Tag: Sahmain Publishing

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

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


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.


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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Review: In for a Penny by Rose Lerner

Posted March 11, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

MedInforaPennyHolly‘s review of In for a Penny by Rose Lerner.


No more drinking. No more gambling. And definitely no more mistress. Now that he’s inherited a mountain of debts and responsibility, Lord Nevinstoke has no choice but to start acting respectable. Especially if he wants to find a wife–better yet, a rich wife. Penelope Brown, a manufacturing heiress, seems the perfect choice. She’s pretty, rational, ladylike, and looking for a marriage based on companionship and mutual esteem.


But when they actually get to Nev’s family estate, all the respectability and reason in the world won’t be enough to deal with tenants on the edge of revolt, a menacing neighbor, and Nev’s family’s propensity for scandal. Overwhelmed but determined to set things right, Nev and Penelope have no one to turn to but each other. And to their surprise, that just might be enough.

Lord Nevinstoke has spent the last few years living the life of a ne’er-do-well, drinking and carousing with his friends and mistress. He really doesn’t think past the end of the night. It’s all about what he wants, when he wants it. He meets Miss Penelope Brown at a ball and is taken with her, so he introduces himself and spends some time with her. Then he has to rush out unexpectedly to avoid a lecture from his mother. Several weeks later he spies her again at Vauxhall Gardens and is similarly taken, though he doesn’t speak to her. That evening he finds out his father has been killed and the next day learns they’re ruined. His father left him with a mountain of debt and no way to see clear of it. Then Nev remembers Penelope. She could be the answer to his prayers.

Penelope is shocked and slightly appalled when Nev shows up on her doorstep and begs for her hand in marriage. He’s upfront with her, telling her he needs her money, but also says he believes they’ll be well suited. She’s always wanted a relationship based on respect and companionship, but two short meetings hardly seem enough to determine if she’d find that with Nev. And yet she can’t seem to turn him down. Despite the misgivings she has, she agrees to the marriage.

But once they’re settled in Nev’s country estate, she realizes marrying a fortune hunter is the least of her problems. Their tenants are about to revolt, her in-laws are insufferable, they have a sinister neighbor who seems mildly obsessed with Nev’s sister and if that isn’t enough, things from both their pasts keep popping up, adding to the drama. At one point Penelope says, “Oh, Nev. What a Gothic novel our life has become!” and indeed, that’s exactly what it seemed – something straight out of a Gothic novel.

As a debut Regency novel, In for a Penny really hits the mark. Despite all the crazy things that keep happening to Penelope and Nev, it was never too much. I was drawn into the story from page one. I think one of the best things about it is the marriage proposal and acceptance. There was no secrecy between them, or Machiavellian schemes on either side. Nev told Penelope upfront that he needed her money. He didn’t try to woo her and pretend to be in love with her, nor did Penelope fancy his proposal as anything but it was – a business arrangement. They were both very pragmatic about it, which I found very refreshing.

Once married, they try to find solid footing with each other. Nev feels like Penelope settled for him and isn’t sure how to prove he cares for more than her money. Penelope wants to believe Nev when he claims to care for her, but she isn’t quite sure he’s telling the truth.

Much of the novel shows Penelope and Nev getting to know one another. There are some lovely scenes where you can see they are in perfect accord, but there are others where they hurt one another without even realizing it. The relationship seemed very real to me.

The descriptions of the time period seemed right on. Unlike so many other Regency novels, this one really dealt with the grit of day-to-day life for a Lord and Lady. They had to deal with tenants and money troubles and difficult friends and family members. I found it to be very refreshing.

There were times when I became frustrated with both main characters because of their lack of communication, but since I understood where both of them were coming from I was never bothered for long. Something I had a harder time letting go was the way Nev’s mom acted. She was very much a stereotypical Regency-era mama. The way she treated her daughter and Penelope annoyed me to no end. I really wish in the end Nev had made it clear that wouldn’t be acceptable.

Overall this was a lovely Regency novel with beautifully drawn characters in a richly painted setting.

4.25 out of 5

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

Rose Lerner is guest blogging with us today. Be sure to stop by and say hello for a chance to win a signed copy of In for a Penny.

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