Thursday, 19 May 2016

Release Blitz for The Surfers Way Series by Jennifer Ryder & Lauren K. McKellar #Giveaway @givemebooksblog @LaurenKMcKellar @jenniferryder01



 
 
 
Title: Losing Faith
Series: Surfers Way
Author: Jennifer Ryder
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: May 19, 2016
Blurb
The inseparable are well and truly split.
Mack, Faith and Lacey, joined at the hip since primary school, are about to graduate high school. You might think this sounds like a book about coming-of-age and taking that leap into adulthood. It is— except one of them doesn’t make it …
 
Lacey Marone had two solid things on her agenda for her future — working in the Pepperoni Palace until she figured out what the hell to do with her life, and getting together with her bestie’s older brother, Quade, who she’s crushed on since she was a kid. Then graduation night changed everything. Almost three years later, Lacey won’t rest until she discovers the truth surrounding Faith’s death. She’s outcast by those who want to move on from the tragedy, as if the town’s sweetheart never existed. Years after losing Faith, Quade Kelly returns home to Runaway Beach, determined to mend ties with his parents and cement a future in his hometown teaching at the local primary school. Quade soon learns that his sister’s ghost lives on, thanks to Lacey, the girl who still owns a piece of his heart. Lacey is hung up on her quest for answers. Quade wants to bury his failures of the past. The pull between them can’t be denied but can the past be forgotten? Truths will be uncovered and hearts will be cracked open wide. After all, graduation was never meant to end like this.
 
Purchase Links
 
AMAZON US / UK / AU
 
Jennifer Ryder
Jennifer Ryder is a bestselling author with five novels in the Spark Series published to date. She loves to write about boys on dirt bikes, detectives and strong females who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want.
Living on a rural property in New South Wales, Australia, she enjoys the best of city and country. Her loving husband is ever willing to provide inspiration, and her two young cherubs, and sheep that don't see fences as barriers, keep life more than interesting.
Series Trailer
Title: Seeking Faith
Series: Surfers Way
Author: Lauren K. McKellar
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: May 19, 2016
Blurb
The inseparable are well and truly split. Mack, Faith and Lacey, joined at the hip since they were kids, are about to graduate high school. You might think this sounds like a book about coming-of-age and taking that leap into adulthood. It is—except one of them doesn’t make it …
Mackenzie Carter has one solid thing on the agenda for her future—get out of town and focus on her post-school studies. After all, she’s wanted to be a vet since she was a little girl, and nothing, not the thought of being apart from her two best mates or the idea that maybe she’s got more-than-friendly feelings for a sexy local surfer can alter that … can it?
Graduation changes everything.
Almost three years later, and Mack’s high school dreams are just that—figments of her imagination, thanks to the guilt that haunts her on a daily basis. Will a faux relationship with Byron Leckie be the thing she needs to get her life back on track? Or will it make everything worse?
One thing is for certain. When these two collide, the damage will be fierce. After all, graduation was never meant to end like this.
 
Purchase Links
 
AMAZON US / UK / AU
 
 
Lauren K. McKellar
Lauren K. McKellar is the author of contemporary reads that make you feel. With a passion for all books Young and New Adult, she is currently the author of five self-published books, all of which have held top 50 charting places digitally within Australia. Lauren loves to write about real-life issues, and is a passionate researcher when it comes to her work. She’s a big believer in creating works that make people feel. Lauren lives by the beach in Australia with her husband and their two dogs. Most of the time, all three of them are well behaved.
 
Giveaway

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Toward the Sound of Chaos by Carmen Jenner Release Blitz









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Toward The Sound of Chaos is a heart-wrenching new military romance from USA TODAY bestselling author Carmen Jenner.

Available exclusively on Amazon and KU

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Blurb
Jake Tucker is broken. At twenty-two, he went into the Marine Corps a naรฏve, troubled youth. Nine years and four tours later, Jake finds himself back on US soil, though his mind remains firmly planted in the sands of Afghanistan with the men he left behind.

Wounded, chewed up and spat out by war, Jake has only his dog, Nuke, PTSD, and survivor’s guilt to keep him company. He’s lived every day for nine years wondering when it will be his last, but there’s little comfort in the fact that he’s still standing when his platoon isn’t.

Ellie Mason doesn’t have time for broken. She’s too busy trying to put food on the table. And keeping up with the demands of her autistic son, Spencer, is sometimes like fighting behind enemy lines. As if navigating the minefields of single parenthood isn’t enough, Ellie finds herself drawn to the quiet Marine who’s just as lonely as she is. But she’s loved damaged men before, and it left her wounded.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of Fairhope, Alabama, Ellie and Jake find themselves running toward the sound of chaos.

Love is war.

Only the strong survive, and surrender is inevitable.

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Excerpt

I ease her down on her feet, before the bed and take a step back. I want this, God do I want this, but I’m terrified. Elle’s eyes roam over me and she takes in a deep breath, and I won’t lie—it hurts like hell. I don’t want pity, and I don’t want the woman I care about looking at me like a monster just sprouted from my back. She reaches out a hand and trails her fingertips over my scarred flesh, feeling the hard, ugly edges. I flinch a little, and she pulls away as if she’s been burned.
“Did I hurt you?” she whispers.
“Angel, it hurts just looking at you.”
She smiles and continues her exploration of my body, openin’ old wounds with every scar she touches, and yet it’s as if she’s tenderly sewing them shut at the same time. I haven’t felt the touch of a woman for a very long time, and never again did I think I would, especially not one as perfect and kind-hearted as this.
“What did they do to you, Jake?” Her eyes are bright with tears, and I grab her hands and hold them flat to my chest.
“I don’t want your pity, Elle.”
“You think that’s why I’m here?” she says, staring up at me with those incredible eyes. “You think that’s all this is between us?”
“I thought about it.” I nod. “I can’t see much other reason that a woman like you would want someone like me. I’m a freak and a drunk, and you? You’re so goddamn beautiful it hurts.”
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Excerpt #2:
“You been drinkin’, Jake?” Obviously, I already know the answer, but I ask anyway because I need to get him talkin’. I don’t like the way his eyes seem to look right through me.
The corners of his mouth turn up in a bitter grin. “Yeah, I been drinkin’.”
I pick up the bottles of pills strewn all over the floor and set them on the counter. “How many of these did you take?” I snap.
“None.”
I discard the pills in the trash because they wouldn’t do no good after they’ve been rollin’ around in glass. “You shouldn’t drink when you’re on meds.”
“It don’t fuckin’ matter anymore.”
I snap my gaze back to his and grit my teeth. “It matters to me.”
“Why?”
“Because I care about you,” I say. “We care about you.”
His eyes get all squinty and he slurs, “You don’t even know me.”
“Is that what you think?” I snap, losing all patience with him. “That I don’t know the man I’ve been letting into my house? I know you, and the Jake Tucker I know—the Jake Spencer knows—is not this Jake.”
He smiles that twisted grin again, and so help me, I’ve never wanted to put my hands on a person in anger so much in my life. I want to slap that smirk right off his beautiful face.
“Maybe this is the real Jake; maybe I’m just another asshole you hardly know tryin’ to get in your panties.”
I stare at him in shock, and I won’t lie, it takes a moment to recover, but like any southern woman worth her salt, I’m a master in the art of backhanded compliments and southern charm. “Then you clearly ain’t as smart as I thought you were, ’cause this Jake? He don’t stand a chance of getting anywhere near my panties, but the other may have. Looks like now we’ll never know.” His cocky smile falters. “Now, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get up.”
He laughs, but there’s no humor in it. “What do you know about it? You can’t even see what’s right in front of you.”
“Oh I see it,” I huff. “I’m real familiar with how mean a bottle of Johnnie Walker can make a man.”
“That the reason you never talk about why Spencer’s daddy ain’t around?”
“Yeah, that’s the reason,” I say folding my arms over my chest. “Because, it’s a long painful road that I walked away from and one that I don’t wanna have to revisit. And considering where you been, Jake Tucker, I thought you might know something about that.”
“What’s his name?”
“It don’t matter.”
“It matters,” he says through his teeth. “Believe me, it matters.”
“Why? You gonna go to Charleston, find him, and beat the crap outta him for hurtin’ me? The best thing you can do for me is to not become him.” I take a deep breath and wonder why we’re talkin’ about me at all when there’s clearly more important things going on right here. “Why didn’t you show up at my house yesterday? And why are you drinking in the middle of the day?”
“Day, night, it don’t matter. The nightmares don’t stop unless I’m three fuckin’ sheets to the wind.”
I sigh and grab the washcloth from a rack. Running warm water over it, I wring out the excess and crouch down to his level. “Give me your hand.” He shakes his head. “Give me your goddamn hand, Jake.”
He doesn’t extend it out to me, but he doesn’t pull away either when I grab his forearm. I get a good glimpse of the damage he’s done. He don’t need stitches, far as I can tell.
I gently start wiping at the mess and get to my feet a few times to rinse out the washcloth. As the blood is washed away, his scars become more pronounced. This is the first time I’m seeing him in a shirt that doesn’t have long sleeves. It makes me want to cry because his skin is a patchwork of pain. It tells a story of hate and unimaginable cruelty, but there is splendor in it, too. There’s a tale of courage, survival, immeasurable strength, and beauty in the face of such ugliness. They tried to destroy him, and they failed.
I trace my finger over the deepest scar on his forearm and blink back tears. Jake’s whole body stiffens. I decide it’s best not to push him any further by touching him again, but that don’t mean I’m going to go easy on him either. “So, you got any rubbing alcohol? Or did you drink that too?”
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Excerpt #3:
“Why haven’t you found a woman to love yet, Jake?”
I stiffen. Her question catches me off guard. I don’t know how to reply to that. I have found someone, but she deserves better than to spend her life with a freak.
“I like being alone.” That was a lie. “Who in their right mind would have me?” is what I want to say, but I don’t. I don’t tell her how much I loathe myself, or that I wish I was dead, or that at night I lie awake wondering if this was part of Aasif Bashir’s plan in disfiguring me—that he’d hoped that one day I’d roam the earth a free man and yet never know the freedom of a woman’s touch again.
I don’t tell her that I hate being alone because I can never shut off the voices or quiet the sounds of war that ring in my ear long after the dust has settled and the blood has dried. I attempt to fill the void with distractions: Nuke, Ellie, Spencer, pouring myself into something physical until my limbs shake from misuse, but it doesn’t mask the stillness. That’s always waiting for the moment I shut everything off. And it never becomes any less haunting.
“I hate it,” she says, as if she’s echoing my thoughts. “Being alone. When you climb into bed and everything’s so still you could hear a pin drop? There’s something in that silence that screams all my greatest fears.”
“What are they?” I say, too quickly.
“My fears?” she asks with a sigh. “That I’ll be alone forever. That Spence will grow up and leave like all kids do, or that he’ll enlist and my life will be filled with endless days and nights of that sound. Of nothing.”
I feel like she just cracked open my skull and pulled the words from my head, but two hearts as lonely as ours? Well, that’s a dangerous thing. Deep down I know as much as she does that I’m no good for her, and yet I’m still too selfish to push her away.
“You shouldn’t be alone,” I whisper.
“Neither should you.” She leans back into my embrace, and I kiss the top of her hair because I never dreamed I’d be lucky enough to do that again to any woman, let alone to this angel who came crashing into my life and made all the pain that came before her seem worth it.
I survived war, I survived torture at the hands of the Taliban, but I won’t survive Ellie Mason, not with my heart still intact.






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About the Author
Carmen Jenner
Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY and international bestselling author.
Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU 2015.
A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore lipstick addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.
A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?




Published titles to date:



Friday, 13 May 2016

✰✰RELEASE BLITZ✰✰ Have a Bite by R.G. Emanuelle #ReleaseBlitz @bookenthupromo ‎@YlvaPublishing #Paranormal #UrbanFantasy

Have a Bite

release blitz  

Have-a-Bite-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

Book Title: Have a Bite 
Author: R.G. Emanuelle 
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy 
Release Date: May 13, 2016 
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

book blurb

The world of vampires is, by nature, one of darkness, secrecy, and covertness. Vampires are invincible. No one can hurt them. Except vampire hunters.

Delphine Bouchard is a celebrity chef and owner of a world-renowned restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, where the chic and bespoke crowd mingle with neighborhood denizens. She enjoys fame, money, and women, and lives life by her own rules. She also happens to be a vampire.

Del’s life and the local vampire community are rocked when a vampire hunter begins picking them off, and Del has reason to believe that she might be next. Del is also being watched and criticized by the vampire hive council and persecuted by a coven of witches, who are the enforcers of behavior for the supernatural set. In the midst of all this turmoil, Del meets and unexpectedly falls hard for Jocelyn, who she soon discovers is holding back a disturbing secret. Del must decide whether or not to put aside her feelings of betrayal and pursue the relationship.

Meanwhile, when a food critic with a grudge sets out to ruin her business and reputation, Del has to protect her staff and restaurant. But the situation spirals out of control when a human shows up dead, her restaurant is sabotaged, and Jocelyn is threatened. Del must save her business, protect her loved ones, and find out who the vampire killer is before she is the next victim.

Set against a backdrop of elaborate meals and passionate cooking, Have a Bite is book one in the novella series The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles. The world of vampires and hunters meets the world of restaurants, foodies, and celebrity chefs—a recipe for paranormal mystery seasoned with suspense, peppered with romance, and flavored with a dash of humor.

excerpt

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT


CHAPTER 1: FIRE UP

Flames shot up, threatening to set the ceiling ablaze. Metal against metal sounded a rhythm as white-coated women and men dashed around in a mad panic, trying to keep everything to an organized chaos. Papers fluttered as they passed between hands, water splashed as used utensils landed in the sink, and more than a few collisions nearly resulted in people being sent to the hospital with head injuries or stab wounds.

The crew shouted out what they needed as the orders kept coming in at regular clips, and finished plates went out with the kind of speed that comes with experience.

“Lamb rack, fire up!”

“How long on the potatoes Dauphinoise?

“I need more sorrel!”

Delphine expedited, checking the plates before they went out of the kitchen to the patrons. “Pay attention, people. The plates are getting sloppy.”

Nervous glances from the crew went in Delphine’s direction. No one wanted to piss off the boss. Ramona, the sous chef, eyeballed the other cooks on the line, as she as tossed caramelized onions in a pan.

One by one, waitstaff rushed in and out and shouted out customers’ orders, cutting through the kitchen noise.

“I need one gluten-free manicotti, pronto.”

“Two roast chicken, sauce on the side.”

“One pork paillard, no mushrooms! One duck, no garlic!”

“Please, make sure I have that porterhouse black and blue!”

“I need a refire on this wagyu. Customer wants it rare, not mooing!”

“We got an Elaine Benes!”

The Seinfeld reference, the staff’s code for someone requesting a big salad, which was not on the menu, always made Del chuckle.

Tracy, the head server came bustling in and handed Del two more tickets. “Eight salmon, all day!” Del shouted.

“Eight? Shit,” said Ramona. “We’re running low on the salmon.”

“All right, don’t panic.” Delphine ran into the walk-in to check on the inventory. She re-emerged and pressed the button on the intercom that went to the offices. “Ophelia, go out and assess the room. How many people look like they haven’t ordered yet?”

“Okay,” came the crackled response from her restaurant manager.

“Gluten-free manicotti at the pass!” the pasta cook shouted a few moments later.

Ramona reached into an oven and pulled out a sheet pan of thin, ruddy beet chips. “Hot behind!” She quickly walked behind the others with the pan in her hands and set it down on a work table just as Ophelia came into the kitchen.

“Chef, it looks like a few more guests came in. But according to Mariel, most of the people invited are here. Maybe a few more are going to come.”

“Okay, thanks,” Delphine replied. To her kitchen crew she said, “Let’s pump it out, guys. We’re heading into the home stretch.”

Ramona, back at her station, lifted the lid off a pot, pulled what looked like a clean spoon from the arm pocket of her jacket, and dipped it into the pot. From where she stood, Delphine could see that it was the chestnut-celery root bisque, recently added to the menu to accompany the Arctic char in a ramekin. With a satisfied look, she replaced the lid and wiped her hands. “Fire up the char!” she called out.

Del loved the rhythm and energy of a kitchen, especially hers. Every sense was engaged, every single day. The sounds of pots and pans hitting the burners, utensils scraping against stainless steel, oil sizzling, smoke spitting, and voices and music from the dining room filled the kitchen. With minimal banter, the staff performed their duties, chopping, roasting, braising, frying, boiling, steaming, or otherwise preparing what they were responsible for.

It was all magic. The smell of the kitchen—an intoxicating blend of spices, roasting meats, vegetables being transformed into nectarous edible jewels, and sauces stirred into a magical essence. The intense reds of paprika and cayenne, the glitter of sea salt, the gray fog of smoke rising from a hot pan, or the swirling verdant green of cilantro being purรฉed for salsa verde. The sensation of flour sifting through your fingers, or the ache in your knuckles after shucking dozens of oysters. The slow burn on your skin after chopping chiles. Or the numbness of your fingertips after rinsing lettuce in ice-cold water. She almost missed the last two—they were pleasurable pains.

She thrived on it all and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She’d fought against the efforts over the years to take her restaurants down by egotistical reviewers, jealous competitors, and others with more personal agendas, and she always came back strong. And she knew that her crew felt the same way, particularly here at Vie Sang. But nights like this were trying.

Sasha Ziegler, the Grammy-winning singer, had booked the entire restaurant for three hundred guests and requested that the menu, in its entirety, remain available throughout the night as guests came and went and ate at their leisure. This was in addition to the hors d’oeuvres and cocktails that the celebrity had ordered. For the amount of money Delphine was charging, she’d agreed. But in exchange, she and her staff had hell to pay. Just managing the extra seating was a nightmare.

Tracy came rushing back in. “Where’s my tofu teriyaki? I needed it yesterday.”

Delphine looked toward Leslie, who was handling the vegetarian and vegan meals. Leslie was new and had to build up her pace. “Leslie, speed it up. Let’s get that tofu up. I want to see it at the pass in three. Please.”

“Yes, Chef!” Leslie swiftly moved around her station and began squirting soy sauce and rice vinegar from squeeze bottles into a bowl.

The roar of flames hit Del’s ears and she looked toward the grill station. The grillardin, the grill cook, jumped back suddenly as another huge burst of flame shot up. A skillet slammed against the wall, sending pan sauce splattering across the floor and wall. The cook fell to the floor screaming, his hand on his face.

Delphine ran to him. “Stu! Are you all right? Let me see your face.” As she kneeled down beside him, Ramona ran to the grill and salted the blazing burner until it was doused.

Stu writhed on the floor while Delphine tried to move his hand from his face. The other cooks looked on with worried expressions, but continued to cook. Stopping for any amount of time would be disastrous.

Ophelia came running in. “Holy shit! What happened?” She dropped to her knees near Stu’s head.

“Get me the first aid kit,” Delphine said, with a hand on Ophelia’s forearm.

Ophelia jumped up and returned in seconds with the kit. Delphine opened it up and pulled out the burn ointment. “Somebody get me a glove.” A latex glove appeared near her face, although who had proffered it, she didn’t know. She grabbed it and smeared some ointment on Stu’s cheek, which seemed to have taken the brunt of the fiery assault.

Stu cringed with the touch. “Ow! Ow!”

“Shit,” she muttered. “I should have had that stove looked at. Do you want to go to the ER?”

Stu stopped squirming and began to sit up. “No. I’m okay. It just hurt for a few minutes. But I’m fine.” His cheek was a mottled, angry crimson, a bit swollen, and already blistering in one spot.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

Delphine helped him get up and step back to the stove, where he paused briefly to take a few deep breaths. He lowered his head, seemingly to regroup and calm the beat of his heart, which must have been racing. He checked the food on the other burners and plucked a clean pan from the wall to replace the one he’d dropped.

Ophelia looked stricken and stood frozen. “Ophelia. You okay?” Delphine asked.

“Um, yeah. That was just…God.”

“I know.” Delphine sighed heavily. “Listen, get back out there and see what’s happening, okay?”

“Yeah, okay.” Ophelia made her way toward the door, a lingering gaze on Stu’s back.

Delphine grabbed her apron and tied it on. Things were getting out of control, and she needed to jump into the fray to help. “Ramona, get over here and expedite. I’m going in.”

Ramona stepped up to the front of the kitchen, where the dishes came to rest on the counter—the “pass”—just before being transported out to the dining room by the waitstaff.

“Okay, listen up, everybody,” Delphine said, “We’re in the weeds here, but we’re going to get through this. I just want everyone to take a deep breath and relax. Don’t stop, just relax.”

The pace and intensity remained high as the orders kept coming in. Unlike the usual controllable private party, this was a free-for-all.

To make things more stressful, the Council had also taken this opportunity to spy on her. She spotted a few agents among the partygoers. They were enjoying themselves, but observed everything. Tough job.

By one a.m., the food orders had stopped coming in. Del wiped her hands on her towel and stepped outside of the kitchen for a breather, taking the opportunity to assess the dining room.

The partiers were having a great time, if the cacophony of laughter, chatter, and clinking glasses were any indication. Sasha Ziegler held court at the center table and smiled brightly as people stooped next to her to take selfies with her. Despite the insanity, there was a pleasant hum throughout the restaurant that told Del people were enjoying the food. She could always tell when a crowd of people didn’t like what she’d offered up that night—there would be a pall that would pervade the air. Not that it happened often.

She was enjoying her usual game of spotting the insecure sycophant or the nose-in-the-air celebrity who feigned boredom when something made her stop. On the left side of the room was a gorgeous woman in a black halter cocktail dress, her dark hair slicked back, holding a martini glass. The golden flecks of salt and shards of caramel that adorned the rim of the glass told Del that it was one of her bartender’s signature salted-caramel martinis. The woman’s neckline plunged low and Del found herself staring at the flesh peeking out of the material. She looked up and discovered the woman looking back at her. Too busy to get involved in the art of seduction, she returned to the kitchen.

On her way there, she noticed a man with his back turned toward her. Nothing really stood out about him, but that was precisely why she noticed him. He didn’t seem to fit in with the ultrachic, bespoke celeb crowd. He wore baggy-in-the-butt, faded-looking slacks, a wrinkled half-tucked shirt, and a well-worn denim jacket that looked as if it could use a good washing. He stooped slightly, as if life had beaten him down. It was then that she realized that he actually had a small hump on his back. He stood alone and very still, as if afraid to turn around. The only part of him that moved was his thumb, which rubbed nervously over what Del could see was a lighter, an old-school kind with a flip-top.

Del’s hackles stood up. Although she couldn’t see his face, he seemed familiar somehow. She was about to move into the crowd to try and find out who he was, when Ramona stuck her head out of the kitchen.

“Chef, we’re gonna start breaking down the stations,” Ramona said. “Chantel’s almost ready to roll out dessert.”

Dell nodded and went back into the kitchen, taking one last look at the man. He turned his head slightly, then quickly turned it back, as if surreptitiously checking to see who was behind him.

Del went to the basement kitchen to check on her pastry chef, Chantel, who was calmly slicing her opera cake. With agonizing precision, she positioned a long, sharp knife over the cake and sliced straight down, apparently using some imaginary guides to cut down the length of the twenty-four-inch, seven-layer cake. Delphine waited until Chantel had finished the slice and had pulled the knife out of the sheet, bits of almond sponge cake, coffee buttercream, and chocolate ganache clinging to the razor-sharp blade.

“Hey, Chantel.”

Chantel looked up and smiled. “Hey. How’s it going up there? I heard you got in the weeds.”

“Yeah, but we got through it. It’s almost over. How’s it going down here?”

Chantel’s face was coated in sweat. “Fine. Everything’s ready. God, I hope we don’t run out of anything.” Finished with cutting, she gazed one more time at her creation, then put her knife into a stainless steel hotel pan filled with water.

“Don’t worry.” Delphine looked at the list hanging on the refrigerator with the desserts and quantities. “I think you made plenty. How did the sugar cage turn out this time?” She referred to one aspect of Chantel’s latest signature dessert that she had been trying to perfect, a complicated affair that also featured chocolate foam, white chocolate-covered rose petals, and caramel-pistachio brittle.

Chantel smiled bashfully. “Really good.”

Del smiled as well and patted Chantel on the back.

Upstairs, the bustling continued but was slowing down. Her garde-manger, who handled appetizers and salads, was standing with her back against her work station, hands perched on the counter. The bussers were coming in with tubs of dirty dishes, as Chantel turned the corner of the staircase with a sheet pan of plated opera cake. The crew oohed and aahed at the plates of perfectly cut slices, a squirt of cappuccino cream atop each and flanked on one side by a rectangular piece of chocolate with a white design on it, along with a pool of vanilla sauce, dotted with raspberry coulis.

After the servers had served all the guests, the crew each got a piece of cake as well—the throwaways—and toasted each other with their forks.

“Thank you for working so hard tonight, guys,” Del said. “I really appreciate it.” They all beamed before taking huge bites of their cake.

When the partiers had left and the kitchen was cleaned up, the crew began filing out, all ready to meet up at one of their favorite post-dinner hangouts. A beer at three in the morning helped take the edge off a crazy dinner service.

“Night, Boss.” Chantel was the last one to leave.

“Thanks, Chantel. Good work tonight.”

Chantel chuckled. “Did you expect anything else?”

“No.” Chantel was an artist, which was why Delphine had hired her, and probably what had enticed her when they’d had their brief fling. That and her smooth, dark skin and startlingly blue eyes, the legacy of her African-Dutch-Curaรงaoan heritage. The clincher was her accent, a sensuous combination of Dutch, Spanish, and African languages. Delphine had made her whisper things in her native Papiamento during the night, when the best thing they could think to do was explore each other’s bodies.

“You are perfection,” Delphine said.

Chantel smiled. “You always were bright.” After a moment, she added, “It was a rough night. Are you all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Go on home.”

“All right. Good night, then.” She put a reassuring hand on Del’s shoulder as she walked past her.

When Chantel was out the door, Delphine locked up, went into her office and grabbed her jacket. Everything else could wait until tomorrow. As she shrugged on the jacket, she remembered the strange man at the party. Unfortunately, it was too late to ask anyone about him. Damn. She shut out the lights and walked out the back door to the small parking lot.

It had been a brutally hot day for Brooklyn. But that heat had given way to a cool evening with a breeze coming off the Upper New York Bay and down the East River. When she was human, she would have shivered on a night like this.

Right next to the door was her Kawasaki Cruiser. About to settle herself on the motorcycle’s seat, she stopped.

She smelled it right away. The heady aroma of desire, need, and surrender filled the air, and she knew it was close. But she waited until the source chose to reveal itself. A woman stepped out of the shadows and into the floodlight of the parking lot. She approached the doorway where Del stood.

“Do you desire anything, madam?”

Delphine turned to face the woman. She was young, maybe about twenty-five, slender, with blond hair down to her shoulders and edged with blue. Her skin was pale, and her eyes half open with the promise of seduction. This was nothing new for Delphine. Many pretty young things had waited for her outside the restaurant, ready to offer themselves to her. They were like groupies.

Delphine moved a little closer. “What’s your name?”

“Roxanne,” the young woman responded, taking a deep breath, obviously so that her bosom would rise closer to Delphine’s face. Delphine obliged her with a direct stare down her low-cut blouse, which Delphine was sure had been selected just for the purpose. “Well, Roxanne, I do find myself in need of a little something.”
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meet the author

New York native R.G. Emanuelle spent more than 20 years as an editor, writer, and typesetter. When she was child, a neighbor called her a vampire because she only came out after dark, so it’s fitting that she writes about creatures of the night, which includes her first novel, Twice Bitten. She is co-editor of the Lambda Literary Finalist anthology All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica & Romance, and the Golden Crown winner Unwrap These Presents, as well as Skulls and Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates. She is also a culinary school graduate, which is what inspired her to write her romantic novella, Add Spice to Taste, and Have a Bite, the first of The Vampires of Brooklyn Chronicles novella series. Her short stories can be found in numerous anthologies.

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Rachel M Raithby

Rachel M Raithby
Author of the Deadwood Hunter Series

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