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Ines Johnson on Tour #MFRWAuthor

We’re thrilled to welcome Ines Johnson back to our pages, here to tempt you with another passionate story!

The Loyal Steed: a Pleasure Hound NovelTheLoyalSteednotext

Men of Devotion

If you read my books, you may have noticed a theme. Between the covers of many of my stories you’ll find a man of the cloth, who struggles with his feelings for a woman, and ultimately succumbs to the glories of romantic love.

An Old Testament

My fascination with priests began with the television movie, The Thornbirds. Richard Chamberlain in robes -nuff said. Its not just priests I’m fascinated with. It was an illuminating experience for me watching the Jedi of Star Wars. I even found Yoda hot! And then there was that string of movies about fallen angels where Christopher Walken was a badass angel and Elias Koteas was a former priest. Yummy. But the priest to end all priests? Matthew McConaughey in Contact!

Why am I attracted to priests, monks, angels, and even cone-headed, Buddha-like aliens? Because these men of devotion have a lot of qualities that women look for in their partners. They’re disciplined, full of grace, devoted, and they understand sacrifice.

A Beautiful Mind

Spiritual men are smart. Monks spend their lives studying ancient texts. Priests have to get a degree from college or seminary school, which can take anywhere from four to eight years. Jedi are taken as children, younglings, into the order. Other than Luke Skywalker, we know they spend all of their formative years training in the mental and physical art of the force.

Hopelessly Devoted

Speaking of Skywalkers, Padme didn’t fall for cute and cuddly Anakin. No, she fell for the grown Jedi who began to tug at the rules of his order as he pursued her affections. We all like a rebel, a bad boy, to some degree. The man of cloth might not be the bad boy, but their situation is definitely a naughty and forbidden one. He’s pledged his loyalty and devotion to another: namely god, a goddess, or some higher power.

The Sexy Priest trope is the perfect love triangle. You have the sexy priest, the first leg of the triangle. The priest is devoted to his vows, the second leg of the triangle. And then in walks another set of legs, the heroine. Admit it: we all want to be the chosen one in a love triangle. And if you can emerge the victor over a god-figure…

I already recognize that I’m going to hell. But that’s okay, because that’s where all of the sexy, fallen priests will be!

BLURB

Jaspir has been in love with Lady Merlyn since they were children, but she has always been out of his reach. Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, his heart has always remained loyal to his true love.

Liam was promised to Merlyn in their youth, but he’s always known that he’s not the man in her heart. With their betrothal approaching, Liam seeks out Jaspir for help. Eager to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts.

What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons. In a society where men are second class citizens, Merlyn is torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.

EXCERPT

“Our time is up, Merlyn.”

“Should I buy more?”

Jaspir hesitated. He closed his eyes, resting his forehead against hers. She had his heart, but he would never be allowed to possess hers. He set her back on her chair.

“No,” he whispered. He lifted his head and looked into her eyes. “No,” he said more firmly.

Another hour, another day would change nothing. It had taken years to get over her. Who was he kidding? He’d never gotten over her. He never would.

“My time is up because you have another lover coming?” she asked.

Jaspir pulled away from her, staring into her golden brown eyes. “No. There is no one else.”

She cocked her head to the side, the birdlike motion signaling that she was investigating his words. Just as Merlyn only spoke facts, she had a knack for sensing when someone told half-truths.

“I have no other lovers coming today.” Something compelled him to go on, to assure her of her place in his heart. “You own my heart, Merlyn. I have loved you, and only you, every day since the first day I met you. I will continue to love you every day of my life.”

She searched his eyes, her head cocking the opposite way as she considered every angle of his new statement. “Why is it that I believe you? There is no possible way to prove your declaration. Love isn’t a tangible thing that you can point to. It isn’t measurable.”

Jaspir took her hand and placed it on his heart. “Do you feel that? What reason does a heart have for racing?”

“It’s a fight or flight response from the autonomic nervous system.”

“Do you think I’m preparing to flee due to fear of you? Or that I’m preparing to harm you?”

Merlyn shook her head.

“Look at me, Merlyn. What do you see?”

“I see that your pupils are dilated.” Her eyes dipped lower. “Your nostrils are flaring, and you are panting.”

“I can tell you that my stomach aches when I think of you. My palms sweat and I feel light headed. Not to mention what happens in my sex organs. That’s nearly every system of the human body engaged at the very thought of you.”

“These symptoms happen every time you think of me?”

“Without fail.”

“Fascinating,” she breathed, eyes bright.

Jaspir grinned at the curious creature before him. She pressed one hand to his heart. The other she ran over his forehead. Her fingers came away with beads of sweat. Her thumb returned and traced his lower eyelid.

“I’d like to study this phenomenon some more.” She looked into his eyes. Her own pupils were large, her nostrils flared, her breath came in small pants. “May I return to make more observations?”

BUY LINKS

Part One: http://www.amazon.com/Loyal-Steed-Part-Pleasure-Hound-ebook/dp/B00WKAKSP0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429808418&sr=8-1&keywords=loyal+steed

Part Two:

http://www.amazon.com/Loyal-Steed-Part-Pleasure-Hound-ebook/dp/B00WKBZ8N6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1429814624&sr=8-3&keywords=loyal+steed

Part Three:

http://www.amazon.com/Loyal-Steed-Three-Pleasure-Hound-ebook/dp/B00WKDY3KS/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1429814624&sr=8-9&keywords=loyal+steed

Complete Serial

http://www.amazon.com/Loyal-Steed-Complete-Serial-Pleasure-ebook/dp/B00WKE2160/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1429814624&sr=8-10&keywords=loyal+steed

About the Author

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ineswrites

Twitter

https://twitter.com/ineswrites

Website

https://inesjohnson.wordpress.com/

Publisher

http://heartspell.com/

 

Jennifer Young On Tour #MFRWAuthor

Sources of inspiration: Looking For Charlotte

Looking For Charlotte by Jennifer YoungInspiration comes from the strangest places. For me it usually is places (though that’s probably a whole different blog post) but in the case of Looking For Charlotte it came not so much out of the blue but out of the pages of The Daily Telegraph.

I remember the moment well. It was December, some years ago now, and I was in a cafe waiting for some friends to join me for a pre-Christmas lunch. I was early so I picked a copy of the Telegraph from the rack and flicked through it.

It was in the World News section — a grim story but one which ended with hope. Somewhere in America a drug-addict father had confessed to police that he had murdered his two children and buried their bodies but he couldn’t remember where. Somewhere along an Interstate in Pennsylvania; he knew that much. And there was a plastic pipe nearby. And then, dear reader, in a life twist no plotter would make up, he died.

So far, so soul-destroying. It got worse when the police, having failed to find the bodies, gave up on the search. But out of darkness came light in the shape of a supermarket worker, a total stranger to all those involved. Determined to bring the children’s mother closure, she set out to find the bodies. Every evening after work, every day off, for six months, she drove up and down searching for the bodies — and found them.

I still have the original cutting, or I think I do (I can’t quite put my hand on the folder but I know I put it somewhere safe). The important thing is that I was so moved by this story that I bought a copy of the Telegraph on the way home, tore the story out and kept it. I knew then that there was a story in it for me; and that story is Looking For Charlotte.

I changed a lot of it. Instead of America it’s set in Scotland; instead of teenagers there’s a toddler called Charlotte; the child’s mother struggles with a new relationship just as our heroine struggles with the emotional loss of her own children; and as for the ending…I changed that many times, too. In the first draft, Flora, our heroine, discovered the body, as in the story. Then I decided that that was too good to be true and in the second she didn’t, but discovered something else instead. Then I changed it back to the first and then I had a better idea and then…

No, no spoilers. I won’t give away the ending except that there’s a resolution. But Looking For Charlotte is, for me at least, that rare thing — a story that had to be told.

Excerpt

They parted just beyond the bridge across the Ness, Grace heading up the pedestrian streets and Flora cutting across to the library, fronted by the long line of cars full of Saturday shoppers manoeuvering towards the car parks. She wasn’t a regular library user, but once the idea had taken her she remembered that there was something she wanted to check.

In the reference section, she stood for a moment before selecting the Ordnance Survey map that covered the area south of Ullapool. She knew it quite well. When the children were young they’d gone walking there regularly, able to reach the open spaces without pushing the slowest (usually Amelia, though Beth was the youngest) too hard. They’d graduated to more difficult walks, then stopped walking altogether. Eventually she had developed a fondness for the slightly less bleak terrain to the south of Inverness, where she went occasionally with Philip and his brother, or with a colleague from work. She hadn’t been out all year, not since before Christmas, in fact, and even then they’d been rained off not very far in and driven back to the comfort of a tea shop in Grantown-on-Spey.

A nostalgic yearning for a good long walk swept over her as she unfolded the map and smoothed it out across one of the desks. She and Danny used to look at maps together plotting their routes. His stubby forefinger, with its bitten nails, had traced the most challenging route to start, sliding along the steep and craggy ridges until he remembered the children and reluctantly redrew, shorter, safer.

She thought she knew the place where Alastair Anderson had left his car, and found it easily enough. Under her fingers the map was a flat web of never-parallel lines, of ugly pock-marking that told of steep, loose rocks and inhospitable terrain, just the type of place they used to walk. Somewhere up here, Charlotte Anderson was buried. Carried there, already dead? Or walked there and then killed? Surely neither was realistic; surely they would have found her, with their dogs and their mountain rescue helicopters scouring the ground for new scars, and all the rest of the equipment they had at their disposal.

Looking at the map had been a mistake. It was obvious now. Besides, she couldn’t see it any more; all she could see was the image of Suzanne Beauchamp, that beautiful face with the cold façade, like a wax death mask from Madame Tussauds. More poignant, of course, since it must hide a struggle, a struggle to conceal or to suppress a deadly mixture of grief and guilt.

‘Go away!’ she said softly to this mirage of a grieving woman, a little afraid of its power. ‘Go away!’ And then, in the only defence left to her, she began to fold the map away.

Blurb

Divorced and lonely, Flora Wilson is distraught when she hears news of the death of little Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte’s father killed her and then himself, and although he left a letter with clues to her grave, his two-year-old daughter still hasn’t been found. Convinced that she failed her own children, now grown up and seldom at home, Flora embarks on a quest to find Charlotte’s body to give the child’s mother closure, believing that by doing so she can somehow atone for her own failings.

As she hunts in winter through the remote moors of the Scottish Highlands, her obsession comes to challenge the very fabric of her life — her job, her friendship with her colleague Philip Metcalfe, and her relationships with her three children.

Buy Links

Tirgearr Publishing

http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Young_Jennifer/looking-for-charlotte.htm

Amazon UK

http://amzn.to/1D7pNY6

Amazon US

http://amzn.to/1JmAwBR

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/526032?ref=cw1985

Author bio

I live in Edinburgh and I write romance and contemporary women’s fiction. I’ve been writing all my life and my first book was published in February 2014, though I’ve had short stories published before then. The thing that runs through all my writing is an interest in the world around me. I love travel and geography and the locations of my stories is always important to me. And of course I love reading — anything and everything.

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferyoungauthor

Twitter

@JYnovelist

Website

http://www.jenniferyoungauthor.com/

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here, http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/jennifer-young-2/, or you can click on the tour button to travel:

tourbutton_lookingforcharlotte

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Guest ~ Ines Johnson on Tour

Today we’re thrilled to welcome Ines Johnson, on tour for her new release, Pumpkin, A Cindermama Story. We know you won’t want to miss this!

Girl on Her Own Horse

Have you been paying attention to the evolution of the Cinderella story? If you’ve watched the Disney blockbuster, Frozen, then you have. Young girls and women are no longer waiting around for a man to come by on his horse, sweep them off their feet, and give them shoes.

Okay, I doubt any of us would turn down the shoes!

My point is that women are now taking the reins of their own stories and rejecting the Cinderella trope of changing themselves into someone new. In many, dare I say most, of these stories the prince doesn’t pay attention to the Cinderella character in her ordinary world of working 9-5pm with grime under her nails and threadbare clothes. He doesn’t look her way until she gets magicked into expertly applied makeup, a binding, shape-shifting corset, and brand new shoes.

My first notice of this was in the film Working Girl. This 80’s retelling of the Cinderella story featured a bright secretary who had dreams of entering the boardroom with a briefcase instead of coffee. When her wicked boss steals her idea, the secretary seizes an opportunity to steal into a high profile business meeting by pretending that she’s her boss, while also wearing her boss’s dress and shoes. Melanie Griffith, as the secretary, uses Harrison Ford’s charming character to get her into the board room’s door. When the business deal goes south, Griffith doesn’t wait for the knight in a business suite to rescue her. Instead, she shows off her ‘head for business and bod for sin’ in order to win a business deal, thwart her boss, and get her man.

A decade later Drew Barrymore retold the Cinderella story in Ever After. In a pivotal scene when Barrymore’s character, Danielle, has been taken prisoner by the evil Pierre Le Pieu, the audience holds their breath as the prince leaps onto his horse and heads off to rescue her. But Danielle picks up not one, but two swords, and swashbuckles her way to an escape. As she’s walking out of the castle a free woman, the prince arrives moments too late with her shoe in hand.

Nearly another decade later came another retelling with Penelope. Penelope is an heiress born under a curse that can only be broken in the face of true love. The problem? Penelope’s face doesn’t inspire sonnets and poems as much as it does a hankering for breakfast meats. Penelope’s snout nose has caused her to be rejected her whole life, including rejection from her own mother. When she finally finds a man willing to tolerate her looks and break the curse, she comes to the realization that she likes herself just the way she is. And just like that, the curse is broken and Penelope’s outside matches her glowing inside.

In today’s stories, women don’t wait around for men on horses. They take the reins, defend themselves, and declare love to their own reflections. They’re now even qualified to deliver true love’s kiss to their own sisters as we saw in the blockbuster Frozen.

In my fairytale retelling, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story my heroine has given up on fairytale love. Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne has been searching for his soulmate all his life, whom he’ll recognize at first sight by a golden aura, that only he can see, surrounding her person. Manny doesn’t see gold when he meets Pumpkin, but the more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

PumpkinacindermamastoryBlurb

Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Buy Link

Amazon

Excerpt

Pumpkin turned and stopped in her tracks. Not because of the near collision, but because of the Adonis who stood before her. Tall and lean with dark, thick curls atop his head. But it was his eyes that arrested Pumpkin. They took her back to her teen years, watching Donnie Simpson on Video Soul; or farther back to Smokey Robinson doo-wopping with The Miracles. They were a pale gray. And he smelled… edible. Like fresh baked, butter croissants sprinkled with earthy spices.

“Excuse me,” he repeated, with a slight Southern drawl that was more refined than lazy. He prolonged his vowels just enough to let you know he was Southern, but the consonants he pronounced perfectly. “Are you Heather?”

And of course, he was looking for someone else. “No, my name is Malika.”

He looked at her and squinted. Then his eyes rolled past her up the steps of the Department of Family And Child Services building. “Oh, sorry. I thought you could have been one of my volunteers.” He stepped away, clearing her path to the entrance.

I thought you could have been one of my volunteers.

Pumpkin looked beyond him to see a voter registration table.

I thought you could have been one of my volunteers.

Part of her knew she should simply walk into the DFACS building to find her cousins and her son, because who knew? LaRon and LaTom could’ve let him go to the bathroom by himself and just forgotten about him —again. But another part of Pumpkin smarted. He’d taken one glance at her, paired it with her Eubonic-consonant-rich name, added it to her current location, and come away with an incorrect assumption.

“You know, I could have been yours,” she said.

He turned back. “Mine?”

“I mean, I have done something like this before.”

“Something… with me?”

“No! I’ve never met you before.”

He opened his mouth to speak, thought better of it, then started again. “What exactly are we talking about?”

This was not going the way she’d planned. But what exactly had she planned when she opened her mouth? Her filter malfunction needed to be repaired soon.

Pumpkin took a deep breath, clearly aware of his smokey eyes watching her with… was that wariness or amusement? Growing up in her family, she had trouble deciphering the two.

“I mean, I have been a volunteer. I’ve done a voter registration drive before.”

Having cleared up that misjudgment, Pumpkin assumed the conversation was over. Only, he looked doubtful at her proclamation.

Pumpkin gave her internal filter a kick. In response it sputtered, “I organized it, actually.” Pumpkin gave it a mental shove to keep quiet. And then, “It was very successful, actually.”

“Where?”

“What?”

“Where did the drive you organized —successfully— take place?”

“Oh,” she said. “At my school. My college —university, actually. Louisiana State University.”

“I know LSU,” he grinned.

Good. Grinning meant amused. He had a nice grin, Smokey Eyes. Straight white teeth. Plump lips that stretched wide. Maybe a little too wide. Almost big bad wolf wide.

“Well,” she said. “There’s a community college with the name Louisiana so…”

“You have a problem with community colleges?”

“No! I just… I just wanted to make sure you knew… which one I meant.” Pumpkin wouldn’t have thought it possible, but his grin stretched even wider.

“My opinion matters to you that much?”

Definitely a wolf.

Then, in confirmation, his eyes slipped from her face and did a quick assessment of her body: the B-cups she no longer bothered to pad, the stubborn muffin top she’d given up on a year ago, the wide hips that looked voluptuous on her cousins but pear-shaped on her.

“I don’t even know you,” Pumpkin said. And she had no intention of getting to know him. Wolves blocked the paths of good girls whether in the forest or on the road of life. Pumpkin had no intention of getting jammed up by a man, ever again.

“Yet, within sixty seconds of meeting me,” he said, “you offered to be mine.”

“No I… That was a misunderstanding, and you know it.”

A chuckle escaped through that predatory grin. The sound rumbled through Pumpkin’s body like a divining rod sensing danger.

“I’m sorry, Malika.”

But then, with the sound of her name on his lips, the humming of the rod ceased. All previous warning signals muted and Pumpkin’s feet took root in the concrete.

“It’s been a long day,” he smiled and a small sigh escaped his lips at the same time.

She’d read the term Cupid’s Bow in romance novels, but the visual didn’t do the term justice. The top of his upper lip, where you’d handle the bow was in the shape of a perfectly symmetrical M. Stretched in a smile, his full bottom lip made her wonder what it would be like to get caught in the crosshairs of his kiss.

“I couldn’t resist having a little fun with you. I hope I haven’t kept you.”

Pumpkin took her eyes off his lips to gaze into his smokey eyes. A smile started to creep over her face, too. “No, you haven’t kept me.”

“You’d better hurry. I’m sure they’re about to close soon.”

“Yeah… wait. What?” Pumpkin followed his gaze to the DFACS entrance. Everything unmuted and red flashed behind her eyes. “I just told you, I went to college.”

“Oh?” His gray eyes furrowed this time. “So, people with degrees don’t fall on hard times?”

“Well… yes. They do. But I’m fine,” she insisted, tapping her new shoes on the pavement for emphasis. “I have a job.” A job that she hated, but it paid all her bills. No government checks came for her and Seth. No child support checks either.

“So, you’re not here to volunteer to help. And you’re not here seeking help. What? Are you here to gloat?”

“No!”

He chuckled again, but Pumpkin was no longer amused.

“I’ve taken advantage of some social programs, like federal grants for the university I attended while on academic scholarship.” Pumpkin conveniently neglected to mention that her childhood kitchen had been stocked from food stamp monies. “But I’m not gloating about my successes because I’m resentful that this society assumes that I can’t succeed without its help.”

He cocked his head, eyes intent on her. “So, you’d rather the rules be unfair and harder for you so that you can save face?”

Pumpkin blinked. “No, that’s not what I mean.”

What did she mean? How did she get into this conversation? All her life, Pumpkin typically kept her opinions to herself. It had been the safest way to navigate her adolescent and teenage years in a household where the family motto read: everyone for themselves.

“You know how they say if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day,” she continued. “But if you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat forever?”

Smokey Eyes nodded.

Pumpkin hesitated, realizing he was actually listening to every word she said, and waiting for her to say more.

Why not? Her internal filter had taken the day off. “I think the flaw with social programs is that the poor start to believe they can’t do for themselves without it and the rich believe the poor can’t act without their help. And it winds up being a vicious cycle with each side resenting the other.”

Pumpkin glanced at the DFACS door remembering her son was still inside with two professional “cyclists.” She turned back to Smokey Eyes.

He stared up at the clouds in concentration. She could see him turning her words over in his head. It gave her a thrill. She was used to men leering at her body, because, though her curves weren’t artful like her cousins’, they were round enough to grab attention. Watching Smokey Eyes focus inward and contemplate her words was possibly the most intimate experience of her thirty years.

After a moment, his tongue peeked out, like an arrow, to pull taut his upper lip. Pumpkin’s own lips parted as a quiver went through her long dormant core. Any moment now, he would aim words at her.

Any moment now.

Turning his gray eyes back to her, he said, “I do see your point. But I also feel that with great wealth comes great responsibility. And if you’ve caught a lot of fish, you should share. It’s good manners. It’s how I was raised.”

Pumpkin gave a woeful shake of her head at that. “I was raised by people who wouldn’t fish; would take yours; and then demand you go get more.”

“But not you.”

It wasn’t a question. There was something behind those smokey eyes. Not empathy. He was obviously moneyed, in his expensive shirt and tailored pants, where Pumpkin’s teen closet had been sponsored by Goodwill, and her adult closet now sported Target.

“Me? No,” she said holding his gaze.

“And you wouldn’t ask for any food off my table? Even if I’m willing to share?”

It seemed like a trick question. On the one hand, Pumpkin harbored an image of him feeding her bits of food. On the other hand, “Is there something wrong with a woman who is self-sufficient?”

“No. Those are my favorite kind.” He grinned again, the wolf rising to its haunches once more.

 

Author Bio

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Links

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24927912-pumpkin
Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ineswrites
Twitter
https://twitter.com/ineswrites
Website
https://inesjohnson.wordpress.com/
Publisher
http://heartspell.com/

 
© 2015 Adriana Kraft. All Rights Reserved.