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Monday, December 6, 2010
What Every Woman Wants Under Her Christmas Tree. Michele Hart's Shape-Shifters! Chance to win big!
Welcome to my What Every Woman Wants Under Her Christmas Tree blog event! So far it’s been an absolute blast. Just arriving at this blog for the first time? If so, this event runs through December 25th . Expect to see a festive slew of incredibly talented authors and a truly superb jewelry artisan. I highly recommend you browse through the last few posts to learn more about authors such as Melissa Mayhue and Catherine Bybee.
This week I’m totally thrilled to welcome back award-winning, multi-genre romance author, Michele Hart. When it comes to sci-fi, fantasy romance, action and adventure, Hart’s a cut above the rest! Michele’s decided she’d like to put an Ecopy of her Sci-fi romantic suspense, Mind-Blown under this blog’s Christmas tree. We all know whatever’s put beneath the tree is up for grabs. As there’s only one fantastic copy available I’m going to host a contest. Answer the following question in a comment at this blog for a chance to win. In Mind-Blown, Jon and Holly decide to sabotage what? Click HERE to locate the answer.
Okay, time to get to know Michele better...
SKY: Thanks so much for visiting. It’s a pleasure to have you!
MICHELE: I’m very glad to be here, Sky. Thanks for the invitation to talk about my latest Sci-Fi Romantic Adventure, Luminous Nights. Fun’s always happening on your blog!
SKY: You’re very welcome! Before we dive into your book, I’d like to first dive into the holidays. What’s your favorite part of Christmas?
MICHELE: Leftovers for days. And Christmas lights.
SKY: I hear ya sista, nothing like those holiday leftovers! If you could ask for one thing to be delivered under your Christmas tree this year, what would it be?
MICHELE: A friend I lost in the last few months, but Santa doesn’t do that kind of work.
SKY: Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s never easy to lose someone. Know that my thoughts are with you.
If you could give readers one of YOUR heroes under their Christmas tree…which one would it be? Why?
MICHELE: Jack, the hero from Luminous Nights, will always be the dream man I’d love to clone and give away to readers. He’s always on top of things, has tricks up his sleeve, is forever up to something, and is too darn sexy to be bound to just one planet. He’s hard to label whether he is a very good bad boy or a very bad good boy. That’s part of the mystery in Jack.
SKY: He sounds scrumptious. If you could pick one heroine from your stories who would willingly pass out gifts Christmas morn, who would she be? Why?
MICHELE: All my girls would be glad to play Mommy Christmas, but I think Crystal, the heroine from The Consecration, would best fill the role as she’s the matriarch of several generations of magicians and shapeshifters. Although, they would celebrate Christmas as remnants of their long-past lives on mortal Earth. And why not? Christmas is fun.
SKY: Which one of your heroes and/or heroines in your stories would take one look at a Christmas tree and say, “no thank you.” If so, share. Why? It’s okay, we like the bad guys/gals too!
MICHELE: I don’t think any of my heroes or heroines would say “no thank you” to a Christmas tree. The tree is the best part of the season for me—peaceful, reflective, beautiful--so naturally my heroes and heroines like nice Christmas trees, too. Christmas trees are fun, and I don’t want to write a hero or a heroine who isn’t fun, who wouldn’t love a Christmas tree. The bad guys? None of them would like Christmas trees because they are no fun!
SKY: Your characters sound right up my alley. Back to the warm and fuzzies. Share with us the scene in Luminous Nights that was─to this day─your favorite to write. Why?
MICHELE: This was one of my most spontaneous scenes. I’d been eating Hershey’s Raspberry Chocolate when I wrote it. It’s a shame I don’t have room to show you the chocolate parts—there are many in the book--but here’s the raspberry part:
WARNING: This steamy excerpt has shivering nakedness, unspoken lust, and hands everywhere--and I mean, everywhere! Definitely R-rated material.
The Naughty Artist in Jack – An Excerpt from Luminous Nights
“I want to draw on you,” Jack told Rachel.
“Draw on me?”
She watched him take up the bowl of raspberries and mash them with the spoon. “Yes. Didn’t you say you liked my artwork? I’ve an urge to draw. You must lie down, and let me draw on you.”
“Draw on me…?”
“You’d called me a fairly good artist, remember…”
It had been an understatement meant to contain his swelling ego. He was a very good artist.
Done with his mashing, he went to work, removing the sleeves of Rachel’s techsuit and separating the top from the bottom at her waist. She giggled when he guided her onto her back and propped her back and head up with pillows.
Entertained, she watched him sit between her knees and unzip the front of her techsuit top, leaving it open in the middle just a little and folding back the top and bottom, exposing wide views of her cleavage and her stomach but still concealing her breasts.
“This is the price I must pay for your assistance?”
“Is this too easy for you? It’ll not remain this easy. Things will get harder.”
She sputtered a laugh at his double entendre, saw where this was leading, and it made her nervous. Was she about to trade sex for his support? She hadn’t prepared herself for it. In consideration of the Sodasi’s lives, she saw it as a small price to pay. She was willing to make any deal to help these children, no matter how distasteful.
But then again, the consideration of intimacies with him brought back all the pleasure of his chocolate kiss.
“You must mean more difficult.”
His smile caught fire. “No, I meant harder.”
She rolled her eyes and chewed on her lip, forever lost now.
Rachel thrilled to the sight of him bare-chested and sitting back on his ankles between her legs. He dipped his finger into the berry juice and began to draw little swirls around her belly button, then swirls and curves across her stomach until she giggled aloud. His tantalized smile turned her on entirely. She couldn’t remember when a man’s smile moved her heart so. His touch tickled, setting her body to a sizzling simmer no cold breeze could cut.
“What are you drawing?” she asked, feeling the flesh under his finger rise to his slow and flirting summons.
“I’m decorating your soul with little curls to highlight the most beautiful parts of you,” Jack’s silky voice replied around his deliberate smile, reloading his drawing finger with berry juice and sending his caress into a slow dance over her stomach, then setting swirls down to her sides, tickling her again.
“The berry juice will stain your lily-white skin,” he explained. “And tomorrow I’ll gain dirty pleasure knowing my artwork is under your clothes, and no one will know about it but us.”
Rachel laughed again, enjoying his fantasy. “Make it pretty, if it’s going to last a while.”
His nod was enthusiastic, and his drawing finger danced a slow ballet down her arm like an ice skater on a frozen pond. “You’ll be my masterpiece.”
She giggled, and he snickered as he dipped his finger into the berry ink and drew to his heart’s content, painting reddish-purplish swirls on her bare arms. His attention to every berry smear was authentic, putting thought, balance, and design into his pattern.
The scintillation of his touch made her nipples stiffen through the techsuit material shielding her breasts. He allowed himself to be stolen away from his project to gaze at her breasts, the rise and fall of her quickened breath, as though he hungered and she were a buffet. Then he went back to his artwork. His self-discipline was remarkable.
When he’d fully decorated both her arms with the juice of the mashed berries, he softly fingered the hollow in her throat.
“I’m going to draw jewelry on you.”
Jack reloaded his fingertip with his berry ink, and he drew a necklace painfully slow, achingly light, elaborate with swirls around her throat, and Rachel closed her eyes, relishing his kinetic touch. His dilatory caress sent her body’s awareness wild. She felt her breath quicken again. She couldn’t remember ever feeling this way before, titillated to a man’s command.
He drew the top of the techsuit away, sliding the material from her bosom, causing another stimulation when the cooler air reached them. He found the front hook of her bra, and slowly peeled it away from her breasts. At first, his eyes transfixed on her naked bosom, and she thought this was the moment he’d take his reward. She hoped she wasn’t visibly shaking.
He wet his lips, then he began to finger-paint swirls over the swell of her breasts sending ripples of tension rocking her. He stroked her nipple with spiral swirls of berry juice with the lightest of touch, and she felt the emptiness of her body, the sizzling want of him he raised in her.
One arm holding him up over her, he reloaded the juice and swirled his wet fingertip over her other breast, bringing it to taut attention. She imagined his mouth there, wanted to know how his tongue would feel stroking her as his finger did. She watched him paint squigglies and swirls, tying up her body into knots of tension until she wanted to scream. She had to remind herself again to breathe. A moan rose from her she couldn’t suppress.
Jack reached for the zipper of her pants, and her hand moved to stop him, far more from reflex than the lack of wanting his touch.
“I want to paint your legs. ’Tis my fantasy, Rachel. Do you not trust me?”
Oddly, weirdly, strangely, yes. She did trust him. With her body. She acquiesced since his fantasy felt so good.
He unzipped her techsuit pants and slid the cloth from her body, freeing her of her remaining clothes, leaving her wearing nothing but a thin pair of panties.
He moved downward, dipped his finger into the berry mash, and continued to draw swirls and spirals over her hips, slipping his finger under the waistband of her panties and drawing there, too, but missing the part of her she thought would be the main attraction.
Then he shifted downward and drew on the left side of her left leg all the way to her feet, drawing anklets, even toe rings. Then he moved to her right side and drew the dilatory swirls and spirals up the right side of her right leg, keeping the tension in her strung tight and approaching her breaking point.
Then he moved to her feet again. The anxiety thumped in her chest. All that was left undecorated was the insides of her legs. Was he going to…?
With his bad-boy grin, he dipped his finger into the berries, and began at her ankles again, tracing designs slowly up the inside of her legs. His touch caused tingles coming out in girlish giggles. His lazy painting finger rose up her thighs in swirls, a bit higher every time, but purposely avoiding the apex of her womanhood and teasing her. His touch already sent her body to mindless absorption, but now he sent lightning through her, shocking tender flesh. She felt shivers radiating through her, felt the wetness of her reaction. She both dreaded and hungered for his touch there. And then, more hungered than dreaded. He systematically built her need of him.
When he’d drawn all over her, Jack sat back upon his ankles, his eyes filled with some unnamable feeling potent as he gazed down upon her.
“Rachel,” he muttered, his light vision reflecting the firelight. He put his hand over his chest and forced a deeper breath. “Rachel, you look like an Aztec goddess.”
He’d dealt the blow. Rachel was on fire, her body throbbing along with her heartbeat, wanting him more than she’d ever wanted any man. His touch made her feel titillation and appetite as she’d never felt before. She endured an ache in the core of her she wanted him to fill.
He smiled brightly down on her. “I like the look of you with my fingerprints all over your body. You’re a very beautiful woman, Rachel Marie. I could look upon you for years and never tire of your beauty.”
His words caused another flush to pass over her. It was a sweet thing to say, and he sounded sincere when he said it. True or not, the honeyed words made her want him more.
The smile slid down his face, and he gazed down to her for a moment more without saying a word. He wanted her. Or merely wanted to have sex with her.
He set the bowl of berry juice aside, and he stretched out next to her, propped his head on one bent arm, and smiled again. “I have to let you dry.”
“Shame. I’m so wet.”
“I told you it would get harder.”
Rachel held back a moan but felt it through her body.
Testing several of the last swirls for dryness and discovering them set, he took her into his arms and pressed her naked against him for the longest time. Her breasts mashed against his bare chest made her body suffer for him. He’d halted his seduction of her.
“Why did you stop?”
SKY: Great excerpt! Now I’m going to make you really think. You must have written a scene in LN you weren’t sure about but you wrote it anyway. AND, you were SO glad you did. What was it? If you had no doubt about any scene you wrote, just say so!
MICHELE: That one’s easy to answer. This scene was added after the book had been bought. Just as you said, I had no idea why I was writing it, but as the scene blossomed and added to the story, it opened up a whole new door in my head to Jack. He possesses many amazing skills, and after writing this scene, I realized all his skills boiled down to one extreme talent, so this one scene had taught me a great deal about the entire story. And its upcoming sequel, Vigilant.
WARNING: This excerpt has violence, a near miracle, nasty attitudes, prison-mouth, and a mysterious hero to save the day. An R to some, PG-13 to others.
The Whip – An Excerpt from Luminous Nights
Spun around in her bindings tied above her head, Rachel focused on Jack observing his former cellmates shooting dice near the hall’s great hearth. The traitor. It was like he hardly noticed her strung up for a lashing, his prison buddies looking forward to her vicious flogging. Heartlessly calm and detached, he intermittently checked the currently inactive scene of her soon torture, not very interested.
“Jack…” she called out to him. He cast a lazy look her way.
“If Quattro beats me, you can’t use me the way you want to in the mountains.”
“What makes you think stripes on your back would stop me?”
God, she hoped Jack was bluffing. She really couldn’t tell if he were a good guy or a bad guy. Was it okay with him to assault her in the woods while she was wounded? She shuddered.
Jack rose from his table, abandoning his meal. His sight burned into hers, risk in his holographic sky-blue eyes. A low-grade anxiety pulsed through her. He sashayed over to where Quattro had left the whip on the floor behind her.
“You want to see her punished, Quattro?” Jack brushed the dust from his hands.
“I insist upon it,” the mobster replied.
“Do you want her frightened?” Jack picked the whip up, suddenly too attracted to it.
Quattro’s gross grin rose. “I want to hear her shriek in terror and fear me, you, and every man here.”
Rachel was well on her way to all that. She feared every sadistic criminal in the room, but Jack. And he was fixing that right now. She stiffened to keep from shaking. She watched Jack pull the lash through his hand as if he appreciated the braid…or measured it. Others took notice. He took another step back, nonchalantly taking a position. Her heart pumped harder, and her breath quickened. He wasn’t going to do it, was he…going to beat her?
“Hold still, Rachel…” he said low, getting a feel for the grip. She mashed herself against the wall in dread of the lash.
Then Jack reared back and struck. The whip loudly snapped so close to her back, she felt the ripple in the air through the thin cotton of her techsuit. Rachel felt a shocking sting shoot through her body, and she shrieked. But she hadn’t felt the whip dig into her flesh.
“You bastard!” she shouted at him, awaiting the agony and so fearful of the pain, she nearly started to weep. “I swear to God, I’ll find a way to kill you for this!”
Her terror thrilled Quattro so much, he applauded.
“You’re a passivist, Rachel Marie,” Jack said, berating her. “You can’t kill a thing.”
She couldn’t yet feel the pain, though she didn’t think the hall cold enough to truly numb her from the agony of a lash. She opened her eyes and watched Jack’s audience grow. Where was the pain?
Jack reared back with the whip again. Rachel pinched her eyes shut and screamed in terror again, certain he wouldn’t miss a second time. The strike ripped the material of the techsuit down her back. Except for blood-curdling horror and a puff of slapped air, she felt no physical pain or even any contact. The second strike caused the audience to cheer.
A third strike still brought out her terrified cry and more of Quattro’s acclamation. The leather braid never met her back. Of course, it didn’t. Jack hadn’t missed a shot since he was twelve. If he missed the shot, it was because he meant to miss.
Bets started going down to see how many stripes she’d last.
Jack halted the entertainment cold, staring at them. She didn’t know what he was thinking. She wondered if he thought them vacant, psychotic souls, if he wanted to burn their hearts out with the laser gun strapped to his thigh. He broke away from some tormenting theme of thought, and began to roll the whip. Thinking the bloodsport over too early, the malicious crowd found other things to distract them, their breakfasts, games of dice.
“Quattro,” Jack bothered to finally say something as he coiled the whip and tied it, “beating her for an audience of your enemies isn’t such a good move, though I’m sure it would conjure a wicked orgasm for you and your men. If you torture her before your enemy, she becomes a hero. If you kill her, she becomes a martyr. Heroes and martyrs fuel rebellion. You may start a fire you can’t contain.”
Rachel caught up with her racing breath. The panic attack slowly eased. The sweat risen from her body in fear of supersized agony made her colder.
“You got the fear and loathing from her you wanted, the juicy fear and loathing,” Jack told him, “so let my property go.”
Realizing Jack hadn’t beaten her at all when her back wasn’t bleeding, Quattro was stopped cold by a thought. The hovercraft the gangster sat upon gave a spit. “You can’t possibly think I should let the insolent bitch go without a serious blooding, do you?”
“You should care more that your beds aren’t razed by blue armies. You’re done with her.”
“Your first fuck in the free worlds hasn’t softened your black heart, has it?”
Jack rolled stunning, digitally perfect blue eyes.
“For as many men as I’ve seen you kill, you’re not much of a woman-beater. You’re already softer than you were in prison.”
Jack paused. Quattro hit a raw nerve. Rachel wished she knew his thoughts.
“I have more control than you,” Jack told him with a dead-eyed stare, his finger in the gangster’s face. “Don’t mistake that for weakness. I have control of everything in this room.”
The statement shut Quattro’s foul drunken mouth.
“You’re very reckless today.” Jack passed him the whip.
“She’s not getting any more punishment than she just got,” Jack told him. “If I allow you to beat her, she’ll never survive the mountains with me for my purpose. She pilots the only ship around capable of traveling the wormhole in one piece. Leave her correction to me. I’ll make her want to die. Release my property, now that you’ve gotten your rocks off seeing her terrorized. That’s all you required.”
“I hope she cuts your throat in the middle of the night.”
“If you couldn’t get the job done after five years of trying, she can’t.”
“You sleep with your eyes open.”
Rachel watched Jack. He was magical. He knew just what to say to make Quattro do his bidding, the cold timing required, and the guts and confidence to pull it off, not to mention his dead-on aim. He was impressive.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Later, she had to know…
“What were you thinking when you were staging my beating and watching your audience thrill to the show?”
Jack surveyed the west mountains with the binoculars, and then the sea line. Rachel considered he might not answer the question until he replied, “I was thinking of how I wanted to kill all the sick degenerates for getting off on a weaker creature’s fear and pain.”
At the time, he’d looked like murder was on his mind.
Maybe that’s what happens to a good man’s soul when he serves time in Hell. He becomes the cold executioner.
How would she stop this avenging angel’s killing spree?
SKY: I say we leave off with some sizzle. What do you think? After all, that’s essentially what every girl wants under her Christmas tree (winks). SO, let’s talk hot, hot, hot. Share with us the story─the very scene─that will make every reader at this blog walk away….steamin’ ready, searching out your tale!
MICHELE: First kisses are important, wouldn’t you say? A first kiss is a make-or-break situation in real life and fiction. It better have heat and punch. It’s what brings you back.
Here’s Jack and Rachel’s first kiss:
WARNING: Forget the warning! Dive in!
Thought Stopper – An Excerpt from Luminous Nights
“I’m not authorized to hand itineraries to every slick, badge-waving power jerk who boards my ship.”
Jack’s fake sky-blue eyes sparkled from the insults. “So you think I’m slick?”
Rachel’s brow dived into her sight, and she thought his bulletproof pursuit of her cute, but she couldn’t let him know that. It was a sure bet the number of his bedpost notches constituted a furniture mauling.
“Get over yourself, Marshal. If you’ll excuse me, some of us have to work for a living.”
Jack propped a combat boot against the galley entrance, preventing her exit.
“Don’t brush me off so quickly, Rachel. You don’t know what I’m willing to barter for that itinerary and the name of Xerxes’s contact on Desmonda Station.”
Looking into his handsome holographic face, she became interested in hearing his enticements for its entertainment value. “What do you have to barter that I’d be interested in?”
“How about that surrender you requested?”
“I thought you never surrender, Marshal.”
“I had less of a technical surrender in mind than a custodial transfer of my physical self into your private servitude, prepared to take on missions of erotic nature.”
She couldn’t stifle her smile. “Private servitude. I could have you wash my windows.”
“My better skills concentrate in the bedroom.”
“Oh, yes…missions of erotic nature.”
Not the slightest bit disarmed by her mocking tone, Jack reached out and tugged the zipper of her techsuit down achingly slow past her cleavage to her bra. He gave her his weaponized eyes of blue laser, powerful enough to break any woman’s will. Then he bit his bottom lip as though relishing the temptation of climbing into her techsuit with her. It was a lethal combination. Her blood surged through her body at the application of it.
“Do you often offer yourself as a reward for evidence?”
“This is my first time. Does it show?”
“Not at all. What makes you think I’d find value in your private servitude, Marshal? Enough value to break the law?”
His hypnotic eyes twinkled, took her over, and lingered a bit too long. “I can set a fire on Pluto. I’ll melt an iceberg like you.”
He did set her to a simmer with his eyes and voice alone. She hadn’t reacted to a man like that in a long time. And she knew better than to let it happen. But Jack was a beguiling kind of fun. She couldn’t resist playing along.
“I don’t think you can…” she teased in a dilatory, cold challenge, brushing his shoulder of lint from his white shirt, “melt an iceberg…like me.”
Jack’s hand rose to her cheek and slipped into her hair. She was stunned to respond, having underestimated his hubris. She’d thought his threat an empty one. The stroke of his thumb against her cheek robbed her of her nerve. The will to protest his intimate contact fled her.
Her thoughts stopped at the silent command of his sky eyes. The masculine smell of him urged her obedience.
Before she could step away, he brought her to his mouth and, with a half-second’s pause, Jack kissed her gently. His free hand at her back, he pressed her against his big, warm body, and he deepened the contact into a softly invasive kiss of restraint and quiet passion instead of a harder kiss more physically driven. The unexpected tenderness sent an awakening burn through her, giving her a full-body sizzle, something she’d never felt. She didn’t want his unwanted kiss to end.
When he released her, she reminded herself to breathe, to retake possession of her mental faculties. She was close to a sweat. If he’d kissed her any longer, she’d have needed to shed her clothes to keep them from catching fire. The places his hot hands had been were now cold without them. Rachel thought her knees would buckle.
Jack was right. He could set a fire on Pluto.
SKY: Very, very nice! But there’s nothing quite like a sweet ending at this time of year. If you could leave ONE of your tales under your reader’s Christmas tree because it’s your personal favorite, what is it and why are you leaving it? If it’s the same story as your steamin’ hot story, I’m sure we all agree, that’s okay too!
MICHELE: I’d leave Luminous Nights wrapped in pretty shiny paper with a big, fat bow. First written a decade ago, it’s still the sexiest, most fun and peril-packed adventure I’ve done. It’s a very special book to me. I’ve written a lot of heroes since Jack, but none better, more thrilling or dangerous.
If you like prison breaks, alien chocolate seduction, super weapons, doomsday devices, explosions, abduction, narrow escapes, murder-defying deceit, and threats of genocide, all while riding a harrowing roller coaster with a dangerous man wearing a holographic mask, check out Luminous Nights!
SKY: Thanks so much for joining me this holiday season!
MICHELE: Thank you, Sky. It’s always a pleasure to stop by your place.
Read Luminous Nights ’s steamy, peril-packed excerpts, check out awesome reviews, watch a kick-ass book trailer here.
MICHELE: Thanks, Sky, for lending me your readers. I wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season! Read and live an adventure!
Sky here. Admit it, Michele's stories are exactly what you want beneath your tree this year! So don’t forget, for a chance to win an Ecopy of Mind-Blown be sure to answer the following question in a comment at this blog. Jon and Holly decide to sabotage what? Read hot, cool excerpts, catch fabulous reviews, watch a mysterious book trailer AND find the answer to the question HERE. Contest closes Saturday, December 10th 12 AM EST. Please check back to see if you won. Contest winners are listed on the right hand side of this blog.
ALSO, as previously mentioned, there will be a second winner drawn from every post now through December 24th. On Christmas day all winners will be announced and given a little something extra. My treat!
Be sure to visit Saturday as I welcome paranormal romance author, Katie O'Sullivan to my Christmas blog event.
Award-winning New Hampshire native, Sky Purington writes a cross genre of paranormal/fantasy romance heavily influenced by history. From Irish Druids to Scottish Highlanders many of her novels possess strong Celtic elements. More recently, her vampire stories take the reader to medieval England and ancient Italy. Make no mistake, in each and every tale told you'll travel back to another time and revisit the romanticism history holds at its heart. Sky welcomes feedback from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com.
Contest winners are selected by me using the random generator shown below. Each commenter who follows the rules given each week-whether it's to answer a question or simply comment-is assigned a number according to when they left their comment. For example: Jane comments first, then Sue, then Maria. Jane becomes #1, Sue #2, Maria #3. If the contest requires an answer to be left and Jane and Maria answer it, Sue does not, then Jane and Maria have entered the contest. Therefore, Jane is #1 and Maria is #2. Make sense? All numbers are then entered into the Random Generator. The number selected is therefore the winner. Make no mistake, I welcome those of you who choose not to enter the contest. Kind comments are always well received by visiting authors! Thanks so much. ~Sky
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