Tuesday, April 6, 2010
blurbs and excerpts on my stories
Love Grows Wild in the Dark
A Single Author Romance Anthology
Contains the stories: In Lieu of Flowers, Rebel and Circle in the Sand.
Genre: Contains a mix of Romance from Contemporary and Paranormal to the indefinable
Heat Rating: Just a Spark to Warm-These are sweeter romances
Released October 2nd from Shadowfire Press
~In Lieu of Flowers~
Tormented by flowers, stalked by non-existent fiends, will a youth with an overactive imagination ever find happiness?
A young man struggles with his overactive mind, dealing with helping in a family business he hates, and falling in love with a woman attached to another man. When one calamity leads to another, he learns his version of reality is not to be trusted.
Hate my mom. Hate my life. Hate my mom….The words looped in my mind, a mantra of misery. Top of the food chain, a nineteen year old Caucasian male, and here I was thrown back into reliving high school years. Surprised the old bat hadn't made me skip grade school to help for holidays. Come home from the intern gig for one lousy weekend, and it's Joel to the rescue--again.
"The cooler needs restocking. Red carns, alstro, delphiniums. There's another pack of pink roses in the back that aren't done yet."
"Yeah, yeah." I flipped my knife to a path parallel to the stem contaminating my other hand and pointed upward, my elbow braced for liftoff. "If I stab my eye out, can I leave?"
Mom burst out laughing. One thing about the woman, she did appreciate my sarcasm. But I seriously doubted she understood how deranged I was. I loathed flowers, almost as much as I hated running into dolts from my past.
Brad frickin' Norris. The vision of splattering crimson, the clank of enamel teeth hitting the sidewalk orchestrated with the lovely sonata of his girlish sobs and deep grunts begging for mercy--I sighed, my fantasy concerning punching Norris in the face had encouraged me to strip every thorn, and then some, off the rose in my hand.
"Maybe you should check the availability of Braille keyboards first." Mom slapped the final touches on yet another arrangement I'd have to cart across the street. Fingers moving in a blur, she peered up at me. "Forget the roses and take this. Careful. It's pricey, and I'll see you at home, kay? Honestly, son, I'll lose it if you drop that one."
Can an untamed lover distract from the desire to bring down the human race?
When the unforgivable happens, a mother's determination that her little ones blossom becomes an obsession. With a plan and the will, all she needs now is the means. A lowly hero agrees to help. His price? A moment of fun in the dark. When tendrils tighten and he's smitten, he's ready to sacrifice his all to prolong that moment. Many sentient creatures lose their heads when falling in love, yet no one ever expects the glorious aftermath to be quite so painful.
It hurts, having your head cut off. I don't care how lovingly the man crooned as he snapped me between his thick fingers. Pain ricocheted through my vascular system. With every fiber of my being, I hoped my fluid burned his fingers.
"Bastard human." My loud curse started a ripple from my cringing little ones. Heads bent in submission, they gulped their distress, murmuring soothing words to no avail. In a matter of hours I'd be sealed, callous formed, on my way to splintering into more suckers for the bipods to torture. I shook, using all my strength to turn from my loving offspring trying to raise their disfigured faces to the light. The devil had pinched them too.
Time to concentrate on settling the score between Plantae and Mammalia. The book lay at my base. I bent my mutilated crown, covered the page, and continued reading where I left off before the monster had stomped in on two horrid legs to mess with me.
When darkness soothed my injuries, blackness cloaked my hungry mind, and I swore again. Not happy with twisting me almost dead, forcing me to branch into a form they found ‘pretty', lights went out at sundown like I was a simple seedling.
I snickered. Stupid human still hadn't found his bible. Soon, I'd have opportunity to take down his fascist regime.
"Mommy, why does he keep doing this?" my youngest whispered.
"Shh, my love. Someday you'll become so perfect the cruel man will stop." I didn't elaborate. No little sprout wanted to learn about hell day, and I didn't want to upset my offspring this vengeful night. I'd keep them in the dark as long as I could. "Sleep now. Dawn will break, it always does. And I promise you, we'll have a new light for breakfast--soon."
~Circle in the Sand~
Fallen angels, a handsome blue-eyed officer... How can a female geek concentrate?
Black glass? Oops. Marbles aren't the clue. How many times will our heroine pull the trigger before she gets the password right? And, how the hell can she pound the keyboard with a sexy cop breathing down her neck. Tight in the clutches of a powerful angel, entangled in the arms of the law, it's hard to separate right from wrong when little brat siblings are at stake--and even more difficult when knees go weak, the screen blurs, and heartbeats detonate with terror and attraction.
I never thought it'd be so annoying being the lackey for a narcissist serial killer, but the angel rising from his chair had me gnashing enamel.
"You lost your marbles?" V growled. Like a trench coat around him, his dark hair flowed past his knees.
"Yes." Despite telling him that six times already, I didn't dare flip him my human backside and skedaddle before he dismissed me. The last thing I wanted was to squirm beneath a fallen one, his fist down my throat. His eyebrows snapping into killer angles encouraged me to elaborate. "Without my balls I can't blast brains to pulp. Searching the office, that's all I was doing."
"Balls? You sure look double X to me." He snorted, jerking his gaze from my chest. "Cease demoralizing your co-workers. Playing the ‘I'm nuts card' won't negate a contract. If I don't make tomorrow's headlines, Rissa, my love, I'll hunt for lost items in places the sun doesn't shine. Get back to work."
My heart regained its beat as V stopped shaking feathers everywhere and his hands unclenched. It'd be easier to scope that red dot without my eyes swollen shut. I traded my urge to curtsey for a nod and retreated. It'd serve our molting slave master right if I did spread loss of mojo through his minions. With three women including me and five men dysfunctional thanks to the willies, the big oaf would have to do his own retribution. Unfortunately, the angel had me by the short hairs. I'd signed in blood. Two more foreheads to go, a total of seven bodies and he'd leave me and mine alone.
Under the Mistletoe
New Years Naughty m/m Anthology
Under the Mistletoe by Arlene Webb
Auld Lang Syne by Michael Barnette
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Erotic m/m New Year's Romances
Heat Rating: Fire
Released December 23rd from Shadowfire Press
Alek's New Year's Eve plans didn't included being drained by a life sucking fiend.
New Years Eve and parties everywhere, but Alek--security and handy guy--is stuck at work in the department store taking down the holiday decorations.
His coworkers are jerks, and it seems as if every wacko in the neighborhood has descended on the store. Worse, the mistletoe is hanging way too high for anyone but him to deal with.
Just when Alek thinks he's going to be able to escape in time for a little celebrating, his life takes a deadly turn and instead he's attacked by a thirsty parasite. Then the parasite exterminator arrives in the form of a dark handsome hunk and things go from weird to downright bizarre. Can you really find love Under the Mistletoe, or is it a killer lying in wait?
Nutmeg and cinnamon--two scents Alek would hate for the rest of his life. He stepped away from the large, fake gingerbread house surrounded by a moat of potpourri. Many moons past, he'd made a real gingerbread thingee with his cousin. They'd used their little plastic army men to guard it, and no one dared to touch it, let alone eat the slobbered upon construction created by a couple of deranged eight-year-olds.
Alek resisted kicking the cardboard creation that could hold at least a dozen upright co-workers screwing around after hours. Those same co-workers who expected him, the big guy handy with a screwdriver, to dismantle party-central along with anything else. He headed for the stupid plant hanging just within the reach of the tallest goon there, strategically placed in the corner by the lingerie section. The germ-nut who'd hung the mistletoe made him wait until she'd grabbed some latex gloves, giggling as she perched on Alek's shoulders and hooked the damn ornament to a ceiling tile.
She'd squirmed to plant a wet one on him when he swung her down, and he'd yelped in shock. Not at her, but Alek could have sworn the garland snapped itself toward him, competing for his lips. Fuckin' weird. He'd been waiting for three weeks to rip the plant down and toss it in an incinerator somewhere.
Twilight zone territory, but for some reason it felt like whenever he chased horny shoppers out from under it, a wave of hunger hit him. Alek had found himself backing away from the mistletoe and its aura of lust. He'd bump into the women's stuff, fondle red silk panties and wonder if he had time to either whack off in the bathroom before someone buzzed him to pat down a shoplifter, or whether he should devour about fifty candy canes and cop a nap in the office.
At least there was an end in sight to this gig. For three weeks he'd been bored out of his skull. Finally New Year's Eve and the store closed--yippee--in two hours but he had to stay until the damn decorations were down. If all went as planned he'd have the dusty green crap smashed into a storage bin, the highest ornaments down, take a chainsaw (snicker, if only he dared) to the stupid tree and have an hour or so to settle his butt on a barstool before the ball dropped.
He'd not much choice in paycheck options between semester breaks. Six foot five and ninja reflexes made him prime meat to carry a mobile (seriously, walkie-talkies were lame) and a baton. The cognitive wheels of a birdbrain, he'd turned down the cashier opening including green tights and bell slippers, and he'd gone for the two dollar more per hour security role where he got to wear a suit and steel-toed boots. Alek's first job as an independent twenty-two year old with a worthless liberal art background, buckling over the books aiming for a psychology diploma, was to control the hungry masses at an upscale retail store.
Alek sighed, eyed the mistletoe above his head, and ignored the co-worker eyeing his backside. He suspected Loki didn't have a New Year's Eve date, and the silly stalker wouldn't accept the fact Alex wasn't interested. He stretched to his full potential and managed to pinch the tip of the dangling grey-green vine between his thumb and forefinger.
Wow. It felt hot. Interesting. He'd thought it was plastic, or at least long dead, but it was turgid. Short broad, smooth-edged evergreen leaves were paired along the woody stem and waxy white berries hung in dense clusters of ten or more, throughout the one foot strand.
He tugged and it fell from the chain, missed his head and caught round his shoulder.
"Alek!" The little guy he'd named Loony Loki scampered toward him. "Stop screwing around with a garland for your manly shoulders and check out the assassin dude by the sleigh."
He snapped into ‘better do his job' mode--ouch--the frickin' plant had latched onto his neck? What the--
He stopped trying to untangle the monstrosity draped around him, sighed and scanned. Yep. Ten yards away, he'd best hurry. His boss would have a cow. She wouldn't tolerate a middle-aged blonde with humongous breasts and sculpted legs poking out of a slinky red dress, attacking a man on the last night of the year. Miss Hooter ripped the shades from the man's face, snapped them in half and flung them beyond Santa's sleigh. The blonde's voice rose. She swore, using colorful and educational words, at the thin, tall dude wearing a long black duster over his black shirt and pants. Sure, maybe the guy had dynamite strapped around his chest or an assault rifle hidden under his trench coat, but he seemed less of a threat than the person he was clearly trying to get away from.
A 'Be My Naughty Valentine' themed story
Genre: erotic m/f romance
Heat Rating: Fire
Released January 7th 2010 from Shadowfire Press
Doctor Cu, an arrogant legend, is smitten, and he must fight the powerful goddess of Love, his blasted mother, in order to protect the mortal who’s caught his fancy. When one of his own arrows figuratively pierces his heart, but then his love betrays him, Cu learns how far a god can fall. If he can’t put down the bow and wrap his hand around humility and forgiveness, his destined child—Joy—will remain a myth.
“Here’s your first step toward sexual and mental health.” He raked his attention from her face to her lap, lingered on her chest and back to her glowing hazel eyes. “9 PM tomorrow night and bring a date who’s not currently in ICU. Leave the gay and married population alone, I expect better than that of you. You may leave now.”
“A date? Not you?” She didn’t bother trying to hide the flash of disappointment. She grabbed the tickets and disappointment turned into surprise. “Whoa! This Valentine gala is supposed to be the hottest function of the decade. I’d thought it’d been sold out for months.” She licked her lips as she stood. “Are you going to be there?”
Yes, but not because he wanted to. Mommy dear would never forgive him if he didn’t show. “Give your date a chance. He doesn’t do it for you by 9 PM come find me. You’ll see the stars by 9:10.”
She snorted. “You mean that in a sexual way, right? Ten minutes? I don’t think so. You’ve got quite a reputation, yes, but I’m not a pushover.”
“With you, I’d barely have to unzip.” Cu gestured for the exit. “Until then.”
“You’re an arrogant guy, aren’t you?”
Genre: Shapeshifter/Mild Horror
Heat Rating: Zero-this is a mainstream genre title
Released February 17th 2010 Shadowfire Press
There's no line Rijo won't cross to feel his father's arms around him.
His love of life strong, his love for family even stronger, a young wolf suffers one loss after the other. When a terrible fate befalls his only surviving sibling, Rijo chooses to continue caring for her and the monster that she has become.
Unfortunately, the alpha male in his life thinks otherwise, and Rijo is torn between helping his sister and defying his father. When two strangers enter their territory, he struggles against all odds to protect her, and then deal with the calamity he brings upon his father and himself when he fails.
With determination and affection that transcends bigotry and fear, Rijo will become whatever it takes to put things right with his father.
The moon had yet to rise the night my mother died and my sister's fate was sealed. Mother took the invader down, ripped through clothing, skin, muscle and slammed her incisors into bone before the man managed to slash his weapon across her throat.
Metallic. Salty. Arousing. My first scents of human and wolf blood had me reeling. I yearned to suckle at Mother, pull sweet milk into my mouth to chase the fear away. Gerra, bravest of the litter, fastened her jaw around the wound on the man's fleshy leg and chewed before a whack of his heavy hand sent her sprawling.
Tears on his cheeks, his shirt wrapped around his leg, the human left us nuzzling Mother's cooling body.
* * *
An alpha should have a mate. It'd been a year, and I watched the pack eyeing Father, yet he refused both unpaired females. My heart proclaimed him the strongest leader ever born; Father protected ten females, eight males, and two yearlings—my sister and me. My litter brother perished four moons after Mother died. Father and three females killed that trespasser, and I tasted bear flesh for the first time. It stuck in my throat. I missed Rurick, and the pack cried with me.
After she'd reached adult size, Father never looked directly at Gerra if he could avoid it. My sister didn't snuggle beside him like I did, worn out from wrestling and being clobbered under his heavy paw. Gerra sat alone until I leapt at her. Being a male and larger, I knocked her over and nipped until her sadness eased away.
"Run with me, Rijo." Gerra bolted before I had a chance to get four feet under me. A pace behind her, I allowed her to lead for miles of dodging trees and slapping the ground hard. Then she veered from our territory.
"Gerra, no. Stop."
She didn't obey and I used all my muscle. Once she finished swearing beneath me and caught her breath, I let her stand.
"I can't stay." She paced along the wrong side of the line that bore Father's scent. "Father...the pack, they don't want me."
"Father knows," I said. "But he'd never banish you. I won't let any wolf harm you. It's not your fault."
Gerra halted. "He knows?"
"We smell it on you. The stench has grown strong these past two moons, but then you fade back to lupine. You're a good wolf, Gerra. Don't leave us."
"I'm afraid. I don't understand, and it hurts, and Father will kill me if he learns how much of a beast I'm becoming."
Genre: Historic menage erotic romance
Heat Level: Shadowfire
Released 2nd April 2010 from Shadowfire Press
When Garreth finds Gwas he has no idea what's in store for them.
Gwas can outrun a horse, knows how to hide and steal, but he's ignorant of the ways of men. The last thing he expects when he is rescued from a miserable existence by a blue eyed, blond haired angel is to be promised as a Druidic sacrifice to Eostre.
Maura knows Gareth is no angel but she adores him with a passion that time and loneliness can't dent. She opens her heart when Gareth brings her the abused orphan known only by his title, Gwas, meaning servant. The love between the three of them grows so strong Gareth will defy man and gods to embrace it.
The clash of old and new religions puts their lives in peril, but when hatred and murder confront enduring love, winter gives way to spring and a colorful myth is born.
In the year of the Lord, 612 AD
Blood trickled down his face and splattered off his chin. Bright red droplets marked leaf and grass, the sharp aroma increasing the lust of the beasts behind him. The baying of the lead hound vibrated closer and closer. Gwas’ left foot came down hard, and then the right. He tucked his head low to avoid another branch cracking open his forehead as adrenalin surged and panic fueled his heartbeat.
He twisted to the left, toward the light and out of the dense thicket. They’d have to risk the footpath. The little hare frantically hopped on his heels, unable to reach top speed while dodging roots, foliage and blasted rocks. Gwas yearned to scoop up his friend, curl into a ball and fight his shivers under a clump of brush, but giving into terror would guarantee they’d die in a very painful way. The race to survive seemed more than excruciating enough on its own.
Posted by Arlene at 9:02 AM