Hi everyone! Please help me welcome my fellow Ellora's Cave author Anya Richards to the blog today. Anya's first Pricked title Fleeing Fate kicked off this fun series. Now the second book in her Unveiled Seduction series, Stone-Hard Passion serves as the series Grand Finale.
Happy Birthday Anya! Welcome!
Today is my forty-*mumble*th birthday and right now, as you read this, I may be sitting in a tattoo parlor getting my first tat. I say may—because to this point I still haven’t decided what design I want, or whether to get one at all. At my age is it even reasonable to want a tattoo, having never gotten one before? Is it hypocritical to be thinking about it when I was one of the people cautioning my step-daughter about getting tattoos to begin with? I’m still working my way through those questions, but I think getting some ink is, at this point, almost inevitable. I want a tat, and if at my age I can’t get what I want, then what’s the use?
So the question of what to get is really the only one left to answer. I believe this will be the only one I ever get, so I want it to be truly meaningful. Should it be cultural (a Doctor Bird, or in the shape of my island home Jamaica, perhaps?), or maybe familial (my son’s name, or my husband’s?). Something to do with my writing life would be appropriate too, since it’s such a big part of who I am now. My hero in my second Pricked release Stone-Hard Passion is moved to get a tattoo in homage to his goddess, Freyja, and I’d like something as personal and important as that.
As I’m writing this, it comes to me. My mother and I had a sometimes stormy relationship, as is the case with many women. Yet, as I got older, and she did too, things changed, and by the time she passed away in 1999 we were allies, companions, even friends. There is not a day I don’t miss her, even as I know we’d still be disagreeing on many things.
And now, looking back, I realize she was simply trying, as all of us do, to get by in an often hostile world. I can, in hindsight, appreciate her strengths and forgive her weaknesses. One of her most outstanding attributes was a stubborn determination to stand up for what she felt was right. She took it to the extreme on occasion, but seeing a woman who was generally shy, retiring, and undemonstrative completely lose it created quite an impression on everyone around her. In the family she was known as the “Bull-buck and duppy-conqueror,” the literal translation meaning she’d out-buck a bull and out-scare a ghost.
So that’s what I’ll get someone to design for me—a stylized, intertwined bull’s head and ghost, signifying the strength of my mother, which I’d like to tap into. For me it will also be a constant reminder to stand strong, to hold on to my determination and to fight back when life tries to beat me down. It’ll be epic, and I can’t wait to get it done!
I hope you’ll enjoy the blurb and excerpt below for Stone-Hard Passion (there’s another excerpt here too), and look out for my other Pricked release, Fleeing Fate, already available from Ellora’s Cave.
Book two in the Unveiled Seductions series.
Tattoo artist Jasmina Elalmadhoun is on a mission to entice her client Vidar Jarlsen into bed, but getting the shy, obscenely ripped troll to agree is going to take some work. Even telling him straight-up she wants him doesn’t break through his reserved, polite demeanor. Just what does a jinn have to do? Maybe showing him the pleasures they can enjoy without jeopardizing their friendship will do the trick.
Beneath Vidar’s staid exterior his blood burns with the thought of having Jasmina for his own. He’s been carrying a torch for years, never thinking she’d be interested in a troll. Although he desperately wants to take Jasmina up on her offer, there’s something about him she doesn’t know, and he doubts she’ll still be interested if she finds out.
When Jasmina’s past threatens and Vidar offers her sanctuary, there’s no way to stop their passion from boiling to the surface. But despite their new closeness, secrets and dangerous enemies can destroy what they’ve built, forcing them to sacrifice everything to prove their love.
Two fucking weeks.
Jasmine strode across the Café, smiling in greeting at patrons who called out to her, but inside she was seething.
It had been almost two weeks since Vidar and she had their intimate encounter. Eleven days, to be precise, but it felt like a year. Seeing his name in the appointment book, having to laugh through Ula’s snide comments, just made her already high stress level peak. Hopefully she looked her usual cool self because inside she was a quivering mess.
No matter how she told herself it was his right to stay away as long as he liked, that he’d told her it would be a while before he could come back, it still rankled. Reminding herself they were supposed to be just friends didn’t help either. If the situation were reversed, she knew she wouldn’t have been able to stop from seeking him out a lot sooner. But while she’d been drowning in lust for him, unable to restrain herself from conjuring his image while she masturbated, he’d probably not given her a thought.
She refused to wait by the desk staring at the door like a lovesick dork. At least if she sat at the bar the entrance would be out of her line of sight.
Hopping up on a barstool, she grinned at Bolaka. The bartender smiled in return, slapping his towel against his shoulder as he came over.
“What can I get for you, Jazz? A shot of tequila? Senderac?”
Wishing she could have a glass of the sweet palm wine favored by her people, Jasmina shook her head. “Nothing, thanks. I have a client coming soon.”
“How about something soft?” The elf winked. “Come on, I have to look like I’m busy.”
“Hard to do on a night like this.” The place was almost empty, with a couple of guys playing darts on the other side of the room and a slightly morose-looking werewolf slumped at the other end of the bar. “Okay, give me a rosehip barley water, please.”
Bolaka wrinkled his nose, even as he was reaching for the bottle beneath the bar. “Don’t know how you can drink this stuff, sweetheart. If something tastes this bad, it should at least be alcoholic.”
“I like it.” She gave him a haughty look, which just made him laugh. “It’s not my fault you don’t have any taste.”
“I have impeccable taste.” Bolaka was looking over her shoulder, and his voice fell to a low croon. “And I’d looove to get a taste of what just walked in.”
If the place hadn’t been so empty, Jasmina would have turned to look but she didn’t want to be obvious. Besides, she knew Bolaka’s taste in men.
“One of those pretty boys you like so much?”
“Not this time.” The elf ran his fingers through his hair, a slight frown between his brows. “In fact…” A look of almost comical shock widened his eyes and caused his mouth to sag open for a quick second. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say that was Vidar.”
She swung the stool around so fast she banged her elbow on the bar, and when she saw the man standing just inside the door, the breath locked in her throat.
Oh. My. Stars.
Even her ability to curse seemed to desert her and she sat there stunned, her heart racing.
Gone were the long, wild tresses, shaggy beard and whiskers. His hair was swept back from his face and fell in thick blond waves to just cover the tops of his ears. Without the beard and moustache all his craggy beauty was revealed, right out there for the entire world to see. Stern, chiseled lips and a firm jaw were in perfect balance with his strong nose, and his eyes, with those lovely, fair curly lashes, seemed even bluer than ever.
All she could do was stare, blood rushing with dizzying force through her veins, pleasure and desire swirling inside.
Did he do that for me?
The thought caused something warm to flower deep in her belly, tendrils of joy unfurling and making her grin.
The corners of his mouth twitched, and he started across the room toward her, his gaze never straying from her face.
“Sweet goddess.” Bolaka’s words were barely audible. “How come I can’t find a man to look at me like that?”