I don’t usually tell sad stories, but …

Watching my grandparents grow older, grow sicker, and eventually die is that hardest thing I’ve ever done. The memory of their loss haunts me to this day. One night, I was lucky enough to have them visit my dreams. Well, I thought I was lucky.

The dream became a nightmare in which I had to watch them die all over again, trapped inside “the old homestead” where I spent every childhood Christmas and which now belongs to a whole other family. (I can’t even drive  by the house in my hometown without crying.)

Anyway, since I had to live this nightmare, I thought I might as well write about it so the creepiness and despair could exist forever in the published medium. Wow, that sounded sadistic!

Sadism aside, I’m honored to be the For Books’ Sake Weekend Read: “The Weekend Read publishes outstanding fiction by women every Friday. We feature prize-winning stories, stories from published collections, and brand new work by established authors as well as showcasing new, emerging voices from across the globe.”

Here’s an excerpt from “They Lived in the House on Cherry Street.” Be sure to check out the story in its entirety at For Books’ Sake!

I expected nothing but silence and the stale smell of age when I walked through the breezeway and turned the familiar key in the familiar side door lock. Imagine my surprise when I smelled cigarettes and heard the rickety echo of Glenn Miller’s orchestra on a turntable.

The side door led into the kitchen, which was filled with blue smoke, illuminated by early evening light through windows that led to the backyard.

Then, a voice:

“Home at last,” she said. Mom.

The kitchen was as I remembered it: filled with blooming cacti and framed cross-stitch phrases in Italian. Beneath the cigarette smoke, I smelled tomato sauce. My mother stood at the counter, salting pasta, dousing it in olive oil, and stirring, stirring with a wooden spoon.

She must have been in her thirties: carefully curled black hair, red lipstick, a tiny waist, and a simple stained apron that belonged to my father but that she claimed was her favourite.

Mom turned to face me and smiled. She wiped her hands on her apron and opened her arms. “Give me a hug, Sandi. And why are you so late from school?”

We’d burned her decrepit, sick body three days before. She was ashes in the ground at St. Rose Cemetery, where all the Catholics ended up.

One of my knees gave out, so I reached for the edge of the stove for balance. I shouted and pulled my hand back from the heat, which made my mother run to me and yell, “Albert!”

I felt her hands on me—not the paper-thin flesh of a dying old woman but the strong, supple hands of a lifetime cook who kept our Cherry Street house clean and made my bed every morning. Her hands wrapped around my thin wrists and led me to the kitchen table that wasn’t supposed to be there. No, we’d sold the family table at the estate sale.

She pushed me into a chair  and rushed to the sink to wet a washcloth. She pressed the cloth to my hand, and I smelled her perfume: Chanel No. 5.

“What’s all the ruckus, Ella?”

Dad stood in the doorway that led from kitchen to living room—the place where we’d spent over forty Christmas morns. His head was already bald, but his hair was still brown around the sides of his head. He looked strong, the Naval officer he once was, not the wasted sack of bones who died in their bedroom ten years before.

I ignored the cold cloth on my scalded hand and ran to him. He almost dropped his newspaper at my exuberance. He smelled like smoke and Old Spice. He felt warm and soft, full around the middle from all the new-fangled light beer. He stuck his face in my hair and whispered, “Sandi, baby, are you all right?”

I cried, and Mom tutted. “She just burned her hand, silly thing.” She grabbed at me and wrapped the cloth firmly against my palm. “Now, sit down, you two. Time to eat.”

Read “They Lived in the House on Cherry Street” in its entirety at For Books’ Sake.

Good witch or bad witch? Choose sides in Enchanted: Magic Ember

PART TWO of the Enchanted series is out today from Pen and Kink Publishing!

The love story of Cyan and Liam continues in Enchanted: Magic Ember. Due to the violent arrival of a dark witch in Charleston, Cyan’s powers awaken. She is the foretold white witch, fated to save the world, but her skills must be honed with the help of her powerful family.

Liam fears the loss of his beloved Zoe while feeling strangely connected to Cyan. His entire life is turned upside-down when wicked witches involve him in the forthcoming War. The search for a dark witch intensifies, as do questions surrounding Liam’s past.

Enchanted: Magic Ember also features stories from Wendy Sparrow and Em Shotwell!

She glanced at Liam. “There’s this old prophecy in the Celtic Book of Shadows. It speaks of the rise of a dark witch and also a light witch, who will save the day. It’s the Dorcha versus the Loach in a great War.”

“The Dorcha is bad. The Loach is good.”

Cyan nodded. “The prophecy is obnoxiously vague, but we do know the lifelines of the Dorcha and Loach will transect.”

“How does it go exactly?”

She seemed hesitant to tell him, as though revealing some grand secret, and perhaps she was—some secret of witches.

“You don’t have to tell me.”

“It’s all about murder and death.” She wrapped her arms around her knees. “Before I was born, my grandmother foretold that I was the Loach, which meant the Dorcha was alive somewhere, as well. My father suspects the dark witch who flipped the trolley might be the Dorcha, which would explain why my powers have arrived.”

“What do you mean, arrived?”

“I didn’t have any powers until the accident. In fact, the first spell I ever cast was to get rid of your headache.”

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“Part of the prophecy states the powers of the Loach won’t show up until the Dorcha makes an appearance. Their powers feed off each other.”

“And what of this War?”

“The Dorcha wants to cover the world in darkness. The Loach has to stop him.”

“Kill him.”

She nodded.

“Good,” Liam said.

Cyan stared. He wondered if he’d said something wrong but then realized he didn’t care. He’d be willing to kill this Dorcha himself—if he thought he stood half a chance against a man who could flip an entire trolley with the power of magic.

Be sure to read Enchanted: Magic Spark before picking up your copy of Enchanted: Magic Ember. You really don’t want to miss PART ONE of Liam and Cyan’s story. Then, in April, the big finale with Enchanted: Magic Flame. It’s getting very witchy around here!

Buy your copy of Enchanted: Magic Ember on Amazon today! Click here:

Meet the sexy small town boys of Craving: Country

I rarely write anything “sweet.” Sure, there’s always a hint of romance in my work (even in the twisted stuff), but it’s rare that I write traditional romance. I finally did for the new romance anthology from Crave Publishing.

About Craving: Country: “There’s something about a country boy that makes us hot for denim jeans and leather hats. They’re mysterious, intriguing, confident, and demand our attention in everything they do. Then there’s the fierce loyalty you see in their eyes that makes you think of tangled sheets and sinful deeds. So pull on those jeans, roll up your sleeves, and grab your boots. Things are about to get dirty.”

In “Must Love Grapes,” California wine saleswoman Emily travels to the small town of Geneva, Ohio (right near where I live), to test out the famed Tuppence Estate wine cellars. She never expects to be so seriously attracted to grumpy grape farmer Shelby Tuppence, especially since she just broke up with her boss. But, well, sparks fly … or corks pop … or … you get it.

Here, Emily has a drunken encounter with Shelby. If you want to read the rest of “Must Love Grapes,” order your copy of Craving: Country today, available in eBook and paperback from Crave Publishing!

“Must Love Grapes”
An Excerpt
By Sara Dobie Bauer

By the time it occurred to Emily that she should maybe slow down, it was too late. At wine tastings, she always made it a practice to spit, which probably explained her level of inebriation upon her return to the estate. Over the course of the late morning and early afternoon, she’d spit nothing but venom toward Todd.

Janis declared she would be taking a nap before starting dinner preparations, but Emily made her way to the kitchen. The way was slow, considering there appeared to be two of everything—Shelby Tuppence included.

“Oh.” She stood in the kitchen doorframe, hands on either side for balance, and frowned at the man in front of her. “You. Fantastic. Do you have any cheese and crackers?”

He stared at her from his seat at the butcher-block kitchen island. “What happened to you?”

“The Jamboree.” She moved her hand in a circle and made a clicking sound with her tongue. “I don’t think Ohio wines are that bad, but maybe the high residu … resid … that’s a hard word. Res-i-du-al sugar was high, so maybe it’s in my brain.”

He laughed once, quickly, before covering his mouth with his hand.

“You have a nice mouth.” She stepped over the threshold. “Too bad you’re mean.”

She wasn’t so drunk that she missed the sad look on his face. He pushed the bar stool out from behind him and stood, moving quickly for the fridge. “What kind of cheese do you like?”

Emily slumped onto his abandoned seat. “Any kind. And crackers! I need to soak up the alcohol.”

“Did Janis drive you into Geneva?”


“Where is she?”

“Sleeping. She needed a nap. But I …” She pointed to herself. “Needed cheese and crackers. Did you know wine and cheese go well together?”

“I did.” He stood there, frozen, a block of what looked like white cheddar in his hand. “I’m sorry about yesterday, but I’m not mean. I’m just not very good with people.”

“No, you are good with grapes.” She nodded as if she’d just come to some until-then-unknown conclusion and watched him hurry to the pantry as he unwrapped the cheese.

Shelby looked much as he had the day before in dirt-covered jeans and another slim fitting, worn button-down—plaid, that day, in shades of light blue that should have matched his eyes but didn’t since his eyes were dark brown. It was equal parts unnerving and attractive, the way his dark eyes were in direct contrast to his light, bright hair. And her earlier drunken confession was accurate: he did have a nice mouth with a full bottom lip that would have been perfect for sucking.

In front of her, he placed a small cutting board, complete with a big block of cheese and water crackers. She grabbed the little knife from his hand and went to work while he lingered, standing, across from her.

“I usually spit, you see, which you’re supposed to do at wine tastings. This immaturity here.” She waved her hand in front of her face. “This is newbie shit, and I’m not a newbie. I’m thirty-four. Thirty-four.” She groaned and shoved some cheese and cracker into her mouth. “It’s your sister’s fault. Janis wanted to get me drunk so I would tell her all the dirty secrets about Wallace Distribution, but—”

“I don’t know that you want to be talking to me right now. Should I leave?” He took a backwards step toward the door.

“No, stay. No, you’re so cute, you have to stay.”

He grinned and turned the shade of, well, red wine.

“Oh, you smiled again. You’ve smiled twice today. That’s good.” The cheese was definitely aged and salty and perfect.

Shelby rushed toward the sink. “Water. You need water.”

“So there’s nothing really bad about Wallace Distribution, except maybe Todd.” She put her head in her hands and moaned. “Oh, my God, Todd. Todd is my ex-boyfriend. He wasn’t really my boyfriend. He’s my boss, but we were sleeping together, and I messed it up. Just like you messed up your marriage, I guess. All work and no play …”

He handed her a glass of water and blinked—a lot.

“Look at those eyelashes.” Emily sat up on her knees on the bar stool, and he hurried around the counter to steady her with his hands on her upper arms. Up close, he carried that smell again, of clean earth and yummy sweat. She grabbed his face. “You have amazing eyelashes. Look at them!”

“Ms. Seymour, I should really give you some time to sober up.”

“But I have a secret,” she said.

“Must Love Grapes” and a steamy assortment of love stories from other authors is available today in Craving: Country! Buy your paperback copy from Amazon HERE, or your eBook copy HERE.

Enchanted: Magic Spark – Soundtrack and Pretty Things

I love music. I consider music one of my main inspirations. Thanks to programs like Pandora, I can be driving to yoga, hear a new song, and have a new story. For Enchanted: Magic Spark, set in the Lowcountry of Charleston, South Carolina, I needed songs not only Southern but also sort of dark. These aren’t happy tunes really, but they’re beautiful and haunting … sort of like my story. Bring on the love and angst!

1) “Disarm” – The Civil Wars

2) “Storm Comin'” – The Wailin’ Jennys

3) “Bottom of the River” – Delta Rae

4) “I Still Care For You” – Ray LaMontagne

5) “Tell Me True” – Sarah Jarosz

Now, for some aesthetics, because we all like pretty things. When considering the witches in Enchanted: Magic Spark, I looked through plenty of Pinterest. I found images that set the right mood, for the story and for the photo shoot I did in homage to the series.

Prior to writing, I also had to get an idea of what goodies my witches might own. For instance, below, you’ll see the Plainacher family scrying mirror, crystal ball, and Cyan’s lucky necklace.

In closing, need a feel for the whole book? Well, here’s a final tease of people, places, and things. If you haven’t bought your copy of Enchanted: Magic Spark, it’s now available for order on Amazon. I hope you enjoy my magical story of a witch destined to love her sexy Irishman.


I put a spell on you … Enchanted: Magic Spark is out TODAY!

Liam reached out to wipe a tear from the edge of her cheek, and Cyan’s small hand covered his. He knew he should feel wrong with Zoe comatose behind him, but something about Cyan made it all so innocent. Yet, she also felt powerful.

Just as the thought passed, Cyan’s skin burned blue. Her eyes popped open as Liam twitched his hand backwards, fell on his ass, and smacked the back of his head against Zoe’s hospital bed.

“Shit,” he said, hand to his skull. “Did you see that? Did you just glow?”

She was on her feet and running before he could even stand. He yelled after her, but the sound of her retreating feet indicated she had no intention of turning back—and he wasn’t sure he wanted to follow.

TODAY, TODAY, TODAY! Enchanted: Magic Spark is finally out today! The first part of my witchy, Southern gothic trilogy is HERE!

Read about my story “Destiny’s Dark Light:”
In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

Enchanted: Magic Spark also features stories from Wendy Sparrow and Em Shotwell!

What are reviewers saying?

“The writing was awesome, with great descriptions and well-defined characters that will keep readers engaged and turning pages.”

“The first thing that struck me with each story is that they’re all quite quirky, reminiscent of indie music in the fact that they have their own feel and individuality. They’re like hidden gems just waiting to be found.”

“Each author brings a little something different, but all of them bring something magical, and I can’t wait to dive into the next one.”

(One more with a bit of a “Destiny’s Dark Light” spoiler …)
“The characters were solid, believable, and relatable. The world Sara has created is colorful, mysterious, unique, and magic-filled. I can’t wait for more! And even though I was a bit irked that this was a ‘To be continued…’ ending, I’m hooked and will be really looking forward to what comes next in this world.”

(Don’t worry; part two, Enchanted: Magic Ember, comes out February 20.)

The Enchanted series and “Destiny’s Dark Light” mean so much to me since I’ve always had a thing for witches and I miss living in Charleston, South Carolina. Writing it was like going on a vacation of the mind. If you’re like me and couldn’t get enough of The Craft, Practical Magic, and the Harry Potter series, get your copy of Enchanted: Magic Spark today …

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Witches and sexy Irishmen – The Enchanted: Magic Spark Fantasy Movie Cast

I’m a visual person. When I set out to write a new novel, I always cast real people in the roles. Not only does it help me paint a vivid picture, but it’s good fun looking at photos of attractive people all day.

Enchanted: Magic Spark comes out January 9, featuring my three-part novel series “Destiny’s Dark Light.” Set in Charleston, South Carolina, DDL features battling witches, a trolley accident tragedy, and a mournful Irishman. Read on to see who would star in my movie version.

Cyan Burroughs

Who better to play this tough-as-nails young witch than Angelina Jolie? Cyan is destined to save light witches the world over from an evil dark witch who hopes to destroy. If only her powers would show up. When she meets Liam, the man she’s destined to love, imagine her surprise when she finds out he already loves someone else. Good things she’s tough. She’s gonna need to be strong to survive this.

Liam Cody

Yes, I know Liam is Irish, but Benedict Cumberbatch could play Irish.  Liam is Cyan’s supposed destiny. When he and his girlfriend are injured in a magic-induced trolley accident, Cyan saves them–but the woman Liam adores ends up in critical condition. He’s thankful for Cyan’s friendly presence at the hospital, but he’s terrified of losing his Zoe. An orphan, he can’t imagine being left alone all over again.

Drake Burroughs

Cyan’s daddy dearest has got to be played by the rugged Clive Owen. Drake was once a dark witch, saved by the strength of his wife’s love. He uses  blood to work difficult spells and is the size of an NFL linebacker. He would do anything to protect his daughter, even give Liam the stink eye. He doesn’t want Cyan to get hurt. As her powers awaken, he will prepare her for War, but how can he prepare her for finding out Liam loves someone else?

Rue Burroughs

Cyan’s strict magic mother who never wears shoes requires the gravitas and charisma of one Michelle Pfeiffer. Rue has been a powerful light witch her whole life. (Runs in the family.) She knows her daughter is the destined witch who will save the world … or die trying. She also knows Cyan is supposed to love this Liam Cody fellow, and although he’s charming, he seems desperately in love with his injured Zoe. What if the fates are wrong?

Sybil Plainacher

Played by Julianne Moore, Cyan’s all-seeing witch aunt Sybil has had visions of Liam since Cyan was born. She’s painted his picture a million times (although he’s even better looking in person). She swears Cyan is destined to love this man, no matter his dedication to another woman. Sybil knows things that other witches don’t, and although she’s a little shy and eccentric, she’s never been wrong before.

Zoe Hibbins

Anne Hathaway would play the beautiful, tragic Zoe. Seriously injured and left unconscious by the trolley accident, she’s an orphan like Liam: a shared trait that brought them together when they met years ago drinking wine. She thinks Liam’s idiosyncrasies are adorable, but she’s been more and more worried about his weird headaches. To continue loving him, though, she first has to wake up.

Max Henny

Liam’s boss at the bistro where he works should be played by Mark Strong. Ever since Liam moved to Charleston with Zoe, Max has taken it upon himself to act as a sort of father figure to the younger man. With Zoe’s hospitalization, Max fears Liam might fall apart, and no amount of scotch can fix him. Can Max help Liam find his way back from the edge of despair? And what’s the story with this Cyan chick who keeps hanging around Zoe’s hospital room?

There you have it: the full movie cast of “Destiny’s Dark Light.” This Friday, I will be releasing a newsletter exclusive excerpt from the book. If you’re interested, be sure to sign up HERE.

If you want to read more about DDL or pre-order an eBook copy of Enchanted: Magic Spark, click HERE. (Paperback will be available January 9!)

Oh, and please support our social media Thunderclap HERE. We need as much love as we can get. Hope you’re finding time to relax and read a good book this holiday season!

Bite Somebody this Christmas

Bite Somebody this Christmas! No, that’s not a directive to nibble your neighbor. I mean, buy the Bite Somebody series from me and get a signed copy with goodies. Read all about the paranormal rom-com that has been called “a vampire romp oozing with sexual tension and laugh-out-loud surprises.”

Winner of the 2017 Imadjinn Award for Best Paranormal Romance!

“Do you want to be perfect?”

That’s what Danny asked Celia the night he turned her into a vampire. Three months have passed since, and immortality didn’t transform her into the glamorous, sexy vamp she was expecting but left her awkward, lonely, and working at a Florida gas station. On top of that, she’s a giant screw-up of an immortal, because the only blood she consumes is from illegally obtained hospital blood bags.

What she needs to do–according to her moody vampire friend Imogene–is just … bite somebody. But Celia wants her first bite to be special, and she has yet to meet Mr. Right Bite. Then, Ian moves in next door. His scent creeps through her kitchen wall and makes her nose tingle, but insecure Celia can’t bring herself to meet the guy face-to-face.

When she finally gets a look at Ian’s cyclist physique, curly black hair, and sun-kissed skin, other parts of Celia tingle, as well. Could he be the first bite she’s been waiting for to complete her vampire transformation? His kisses certainly have a way of making her fangs throb. Just when Celia starts to believe Ian may be the fairy tale ending she always wanted, her jerk of a creator returns to town, which spells nothing but trouble for everyone involved.

Read all about it on Amazon.

Imogene helped her newbie vampire friend Celia hook up with an adorable human, but now Celia has dropped an atomic bomb of surprise: she has a possibly blood-sucking baby on the way. Imogene is not pleased, especially when a mysterious, ancient, and annoyingly gorgeous vampire historian shows up to monitor Celia’s unprecedented pregnancy.

Lord Nicholas Christopher Cuthbert III is everything Imogene hates: posh, mannerly, and totally uninterested in her. Plus, she thinks he’s hiding something. So what if he smells like a fresh garden and looks like a rich boarding school kid just begging to be debauched? Imogene has self-control. Or something.

As Celia’s pregnancy progresses at a freakishly fast pace, Imogene and Nicholas play an ever-escalating game of will they or won’t they, until his sexy maker shows up on Admiral Key, forcing Nicholas to reveal his true intentions toward Celia’s soon-to-arrive infant.

Read all about it on Amazon.

The books cost $13.95 retail, but if you order directly from me, I’ll sign it and send Bite Somebody series swag for a total of $18.95. (I added five bucks for shipping and supplies.) Either reply in the comments below or send me an email at sara@saradobie.com. I’m happy to send a signed copy of either book WITH SWAG your way, just in time for Christmas! And remember: only bite the people you love.

I’m thankful for gay romance novels

I’ve been reading a lot of gay romance lately, partially because of my three-novella contract with NineStar Press: an LGBTQ publisher who bought my Escape trilogy. As far as my trilogy goes, the words are flying, and I have to think all the smexy gay romance I’ve been reading has certainly aided in the process.

This isn’t a new thing, not really. It all started with BBC Sherlock and my sudden and surprising attraction to Johnlock fan fiction. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman would just make a really cute couple, okay?)

Introducing John Not Even Subtle Watson.

Maybe I just got really tired of the same old tropes in girl-meets-boy romance and wanted something fresh and new. I’ve seen all the permutations of Princess and Prince Charming, but I’ve stumbled upon something wholly new (to me) in LGBTQ romance: Prince Charming and Prince Not-So-Sure-of-Things-At-All.

My list of favorite authors feels endless, but I’m gonna try to narrow it down …

Dessa Lux/Dira Lewis
Same person, different names, same kind of books. My obsession with Dessa/Dira began with Gun to my Head: a twisted vampire romance that is gritty as hell but hotter than a sun-scorched beach. Dessa further enamored me with the entirety of her Protection of the Pack Series (some pretty graphic sex but heartfelt, loving stuff) and the oddity of Surrendered to the Sea in which a sea god falls in love with a werewolf. Ah-hem, yeah, if you want weird pairings with amazing writing, Dessa/Dira is your girl.

Jordan L. Hawk
Jordan’s characters are more down to earth … sort of? Her Whyborne & Griffin Series features two human men, at least, although they fight otherworldly menaces all the time. There are nine of these books. NINE! Do I care? Nope, I’m in the process of reading them all. Whyborne is of the brilliant, closeted nerd variety while Griffin is the super sexy bad ass Pinkerton who seduces our adorable nerd. Together (and with the help of a snarky female friend), they solve crimes, battle their own demons, and hide their illicit love from society.

KJ Charles
Speaking of hiding things, magician Stephen Day has to fight his feelings for his family nemesis in book one of KJ’s brilliant Charm of Magpies trilogy. Stephen might hate Lucian or he might not. I mean, Lucian is super hot and wild and brave and … mmmm, I really like Lucian. Spoilers: so does Stephen. I adore the chemistry between these two tough-as-nails characters and how love can make them ever so sweet and soft together. With humor and heat, KJ weaves more magic even than Stephen himself, and, as you’ll read, that little guy is one powerful dude.

CS Pacat
A friend of mine suggested I buy CS’s first book, Captive Prince. Halfway through book one, I bought books two and three of the trilogy, and I devoured them all. There is nothing better than two princes dueling for power while trying desperately not to fall in love with each other. I rarely see character development quite this good … or slow-burn sexual tension this hot. Once you meet Damen and Laurent, you’ll love them as much as I do … and get comfortable, because there’s no turning your back on this insanely exciting game of royal intrigue and lust.

Eleanor Kos
Sort of like Dessa/Dira, Eleanor weaves stories that some might find a little extreme, but I fell hard for her Wine & Song Series. What might make this hard to swallow for some? Well, the lead character falls utterly in lust with the romantic interest while he’s being mugged by said romantic interest, and their BDSM relationship develops from there. For five novellas, we follow David and Jazz as they navigate each other as well as try to move beyond the past. They’re both super stubborn and adorable, and I wish there were more in this series. (Can I get more in this series, please?)

I can’t forget the honorable mentions. The only reason these authors are only “honorable” is because, whereas I’ve read a million books by the above authors, I’m fairly new to these gals, but they’re brilliant so far!

Lyssa Dering proves guys who eat brains can be sexy in How to Love a Monster. Rose Maefair’s debut, Desert Ice, forces a mage and his soldier slave into a romantic relationship neither are ready for.  Nicky James broke my freaking heart and put it back together in the highly emotional Until the End of Time. Brianna Kienitz weaves soccer, music, cultural conflict, and lesbian love in Off Pitch. Selina Kray creates one of my favorite male leads of all time (Hiero) in the sexy and, at times, hilarious suspense novel The Fangs of Scavo. Finally, Claire Cray takes me back to my vampire roots with her two-book series Merrick.

If you’re a romance reader looking for something new, I would seriously suggest trying one of these authors. They are each fantastic in their own way! And, hey, keep an eye out for my Escape trilogy, book one coming in June 2018 from NineStar Press.

A sweet story … except for the murder

My love stories don’t tend to be sweet. I’m more into noir weirdos with purple hair (cough, Imogene) than two semi-normal good people. Then, I wrote “Claimed” and was like, “Wow, that was actually adorable … except for that one murder scene.”

Olivia is a super old vampire in Charleston, South Carolina, when someone tries to kill her. To survive, she attacks a young human walking his dog and accidentally becomes linked to Ethan, body and soul. That’s when Ethan’s nightmares start, and Olivia realizes he needs to be with her. Like, forever. Which is a huge problem when Ethan becomes Human Most Wanted for some vengeful bloodsuckers.

“Claimed” is out today in Blood in the Rain 3 from Cwtch Press. The cover is beyond sexy. Here, gaze on its magnificence …

Nom nom nom!!! Now, read an excerpt from “Claimed,” because for once, I wrote a love story about two people who legitimately deserve happiness. (Not that Imogene doesn’t but, well … she is pretty twisted, okay?)

Death came quickly—or would have if not for the human by the palm tree on King Street. He walked a dog that barked at her in fear. Away from the bars of downtown Charleston, they were alone on the sidewalk, alone outside for blocks thanks to the late hour. The human’s voice reached her: gentle murmurings, cautious whispers, and then louder inquiries.

The dog growled and barked some more, and Olivia fell to one knee on the pavement. Her vision dimmed, so she closed her eyes and shook her head back and forth as if that would stop the dead blood from coursing through her veins.

She thought about being at the bar earlier, about seeing Alexander across the room with his own blood-filled glass lifted in salute. Olivia had paid the bartender and left after consuming half a bottle of Age 37, which had apparently been spiked with blood from a dead human.

In other words, someone had tried to murder her.

But then, there he was: the human on the sidewalk with the barking dog. She looked up at his tall silhouette, back lit white by a streetlight. She reached her hand up to him but crumpled into a small undead ball when pain stabbed across her gut. Her lungs contracted and would not expand. She choked on lack of air.

The human’s gentle voice reached her again, but she couldn’t make out the words. She clenched her jaw together to capture a strangled growl when she lost feeling in her legs. Then, his hands were on her shoulders—large, warm hands. The dog continued barking a few feet away, its leash now tied to the base of a palm tree.

Up close, she made sense of his words: “I’m calling an ambulance.”

Before he could call, though, she dragged herself up by the front of his coat. She climbed the front of his crouched body until she could wrap her arms around his neck, and he held her. He told her it was going to be okay.

Olivia’s canines descended, and she bit down hard on the side of his throat. He tried to push her away, but she clung, especially when his blood filled her mouth. It had been a hundred years since she’d tasted fresh human blood, right from the vein. She moaned against his skin as he attempted to scramble back, maybe free the barking dog, but she wasn’t dying anymore. She used her strength to pin the man to the pavement, and the dog barked and barked. The man’s heartbeat slowed.

When she realized what was about to occur, she pulled her teeth from his throat and stared down at him. How old could he be? Twenty? Twenty-one? The only wrinkles on his face were shallow laugh lines around his half-open eyes. He looked at her but didn’t appear to see her because now, he was the one dying.

“No, no, no.” She smacked his cheek. “Oh, my God.” She grabbed for his discarded cell phone, already primed to call 911. She dialed and screamed about a mugging, a stabbing, send help to King Street now.

The man didn’t move beneath her, lips parted for his final breaths.

“Please, come back.”

The dog growled and pulled at its chain.

Olivia rolled up the sleeve of her leather jacket and bit into her own pale flesh, warm with the overabundance of the poor man’s blood. She held her wrist over his lips and let blood tumble drop by desperate drop. Her wound healed almost immediately, so she leaned her head against his chest and listened for the heartbeat that strengthened and strengthened.

She sat up and ran her fingers across his cheeks. “That’s it, come on.”

His eyes opened, irises the color of midnight on the harbor. Brow furrowed, he studied her face as the dog, prevented from protecting its master, whined.

“I’m so sorry.” She fled to the beat of an incoming ambulance.

Read the rest of “Claimed” and eighteen other awesomely sensual vampire stories in Blood in the Rain 3. Click HERE and buy your copy today!! And while you’re shopping, you might as well check out the whole series …

Vampire love stories are yours today in Ravenous

You may have noticed I love vampires. Well, I love vampires in love even more. Today, Pen and Kink Publishing releases its newest anthology, just in time for Halloween. Ravenous “explores saucy, sexy, and sweet tales of forbidden vampire/vampire hunter love, vampire threesomes in space, kink as only a vampire could enjoy it, and so much more.”

My noir horror-romance story, “Forever Dead,” fits into the forbidden vampire/vampire hunter love category: When ancient vampire Dario almost murders Detective Zach Mede for the fun of it, he is stopped by a sexual connection that threatens to ruin both their reputations. Despite keeping their forbidden tryst secret from the world, a vengeful female vampire finds out and makes Zach a target. Will Dario be in time to save the young mortal he has come to love, and at what price?

Here’s a teaser of “Forever Dead” to whet your spooky appetite:
(Warning: sort of explicit dude on dude content to follow.)

I first saw Zach Mede when he worked SWAT. His team tumbled into this blood club in Miami. Word was vampires were killing humans in the club bathrooms, a serious no-no in the so-called modern world where vamps and walking blood bags were supposed to live in unity. Instead of going along peacefully, a gang of male vampires, myself included, fought back at the injustice of the bust.

As fate would have it, I got matched up in hand to hand with Zach. I was so impressed with his strength and speed, I let the kid beat the shit out of me. He didn’t move like other humans. He moved too fast, and I suspected he’d been trained by one of my own. Oh, yeah, and he smelled good, looked good. Something about that black hair; those angry, dark eyes; and the immensity of his shoulders—I just let him whack away at me until I decided to play dead. I snuck out before they could cuff me and then tailed him home.

I politely let myself into his apartment.

He wasn’t even out of his shoes when I threw my first punch. I lifted him about ten feet off the ground and dropped his dead weight on the kitchen table. I pinned him down and let him know, “I was just playing earlier. Now, I’m gonna kill you.”

He didn’t even yell when I tore at his throat. He barely struggled. Guess he figured when your time’s up, your time’s up. But then his hands were in my hair. He made a pleased “ung” noise. Before I knew what the hell I was doing, my mouth covered his parted lips. I shoved my tongue against his teeth, setting up imaginary flags that said “Mine, mine, mine.”

I distinctly remember the sound of clothes tearing as I sought bare skin. That first time was and always will be a ménage of images, sounds, and smells: Zach’s tan chest, the sound of his voice, and the blood that pooled down the side of his neck.

Wanna read some more? (Oh, God, yes.) Check out the full Ravenous anthology, featuring stories from Wendy Nikel, V. Hummingbird, Tiffany Michelle Brown, and several others. Celebrate Halloween early with some sexy vampire lore.

Also check out my guest post on the Pen and Kink Publishing website. Click HERE to read about the “Forever Dead” atmosphere, soundtrack, and even fantasy movie cast.

Oh, and in case you didn’t hear … Speaking of vampires, my paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody won Best Paranormal Romance Novel in the 2017 Imadjinn Awards. We’re pretty dang pleased around here, let me tell you. I even put my trophy on the fireplace mantle, because I think that’s where trophies are supposed to go? Many thanks to my publisher, World Weaver Press, along with the people who made it all happen: Sarena Ulibarri and Trysh Thompson. Love you ladies! Now, go read “Forever Dead.”

Amazing “Forever Dead” art by Turner B. Davis.