As I pack on the winter pounds, stuffing my face full of carbs like a deranged squirrel, I start looking at other cozy comforts—like BOOKS!
So, as I sip the slowly melting marshmallow fluff in my hot cocoa, I thought I’d share what I’m looking forward to reading.
The Serpant’s Mirror By Deborah Harkness. The author of A Discovery of Witches, one of my favorite witch books ever, has hinted that the fourth novel in her series in coming out in 2017. And it’s December… so… *rubs hands together* http://amzn.to/2APeFJf
Anything TS Joyce writes. She just published the first book in the Outlaw series, which means a whole new crew of grumpy, sexy shifters. The woman is amazing. Not just the stories she tells, but she’s a badass in life. Mad props to this genius. http://amzn.to/2Buj5lg
There be dragons on the horizon. Ruby Dixon writes a dragon shifters meets aliens series, The Fireblood Dragons, and the fourth is due around the New Year! Yay!!! http://amzn.to/2kiixeB
Amanda Milo’s book, Won by the Alien, has been on my TBR pile and I’ve just been waiting for the perfect day to dive in. I love Amanda’s world—unique, dark—but with just enough hope to keep me breathlessly reading. http://amzn.to/2zY4wdq
Rebecca Royce has a new witch book coming out. Hexed and Vexed is about a girl known in her witchy community as the worst witch. Can’t wait! http://amzn.to/2icCEXC
Now, I won’t only be reading, but writing, too. I’m deep into the second book of the Midnight’s Crown series, my vampire reverse harem romance. I’ve also just released as a stand alone paranormal reverse harem romance, The Ice Bride. http://amzn.to/2BAXzvX
Before I get up to add another scoop of fluff to my chocolate, here’s a chapter from The Ice Bride, just for you:)
Have a wonderful December! Ripley
“It’s going to be all right, my skaoi,” Second said, kneeling in front of me with his brother following suit. Reaching toward my face, he cupped my cheek in his hand. Cool relief flooded me.
The heat at my core chilled, making me shiver. Second’s nostrils flared. If he could smell me, like some kind of—hold on.
“I can understand you now,” I whispered. “I couldn’t yesterday. What is going on?”
Forgetting all about their hotness and the foreign sensations pulsing through me, I stood, edging past them to have the door at my back. I needed to get out of here, to run away. If I could get some distance between me, and these pillars of handsomeness with their amazing smell, I could figure out what was going on.
Second’s gaze cut to the door. He knew what I was thinking.
So I bolted.
Outside, snow had fallen during the night, but it didn’t slow me down. I had long legs, good endurance, and when I found my stride, I was fast.
With my arms pumping, I cut through the snow like it wasn’t there. The cold air cleared my head, filled my lungs, and I wanted to shout out with joy. The trees blurred by me, and when the sound of broken limbs and snow reached me, I put on a burst of speed.
They were chasing me, and I liked it. It was right—what we were supposed to do. Part of the dance. But I was too fast for them. They’d never catch me. I didn’t have the bulk they did, they’d never be able to match my—
Arms gripped me, lifting me off my feet and spinning me around. I imagined what I looked like, feet peddling, arms windmilling. My elbow connected with a hard chest. “Oomph.”
Whoever held me spun me around. “First,” I whispered.
“Grim,” he replied, and I frowned.
“What’s grim?” I glanced around. The snow was still falling, but I wouldn’t call the landscape grim.
First blushed and bit his lip. With his arms around me, I could truly get the sense of his height. At nearly six feet myself, I wasn’t used to tipping my head back to see someone’s face. He cleared his throat. “No. It’s my name. Grim.”
“Betha,” I answered, beginning to feel awkward. His arms were tight around my back. His hard chest pressed against my front. My chest heaved as I panted, trying to catch my breath with each inhalation. The sensation flooded my senses; I needed more of it.
“Betha.” My name came out on a breath. Movement behind me had him narrowing his eyes and growling. “Fenris. You won’t take her.”
Second moved into my line of sight, away from a copse of trees. He studied Grim and me intently.
Silently, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his twin. “She is ours now. There is no breaking the bond.”
“Hold up.” I gripped each of their shoulders, attempting to separate them so I could step forward and address the other brother. The one who’d been dragged out of the house yesterday and had regarded me with dislike and confusion. Having been on the receiving end of looks like that most of my life, I could safely say what was burning in his eyes now was as far away from dislike as one could get. “Grim.”
His body tensed, but he didn’t move. “Please stay behind Raynor and me, Betha.” Was it just me or did his mouth linger over my name. “We’ll keep you safe.”
“I’m not going to hurt her, idiots. She is my skaoi as well as yours,” Fenris snapped.
“What is a skaoi?” I asked.
They ignored me. “You denied her. Said you’d send her back. I won’t let you,” Second— no—Raynor answered.
Send me back? To Boston and my job and the story I’d written and Jeb the douchebag editor. The plan had a lot less draw than it did when I was hurtling toward Earth, expecting to be a Betha pancake.
“I couldn’t send her back. Not now. But she can’t run from us, not here. It’s too dangerous,” the older brother snapped. His eyes were blue, but different than the blue-eyed twins and mother, and when they caught mine, they warmed. When I stepped toward him without thought, both Grim and Raynor stopped me.
Anxiety filled me. I had to go to him, needed to go to him. The twins had to let me past. Though Fenris remained still, body held in a position of feigned calmness, he was strung tight and ready to snap.
“Let me,” I whispered, pushing them apart with a gentle nudge.
“Not too close,” came Raynor’s gravelly reply. He threw one arm up, blocking me from going further.
“Raynor.” Fenris growled. “Don’t touch her.” His blue eyes darkened as his skin paled, a bluish-white cast creeping from his neck to his jaw and along his cheekbones. Steam poured off of him where it covered his naturally pink skin.
“Move.” I touched Raynor’s arm, wrapping my fingers around his wrist. Whatever I felt for Fenris, I felt for Raynor and Grim, and the threat in Fenris’s voice charged something inside me. I managed to get around the twins, enough they still shielded me, but I could get between the men if I needed to.
Growling low and deep in his throat, Fenris glided forward, eyes narrowed. His entire body began to change. Gone were the furs and leathers, the high cheekbones and slightly slanted eyes, and what remained in his place was a giant of a man, covered head-to-toe in ice. Each step came with a snap.
The arm beneath my hand cooled, an equally low growl vibrating from Raynor and echoed by Grim. As I stared, their bodies mirrored Fenris’s: blue-white encased in ice.
Raynor’s knees bent, ready to lunge at Fenris. I dashed between them. “No!” Palms forward, I whipped my gaze from the twins to their older brother. “Stop,” I added, trying to impress upon them I was one-who-shall-be-obeyed.