Please welcome Juliette Cross to Writer Wednesday! She's sharing an excerpt from her new book. ~NJW
RELEASE: DRAGON HEARTSTRING
paranormal romance lovers, Juliette Cross has a thrilling new addition to her
VALE OF STARS series. Join the journey inside the Morgon world where humans
live alongside sexy dragon hybrids…
Vale of Stars Prequel
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Date of
Publication: October 25, 2016 ASIN: B01L7TN2BG
Word Count: 42K
Demetrius Cade has long since let go of his prejudice
against Morgonkind, the dragon hybrid race his father taught him to hate. But
what he never saw coming was the Morgon woman who would finally teach him to
Shakara Icewing has watched Demetrius Cade from afar for years. Known as the
most eligible bachelor and emotionally unavailable in all of Gladium Province,
she sees him as the aloof, arrogant brother of her dear friend. But when they
finally meet, she isn’t sure she can handle how deep and how fast they both
An old enemy resurfaces and once more threatens those Demetrius loves. When
Shakara plans to speak before Parliament against business tycoon Aron Grayson,
she puts her own life in the line of fire. Demetrius will stop at nothing to
protect the woman he can no longer live without.
were already a few couples taking advantage of the private rooftop. We stopped at
the corner and looked out over downtown Gladium. Glittering like stars, the
city lights lit up the night.
it beautiful?” I asked, leaning on the railing, the warm summer breeze lifting
glanced over to find him staring at me, not the city. I smiled. “Do you know
it’s rude to stare like that?”
sorry. I can’t help it. You are quite beautiful,” he said with sincerity.
arched a brow. “Even with the wings?”
with the wings.” His gaze flicked to them. “You know, Shakara. You seem to have
a misguided notion that I dislike Morgons, but the truth is far from it.”
if I may be so frank, your past proves you’ve had—I don’t know how to say it—issues with Morgonkind.”
heavy gaze never left me. “Some of us learn from our past mistakes. And we
change. At least we should anyway.”
intense expression and bold statement were a challenge. One I wasn’t sure I was
ready to explore. The conversation had turned from casual to serious in a
heartbeat. And I realized in this, he was right and I was wrong. We should
learn from our mistakes.
the subject was my only escape. “So. What were you talking to Lucius about?”
loosened his tie and pulled it off, folded it end over end then stuffed it into
his inside jacket pocket. “You were watching me?”
you lied,” he said, leaning forward with both forearms on the balcony wall, his
left arm brushing mine.
I?” I focused on steadying my voice.
said you didn’t know I was here at the party when I walked up to your table.”
yes. I did lie.” I felt him staring but continued to gaze out at the city. “I
didn’t want you to think I was stalking you or something.”
laughed, leaning left, his shoulder grazing mine. On purpose, for sure.
senses amped up. “You’re avoiding my question.”
tell me. I want to know what Demetrius Cade, who never speaks to his
brother-in-law even at his nephew’s birthday party, could possibly have to say
in a little one-on-one conversation.”
“You have been stalking me.” He smirked and
arched a brow at him and whispered, “Tell me.”
was about you actually.”
hearing coming up.”
The wind lifted my hair in the night air. I tucked a strand behind one ear.
“What about it?”
mentioned at lunch yesterday, I’m afraid this hearing may bring some negative
attention your way. Perhaps, even danger.” His frown was back. His lips
tightened into a line as he studied me.
think you might be worrying too much.”
I’m not. Which is why you might notice someone from Nightwing Security watching
out for you at the clinic. And maybe elsewhere.”
I’m going to have a bodyguard?”
And don’t say you don’t want one. It’s necessary to be cautious about this. At
least until the hearing is over.”
couldn’t help but be a little surprised that Demetrius of all people would take
the initiative to protect me. My father and aunt were bringing up clan members
for the hearing itself, but they hadn’t prepared for any threats beforehand.
Demetrius’s scowl could deepen further, I made a bold declaration. “So what
you’re saying is you’re worried about me.”
like that, his stiff shoulders rolled forward as if a weight had been dropped.
He angled his body toward me, leaning one elbow on the banister and answered my
teasing question more directly than I’d anticipated. “Yes. I certainly am.”
nerves rattled inside me like marbles in a jar. It was all because of
Demetrius. I was fine with him in crowds and loud clubs and chatty birthday
parties. But alone with the heady mix of his cologne and his masculine scent
swirling around me and with those dark eyes tracking my every move, my dragon
wanted to stretch out for him and purr. The woman, the part of me who was
confident in the clinic but shy in the bedroom, wanted to retreat and hide. As
soon as I’d thought it, my wings twitched, brushing against him.
gasped and pulled them tight again, “Sorry.”
air shifted, and I felt like I did that day in the elevator—breathless and
trapped and extremely aroused at his nearness.
he said softly.
I take a closer look at your wings?”
turned for him, inhaling a deep breath, and opened them partway, keeping one
hand on the banister.
I touch them?” he asked softly.
didn’t want to tell him how sensitive I was to touch on my wings. Some Morgons
weren’t at all. But when Demetrius’s hands slid up the arches, sending a
sensual shiver through my body, I thought I might come undone. When his fingers
caressed along the side edge and back down, I gripped the banister tight.
quite beautiful,” he said. He had to notice my tremulous state. If he did, he
made no note of it.
“You’re quite beautiful.”
he moved his body closer, I could feel the heat of him at my back. He trailed
his fingers along the underside of my wings where they were especially soft. He
nuzzled his mouth close to my ear. “I want to touch you.”
to hold onto something, I gripped the banister with both hands. I couldn’t breathe.
I shouldn’t be behaving this way with him of all men. I felt as if I were
stepping into enemy territory, venturing into places I wasn’t meant to go. And
yet, he turned me on beyond reason.
I?” he asked.
I whispered, unable to resist him.
swept my hair over one shoulder then proceeded to kiss his way up one side of
my neck. One hand spanned my waist. He glided the other hand over the curve of
my shoulder and down my arm, then laced his fingers through mine atop the
banister. Yearning for his lips on my skin, I dropped my head back so he could
have better access. He took full advantage, brushing feather-light kisses down
the column of my throat.
know, there are many who would object to this kind of behavior.” He pressed an
open-mouthed kiss to that tender spot between my neck and shoulder.
what kind of behavior? There are others doing the same in their own corner of
couples like us.”
mean a Morgon and a human?” I asked, trying not to sound as breathless as I
He nipped up my neck with teeth. The sensation flushed me with heat.
you care if people object?”
stopped and turned me around by the waist.
it bother you?” I repeated.
voice dropped lower with an edge of strain. “I don’t know.” His fingers banded
tighter at my waist. “But not enough for me to stop.”
I could form another thought, his lips were hard and determined on mine. The
world be damned, for there could be no misunderstanding what he wanted now.
in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and
black lab, Kona. Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy
romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious
settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. From the moment she read
JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then,
she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to
create her own.
For FREE SHORTS, go to
Juliette’s website and get a taste of the Morgon world. You can discover more
of Juliette and her books on her website.
Welcome to Writer Wednesday. I'm very happy to welcome Natasha Moore here today! ~NJ
It was only supposed to be a wedding date.
In Choose Me, the first book in my new Silver
Fox Romance series, Rick and Eve have known each other for over twenty-five
years. Their families had lived next door to each other all that time but now they
both find themselves single. Who else would Eve ask to be her date to her
daughter’s wedding but a friend who understood it was just a one-time thing?
But things don’t always work out the way
Best Bar and Grill was a quick walk down Main from Eve’s building. Rick had
never understood how women could walk in those high-heeled shoes, but as they
walked together down the sidewalk, he couldn’t help but appreciate how
fantastic they made Eve’s long legs look. She wore a classy yellow dress that
skimmed her body and matched the color of her strappy sandals. His hand kept
wanting to reach out and take hers as they strolled down the block.
BB&G was owned by Rick’s cousin Jimmy. He waved from behind the bar as Rick
and Eve headed for the dining room. “Hey, Ricky!” Jimmy called out. “Two
sent him a thumbs-up after Eve nodded, then led her over to a small table in
the middle of the dining room. The place was a comfortable mix of homespun
diner and sports bar. Sports memorabilia and photographs of local sights shared
space on the dark-stained shiplap walls. He shoved the clipboard under his
chair and grabbed the menu. Not that he needed it.
felt like an eavesdropper back at Eve’s apartment. He could understand Amy’s
confusion and surprise, though. Eve had moved quickly with big changes. But
then, her marriage had been over for a while and those thoughts of change might
have been hanging around the fringes of her mind since then.
guys.” Diane, a long-time waitress, set the chilled mugs in front of them. Her
curious gaze bounced back and forth between him and Eve. “You know what you
want?” she asked. They ordered the BB&G’s signature burgers and fries to go
with the beer.
who didn’t know Eve would take one look at the elegant persona and assume she
only ate lobster and drank champagne. But Eve had sat at a picnic table in
their back yard plenty of times. Had downed pitchers of beer with the best of
them and polished off burgers and ribs and hot dogs.
loved how many layers she had. Only her friends knew that the classy woman who
sold expensive china and crystal, silver candlesticks and elegant stationary,
loved to shop yard sales and flea markets. That the woman who enjoyed
entertaining the upper crust when her husband wanted to network, was just as
happy cooking marshmallows in the living room fireplace to make s’mores.
even her friends might be surprised to know that after living in a
five-bedroom, four-bath home with landscaped grounds, Eve would be happy moving
to a one-bedroom walk-up above her business in the heart of the village.
course, she still wanted her steam shower. Rick chuckled at her excitement when
he told her he could make it work.
looked up from the menu. “What?”
Sorry. Just thinking about the changes you asked for.”
what you expected?”
shrugged. “You knew what you wanted. Most people don’t.”
you know this apartment will be the first place I’ve lived on my own? Ever. In
my whole life.”
moved from home where my dad ruled with an iron fist to a college dormitory
with roommates and then married Don as soon as I graduated.” She flashed Rick a
cocky grin. It was sexy as hell. “I’m independent for the first time in my
life. So yeah, I’m going to ask for what I want this time.”
wrong with that.”
nodded and glanced around the dining room. Most of the tables were occupied and
more than a few pairs of eyes were trained on them. There was an awkward
tension in the air between them and Rick realized he should have thought twice
about inviting her to eat in a busy restaurant filled with nosy neighbors.
rumors will be starting,” she murmured.
shrugged, surprised he didn’t care. “I could pick up my clipboard and wave it
in the air. We could talk about windows and showers at the top of our lungs.”
laughed. “Not necessary.” She dropped her voice. “Um…I’ve been wanting to ask
you something and now’s as good a time as any.”
made him curious, but at least she hadn’t lost her smile. “Okay? What is it?”
took a deep breath. “The wedding. Amy’s wedding. Do you have a date? Because I
don’t. And Don’s going to be there with his cute young wife and—”
broke off as the door to the restaurant opened and a familiar booming laugh
proceeded a fifty-something lawyer and his new twenty-something wife into the
place. Eve’s eyes met Rick’s and her hand tightened on her beer mug. Speak of
the devil. And of course, Don Corcoran headed straight for their table as soon
as he spotted them.
I was having such a good time,” Eve murmured. Seeing her ex-husband made her
lose the smile and that pissed off Rick more than anything.
plastered a big grin on his face and grabbed her hand as Don and Tiffany
approached. Eve’s eyes widened, but she didn’t say a word. When her ex stopped
at their table, Rick looked up, acting surprised. “Oh, hi, Don. How are you?”
frowned as his eyes bounced from Eve’s face to her hand in Rick’s. “I never
pictured you two as a couple.” His voice was one of those that carried across a
crowded room. Probably good for a lawyer in a courtroom, not so good for a jerk
in the middle of a restaurant.
shrugged. “Probably some people thought the same about you and Tiff.”
expression darkened. Tiffany hung back, her hands twisting the strap of her
tiny pink purse.
you want something, Don?” Eve asked.
need to talk about the wedding.” As if it was obvious.
course, Amy’s wedding.” Don narrowed his eyes. “Is there another wedding I
don’t know about?”
mouth quirked. She glanced at Rick before she looked back at her ex-husband.
“What do we need to talk about?”
Donald said dryly.
but not now, for heaven’s sake. Call me later and I’ll see when I can fit you
felt her trembling. He squeezed her hand. Diane was heading their way. “Here’s
eyes bounced back and forth between them. Her expression looked almost
apologetic. “Donny, I’m hungry. Let’s get a table.”
came up with a plate in each hand. “There’s a table free over there by the
wall,” she told Tiffany, nodding to the other side of the room. “We’re filling
up fast. You might want to grab it.”
huffed. “I’ll talk to you later,” he said to Eve. He turned away when Tiffany
tugged at his arm.
to see you,” Rick tossed off.
watched them cross the room, then looked up at Diane. “Thanks.”
smiled as she set down the plates in front of them. “You need anything else?”
shook her head. “Thanks.”
guys look good together,” Diane said with a wink. Her silver ponytail bounced
as she nodded.
cut Eve off by lifting their still-entwined hands and kissing her knuckles.
“Thanks, Di, but this is all still very new. We didn’t expect to get all this
rolled her eyes as if to say he should have known better. “Let me know if you
tugged her hand free. “Why did you let her think we’re a couple?”
everyone in here thinks we’re a couple now. Especially after Don announced it
to the world. And you didn’t tell him any different.”
know.” She doused her fries with ketchup and vinegar. “What are we going to do
unless you want to. I did get the impression you wanted me to ask you to be my
date for Amy’s wedding, though.”
there was that smile again. “I thought I asked you to be my date.”
worked out then, didn’t it?” Rick hadn’t expected that rush of…pleasure?...when
he thought about it.
we’ll just play it casually until the wedding. It’s only a few weeks away,
right?” Rick hadn’t realized until now how much he liked the idea of dating
Eve. “Then afterward we can say we broke up, if that’s what you want.”
course, we’ll have to break up. We’re not really together.” Her voice had
dropped to a loud whisper. “I just got my independence for the first time in my
life, Rick. I’m not going to get wrapped up with another guy.”
signaled to Diane to bring him another beer. Maybe he should have gone for the
whiskey. “Glad to know I’m just another guy to you.”
didn’t come out right, but you know what I mean. This isn’t a real date. We’re
not really a couple.”
I'm happy to welcome Jody Wallace to Writer Wednesday! ~NJ
So, PRODIGAL, the third book of my
science fiction romance Maelstrom trilogy, is my twenty-somethingth book,
depending on how you count. But every book an author writes is the first
something. I was reflecting the other day about PRODIGAL and what its firsts
PRODIGAL IS MY FIRST:
1) Amnesia story. The hero, Adam Alsing,
was such an idiot prior to book 1 of the trilogy that he almost destroyed the
world. In book 3, he doesn’t remember a bit of it.
2) African American heroine. I’ve
written protagonists of various types before, from alien to human, but
PRODIGAL’s heroine, Claire Lawson, is an African American former army brat who
kicks so much ass that right now she’s my favorite heroine ever. She cusses a
lot, too, which is what she and I have the most in common.
3) Protagonist with a kid. Claire again.
Technically, in book 2, I wrote about the father of Claire’s daughter, Nikolas,
but the baby hadn’t been born yet. In PRODIGAL I got to tackle how a character
involved in a dangerous adventure romance handles motherhood. I have to say I
kinda chickened out on this one. I had Claire wisely send her daughter to
Nikolas, who was in a safer place, for most of the book. As someone who found
parenting small children supremely unromantic (LOL), it may still be awhile
before I can suspend my own disbelief enough to write a romance about a parent
or parents of young children in which the kids are in the book all the time.
4) End to a trilogy. I’ve written series
books before, but PRODIGAL definitely wraps up the trilogy arc that began in
ANGELI. Some series are kind of ongoing stories that take place in the same
world but sort of stand alone. Others are neverending epics that require you
read every single book in order. The Maelstrom trilogy falls in between those –
you can pick up the books in any order, but there are narrative arcs that begin
in ANGELI and get finished in PRODIGAL. Very satisfying!
Now for a little more information about
nearly destroyed the world, but with her help, he can save it.
Sheriff Claire Lawson has all the
trouble she can handle keeping the peace in her post-apocalyptic town. When the
one guy who could have prevented the apocalypse interrupts her supply run,
naked and bereft of memories, she tries to convince the Shipborn aliens to
shelter the former Chosen One. But there are too many unanswered questions
about his survival, so it’s not safe for him to leave the planet.
Adam Alsing—at least that’s what they
tell him his name is—just knows he wants to stay with Claire. Yeah, he doesn’t
remember being a global failure, but Claire’s the one thing he encounters that
makes him feel grounded. Grounded and kind of turned on, but these are serious
times. He’ll help her protect her town since he couldn’t save the world, but
first he’s got to appease a suspicious government, a prying sentient Ship, and
every human who hates him for being the man he can’t remember being.
Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a
very rural area. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master's
Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor,
technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and all around pain
in the butt. She resides in Tennessee with one husband, two children, one
Grandma, six cats, and a lot of junk.