Friday, February 15, 2013


To those who will risk all, everlasting love is the reward.


 I wanted to share a favorite Valentine story with you written by the talented Kat Sheridan. I absolutely love this story. I hope you will too!

Love is found in the margins. In the places between. At the edge of the river between earth and water. The place where green meadow surrenders to regal forest. In the gloaming, between the brilliance of day and the exhilaration of night.

Copy of one of the posters I have
Such were Darius’s thoughts as he sat on the Old Stone, at the edge of Malgren forest, on the banks of the Zoran River, as the sun hovered, no more than a rosy hue on the horizon. In these moments, love lived.

Darius of the Fang and Carillon of the Fae. They should never have met.

The Fang—the vampyres—creatures of dark and moonlight and unbridled lust.

The Fae. Beings of golden light. Of joy. Creatures of passion.

Fang and Fae. Ice and Fire. And never the twain…Darius laughed. He and Carillon. The unlikeliest couple on the planet. Even now, the memory of their first meeting brought a smile to his face and joy to his heart.

Sleepless, he had begun the night early, prowling in the shadows, waiting for the release of full dark. Restless, she had chased the day late, reluctant to let the sun go. They had come upon one another in this place, in the sunset hour. Each had been surprised and intrigued by a creature so different from themselves. They had met again the next dawn. And at dusk. And dawn again. Lust and passion had collided. A gift—a once in a millennium gift—bestowed by Valentine.

And now Darius waited in the twilight. Waited for those moments—that glorious, silver hour—when he and Carillon could be joined. For a thousand dawns and dusks they had come together in this place between. Valentine himself, that wily priest, had blessed their strange union, but with a caveat.

“My children,” he had said when they’d sought him out. “Should you wish to be together always, each of you must be willing to live in the other’s world. You, Carillon, for a night. And you, Darius, for a day.”

“But my kind withers and dies in the dark,” Carillon had said, a tear marring her rose-petal cheek. “When night falls I must be safely in the Fairy Hall, surrounded by the glow of light and fire and heat. The Fae cannot survive in the dark and cold.”

“And you, Darius?” Valentine asked. “Would you dwell in the light with Carillon?”

“I cannot, sir. You know that. My people have no tolerance for anything stronger than moonlight. I would die in her heat.”

The old man had shaken his head sadly, then clasped his hands over his round belly and sighed. “Here, then, is all I can do for you,” he said. “For a thousand dawns, and a thousand dusks, you may meet here in the place between. For one hour only, the sun will stand and the moon remain motionless. For that hour you may be together. At the end of the thousand days, if neither of you chooses to live in the other’s world, you must part and come together no more.”

The old man had smiled at them, at the same time admonishing them gently. “Much can be moved in heaven and on earth by the power of love, but time will not stand still forever.”

Tonight would mark the end of their allotted time.

Of late, Darius had noticed the strain writ on Carillon’s sweet face—the shadows that matched the lavender hue of the setting sun, etched beneath her verdant eyes. She’d likely seen the same on him. The pale skin and ebony eyes were normal; the deep grooves bracketing his sensuous red lips and the needle-straight mark between his narrow black brows were new.

She raced across the meadow toward him, gossamer blue gown and iridescent wings floating in the soft summer breeze. He rose to meet her, arms outstretched in welcome, his own black wings held in abeyance so as not to frighten her, though she’d long since ceased to be afraid.

Their lovemaking was fast and fierce and desperate. When at last they drew apart, the sun’s last rays shimmered on the horizon.

”Go now, love.” Darius pulled Carillon into the last sliver of light. He was not ashamed of the tears coursing down his cheeks. “Know that I will love you always.”

She drew back, shocking him. “No, Darius. No. Tonight I will stay with you.”

There was no time to argue. The sun slipped away and with it, Carillon’s last hope. There was no point in berating this soft, golden creature. Her courage shamed him. She’d done this for him. For love of him. He enfolded her in his great black wings and drew her down to sit with him on the grass, no longer green, but gray in the rising moonlight.

“You know I can make you one of my people,” he said. “You would live forever, beside me. You don’t have to die, Carillon.”

She smiled at him sadly, already shivering with cold. “I would not be happy in the dark, Darius. I would die for want of light and the colors of the day. No.” She shook her head. “Better to die here with you—with my memories untarnished with loss and longing.”

They spoke little after that. What could be said at a time such as this? He held her through that long night. He kissed her brow as it grew colder under his lips, murmured endearments in her ear; he watched the roses turn ashen in her cheeks and felt the strength and life ebbing away.

“Hold on, Carillon. Hold on, my love. It’s nearly dawn.” But in that darkest part of the night, just before the sun cast its first rays into the new day, Carillon away slipped into that final sleep. He held her still body close—and wept.

Fury tore through him with hurricane force. He stood, with Carillon in his arms, and strode toward the light, cursing the gods and the cruel priest who had granted them so little time.

“Damn you, Eros! And damn you, Venus! And thrice damnation to you, Valentine!”

He dropped to his knees in Carillon’s meadow and placed her gently on the ground. He would not keep her in darkness—in the everlasting night to which he’d been cursed. She would have light and warmth on her body. He would stay by her. What difference did it make now?

The sun rose higher in the sky. He shielded his eyes with his wings, but the heat seared through them. A thousand fires ignited under his skin. Was this what Carillon had endured with barely a murmur?  This pain? He lowered his wings and bared his face to the sun. So these were the colors his beloved had adored so much. Such vivid hues; his eyes burned with them. Life seeped from his body, until he had no choice. He curled up on the ground next to Carillon, wrapped himself around her, and gave himself over to death. His last prayer was that Valentine would take pity on them and bury them together in the place between.

The sound of singing woke him. The gloaming had come again; the sun, a bare sliver, hung low on the horizon. He gasped, a drowning man who’d found air. He surged up, but a soft hand stopped him.

“Go slow, love. It takes a bit of getting used to.” Carillon. He spun toward the voice. Carillon?

She smiled at him, then nodded at the man standing beside her. Valentine, his face lit with a beatific smile.

“The gods are celebrating this day,” he said, “and all the stars in heaven are dancing. True love, that most precious, most wonderful, most inexplicable of gifts, is always rewarded, given time—and faith. Each of you showed yourselves willing to give everything—even your lives—to be with one another.” He stretched out his arms to the dark and to the light and to the place between. “All this now is yours. Darius, you will find much joy in the light and heat of Carillon’s love. And Carillon, you will discover the pleasures to be found in the quiet cool of the night.”

And so it was. They built their home at the edge of Malgren forest, on the banks of the Zoran River, and taught their children to clamber to the top of the Old Stone and embrace the whole of night and day.

A plaque—painted by Darius and embellished by Carillon—hung over their bed. It read, “To those who will risk all, everlasting love is the reward.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I've found some yummy books to read by the fire this week. Hey, this is the week of romance, flowers, chocolate, and love. This week's selections cover a pretty wide range but all are worth the read.

Alison Kent  

Growing up, Kaylie Flynn was shuffled from foster home to foster home before being welcomed into Winton and May Wise’s family. It was May who taught Kaylie the comfort of home, and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie. Years later, May leaves Kaylie the money she needs to open her own café in the charming Victorian they once shared. Now back in Hope Springs, Kaylie’s determined to finally make all her dreams a reality—and unearth answers to lingering questions about her past.

Soon, however, Kaylie’s carefully laid plans take an unexpected turn. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, is proving to be a very handsome and very unneeded distraction from her quest to uncover the truth about her parents. When a crisis threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build, Kaylie must decide where her heart lies: with the ghosts of her past or the love and promise of her future. Excerpt

I always enjoy a well put together and layered read. This story by Alison Kent fits the bill for that and adds a good love story, sprinkles how past experiences--especially when we're young--can impact our life in the present and the choices we make. Plus, Alison shares some fabulous brownie recipes. I loved some of her secondary characters like Luna, Mitch, and Dolly (I'd love to see where the last two end up). The story kept me glued to the pages and the ending...well, Alison added the perfect touch. Well worth picking up and reading. I'm looking forward to other stories set in Hope Springs, Texas (I also enjoyed the clever pay on cliches such as 'hope springs' and where this cafe is located).

Tawny Weber  

Subject: Navy SEAL Lieutenant Blake Landon
Current Status: Two weeks of enforced leave
Mission: Distract himself in any way possible
Obstacle: A woman who tempts him to break the rules…including his own!
Navy SEAL Blake Landon (a.k.a. “Boy Scout”) knows the rule book inside and out. Checked. Rechecked. But when a mission ends badly, his entire team is ordered on leave. And that’s when Blake sees the tall redhead whose dark eyes suggest that the rules— especially those in bed—are made to be broken.
Scientist Alexia Lane has sex on the brain—partly for work, but mostly because she needs a man who makes her girly parts do the happy dance. Her only no-no? No military dudes. But Blake’s rockin’ bod promises delicious pleasures, and Alexia is halfway to sexual Nirvana before she can find out he’s actually a Navy SEAL.
And where one rule is broken, more are sure to follow…. Excerpt
I've made no secret of the fact I love Tawny Weber's stories for Blaze  and for a lot of reasons. She tells a great story, her characters feel real and the heroines are spunky and sassy, and I love her dialog and she's very, very good with dialog. Her books fun and sexy (without the detailed sex by-play of erotic romance), they make me laugh, and I love the way she layers in issues without detracting from the overall story. Best of all, you gotta love a happy-ever-after-ending. Or, at least I do. 
This one adds a serious thread of danger which showcases what SEALS do, then there is the whole family issues type of danger, and there are some great secondary characters. I love Michael and Cade is just delicious (can't wait to read his story next month). Speaking of happy endings, A SEALS Seduction, has the perfect ending, in my opinion. I laughed!
If you like your stories young and sweet and short, you might enjoy Rachel Morgan's YA Novella.
Rachel Morgan  

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day's work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone--she's about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments--a human boy who shouldn't even be able to see her--follows her into the fae realm. Now she's broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.
The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he's discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble--and it'll take all Vi's training to get them out alive. 
I'll be the first to admit, I rarely read YA. Having said that, I'll also say that I have read a few good ones. I was curious about Rachel's story and since she's one of my blogging buddies and I love the cover, I wanted to read her work (I do manage to do that with many of my blogging buddies). 

I found the story to be a good read. Nice flow to the story and the characters are easily pictured, the dialog fits the generation (and I usually have a houseful of members from this generation at any given time). Rachel skillfully hooks her reader in the opening and keeps you moving forward because you want to see what happens. Her world is surprisingly well developed considering it's a novella. The Faerie world had a bit of the feel of what I loved about Hogwarts but without the darkness of that particular series storyline. I liked the attraction between Nate and Vi. Secondary characters like Tora added the right spice to the mix and Ryn...Yeah, he needs a smack upside the head. 

I'll be reading the next installment of this series--not because Rachel is my blogging buddy (that only gets the first book read), but because she tells a very good story.



Sunday, February 10, 2013