Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Spotlight: Christmas with the Black Sheep by Natalie-Nicole Bates!



It’s Christmas time, and Eriah Jameson has returned home to restart his family’s business. Due to his wild child past, no one is friendly or welcoming to Barrow Haven’s black sheep.

Aylin Myers lost her job when Eriah’s father took ill. She knows Eriah needs her help getting his business up and running again, but she doesn’t trust him. If he fails, she knows it will dishonor his father’s memory. And Aylin knows that at Christmas, it’s the right thing to help your fellow man—no matter how wretched he might be.

As Aylin gets to know Eriah, she sees a side of him Barrow Haven never saw. That perhaps the black sheep has changed for the better. Still, can she be sure this side of Eriah is real, and not just a facade he’s perfected over time to get his own way?


      The black sheep of Barrow Haven was back in town. Tall, with dark hair that fell in waves to his collar, and blue eyes she couldn’t help notice. He’d aged a bit, but she definitely recognized Eriah Jameson. 
     What was he doing in town? The last she heard, after causing a tornado of destruction, including robbery, assaults, and vandalism, he took off for parts unknown. His mother, who was always there to clean up her little boy’s messes, remarried, and moved somewhere…Hawaii, she heard. As far as Aylin knew, for all of his troublemaking, somehow Eriah Jameson didn’t have a criminal record.
     “Did you graduate from Chase Academy?”
     Sure, she thought. The Chase Academy, a twenty thousand dollar a year school for rich, troubled teens.
     “No, I was a good girl.”
     “I’m sure I’ve seen you before.”
     She crossed her arms over her chest. “Possibly you looked down when you were walking across the wet floor I’d just scrubbed at your father’s funeral home.
     His cheeks visibly colored. “I’m sorry, I—”
     She waved a hand. “Forget about it.” She really didn’t want to speak with him unless he was a paying customer. “Can I help you with something?”
     His eyes scanned the meager amount of goods still  available on display. “I have a step-sister I need to buy a Christmas gift for.”
     “How old is she?”
     “How old? I don’t know…fifteen, sixteen, maybe.”
     She selected a lace-covered vial of perfumed oil, uncapped it, and passed it to him. “It’s called ‘Winter’s Warmth’.
     He swiped the vial under his nose. “What are you’re wearing? I can’t help notice it.”
     “It’s called ‘Fairy Tale Fantasy.’” She placed her hands on the counter before her, and leaned closer to him.
     He moved his face within a few inches of her neck, and she became acutely aware of his breath against her skin.
     “That’s absolutely lovely.”
     “I’m out of the fragrance, actually. I have more at my home workshop. I can create something special for your sister, if you prefer. You can stop by.” She handed him a business card from a small crystal dish.
     “Thanks.” he looked at the card. “Aylin. What an unusual name. I’ll…” He stopped speaking, his eyes fixed on her display of antique photography. “Is that my family’s funeral home?” He pointed.
     “It certainly is.” She looked back at the turn-of-the-century cabinet card with a handsome man—presumably Eriah’s great, great grandfather—standing in front of the newly opened Jameson Funeral Home. It was one of her favorite photographs of her collection, made more special since she worked for so many years at that particular funeral home. “I love it.”
     “Could I see it?” he asked.
     Generally, she didn’t let anyone touch her photographs— especially since he wasn’t wearing appropriate gloves. But what could it hurt? In the spirit of Christmas, she would let him see the photo up close. She plucked it from the display and handed it to him. Just the admiration in his blue eyes as he looked at a piece of his family history, made it worthwhile.
     “Can I buy this from you?”
     So much hope in his eyes, and in his voice. She carefully extracted the photograph from his grip. “It’s not for sale.”
     Before he could reply, a pair of hands, with long red fingernails, latched possessively around his arm. “Can we go now, Riley? I’m cold, and I need a drink. There’s nothing worthwhile here.”
     Aylin hated when grown women used a baby voice to get their way. This one was tall, decked out in designer clothes, and made up like a Vegas showgirl. Aylin already despised her snotty attitude.
     And she called him “Riley.” His name wasn’t Riley, she was sure. It was Eriah. She wouldn’t forget an unusual name like that.
     “I’m busy here. Could you wait a minute, please?” he asked the bossy blonde, obviously his girlfriend. She wore no wedding ring, and from the amount of jewelry dripping from her, she’d wear a rock on her finger as big as a baseball if they were engaged.
     She stomped her foot, and her lips formed into an unflattering pink pout. “I want to go!”
     He looked at Aylin, rolled his blue eyes, and mouthed the word ‘sorry’ to her.
      She shook her head, and turned back to her display without another word. She hated having her time wasted, and these two were probably made for each other— vapid, spoiled, entitled, and arrogant.
     She boxed up the leftovers of the day. Eriah left town years earlier, along with his bad reputation, and hadn’t been seen since. Any shred of fondness for him by the people of Barrow Haven evaporated when he didn’t bother to attend his father’s funeral.
     She shook her head again. Rich people.

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Author Bio:

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Visit Natalie-Nicole Bates Online!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014



Noel Tierney thought she’d have enough time before the predicted storm to make it to her holiday retreat, but the snow hit sooner than expected. Caught unprepared on a treacherous pass, poor visibility and icy conditions lead to a crash. She lay immobile in her vehicle, stranded in a ditch in the most remote leg of her journey.

A faceless hero comes to her rescue and Noel has no choice but to wait out the blizzard in her rescuer’s unique cabin nestled in the woods. Everything about Grayson James peaks her curiosity—his valor, air of mystery and most of all, undeniable attractiveness.

For three days and nights, passions are unleashed and unexpected emotions are brought to life. When the storm breaks, Grayson vanishes into thin air, but not before revealing startling news that leaves her questioning her sanity.

Fast forward years later and Noel is in the southernmost part of the United States. She’d come seeking solace after her husband’s tragic death, but what finds her in Key West is more than she ever anticipated.
In the sultry summer, her unbridled winter’s ecstasy resurrects.

And so does the Vampire.

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”  

-Albert Camus



Dark yet welcoming, the restaurant pulled them in with its ambiance.
The plastered walls were sponged in color blocks of a deep red and black. The ceilings were painted in a high polish black and stone black tile lined the floor. Striking kabuki masks and detailed silk kimono robes lined the walls
The women shared the restaurant with no one except the spiciness of sriracha seasonings and robust scent of the rich soy sauce that filled the air. They sat on their high top stools at the bar, enjoying the food and the reprieve from the heat. 
“Air conditioning is nice, huh?” Noel asked.
“Yes, I’ll give you that. I forgot how sticky this weather can be. I think we have to get used to having bad hair and make up days.”
 “I think you’re right.”
Suzanne finished sipping the last of the broth. “The soup is amazing. It’s not the kind of cuisine I had in mind for our vacation in Key West, though.”
“I had no clue this was even here. But, I needed this…helped with my hangover.”
“Feel better?”
“Absolutely. I think I can tackle a Sandhill Hooker shot or two today. After all, we are on the infamous Duval Street.”
“Okay, pickle juice that way…now you’re talking.”
She looked around the place and smiled. “It’s pretty cool in here.”
Suzanne leaned her head back. “And look at how high the ceiling is. I like all that exposed ductwork. I wonder what this place was before?”
“This used to be a club,” said the waitress as she carried in a case of liquor from the kitchen to the bar.
“This was a club?” Suzanne asked.
“Yeah. You two new to Key West?”
“First time here.”
Noel sat quietly listening to the conversation unfold between Suzanne and the waitress.
“You want a little history on this building you won’t hear about on any tour guide?” The waitress asked as she unpacked the box and carefully placed the bottles on the lighted shelves behind the bar.
“This restaurant and the entire vacant spot next door used to be one big club.” The waitress turned around and pointed towards the ceiling. “There was an entire second floor up there. The owners of the restaurant demolished it since the place is small and narrow. The height makes it feel spacious. You can sorta tell how it looked like the second floor with that small area they kept above the kitchen. The red spiral staircase you see leading up to that area…that’s original to the building.”
“Yeah, taking the second floor out does make it feel bigger. So the club must’ve been packed all the time to have two floors, huh?”
The waitress laughed and leaned against the counter. “They didn’t advertise.  And you notice it’s off of Duval right?”
The women nodded.
“Not much foot traffic on this street like Duval. This was the hush-hush place. You had to get invited. Secret door knock and password would let you in—extremely private and exclusive.”
“You ever get invited?”
“Oh, God, no. I have no idea who got invited, but I wasn’t one of them. In fact, I never knew the club existed until a friend told me that the owners were going to put the building up for sale a few years ago. I was like, ‘what club?’ And the thing was, I walked past the place many times and always thought it was an abandoned building.”
“So what was the deal? Why was it private? What went on?”
“Rumors claimed it as an adult playground.”
“If the place was still in operation, somehow I know Suzanne would get an invite,” Noel chimed in.
Suzanne flashed a wicked smile.
“Possibly,” the waitress said. “Get’s your thoughts going, right? Like, what exactly happened in there? Who went there? But the one thing I was always curious about was seeing the place. They say it was like being on another planet.” 
Noel awaited a break in the conversation to jump back in with her questions. But movement from out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. She snapped her head to look at the loft area and gasped. 
“What?” the waitress asked in a concerning tone.
She scanned the area in confusion.
“What’s wrong?” Suzanne asked.
“I-I thought I saw something up there.”
The waitress peered into the kitchen. “Can’t be. No one else is here except Jesse and he’s at sink.”
“What’s that door up there?”
“That’s the access point to the space next door, but its sealed shut from the other side. Trust me. I’ve tried to see if I could get in to sneak a peek.” 
“What is it that you think you saw?” Suzanne asked.
She shrugged her shoulders as goose bumps paraded along her skin. The same feeling stirred again—as if she were being watched. “I thought I saw someone looking down on us from that railing.”
Suzanne turned to the waitress. “We partied a bit last night.”
“That tends to happen in Key West.”
“I think we’ll take the check and I’ll get this one out for some much needed fresh air and vitamin D.”
“Sure thing.”
“I’m not crazy, Suzanne,” she whispered as she reached for her purse.
“I didn’t say you were. I just think you need to get outside.”
“Sammy told you right?”
“The boat? Me freaking out that someone was watching me last night?”
 “Yes. But, honey, I think you’re just thinking of Dante being in this place and visualizing him. That’s all.”
The waitress slid the check across the counter and Suzanne immediately snatched it up. “My treat. You get drinks tonight.”
Suzanne placed the cash on top of counter. “Keep the change, darling. Thanks for the 411 on this place. Very interesting.”
“No problem. You guys go have fun.”

Buy Links:

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About Maya DeLeina:

Maya DeLeina is a multi-published Erotic Vampire Romance Author  with Siren , Evernight and Ellora’s Cave Publishing.  Her current series includes Ambrose Heights Vampires, My Naughty Vampire and Vampire Architects.

Not only does Maya have theatrical book trailers that bring her vampires to life, all of her vampires were featured in Singer/Songwriter Jill Cohn's music video "Blessing Moon".

Visit Maya DeLeina Online:

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