Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sara-Kate's Spirit/Natalie-Nicole Bates is now available!



Sara-Kate's Spirit, my new paranormal romance novella, is now available!

Fallen spirit guide Sara-Kate has cocooned herself into an isolating, lonely life on earth. After a series of devastating incidents, she now prefers solitude to contact with others.

Her quiet existence is shattered when one night outside of her home, Sara-Kate awakens to the sound of a horrible accident, and finds a man near death. She offers comfort to the dying man before setting off back home.

Soon after, a knock at the door brings a surprise.

The dead man has somehow managed to follow her home!

Reed Thayer is dead, and doesn’t know it.


As Sara-Kate struggles with how to tell Reed about his new existence, her feelings for him continue to grow and a relationship blooms. She knows nothing will ever be the same for them when he finally learns the truth, and that their new found love may die when all is revealed.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sneak Peek of Romantic, Sexy Scene from Revenge, Lash Series Book #4!




The title of the 4th Lash Series book is named Revenge. Containing much less history than its predecessor, War, the newest installment of the series, Revenge, focuses on my weresnake protagonist's search for the demon Hex, whose treachery years ago lead to the death of Lash's best friend and former employer, the vampire Abraham Hamilton. With the help of old friends from previous installments in the series like the ex-soldier and weresnake Dieter, the elegant yet ruthless vampire Devlin, and the wisecracking and deviant demon Shaker, Lash begins his search only to be blocked at every turn. It is not until he joins up with the young werewolf, Morwen, that Lash begins to uncover some of the truth.

The previous books in this series had romantic elements, beginning in the first book with Lash's first love, Mara. He's had other subsequent relationships as the years passed. All of them combusted over a short time, leaving Lash despairing that any woman is ever going to love him, or that they could be trusted at all. So its that much more surprising to him when he finds himself falling for Morwen in the space of a few months.

Morwen is as damaged as Lash, when it comes to the opposite sex. Brutal treatment by one man in particular, Rocks Valentine, has left her emotionally scarred, and fearful to let any man get too close. When Lash learns of this and witnesses her terrible nightmares firsthand, he vows to make Rocks pay for what he's done to Morwen. After wreaking bloody revenge in Morwen's name, Lash arrives with proof, hoping her nightmares will stop. But how does one offer up such a gift to a woman he cares for, especially when he's always been more of a fighter than a lover? See the excerpt below!


Excerpt:
            Dieter's eyes flicked to the bag. “Since when do you bring back trophies?”
            “She needs to see it,” I said curtly.
            A flicker of understanding dawned in his eyes. Then he smiled. “Good luck.”
            It was in his voice that he thought I hoped to bed Morwen with the head as my payment. It infuriated me that he thought I could be so crude and thoughtless. The old Lash would have decked him. But part of me knew that on some level, he was right. I hadn’t picked Rocks to test myself at random. And I hadn’t brought Morwen the head just hoping her nightmares would stop. But I wasn’t going to admit that, ever.
            “Thanks,” I said gruffly, then pushed past him.
            A search of the woods provided just a lot of wolf tracks. Finally, I sat down on a log and had a smoke, trying to think of how to offer the head to Morwen that wouldn’t bring her to the same conclusion Dieter had made. Nothing came to mind except, “I did it for you.” But that also carried expectation, that I wanted something in return, didn’t it?
            Stymied, I picked up the head in a sack, and walked out of the forest into the graveyard, following the tracks. Why was the damn woman always out here in the cold? At least it gave me extra time to try out a few possible intros for my present.
            “He’s dead. He can’t hurt you.” No, that’s too personal. She’ll know I know what happened to her.
            “I killed him for you.” No, too much expectation.
            “He’s dead. Are you feeling better?” Too stupid sounding.
            I walked for an hour, circling the cemetery, getting madder and madder because I couldn’t think up the right words to say. Finally, I gave up and turned back towards Hayden. When I made it back to the house, I slammed in the front door only to find Morwen waiting for me.
            “Do you want something to eat?” she asked with a smile. “I’ve got a few trout baking—”
            I opened the sack and threw the head down at her feet. She looked at it horrified, then back up at me.
            “Merry Fucking Christmas,” I hissed at her, then stalked past her. I heard her following, but I didn’t care. I went into the kitchen, and got some raw meat out.
            “I cooked you a pie,” she said. “It’s on the counter.”
            “I’m a snake,” I said meanly. “I want meat, not pie.”
            “It’s a mincemeat pie,” she amended. “Heavy on the meat.”
            I took my meat and headed to the dining room. Morwen followed me.
            Screw it. She could stare at me while I ate.
            “Whose head is that?” she asked a few times. When I didn’t reply, she just waited patiently, watching me.
            “Rocks Valentine,” I said, when I’d finished. “You talked about him in your sleep, when you were nightmaring.”
            Morwen shook her head. “I never talk in my sleep. You never said—”
            “One time you did.”
            Her eyes widened with understanding, and a flush ran up her throat, suffusing her face. “You killed him on that alone?”
            “He hurt you and now he’s dead,” I hissed. “He wanted you to know he apologized profusely, of course.” I chuckled. “Not that that saved him any pain, that fuck—”
            She actually looked appalled. “How could you do this?”
            “This is who I am,” I said with a sneer, taking the plate to the sink and leaving it there. “Now be a good little wolf and clean up the mess.”
            As I went to leave, Morwen threw the dirty plate at me, missing me only because I ducked instinctively at its approach. It hurtled over my head and slammed into the wall, breaking into shards. I whirled and faced her, meeting her bared fangs and animal gaze with my own.
            “I thought you’d be happy!” I yelled at her, trying hard not to lisp around my growing fangs. “What the hell does it take to make you happy?”
            She growled at me. Infuriated, I went after her and she melted into wolf form, snapping at me. Furious, I left her and stalked away, up to my room, slamming the door. A few minutes later something hit it, startling the shit out of me. Then Morwen shattered that door, too, her grey furry form bursting through the remains to land on all fours. She went to morph to human and I tackled her, slamming her small frame to the floor.
            “What do you want from me?” I shouted at her, grabbing her newly formed wrists.
            “Forgiveness,” she said seriously.
            “For what?” I said, loosening my grip a little.
            Her tone was contrite, her yellow animal eyes fading to be replaced by her human ones. “For all of it. For the mixed signals and the nights you held me. For my reaction at you killing that bastard who raped me. I should have kissed you instead of freaked—”
            I let go of her arms and went to kiss her. But she scrabbled at the floor, jerking away.
            I moved back at once, letting her put several yards between us. She sat up, bringing her knees in and putting her arms around them.
            “Why do you always run when I reach for you?” I said wearily, sitting down on the floor.
            “Because I’m afraid,” she said in a small voice.
            I lay down on the floor, exhausted. “Don’t you think I feel the same way?” I hissed very softly. “You haven’t been the only one with a lover…um, sex partner who was less than nice.”
            “I know that.” She rubbed her eyes. “I’m just scared. I tell myself not to be, that it’s okay. But as soon as I smell your excitement, I’m scared again.”
            I helped her up, then sat there on the bed with her. “No one told you we have to be anything more than coworkers,” I said. “I’m not pushing. I didn’t bring you Rock’s head to make you grateful. I did it to kill what he did, so you can let go of your pain.” I pushed a few of her long braids out of her face. “I want you to smile, instead of cry.”
            She looked at me, staying silent. In a few moments, she came into my arms and I hugged her.
            “Do you want to try again?” she said in that same tiny tone.
            I didn’t reply, I just kissed her. This time, she let me.

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War Passions

Happy January! My name is Tara Fox Hall, and I’m here to promote my new Lash Series Book, War, the third installment in this paranormal fantasy action series with historical elements.



WAR PASSIONS
First off, let me say that I never expected to feel passionate about World War II. When I began writing the Lash series book which takes place during World War II, I didn’t know very much about World War II at all, other than there were Axis and Allies as opponents, and it had been fought in the early 1940s. I began researching that time period, to make the novel realistic historically. I planned to add a few battles, a couple key historical figures from the war, and that was going to be it; the rest of the book would all be fictional adventure. To facilitate this, I obtained several thick tomes detailing out every aspect of WWII, which gave me a lot of dry facts. I also watched many movies done of that time, as well as hundreds of hours of documentaries with historical footage and survivors telling their actual experiences, to get a feel for the time period, slang, and culture.
Before I wrote this book, I did not understand what war was, or how it could change someone who lived through it so utterly. I lived through war times myself, but those were foreign wars, where I remained safely in on United States shores and saw no real fighting. There was little impact on my day-to-day normal life. No soldiers camped on my property, stole my food, hurt me, or killed my loved ones. My sleep was not disturbed by gunfire, or my home and livelihood destroyed. I had taken many history classes in college, but most of the true horrors of war had been edited out, or smoothed over…errors that documentaries and historical footage made crystal clear to me. A fact on a book’s page of thousands dying in a battle I never heard of before is not that moving, and easy to forget. Seeing a 70 year old man crying as he remembered his friends dying in a burning tank, or the translation of an old woman’s words as she shakily told of how she hid herself and her sister from the Nazis while the rest of her family were shot to death outside their home absolutely wrecked me.
The more I learned of the true horrors the populations of Europe went through—especially retold by soldiers who had lived through it—the more historical facts I began to include, until this fiction book had vast sections of true historical data, much more so than the previous Lash books. I didn’t expect to be so affected by my research, but there was no way to tell a book about war without including all its horrors, both those that soldiers went through, and the tremendous life-altering situations that ordinary citizens faced in their day to day survival.
This experience got me thinking of how many other people in our tech savvy cyberworld might have no idea how terrible a world war is, or what World War II was like. And it suddenly became very important that I share what I had learned with others. Our World War II veterans are dying at the rate of about 600 per day. Many, like my grandfather who served in the Navy, died young. Currently, there are approximately only 1.2 million veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II; men like my great Uncle, who served in the Army Air Forces. That is why I dedicated the book itself to all the people who fought in World War II, or lived through that life altering conflict. You truly were the Greatest Generation. God Bless you…and thank you.

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Blurb from War: Weresnake Lash journeys to Europe on the eve of war, desperately searching for not only his nephew, but also his former lover Nancy. Leveraged into service to Germany by the malicious German werecougar Theodor von Kessel, Lash befriends fellow soldier and weresnake Dieter, even as he secures safety for Nancy. When Theodor divulges The German Final Solution and the part they are destined to play in it, Dieter and Nancy attempt escape to England while Lash orchestrates distraction. Horrified to learn upon his escape that Nancy and Dieter were captured, Lash returns to Europe in a second rescue, banding with another weresnake called Nails and his motley crew of various weremen to free Dieter and Nancy from the camps where they are imprisoned. Caught by demons in an ambush, Lash is imprisoned in a death camp, but breaks free with Dieter in time to join the American Forces near D-day. Resolute, Dieter and Lash fight onwards with Allied forces to Germany itself, their goals to find Nancy, kill Theodor, and survive the final bloody days of World War II.

Excerpt: “Don’t ask any questions,” I said coldly. “Just meet us here before your next mission.”
            “That is tomorrow,” Dietrik hissed back at me, his own fangs growing in anger. “There is no rotation of crews.”
            “Watch your temper,” I cautioned, another evil smile gracing my lips. “The snake will come out of you with any strong emotion. And that includes sexual release.”
            He jaw worked, but to my grudging respect, he contained the transformation this time. “Thank you for the warning.” He put on his hat, then holstered his gun. “I’ll send a car for you.” He strode out.
            I’d either engineered our escape or sealed our doom. I went upstairs to Evans, praying he was asleep.
***
            “I can’t believe you turned him,” Evans hissed to me the next morning as we waited for the car. “You realize he can now make his whole crew snake, right?”
            “Being snake doesn’t save you from drowning,” I hissed back, remembering my mother’s warnings long ago. “We’re not immortals. You were done for if I hadn’t saved you. We’re both done for if we don’t get out of here. Now shut up.”
            After the car’s arrival at the shoreline, we were blindfolded, then taken to the underground bunker where the U-boats were docked. After boarding, we were left alone in a small room, the only sound the whine of the boat’s engines. I could feel the pressure as we dived and resurfaced, but that was all. Evans’ constant hissing and bitching drowned out all other noise.
            Hours later, we were taken to the deck of the U-boat and our blindfolds were removed. Dietrik was there in front of us alone, waiting.
            “You are AWOL, Lash,” he said softly. “You’re wanted for questioning in the disappearance of another officer as well.”
            He was no match for me, not newly turned as he was. “Yes,” I replied, then stared at him, waiting for him to make a move.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back To You heroine Lynsey Reznor tells all about Owen Mitchell




This is the next in a series of character interviews I conducted with my Back To You heroine Lynsey Reznor. Lynsey has been kind enough to give us the scoop on some of Unity’s hottest bachelors (and perhaps future heroes?).

Today’s subject is one of Lynsey’s favorite—Owen Mitchell. From the straight laced, buttoned up detective Lynsey met a year earlier, Owen has, shall we say, relaxed quite a bit.


NN: Welcome back, Lynsey. I’m always thrilled to get the scoop on Unity’s available men. I know that Owen Mitchell is one who has a particular interest in you.

LR: I don’t know about that, I do know that Owen is hot to write a true crime book with me about the murder of a wannabe socialite who moonlighted as a hooker. He may have an interest in me, but he has a bigger interest in using my name to get his book published.

NN: I understand that you met Owen in an unusual place.

LR:  I think the correct explanation is I saw him for the first time over an open grave in a cemetery. We were both at the funeral of Nick Lincoln’s wife. We did not converse over her descending coffin. We spoke for the first time at the wake. Just friendly conversation. I got to know him better when I returned to Unity.

NN: I understand that the physical changes in Owen are quite noticeable. Is it true he has platinum teeth?

LR: A few, yes. I sum up Owen Mitchell as a provocateur. The teeth, the long hair, the tattoos, the I don’t give a shit attitude. He’s trying to provoke a reaction. But it’s just a mask…a front. Deep down it is not who he really is.



NN: And you know who he really is?

LR: I have spoken to Owen on a deep level. He has a past that contains a very horrifying event concerning a close family member. Last year, this event resurfaced and led to another horrifying event. It shattered him, and in turn, he changed…maybe not in the best of ways, but he needs to work through it. One thing I do know, he is a very good man beneath it all.

NN: Any chance of anything of a romantic nature between you and Owen?

LR: Owen needs a strong, confident woman in his life. Someone with a tremendous amount of patience. 

NN: That sounds just like you!

LR: At this point in his life, I think he is better on his own until he comes to terms with his past. A friend? Definitely, a lover? …Maybe.  But not a permanent partner. Other than that, I can’t really speak any further about his personal life. I’ve been privy to some of it, and I will not betray his trust with gossip.

NN: Well, Owen certainly does perk my attention. So, since Lynsey seems to have  reached the end of her willingness to divulge any more about Owen Mitchell and his secrets, we’ll say good-bye for now. Thank you Lynsey for this insight!

Next time…Lynsey dishes on bachelor Evan Monroe (and he is an absolute doll!).


To find out more about Owen Mitchell and Lynsey Reznor, be sure to pick up your copy of Back To You, available in both ebook and paperback, as a single story, and as a collection featuring BONUS stories Antique Charming and Remember the Stars.

*All photos are the property of Natalie-Nicole Bates*

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Blurb:

On the surface, Lynsey Reznor seems to have it all. She is beautiful, brilliant, and a successful true-crime writer who has been living the past decade in Miami. But what Lynsey lacks is what she needs the most—a family.
After the death of her mother, and yet another failed relationship, Lynsey makes an impulsive decision to return to her hometown of Unity. But Unity will present its own bittersweet memories, most notably, her first love, Nick Lincoln.
Twenty years ago, Nick broke teenager Lynsey’s heart when he decided to marry another. He had his own private reasons—reasons he never explained to Lynsey. Now she is back, along with a chance to reclaim her love. But Lynsey wants answers from him that he may never be able to give out of duty and guilt.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stalking You Now Available from Hazardous Encounters!

Happy Winter to you! I'm here today to celebrate the recent release Stalking You, my first erotica short of the paranormal variety from Hazardous Encounters, a new imprint from Hazardous Press! 

If you've always wanted to sample my work, this sexy tale is a perfect short at .49 cents (or .99 cents from Amazon)! 

"When the hunter becomes the hunted, there is nowhere to run."



Without further ado, here is a little more information to whet your appetite!

Blurb: A woman on the run from the man who killed her family stops, against her better judgment, to lose herself in a night of passion. When her stalker finds them, the hunter becomes the hunted.

Excerpt:

            Maggie shoved through the bramble thicket, the sharp thorns piercing her jeans and shirt, sticking into her bare arms. With a yank she tore free, feeling the sharp stinging of fresh wounds.
            Keep going! You stop now and you’re dead like the others.
            Breathing hard, the ache in her lungs fierce, Maggie leaned against a tree trunk, her exhaled frantic gasps making white plumes in the dim light, and listened.
            For a few seconds, there was no sound. Then came the harsh cracks of breaking branches, the thrashing noise of stalking legs through the carpet of dead leaves growing steadily closer.
            Maggie drew a hitching breath, and began to run.
            He’ll kill me when he finds me. So I can’t let him find me. Ever.
***
            Maggie stared at the new student in her Literature 101 night class, trying to place him. There was something familiar about him. Had he been in one of her other college classes?
            As if he could feel her stare, the dark haired man suddenly looked up, his gaze meeting hers. Instead of looking away, Maggie stared back boldly, making her interest known, hoping for a welcoming smile. But the man only watched her a moment with his dispassionate, dark hazel eyes, then resumed looking at his textbook.
            Intrigued, Maggie watched him surreptitiously for the rest of class. Unfortunately, her interest was not as furtive as she believed.
            “Miss Gentry?” Her professor’s mocking tones broke into Maggie’s thoughts, startling her. “Would you elaborate on tonight’s topic, if you can tear yourself away from Mr. Hayes?”
            You’re getting yourself noticed, attention you can’t afford. Flushing, Maggie cleared her throat. “Blanche’s motivations were denial and lust. She was so unable to cope with her fate that she kept losing herself in fantasy.”
            “Fair enough,” the professor nodded, then turned his attention to the class. “Everyone, your papers on the relationship between sex and death in A Streetcar Named Desire are due a week from Monday. Class dismissed.”
            Maggie remained seated, looking down, nursing her embarrassment, while most of the class filtered out. She raised her head just in time to see Mr. Hayes slipping out through the door. Taking a breath for courage, she hurried after him.
            Reaching the door, she looked at the crowd of students that were retreating down the hall, but he was not among them. Where had he gone?
            A footstep sounded to her right. She turned, startled, looking at the end of the dimly lit hall, her lips parted. No one was there.
            But what if he is down there? Now is the perfect time to catch him alone.
            Maggie let out an anticipatory breath, then headed into the darkness, her sneakers silent on the floor tiles. She rounded the corner, and came face to face with Mr. Hayes, who was leaning against the wall watching her; the look in his eyes deep and unfathomable.
            “Hi,” Maggie stammered.
            “You were watching me,” he said, in measured tones that made her shiver with wanting.
            You’ve never been afraid in your life, not about this. Don’t start now. Maggie stepped closer, right in front of him. “Yes, I was.”
            She waited, her heart racing, for him to say something, anything. Instead, he leaned forward slightly, tipping his head, and kissed her. It was a gentle kiss, careful to the point of being chaste. Yet the sheer heat of it burned through Maggie’s body, unleashing all of her hunger.
            Maggie reached up with her right hand and clasped the nape of his neck, her lips devouring his, her left arm circling his waist to pull him closer. He responded with a groan, his arms pulling her close, molding his body to hers. Maggie lost herself in sensation, only drawing back finally to take a ragged breath of air.
            “What’s your name?” she asked.
            “Lucas,” he said, his tone filled with heat. He turned his head, kissing her hand, then nibbling it with his teeth. “I already know yours….Maggie Gentry.”
            A thrill of lust went through Maggie. “How?”
            Lucas gave her a smile. “Do you think I was in that class tonight by accident? I wanted to meet you, Maggie.”
            Maggie fought to take a breath, her excitement making her lightheaded. “Why?”
            “Because we’re the same,” he said, holding her possessively. “I know you feel it, too.”
            Maggie shuddered, a sudden feeling of fear constricting her chest. Was this some kind of trap? Could she trust him?
            “Shh,” Lucas murmured into her hair. “I can smell your fear.” He breathed in deeply, nuzzling her.
            “I’m not afraid of you,” Maggie said boldly.
            “Maybe not,” Lucas whispered. “Maybe you’re afraid of your own desire.” His kisses trailed down along her throat.
            What I’m afraid of, you wouldn’t understand. Maggie shoved back from him, her expression angry. “I’m not afraid, Lucas. I’m the one that came after you.” She folded her arms across her chest. “Would you have even said hello to me tonight? How long would it have taken for something to happen, if I hadn’t bridged the gap?”
            Lucas gave a small smile. “I had to know you were interested first, Maggie.” His smile widened. “Now I do.”
            Damn his arrogance, he was still arousing her. Time to call his bluff. “Are you going to do anything about it or not?”
            “Oh, yes,” Lucas said lightly. “If you meet me tonight, close to midnight, in the campus nature preserve. Near the bridge.” He kissed her cheek, then walked past her down the hallway.
            I’d prefer a bed. But hell, a romp in the night woods would be a new experience. “Should I bring a blanket?”
            “Just yourself,” Lucas said without turning. “With me, that’s all that you’ll need.”



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