SFR Brigade Summer Cafe

Welcome to the SFR Brigade's Summer Cafe! I hope you're having fun hopping around and seeing all the cool stuff.

As you may have guessed, this year's event is centered on the idea of food and recipes. Food is something I've had a lot of fun playing with in A'yen's Legacy. My family enjoys spicy things, and cinnamon, so when I discovered A'yen was a tea drinker there was no doubt in my mind what kind of tea he drinks.

In my universe, he was born on the planet Athen Three. It's a small planet, known for its lakes and oceans. There are a lot of resorts there and it's a popular vacation place. There's a native berry there called the spiceberry. It's A'yen's favorite thing ever. Spiceberry jam, spiceberry tea, spiceberry cookies. Basically, stick spiceberries in it and he's all over it.

The flavor of A'yen's tea isn't just a figment of my imagination. It's a mix my mom made all the time when I was growing up. I'm sharing it with you.

A'yen's Tea

Mix together:
2 cups instant tea with lemon
2 cups sugar
1 pkg of lemonade mix (we used Kool-Aid)
1 1/2 tsp EACH of cinnamon, allspice, & nutmeg

Measure to taste in a mug and pour in boiling water.

I'm not just going to talk about tea, though. This week's theme is Androids & Aliens. A'yen is an alien. Which shocked the hell out of me when he walked into my head three years ago. I was Least Likely To Write Science Fiction in my family, even though there are only two writers out of the six of us.

It was so much fun discovering all the things that make A'yen an alien. And all the things that make him like us. The most obvious alien characteristic is his face shape. The Face of Boe from Doctor Who is as close as I could get to what I see in my head, but minus the floaty tentacle thingies. And of course A'yen and his species have bodies. You can have a look at it here.

Another thing I discovered is his species, the Lokmane, is telepathic. That was fun! I spent an afternoon doing research on it to find a way to explain it with science instead of paranormal. I settled on their bodies processing electromagnetic waves differently from humans. Thoughts are nothing more than electromagnetic signals in our brains. Adjust how a body interprets them, and voila! Telepathy.

There's also some other cool stuff, but I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to read the books.

Prize Pack! Keep scrolling to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget the rest of this week's stops! Check them out below.

My Name Is A'yen
book 1 of A'yen's Legacy 

They've taken everything from him. Except his name. 

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant of the galaxy.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted. 

Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened, he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart. 

Get it here: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google Play |iBooks | All Romance Ebooks 
Also available through Scribd


My Name Is A'yen 99 cent sale!

I'm running my very first 99 cent sale for My Name Is A'yen. The dates are 5/1 through 5/10. It's to celebrate the release of #3, To Save A Life.

Sale price is available at these stores:

All Romance Ebooks
Coffee Time Romance

I want more books available before I start playing with sales on Google Play.

They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened, he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.


New Release: Sing A Song Of The Stars

I'm pleased to announce that I'm in my first box set, and it's LIVE TODAY!! 99 cents for eight science fiction romance reads, a mix of full novels and novellas, and most are series openers. Buy links under the blurb.

A collection of eight sci-fi romance novels and novellas.

Spanning the universe, from futuristic Earth to unique alien worlds, these stories combine the realms of science fiction with heartfelt romance and tantalizing sizzle. Adventure, mystery, space exploration, technology, betrayal, and love, these eight stories sing the songs of the stars--igniting the imagination, arousing the spirit, and uplifting the heart.

Farewell Andromeda by Laurie A. Green
The last thing deep space pilot Tiharra Bell needs is another romantic entanglement, and certainly not with the galaxy's most famous astronomer. But she's about to be fooled.

Reckless Rescue by Rinelle Grey
He crash-landed on her planet. Can they survive the winter together without falling in love?

The Seeker by Sandy James
The Vymalns have conquered Earth but Kara Michaels refuses to surrender. When Aiodhan Riel is sent to assassinate the Vymaln leader, he crash lands. Will he carry out his mission or fall for the rebellious Kara?

Unbound Instinct by C.E. Kilgore
Vex is unique among his kind. Cris is the last of hers. Freed from slavery, they seek an acceptance of themselves and an understanding of each other.

Alien Encounter: Janaya by Shelley Munro
Janaya is stuck on Earth. And because she neglected to have her travel inoculations in her hurry to protect her aunt from Torgons, she has bonded with an Earthman.

A Matter Of Trust by Greta van der Rol
Surrounded by enemies, it seems the only man prepared to help Princess Amira is the Demon Admiral. But can she trust him?

My Name Is A'yen by Rachel Leigh Smith
A'yen Mesu, a Loks Mé slave, doesn't believe his homeworld exists. Dr. Farran Hart does. When she finds it, he'll do anything to protect her. Even if it costs him his heart.

Captured By The Hawk by Aurora Springer
A Space Operetta: Kat steals codes from the Emperor's Revenge. Captain Black Hawk hides his face under a mask. Will he win her heart before she uncovers his tragic secret?

Get it here:
All Romance Ebooks


SFR Station Presents: April Fools For Love

 Welcome to the April Fools for Love hop sponsored by SFR Station. The theme, as you may have guessed, is fools for love.

There's three prize packages you have a chance to win, and you can see it all in the nifty graphic. There's a copy of My Name Is A'yen up for grabs in the grand prize package. If you don't win it, you can buy it pretty much everywhere for $3.99, or you can wait until May 1st when it'll be on sale for 99 cents for 10 days.

A'yen is definitely a fool for love. Everything he does in My Name Is A'yen, and in The King's Mistress and the upcoming To Save A Life, is to protect those he loves. His decisions are often foolish in hindsight, yet he doesn't care. Because he will do just about anything to save those he loves, including sacrificing himself.

He does just that in My Name Is A'yen. A'yen's entire species is enslaved, and they've been slaves for so long they no longer believe they were ever free. Much less that somewhere out there they have a planet they once called home. Dr. Farran Hart, A'yen's new owner, believes they were free once and is determined to prove it. She has her own reasons for it, and you'll have to read the book to find out what they are. :D

A'yen thinks she's lost her mind, and he resents her presence in his life. He wants to be left alone to grieve his dead lover and dead child. Fae won't leave him alone. Nor does she treat him as a slave. Slowly, he starts to see her as someone with value and worth, even though he doesn't believe she'll find what she's looking for.

Except she does. The planet they explore is where A'yen's species once lived. Every new thing Fae finds brings A'yen one step closer to accepting freedom might be more than a myth. Of course, there's more going on than either of them are aware of.

Fae is threatened by someone working for the Breeders Association, the group responsible for making sure A'yen's people remain slaves. Here's a peek at it.

 Reston’s fingers dug into the markings. He bit down a groan as fire traveled through every inch of his body. Hot breath blew across the side of his face. “I disagree. You should guard yourself with more care, slave. You have the opportunity to save her career.”
The fingers tightened. The groan slipped out. “Dallying with me doesn’t ruin careers.”
“No. But accusations of forgery do. As do accusations of being sympathetic to the Loks Mé freedom movement.”
“You wouldn’t.” The hands disappeared from his sides and he collapsed on the table.
Reston grabbed his wrists, above the cuffs, clenching tight and sending spasms up his arms. “You don’t know what I will or will not do. But I will give you the opportunity to keep me quiet.”
No! He couldn’t sacrifice his soul again. She wasn’t worth it. Her face filled his mind, then her laughter. The way she clung to him day before yesterday when the fish bit her. The way she held his hand yesterday. The way she touched him ten minutes ago.
“Ah, there it is. You have two hours to finish making up your mind. I’ll be in the little cave by lake two. You know the one?”
A’yen nodded. Reston sent one more wave of fire crashing through him, then let go. Slumped over the table, eyes closed, he relied on his sixth sense to tell him when Reston left the building. He took his sweet time too. At the eight minute mark, A’yen forced his body to move, though he longed to curl up somewhere. Forced himself to pull the map back up and make adjustments to it, even though his fingers were clumsy and tingling.
The scene continues as A'yen debates whether or not he can give up that much of his soul. Whether or not Fae is worth the pain he knows waits for him if he gives Reston what he wants.

In some ways it's the most foolish decision A'yen has ever made. Yet it becomes one he doesn't regret. Protecting Fae, the woman he's falling in love with, is as important to him as his next breath. It's who he is, and he can't deny his nature any more than he can deny his love for Fae.

One of the marks of a true hero, in my opinion, is not being afraid to be made a fool of by love or for the sake of love. A'yen and Fae's love shapes the destiny of an entire species, and a new chapter in history.

Now for the fun stuff! To enter the giveaway, follow the Rafflecopter instructions. You can only enter once every day, not once at every stop on the tour. So make sure you come back throughout the month and earn more chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow these links to hit all the participating blogs in the hop. Have fun!


Book Boyfriends Cafe: Hot For Friday

I decided to do something new this week and participate in the Book Boyfriends Cafe Hot For Friday weekly blog hop. I won't be participating every week, but it looks like fun. Make sure to check out the other participants.

The theme for this week is Hot Encounters. So here's one of my favorites. A'yen has just returned from doing some exploring on his own, and he's not watching where he's going.

 Apples. Her hair definitely smelled like apples. And the shiniest black he’d ever seen. Dark as a starless night. She clutched at his arms to keep from falling, her fingers wrapping around his markings. But it didn’t hurt. In fact her touch barely registered on them.
Another sign his body liked her. A little too much for this point in their relationship. He wasn’t ready to let go of Master. Too bad his cellular chemistry wasn’t listening.
The feel of her pressed against him sent heat coursing through his veins. If he didn’t get some distance between them—fast—he’d do the other thing post-marking males of his race were known for and give in to the need building in his cells to have her hands manipulate the electrical energy in his body—the other reason why going without cascades was so hard.
He stepped back, still steadying her with his hands on her waist. “Whoa there, Doc.” Damn. His voice carried way too much of the heat building inside him. Green eyes stared at him. Her tongue slid across her lips and she pinched her bottom one. She really ought to let him do that.
He jerked his hands away and stumbled backward until he hit a wall. Which closed in on him, sucking all the air from the room. Only her chest moved, heaving in air at a rate to match his. Everything about her begged his hands to explore her curves, taste her fully, and take her to new heights of pleasure.
The door. Where was the door? Had to get out before he suffocated. Oh. Leaning on it. Left hand on the handle, he fumbled with it until he got it open, then backed through it, forced himself to turn around, and ran for the safety of the nearest tree.
Distance. He needed distance between them. To shut off the traitorous longings within. And the signals his body sent against his will.
Shoes crunched behind him and he whirled to find her standing in front of him, hugging herself. “I can’t help it.” The words drifted to him on a whisper. “You’re pulling me like a magnet.”
“I know.” He braced himself against the tree. “I never expected it to happen again.”

 They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.


SFR Brigade Showcase: Meet Jasmyn

It's time for another round of the SFR Brigade Showcase! Make sure to hit all the stops for lots of excerpts and other fun stuff.

This month I'm introducing another new character from The King's Mistress, who happens to be a POV character in To Save A Life. Meet Jasmyn Jenkins, Ro's love interest. Ro is with A'yen in the Hidden, and he's gone outside to bask in the sun and get some relief from the constant burning caused by his markings. They've been there about two weeks, if I'm remembering right. Maybe three?

 Head pillowed on his arms, Ro closed his eyes. Shut his field down to the bare minimum he was capable of. Lost himself in the UV light streaming over the ink, invading it and loosening the bonds in his muscles.
Something rustled in the grass and he shot up, reaching for his shirt. But not in time. She’d already seen him, and stood with her hand over her mouth. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know anyone was out here.”
Amber eyes held him captive. Large and bright, they looked straight at him. Actually seeing him, instead of the markings. Auburn hair framed her face, brushing the tops of her shoulders. Speaking of her face, it wasn’t full-blood. “It’s all right.” The words tumbled out without a thought. And weren’t a lie.
“You’re Ro, aren’t you?”
“How do you know?”
She took a tentative step closer, the heel of her shoe sinking into the grass with a squish. “I’m Jasmyn Jenkins. Sa’nar Jenkins is my dad. I run his regent’s office.”
Now her face made sense. Her mother was human. Part of him screamed to wall off, back away. Humans always used him. Always. Except for Whit. But he’d only known her a month. Not enough time to gauge someone’s true motives.
Jasmyn sank onto the lone bench, leaned forward with her elbows on her knees. The navy blue of her skirt and jacket, combined with sunlight hitting her head, made her hair shine. “What’s it like out there?”
He released the death grip on his shirt and leaned back on his hands. Sun still bathed his chest and back. “Hell.”
“That’s what my dad says. Surely it can’t be that way for everyone.”
“Do you know what it feels like to be owned?”
She shook her head, setting the gorgeous hair to bouncing. “Technically I was born a slave, but we came here when I was three. This is all I remember.”
“Then you can’t understand why it’s hell out there. Even for A’yen. His wife owns him, and if he goes somewhere without her, he has to have recorded permission and produce it to anyone who asks for it. If they bother to ask before beating the hell out of him.”
Jasmyn cocked her head, eying him with a thoughtful look on her face. “What about you?”
Leaning forward, he held out his arms. “I’m a prisoner of my markings. Out there I’m forbidden to say no. Even to our own kind.”
The eyes rounded. “I know what the blue means, but I didn’t know how much it controls you.”
“I am enjoying being in a place where long sleeves don’t give me away.” He smiled at her in an attempt to get her to do it. One started, but froze halfway.
“I know why you’re out here. Daddy hates wearing a shirt too. I promise I won’t give your spot away.”
She stood, tucked her hands into her jacket pockets, gaze lingering on him. For the first time he didn’t feel exposed or violated in someone’s gaze. “I’ll be with my dad when the new arrivals get here. He always greets them.”
“I’ll be there too.” Something made him stand up. Not sure what, but it felt rude to remain on the ground in the presence of such a beautiful young woman.
The smile finished and pierced his heart. “See you around.” She turned and walked off, hips swaying in a graceful, natural rhythm. Nothing like the faked, exaggerated movements Camden’s paid whores used.
This must be what a crush felt like.  
Intrigued? You can get it here: Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Google Play, All Romance Ebooks

Freedom has a cost. Can A’yen pay it without losing his soul?

Liberation of the enslaved Lokmane begins with the king. A’yen and Fae agree to visit the Hidden, a group of escaped Lokmane, to protect his identity while the Shadows make their move with emancipation acts. But he's not prepared for the prejudice rampant in the Hidden, or their lack of patience for him. And his new linked bodyguard is unstable to the point A'yen fears for the young man's sanity.

Upon returning to Titan, A'yen is kidnapped and taken to the largest breeding farm in the galaxy. This time he'll be himself even if it kills him. His resolve to unite his people grows as he wonders if he'll live long enough to do it.

With A'yen kidnapped, Fae returns to the Lokmane homeworld seeking the final pieces of what happened two thousand years ago when they were conquered and enslaved. Getting as far away from her father as possible is the only way to keep her from disappearing too.

Separated by light years, A'yen and Fae have to stand alone and fight for their right to live in freedom. No matter the cost.


Cover Reveal: Bound To You by AR DeClerck

I'm participating in the cover reveal for AR DeClerck's next science fiction romance, Bound To You. I was one of the beta readers for the first draft, and it is one awesome ride! The cover perfectly captures my mental images of Jacks and Lia.

Here's the blurb for it.

Jackson Baine is a man with a gift, and he has never had a problem with selling it to the highest bidder. His newest job is with one of the biggest terraforming companies in the universe, and the money he stands to make will allow him and his crew to retire on any planet in any galaxy they choose. His biggest problem: Ferrell Terraforming has assigned him a company liason to see to his needs and protect their interests. But that’s not his only problem. Lia Bernardi is smart, beautiful and strong, and she entices Jacks in a way no other woman ever has. She is a distraction he cannot afford on the surface. 

Anatolia Bernardi is ready to climb the corporate ladder, get out from under her egotistical boss, and impress her overbearing father. All she has to do is turn one dead, empty planet into an oasis. Her company says Jacks Baine is the key, and it’s her job to make sure he’s productive and happy. Both of which, she soon learns, are harder than she’d thought they’d be. For some reason Jacks can get under her skin and break down every wall she’s constructed between herself and the world. 

On the surface of a long-dead planet Jacks and Lia will be forced to face the startling realization that the past never really goes away.

The book releases 4/24/15. You can preorder it at Amazon.

AR DeClerck lives in the Quad Cities, IL. She is a wife and mother of two daughters. She has two dogs and a cat, and always has her nose in a book. She’s either reading one, or writing one. She writes romance in many sub-genres, and has always had a soft spot for sci-fi romance. She credits her love of reading and writing to her mother, who always keeps a book handy.

Find AR on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


I Was Married To Christian Grey

I am a domestic abuse survivor. Let me share with you what it was like.

First off, my ex orchestrated the most massive lie I've ever seen, and convinced my entire family (including extended and grandparents) that he was the opposite of what he turned out to be. He was a narcissist, abusive, manipulative, and controlling. All of which he hid before we got married.

He was laid off the week of our wedding, and ended up taking a job on the other end of the country about six months later. At first, I thought part of what was going on was the stress of a man not having a job and being able to support his family. I was ignored, and increasingly felt like I was just there for him to have sex with. And when we did have sex, he didn't give a rat's ass about whether or not I enjoyed it or whether I even finished. It was all about him, and once he had what he wanted he was done.

He didn't listen to me. Didn't care about my opinion or how I felt about things. I was constantly told to shut up, that I was stupid, and had no idea what I was talking about. I was even told one day that when I married him I ceased to be American. (He was an immigrant, and I'm not naming the country so don't ask.) He threatened multiple times to hit me, but never followed through because I would stand there and stare him down. He didn't know what to do with that reaction and it would throw him off.

I was wrong about things getting better when he had a job. When he landed the new job, things got worse. He began controlling every penny I was allowed to spend, making me account for it, chewing me out when I spent more than $20 on groceries for three weeks. On Long Island! He also refused to put me on any of his accounts, refused to open a new checking account in the state we lived in, and lied to me over and over and over about where he was and what he was doing.

He left for the new job a week before me, and I followed by driving since I had my cat. My parents came with me. On the final day, when we hit the New Jersey state line, it took everything I had not to turn around and drive back to Louisiana right that second. The closer we got to Long Island, the more I panicked. At that point, no one really believed me about how bad things were and I was starting to wonder if I was imagining some of what was happening or misreading how he was acting.

Once my parents left, he arranged things where I had no vehicle. He threatened to kill my cat. He almost broke my arm the same day he threatened to kill my cat, and that's when I called the cops. I left for a week, then went back and tried one more time to make things work. During that week apart we were supposed to move from on-site housing at his job to our own apartment.

He made the move by himself. When my parents arrived on Long Island to talk to him, it is only by the grace of God that my dad didn't kill him on the spot. And my dad told my ex that to his face! In the process of taking our things out of storage, my ex had shown so little regard for the things that were important to me that I kept finding my treasures broken and shattered in the boxes.

When I found a pen box with my favorite Ernest Hemingway quote on it, that my parents had given me as encouragement to keep writing, shattered beyond repair, I lost it. Had a total breakdown in my mom's arms. Which set her to crying, which set my dad to crying. I can count on one hand the times I've seen my dad cry, and that day was one of them.

Things got worse. My ex kept cancelling the Internet installation. He continued to leave me without a vehicle. My parents bought me a $400 Android phone for two reasons. One, because he refused to install Internet. Two, so they could file a theft report if and when he took the phone away from me. I had the county domestic violence hotline on speed dial in my phone.

My sister came up to see me a week after my parents left. My ex showed his worst side yet, scared my sister spitless, scared me spitless, and I shut down. I couldn't think to save my life. She called our mom sobbing saying if she didn't get me out of there he was going to kill me. And she was right.

So we packed my treasures up while he was at work, put them in storage so he couldn't destroy them, my sister called her BFF and had her find us a hotel by LaGuardia, and my sister got me the heck out of there. When I called to tell him where his car was, I ended up hanging up on him because he was yelling and screaming at me and telling me to get my ass back up there.

That man left soul deep scars on me. It's been five years since I left him, and four since I've had to hear his voice. I still start to panic when I see someone who looks like him, or hear someone who sounds like him. I know it's not him, because he's still in New York. But it doesn't stop the panic. I've cut all ties online with his family and friends, and if any of them ever try to contact me I'll probably file a police report.

My cat had nightmares because of him, and it was two years after leaving before she'd let strangers so much as see her. I had nightmares for months after leaving, even though I was safe at home with my parents and 1400 miles away from my ex. I'd wake up terrified he was coming for me. I have no desire to have any kind of relationship with a man. I don't want one getting that close to me again.

My issue with Fifty Shades of Grey is not the BDSM portrayed in them (badly portrayed, the BDSM community has been quite vocal in their disagreement with how the lifestyle is portrayed in these books). My issue is with Christian Grey and the message Ms. James is sending women. She's telling women that it's okay for men like Grey to treat you like shit, to isolate you and manipulate you and control you. Why? Because they say they love you, and when they apologize everything is hunky-dory again. Even though the behavior never changes. Ms. James has bought the lie, and she's told millions of women it's okay to buy the lie.

IT IS NEVER OKAY!!!! NEVER!! Women are to be cherished and protected. Not abused and isolated.

When you're with a man like Christian Grey, you begin to doubt yourself. You begin to wonder if you're imagining things to be worse than they are. You start living your life in a way to minimize setting him off. You feel like you're going crazy. Even your family has a hard time believing everything that's going on. Mine did, until they saw it with their own eyes.

Men like Grey have destroyed millions of women and left us with scars no one can see. And it's these invisible ones that hurt the most and take the longest to heal. My scars are deep, and they still hurt. They will likely hurt for the rest of my life.

Christian Grey is not sexy, or a hero. He is an abuser who belongs in prison.