adrien’s love for Nicolas. Now the lust for blood had nothing to do with Adrien’s heart. It was another bitter reminder that his body would not let him perish, even though he cared nothing for living.

It’s been too long.

Cole moaned. The deep, throaty sound made Adrien’s mouth water in spite of himself. Adrien despised his body’s response, but he’d long ago learned he couldn’t fight it. Once, he had gone nearly twenty years without giving in to the call. He’d been weak, pathetic, barely able to think. He’d prayed he would die. He’d lost consciousness, but he’d awoken to find himself drinking his fill. He’d come perilously close to killing the human whose blood he’d feasted on, but he’d managed to stop. However miserable his existence, Adrien would only feed on vampires—he’d not break the oath he’d taken to protect humans when he’d become a hunter.

Adrien licked the skin of Cole’s neck, feeling the blood pulse there, hearing it call to him. Cole tilted his head in anticipation, opening himself to Adrien.

Adrien buried his teeth in Cole’s skin. Blood flooded his mouth and danced on his tongue, sweet and salty. Too long. His body was far more vampire-like in its craving for blood than when he’d first been given the gift of an ancient vampire’s soul. He wondered if it was the same for other immortals.

Adrien tried to ignore the images that flashed through his mind—the sound of silvery laughter, a mother’s loving caress. Cole’s memories. Adrien despised this forced intimacy, but he’d come to see it as the price of blood. Something to be tolerated.

It hadn’t always been that way. When he’d shared Nicolas’s blood, Adrien had experienced great joy. He’d seen himself through Nicolas’s eyes and felt the depth of Nicolas’s love. Each drop of that precious liquid had opened new doors. Each taste offered insight into Nicolas’s heart and soul. A beloved memory. A mystery—the mystery of Nicolas—unfolding with every swallow.

Adrien drank his fill, then claimed Cole’s mouth. This kind of contact he could stomach. He didn’t need sex to survive, but he enjoyed the release. Cole unbuttoned Adrien’s black silk shirt and his cock swelled against Adrien’s thigh. Adrien moaned as Cole skated his fingertips over his chest.

“I have never known a hunter to crave blood,” Cole whispered in his ear. “I thought only we experienced the bloodlust.”

“You were wrong,” Adrien said as he pulled Cole’s shirt over his head and mouthed a pretty pink nipple. Sex was always better after he fed, and Adrien’s cock was already hard at the thought of fucking such a lovely ass. He drew Cole’s body against his, walked backward into the living room, and pulled Cole with him onto the rug. Soon they were naked and he was no longer a hunter or an immortal, he was simply a man, seeking release, seeking pleasure.

 

 

ADRIEN LAY there afterward, only partially satisfied. Nothing new. Sex was like the bloodlust—it always left him wanting more. Cole brushed his fingers over Adrien’s chest, then his neck. He licked Adrien’s earlobe, then ran his tongue over Adrien’s Adam’s apple.

“May I?” he asked.

“No.” He would willingly share his blood with only one person.

“Too bad.” The vampire was clearly disappointed. “I would have liked to have known the secrets of your blood.”

Adrien watched Cole dress but said nothing.

“Perhaps another time, then.” Cole turned and smiled at him before he walked out the door.

For at least an hour after, Adrien lay on the floor and allowed the night air to caress his bare skin. He closed his eyes and dozed.

“Adrien.”

The voice awakened him. Nicolas’s voice again. Why sleep if it only served to reawaken the pain he sought to suppress?

He stood and pulled on his jeans. He walked onto the balcony in his bare feet, then climbed to the roof of the penthouse.

Pathetic.

Having reached the edge, he spread his arms. He leaned forward and fell unimpeded, riding the wind like a sigh. The glass of the building sailed by him, the breeze buffeting his face. He hit the water and sank into the cold blackness. He wished he could die.

******

 

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Blurb: Sequel to Blood and Ghosts and the final installment in the Blood Trilogy

Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.

The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.

In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.

When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.

But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.

******

About the Author

 Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. You can hear Shira singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca by clicking here: Shira’s Singing

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 38′ catamaran sailboat, Prelude, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

Shira Anthony: http://www.shiraanthony.com

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

 

Sequel to Blood and Ghosts and the final installment in the Blood Trilogy

Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.

The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.

In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.

When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.

But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.

I always find it so hard to return to a series when it’s been a while since the last story.  In this  case, Blood and Ghosts, was released in 2015, and I’ve read a ton of books since then, including many by this author.  Another factor here?  Shira Anthony’s overall arc for her characters and plot for the trilogy.  Labyrinthine barely covers it.  It involves multiple time times, different eras, alternate universes even for these characters lives, yes time travel that continually changes both the people, the relationships, warping both past, future and present around all involved.  It ended on a cliffhanger of sorts.

Yes, the mind boggled even as the author kept us heavily invested in the outcome for not only the main characters but many of those also in close support.

Now three years later, the last novel is released and I need to remember everything?  Yikes!

Luckily for all, Shira Anthony has us covered.  She included a cast of characters, their relationships to each other as well as a series recap at the beginning of the story.  Neither of which weighs down the story  but acts more like a springboard, providing the narrative energy for us to jump into the action once more.  It’s a quick refresher course that brought everything immediately back to mind.  These are marvelous characters and I didn’t need much to bring them and their situations vividly back to memory.

Having left Adrien waking to Nico/Nicholas in a future that came with a warning from their despicable enemy and a dire choice to be made, I couldn’t wait to see how Anthony now resolved all the time lines and this amazing complicated romance.  I can now say I have never been happier with the finale novel of a trilogy.

Without giving away any spoilers, and they are so many ways to do that here, Anthony managed to tie all up the couples, all the convoluted timelines, bring them all full circle, and yet still, logically, bring her trilogy to an outstanding, heartwarming, sniffle- inducing conclusion.

Yes, the villains get theirs too!  That’s a must with me.

But what’s more, Anthony does it by keeping the integrity of her characters, their timelines she has created for them, their various histories and relationships intact.  That’s no small feat considering the various Councils and politics also involved.  Did I say complicated?

I don’t know how the author manages to keep all these threads organized and flowing as she does but the story remains compelling at all times,  The various Nicholas, no matter where they are in history or time, pull at your heart.  The consequences of time and their actions heartbreaking.  I think that’s another reason why that ending resonated with me so greatly.  Because I connected so deeply with these characters through all three stories.  The villains had to have their comeuppance and the heroes (all of them) had to have their forever loves.

The author gave me that.  How I love this story and this trilogy.

Shira Anthony’s writing is fluid and so well done it keeps you glued to the text! Her story and series complicated, compelling and exciting and her characters memorable and ones to keep close to your heart.  If you haven’t found this series yet, now is the time to start.  Begin with book one, Blood and Rain, and read through until you get here.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art: Reese Dante.  That’s Adrien, a perfect portrait of the man in my brain.  I love it.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807426
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Blood :

Blood and Rain

Blood and Ghosts

Blood and Eternity

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This series requires focus, focus, focus. And a recap of the first two books. Fortunately, the author not only provides a cast of characters, she also provides the recap. Thank you, Ms. Anthony!

A sweeping, epic saga, worthy of the big screen, this is the story of Adrien Gilbert, a Hunter, and the love of his life—all of his lives!—Nicholas/Nico Lambert.

The villainous cast of characters is headed by Verel Pelletier, Adrien and Nicholas’s archenemy, the man behind all the complexity, intrigue, murder and mayhem spanning centuries. Adrien’s “demon,” the alter-ego voice in his head, is present throughout the story. And we finally see Adrien come to terms with the demon, master it, and use it to help him and Nico alter the course of multiple lives by going back in time to prevent the original disaster from happening.

The author follows the threads of the time streams introduced in the previous books to entice us with possibilities of what would happen if… But the reality becomes something different as the men land in 2018 and both are experiencing partial memories of the times before—despite the seeming impossibility of that happening.

It’s a definite brain-teaser, for sure. I must admit I struggled to stay on track for the early part of the story, especially since it’s been three years since the last book was released. With the author’s help by throwing out key tidbits to jog our memory and by having the explanations in the forward of the book, I slowly started to get re-involved with these men. I must say, of all the timelines and characters covered, I was most intrigued by the 2018 versions of Nico and Adrien and by their selfless devotion to risk all they had to right the wrongs set in motion by Pelletier, even if it meant they might not be together by the time their previous souls reached 2018.

As I said early in the review, focus is the key. By the end of the book, that’s not as much of an issue because at that point I was so focused on the action that I let all else in my life fall by the wayside—the hallmark of an outstanding book, in my opinion.

Those who love an epic romance, vampires, immortals, and more will likely fall as much in love with this series as I have. I very highly recommend this book and the whole series to all lovers of MM romance. And now that all three books are out, I definitely recommend sticking to short timeframes between each story. That will most definitely be a huge aid to following this saga.

~~~

The cover by Reese Dante is a close-up shot of Adrian, a beautiful man with fascinating pale blue eyes. In a way, it’s good that Nicholas is not featured on this cover as he is on the others since book three gives Adrien, and his demon, the principal role.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: July 31st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807426
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBlood #3

A Caryn Release Day Review: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What a great book!  It’s a story of second chances, with just a little bit of enemies-to-lovers thrown in.  And of course who doesn’t appreciate the hero who overcomes a difficulty to become a success?

In high school Jimmy Zebulon was a band geek, overweight, asthmatic, socially awkward, and unwillingly out as gay, which made him a target for the football jocks.  His first crush was Danny, who was also on the football team, but was much kinder.  During one unfortunate game, Jimmy was humiliated by the other jocks in front of Danny, and in the process lost a love letter he’d written (but never intended to show) to Danny, and it was just too much – he ended up leaving the school, moving to a different city, and even took his stepfather’s name.  Jimmy Zebulon disappeared, and J. Graham Swann was born.  He grew 8 inches, started competing in marathons, became a successful lawyer, and essentially was completely unrecognizable to anyone who would have known him before.  Outwardly he was the epitome of a self-made man and owner of a prominent labor law firm, but there was a large part of him that inwardly was still that awkward and insecure teenager.

Daniel Parker was in the closet until an injury ended his college football career.  He married a wonderful man, they adopted a little girl, and were living their dream in NYC.  When his husband tragically died and Daniel became a single father, his life and goals changed.  He moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to pursue an equally rewarding, but less stressful job with one of the rising stars in the world of labor law, Graham Swann.

Their first meeting is during a triathlon when Dan gives up a chance to place to help out another runner.  Graham had been admiring his ass, but then had to admire his kindness as well.  They didn’t recognize each other from high school, didn’t even exchange names, but their instant chemistry led to what was going to be an incredibly hot encounter, when mid-blow job, Dan took a call and abruptly left.  Graham was pissed, but blew it off and went back to his regular life.  On Monday, he was shocked to find that Dan was the new lawyer hired by his partner, and his aborted one night stand was also his high school crush.  All of his past insecurities came rushing back, and Graham’s goals immediately became keeping their shared past secret, and avoiding interacting with Dan as much as possible.

The characters really made this book.  These are both men I would want to be friends with.  They are driven, and successful, but still managed to be warm and caring, and had their priorities right where they should be.  Dan put his daughter first, and Graham took care of his employees.  Although Graham’s fear of being recognized made him exceptionally cold and aloof to Dan at first, Dan and his daughter Lacey eventually broke through the stony facade, and both men found much to admire in the other.  Graham’s insecurity caused him to give off a lot of mixed signals, leading to clumsy starts and stops in their developing friendship, but Dan remained infinitely patient.  The kindness that Graham had noticed 15 years ago was still there, and still just as attractive, and ultimately what brought and kept them together.  Although Dan may have been the catalyst, when Graham confronted his fears, and his past, he finally started to truly believe that he was worthy of Dan’s love, and the final transformation from ugly duckling to swan was complete.  The secondary characters were interesting and supportive, and though Lacey is a little too precocious – like most of the kids that bring the MCs together in romances – it wasn’t enough to turn me off.  I found this book to have more depth than the others I’ve read in the Dreamspun Desires series, and I would definitely recommend it!

Oh, and remember the love letter?  It worked 🙂

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is the standard for Dreamspun Desires, but I did think the model was a good match for Graham.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 224 pages
Expected publication: February 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802421
Edition Language English

Shira Anthony on Writing the Happily Ever After and her latest release Swann’s Revenge (author guest post, excerpt, and giveaway))

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Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Desires
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:  

Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon |  Kobo |  Barnes & Noble iTunes 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Shira Anthony here today on tour for Swann’s Revenge.  Welcome, Shira!

Writing the Happily Ever After, Dreamspun-Style, by Shira Anthony

Thank you, Melanie and company, for hosting this stop on the Swann’s Revenge Book Tour! I’m so happy to share my third entry in the Dreamspun Desires line of romance-forward, tropey love stories from Dreamspinner Press. Be sure to read to the bottom of the post about how to enter to win a cool unisex leather heart bracelet to celebrate the book tour and read an excerpt from the story.

I’ve been a romance reader since as far back as I can remember. I don’t have nearly enough time to read anymore, but when I do, it’s almost always gay romance. But whether it’s gay, lesbian, or het romance, the elements are usually the same. That’s especially true for Dreamspun Desires books, which follow the old Harlequin/category-romance formulas and tropes.

For me, the best part of any romance is the HEA. I don’t write books without them, and I don’t read them either. If it’s a sad ending, it is so not for me! Even more so with the Dreamspun line, the HEA is key. But what does it take to end up with a truly satisfying HEA?

A great happily-ever-after is almost entirely dependent upon the tension the author creates.

I know you’ve stayed up reading late into the night because you have to know what happens. I definitely have! Why? Because you can’t stand leaving the two MCs hanging. You need to know that MC 1 is going to forgive MC 2 for not having told him something important. Or maybe it’s that MC 2 hasn’t told MC 1 how he feels. The thing that keeps you hanging—that keeps you reading even though you’re going to sleep through your next day—is tension. Pure and simple. And what do you get after the tension?

HEAs are all about resolution of tension between the main characters: the more powerful the tension, the sweeter the HEA.

In the Dreamspun line, you’re not going to find the all-out-angst you might in a more dramatic romance. But you will feel the tension build toward the resolution. And when that resolution comes? You’ll probably be smiling. Or letting out a long sigh.

Swann’s Revenge is no exception. When Graham and Dan meet, sparks fly. But both men have pasts that influence who they are and what they expect from a relationship. For Graham, who left behind his ugly-duckling high school self, his past is a secret he doesn’t have the courage to share. And that secret could spell the end of his fledgling relationship with Dan. That’s the tension that needs a HEA. And I guarantee you’ll get the HEA. I hope it’ll leave you smiling, too.

Happy reading, and don’t forget to comment on this post to be entered to win the cool unisex “Follow your heart” bracelet I’m giving away at the end of the tour! –Shira

 Blurb

Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past? 

Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work. 

Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.

Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….

=11

*****

Excerpt

“Terri tells me you’re from my neck of the woods,” Dan said and leaned back in his chair.

Graham met Dan’s gaze. The urge to shift in his seat passed as he reasserted control. “Oh? Where would that be?” He made it his practice never to divulge too much about himself. Even Terri, whom he’d met when they were both taking prep classes for the Tennessee bar examination, only knew so much. The past was best forgotten.

“Carletonville. My folks still live out there.” Dan chuckled. “They still go to all the football games at Merrill High.”

Graham pretended the name hadn’t made his stomach drop into his feet. The back of his neck felt cold and clammy. “How nice,” he said evenly. “Did you play?”

“I did. But that was a long time ago,” Dan said with a sigh and shake of his head. “A different lifetime.”

“I see.” Graham glanced at his watch. He needed to end this interview soon or he’d lose his composure.

Fortunately, Dan got the message and stood. “I’m probably keeping you from something. I’m sure we’ll have more time to chat later.”

“I’ll have my assistant set up a few hours for us to go over strategy tomorrow morning.” Graham smiled and added, “Good to have you aboard.”

“Thanks again.”

Graham watched Dan leave, all the while struggling to keep his discomfort from showing. Dan closed the door behind him and Graham let out a long breath. How had he missed it before?

The Invincible Danny Parker. North Carolina All- State Quarterback of the Year. Full ride at Carolina. NCAA All-America Quarterback. A shoo-in for the pros until he tore his ACL in his senior year and had to quit the game.

Graham thought he’d forgotten what it felt like to sit in the mud as half the football team looked on and laughed, but he’d been wrong. All his memories came barreling back, and with them the pain and humiliation of fifteen years before.

The day after, he’d quit the band. When his mother remarried in June, they moved to Memphis and he took his stepfather’s name. He grew nearly eight inches his senior year.  He put high school and the chubby kid behind him. In college, he learned he didn’t have asthma at all—he’d been allergic to the mold in the Carletonville apartment where he and his mother lived. He started to exercise. His roommate taught him to play racquetball and he started running regularly. He got into shape and learned to imitate the way the popular students dressed. He was accepted into a great law school and never looked back.

Fifteen years before, Jimmy Zebulon, the chubby kid with a face covered in zits, left Carletonville and never returned. Jimmy had moved on with his life. He’d banished the memories and the shame. He’d been absolutely fine.

Until now.

******

About the Author

About Shira: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. You can hear Shira singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca by clicking here: Shira’s Singing

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 35′ catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

 

Remember don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for this every cool bracelet:

 

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Finder’s Keeper (Heart’s Gate) by Shira Anthony

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

The truth might ruin his dreams—or make them come true.

When Zane moves into an old gothic brownstone, he discovers the house comes equipped with a caretaker—Kit, who lives in the basement. Zane is immediately drawn to the charming and attractive Kit. But Kit is much more than he seems. He is a two-hundred-year-old half-human, half–red-fox spirit who guards a Gate between the mortal and spirit worlds—a fact Zane should recognize, but doesn’t.

Orphaned at a young age, Zane never learned he comes from a long line of mystical Keepers. Kit needs Zane’s help to protect the Gate, but how can he tell Zane of his legacy when that will crush Zane’s dreams of traveling the world? If he takes up the mantle, Zane will be bound to the Gate, unable to leave it. But when Zane realizes Kit’s true nature, and his own, he’ll have to make a choice—fight to protect Kit and the Gate, or deny his destiny and any chance of a future with Kit.

Finder’s Keeper is one of those stories where one of the main characters arrives at a place, in this case an old brownstone bequeathed to him and his twin sister by an unknown uncle and immediately feels a connection.  Ties to that place and to the handsome man he finds making him coffee and breakfast the next morning. Not instant love feelings but something that goes deeper.  An emotional tie that somehow Zane can’t explain away, not that he really wants too.

I have to admit to having felt those from time to time.  I’ve never really tried to categorize them.  But you walk into a place, across a landscape or gaze into a stranger’s eyes, if even for a passing second and there’s a spark of recognition that isn’t possible, or a feeling of coming home when you’ve never been there before.  In a way, Anthony uses that as a basis for her story of Finder’s Keeper only here the relationship between house and family, Gate and Keeper is almost cellular as well as spiritual.

Anthony makes it more realistic for Zane to accept his feelings for the house and its caretaker by having Zane and his sister orphaned at a young age as well as giving a difficult romantic history for Zane.  All of which would make a house and new location suddenly look like a very attractive path if you’re looking to make a home. Especially if you feel as though you’re being led there.  Which Zane is.

I liked all the characters Shira Anthony fills her story with and there’s quite the collection here, including Lor the demon, and Zane’s sister who I really could have used much more of.  I hope that’s rectified in the next stories.  I even really loved the romance here. I don’t think instant love has a place here.  As set out by the author, their attraction and yes, love for each other is believable.  The only thing that semi-irritated me towards the end was the dithering Kit did over the relationship binding, ignoring what Zane was telling him.  Once yes, but repeatedly? That started to feel forced.

Oh Kit, he was amazing.  I loved the Kitsune element here and hope that somehow the author will find a way to bring Kit’s father into future stories.  Anthony has built so many intriguing minor (who knows) story threads into Finder’s Keeper that I can’t help but hope they will be fleshed out in future sequels to come.  Lor the demon alone needs his own story too. And he’s not alone.

I’m loving this new Dreamspun Beyond line from Dreamspinner Press.  If you love paranormal or supernatural romances, then Finder’s Keeper, the first in a new series from Shira Anthony is just the thing for you.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson.  I just love this cover.  Just the right element of spookiness and a gorgeous otherworldly model.  Perfect!

Buy Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon  | Kobo Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Beyond #4, 236 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635338782
Edition Language English
Series Heart’s Gate #1 setting Cleveland, Ohio (United States)

Shira Anthony on Paranormal Romances and her new release ‘Finder’s Keeper (Heart’s Gate #1)’ (giveaway and tour)

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Finder’s Keeper (Heart’s Gate #1) by Shira Anthony
Dreamspinner Press
a Dreamspun Beyond Title
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon  | Kobo Barnes & Noble

♥︎

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Shira Anthony here again.  Shira is here talking about her latest release,Finder’s Keeper (Heart’s Gate #1).  Welcome, Shira!

✒︎

Shira Anthony’s Finder’s Keeper

Thank you Melanie and company, for hosting this stop on the Finder’s Keeper blog tour! Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a unisex red agate fox pendant I’ll be giving away at the end of the tour.

Finder’s Keeper is my first novel in the brand new Dreamspun Beyond line of contemporary paranormal stories that are romance-forward in the tradition of the old category romances from Harlequin and Mills & Boon. Finder’s Keeper is the sweet story of a half-human, half-fox spirit named Kit who guards a gate between the human and spirit worlds and Zane Mayer, an engineer who inherits the old gothic brownstone where the Gate is hidden.

Zane is a twin. His sister, Ren, owns a store in North Carolina dedicated to spirituality and the occult. She reads Tarot and constantly worries that something is going to happen to Zane. Zane, on the other hand, is infinitely practical. I guess that makes sense, since he’s an engineer. He doesn’t believe in Tarot, although he humors his sister when she makes dire predictions about what’s in store for him. But things change, and Zane begins to wonder if he’s imagining things or if maybe Ren isn’t so out there.

When Zane arrives in Cleveland to start his new job and move into the brownstone his second cousin left to him, strange things begin to happen. The strangest of all is the house itself. It’s perfect. Even though the photos he saw of the place show it falling apart, when he moves in, he finds all the appliances are brand new, everything’s been perfectly renovated, and the place is spotless. Even more surprising? The place comes with an adorable ginger caretaker, who introduces himself over an amazing breakfast that makes Zane’s mouth water. Kit seems to know all about Zane, which may seem weird, but Kit is so sweet and genuine, Zane soon finds himself falling in lust, at least.

Bit by bit, Zane comes to understand that there’s an entirely different world—the spirit world—that exists alongside our own human one. Zane comes to know the spirit world through Kit’s eyes. What he learns holds the key to his future and to Kit’s. Will Kit and Zane bridge the gap between them and find common ground? You’ll find out if you read Finder’s Keeper!

To enter for a chance to win the beautiful fox pendant? 1) at each stop on the Finder’s Keeper blog tour answer a question in the comments, and 2) claim your entry on the Rafflecopter here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf0ba94917/

So I mentioned that Kit is an amazing cook. With that in mind, here’s the question you need to answer before you claim your Rafflecopter entry: What is your favorite breakfast? I love cheese blintzes with cherry topping. Put your answer in the comments, then go to Rafflecopter and enter yourself! Good luck! -Shira

******

Blurb

 The truth might ruin his dreams—or make them come true.

When Zane moves into an old gothic brownstone, he discovers the house comes equipped with a caretaker—Kit, who lives in the basement. Zane is immediately drawn to the charming and attractive Kit. But Kit is much more than he seems. He is a two-hundred-year-old half-human, half–red-fox spirit who guards a Gate between the mortal and spirit worlds—a fact Zane should recognize, but doesn’t.

Orphaned at a young age, Zane never learned he comes from a long line of mystical Keepers. Kit needs Zane’s help to protect the Gate, but how can he tell Zane of his legacy when that will crush Zane’s dreams of traveling the world? If he takes up the mantle, Zane will be bound to the Gate, unable to leave it. But when Zane realizes Kit’s true nature, and his own, he’ll have to make a choice—fight to protect Kit and the Gate, or deny his destiny and any chance of a future with Kit.

******

About Shira

 Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. You can hear Shira singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca by clicking here: Shira’s Singing

Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She’s happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it’s fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.

In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She’s happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it’s music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she’s lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can.

Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 35′ catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she’s found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she’s on the water.

Giveaway

 

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A Lila Audiobook Review: Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

Forgotten Paradise is a quick summer read with a delightful love story. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the company of great characters and an easy going, but interesting plot.  The traditional troupes of this series let the reader’s imagination free and into a travel adventure.

Adam and Jonah are both “bigger than life characters.” They live in that imaginary bubble with all want to believe in. The spin on the amnesia plot brought the two parts of the story together–the vacation and their real lives.  I enjoyed the time the author took making each part unique.

There are a lot of descriptions about the settings, the diving trips, and Adam’s vacation. It was a bit overwhelming at times, but it added to the color of the story. The romance itself is the central part, but the small twists and turns framed the story well.

One thing I appreciated about the story was the path Adam and Jonah followed. They both grew as individuals and businessmen. And their HEA work well with the rest of the story.

Andrew McFerrin did a remarkable job with the narration. My only complaint comes from the accents of the Dominican characters. They really didn’t sound the part, but overall, it was an enjoyable work.

The cover by Bree Archer matches the series and Jonah’s description. A bit generic, but it follows the format.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
Length: 5 hours 49 minutes
Published: June 1, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B071LTJB8J
Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

I’m such a fan of the Dreamspun Desires series from Dreamspinner.  Here in Forgotten Paradise Shira Anthony plays with the person with amnesia trope, another staple in those romances (still is).  Who can resist a MC with a forgotten past? The mystery man!  That just screams romance and a history that will come thundering back at some point to break up or threaten whatever couple is the focus.  Readers love that, myself included.

Here its Jonah who washed up on the gorgeous shores of the DR ten years ago, almost a tabula rasa.  Since then he’s built a life and been happy…almost, except for those pesky headaches.  Then Adam Preston comes along with his  own basket full of problems hoping to push them aside for a brief holiday of fun in the sun.

The author is so familiar with her location that it jumps to life on the page, the water so blue, the suns shines so brightly I’m surprised I didn’t have to wear sunglasses to read my Kindle.  It’s clear she has great affection for that location and the DR in general.  So it makes sense to put Jonah there as well.  It gave him and Adam a firm foundation for their tentative romance and friendship.  That’s needed for when things start to come crashing down.

I have to admit, for the first portion of the story, Adam represents the more fully realized of the two characters, and not just because Jonah is missing 10 years of his memory.  Adam’s personal baggage is laden with the fear of failure to his family, duties, self worth, things most people can relate to.   That he’s so stressed out he’s unable to unwind? Well I think there are many out there who could relate to that and Adam too.

Jonah represents a bigger question mark and that’s not just the void where 10 years should be.  I liked that Anthony had him seek help for his amnesia, that he wasn’t content to ride out his life with a 10 year blank spot (sort of).  I didn’t quite believe that.  Especially once all of  Jonah’s memories came back and then when we switch locations. Its then you realize this Jonah is far more interesting than the one you meet on the island.  Turns out you do need the more than just the sweetness here.

The second half of the story deals with the repercussions of the recovered memory, not only for Jonah but for everyone he left behind and Adam as well.  It’s a  far more intricate and interesting story, as it deals with a past Jonah as well as the one he became.  I almost wish there had been more of this  but then I can hear the complaints that we didn’t get enough of the couple before to connect with so I guess there’s just more I’d want, a common refrain.

There is one element there irritates me and I can’t go into it here without a huge spoiler but it deals with a best friend of Jonah’s and an action of his.  To me how it was handled still feels all wrong.  But that’s just me.

Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony is another lovely romance from the Dreamspun Desires series.  You get a HEA for a great couple and a visit to a paradise that will make you want to book a flight immediately.

Cover art by Bree Archer goes straight to paradise with the theme.

 

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #32
Expected publication: April 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332036 (ISBN13: 9781635332032)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Shira Anthony on Inspiration, A Family Trip and her release ‘Forgotten Paradise’ (guest post and giveaway)

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Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at

amazon square borderB&N border

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Shira Anthony today. Shira is talking about the inspiration behind her latest release Forgotten Paradise and has brought a wonderful giveaway for all the readers as well. Welcome, Shira.

✒︎


My Little Piece of Paradise by Shira Anthony

Thank you, Melanie and all the crew here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, for hosting me today! I’m offering up a fabulous December Diamonds Cupid merman ornament to one lucky winner in the US who comments on one of the blog tour posts, or a $10 Dreamspinner Press Gift Card for winners worldwide, so be sure to comment below by answering this question: what is the most romantic place on earth? Once you’ve left your comment, click on the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of the post and you’ve snagged yourself an entry!

April 15th is release day for my 20th published book, Forgotten Paradise! It’s hard to believe I’ll have published twenty this month, let alone a single book. Much as the Blue Notes series was inspired by my experiences as a professional opera singer and before that, as a violinist, my Mermen of Ea series was inspired by my travels aboard our catamaran sailboat, Land’s Zen. Forgotten Paradise is no exception.

The concept for Forgotten Paradise was born on a family trip to the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2015. My entire family—my parents, my sister and her family, and my husband and kids—spent a week at a gorgeous resort in the southeastern part of the island, about 45 minutes south of Punta Cana. My husband and I dove every day in clear turquoise waters with some of the most incredible fish and aquatic animals I’ve ever seen.

The first part of Forgotten Paradise takes place in a resort in the DR much like the one we stayed at, complete with immaculately tended gardens, ponds with birds and fish, an enormous swimming pool, and a beautiful white sand beach where you can dig your feet into the sand and sip on a pina colada to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. There, Adam Preston escapes for a week in paradise and meets the charming Jonah James, a scuba instructor at the resort. But Jonah has a secret: he doesn’t remember anything before he woke up on a Punta Cana beach 10 years before.

I hope you’ll enjoy finding out who Jonah really is and that you’ll be able to imagine the sand between your toes as you read Forgotten Paradise. I’ll leave you with the blurb and a short excerpt from the book and, of course, the Rafflecopter. Be sure to leave your comment before entering! And good luck! –Shira

Blurb

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a megacompany threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

Excerpt

WHILE HENRI washed down the patio, Jonah hung the last two wetsuits and sprayed down the rinsing bins. Small rivulets of sand and water streaked the painted concrete.

“I can finish,” Henri told him.

“Thanks.” Jonah walked over to the benches and retrieved his BC and regulator from a hook. “I owe you a drink.”

Henri laughed. “Good thing they’re free or you’d have to take out a loan.”

“Meet you at Giuseppe’s in an hour?” Jonah hung his gear inside the staff room.

“Not tonight. Got a date with Viola.” Henri stopped spraying for a moment and gestured toward the office. “It’s our six-month anniversary.”

“Six months? Impressive. So what’s for dinner?”

“Sushi,” Henri said. “At Yumi.”

“You’re taking her all the way to Punta Cana?” Jonah chuckled and slapped Henri on the back. “Must be love.”

“A man does as he does.” He winked and added, “I borrowed Torey’s car.”

“A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do,” Jonah corrected. Henri’s English was damn good, so Jonah enjoyed teasing him the few times he made mistakes.

“So how about you?” Henri asked with a crooked grin.

“Me?” Jonah knew where Henri was going, but he wasn’t going to bite on that particular topic.

“You’ve been here a few weeks now. Met anyone interesting?”

Jonah shook his head. “If I had, I wouldn’t be telling you about it,” he teased.

“Fine. To be that way.”

Be that way. Not ‘to be.’”

Henri laughed and headed over to the counter, where Viola was working on assignments for the next day’s dives. “The guests think I’m sexier when I get things wrong.”

“You wish.”

Jonah pulled the elastic from his hair and ran a hand through his still-damp curls. He waved at Viola. “Have fun tonight!” He slipped on his sandals and headed down the path to the staff dormitories. He’d only made it to the towel-return shack when he noticed a man standing in the middle of the intersection of two paths, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

“Perfect,” the man muttered.

“Lost?” Jonah forced his gaze up from the dusting of reddish hair on the man’s nicely defined pecs.

He looked at Jonah with warm brown eyes. “That obvious?”

“Happens a lot,” Jonah reassured him. “Where’re you headed?”

“Dive shop. Although by now, it’s probably closed.” American, judging by the accent. East Coast. A hint of New Jersey but polished so it was barely noticeable.

Jonah glanced at his watch. “You have another ten minutes.” He pointed the way he’d just come. “It’s about a hundred feet that way. You can’t miss it.”

“Thank you.”

“No problem.” Jonah offered the man a reassuring smile. “Took me a few days to get my bearings.”

“My mother used to tell me I’d lose my way in a shower stall.”

Jonah chuckled. “That bad?”

The man nodded.

“I could think of worse places to get lost with you,” Jonah quipped, immediately regretting it. The man’s lean body was far too interesting, especially given the no-fraternization policy Jonah had signed when he was hired. Not that the hotel had ever fired someone for taking a guest to bed, but Jonah felt more comfortable following the rule. It made things easier. Celibacy was safer. Flirting was downright dangerous.

The man flushed. Even more interesting.

The man quickly regained his composure. “Do I know you?” he asked.

Jonah also got that a lot. “I’m sure I’d have remembered you,” he said truthfully. It wasn’t every day he met a redhead, let alone one this attractive.

“My mistake.” The man offered his hand. “Adam Preston.”

“Good to meet you, Adam.” Jonah shook Adam’s hand. Strong grip. Confident, but not overly so. “I’m Jonah. Jonah James.”

“I’d better go,” Adam said. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“I hope so.” Jonah watched as Adam headed toward the dive shop. No fraternization, he reminded himself with a sigh. Maybe it was time to rethink the celibacy gig.

Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf0ba94916/?

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