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Red Grow the Roses by Janine Ashbless
“Maybe you’ll be lucky. Maybe he’s not human. He’ll take you in his arms and you’ll feel his strength – a strength that makes it impossible to fight him. But you’ve already lost the will to resist, that moment he looked into your eyes and showed you all his hunger and his promise. You knew then. You knew that this is what you are for – what we are all for – with our warm beating hearts and our aching sexual needs.
We are for them.”
There are six vampires in the city. Ageless, terrifyingly beautiful and always hungry – not just for blood but for the other pleasures the human body offers. Sadistic chanteuse Estelle; feckless Ben; Roisin, the mirror-ghost; Wakefield, haunted by his own damnation; Naylor, the most feral of them all.
And Reynauld is the Good Shepherd, the one who holds them all in check. But his grip on his own humanity is fading, and when Wakefield accidentally kills a woman and Naylor gets the blame, a power-struggle erupts between the city’s immortal undead.
Red Grow the Roses tells of bloodlust and sexual desire; for vampires the two are indistinguishable. These transgressive, startling stories draw the reader down the darkest and most seductive paths of pleasure – to where the monsters are waiting.
‘I don’t feed from humans,’ Wakefield hissed, trembling.
‘That’s what I heard. I just find it hard to believe.’ Rolling onto her knees, she reached for the discarded rose he’d cut for her. ‘Nasty sharp thorns these things have got,’ she mused, laying the stem across her bare breasts. With a twitch she drew it down, scoring her flesh with half-a-dozen needle-pointed thorns, shuddering as the pain burned through her. Pin-points of blood rose on her pale skin and swelled, a string of rubies decorating the white flesh and the roseate nipples. ‘Ah,’ she groaned.
Robert Wakefield seemed to grow taller; his hard-on bulged. She could taste the coppery tang of her victory.
‘Tell me; have you ever whipped a girl with your roses, Mr Wakefield?’ Lilla began to crawl backwards from him on hands and knees, arse swaying, breasts wobbling. ‘Maybe one of your servants? The parlour maid perhaps? You ever taken a bunch of roses and whipped their tits?’ She put on a country accent for her next words, her voice suddenly breathlessly innocent but at the same time teasing: ‘Oh Mr Wakefield, you wouldn’t be thinking of doing that to a poor innocent girl? I couldn’t bear that sir – it’ll hurt something cruel. You wouldn’t want to ruin a helpless maid, would you, sir? You wouldn’t want that on your conscience?’
His face mask-like, his eyes burning, he plunged his cold fingers between her thighs and up inside her, breaching the gates of her sex to take the measure of her heat, the slick of juices, the yielding sucking flex of her tight hole. Lilla writhed on his hand, twisting helplessly with each thrust of his wrist, and he watched her breasts jiggle and bounce, their pink points dewed in red. His teeth were so extended now that his upper lip did not hide them.
‘Oh please,’ she gasped. ‘Please – bite me!’
The series is based around Madame Evangeline's match-making skills. A woman to be reckoned with, and owner of a highly successful matchmaking service; put the right two people together for just one night and anything is possible. Especially when the dates take place at the fabulous Castillo Hotels and Resorts in some of the most exotic places in the world. For more on Madame Evangeline.
BLURBRachel Taylor has issues. Her father broke her mother's heart with his cheating and Rachel swore never to let that happen to her, but one ruined relationship after another and she's realized she's got to get over being closed off to men. Perhaps a one-night stand is just the baby step she needs to begin to build trust again.
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"Ms. Kenrick's writing style flows nicely throughout the story. Her attention stays more on the characters rather than the setting which is fitting for the genre of the novella. I like her ability to dig deep within the characters feelings allowing them to step up and tell their story. It is as if the author really took the back seat on this one. Very well written indeed! JoAnne Kenrick knows how to write unique, if not quirky, characters that stay with me long after I've finished reading their stories." -- Talina, Night Owl Reviews
This Sweet Irish Kiss excerpt has been edited to make it a PG-13. Please keep in mind that
the full story has a 4 flame rating and is therefore NOT suitable for minors.
I can’t believe I did that. What a great first impression. Not! And only I could top it off by going all defensive on his ass. Poor guy looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights. At least he was a gentleman about it, though. Had any of my exes seen me go down like a ton of bricks, all Nia Vilvados style, they’d have pissed themselves laughing and grabbed their cameras. I’m the character who gets caught up in headphone wire when she sees a hot guy in that movie...Fat Greek Wedding, Big Fat Greek...whatever. I know what I mean.
Rachel shuddered. She’d fallen flat on her face because the hunkiness of her one-night stand had taken her by surprise. She hadn’t expected it. Not in the least. Average, that’s what his profile had said. It’s why she picked him. She figured he wouldn’t be up himself. Most attractive men who know they’re hot behave like monkeys in heat because of it. She wanted a man who would be thanking his lucky stars to have her in his arms, and one who would be romantic and polite. And when he rushed to help her, he‘d surprised her again.
Drop dead gorgeous and caring? This could be dangerous.
“Ya feeling better now?” Thick Irish accent, smooth like Baileys, coated each word her one-night stand spoke.
“Uh-huh.” She glanced up at his welcoming expression and caught her stare in his. “So, you’re Irish?” You’re Irish?
He quirked his mouth into a grin as if she amused him. She reminded herself that she wanted this and backed up. She sat on the nearest thing to her, a dining chair from the breakfast for two set, and chewed at her freshly manicured nails. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this nervous. Her stomach flip- flopped around the butterflies dancing in her gut.
“Ya, that a problem?” God I love his Irish brogue.
“Listen, Shaun, I’m sorry about the way I came down on you. I mean, not came down on you. Hell, I...I’m sorry for losing it.” He raised an eyebrow. “For biting your head off when you tried to help.”
“Hey, I get it. I’m not what ya expected.” Shaun, hands firmly rooted in his pockets, shrugged his shoulders. “Ya definitely not what I expected, either, but here we are. We can call it a day if you prefer or we can enjoy the rest of the evening. What do ya say? I can leave if ya like. The hotel room’s been paid for, so ya can spend the night and make the most of it. I’ll leave ya be, so I will. But I’d rather stay here...with ya.”
Her stare locked on Shaun, and she watched him grab his bag from the foot of the bed and stride toward the exit. His muscular frame, dark features, and great sense of style had her knees knocking together. She couldn’t remember the last time she actually wanted a man. But it wasn’t like she’d chase after him. The day she did that would be the day she forgave her daddy, or rolled over dead. The latter was more likely to happen first.
Pretentious, that’s how Rachel described the infamous Knightsbridge store where she worked. She loved her job, though. It meant she could let loose, make crazy-ass window displays, and stretch her imagination beyond the high street fashion trends. Usually.
“Effing yuppie fashion.” She stood, pin cushion in hand, staring out the huge plate glass window. The rain drizzled over passing shoppers who huddled and shared umbrellas with loved ones. She wished she could have someone she could trust to protect her when life pissed all over her, but she didn’t have anyone like that. The big brick wall she’d built had seen to it.
A flashback of running through a downpour with her father hit her hard. He’d thrown his coat over her, sheltering her and leaving himself open to the elements. They giggled all the way home, running late for a Mother’s Day dinner.
She closed her eyes to try and block out the past, but the darkness acted as a blank canvas for her memory to play out the scene until a rumble of thunder in the distance brought her back to the present.
She sniffled back her feelings and grasped a plastic body to steady herself. A teardrop trickled down her face, and she smeared it away. Time to buckle up and get over it. Once a fond memory, it now served as a bitter pill. He’d tricked her, tricked everyone with his gallant gestures. He could never again be the genuine, kind man she remembered from her childhood. At least not to her, anyway.
“Effing life.” She threw a knit over a male model’s shoulders and fluffed to give it a casual yet purposeful style. “What are they thinking, asking me to decorate the mannequins with this jumped up crap? Men don’t dress like Prince William. No man I know anyway.”
Her pocket buzzed. Rachel flipped her phone open. “Hello?” Nothing. “Hell-o?”
Still nothing. She pulled it from her ear and glanced at the digital display.
“Email, not a call. I’m never going to get used to this stupid, high tech phone.” She pressed a few buttons. Some wrong. Some right. Eventually, she managed to open up the message.
A last minute check, to make sure your 1NightStand goes as you desire. May I suggest you wear a corset, my dear, to flatter your curves. He’ll be there before you, and I picked a room especially with a double door entrance so you can have a Scarlet O’Hara moment. Please don’t wear green. He hates the color. A bottle of Jameson would make a wonderful gift, should you wish to bring something along to break the ice. And best of all, Rachel, remember why you wanted this and enjoy the experience. Good luck, dear, I hope he’s all you need.
Bien a toi, Evangeline
— Is he ALL she needs? There is only one way to find out…READ THE BOOK FOR FREE! St Patrick's Day Promotion, free offer for a limited time only.
This excerpt has been edited to make it suitable for a general, mature audience. Sweet Irish Kiss is not suitable for minors.
“Put this blindfold on,” he ordered, “if ya want a surprise.” He wanted to put it on her himself. But knowing she had trust issues, it didn’t feel right to do so. Instead, he went to the bathroom to clean the toys with warm, soapy water as the packet had said for him to do. He hoped she would be sightless and under his demand when he got back.
He wasn’t disappointed. Still on all fours, she had done as requested. He smeared lube over the beads and eased them into her. As an anal newbie, he had no idea how much it would turn him on and drive him insane. He wanted to rip them out and shove his cock inside her tight little hole instead. His hard on throbbed with need already, and it had only been minutes since he’d come. Sure he would be able to perform again, and probably too soon if he didn’t grab hold of himself, he grinned.
When the fifth and biggest bead was inside her, he whipped on a condom, slipped inside her bleep entrance from behind, and plunged all the way into her slick warmth . The bumpity-bump of the latex numbs rubbing against him through her thick layer massaged his length as he moved, and he couldn’t contain the growl that emerged from deep in his gut.
JoAnne Kenrick, an ex-Ghost Tour Guide turned Romance Author, is a Welsh lass who has lived in various countries around the world. She now calls North Carolina her home, where she lives with her husband, two children and a lazy cat. When they aren't demanding her attention, she can most likely be found watching a vampire movie, reading or baking up a British favorite in her N.C. kitchen. That is, when she isn't writing or chatting up a storm on social networking sites.