EXCERPT: NeoGeisha (Phoenix Rising 2)

Hello, kittens! This week is very special, not just because it’s nearly Halloween (the Belle’s favorite holiday), but because the 2nd book in the Phoenix Rising series is out on Thursday, Oct. 26th! I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek at what you can expect from this 2nd installment by posting a little bit for your reading pleasure.

In this little blurb, Phoe is attempting to escape from a dangerous captor, Mr. Smith. She’ll use her feminine wiles to set the honey trap, but will he fall for it? And is Mr. Smith all that he seems?

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“Dance for me as you did before, little firebird.”

“There is no music,” she said.

“Close your eyes. You can hear it down below.” She did hear music coming from the great hall somewhere beneath them. A strange melody with a heavy, sexual rhythm. “Hear it, little one?”

Phoebe nodded, opening her eyes.

“No. Keep your eyes closed. Feel the music, don’t listen.”

“But I…”

“Come closer,” Smith commanded, rising from the chair and moving toward her.

There didn’t seem to be enough air in the room as Phoebe took in the size of the man. He could crush her head easily with one of those enormous hands. He wore a fitted black tuxedo that looked so out of keeping for a man of his size. He looked like a bully cartoon character come to life. When he stood before her, his shadow completely obliterated her form. He pulled off the silk bowtie around his neck and Phoebe’s heart skipped a beat. Her fear almost got the better of her, but she stood firm. “When you feel the music, your body is free.”

Phoebe didn’t understand what he meant, but he reached around and tied his bowtie around her eyes. It was tight and completely blinded her. She started to panic, but then something…there was something so familiar about his scent. It was clean and woodsy and spicy. And masculine. God help her, the corners of her jaw ached and her mouth watered. “There. That’s better.”

Phoebe could hear his footfall as he paced around her. She could imagine his eyes scanning over her body, taking in every inch of her. Part of her wondered what he was thinking as he watched her here in the dark. Was he aroused? Incensed with a lust for her blood? The stories she’d heard from the other geisha didn’t seem to fit with this person.

“Now dance. Dance for me, geisha.”

The programming sequence immediately flooded her brain with information. Phoebe could almost see the code flash in front of her eyes. It was commanding her body to move and she found herself obeying, listening to the music downstairs. She was slow at first, simply swaying to the rhythm. Then she circled her hips in time to the music, sliding her hands across her midsection. She imagined that it was Cage sitting in that chair watching her; his eyes cataloguing every turn of her wrist and pop of her hip.

“Very good, little one. Very good. Now turn for me.”

Phoebe did as she was told, turning away from Smith as she stretched her arms out to either side. The gauzy folds of fabric parted and she could feel the cool air against her skin. She should be embarrassed, but whatever they had done to her brain had deadened her inhibitions and she reveled in her nakedness.

“Don’t you want to dance with me?” she asked. Her voice took on a deadly timbre and her heartbeat slowed. Phoebe could hear Cage’s voice in her head, reminding her that fear was good, but panic would get her killed. Right now she needed Smith close. Her first kill would be intimate.

“I don’t dance,” Smith replied.

Phoebe giggled and twirled, pulling the long pin that held her hair in place, letting the piles of curls spill down over her shoulders. “Everyone can dance,” she teased. “You just have to move your body.”

“Why don’t you move your body over here.”

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Go HERE to order your copy now. And if you haven’t read NAKED already, you better get on it!

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COVER REVEAL: Neo-Geisha (Phoenix Rising 2)

Greetings! It’s finally autumn!!! Can you believe it? I was starting to think it would never get here. I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked, but I promise it was for a good reason. I’ve been finishing up some projects (a couple of which I’ll be telling you about in a couple of weeks) including the next book in the Phoenix Rising series. Neo-Geisha is book two in the adventures of Cage St. John and his beautiful badass librarian, Phoebe Addison. In this installment, Cage and Phoe’s new relationship is challenged by old enemies and a few personal demons that were lurking in the wings.

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BACK…
Macijah “Cage” St. John’ didn’t want the spy life anymore. He would have been thrilled to spend every morning lying in the field behind Phoe’s home in smalltown Louisiana watching the clouds roll by. But his Miss Addison wanted to spread her wings, literally. So Cage accepted a mission that teamed him up with his lady love. If only he had trusted her.
TO THE FUTURE
Everything about being a spy was a million times more exciting, and scarier, than the books she’d read in her former life as a librarian. When her first mission with Cage turned into a colossal clusterf*ck because he withheld information and kept secrets, Phoebe’s world narrowed into a long tunnel of betrayal. Captured by space pirates and delivered to a horrible fate, she wished the last words between them had been of love, because she was certain she would never see Cage St. John again.
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The book is up for PREORDER now and goes live on October 26, 2017! I hope that you’ll love it and if you haven’t read book 1, that you’ll consider giving this series a try. If you love spy stories mixed with a little romance and a little sci-fi, then you’ll love it!
ORDER NAKED (Phoenix Rising 1): boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/naked

COVER REVEAL: Wine Service by Zenobia Renquist

It’s a very exciting day here at The Southern Belle from Hell!!  One of my favorite erotic authoresses is taking over the blog today to reveal the cover of her delicious new book, Wine Service.  Mmmm… two of my favorite things, wine and steamy romance.  So get ready for….

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She offers satisfaction above and beyond what is requested.

 Lexie’s job as a housekeeper at a five-star hotel doesn’t normally include the unique and risqué form of room service that important hotel guest Mr. Malena has requested, nor the generous tip he’s offered. Lexie can’t resist, and what should have been a one-time thing turns into an introduction into the sensual world of customer satisfaction. She finds much enjoyment in her “work,” but is it worth risking her job?

About Zenobia…

Zenobia Renquist is an Air Force brat turned Air Force wife. She and her husband are owned by two demanding cats of the long-haired persuasion. Born in Europe and currently stationed in Hawaii, Zenobia has been traveling all her life. “Where are you from?” is not a question she likes to be asked but will usually answer Virginia, because it’s the one place that feels like home.

 Zenobia’s stories range from steamy to scorching and she writes whichever genre catches her interest at the time. When not coming up with ways to torture her characters, she enjoys knitting and crochet (both regular and Tunisian) as well as reading shoujo and yaoi manga.

 Learn More About Zenobia Renquist:

Website – http://zenobiarenquist.com

Blog – http://blog.dreneebagby.com/

Twitter – http://twitter.com/ZenobiaRenquist

Newsletter – http://ymlp.com/xgeusujygmgq

Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/Author.DRBagby.ZRenquist

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2772093.Zenobia_Renquist

Goodreads Group – https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/139893-q-a-with-d-renee-bagby-zenobia-renquist

 

Forgive Me Somehow, Danielle Steele

CLICK ME to buy!

CLICK ME to buy!

In case there’s someone out there who didn’t know, my big sis, Lucy Blue, is a much better writer than me.  So much better that I’ve let her take over my blog today to talk about her new release, Alpha Romeo.  It’s a scintillating tell-all book written in the style of a Hollywood memoir.  Think about it this way– it’s the book about Angelina Jolie that you’ve always wanted to read.  Lucy herself describes the book as being  throwback to the old Danielle Steele/ Sidney Sheldon days.  Anyway, today she’s taking over to talk about how she came to write Alpha Romeo and why it’s such an important book for her. 

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When I was a teen-ager, my mother’s favorite writer was Danielle Steele.  It was one of the many things we fought about.  “Those books are just garbage,” I would tell her.  “They all have the same stupid, melodramatic plot.  The characters are paper dolls.  They read like the back of a cake mix.  You read Thomas Hardy for fun, for heaven’s sake.  How can you read that crap?”

                As I recall, her defense usually ran along the lines of different strokes for different folks.  But if I’d been particularly obnoxious, she might point out that she couldn’t understand how her beautiful daughter could enjoy “sickness” like Stephen King and Anne Rice, either, but she still loved me.

                As I got older and started writing fiction of my own, she read every word I wrote.  She was what that sicko Stephen King would call my “first reader,” and she praised it all, even the stuff outside her comfort zone, even the stuff I never finished.  She encouraged me every step of the way, and when I sold my first book, a horror opus about vampires, consumptive whores, and Shakespeare, no one could have been more proud.

                Mama’s health was never great, but about ten years ago, she took a definite turn for the worse.  I was in the midst of writing about medieval vampires for Pocket Books.  I actually made my first draft deadline for The Devil’s Knight during a two-week leave of absence I had taken from my day job to take care of her after her second open heart surgery.  I don’t remember ever having the conscious thought to write a “Mama book.”  I was very happy with my vamps.  But right around that same time, reading a tabloid account of a celebrity divorce, I got the idea for Scarlett Cross, a movie star who’s been haunted her whole life by the violent death of her mother.  I started writing about her in first person, a technique I hadn’t used for anything but short stories since college, because that was just how she came out of my head.

                There are no supernatural monsters in Scarlett’s world.  Maybe at that point in my life, the real world seemed a lot scarier than any horror I could think up.  Maybe I lost the knack for believing in fairies and witches and vamps for a while.  I know I made Scarlett a movie star to keep the fantasy, to keep that distance–the same reason, I suspect, that all of Danielle Steele’s heroines in those days were fashion models and lady business magnates and the daughters of Russian nobility.  Those women go through hell, but they look fabulous doing it, and they never have to worry about stuff like money or bad plumbing (at least not after the first fifty pages).  I know for me at that time, the story of an ordinary woman watching her mother waste away was beyond my talent and strength.  But I could write the outlandish trials and tribulations of Scarlett Cross at lightning speed, wallowing in her pain.  I wrote her made-up memoir right alongside my paranormals, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her voice telling the lurid story of her life while my own life as I had always known it fell apart.

                And out of that came my latest book, Alpha Romeo, the story of Scarlett’s first love.  Mama passed away in 2008, years before my notebooks full of Scarlett gelled into anything like an actual book, but sections of that manuscript were the last of my writing she ever read.  “I love this one,” she told me.  “This one is you.  This is the one.”  And while I know my vamps are as much me as Scarlett, and I still think Danielle Steele’s writing kind of sucks, I love this story in a way I’ve never loved anything else I’ve written.  Because I know she would love it, not because her daughter wrote it, but because it’s her kind of book. 

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Our poor mother always wondered how she ended up with two daughters who liked to hide in a fantasy world.  I think it’s safe to say that we are exactly what she made us. Here’s more about the book:

If the tabloids only knew.

Scarlett Cross is the classic Hollywood princess. Daddy is a movie star; Mama was a supermodel murdered when Scarlett was only four years old. Now she’s eighteen pretending to be younger for the sake of her father’s image and starting her own career as the muse of a famous European auteur. But bad boy actor Romeo Kidd is everything she’s ever wanted. He makes her feel safe and loved and wanted for the first time in her life, and she’ll do anything to keep from letting him go.

If Alpha sounds like your kind of book too, you can click the image above and zoom right over to buy it!  It’s also available from Purple Sword Publications and All Romance if you prefer a different format.  They also have nifty-neato excerpts so you can test drive first!! 

Show Me Your Burlesque, or RELEASE DAY!!

ingenue_new lineWell, it’s finally here!! You can officially purchase my new short, “Ingenue,” from Ellora’s Cave!  It’s a sexy little historical romance that takes place near the end of the Roaring 20s.  It’s the era just before “talkies,” when Vaudeville was king.  Variety show circuits dominated the entertainment industry, bringing song and dance, bawdy comedy acts and striptease to the masses.  Though our story takes place in the 20s, burlesque dates back much farther.  Theaters in Victorian London staged popular parodies of grand opera and Shakespearean plays that had comedic musical numbers and raunchy humor.  Of course, it didn’t take long for the art form to cross the pond into America where, like everything else, it was made bigger, raunchier and rowdier.  Striptease was added to the mix and the shows became more of a variety-style format with comedians, magicians, singers and short versions of the English style that might parody a popular play or some political issue of the time.  Striptease, for obvious reasons, became a major draw for the shows.  However, rules became more and more stringent and the performers found creative ways to get past obscenity laws.  Pasties and props kept the essentials covered and the routines were more about the tease and less about the strip.  The “hoofers” were not only sexy, but talented singers, dancers and comediennes.  Stars such as Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand and Blaze Starr emerged as classy sex symbols of their time.

“Ingenue” is a story about this Golden Age of Burlesque.  The heroine, Rose D’Vine, is a burlesque dancer, desperate to escape the seedy New York theater scene and break into movies.  She’s so desperate that she’s willing to sell her love to the highest bidder– a horrible meal ticket named Charlie Potter.  He’s abusive and selfish, but he’s got connections in high places and he’s promised to make her a star.  What Rose really needs is a hero.  Enter Stefan, the soft-spoken stagehand.  He’s loved Rose for years and wants to take her away from Charlie.  He wants to make all of her dreams come true, but what does a poor immigrant have to offer.  Only his love.

Stay tuned for an excerpt, but in the meantime….

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Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.

Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.

Inside scoop:  This book contains scenes of domestic violence before the heroine fights back and finds her true hero.