It’s here! The Unmasking is live at Amazon.com!
It’s All About the Research
Authors of erotic romance often get teased about what kind of research they might delve into for the sake of their books – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it…**snicker, giggle, knowing wink.**
The research my husband and I engaged in for this spicy romantic suspense is a little different – some might say, it’s been our entire lives. We’ve both taught at universities (that’s where we met) and we know the academic life from the inside. The choices and struggles faced by our professorial hero, Anthropologist Matt Bayfield, are more familiar than we might like to admit.
Hubs is a sociologist with a specialty in criminology. I promise he’s drawn on this background immensely in creating our spunky female undercover cop, Nancy Appleby, in plotting the trajectory of the crimes and the mystery of solving them, and especially in understanding our truly creepy villain (who I won’t name, of course – that would spoil everything!).
We’ve both immersed ourselves in understanding Celtic culture and history for years – long before we envisioned this novel. Hubs has Welsh roots, and mine are Scotch-Irish on one side, so we feel an ancestral pull to that era and its understanding of seasons and cycles. It was easy to hand that passion over to our ersatz professor. We won’t say more about how it’s woven into the plot, but we think readers will like it.
We had a close call researching the technology we’ve given our resourceful cop – hubs found himself on a website requesting security clearance for more information. Backed right out of that one! But we found what we needed to know without tripping any more alarms.
The North Woods, where we’ve set the novel? A place we’ve lived and loved, and left, when the winters grew too much for us to handle. But while we lived there, we threw ourselves with a passion into the cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and crisp winter outings Nancy enjoys so much. Writing those scenes was like watching snippets from our own life on the screen.
The Unmasking was originally released in 2008 under a different pen name; rights reverted to us when the contract ran out, and we’ve decided to re-issue it as “ourselves.” We’ve thoroughly re-edited the book and incorporated helpful feedback from our beta readers
Our tag line is Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Most of our published work has focused on the “three or more” side of the equation. We’re happy to offer a book focused on the “two” element, and we think readers will find the sex is no less sizzling. And no, we’re not going to share any research we might have indulged in to write those scenes.
The Unmasking, by Adriana Kraft
February 15, 2014
ISBN 978-0-9894693-6-4; ASIN B00IDVB6KQ
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: Four flames
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Whose mask will crumble first—
the enigmatic professor of Celtic Studies,
the undercover cop masquerading as a co-ed,
or the campus stalker,
biding his time to strike again?
Is anthropology professor Matt Bayfield the Blackthorn College rapist, or a potential ally? Aloof and unapproachable, Matt has academic ambitions. He can’t escape Blackthorn College soon enough, and he doesn’t want any entanglements to slow down his exit.
Nancy Appleby would like nothing more than to solve the string of campus rape cases before Thanksgiving so she can go home. The last thing she wants is a relationship to complicate her life—but she’ll settle for a fling, especially when the sex sizzles.
The stalker has his own carefully crafted timetable, with a special date just for Nancy. Can Matt and Nancy force him out of his hidey-hole before it’s too late?
Four and a half stars at Romance Junkies: From beginning to end, THE UNMASKING is a fascinating tale…I was intrigued at how the writing team is able to intertwine a love story with such horrifying circumstances in startling clarity. One of the many things I adored about this story is that the main characters are flawed. They both make judgment errors and their mistakes and assumptions lead to some emotionally trying scenes that had me eagerly reading to find out how they were going to solve their conflicts – or at several points if they even would be able to remain together. If you enjoy romantic suspense novels then I can definitely recommend THE UNMASKING. Chrissy D.
Five Stars at Amazon: One of the best stories ever written by Adriana Kraft…a truly great read. Could not put it down until I finished it. Amy B.
Five Stars at Goodreads: The suspense is so well done you don’t know who the bad guy is until it’s revealed in the book. The action is fast paced and kept my interest to the very end. Could not put the book down. Donna H.
Who will be the next victim?
Nancy Appleby scanned the co-eds in the small lecture hall. Each could be his next prey. Each looked much younger than she remembered being as a full-time student. Each woman hung on Professor Bayfield’s well crafted words.
Was it the topic, Celtic Myths and Rituals, or was it the aloofness of the tall, dark-haired lecturer with the strong protruding chin that mesmerized? He did command attention. Although his tone was mild, Bayfield played with his audience like a polished actor. Clearly he was in control. Though he gestured but rarely, he moved like an athlete, comfortable in his body.
Nancy jotted notes on a yellow pad pretending to be no different than anyone else in the room. She glanced up at Bayfield, whose eyes had settled on her; they were piercing and inquisitive. Then he shifted his gaze, but he’d noticed her, was thinking about her. Why? She’d done everything she could to blend in. He hadn’t seemed particularly troubled by her presence, just curious.
Nancy redirected her attention to the individuals sitting in front of her. She’d arrived early to claim an aisle seat in the back row. The raised auditorium layout provided an advantageous observation post. About sixty women and twenty men were in attendance, no doubt a decent turnout. Blackthorn College had a student body of less than two thousand.
Nancy scribbled more notes and then focused on the men in the room.
Was he in the lecture hall? Would he strike again, tonight? Or would the rapist stay in his hole, biding his time?
Today we’re thrilled to welcome Sara Brookes, here with her exciting new release, Break Me In. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for her giveaway!
I’ve been writing erotic romances that contain BDSM for years. I think my first BDSM story was way back in the mid-90’s. It wasn’t until 2009 that I attempted to write a BDSM story for publication. Luckily, my editor at the time (who had been editing my paranormal and futuristic books) loved the story and the characters I’d created. Little did I know then, when I created two secondary characters named Alex and Elena, that I would eventually get the opportunity to write their story.
When my publisher offered to contract the entire Geek Kink series back in 2012, I had a bit of a panic attack. Why? I was really going to have the opportunity to write Alex and Elena’s story. What is there to panic about that, right? Well…I’d never written a BDSM story where the female was the dominant in the relationship. Full. On. Freak. Out.
Luckily I had two other books to turn in before Break Me In was due. So, that panic had an opportunity to fade away and I could deal with the book with a clear head. I am extremely happy with the results of my first Domme story and I hope readers are just as taken with the characters and their relationship as I am.
She flicked her wrist, letting the straps of the flogger snap through the air without touching him.
He didn’t react and she dragged the flogger over the chiseled muscles of his upper back. She grazed the skin, putting no force behind the touch at all. “I’m going to continue to use this on you, Alexander. And I want you to tell me how it makes you feel.”
“Liar.” Her raspy voice scraped over his skin. “You feel something. You just think it weakens you to admit you’re scared.” He started to protest but stopped with her stern gaze as she came around him. “It’s all right. It’s just you and me here. You can tell me. Tell me your safeword if you need to.”
“I’m fine.” He swallowed hard, the dryness in his throat hurting. “Just overwhelmed. I don’t know what I’m feeling. Or what to expect with that thing.”
He scowled at the flogger in her hand, which caused her to smile. “Oh, it’s not a thing. It’s an extension of me. And you will feel pleasure, Alexander. More pleasure and contentment than you have ever thought possible. I guarantee it.”
Elena avoids relationships by using her flogger as a shield. Alex is struggling with substance abuse and Elena will do nearly anything to help him conquer his demons, even risk losing him forever. When he comes home, whole and healthy, he raises the stakes by requesting their friendship turn to a D/s bond. His submission will change their dynamic forever. She convinces herself it’s just sex. Love and desire aren’t part of the equation.
Under Elena’s reverent command, Alex finds a comfort he’s always yearned for. He’s happier than ever as he spends his days slinging coffee and his nights bound and collared. Submitting to Elena exposes more than his strengths—it reveals a powerful attraction. Most of all, it uncovers their passionate love. He’s ready to convince her there’s no reason to mask her feelings, but his efforts are derailed when his toxic past resurfaces to annihilate their future.
Warning: A hunky, tortured barista. A seductive, stubborn Domme. Desire that can’t be tamed by cuffs, ropes and chains. And angst. So much drama and angst, John Hughes would be proud. Being bad never felt so good.
Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/break-me-in.html
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Be sure to swing by all the tour posts for more chances to enter Sara’s giveaway! Click on the graphic to travel:
We’re thrilled to welcome back author Sabrina York, here to tell us about Dark Duke, Book Three in the award-winning Noble Passions series. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for her current promotions and giveaways!
DARK DUKE by Sabrina York
I’ve always had a fascination for historical romance. I’ve read hundreds of them… I thought I knew everything there was to know about the period, including the voice, the feel, the tone of it. I was flabbergasted to discover how little I actually knew.
For one thing, a lot of the authors I had read, got some things wrong. Just minor details really, like their dates. And fashions. And things that might be lying around the house.
For example, the Tantalus, that lovely invention where our heroes keep their ubiquitous brandy…was not invented until much later. And, apparently, women in the Regency period didn’t wear underwear.
You know. Little things.
But when you’re an erotic author little things, like bloomers, become suddenly significant.
According to my final line editor at Ellora’s Cave, underwear didn’t become a common convention until the much more rigid Victorian era. There are those who will disagree with this tidbit—I prefer to err on the side of caution.
When my first erotic Regency, Folly, went to final edits, I got the word. No Bloomers. I had to re-write several key scenes—scenes I loved, which caused me to GNAW off my fingernails.
When I started on my second erotic Regency, Dark Fancy, it was a little easier. I had my cheat sheets to make sure bloomers and the dreaded Tantalus did not appear. But I still made some interesting faux pas. Anachronisms. Terms or words that were not in use during that period.
Heroes did not “fantasize” about things, because that word was not used in that form until much later. And oh, my manuscript was speckled with these landmines.
I have to say, I enjoyed reading the FLE’’s notes tremendously. Now that I have finished the third book in the series and am editing the fourth, I am having a blast checking the etymology of words and phrases I like. If you write historical romance, please allow me to recommend Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=entomology. If you’re a history nerd like me, you’ll love it.
An Excerpt From: DARK DUKE
Copyright © SABRINA YORK, 2014
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Edward skirted the mêlée in the garden and made his way to the far end of the estate, where there was nothing but flowers and trees and a placid little pond. Nothing to attract diminutive fiends bent on mischief. He would sit in the folly until his temperature returned to normal.
Perhaps until spring.
Dear God. He’d had no idea having the Wyeths of Perth take over his house would be such a nightmare. If he had suspected as much, he would have turned them away at the start. They would probably have crawled in under the door. Through the cracks in the flue. Vermin had a way of finding entrance.
But now. Now they were here.
He had to get rid of them.
Perhaps he could send them back to Scotland.
Scotland would revile him for it, but he had little use for rocky tors, lochs and sheep.
Then he thought of Violet and his heart lurched. It would crush her to be trundled back to what she referred to as “the bleak wilderness.” She was looking forward to a glittering season in London. She was seventeen. She needed a husband. A husband of quality. That might be difficult to find in the wilds of Scotland.
And Ned. Ned was twenty. He was just starting to find his way with the ton. He’d made some friends—decent fellows. He’d even been receiving invitations to game at White’s.
The two of them—the normal two—deserved better than being lumped in with the rest.
He whacked at a rosebud as he passed. It exploded into a flutter of petals. He refused to feel any sympathy.
He couldn’t send them packing.
Hell. He was a duke of the realm. He had six houses spread throughout the empire. Why hadn’t he thought to purchase a spare in London?
That was brilliant.
He would. He’d buy them their own house. Move them all, lock stock and—well, maybe not the barrels, as the older boys did like to drink. He’d move them all into their own domicile.
With Aunt Hortense. Let her manage them.
His life would once again be orderly. He would be the master of his own abode. Free to pursue the life of a wealthy dilettante.
He rounded the bend with a satisfied smile on his face. The trickle of the fountain in the pond was a balm to his tormented soul. Birds sang in the trees. The sun—well, it almost shone. It was a beautiful day.
Soon, the world would be right again.
Soon, they would all be gone.
He skipped up the steps of the folly with a lightness of heart he hadn’t felt in ages. A book on the bench snagged his attention and his mood dipped, but only a bit. Someone had been here. But they were gone.
He picked it up and flipped through it and stilled.
It was a sketch book.
The first page was an attempt at this scene. The flowers and trees, the pond and the little fountain. Not very good. But the second arrested his attention. It was a simple line drawing of Violet. And it was stunning. The artist had managed to depict her beauty, but also captured that glint in her eye, the particular quirk of her lips. Her soul.
The next sketch was one of Ned, showing a brash young man, standing insouciantly with his hands shoved into his pockets, whistling a silent tune. The next was of the twins—whatever their names were—dark heads together plotting some manner of mayhem.
It was so realistic Edward expected them to leap from the page and whack him with a cricket bat.
But it was the last sketch in the book that stole his breath. It was a portrait, in profile. His own face. But not an Edward he would ever recognize. This man was heroic, tragic, a solitary soldier. It was only a few lines drawn in charcoal, but it revealed so much about him. Things he didn’t want anyone to ever know.
It was horrifying. And remarkable.
He snapped the book shut and spun around.
Of course. What’s her name. The girl. The owl. From last night.
“Oh, you found it.” She stepped into the folly and took the book from his hands. He did not know why he let it go.
“You left it here.” An accusation. Really? He hadn’t intended for it to come out like that.
She chuckled. “I had to go rescue Hamish. I was coming back.”
“What…why did you have to rescue Hamish?” This was her work? She saw him like that? And hell, she was a damn fine hand. How he would love to turn such talent to…darker purposes. What a pity she was such a prude. The kind of work he could offer her would make her rich—rich enough to quit serving as Violet’s companion.
But she would never do it. No decent woman would.
He must be crazed, truly crazed, to even think on it.
The gripping sketch of his wounded countenance lingered in his brain. If she could do that, if she could see through to his soul and bring it to life on paper—
“And then he got stuck. In the tree. So I had to rescue him.”
Lord. She’d been talking. He’d missed the entire explanation. No matter. The question had been purely rhetorical.
“How long have you been drawing?”
She winced, clutched the book to her breast. He recalled what fine breasts they were. “I… What?”
“How long have you been drawing? You’re quite good.”
“You looked at my book?” She squawked as though he’d just admitted to peering up her skirts. The lemony face returned. A beetled brow and pursed lips. It was, upon reflection, rather adorable.
“It was lying here.”
“You shouldn’t look at someone’s sketchbook.”
“You shouldn’t leave it where it can be found.” He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned at her. Damn, he loved her accent.
She sputtered. “I told you. Hamish and Tay—”
“Taylor. Hamish and Taylor were building a fort in a tree—”
“Yes. Yes. I know. You had to rescue him. Tell me, have they always been this much trouble?”
She blew out a breath. “You have no idea.”
They both laughed. It was a nice moment, because it seemed, for that brief flash of time, they were friends, bound in mutual misery.
And then he went and ruined it by letting his lust intrude. “So tell me, what did you think of that book?”
She tipped her head. “What book?”
“The one I gave you last night.”
She blinked several times, as though she had to try very hard to remember. “Oh. That book. I didn’t read it.”
He stepped closer. “Ah. You like to look at the pictures, then?” He knew the sort.
“Look at the… What? No, your Grace—”
“Edward.” He infused his voice with a low thrum.
“Your Grace. I didn’t have a chance to open it.”
Why petulance curled within him, he had no clue. “What do you mean you didn’t have a chance to open it?” She was supposed to have read it. Or at least looked at the pictures. She was supposed to be gazing at him, right now, with a dewy look.
She brushed an invisible speck from her skirt. “There was…a distraction.”
Well hell. “What kind of distraction?”
Her lips pursed. The look she shot him was not dewy in the slightest.
Still, he wanted to kiss her.
He wasn’t sure why. She was certainly not the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. But her face had character and charm—especially when she smiled. Her figure was full—the way he liked them—but she didn’t show it off to its best effect. In fact, if he hadn’t known what lay beneath the thick layers of crinoline and bombazine, he would have been fooled. She was prickly as a hedgehog and smacked him down at every turn.
So why did he want to pull her into his arms and smother her mouth with his?
Perhaps because of all those things.
Then again, perhaps just because.
So he did.
He took the girl—whose name he could not remember, whose face he could not forget—into his arms and kissed her. It was a gentle buss, as kisses went, but extremely sublime. Because he’d surprised her.
Her lips were open, as though poised to speak. He took full advantage, sweeping in his tongue to dab at hers, nibbling and licking and tasting her sweet breath.
The prick at his side was not a surprise. He’d expected it.
He lifted his head and stared down into her eyes. Her expression was dazed and determined and perhaps a little dewy. “Not this time, darling,” he murmured. He took the knife from her hand and tossed it aside and then pulled her more fully against him.
And ah. She was soft. Sweet. Her breasts pressed against his chest. Her hips molded the cradle of his groin. Of course, he was the one doing the molding, but she didn’t fight him.
No. She sighed and tipped her head to the side so he could deepen the kiss. She tasted like ambrosia. A tantalizing flavor of cinnamon and woman and surrender. His ardor rose, and with it, his cock. He rubbed it against her belly.
She stiffened and tried to push away, muttering something into his mouth that sounded like “No.”
He changed his tack, running his lips down her cheek and along the line of her jaw to nestle in the crook of her neck. She shuddered. Some groan-like sound emanated from her throat. She clutched at his hair.
Thusly encouraged, he sucked at the tender skin of her neck. Nipped.
“Oh! Saints preserve us,” she whispered.
“The saints don’t care,” he responded, switching to the other side of her neck. He found a spot that delighted her even more and feasted there. In her distraction, she didn’t stop the palm skimming over her ribs to cup a breast.
He encased her. Ah. Exquisite. Full and round and pliable. He thumbed a nipple, testing its rigidity. She dipped as her knees gave way. He caught her. Swung her up in his arms and carried her to the bench.
From long experience, he knew better than to give a woman a moment to think. So as soon as he had her settled across his lap and firmly braced against the wall of the folly, he kissed her again. With one hand, he stroked her nipples while with the other, he slowly drew up her skirts.
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
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The Third Book in the Scorching Noble Passions Series by Sabrina York Releases!
Fans of Sabrina York’s steamy Regency series have been eagerly awaiting the release of Dark Duke, the third book (following award winning Folly and Dark Fancy) in which Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff, finally meets his match in the form of a flame-haired Scottish spitfire.
Noble Passions: Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly. Each book is a stand-alone read.
If you’re new to the series, download Sabrina’s free teaser book at http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ to read blurbs and excerpts for this popular series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.
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