Sunday, 16 December 2007

Sunday reading...

Do I have the clue today….hmmm…maybe…maybe not…

Collect all twelve answers and e-mail them to with 12 days of Romance in the subject line to win some great books. There will be three lucky winners. The prizes –1st prize--6 books, 2nd prize--4 books, 3rd prize--2 books.

All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly
Anny Cook Winter Hearts
Sandra Cox Boji Stones
Bronwyn Green Ronan's Grail
Heather Hiestand Cards Never Lie
Barbara Huffert Deal of a Lifetime
Amarinda Jones Mad About Mirabelle
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Cindy Spencer Pape Cowboy's Christmas Bride
Brynn Paulin Fallen
JacquƩline Roth Access Denied
KZ Snow Mrs. Claws
Lacey Thorn Earth Moves
All answers must be received no later than the stroke of midnight 21st December (Northern hemisphere time)

I have been house painting today – so not exciting - so instead of me waffling on about the joys of turpentine and paint – they both smell - I present you two sweet smelling excerpts from two great books that are out now through Cerridwen Press. Both can be purchased as excellent Christmas presents by just clicking on the cover. See how easy it is to shop on the Amarinda Blog? Or alternatively click on any of the websites – eyes left – to the side of the blog and buy some great books to read over the holidays

Prime Time by Vicky Burkholder

The blurb...

In the dark corners of the Lunar habitats, Deena has safety and friends. In the light—danger lurks. To find those responsible for the death of her parents and the disappearance of her friends, she must join those who work in the light—if they’ll let her. After all, they’re Techies.

Jake has every advantage of a Techie. Head of an elite security force investigating the Utopia drug, he is certain the pushers are the Porters. He needs to find a way to integrate with those who work in the dark, but Techies aren’t welcome.

Deena and Jake must put aside their differences and work together against a common enemy—a threat to both Techies and Porters. Along the way, they discover love doesn’t care where you come from, and evil has a long reach.

The excerpt...

She saw the reality on their faces. All the years of put-downs for being a Porter and a Prime suddenly became too much. She was tired of struggling to survive with no hope of a better future because some goon shanghaied her parents. Not all the transported people came from Earth’s jails—some of them had been rounded up and sent here with no choice. Her parents fell into the latter group, but the manner didn’t make any difference once you arrived. Luna was supposed to be a free, open society, but Deena never saw it. She clenched her jaw until she heard her teeth grind. How many other lies had she been told because of where she came from?
“What’s the saying? ‘Once a Porter, always a Porter’? If you’ll excuse me, I need a shower. It’s rather dirty in here.” She grabbed her towel and strode to the door.
“Deena, wait.”
She heard Jake calling her but didn’t stop. If anything, his accented Techie voice compelled her onward. She pushed through the corridor to her room, ignoring the startled looks she got from the other people. The door to her quarters slid open and she strode in.
“Zeus, put a privacy seal on the door coded to my voice.”
“Yes, Deena,” the AI replied in his deep tenor voice. “Is there a problem?”
“What makes you think so?” She meant the question as rhetorical but forgot the AI would take her literally.
“Your heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and ambient temperature have all increased beyond your normal range. Oh and you’re wearing a hole in the carpeting from your pacing.”
Deena stopped mid-stride and chuckled. “Point taken. Thank you, Zeus.” She relaxed.
“You’re welcome, Deena. Are you interested in visitors?”
Deena’s heart rate, respiration and blood pressure soared again. “No. No visitors.”
“He is rather insistent.”
Deena smiled. The expression was not pretty. “Give me exactly five minutes and you may let him in.”
Deena skinned out of her damp gi, entered the shower cubicle and turned on the sonics. Instead of staying to enjoy the cleansing, she stepped back out and shut the door. The control panel would show it as in use. The ruse should give her a good head start. She went over to her cot, shoved it away from the wall and pulled the grill off the wall vent. Smaller than the vents she was used to, but not impossible, the sides scraped her skin. The opening was one of the first things she’d checked out when she moved in. Halfway in, Deena realized she’d have to cover her tracks. She pulled back out and glanced around. Nothing in the Spartan room looked flexible enough to use as a tie and then she spied her gi.
“Got it,” she muttered. Deena grabbed the belt, fed one end through the wall grill and tied the other end to her cot with a slipknot. Feet first, she climbed back into the vent, pulled the grill into place and tugged the bed back into place. Once there, she gave the belt a yank and it came away from the cot. The door to her quarters slid open as she pulled the loose end of the gi through the grill. She caught her breath and held still.
“Deena,” Jake called.
As quietly as possible, Deena scuttled farther into the vent.
She couldn’t see the room, but she heard Jake’s steps as he crossed the small space to her bathroom and heard him knocking on the door to the cubicle.
“Deena, come on. Talk to me.”
An inch at a time, Deena backed into the vent. To her ears, she sounded like a crowd of workers at quitting time. The vent’s soft lining scraped against her sensitive skin. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic, she thought.
“Deena!” Jake called. She could hear the touch of anger in his voice. “Zeus, open the door.”
Deena could hear Jake swearing as she worked her way deeper into the vents. She didn’t stop until she got to a junction where she could turn around. Six vents opened off the space.
“Eenie, meenie, miney, moe.” Deena chose the vent at front right. It was larger than the one she’d exited, but not by much.
She crawled until she arrived at another junction. Large enough for her to stand in, it had dozens of openings, some small, some almost high enough for her to walk in if she ignored her straight posture. A strong wind blew through the junction. She turned around until she found the strongest breeze.
“Thank you, Mom,” she whispered. Her mother had worked on the vent installations and taught young Deena all about them. The larger vents led to the public areas. Huge fans designed to circulate the air throughout the habitat hung at their wall ends. The smaller ones led to private offices and quarters. She chose a large vent. Once she got to a public area, she could get her bearings and get home. She’d endured Techie prejudices all her life, but at least in the Uppers she had some respect. Even a steady gig with Security wasn’t worth putting up with their insults and innuendos. She may be a Porter, but she’d be space dust before she’d let them treat her like one.
A short time later, she pushed the button and opened the trap door in her old room. Although the ducts were dust-free, the effort of getting through them was hot work. A quick sonic cleansing did much to revive her. The two weeks away from the Uppers seemed like a lifetime. She closed the shower door and strode into her bedroom.
“What took you so long?”
Deena spun around. Jake leaned against the wall next to her closet. “What do you want, Techie?”
Her heart beat so hard, she could hear it, but she refused to let Jake know how she felt. The wide-eyed ogle on his face reminded her that, except for her brief panties, she was naked. She strolled over to her storage chest and pulled out a pair of shorts and a tank top. She felt anything but nonchalant but refused to show him how nervous he made her. The unwelcome stab of interest in him fueled her anger. He was a Techie.
“Deena, you have to understand something.”
“What? That because my parents were transports, I’m a prisoner here? Guilty by association? Right, Pretty Boy?”

Isabelle's Story by Anita Birt. Isabelle's Story is the sequel to Isabelle's Diary and will be released on December 27 by Cerridwen Press.

The blurb…

Isabelle Linden's parents insist she wed a suitable man. The man they have in mind, Isaac Witherspoon, a curate in a nearby parish is eager to marry. He lusts after nineteen year old Isabelle.
She has a mind of her own and flaunts society's rules to meet secretly with Sir Harry Manderlin. The lovers vow to remain true to each other while Harry is on an extended business trip to America. He will speak to her father on his return and ask for her hand.
While he's away Isabelle discovers she is pregnant. Harry apparently ignores her letters pleading with him to marry her. Her father orders her out of the house. Abandoned, alone and penniless, she writes a farewell note to her mother and on a dark, rainy October morning makes her way into the hills above Llandrindod Wells determined to end her life.

The excerpt

Isabelle stepped aside when she heard horses coming up behind her. Two beautiful young women elegantly turned out in green velvet riding habits, rode towards her. They cast withering glances at Isabelle and one turned to the other, laughing.
“C’est linfirmiere du Spa. Imaginez! Elle se promene toute seule sans chapeau. Elle est affreuse avec cette coiffure.”
Her companion nodded. “Et lavez-vous entendu parler? C’et accent Gallois terrible!”
Isabelle understood every insulting word and threw her stick at one of the horses, whacking it firmly on the rump. The startled animal reared and took off in a tearing gallop with the girl clinging to the reins. Isabelle burst out laughing.
“You should not have done that.” A man’s voice startled her. She spun around to confront him, lost her footing on the muddy path and tumbled down the hill, skidding to an awkward stop when her skirt caught in a patch of thorny blackberry bushes. He vaulted from his horse and slid down the grassy slope after her.
“Are you all right? I am sorry. I did not mean to frighten you.”
Isabelle scrambled to her feet. Embarrassed and well aware of her muddy, disheveled appearance, she straightened her skirt. “I am quite all right, please join your friends.”
She kept her gaze firmly fixed on the ground and waited for him to leave before climbing up to the path. Throwing the stick at the horse had been childish. What if the girl had fallen? Isabelle forced herself to look at him.
He smiled, very likely enjoying her predicament. His riding jacket stretched taut over his broad shoulders. Momentarily at a loss for words, Isabelle blinked and stopped staring at him. A lock of auburn hair had fallen across his forehead and laughter lurked in his eyes. Was he laughing at her?
“I said, you may go and join your friends, I do not require your assistance.” There. She would not apologize for throwing that stick, let him think what he liked.
“But I must know your name. It is not every day I frighten young ladies into falling down hills.”
“I am not the least bit frightened and see no reason for you to know my name.” With a haughty toss of her head, she started up the slope only to slide back and flounder awkwardly on her knees.
He gripped her arm. “You must allow me.”
Isabelle bit her lip, furious at herself for slipping on the wet grass. The steely strength of his arm pressed against her side unnerved her. Feeling light-headed, she accepted his help to the top.
“Thank you.” She tugged her arm away and started down the path, desperately trying to hold back tears.
“Wait!” He caught her hand. “You still have not told me your name.”
He towered over her and for seconds she gazed helplessly into the depths of his dark blue eyes. Her knees trembled.
“I am Harry Manderlin.”
Isabelle died inside. His mother was her patient at the spa! Why did he wish to know her name? Fearful of some punishment for throwing the stick, she refused to answer. Her behavior might reflect badly on the clinic.
“Surely, my name is not important, neither to you nor your friends.” In a rush of anger, she snatched her hand from his and glared defiantly at him. “Please tell them this. Although they find my Welsh accent deplorable, their French accent leaves much to be desired.”
She raised her chin. “Vos amies parlent Francais comme des vaches espagnoles. What is more, they have the manners of the gutter!”
Blinded by angry tears, she fled down the path. To be seen by such people, looking like a muddy gypsy girl was mortifying. Then to be insulted! She was glad she’d thrown the stick. Glad. As for him, he probably thought helping her up the hill was a great joke, a wonderful story to tell his companions.
Harry watched her until she disappeared around a bend in the path and into the shelter of some trees. A rueful smile tipped his lips. She wanted nothing to do with him. He swung into the saddle and cantered up the path. When he caught up with his friends, Sylvia fumed at him.
“That girl! That bedraggled, half-witted gypsy hurled a stick at my horse and it very nearly threw me. I hope you spoke sharply to her and gave her a piece of your mind.”
“We recognized her.” Mary Anne declared. “She gives treatments at the spa. You must have her dismissed.”
“Dismissed, because she was so offended by your rude remarks, she threw a stick at you?”
They gaped at him. “She speaks excellent French and suggests you both mind your manners and take lessons to improve your accent.” He did not mention the girl thought they spoke French like Spanish cows.

Nah, I didn’t have the clue but one of the talented people on the list at the top did...

On Anny has wedding photos and on Kelly is sharing words of wisdom that we need to be reminded of it every now and then.
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


Anny Cook said...

Wonderful excerpts. I've read Prime Time and it's excellent! I'm looking forward to Isabelle's Story...soon!

Oh, dear and I was looking forward to reading about the painting. Hope you didn't get overheated in the sun!

Kelly Kirch said...

I like both of these! Proud mammas of these works, I'm sure.

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Excellent exceprts - much better than turpentine and paint.

BTW, *LOVE* your cover for Unbreakable - oh yum, indeed!

Sandra Cox said...

Can't wait to read these!