SLAVE is now a full time reviewer for Guys Like Romance, Too!

Please note that SLAVE's Erotic Review is on hiatus to catch up on reviews.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Vampires for Christmas!



Shadowkings: The Inspiration

What are shadowkings, you ask?

They are purportedly mythical vampiric mages, akin to gods in the vampire cultures of the world. Only a few exist now, and Velian--court mage to Lorik--is one of them, though no one but Lorik knows the truth.

When the Moretti family is murdered, the twin brothers, Lucca and Gabriele, flee for their lives. Their family were allies of Lorik, and the vampire lord takes the twins in for safety. But Velian has another purpose for Lucca.

Lucca Moretti was born with magic flowing through his veins. Even as a mortal, he is incredibly attuned to nature and the elements, but Velian sees the signs of something much stronger in the young nobleman.

Gabriele is Lucca's twin, younger only by a few minutes. Unlike Lucca, however, Gabriele clings to his Christian upbringing like a lifeline. To make matters worse, the illicit desire simmering between Gabriele and his twin is becoming a lot harder to ignore.

***

I wrote my beloved vampire twins years ago, and they've been through various little snippets, teasers, and aborted stories. Shadowkings 1: The Beginning is their novel--the story of how they became lovers, and how they became vampires. It's also the story of Lucca's rise to power.

The title for the series came about from a song, actually -- though that shouldn't be much of a surprise to those who know me. Music inspires everything I write in one way or another. The song is 'Shadowkings' and is by the gothic heavy metal band Paradise Lost. You can hear the song on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqDgZ-rTK6E

I originally meant for this book to be a single title, just the story of how they got to the point of lovers (and Master/sub). I should have known these two wouldn't settle for one book. Hell, they wanted an entire series of their own. Thus, Shadowkings was born. At the start, I had no clue what or who the shadowkings were anymore than the then-mortal twins did. This novel was very much a matter of stream-of-consciousness writing for me. I basically channeled them both and wrote what they told me to write.

Book two will begin where this one leaves off, but where this one focuses on Lucca's powers, book two (Harbinger) will be more for Gabriele's latent abilities. He isn't just a skilled archer, as he demonstrates in The Beginning. There's far more to him than that, and he will become a harbinger of destruction for the enemies they all must face. To give you a hint: Gabriele will meet someone closely acquainted with his namesake.

***

Today I'm giving away a $25 gift certificate for Torquere Press, the publisher that started me down this unbelievably awesome career. Here are the details:

Deadline: January 1, 2014, midnight (Eastern)

How to Enter: Comment here and tell me the title of a song that YOU find inspirational, for whatever reason. Be sure to include your name and email address!

On January 2nd, I'll draw one name from ALL commenters and the winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to http://www.torquerebooks.com/

***

An excerpt from Shadowkings 1: The Beginning...

Lucca watched the young man from the village leave quietly and discretely. Alone once more, Lucca glanced up at the sitting room window. He'd spotted his twin up there not long before the villager's arrival, but then carnal pleasure drove away all but the need to climax. Of course, Lucca hadn't even thought about the young man beneath him. With every single thrust, he'd imagined it was Gabriele.

He picked up his shirt and slipped it back on. His pants, dusty from his sword practice, bore little evidence of the tryst. Not that he cared. If someone were to charge him with sodomy, it would certainly be the least of the crimes of which he knew he was guilty.

Witchcraft.

He'd heard one of the servants muttering about it to another, his name falling into the hushed conversation. While he didn't do anything to openly prove such accusations true, Lucca knew they held a modicum of truth. He'd found out early in life that he could hear others' thoughts. He understood and communed with creatures of the wild, though not in front of anyone else. He knew more about plants and their varied uses than the village healers. Then there was his other... addiction. Seeking pleasure with men had been something he'd done for years, but the urge to inflict pain came later. Only a few men let him bind their arms or legs, and fewer still enjoyed the sensation of leather snapping against their bare skin.

Lucca shivered and forced such images away. It was growing dark, which meant dinner would be soon. As the eldest, though only by a few minutes, he was expected at the head of the table with their father. The pomp annoyed him, but he endured it for his siblings' sakes. Alessandra was the picture of nobility, even if she did possess an unnatural wild streak at times. Gabriele was simply the quiet one, ever daydreaming about fantastical worlds beyond their manor and its village. As for himself, Lucca had no inclinations toward following in his father's lordly footsteps. His calling lay elsewhere, though he had no idea where that elusive place was right now.

He sheathed his sword and went through a servant's door, stepping into the chaos of dinner preparation in the kitchen. The bustle of servants stopped the moment he shut the door behind him. The women watched him, some with a hint of lust in their eyes, others with something far more like fear. At least this time, no one marked themselves with the sign of the Cross in his presence. That had happened once, and Lucca found it highly amusing. If they knew where his name originated from, they might have outright expired on the spot.

Ignoring the servants, he continued through the kitchen and out into the hall. A flash of golden hair topping a body more slender than his own crossed from one room to another farther down. Lucca followed. He waited in the doorway, blocking his twin from leaving. Gabriele turned, only to bump right into him. Those mesmerizing eyes gazed into his and Lucca swore he glimpsed pure need within their depths.

"I'm sorry," Gabriele said. "I didn't know you were back inside already."

"If I'm late to dinner, I'm sure the rumors will only become more colorful."

Gabriele blinked, his expression one of disbelief. "Lucca!"

Lucca grinned. Gabriele looked utterly delicious when the man's moral sensibilities became offended. "I doubt any of them can accuse me of something new. I think I'm currently guilty of every crime and sin known to mankind."

Gabriele scowled, making Lucca want him even more. "You are a very wicked man."

"Perhaps." Lucca leaned closer and whispered, "but at least I know who I am, Gabriele."

"We are expected at dinner," Gabriele muttered.

Lucca stepped aside and let his brother pass. "After you, mio angelo."

***

About Mychael…

Call me Katherine or Mychael--I'll answer to both. I'm a mother, partner, student, author by trade, and editor by compulsion. I've been in the publishing business for several years, namely as a writer but also as an editor on occasion. It never fails, though. I always end up editing eventually.

I'm a proud bibliophile, to which my poor sagging bookcases can attest. I read all the time, namely fantasy and romance.

When not writing or reading or editing, I...eat. Maybe sleep. Or watch Spongebob. Yes. I am a self-proclaimed, thirty-something year old Spongebob Squarepants addict. Much to my partner's dismay. It's fun.

If you're curious about what I write (and who wouldn't be?!), then you can find me below:

website:    blog:     facebook:     twitter:

Monday, December 23, 2013

The best gifts are on going



Greetings Readers!
Jaxx Steele here to wish you Happy Holidays and to share one of my 3 Christmas stories with you: The Bradley Family's Gift!

I have to admit that this is one of my favorite stories. The Bradley family is not so different from the ones we may know or even your own. Donald Bradley lives in the city, but goes home to the small town he grew up in for the holidays. His sister and mother drive him crazy, they have their traditions and yearly fights over the same things and depart a loving family until next time.

Don is single and gun shy of relationships. His job as owner of an internet website that hooks up other people enables that because he has lots of online friends, but none in the real world. He actually likes going home at Christmas time. It gets him away from the hustle and bustle the season brings to a big city to have a little peace in a quiet suburb.

I hope this story shows that sometimes the people who know you best really do know what’s best for you. :) Enjoy!



Home for the holidays, Don meets Trevor. With no intention of starting a relationship, can Don be convinced that Trevor’s everything he wants this holiday?
Blurb:
Donald Bradley is home for the holidays when he meets Trevor Oxford. He is everything he could ask for in a man, but Don has no intention of having any type of relationship with him because he lives two hundred miles away. Trevor is confident and aggressive each time Don encounters him, not hiding his interest at all. Will Don accept what Trevor has to offer, giving him what he really wants this holiday season?
- See more at: http://jaxxsteele.com/books/upcoming-titles/the-bradley-familys-gift/#sthash.Mz0g34B2.dpuf


Home for the holidays, Don meets Trevor. With no intention of starting a relationship, can Don be convinced that Trevor’s everything he wants and needs this holiday?

Donald Bradley is home for the holidays when he meets Trevor Oxford. He is everything he could ask for in a man, but Don has no intention of having any type of relationship with him because he lives two hundred miles away. Trevor is confident and aggressive each time Don encounters him, not hiding his interest at all. Will Don accept what Trevor has to offer, giving him what he really wants this holiday season?



Home for the holidays, Don meets Trevor. With no intention of starting a relationship, can Don be convinced that Trevor’s everything he wants this holiday?
Blurb:
Donald Bradley is home for the holidays when he meets Trevor Oxford. He is everything he could ask for in a man, but Don has no intention of having any type of relationship with him because he lives two hundred miles away. Trevor is confident and aggressive each time Don encounters him, not hiding his interest at all. Will Don accept what Trevor has to offer, giving him what he really wants this holiday season?
- See more at: http://jaxxsteele.com/books/upcoming-titles/the-bradley-familys-gift/#sthash.Mz0g34B2.dpuf

Home for the holidays, Don meets Trevor. With no intention of starting a relationship, can Don be convinced that Trevor’s everything he wants this holiday?
Blurb:
Donald Bradley is home for the holidays when he meets Trevor Oxford. He is everything he could ask for in a man, but Don has no intention of having any type of relationship with him because he lives two hundred miles away. Trevor is confident and aggressive each time Don encounters him, not hiding his interest at all. Will Don accept what Trevor has to offer, giving him what he really wants this holiday season?
- See more at: http://jaxxsteele.com/books/upcoming-titles/the-bradley-familys-gift/#sthash.Mz0g34B2.dpuf

 Excerpt:


“How much mistletoe do you need?”

At first, Donald stood there staring at him. When his shock finally eased away, he found his voice.

“I— I don’t know. My sister was supposed to pick this stuff up. The list belongs to her. How much do people usually buy?”

“Well, I guess that would depend on how much smooching you plan on doing,” the man answered with a mischievous grin. “With lips as sexy as yours, I bet you do a lot. Perhaps you should return after you’ve spoken to your significant other to see how much kissing you’ll be doing in your future,” he added with a chuckle.

Donald let out an embarrassed laughed. “I don’t have one of those.”

He put the carrier on top of a nearby basket. “Really? A handsome man like you is single? That’s downright tragic. I’m Trevor, by the way. What’s your name?” he said, offering his hand.

“Donald.”

He shook Donald’s hand slowly, staring at the ceiling. 
“Donald, Donald. Hmm, Delicious Donald. No, Darling Donald.” His lips twisted as he thought. “No, Delicious Donald is better. I’m sure I’ll have no trouble remembering that,” he said, looking at Donald again.

Donald’s eyes widened, and a soft gasp escaped him. Trevor’s gaze was mesmerizing. It made him warm on the inside. Now he knew what people meant when they said it felt like someone was looking right through them into their soul. His breathing quickened, and his hard-on returned with a vengeance.

Trevor opened his hand, releasing the mistletoe, then pinched some from its container to hold over Donald’s head. He moved so close that Donald could smell his minty breath.

“Well, Donny, to answer your question, I would hang about this much over every doorway in my house if I knew you were coming over. But then I wouldn’t want to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Donald’s breath caught at Trevor’s closeness. He could hardly breathe, let alone complete a sentence. 

Suddenly, the front door swung open and bells rang loudly, breaking the hypnotic hold Trevor seemed to have on him.

“Trevor, I’m here! I came to pick up that box of decorations for my window,” a woman cried cheerfully as she walked across the floor toward the counter.

Trevor shook his head. “That’s Mrs David from the bakery. I’ve got some stuff on hold for her. She’s a sweet old lady, but her timing sucks,” he said with a soft laugh. “Wouldn’t you agree?”

Donald nodded, but he was thinking saved by the bell.
Trevor took a step back and snatched a small baggie off the basket. He dropped a small amount of mistletoe into it along with the rest of the things on his list.

“It would seem I have some other work to do. I’ll see you at the register.” He caressed Donald’s face, then handed him the basket before walking away.

Donald’s jaw dropped, but he was finally able to breathe again. He watched with a raised brow as Trevor walked to the counter to help the woman who waited for him. He was charming and pleasant with her. When he gathered the things she needed, Trevor followed her out the door carrying the box. Donald walked to the register, staring at the door.

Who is this guy? Where is Mr Oxford?

He may not know who Trevor was, but somehow, Trevor knew he was gay and he seemed interested. His head tilted.

“How the hell did he know that?” he mumbled.

An interaction like what just happened between him and Trevor had never happened to Donald before. He didn’t know what to do. In college, he had met his so-called boyfriend during a gay rights rally on campus. They’d gone to a few meetings together, had a few beers, and since they were both single, they had decided to do the friends with benefits thing. That was his introduction to sex and relationships. After graduation, it was over. He often wondered what it would be like to date someone or have a real relationship.

Donald replayed the scene over in his mind. His cock jumped at the memory. Trevor came on to him so aggressively. It surprised and excited him. Most of the good-looking guys he had come in contact with fell into two categories: taken or jerks. Trevor didn’t seem to fit either.

It was a shame that he was only going to be home until after the New Year. He wondered what it would be like to date a man like Trevor, if he was serious about being with him. It didn’t make sense to start something he couldn’t finish. Everyone knew long distance love affairs didn’t work. The door swung open. A cold breeze washed over him, jarring him from his thoughts.

“Woo! I should have grabbed my coat,” Trevor said as he brushed the snow from his shoulders and shook his head. “The snow is really starting to come down now.” He walked behind the counter, stopping in front of Donald. “I was about to take lunch. Want to join me?”

“I uh…”

“I have a fireplace that could keep us warm unless you’d prefer to use body heat instead.”

Donald’s eyes widened, and Trevor laughed and held his hands up.

“Okay, okay, too soon. Let’s ring this stuff up and get you on your way.”

Donald handed Trevor the money. Trevor held his hand longer than needed. Trevor pushed the bag to him, and Donald rushed out of the store with it. Once out in the cold air, Donald was able to control his breathing again.

“I don’t even know what to say about all that,” he muttered on his return trek.
****

Gift Time! 
Last year a made a breast cancer awareness scarf that the winner said she loved. So I will made this one this year. Everyone who comments will have the chance to win.
Good luck!

If red is not your color, I can be persuaded to make one in blue. :)

Until next time…

Jaxx Steele has left the building!