Tag: N. J. Walters

#DFRAT Excerpt & Giveaway: Mark of the Bear by N.J. Walters.

Posted July 17, 2013 by Rowena in Features | 22 Comments

markofthebear_msrBlurb:

When the devil wants a deal, there’s no bowing out gracefully.

Hades’ Carnival, Book 2

At twenty-nine, Hollywood scream queen Kellsie Morris is acutely aware the clock is ticking on her career. Luckily, the one big role she needs to pad her retirement fund has just come through—the story of an immortal, shape-shifting warrior trapped in a carnival run by the Devil’s minions.

When Kellsie arrives on set, she can’t resist climbing aboard an amazingly realistic carousel bear—and finds herself flung into a world where the horror is real. As real as the heat radiating off the half-naked hunk in her arms.

Marko has waited an eternity for the chance to free his goddess, the Lady of the Beasts, and his fellow warriors from an ancient curse. But once he lays eyes on Kellsie, he knows to the bottom of his soul that his purpose is to protect her life.

But in this hellish game, it’s the Devil’s move. And there’s no predicting when and where the final, brutal stroke will fall—and which lover will pay the ultimate price.

EXCERPT:

Strong hands rested on her shoulders and she jerked away, heart pounding heavily in her chest. Where was she and who the hell was this?

She blinked hard but couldn’t see much beyond a large male shape. A quick inventory of her body assured her she wasn’t hurt and she was fully clothed, which was a very good sign.

“Who the hell are you?” Maybe it wasn’t smart to antagonize this unknown man, but Kellsie didn’t care. She needed to find out what was going on. Her last memory was of riding the carousel, of it going way too fast. Spinning. Spinning. Spinning.

She swallowed hard. It was making her sick simply thinking about it.

“I’m Marko.” His voice was little more than a dark rumble that sent a shiver racing down her spine. And it wasn’t due to fear.

Now that was totally stupid. How could she physically react to a man she didn’t know and couldn’t even see. “That doesn’t tell me much.”

He shifted slightly and she scooted away, her back coming to rest against a cool surface. She put out her hand and touched it. Hard with sharp edges.

Now that the shock of waking was wearing off, she was noticing other things as well. The ground was hard beneath her butt. The air was cool and fresh. As if on cue, an owl hooted. She was in a damn cave in the woods.

“How did I get here? And where is here?” Damn it, she needed answers and she needed them now.

“Don’t be afraid.” Again his sorcerer’s voice wrapped around her. She wanted to crawl closer to the source, which was a totally stupid idea given the situation, so she went on the offensive.

“Is this someone’s idea of a joke? Did the crew put you up to this?” Had they slipped something into her food or drink to make her pass out? If they thought to frighten her with this little prank they were sorely mistaken. All those years of working gruesome movie sets had made her immune. Heck, if that hadn’t done the trick, then living in L.A. all these years certainly would have. She knew how to defend herself if it came to that.
Not that she thought it would. After all, she was supposed to star in the lead role of this movie. They needed her hale and hearty.

Marko stilled. At first she didn’t think he was going to say anything, answer any of her questions. The silence spun out, making her nervous. This guy was good. She mentally slapped her hand against her forehead. Of course he was good. He was most likely an actor on the movie. One she hadn’t met yet.

Her butt cheeks were going numb from sitting on the hard ground so she shifted position. She shivered again, this time with the cold. Her damp clothing wasn’t much help against the night air drifting in through the opening of the cave. She could see it easily now that her eyes had adjusted to the lack of light.

She frowned. This situation reminded her of something. What was it? It took her a moment to pinpoint it. It reminded her of the nightmare she’d had while she was traveling here, the one of her being lost in a cave. That cave had been hot. This one was the exact opposite.

“You are cold.” His observation of the obvious made her angry, as did his lack of communication.

“No shit, Sherlock. How do you figure that? I’m being dragged around the woods in the middle of the night in damp clothes. If I get sick and end up missing some days of shooting you guys are going to pay for this little prank.”

He moved so fast he was little more than a blur, and Kellsie suddenly found herself ensconced in his lap with his arms around her. She clutched at his forearm for balance and swallowed hard. It was huge and hard.

Nerves jittered in her stomach. She was okay. She was fine. He wasn’t going to hurt her, or at least she certainly hoped not. He’d had plenty of time to do so if that was his plan.
He nuzzled the side of her neck, his hair-roughened jaw lightly abrading her skin. She bit her bottom lip to keep from moaning aloud as heat flashed through her body, driving back the cold.

What the heck was wrong with her? She should not be physically responding to a total stranger, at least not sexually. Defending herself was okay, but sensual touching was definitely out of the question.

“I’m sorry you are cold. Let me warm you.”

It was the most she’d gotten out of him so far and she could have told him she was no longer cold. If anything she was starting to sweat again. If she kept up this cycle of freezing and sweating she ran the risk of succumbing to hypothermia. She had no idea how far they were from the movie set or how cold it was going to get near the mountains at night. They couldn’t have gone too far. It wouldn’t make sense to drag her too far from the comfort of the trailers.

Marko tugged her closer. She reached out a hand to steady herself and met bare skin. He wasn’t wearing a shirt.

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Guest Review: The Gift of Shayla by N.J. Walters

Posted December 5, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Gift of Shayla by N.J. Walters

Adam Lancaster has been in love with Rob McKeith—and attracted to Rob’s wife, Shayla—for years, but he fears their friendship would be over if they knew the truth. So he’s thrilled when his secret fantasy becomes reality and the couple offers him a very special gift: a sensual Christmas Eve in their bedroom…
Loneliness is, in my opinion, one of the most devastating emotions humans can experience.  Whether it is because of the loss of family or a significant other, whether it is because of economic disaster or physical disability, being alone–really alone–can eat away at the human spirit as effectively as the most insidious cancer.  Add in the factor of being bi-sexual, a reality that often keeps the individual living in relational shadows, and you have a really bleak outlook for a person like Adam Lancaster.  His friendship with Rob has sustained him for most of his life.  But now Rob has Shayla and their relationship, while not interfering with a strong and supportive friendship, leaves no room for hope that Rob could ever be more than just a friend in Adam’s life.
This is a novella that doesn’t take a lot of time and space to flesh out the characters.  It is typical of Walters’ characters:  lean and spare, just enough information to make the story believable, to give the reader a sense of the person, and then on to the action.  Rob and Shayla share a truly grand passion that has translated into a warm and loving marriage, a relationship that both find fulfilling and grace-filled.  But Shayla is also in possession of a giving and loving heart, a woman who keenly feels Adam’s loneliness and a person who truly understands the root cause of his sense of abandonment.  Both Rob and Shayla really do care deeply for Adam–both probably have loved him for a very long time.  It is their mutual decision to offer Adam a gift of their sexual togetherness.
The response to this novella seems to be that the reader either loves it or hates it.  There doesn’t seem to be much in between.   I am very up front about the fact that I am not a big fan of novellas.  I think any author who writes one could do just a bit more and end up with a whole lot more in character development, story development, and a novel that is substantive in length and content.  That being said, this is a work from the mind and heart of a writer who has told a truly warm and kindly tale that touches the heart and emotions.  Erotic, certainly, but behind all the sex and stuff is a genuine sense that Adam is being invited into more than he ever dreamed possible.   While there isn’t much mystery in this story, not many surprises, there is still that sense that opening their hearts to him in the most primal and basic way is the greatest gift that Adam has ever received and far greater than he had ever dared to expect.
So enjoy this little literary read–it is small in size and easy to read in one sitting.  But it is a heart-pleaser and one that true erotic romance fans will find enjoyable.  Don’t look for heavy stuff here.  It’s all just sexy fun.  
I give it a 3.75 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Entwined Hearts by Nicole Austin, TJ Michaels, Ciana Stone, & N. J. Walters

Posted November 28, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments


Judith‘s review of Entwined Hearts by Nicole Austin, TJ Michaels, Ciana Stone, and N. J. Walters
(Book Five in the Hearts of Fire series)

The Chosen: eight strong individuals gifted w ith unique paranormal abilities and tasked with protecting shards of an ancient crystal–the Hearts of Fire.

Brought together by destiny, each couple has managed to bond and fuet their crystal pairs through a hot and intense sexual joining. The four couples have overcome great personal challenges and remained apart, preparing to face an ancient evil once again.

The time has come for the four couples to meet and join forces to defeat Asmodeus, Prince of hell, once and for all. Their plan is clear yet complex–activate a hidden energy network, gather on spiritual lands and fight an epic battle between good and evil, which will impact mankind for eternity. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. And Asmodeus has some tricks the Chosen never anticipated.

This is the fifth and final book in this series and completes the destiny that began when four young women, all of whom were raised in an orphanage together, were given a piece of crystal which they vowed to wear until they met their mate and completed their destiny. Each of the mates were also given a piece of the crystal, even though they did not know each other before they met through their women. Each of the four preceding novels tells the story of one of these couples.

This book is a reprise in some ways–telling just a bit more about each couple and how they are preparing to meet up with the other Chosen. They each have their extraordinary powers which will, when the final battle occurs, provide a critical power needed for victory over Asmodeus. I found the additional information about each couple to be something of an “epilogue” style of update before moving into the final battle which I think was the focus of the book. It is also evident that each of these eight individuals have not only grown and matured in their relationship as mates, but they have matured as individuals as well, accepting the extraordinary nature of their destiny, and understanding that the battle with Asmodeus is not an ending but the crisis that will launch them into an almost immortal existence.

Like the other novels in this series this book is alive with the abiding friendship that locked these women together, a fellowship of caring that their mates respected and cherished, and into which they were delighted to enter. This book is not an anthology in any way but a collaboration between the four authors that wrote the other four books. In bringing these couples together these authors have taken their individual vision and merged it with the other three–not easy to do among creative individuals. It is really quite encouraging to see how they put their indivual egos aside and allowed the end result–this book–to reflect the collective talents they brought to the writing task.

If you have read any of the other Hearts of Fire series then you will like this novel. It is readable, entertaining, and the kind of paranormal/fantasy writing that lovers of that genre prize. There’s lots to like here and it is a fitting capstone to a very fun series.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.


You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Lassoing Lara by N. J. Walters

Posted October 29, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith‘s review of Lassoing Lara by N. J. Walters.

Brody Courage wakes up after a night out with his brothers and finds himself tied to his bed with no idea how he got there. Just when he thinks he’s going to have to rip up the head board to get himself loose, he hears someone entering the house. He thinks it’s one of his brothers and calls out for help, but it’s his neighbor, Lara Jacobs, his long-time childhood friend.

He’s humiliated to have to ask her to help and swears her to secrecy. She’s quiet and pale and leaves after releasing only one arm. When Brody finally gets himself out of the bed, he finds a pair of red lacy panties stuck near the footboard–a perfect match for the red lacy bra he glimpsed Lara wearing when she bent over to untie him. It is then that memories of the past night start to come back to him. He spent one incredible night in bed with his neighbor. Now he wants another–one he can remember. There’s only one problem: Lara is avoiding him.

This is a very cute short story of two long-time friends, Brody and Lara. They have grown up together, been neighbors forever, and have shared just about every experience possible on their Texas ranches. The Brody Boys have now gone out for a night of beer and pool and as is often the case, Lara was there, too. She has always been “just one of the boys”–that is, until Brody notices how nicely she fills out her jeans while bending over the pool table time and again. Lara isn’t a beauty queen, but she is curvy and attractive, and Brody is becoming more aware that she isn’t a kid anymore. Brody is the middle brother–his oldest brother is married and doesn’t seem to notice the gals too much anymore. He has a very pretty wife waiting for him at home. The youngest brother, Matthew, has the kind of government job that keeps him on the move. So he is a “one night stand” kind of guy. Brody has moved back home to the old family ranch, is in the process of fixing up the old place and finishing his latest book for the publishers. So this night is a welcome break these tasks. Only one problem: by the time he is ready to go home, he is really snockered.

Driving home with Lara saved his brother a trip out to the ranch. Brody continues to “warm up” to Lara and begins kissing her. The kisses become more passionate, and they end up in Brody’s bed, sharing a passionate night together. Lara gets up early, goes out for a walk in an attempt to decide how to handle the “morning after” awkwardness, comes back in and learns that Brody remembers nothing. She is so upset she releases only one arm and leaves. It is only after Brody finds the panties that he realizes that Lara had been with him all night and has now left. No wonder she looked pale and upset.

For the next two weeks Brody puts all the pieces back together–still some portions of the night he can’t remember–but now he can’t get Lara out of his head. But inspite of his best efforts she continues to evade him. What can he do now?

As always, Ms Walters seems to have a real knack of writing some very complete tales in very few pages. That’s not always easy to do. My creative writing instructors in college always declared that it takes far more skill and preparation to write few pages than more. Wlaters has pulled it off nicely. It is a gentle love story that reminds all of us that some of the best people we can ever know, even romantically, may be the people whose presence in our lives we take for granted daily. Lara had loved Brody for years; he never noticed her sexually nor thought of her as anything other than a best pal. It took the shock of a “lost night” to get his attention. This is one of those stories that reminds us to look around and take more serious notice of our best friends and even our family. Romance could be lurking just outside the front door or around the corner. This is not a complicated story so it poses no deep philosophical questions. But it is an opportunity to take stock of our attitudes toward those in our friendship circle. Never a bad thing to do under any circumstance.

This is one of that “Quickies” from Ellora’s Cave that I often think of as “lunchtime companions” that go so well with the ham sandwich or are just long enough for those before bed reading moments. It is a very entertaining and definitely a massage for the libido. Romance fans will most definitely find lots to enjoy here. I give this short story a 3.5 out of 5 rating.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

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Guest Review: Out of Shadows by N. J. Walters

Posted October 13, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith‘s review of Out of Shadows by N. J. Walters.

Dovina Horne, a university literature professor, has arrived in Sleepy Hollow to study the legend of the horseman. She believes it’s only a myth until she is threatened by a horse and rider while walking on a deserted trail in the woods. Only the sudden appearance of a warrior saves her from the horseman’s sword. She feels an instant connection, both sexual and emotional, to this mysterious, protective stranger.

An immortal warrior of the Shadow Realm, Hadeon’s mission is to protect Dovina at all costs. He knows the horseman is not what he seems, but something more powerful and sinister in disguise. The longer he spends with Dovina, the more he wants her. He finds his way into her bed and her heart, but their relationship is doomed. He is an immortal from the shadows, and she is a human filled with light. But when the final battle comes, they must use all that is between them if they hope to survive.

N. J. Walters has a very impressive list of credits and literary accomplishments to her name, and readers of erotic romance recognize her as being one of the best. She has crafted a story that takes its impetus from the Washington Irving tale and has expanded it using the same locale and dynamic but with fantasy characters that take the story in a new direction. The Shadow Ryders are ancient warriors who have been given a choice, at the time of their near-death, to live in the Shadow Realm in order to bring justice and to use their eternity to right numerous wrongs in the human world. Yet there have been many warriors that have never been called to fight and they have grown comfortable in their darkness, some of whom have faded into the Otherworld or who have succumbed to the lure of power offered them by the demonic.

Now the Shadow Lord has offered a mission to Hadeon, a mercenary who was born 2.500 years ago, to protect and interact with Dovina, a woman who carries within her a mystic source of light that must be guarded at all costs. It has been centuries since he has been with a woman and he is fascinated by Dovina. She sees herself as fat; he sees her as voluptuous and curvey, the kind of woman any man would be proud to love. From the very first, Dovina is conscious of a connection that seems to be far greater than just a sharing of physical intimacy. It is certainly more than “lust at first sight.”

Walters has created a story that is full of darkness battling with light, scarey mystical horses and riders, warriors that melt into the shadows and who fight to the death. Both Dovina and Hadeon are well aware of who they are and have accepted their lot in life. But both are not closed off to possibilities, as unusual as they may appear. Dovina’s inner light-related power is sought not only by the good guys but by the forces of darkness for their own evil purposes. So there is struggle and fear, awakening longing and hot loving. This is, after all, erotic romance literature.

The greatest satisfaction for me in this novella is the overall theme of Redemption. For a warrior like Hadeon, one who sold his sword to the highest bidder, who never considered human life worth anything, his own included, the Shadow Lord’s offer of immortality was the opportunity to reshape his life to one that is focused on justice and doing good. For all the Shadow Ryders it is about reclaiming lives that have been bathed in blood and which can now be focused on protecting that which is worthy and redemptive. It is a desire to bring renewal to the Shadow Ryders that moves Dovina to cooperate in defeating whoever the mysterious horse and rider are that seek to capture her. Hadeon’s heart is captured by Dovina when he realizes that Dovina will use her heart, her inner light, and her very life to partner with him in destroying this evil.

This is a love story that has the aura of the impossible–an immortal with a mortal–but which expands to have so many more dimensions than what seems apparent initially. It is well written and researched, full of action and suspense, dark and mysterious on the one hand and loving and light-filled on the other, just like the main characters. It is a worthy expansion of that ancient Irving story and carries on the themes in that story so very well.

So for readers who love legend and myth, who like mysterious ghostly apparitions and things that go “bump” in the night, this is a great novella for you. It is also filled with erotic romance and the possibilities that only love can grant. Lots to like here, my friends. Please don’t miss it. I give this novella a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

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