When Opposites Attract… with Nancy M. Griffis

April 20, 2015

Nancy Griffis

Hello Hello! I’m Nancy M. Griffis and my novel, A Most Unusual Wedding, is out today! I’m very excited to be here talking about my latest release with all of you!

Wedding stems from a short story that was published in a charity anthology a few years ago. It centers around Lord Leo Harris and Master Leathersmith Gerald Smithson and their (if I may say so) adorable love story in an alternate Victorian London where magic, aka power, runs rife through the population. Most things in the book echo the real London of the time but to two major things: the power and same-sex pairings being nothing unusual. If you’ve read A Most Unusual Courtship (the prequel, available FREE at Dreamspinner), then you know why, but if not, back in Greek times, same-sex unions were blessed by the Gods and the world simply never went back on that.

Leo, god love him, is as fine a dandy as you’d ever want to know, and shows it in his extremely colorful wardrobe and rakish sense of humor. But he also has that steel of spine that comes from having gotten everything he’d ever needed. He’s a lord, he’s heir to the family fortune and political power, a middle child of three, and has great powers within himself. He could have turned out an absolute horror, but for a good heart, a lovely family, and incredibly inquisitive mind.

Gerald, on the other hand, is a quiet, sweet man who is as steadfast as the day is long in summer. He’s an only child raised by his grandfather, Daniel, after his parents were killed in a terrorist bombing when he was ten. He’s been significantly hurt by mages in his past and so distrusts them all and refuses to do business with any. The lone exception to this is his best mate, Harry Bickley, who’s away most of the time at sea in Her Majesty’s Navy.

I have a wee excerpt below from Courtship that shows the moment Leo and Gerald meet that I think you’ll enjoy.

A friend asked me how in the hell I came up with the idea for Wedding which cracked me up. It wasn’t that I so much came up with it that Leo started yammering in my ear about getting married. Incessantly. Right while I was in the middle of another project. And because he’s such a brat, he got what he wanted when I put down the other novel and started outlining Wedding. Why yes, all writers are crazy to a certain extent, if you didn’t already know that. ;o) Of course, it couldn’t just be about getting married - that would be far too sweet for one of my books – so I did come up with the plague to slow things down a bit and then, well, someone besides Leo was utterly taken with Gerald (he really is the sweetest man) and things kind of went downhill from there for the poor boys.

***

So here are a couple of questions for you readers out there…

What’s your favorite time period for a magic-based novel? Or for any novel, really. This is my first historical novel and the research was both intimidating and fascinating. I believe I’ve come down with the itch to do more novels in other time periods (not related to Leo & Gerald) but I’m curious if there’s a common zeitgeist time period.

When you read books with magic in them, do you prefer fully spoken spells, spells in other/made up languages, or does it not matter? I posted this question to my flist while writing and am wondering if the world at large echoes their responses. :o

***

Alrighty! I’m going to head out now that I’ve taken up your precious time. I truly hope you enjoy Courtship and Wedding, because I just adore my guys and want everyone to love them. Oh! And in case you’re wondering, I’m hard at work on the sequel, A Most Unusual Honeymoon, (A murder mystery for the guys! wheeee!) and hoping to finish soon so as not to keep you all waiting too long.

Thanks for stopping by! This is Nancy, signing off.

 

***

LEATHER ALWAYS felt and smelled like home. From the time Gerald was a small boy leaning against his father’s knee, he’d been surrounded by the crafting of it. Instead of learning his letters, he’d learned good cuts from bad. Instead of playing with boys outside in the busy London streets, he’d stayed inside and watched every cut his father had chiseled or sliced into. His education had eventually included basic reading and maths, but originally consisted of tanning and cutting and creating works of art from all forms of leather.

All his childhood memories encompassed leather in some form, but the most bittersweet had been witnessing his parents don butter-soft leather cuffs on their tenth anniversary. Gerald had peeked through the stairway rails as firelight cast a golden warmth over the room and his parents kissed gently, the cuffs shining and soft on each right wrist.

His childhood had come to a horrible end two days later when his parents had been caught in the blast of a terror attack on Her Majesty’s Theatre.

“Gerald! You done yet, lad?”

Gerald snapped out of the sad thoughts that were just as heartbreaking sixteen years later. He set down the anniversary cuffs he’d been working on and looked up. His grandfather was still strong enough at eighty-three to bellow from the third story of their London home, as annoying as the habit was. “Almost, Granddad! Be up in a few minutes!”

The shop door opened, jingling the bell above it, and in walked a dandy if ever Gerald had seen one. He had the strong features and perfectly straight teeth that were hallmarks of the gentry. He was handsome, no doubt, with lively blue-gray eyes. The fine cotton trousers, satiny shirt, perfectly creased morning coat, and elegant leather boots certainly completed the portrait of a gentleman. The cluster of red and black plumage on the man’s hat made Gerald want to roll his eyes at the puffery.

Before the man could do more than doff his hat to reveal honey-colored hair and smile in greeting, Gerald said flatly, “I serve no mages in this shop, my lord.”

The man paused, head canting aside as he asked, “How do you know I’m a mage?”

“The door was locked.”

“I see. Well, you don’t even know what I’m going to ask of you.”

“I need not know, my lord, to know that I do not serve your kind.”

“My kind?”

“Arrogant mages with no sense of obligation to pay for what they order.”

“I see.” A smile hovered again over the man’s mouth, and then he said, “So if I were to pay you ahead for the work, would that change your mind?”

“It would not.”

“Not even a little?”

The teasing tone prompted Gerald to frown. “My lord, there are many excellent leathersmiths in London.”

The lord walked closer and spun his hat between his palms. “Ah, but you are the best; everyone says so. I need the best.”

Gerald stood to his considerable height. As expected—like most men—the lord came to Gerald’s shoulders. Those blue eyes widened in surprise as the man craned his neck to look up and meet his gaze. Gerald said firmly, “I serve whom I wish, and those of power do not number among them. Good day, my lord.”

The man’s mouth twisted into a moue of disappointment, and he heaved an overly dramatic sigh. “Well. If you’re going to be petty about it and tar everyone with the same brush, then I’ve no choice but to go elsewhere. At least for now.”

Gerald didn’t reply, instead choosing to sit back down and wait for the man to leave. The man again twirled the hat between his palms and then set it atop his head before leaving. Mayhap it was painting all mages alike, but he’d dealt enough with them in the past to maintain his present loathing.

Untrustworthy sods, all of them.

As soon as the mage closed the door behind him, Gerald stood and walked over to lock the door again, then tugged on it to be certain. He returned to his work counter, packed away the anniversary cuffs, and swiftly tidied up the small shop before jogging upstairs to his grandfather’s apartment on the third floor. He reached the door just as it opened, and he intercepted his grandfather before he could descend a single step. If Daniel walked down three flights of stairs, Gerald might end up carting him back up, depending on Daniel’s mood.

Green eyes twinkled up at him and his grandfather said, “It’s about time you came up, you great lout! Where’s me tea?”

Gerald chuckled, then said, “Where it always is, Granddad, waiting to be made in your kitchen. Settle yourself down on the sofa, and I’ll get it started for you.”

Daniel Smithson hadn’t reached his great age without knowing how to take advantage of any kind of situation. That didn’t preclude him from being an excellent grandfather; it just made Gerald’s life a bit livelier. As the old man had taken him in at the tender age of ten without a single complaint, though, Gerald was more than happy to put up with his machinations.

“Saw a pretty thing leaving the shop just now.”

Except for his matchmaking ones, Gerald thought with a sigh. “He’s a lord and a mage, Granddad. I sent him packing.”

Daniel settled down onto the comfortable sofa with a groan and wagged a finger at him. “You’re too fussy by half, my lad. If a lord like that were t’pay me that sort of attention in my day, I’d have lapped at his silver spoon. I’m not getting any younger, Gerald. You’ll need lookin’ after, once I’m gone, no matter your independent ways. It’s not right, livin’ alone all yer life.”

Gerald set the kettle on to boil, slid the half-eaten meat pie into the oven, and turned the dial to warming. So convenient, these new ovens. A small bit of magic spelled to the item itself—no mages necessary—and baking was no longer a hazardous thing where Gerald could accidentally set the kitchen afire. “I need no looking after, Granddad. And besides which, you’ll outlive us all.”

Daniel cackled a bit. “There is that, my lad, there is that.”

 

***

Nancy M. Griffis: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/nancy-m-griffis

Buy A Most Unusual Wedding here!

Threefold Love-Curtis Landry

April 18, 2015

For anyone who wonders what was going through Curtis’s mind that first night-if any of you have burned through the book yet…

Curtis Landry

Last night, they were awful. Just fucking loud, and I can tell you, listening to my older brother have sex with his boyfriends? Not my favorite past time. Boyfriends. Plural. How does that even happen? I cheat once, okay, repeatedly, but I really have a problem saying no, and I get dumped. How’s that fair?…twice. Dumped twice. Because I was seeing two people.  At least one of them knew about the other. That counts for something, right?

Okay, maybe I liked listening a little. I’m pretty sure I heard Xavier at one point, this sound that crawled inside my stomach and just set everything throbbing in my groin. Maybe…maybe I pretended my brother wasn’t in there and…OH, fuck, this is so embarrassing. I’m not gross or anything, but Xavier’s…candy. He’s eye candy.

Whatever. Who cares? It’s not like anyone else really knows what I did. I could have been working it to anything. But they were so fucking loud and I could hear Duncan. I mean, I just know it was him. There’s no way it was anyone else.

There was moaning in the hallway. Moaning. And I’m not supposed to get, um…interested?

I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. Not well, anyway. I kept wondering what it was like to have two people who actually…care. That’s…just unbelievable. I’m not jealous, okay? I just don’t understand why Andrew gets to do anything he wants. Everything he wants. And no one’s mad at him. No one tells him they never want to see him again, take his shit and get out. Mom doesn’t freak out on him the way she does me. Oh, no, he just gets to bang two dudes who think he’s the shit. And I just get screwed.

It’s not fair. Life is so unfair.

I’m not jealous.

 

 

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Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6279

 

Threefold Love-Excerpt 2

April 18, 2015

Hi! I thought everyone might want another small peek into the book.

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Andrew Landry

I don’t know why I was so nervous about Duncan meeting Xavier. I mean, I know why I was, but Duncan seems to like him a lot. Hell, he seems to like him better than half our friends from our pagan group, and we’ve been friends with those people for years. And we promised Ger and Linda we’d help them move tomorrow. Ugh. Damn it. I probably shouldn’t actually drink too much tonight.

 

“So, Duke, what do you think?” I ask, sliding my arms around my boyfriend. He’s warm and fits comfortably in my arms. I can bitch all I want that he won’t go running with me, but I love the way he feels when I’m pressed against his back. He’s the perfect height to be the inside spoon. He’s busy mixing something in a bowl already. I have no idea how he gets things together so fast.

 

“He’s great! He seems a bit off, but most of the best people are. I vote yes for new friend.” He looks over his shoulder at me before going back to what he was doing.

 

“Yeah.” I kiss his neck and run my lips along his cheek. He’s so warm and comfortable. Having him in my arms is always grounding for me. I give him an extrahard squeeze and realize we haven’t actually had any sexy alone time together all week.

 

“And he’s easy on the eyes too,” he says on a laugh, moving out of my arms to the fridge for something.

 

“I know.” I stand there peeking into the bowl and it looks like gloop to me. If I didn’t know to have absolute faith in his abilities, I would be worried. I look up and he’s watching me. I can see the speculation there. My gut twists with guilt. Glasses. Wine. I came in here for booze. I move to the red wine on the counter and meticulously peel the foil away from the cork. I screw the simple pull corkscrew in and hold my breath.

 

“He reminds me a bit of you, actually. I think you guys could be really close,” Duncan says quietly while I struggle with the cork. The merlot hates me, I decide, giving the cork one more vicious yank. It pops and I spill some on the counter.

 

“Damn it. Yeah, me too,” I reply quickly, trying to mop up the wine and keep it from running onto the floor.

 

“We need more people like that in our life.” He’s quiet and serious. I turn to look at him, but he’s busy and I have wine dripping down my hand off the sopping-wet dish towel. I dash to the sink and rinse the cloth out.

 

“Yeah. I thought so too.” I pour three glasses and leave one next to Duncan on the counter near his work. He proceeds to douse the counter with flour and a white cloud puffs up around him. I back away and pick up the other two glasses.

 

“I’ll yell when I want some help. I’m going to get everything working first. You two do the salad?” He doesn’t stop to look at me, kneading dough and doing his version of dancing along to the radio. It mostly involves moving his shoulders around to the beat.

 

“Okay.” I nod even though he can’t see me.

 

“Give me a few minutes. Go chat. Maybe we can watch a movie after dinner?”

 

“I’ll ask him what he thinks about that. I love you.” I hesitate. My guilt is demanding that I should go back and kiss and grovel for even eyeing up the demigod in our living room, and more importantly, having the audacity to bring him here to eat Duncan’s food.

 

“I know. I love you too,” he answers with a smile. I’m almost into the dining room when he calls my name.

“Andy?”

 

“Yeah?” I answer and move back to stand near him. He tosses the dough out onto the floured counter and begins to divide it up into smaller portions.

 

“I’m not going to be angry about it, just so you know.” I hold my breath and he stares through me in that annoying way he’s been able to pull off since we first met.

 

“About what?” Should I play dumb and hope for the best? What does he think he knows?

He doesn’t answer, just keeps giving me “the look” and a half smile.

 

“I don’t know what you’re….” I fumble my words and can’t get my tongue to work properly.

 

“I love you, and that isn’t changing.” He stops looking at me and goes back to his work, hands moving almost in a blur as he massages the dough out into a long length. My eyes are stuck for a moment, but my feet know enough to back away toward the living room.

 

“I’m not… I haven’t… I wouldn’t….” But I want to. I wouldn’t, but I want to. I swallow. Are we about to have a huge fight? We don’t have them often, but I don’t want one now.

How close am I to fucking up the only relationship I’ve ever wanted? Before now.

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Threefold Love-Exceprt 1

April 18, 2015

I thought everyone might be interested in an excerpt!

ThreefoldLove_headerbanner

***

Xavier Hobbs

“Didn’t mean to startle you.” Andrew smirks and takes a sip from whatever he’s ordered. “I’ve never seen you here before.” His glasses catch the overhead lighting, hiding his eyes, so they just look an ordinary brown again with stars dazzling at me. I know better, though. I have trouble making my brain work for a few seconds while he looks at me intently. Jesus H. Christ, I want to crawl across the table and devour him, inch by inch. It’s been too damned long for me and he’s perfection.

 

“I had the urge to bounce off the walls for a few hours.” My mouth works again and I pick up my mug to take a sip. It is cold now, but I don’t mind. I’ve drunk worse.

 

“Might hurt. The brick in here is rough,” he deadpans, eyeing the walls.

 

“Mmm… brick burn might be hard to take care of. Much worse than rug burn,” I agree. He makes a face.

 

“Yeah, rug burn is definitely bad enough. The last time I had it on my back, I couldn’t reach it by myself to put a bandage on it, and I sweat when I go running and then it would sting and burn, and I’m just going to pretend I didn’t say that to you,” he finishes into his coffee cup. While I watch the blush rise and fade on his face, my brain is 100 percent happy to supply several ways my fair friend could have gotten rug burn on his back. Silence seems like it would be the better part of valor here, so I dutifully ignore his embarrassment and use a napkin to hold my place in my book.

 

“So, how often do you find yourself here?”

 

“Only every day, except Sundays. I need the caffeine.” His lips twitch upward into a smile for a moment before they touch his mug again. As far as lips go, they are nice to look at. They’re a natural pink, not exactly full, but plenty enticing as he licks a bit of whipped cream off them.

 

“Why… why not on Sundays?” I ask, clearing my throat, looking down at my own mostly empty mug.

 

“For some reason I’m always busy on Sundays. I have trouble telling people no, so I end up doing stuff with my… religious group or helping someone move or raising money for something or other…. It never ends.” He chuffs out a small laugh. “During the school year between that and grading, I feel like I don’t have much of a life.” He shrugs.

 

“You and I seem to have opposite problems.” I lean back, getting as comfortable as I can on the metal chair.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I’m so new to town that I don’t have any commitments whatsoever. My days are wide open, more or less, after work, and especially the weekends.” I can feel my friendly smile trying to slip into something cynical, but I try to keep it where it is.

 

“In that case, there’s a dart tournament at One-Eyed Pete’s tomorrow night. I was going to go. Want to come?” He sits there looking interested and excited and sincere and I flounder. “Date!” my brain screams, but I try to ignore it. This is most likely just friendly. The chances of him being interested in me the way I am interested in him are slim to none, but I’ll never find out if I don’t spend time with him, and I won’t know if I don’t try. He has been flirting with me, sort of, and if nothing else, I will have a new friend or two from the adventure. He takes another drink from his mug and licks his lips again. My erection swells in my jeans as lust slams me in the stomach.

 

God, I’d love to take him home and strip him down and….

 

“Sounds like a plan.” I nod at him and he beams back, happy as I’ve ever seen anyone.

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I hope you enjoyed your first peek into the book!

Anyone ever have that awkward “is this or isn’t this a date” moment?

 

E-book: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6278

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Series plan and another excerpt!

March 27, 2015

Find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201

 

Remember, while this might be Book 8 of my series, it is also book 2 of my Part 2 of the series. I have 5 parts planned and while the entire series should be seen as a cohesive whole, to make my life easier, I split the books into parts to make sure I stayed on track and told the story that needed to be told.

 

It’s certainly a struggle to balance the romance with furthering the overall plot, but I welcome the challenge. I feel that with every book I grow stronger in my writing skills (and research skills), and I really enjoying seeing my series unfold and reveal itself. Every single book offers me at least one surprising moment.

 

That is the struggle with these later books since the dominoes need to start falling as the series unfolds. Part one (Psychic Moon through Master’s Blood) was more of the introduction to my universe, and the characters and the groups I will be dealing with for the rest of the series. Now the rest of the parts will be focused on the various romances (of course) but also the workings of the villain Arcas and his allies. But the core of the series is still love and how each couple tries to save the day and prevent Arcas from reaching his goals.

 

Another excerpt!

 

 

The snake slowly slid out of the small hole it had been coiled in. Flicking its tongue, sensing no danger, it slithered and scraped over rocks and boulders, easily finding a path out of the rubble. It was hungry, but it didn’t smell any prey, which caused it to focus on finding an exit out of the tunnel. For some reason it didn’t want to hide and wait for prey, it wanted to find open air. Always going with instinct, the snake never questioned or doubted its senses. The long serpent easily made its way down the open tunnel, seeming to glide over the uneven ground and disjointed tracks. It wound around the mine carts, past the fallen pickaxes, constantly flicking its tongue.

It began to feel cool air over its scales and hesitated. Slithering to the side of the tunnel, the snake eyed the opening, flicking its tongue, again sensing no danger. It moved slower now, wary of the open air, the lack of protection. But something inside it urged it out, into the open; something seemed to push it forward. Keeping close to the side of the tunnel, it peeked out of the opening, into the dark. The moon was high, the stars shining, but the snake paid it no mind. All it saw was the wide expanse of land, and all it thought about was food and shelter.

But even as it was about to move across the darkened land, it sensed movement just outside the tunnel. Coiling into itself, the snake lifted its tail and lowered its face. Sound followed the movement, and the cause of that sound formed a shadow across the land. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, oddly familiar with the scent upon it. It wasn’t prey. It wasn’t predator. What was it?

A creature walked into sight. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity. The known scent grew stronger as the creature seemed to notice the snake. The snake coiled tighter, muscles trembling. Its rattle shook louder.

“Never seen a rattlesnake as big as you before,” the creature said.

The snake didn’t understand. But Tobias did. It felt as though he surged upward, as if he was rising out of water toward the surface, straining for air. He saw through his snake’s eyes, smelled Angel’s scent. The snake fought, of course it fought, but Tobias knew he’d win. The snake wasn’t stronger than he was. It had never been stronger.

The snake shuddered as if in pain, and the rattle stopped moving.

Angel knelt in front of the snake, at a safe distance from a potential strike. Tobias stared into Angel’s face, using it as an anchor. He knew that face. He liked that face. When he’d changed, he’d been too scared, nearly panicked with the thought of death, that he hadn’t fully prepared himself mentally for the change. This caused his snake to take over fully, for him to lose who he was, his memories, his purpose, his personality. But now he fought, and he knew he would win. But he couldn’t allow Angel to see him change back. He couldn’t even allow himself to consider the outcome of that travesty.

Tobias took full control of his snake and struck out at Angel, never intending to bite, but trying to scare Angel away. Angel jerked back in shock with a yelp. Then Tobias turned and shot down the tunnel, into the dark. But even as he did, and as Angel’s scent faded, his snake began to fight back. Tobias held onto Angel’s face, his voice, his scent, and kept control. But he couldn’t hold the snake’s form as he kept remembering what it was like to be a human. He could only move past the first corner of the mine before the air shimmered. His skin rippled violently, and he fell to the ground, a human once more.

Gasping, shaking, Tobias’s skin flashed hot then cold. He was going to be ill; he knew he was, just like the first time. He curled into himself, his throat dry, his lungs heavy. He must have made enough noise to draw attention, because he suddenly heard someone running down the tunnel. It wasn’t long before Angel ran around the corner and skidded to a stop. They stared at each other for a long, humming moment before Angel dropped to his knees and yanked off his own coat, wrapping it around Tobias.

Then, to Tobias’s great shock, Angel pulled him into his arms and hugged him hard.

“Oh, thank the spirits. I knew it, I knew you had survived.” Angel’s voice was thick with tears as he rocked them both, his arms in an unbreakable hold.

Tobias didn’t know what to say. He still felt ill and was becoming more so by the minute. But right then, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to indulge for a moment. He took a deep breath, coughed, but still relished the scent of his deputy. Angel was so warm, the kind of warmth Tobias’s skin had never exuded. He curled into his deputy, remembering acutely the reunion with his parents so many years ago. It had been so different from this. He’d been slapped by his mother, yelled at by his father. His arm had been grabbed, and he’d been dragged to their carriage and berated the entire way home. There’d been no tears, no words of relief or joy.

He didn’t know what to make of Angel’s obvious affection or how to handle it.

Angel suddenly pulled back, and their eyes met again. Tobias’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see his deputy’s face well enough to see something in his eyes that sent a spike of fear down Tobias’s spine.

“It was you,” Angel whispered. “You were the rattlesnake.”

 

 

Want to learn more? My website is here: www.mdgrimmwrites.com

 

Do you like long series (20+ books) or would you rather a short one (under 10?) or do you prefer trilogies?

 

-M.D. Grimm

Inspiration for “The Serpent and the Angel”

March 27, 2015

You can find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201

 

For those late comers, I’m promoting the 9th book in my The Shifters series. You can find the rest of the series here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/md-grimm

 

I suggest reading them in order from book 1 since they do depend on each other, but if you read them out of order you’ll still get the gist.

 

The inspiration for this story actually came from a blog prompt I did a couple of years ago. I wanted a strange couple pairing and wrote a cute little story. It’s nothing like the finished product, but I enjoyed the concept so much, I kept it.

 

What to read it? Here it is: (EXPLICIT)

 

 

It was typical. There he was, winding his way through the sand, slithering around rocks, looking for some tasty rodents, and a fucking eagle thought he would be the tasty one.  Serp saw the shadow above him and didn’t think much of it until the shadow got bigger. Serp slithered quickly over the ground, trying to find a good nook to hide in. But the eagle was quicker.

Serp felt claws pierce his skin and he was suddenly lifted from the ground.  Knowing he had no choice, unless he wanted to be eaten, Serp shifted.

He was slow at it, he didn’t spend his time as human much. It was too complicated. Snakes were easy and he loved being a rattler. But not when he was about to be disemboweled by a hungry eagle.

Serp managed to shift and that had the predictable effect of the eagle dropping him to the ground. Serp grunted as he smashed to the ground and rolled over the rocks and weeds. Serp groaned and managed to roll to his knees. He had expected that.

But he hadn’t expected the eagle to fall from the sky with him. Seems he shocked the eagle enough the proud bird lost air and crashed beside him. But what Serp really didn’t expect was for the bird to hop to its feet, stare at him with eerie intelligence, then shift.

Into a human.

Serp felt his jaw drop. A golden-haired, hazel-eyed, regal angel was standing in front of him. His skin was gold as well.

For himself, Serp felt skinnier than usual. His hair was brown, his skin was pale. He wasn’t the most attractive man ever. But from the way the eagle shifter was looking at him, Serp felt like a god. Serp had never met another shifter before. But he knew there were more.

The man smiled. “I knew you were a shifter. You didn’t smell like a rattlesnake. Not completely, at least.”

Serp didn’t know what to say. “So, what were you trying to do? Eat me or…”

The angel’s grin grew bigger. “Oh, I was certainly wanting to eat you.”

The angel leapt and shoved Serp on the ground on his back. The angel straddled him and licked his pink lips. Serp felt his little-used dick grow hard. He wasn’t a virgin but he wasn’t a stud either.

“Wha-what is your name?” Serp managed to ask.

“Don’t have one.” the angel on top of him said. His lips drifted over Serp’s neck and rose up to his chin, nibbling at the skin.

“I’m Serp. As in serpent.”

The angel pulled back and grinned. “I like it.” then he kissed Serp. Heat shot through Serp’s body and he no longer felt the rough and rocky ground beneath him. He didn’t feel the hot sun beating down on his skin. All he felt was Angel’s warm and willing body and he decided to only focus on that.

Serp’s hands slid along Angel’s back and his mouth worked energetically against Angel’s. Angel groaned and pressed harder into him. Serp’s hands had a mind of their own as they slid between Angel’s legs and wrapped around his cock. Angel groaned and pulled away slightly.

“You are so sexy,” Angel said, his voice deep and rough. Angel nipped Serp’s lips.

“No, you are.” Serp grunted when Angel cupped his balls.

“I always did like eating snakes,” Angel said with a sly grin that made Serp’s heart jump in his chest.

In a flash, Angel moved lower along Serp’s body and slipped Serp’s entire cock into his mouth. Serp’s body bowed and he gasped in shock. It was so sudden, and rough. Angel’s mouth was heavenly as it sucked and that tongue slid over the tip. Angel squeezed his balls and Serp gripped Angel’s hair, the smooth locks sliding between his fingers.

It was quick and satisfying. And incredibly hot. Serp came with a groan and Angel groaned and swallowed. Angel moved up Serp’s body and flicked his tongue over Serp’s nipple.

“My turn,” Angel said.

“Oh, yeah,” Serp gripped Angel’s long and beautiful cock and stroked. Angel’s eyes never left Serp’s face and his pupils were dilated to an extent that the hazel irises could barely be seen. His face was flushed and Serp couldn’t resist a kiss. Angel gripped his face and kissed him hard. Serp stroked Angel harder and faster and relished in the groan and the wetness that covered his hand when Angel came.

They both lay back on the ground, panting.

“We’re not done, Angel.” Serp said, still wanting more.

The eagle shifter turned his head to look at Serp. Surprise was on his face but then a warm, appreciative smile spread across it.

“Angel. I like it. No one has ever cared enough to give me a name.”

Serp rolled on top of Angel and knew that his isolated life was about to change.

“I care. And I’m yours if you’ll have me.”

Angel wrapped strong arms around Serp and nuzzled his neck. “A serpent and an angel. Perfect.”

 

 

Silly, I know, but it was fun, and Tobias and Angel came out of it.

 

It’s a trick sometimes to balance the “human” side with the “animal” side of a shape-shifter. I have to decide early on how much one side influences the other. I don’t want to do the same thing every time; I want to keep each story fresh and engaging. That’s why I made Tobias cold like his snake, and Angel was actually more easy-going and “talks” to his eagle a lot. He describes them as a team. But because Tobias is odd comparatively, I wanted the snake to influence his personality more, and not always in the best way.

 

What odd shifter would you like to see in a story? A cuttlefish, a unicorn, a parrot…?

 

-M.D.

Another excerpt and some background info

March 27, 2015

I’m back! Promoting my latest release “The Serpent and the Angel” (The Shifters Book 8).

 

“The Serpent and the Angel” was very fun to write because of the pairing of Tobias and Angel. I enjoy pairing “odd” couples and these two are perhaps the oddest of my pairings so far—a diamondback rattlesnake shifter (Tobias) and a golden eagle shifter (Angel). Since I find both of those animals beautiful and majestic in their own right, I liked the idea of them together. Also, I was intrigued by their symbolism in various Native American tribes. Both animals held (and hold) very important roles to those tribes, and I tried to play around with that within the story. But my greatest emphasis was put on the idea that they appear to be opposites in every way: one’s above the earth, the other is earth-bound; one mates for life, the other is solitary… you get the idea. But in my story both of them are guardians. They approach their jobs differently but the core of who they are is the same.

 

And now here’s an excerpt:

 

He pulled on Shadow Dawn’s reins before dismounting. He approached five men, ones he knew well, Lord help him, who were currently getting their asses handed to them by one lone man. Tobias didn’t recognize his face and figured he had to be a stranger. His clothes were plain and dirty around the cuffs and knees, indicating he’d been traveling for some time. He had a bag with him but lacked a hat.

Tobias stood for a moment, rather entranced by the ferocity and skill of the stranger. He was swift, his unusual gold eyes keen and sharp. He used arms and legs to defend himself, and one-by-one, each man fell to the ground, coughing dust and dirt. The sun glinted off brown hair streaked with gold, and it matched his skin, which was also an intriguing shade of light gold. The man was tall, but not nearly as tall as Tobias, who stood an intimidating six foot, three inches. The stranger had broad shoulders and a narrow waist, and his coloring was certainly odd. A suspicion as to the stranger’s origins formed in the back of Tobias’s mind the longer he observed the man. When all five men were flat on the ground, moaning and groaning, Tobias was able to take a better look at the man’s face: he had sharp features, especially his cheeks and nose, a heavy brow, and Tobias decided he was quite handsome and strangely beautiful at the same time. Then the stranger looked straight at him. Those sharp, gold eyes met his, and a zing of lust shot straight to his groin. The man panted, sweating visibly, his bag still held by one hand, his body tensed for more fight. Tobias smiled.

 

Interested? Find the book here http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201

 

Do you have any questions for me regarding my series or my life? Ask away! I shall try to answer.

 

But now a question for you: What sort of odd pairing would you like to see in a shifter story? What two animals would you find hilarious to pair together?

 

-M.D. Grimm

Excerpt!

March 27, 2015

Hello everyone! M.D. Grimm here promoting “The Serpent and the Angel,” the latest story in my Shifters series.

 

“The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the ancient scrolls and their bird guardians. For those of you puzzled by the direction I’m taking with this series, rest assured I have a plan, the scrolls are very important and that’s why I’m diving into the past to introduce them. And because it’s fun J

 

If you want to learn more about my “grand plan” for the series, you can check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!blog/cqsg

I share all you ever wanted (or not wanted) to know!

 

I’m not too familiar with historicals, which is why I wanted to challenge myself with “Hunted Guardian” (book 7), “The Serpent and the Angel” (book 8), and the nearly-completed book #9 “Predator and Prey.” I wanted to introduce the scrolls in a historical setting to set up where they are in the present (which will be books #10-#12, and possibly later ones).

 

Now here’s a short excerpt:

 

Tobias knew how to intimidate, to make others fear. Lord knew it was his greatest skill. He had a deadly stare, aptly like that of a rattlesnake, and his eyes, his expression, were blistering cold. His boots thumped up the two steps of the general store’s long porch before he entered the building itself. He turned smartly to the counter where an older gentlemen, one in a snappy suit, stood, waiting for the few customers inside to purchase their items. The man’s gaze shot to Tobias’s, and he visibly paled, his eyes widening.

With a casual lean on the counter, which didn’t fool anyone, Tobias lifted the brim of his hat a fraction before considering the man.

“Good morning, Mr. Thompson.”

Mr. Thompson had to clear his throat before he found his voice. “Good morning, Sheriff.”

“I hear we might have a problem.”

He blinked. “Problem, sir?”

“Aye, a problem. Namely, a problem you might have with a few of the hardworking miners the coal mine employs.”

“I got no problem with those men.”

Tobias’s lips lifted slightly. It wasn’t a smile. “Right glad I am to hear it, Mr. Thompson. That puts my mind at ease. Now, I’ll just leave here and go tell those nice hardworking Chinese men that you don’t have a problem with them.”

Mr. Thompson scowled, his wrinkled face becoming more wrinkled. “Damn Chinamen. What kinda trouble they causing now?”

Tobias lifted his eyebrows. “They claimed, mistakenly, I’m sure, that you be raising the prices for them, while keeping the prices reasonable for the other miners. I reckon that ain’t true, is it, sir?”

Mr. Thompson, while obviously still wary of the sheriff, didn’t seem to want to appear cowardly. There were a few decent women in the store, including his seamstress wife, who were obviously staring at the two of them, eager to see what transpired.

“They come to this country, stealing work from decent folk. Lord knows they gotta damn pay for it.”

Tobias tilted his head slowly to one side, his eyes flat, his face emotionless. Then, without warning, Tobias lashed out. He gripped Mr. Thompson’s collar and yanked him forward, causing his upper half to lie flat along the counter. Mr. Thompson gasped and choked, his eyes reeling. Tobias shoved his face near the older man’s, their noses almost touching.

“Let me make myself perfectly clear, Mr. Thompson,” Tobias said in a low voice only the two of them could hear. “Consider this your only warning. Whether it’s a Negro, Chinaman, Indian, or a damn dandy who walks into this store, you had better treat them with the same decency you treat those who look like you.”

Mr. Thompson sputtered. Tobias tightened his hold, his strength absolute.

“I don’t got a use for bigots in this town, and you know how I feel about useless folk.”

Mr. Thompson paled even further, his eyes growing dark with terror.

Tobias paused, making sure his point sunk into the man’s thick skull. “If a person got a use in this town, they get the same damn items for the same damn price. Have I made myself clear?”

“Aye.” It was nearly a squeak.

Tobias let go and shoved Mr. Thompson lightly on the shoulder, sending him back across the counter. Mr. Thompson stumbled and panted, his hands shaky as he tried to straighten his clothing.

Tobias gripped the hem of his vest and gave a light tug to resituate it, before smoothing out his shirt. He sniffed and lowered the brim of his hat again, casting his face into shadow, his eyes the only things gleaming.

“Remember, Mr. Thompson, I only give one warning.”

Mr. Thompson nodded vigorously, gulping. “Y—yes, sir.”

Tobias spun on his heal, tipped his hat to the ladies who stood behind him, stunned. Then he was gone, striding out of the store and back down the lane. The sun glinted off the sheriff’s star pinned to his vest as he now observed his surroundings. Parkers Hollow was a tough town with tough people, and he had damn well be tougher. That had never been hard for him. He was cold, detached, and merciless. He’d never pretended to be otherwise. Lord knew he was exactly the type of sheriff a town like this needed.

He lived by one rule: If a person had a use, then that person deserved his protection. In these rough lands, there wasn’t any room for laziness or parasites. The last sheriff had learned that lesson quickly… when Tobias had put a bullet in his brain. The man had been a corrupt, drunken horse turd in fancy suits. He’d certainly had no use whatsoever.

 

Which do you prefer: series with the same couple/characters every book or different characters/couples but with a related theme?

 

I shall be back!

-M.D.

And now for an excerpt of Sex Lies & Wedding Bells! (PG)

March 23, 2015

SexLies&WeddingBells400x600

Since you can read the first chapter over on the Dreamspinner page, how ’bout a bit from the first time Kieran and Jaxon meet?

 

A few minutes later, the rest of Kieran’s breakfast arrived. Natalee appeared ready to stand guard and watch him eat, but the comings and goings of other customers kept her occupied. She didn’t have any extra time for Kieran except to offer a refill of coffee, which he gratefully accepted.

As advertised, the pecan pancakes were delicious: large, fluffy, and full of chunks of pecan that added a delightful crunch. There was real butter and genuine maple syrup, and Kieran was in breakfast heaven. The fruit salad was fresh and juicy sweet, and the bacon was thick and meaty, not grilled to a crisp.

Positively breakfast heaven.

Kieran didn’t make it a habit to be awake at breakfast time if he could help it, but if not, he required a good breakfast. The Copper Caboose served breakfast all day, and he’d happily eat all his meals here if he couldn’t find any other place with decent food.

Kieran was pushing the empty plates away when the bell on the door jingled and the most beautiful man he’d ever seen walked into the restaurant. He’d seen plenty, so this was no mean compliment.

Make that most beautiful person, Kieran amended. He’d never seen anyone—man or woman—more attractive. Just over six feet, the object of future fantasies had short, neatly cut sun-streaked brown hair. His eyes—bright greenish-hazel, slightly heavy-lidded but in a sexy, just-fucked way—mesmerized Kieran, and just looking at his plush, full-lipped mouth threatened to give Kieran an immediate hard-on.

It wasn’t simply his appearance, but the way he seemed so unaware of his power to attract. Kieran’s usual playmates had no doubts about their looks, and that knowledge seeped into their personalities in all the worst ways.

This man wore a Wedgwood-blue button-down shirt fitted closely enough to make it clear he spent time at the gym, or played at least one sport, and took proper care of that amazing body.

And he was walking directly toward Kieran.

Just then, Kieran noticed the woman who had come in with the man and had pushed ahead of him as she moved toward Kieran’s table.

“Are you Ky… Kee….” The woman fumbled the words, then gave up.

Kieran’s eyes were still glued to the beautiful man.

Keer-un.” The man’s voice was rich and resonant, with lovely inflections that made it distinctive and incredibly sexy as he spoke Kieran’s name. “It’s Gaelic, right?”

Kieran smiled, noticing a few caramel-colored freckles scattered over the tanned nose and cheeks of the man. Kieran realized for the first time in his life how much he adored freckles. At least the freckles on that face.

“Yes, it is.” Kieran hoped he didn’t have a stupid grin on his face. “You’re probably the only person in town who can pronounce it besides me.” Only natural that someone with an “X” in his name would be sensitive to another person with a slightly unusual name.

“I’m Danetta Archer.” The woman practically shoved her way in front of Jaxon, blocking Kieran’s view. She nodded her head in Beautiful’s direction. “And this is Jaxon Lang, my fiancé.” She reached out to shake Kieran’s hand, and he felt obligated to take it. She gave him a short businesslike squeeze, far more powerful than her looks implied.

“Jaxon,” Beautiful said, offering his own hand. Kieran took it, prolonging the contact, enjoying the warm, firm grip. Reluctantly, he let go before anyone noticed.

“Nice to meet you both.” Kieran’s gaze still focused on Jaxon.

Without asking, Danetta sat herself down in one of the chairs opposite Kieran. Jaxon sat down at the side of the table to Kieran’s left, his knee slightly grazing Kieran’s as he settled into the chair. The resulting jolt of electricity sped through Kieran’s body, and he fought to keep his attention on the conversation.

“Alexa Harrington told me you’d be coming to town early because you wanted to do an article on my wedding.” Danetta beamed at the word “wedding.” “I’m not really familiar with Gloss. It sounds like it’s a fashion mag, perhaps like Vogue or Marie Claire?” She paused. “You have a photographer coming, too?” Her eyes widened and flashed with excitement over the idea of her wedding being featured in one of those magazines.

Kieran shook his head. “I take my own photographs.” He rarely did, preferring to paint pictures with words. “And ‘gloss’ actually has another definition: commentary or interpretation. It’s meant to be an intellectual play on words: one connotation indicates shallowness while the other is almost opposite in meaning.”

Jaxon smiled at Kieran’s explanation. Danetta looked blank. “You’re familiar with the word ‘glossary’? They’re related.” “Oh, right,” she said.

“It’s very clever.” Jaxon nodded.

Kieran gave a casual shrug, pleased with Jaxon’s approval. “Well, I can’t take the credit for it.”

Jaxon turned his full attention on Kieran. “We wanted to introduce ourselves to you now, and—”

“We know you’ll want to do some other interviews and I—we would be happy to schedule those for you, to help you out,” Danetta interrupted.

Damn woman was already finishing Jaxon’s sentences, and they weren’t even married yet, Kieran thought wryly. It didn’t escape his notice that Jaxon hadn’t used any other pronoun besides “we,” which was already disgusting in itself. Worse, Danetta had mainly used “I” and “my.” Those sorts of details spoke volumes.

Jaxon might be the most beautiful name I’ve ever heard—even with the fucking X. Kieran forced himself to snap out of this daydream in order to participate in the conversation without drooling over Jaxon Lang.

“That’s very accommodating,” Kieran replied. “How did you know I was here?”

“Natalee called and told us,” Danetta replied. “She knew we wanted to meet you as soon as possible. Everyone in town is on the lookout for you.”

“You probably feel like you’re being stalked.” Jaxon’s eyes twinkled in amusement. “Well, you are. I’m very sorry about that, but you’re the biggest thing to happen to this town in a long time.” Jaxon paused as he seemed to be giving Kieran a welcome once-over. “In more ways than one. I mean, we heard you’re quite tall.” A rather adorable wide-eyed look of embarrassment flashed across his face. “And everyone in town loves Danetta, so they’re all very excited for our big day.” Jaxon turned to her with a dopey, lovey-dovey smile that made Kieran want to puke up the fantastic breakfast he’d just eaten.

Jaxon’s tone and demeanor were heading directly into Stepford territory, and it was a pretty disheartening realization that this beautiful man would be Danetta’s husband in just a few days.

“So, Alexa said you want to focus on about how even though I was engaged before”—Danetta gave Jaxon a sideways glance—“that now I’m sure I’ve found true love with Jaxon. Have I got that right?”

Kieran liked how she put it—engaged, as opposed to actually had three weddings.

She continued, “And you want to meet the three men I didn’t marry, so you can—what, compare them to Jaxon?”

“Well, I admit that’s part of it.” Kieran avoided Jaxon’s eyes at the implied insult.

* * *

Get your own copy today!  From DreamspinnerFrom AmazonFrom ARe

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A Shot of J&B: A Sonny and Jackie moment

March 21, 2015

A Sonny pic 384ad399b8ccfd0d1d60d98e5985ba77

So, this is the day after the river-sex scene (as I’m calling it :) ), and Jackie has convinced Luki, Sonny, and Brian to go Geocaching with him. Brian and Luki are walking a bit farther back, and Sonny and Jackie get a moment to talk. ;) You know, sometimes I wish I had a Sonny! I figure he might look a lot like the guy in the photo above, maybe a bit older. He’s all of 35 or so by the time J&B comes along. Might as well clear up a timeline question while we’re here, too. A Shot of J&B takes place after all the V&J books except Because of Jade. The story in the novella “Yes’ has recently happened, and Jade is still about 5 years in the future.
***

“So, the you-and-Brian thing,” Sonny said. “Going well?”

Jackie smiled even bigger, shook his head in disbelief at his own good fortune. “Very well,” he said. “Sonny, I can’t believe how… right he seems for me.”

“I can believe it,” Sonny said. “I think he feels the same about you, if I’m any judge. And you’re both good men.” He stopped, touched Jackie’s arm, grabbing his full attention. He glanced back, and then, apparently satisfied with the distance between them and the other two men, he said, “But you still should keep your eyes open, Jackie. I’d lay money on a bet Brian would never hurt you on purpose, but… well, things happen. Don’t lose yourself in him, okay?”

“Yeah. I hear what you’re saying. I’ll do my best…. Sonny, you know I applied to a school in London.”

“Hm. Heard back yet?”

“No. And I haven’t said anything to Brian or even Luki or Josh. Kaholo knows.”

“Okay,” Sonny said, scratching at his almost nonexistent beard, clearly thinking. “I won’t say anything. But you know, if you go, Luki will worry.”

“I know. Will you?”

“Not unless between now and then I see a reason to be more concerned.” Sonny started walking forward again, and Jackie followed suit. “You’re grown,” Sonny continued. “Your head’s on as straight as anyone else’s, and you’re pursuing your studies because it’s a field you want to work in. You wouldn’t go to London to be near Brian if the school didn’t have what you wanted. Right?”

“Oh, it’s a great program. I applied before Christmas… before I met up with Brian at your house.”

“You’ll be fine. You don’t need protecting half as much as Josh and Luki think you do. I’ll miss you if you go, but I won’t worry… much.”
***
So it’s almost time to go! I’ve have very much enjoyed your company everyone, and I hope you had some fun. I’m going to figure out the winners and post it, then try to answer as many comments as possible. So I’ll be back in a bit with a farewell until next time post!
:)