Exclusive Excerpt: The Magician’s Keeper

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A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

Dora watched the inmate, Mr Gordon, trying to keep her features carefully schooled and follow the instructions given during the induction. She was to always be on the lookout for possible shifts in mood that may precede an attack on the prison guards, other inmates but especially visiting legal representatives. This particular inmate was showing all the signs of suppressed aggression – and in her opinion quite justly. The lawyer was revolting and did not appear at all sympathetic to his client’s cause.

The inmate’s heavy brow had grown thunderous, his dark eyes flashed and his broad chest heaved with irritation. She really couldn’t blame him, she was starting to feel a little annoyed herself.

Her eyes lingered on the v- of his orange overalls. His skin was smooth with only a hint of chest hair. She looked away as her pulse raced a little.

Lord.

It was impossible not to notice the man’s frustration, but it was equally impossible to ignore fact he was a very attractive man.

In a delicious, big, bad wolf kind of way.

She shook the feeling away, knowing just how very inappropriate it was, as another equally as absorbing sensation took its place. A very real righteous indignation on Gordon’s behalf flared hotly in her gut.

Here was a vital, strong Magician, imprisoned in an unfair justice system simply for trying to get people to believe in their cause. He was the very kind of man her mother had died trying to help through her work in the UMC.

Her heart thumped loudly and she took a breath to steady herself.

The Magician’s Keeper is available for pre-order now!

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He’s a Magic Man…

by Nicola E. Sheridan

I write about magicians – but forget old guys pulling rabbits out of their hats, or macabrely dismembering pretty girls in boxes. Seriously, forget about those.

The magicians I’m talking about aren’t charlatan tricksters with brainless sidekicks. I’m taking about magicians with real magic, real power and real hearts. The kind of magicians who’ve inspired my latest book, The Magician’s Keeper – coming out in November.

Here are my top five.

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Allanon –Terry Brooks, Shannara Chronicals

Allanon is the frankly delectable last Druidic Magician, who has just woken from a 400 hundred year sleep. He’s powerful, good and loyal. His love is enduring. He is also portrayed by the utterly gorgeous Manu Bennett in the television series.


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Pug Rift War series, Raymond E. Feist

Oh, Pug, for all his ugly name, he is a character I absolutely adored through my teen years, when I hungrily devoured Feist’s super awesome series. Pug starts the series as an unloved youngster hoping to become a Magician, who’s humiliatingly rejected by all who cannot see his potential. To cut a long, long, story short [spoiler alert] Pug becomes one of the most powerful magicians of all time.


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Merlin – Arthurian Legend.

Merlin, he’s either portrayed as an old bearded man, or as a uniquely featured young man in the TV series ‘Merlin’. Both of these depictions do not meet with my expectations. The Merlin of myth is a pretty interesting character, he was the son of a princess, fathered by an Incubus (nocturnal sex demon). So he’s got some funky DNA right there. He was baptised right after birth, casting out his inherent evil, but retains the powers of his father *insert waggling eyebrows here*.


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Raitslin Majere – in the Dragon Lance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Raitslin is an interesting Magician, he inherited his skills at magic from his mother and passed gruelling Test of High Sorcery. As a result, he acquired white hair and golden skin, and was cursed with hourglass eyes which saw the effects of time on all things. So he is pretty handsome too.


Konstantin Yuryevich_as Anton

Anton GorodetskyNight Watch, by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko

Anton, is a reluctant Magician, preferring to live his life quietly, but finds his powers are growing and with them, his problems. Anton is also a bit of bad-ass, carrying not only his magic but also a pistol and silver bullets to put down any Vamps or Werewolves that come his way. He’s cynical, and despite his oddities, more than a little cool.

So, there you have it, five totally awesome Magicians. If you want to read about one more, you’ll find him in novel A Warlord’s Lady, which is out now.


32437A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird.

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?

The Magician’s Keeper is available for pre-order now!

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Friday Five: Nicola E Sheridan

2212Author: Nicola E. Sheridan
First published with Escape: 2013
Favourite romance trope: Paranormal / Urban Fantasy
Ideal hero (in three words): Powerful, strong, and magical
Ideal heroine (in three words): Awkward, compassionate, funny
Latest book: A Warlord’s Lady
Next book: The Magician’s Keeper

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?
I won a highly recommended ‘best first novel’ in a writing competition in 2009, and that made me think that perhaps I could try and get something published. So I gave it a go and was fortunate enough to be taken on. I write romance because I love the feeling romance provokes, it is what I call hopeful literature, which focuses on the good things in life.

What is your writing power-up?
Watching a good television series always inspires me, it’s something about how the protagonists interact, the feelings they evoke, good or bad, it just makes my imagination go wild and I feel inspired to write after watching a good series. Grimm is currently one of my favourites.

What kind of characters do you like reading about the most?
I like reading about characters whose connection is intense, but vaguely awkward. I need realism in my reading, I want to feel that the romance is real.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Do you have one already?
My little mascot would be my dog Terry, he’s a rescue and I’ve never known an animal so utterly devoted to me, he follows me everywhere and will sit at my feet for hours.

Nicola E. Sheridan (2)

Where is your favourite place to write?
Even though I have an awesome book lined study in which to write, I much prefer writing at my dinner table in the middle of my house. I feel more connected there, and I can watch the world go by from the window.

Nicola E. Sheridan (1)


32437A brand new steamy paranormal romance about learning to love all of yourself.

In a world where people judge one another by exacting standards of size and style, being a big girl like Eudora Splat was never going to be easy.

Though trouble is brewing between magic folk and human purists who would see them all destroyed, Dora, a half-giant, tries to eke out a quiet, unnoticed life for herself, but it’s hard to be subtle when you’re over seven feet tall.

Losing her job as a gardener due to human complaints, Dora is recruited as a prison guard, where she’s enlisted to protect the magician Evander “Bear” Gordon from human purist attack. Bear encourages her to embrace her power and celebrate her heritage, introducing her to a world where she can be extraordinary and not just weird.

But after years of hiding and shying away, can Dora find the strength to grab onto a new life — and hold on to the man she’s falling in love with?

Pre-order now!

iBooks, Booktopia, Nook, Kobo, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

 

Friday Five: Amy Andrews

646Author: Amy Andrews
First published with Escape: 2014
Favourite romance trope: Small town
Ideal hero (in three words): Funny. Handy. Laidback.
Ideal heroine (in three words): Spunky. Quirky. Mouthy.
Latest book: Limbo

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

The need to not get off my electric blanket in the midst of a freezing cold English winter… (sorry, not very romantic!) I write romance for the happy sigh and because it privileges women’s experiences and sexuality.

Amy Andrews (2)

What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

I plough through. Even if its shite – I can fix that in rewrites.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

I’ve recently Googled bonnet (hood) heights for pickup trucks to figure out the logistics of my hero going down on my heroine…..never did that in my old job!

Amy Andrews (1)

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Or any cute quirks in general?

I am boringly un-quirky. I save that for my characters!

Favourite book covers? What draws your eye to a romance cover?

I’m drawn to quirky or different covers. I really like the cartoony type covers (yes, I know, I’m the only one in the entire world….) because they can be really personalised/tailored to a book and are often quirky or different. Nothing quite like a hot man on romance cover or a really hot couple clearly into each other! And I really appreciate when the people on a cover actually fit the description of the characters in the book.


23731 (1)Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’  fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy.  So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

 

Romances Celebrating Pride

Google Play is currently running a promotion on LGBTQI romances that include some fantastic Escape titles. If you’d like to celebrate Mardi Gras with some queer romance, may we humbly suggest the following?

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A gripping,  blood-drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies  — no matter how many times you kill it.

From Goodreads: “If you love your fiction dark, bloody, and breathtaking, you will love this book.”

From Daniel:

Bonds of Blood isn’t just your average series of gay love stories. Gritty, blood-thirsty and passionate, it brings into the light the love that has until now been hidden in the shadows. I love writing in this genre, adding my own voice for the mostly female readers of gay romance to discover.


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From the author of the romantic horror debut Beckoning Blood comes the gripping sequel that mixes blood, sex, and magic.

From Goodreads: “graphic in its presentation; impassioned in its friendship; burning with the immortality of love.”


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Falling for her best friend was never going to make life easy.

From Goodreads: “a quick, light, airy read that I would recommend to any rock star readers”


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An all-access pass to Sex, Love, and Rock ‘N Roll. Because what happens on tour doesn’t always stay on tour

From Goodreads: “an intimate exploration of the M/M dynamic but … this story is also about the journeys we take on the path to finding ourselves”

Valentine’s Day Sale!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To show their love, Google Play Books has chosen four of our titles to promote. So if you’re looking for a romantic read, may we suggest the following titles, at promotional prices?

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The journey from friends to lovers starts with a very brave first step. Or a catalytic event. Sometimes both.

“delivered a fresh friendship to lover’s trope with a mix of personal growth, humor and self-discovery” (Kimberley, Goodreads)

Yes, please!


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What happens when fairytales get the romantic suspense treatment? A cross-genre mash-up with enchanting results!

“a short and quirky novella that mixes up the fairytale and crime genre and honestly its just a lot of fun to read” (Jess, Goodreads)

Buy me now!


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They might be one of the hottest up-and-coming bands in Australia, but the members of Selling the Sun have a lot to learn about life, love, sex, and each other.

“a quick, light, airy read that I would recommend to any rock star readers” (Miranda, Goodreads)

Get on my e-reader!


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From one of Australia’s hottest new authors comes a story about an international scandal, a billionaire, and a fearless reporter who might just save the day…

“high energy, intense, suspenseful, incredibly romantic (like bone melting romantic)” (Brooke, Goodreads)

Gimme gimme gimme!

(please note: Detained is also available at this promotional price on Amazon and iBooks as part of promotional events with those e-tailers!)

The Story of My Book: Haunted Ever After

by Juliet Madison

I Dedicated My Novel To A Ghost…

 I’ve always loved ghost stories, and as I’ve often experienced strong gut instincts about certain things and have learned to listen to my intuition, it’s no wonder I like writing stories with a few elements of the supernatural thrown in.

 When I started writing one of my magical romantic comedies, HAUNTED EVER AFTER, I was trying to come up with a name for my main character; a bride-to-be who becomes haunted by the wacky ghost of her fiance’s ex-girlfriend. A name popped into my mind. I liked the first name but the surname didn’t feel completely right, so I asked myself, ‘What would be a better surname?’ and instantly another one came to me.

 I Googled it and found a news article about a woman with the same name who had been murdered. Her terrifying ordeal brought tears to my eyes, and then I gasped as the article mentioned a street name close to where she was found – it was the same name as the original surname that had popped into my mind.

I decided to give my character the first name of this woman (Sally), but use a different surname than the two I had thought of. I like to think that somehow, I could give her a symbolic second chance at a happy ever after, if only through fiction. And I decided to not only name my character after her but dedicate the book to her as well, and others who have been taken abruptly and unfairly from this world.


22032Mixing romance, humour and a sparkle of magic, Juliet Madison is back with a new full-length novel about a bride-to-be, a mystery and the stripper next door.

When bride-to-be Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids, the last thing she expects is an uninvited guest: the ghost of her fiancé’s ex-girlfriend.

Red is quirky, loud and distracting, and Sally is soon desperate to find the reason behind her presence, so she can rid herself of her embarrassing shadow before the wedding day. Unfortunately, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her existence, but very enthusiastic about Ty, the surprise hen’s night stripper who keeps showing up at awkward moments.

Time is running out for Sally, but it’s also running out for Red. By the time all is revealed, Sally will be tested to the limits, and go above and beyond everything she’s ever believed in order to ensure not only her own happy-ever-after – but Red’s as well.

Gateway to Romance: Rhyll Biest

by Rhyll Biest

My gateway books to romance reading were novels about animals and, in particular, horses (I was horse mad as a kid) or even just novels with horses on the cover. At around twelve years of age I read Mary Stewart’s Airs Above the Ground because of the white Lippizaner on the cover, loved the very prim and proper romantic suspense and went on to read Madame Will You Talk and then all of her books. Similarly, I was a huge fan of Anne McCaffrey and K.M. Peyton around the same age. (It’s pretty clear I spent most of my tweens reading. Time well spent!) K.M. Peyton is a prize-winning British young adult writer and since most of her novels involved horses I gobbled them up as a school brat. A number also included (very sweet) romantic elements, including her series The Flambards (now televised).

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It was the dragons on Anne McCaffrey’s books lured me in, and (as most romance and fantasy readers would know) most of McCaffrey’s books had romantic elements to them, whether it was between a spaceship and her brawn, between dragon riders, or (gasp!) aliens and humans.

So, there you have it, novels that feature animals lure innocent young minds into that literary den of iniquity (guaranteed to ruin a young lady’s future) that calls itself the romance genre.

Brain normal
 

Rhyll Biest writes romance hot enough to melt your e-reader. She’s also one of the tarts on the Bookish Tarts podcast where she and fellow author Georgina Penney discuss romance novels in a high-brow yet potty-mouthed way. Her next release with Escape, Hell on Wheels, will be published 5 October 2016.

My book setting: Argyll

by Jenny Brigalow

My family tree is actually more of a forest, but one of the bonuses of such a convoluted life has been a Scottish connection. My late stepfather, John, was a Scott.

When I was a young woman I holidayed at the Scottish family cottage in Argyll, just on the edge of the Crinan Canal. And there I was privileged to discover Argyll, a mystical and magical place that is quite possibly the most romantic spot on the planet.

argyl5This early contact with Scotland forged a lasting love of the land and an abiding interest in its myths, legends and history. From the highlands through the still water of the lochs and to the rugged coastline, Argyll is breathtaking.

In August 2013 I returned and rediscovered my Scotland.

It was a joy to come to know Argyll so intricately through my writing. The Macgregor plunges the reader into a romantic tale of high drama and intrigue. It is a story of the present and the past, of fantasy and fact, of love and loss. It is about a young werewoman whose life has been forged in the very bedrock of her ancient home and of the man whom she determines to make her own.

argyl4Megan MacGregor is no ordinary woman, but then Sean Duncan is a whole lot more man than she imagines. Their fate is irrevocably tied to the ancient feuds of the clans. Behind the bleak and austere walls of Carrick Castle the Campbells are watching, and in the darkness, the hunt is on.

Where we live shapes who we are, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. Megan and Sean are no different. Megan has a preference for Dr Martens boots and tartan miniskirts, while Sean wears the dress code of his work, blue jeans and riding boots. Sean’s diet is mainly liquid, with a penchant for a fine malt whisky. Megan sits down to sizzling, succulent seal steaks with her grandad.

It is in a misty vale that Megan finds her man: ‘Up close she could see that his brilliant blue eyes were surrounded by lush black lashes, and his upper lip was full. Quite kissable. His bare chest impressively broad, his stomach as tight as a greyhound’s. Not bad—for a mere mortal.’

argyl2And it is in the ancient fortress of Dunaad that Sean Duncan discovers the seat of the Olde: ‘Water ran down his body like a lover. The stone beneath his feet spoke to him like a brother. And in his hand the oak staff trembled with the promise of his power.’

Argyll is beautiful, wild and remote. It is uncompromising. It is enduring. It is verdant. Come join Megan and Sean there. You won’t want to leave. Ever.


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In Children of the Mist, we discovered the secret history of the Children. Now, in the wilds of Scotland, one of them has come of age…