Sticky Pages

Blog on Books

3/31/2009

A Perfect Match

Posted by Munk


Shelley Bradley

A PERFECT MATCH
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60504-012-7
E-Release Date: May 13, 2008
Print Release Date: March 1, 2009
Genre: Sexy/Sweet Contemporary
RomancePre-order print book at Amazon
Pre-order print book at Barnes & Noble
Pre-order print book at Borders
Order e-book at Samhain Publishing
Order Kindle book from Amazon
Click here to see the book video!

Compatible? Never. But the numbers don’t lie…Journalist Mitch MacKinnon is giving his all to make the big time and he’s found his ticket in…but first he has to write an exposé on a local dating service and its owner, Juliette Lowell. Her unorthodox methods seem laughable…until they pair him with the sexy-as-hell Juliette. As they begin a series of dates to determine their compatibility, will Mitch have to eat his words and the story that will take him to the top in order to admit that Juliette is his perfect match?

3/30/2009

Eyecandy

Posted by Munk




3/30/2009

Nauti Intentions

Posted by Munk


Lora Leigh
I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!!!!!!

Nauti Intentions
ISBN: 0425226050
Publisher: Berkley
Pre-Order From Amazon
B&N
Borders
Other Online Retailers
Read Excerpt


Since he saw Janey Mackay taking a dip in her bikini, Major Alex Jansen has had to quell the fire she ignites in him. Even touching her would mean death at the hands of the Mackay men. Until now, the girl of his dreams—and fantasies—has lived in a vacuum of affection, shying away from the danger she thinks men represent. Alex sets out to prove her wrong, with his torturously slow caresses.
Everyone thinks Janey’s safe now, with her abusers dead. But when someone starts leaving spine chilling notes, Alex won’t rest until she’s completely safe. And completely his—body and soul…

3/26/2009

Eyecandy

Posted by Munk


3/26/2009

Master Of Surrender

Posted by Munk



Karin Tabke




Rohan is not quite your typical white night. Tortured and rightfully commanding he has surely met his match in the feisty Lady Isabel. I love how she never follows any of his orders and typically drives him insane. LOL

The descriptions of the time and place are so well written the reader actually feels as if they have been there. The battle scenes are so vivid you are sure to impress all medieval fans.

I can't wait for Master of Craving!

Master of Surrender
June 2008
Order Master of Surrender


The year is 1066. William, bastard Duke of Normandy, has claimed the English throne by right of conquest. To quell the Saxon unrest, William sends out his most trusted knights to secure the land. One of those knights is his cousin, Sir Rohan de Luc, known far and wide for his bloody deeds as The Black Sword. . .

Bold and courageous, Saxon maiden Isabel of Alethorpe is the only one left to protect the people of the manor and its lands. When Rohan de Luc seizes Alethorpe, he offers to spare the life of Isabel's young squire in exchange for her willing gift of the charms of her body. Betrothed to another, she vows to that while he may take her maidenhead, her heart will remain her own. But even as her lips say no, Isabel's traitorous body is awakened to desire by the seductive attentions of this potent invader. Can she remain true to her own people, or will Sir Rohan's skilled touch capture her unwilling heart as surely as his prowess with his sword captured her father's lands?


Excerpt


“Prepare for entry!” Rohan called to his men. “The timber gives!”
Thorin, Ioan, Wulfson and Rorick hurled the thick oak trunk for the death blow. Rhys, Stefan and Warner wielded its twin. In unison, the two battering rams slammed into the door, and the timber gave way, opening with a sickening screech. Rohan spurred Mordred forward, and crashed through the crippled remnants of the Saxon’s defense.

Shield raised and sword at the ready, he maneuvered the huge destrier with his legs into the wide open space of the hall. His body tensed in preparation of a full out assault. Instead the sight that greeted him shocked him.

A lone maid, the one who had so brashly challenged him from the tower, stood in the middle of the great hall. A broadsword at her feet, a dagger clutched tightly to her breast. His eyes instantly moved past her to the wide stairway leading to the chambers above. His men fanned out behind him on foot. Rohan urged his horse past the girl and up the wide stairway, the shod hooves making a sharp clicking sound on the stone. He moved down the narrow hallway, certain to find the villagers laying in wait to war against him. Instead, eerie silence met him. Aye, the cowards hid behind the bolted doors allowing a mere maid to see to their rescue. Rohan sneered contemptuously.

He pulled back on the reins, and Morderd backed up. Rohan allowed the black to move at his own pace down the treacherous stone steps. The woman stood tall and proud before him.
He stopped several strides from her. If she moved, Mordred’s spiked leg armor would shred her in half. His blood ran hot in his veins, and it occurred to him, to waste such beauty would be a tragedy. She was no taller than a young lad. Long golden-colored hair hung wildly around her face and shoulders, reaching down to the full swell of her hips. Eyes the uncommon color of heather in first bloom, framed by thick black lashes stared defiantly up at him. Her skin was the color of fresh churned cream. Her cheeks rosy from the chill in the air and, he guessed, from his unwelcome visit. His eyes scanned lower to a full bosom that heaved in her anger. He could already feel the full swell of it beneath his hands, and the soft thrust of her hips as they met his with passion. The spoils of war were gracious this day. He would enjoy her whilst he could. For tomorrow may find him riding the horizon at his liege’s call. He nodded acknowledging her.
“Bow to your new master,” he commanded in French.


“I will never bow to you,” she hotly replied.


Rohan nodded and looked to his men, who flanked the walls swords at the ready. They waited only for his word to go deeper into the hall and ferret out the hiding Saxons.
Slowly Rohan dismounted.

Isabel’s breath caught high in her throat as the devil himself strode toward her. All sound stopped, the world grinded to a halt. Tawny gold eyes glittered from behind the black metal helmet. The nose guard split his face in two, making his look all the more menacing. A crescent shaped scar marred his chin. He was huge. Larger than any man she had come across in her nearly score of years. His shoulders were as wide as one half the width of the double oak portal. Legs thick as oak supported a wide chest bearing black mail and black surcoat. She stared at the marking emblazoned on his chest. The black sword plunging through a skull, crimson drops of blood hung from the sword tip. His shield bore no coat of arms. The fate of his kind. The rumors called him bastard nephew to William’s mother.


The French called him la lame noir, the English the black sword.


Her blood ran cold, turning her skin frosty. It was true. The black knight and his death squad behind him were notorious for their skill at killing. Isabel dared look past him to the equally notorious knights, in search of the ebony giant who it was rumored could slay a dozen men with one swipe of his sword.

The black sword’s lips twisted into a deadly smile. She felt as helpless as a mouse in the jaws of a stable cat. Yet she stood firm, refusing to back down.

3/25/2009

Deadly Desire

Posted by Munk


Keri Arthur

Book 7, Riley Jenson Guardian series

Seduction that kills. Pleasure to die for.She just can’t resist . . .

Guardian Riley Jenson always seems to face the worst villains. And this time’s no different. For it’s no ordinary sorceress who can raise the dead to do her killing. But that’s exactly what Riley expects to find at the end of a trail of female corpses used—and discarded—in a bizarre ritual of evil. With pressure mounting to catch one fiend, another series of brutal slayings shocks the vampire world of her lover, Quinn. So the last thing Riley needs is the heat of the upcoming full moon bringing her werewolf hormones to a boil—or the reappearance of a sexy bounty hunter, the rogue wolf Kye Murphy.Riley has threatened Murphy with arrest if he doesn’t back off the investigation, but it’s Riley who feels handcuffed by Kye’s lupine charm. Torn between her vamp and wolf natures, between her love for Quinn and her hots for Kye, Riley knows she’s courting danger and indulging the deadliest desires. For her hunt through the supernatural underworld will bring her face-to-face with what lurks in a darkness where even monsters fear to tread.

To read an excerpt, click here

3/21/2009

Authors Online

Posted by Munk

Speaking of Lover Awakened.....

That was the book that pulled me out of my shell and introduced me to the whole world of author websites and book groups. Before that I just did my reading and kept to myself. It was my first yahoo group and that's where I got my recommendation for Shayla Black's "Wicked Ties", I fell in love which produced a domino effect on new to me authors and I've been a goner ever since.

How about everybody else....What book or person drove you to seek out the online obsession?

3/20/2009

Lover Awakened

Posted by Munk

Zsadist just flat does it for me. He is the holy grail of hero's and a bad boy to boot. He is now and will always be my favorite "Brother" and I hope to hear more about him in every book.

I couldn't possibly put into words how I "feel" about this book other than to say if you haven't read it.... run and I mean run to the bookstore and buy it NOW!

LOVER AWAKENED by J. R. Ward Book Three:

Zsadist's Story

ISBN# 0451219368 Publication Date: September 5, 2006



Purchase from Amazon.com

Purchase from Barnes and Noble


In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…


Excerpt


Twelve hours after having been rescued from the lessers by the Brotherhood, Bella looked around the opulent bedroom she’d been given and felt as if she had to transcribe what she was seeing. The safety she was surrounded by now seemed like another language, one she had forgotten how to speak or read.She couldn’t believe she’d really been saved. Or that she’d been brought to the Brotherhood’s compound to recover.
In the corner of the room, the grandfather clock chimed. Now it was thirteen hours, she thought. Thirteen hours since the brothers had come for her and taken her from the earth back into the air.She pulled the silk robe around her more tightly.After God only knew how many weeks in that pipe in the ground, being free was alarming. It had been what she’d prayed for, and then given up any hope of, and she felt as though she should be rejoicing. The problem was that everything around her felt fake and insubstantial, especially given the luxury of this room: The heavy velvet drapes, the canopied bed, the museum-quality antiques, should have been grounding in their stately beauty. Instead, it was all papier-mache to her.Only one thing felt real. And she had to find him.Bella opened the door and put her head out. The hall was empty.Which was perfect. She didn’t want to be seen. Slipping from the room, she glided over the oriental runner, making no sound at all in her bare feet. When she got to the head of the grand staircase, she paused, trying to remember which way to go.The corridor with the statues, she thought, remembering another trip down that hall so many, many weeks ago.She walked quickly and then ran, clutching the lapels of the robe and holding the slit on the bottom closed over her thighs. She passed statues and doors, until she remembered the right combination of the two.As she stopped, she didn’t bother to collect herself because she was uncollectible. She was loose, ungrounded, in danger of disintegration. She knocked loudly.Through the door came a growl. “Fuck off. I’ve crashed.”She turned the knob and opened.In the light from the hall, she watched as Zsadist sat up on a pallet of blankets that laid on the floor in the corner. He was naked, his muscles flexing, his nipple rings flashing silver. His fearsome face, with that scar, was full of aggression. “I said, fuck off- Bella?” He covered himself with his hands. “Jesus Christ. What are you doing?”Good question, she thought as her courage dimmed. “Can-can I stay here with you?”He frowned as if she’d lost her mind. “What are you- no, you can’t.” He grabbed something off the floor and held it in front of his hips as he stood up. She drank in the sight of him: The tattooed slave bands around his wrists and neck, the plug in his left earlobe, his black eyes, his skull-trimmed hair. His body was as starkly lean as she remembered, all striated muscles and hard cut veins. And he threw off raw power like a scent. To her, he was utterly beautiful.“Bella, get out of here, okay? This is not the place for you.”She ignored the command in his eyes and his voice. Because although her bravery was gone, desperation gave her strength. Now, her voice no longer faltered.“When I was so out of it in the car, you were behind the wheel.” When he didn’t respond, she said, “Yes, you were. That was you. You spoke to me. You were the one who came for me, weren’t you?”He flushed. “The Brotherhood came for you.”“But you drove me away. And you brought me here first. To your room.” When he stayed silent, she said, “Let me stay. Please.” “Look, you need to be safe-”“I am safe only with you. You saved me. You won’t let them get me again.”“No one’s getting you here. This place is wired like the Goddamned Pentagon.”“Please-”“No,” he snapped. “Now get the hell out of here.”She started to shake, fear surging. “I can’t be alone. Please let me stay with you. I need to...” She needed him specifically, but didn’t think he’d respond well to that. “I need to be with someone.”Zsadist ran his hand over his head. A number of times. Then his chest expanded. “Please,” she whispered. “Don’t make me go.”He cursed. “I have to put some pants on.” That was as close to a yes as she was going to get, she thought.Bella stepped inside and closed the door, lowering her eyes only for a moment. When she looked up again, he’d turned away and was pulling a pair of black nylon sweats up his thighs.His back, with its streaks of scars, flexed as he bent over. Seeing the evidence of old wounds, she was struck with the need to know exactly what he’d been through. All of it. Each and every lash. The idea that he knew what it was like to be at the mercy of someone cruel was a powerful common thread.He’d survived. So had she. They were... linked.Zsadist walked over to the bed and pulled the covers back. Then he stood to one side. Awkwardly.“Get in,” he told her.As she came forward, she noticed that he wore something around his neck- Oh, my God... “My necklace. You’re wearing my necklace.” She reached out to touch it against his skin, but he flinched away and removed the thing.He dropped it in her hand. “Here. Take it back.” She looked down at the fragile gold and the little diamonds that were set every couple of inches. Diamonds by the Yard. By Tiffany’s. She’d worn it for years and now couldn’t remember what it felt like against her throat. Such a symbol of the normal life she’d led, she thought. And an opportunity to get back to herself.She put it into the pocket of the robe, hiding it from herself.“Have you eaten?” he asked. She moved a little closer to him. She wanted to throw her arms around him, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was staring at the floor.“Yes, Phury brought me food.”A flicker of expression passed over Zsadist’s face. But it was gone so fast she couldn’t read it.“Are you in pain?” he demanded. “Not particularly.” Please look at me, she thought. Except he didn’t so she got into the bed. When he leaned down, she scootched over to make room for him.All he did was pull the covers up over her and then go back to the corner, to the pallet on the floor.Bella closed her eyes for a few minutes. Then she grabbed a pillow, slid out of the bed and went over to him.“What are you doing?” His voice was high. Alarmed.She dropped her pillow next to him and laid down, easing onto the floor beside his big body. His scent was so much stronger now, smelling of evergreen and pine and distilled male power, and she sought the heat of him, inching closer until her forehead hit the back of his arm. He was so hard, like a stone wall that had been warmed by the sun. Her body relaxed. Next to him she was able to feel the weight of her own bones, the hard floor underneath her, the currents in the room as the heat came on: His presence somehow helped her connect to the world around her again. She pushed herself forward with her feet until she was flush against the side of him, from breast to heel.As he trembled, she recalled that he couldn’t bear to be touched, but she couldn’t help herself. Not this day. Maybe tomorrow. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I need this from you. My body needs...” You. “Something warm.”Z shifted, moving away, until he hit the wall. Then he abruptly leapt to his feet. Oh, no. He was going to kick her out.“Come on,” he said gruffly. “We’re going to the bed. I can’t stand the idea of you on the floor.”

3/20/2009

Eyecandy

Posted by Munk

Meet the next Mr. Munk!

3/20/2009

Georgia Girls

Posted by Munk

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new
wives duties at home.



The first man had married a woman from Iowa and had
told her that she was going to do dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple days, but on the third day, he came home to a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from Illinois. He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and food was on the table.

The third man had married a girl from Georgia. He told her that her duties were to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, just enough to fix himself a bite to eat and load the dishwasher.

3/20/2009

The Day the Penis asked for a Raise

Posted by Munk

I, the Penis, hereby request a raise in salary for the following reasons:
I do physical labor.
I work at great depths.
I plunge headfirst into everything I do.
I do not get weekends or public holidays off.
I work in a damp environment.
I work in a dark workplace that has poor ventilation.
I work in high temperatures.
My work exposes me to contagious diseases.
Sincerely,

P. Niss

The Response

Dear Penis:
After assessing your request, and considering the arguments you have raised, the administration rejects your request for the following reasons:
You do not work 8 hours straight.
You fall asleep after brief work periods.
You do not always follow the orders of the management team.
You do not stay in your designated area and are often seen visiting other locations.
You do not take initiative - you need to be pressured and stimulated in order to start working.
You leave the workplace rather messy at the end of your shift.
You don't always observe necessary safety regulations, such as wearing the correct protective clothing.
You will retire well before you are 65. *Please don't let this be true!*
You are unable to work double shifts.
You sometimes leave your designated work area before you have completed the assigned task.
And if that were not all, you have been seen constantly entering and exiting the workplace carrying two suspicious-looking bags.
Sincerely,

V.Gina

3/19/2009

Dangerous Boys And Their Toy

Posted by Munk

Shayla Black


Another scorcher from Shayla. I fell in love with both Thorn and Cameron. They are complete opposites and together they make the perfect man. Lucky lady Brenna has captivated them both. When these 3 get together it is sure to be one wild ride. Suspense and plot twists keep us engrossed until the very end.

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
e-Release Date: May 28, 2008 (ebook)
Print Release Date: March 2, 2009
ISBN: 9781419958502
Genre: Contemporary Erotic/Ménage á trios
Click here to view the video.
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble Ellora’s Cave
Buy eBook from Ellora’s Cave

Trading orgasms for information isn’t their usual way of doing business, but when a missing criminal-turned-star-witness and fifty grand are on the line, bounty hunter R. A. Thorn and Detective Cameron Martinez are prepared to put their bodies to the task and give gorgeous Brenna Sheridan everything she needs.
An exchange they never anticipated becomes an experience none can forget—or walk away from. Sexual hunger sizzles the threesome, but the stakes and danger rise as a mafia bad-ass stalks Brenna.
Soon, their “deal” is no longer about information—or sex. Emotions bind Brenna, Cam and Thorn together more tightly than they ever imagined as the men protect—and serve—the beloved woman neither can live without.

Excerpt

This excerpt contains both explicit language and sexual content intended for adult audiences and readers should be 18 years or older to continue reading.
“Detective,” she cried. “Thorn broke in, tied me up in my sleep and fondled me without my permission.”
“Not exactly true. I used the key under the flower pot on the front porch to let myself in, and I touched you with your permission—more or less. I asked you if you’d tell me what I wanted to know if I made you come, and you said yes.”
“I didn’t mean it.”
“How was I supposed to know that? You were wet as hell when I touched you. As far as I’m concerned our bargain still stands.”
“Even if it did,” Brenna argued. “You didn’t make me come.”
Thorn flushed red. “I came damn close. Besides, you didn’t specify that I personally had to make you come, just that I had to make sure it happened. Cam will take care of the technicalities.”
Cam sighed and opened his mouth to refute Thorn.
Brenna shot back, “He can’t make me come, either.”
Normally, Cameron would let such a comment slide off his back. He didn’t have the chest-beating, macho caveman instincts Thorn possessed. But somehow, Brenna’s bald statement riled him a touch.
“Actually, I think, under normal circumstances, I could. I’m a patient man willing to take the time to discover what my partner needs during sex.” He cocked his head and stared at Brenna. An odd sort of longing crossed her face. He remembered the night by the pool, watching her frustrated attempt to orgasm. “But what you’re talking about is deeper, right?” He crossed the room to sit on the bed beside her. “Have you ever had an orgasm?”
Brenna flushed twenty shades of red then turned away.
He took that to mean no.
An orgasm deficit to most would not be a huge tragedy. Through most of high school and college, Cameron had gone without. Too many people underfoot for self-pleasure. In his mostly white school, too many folks had been unwilling to get naked with someone half Apache, half Hispanic. In Arizona, that century and a half year-old prejudice against Indians and Mexicans still quietly lived on in more than a handful of people.
But Brenna… Her deficit wasn’t a mere case of going without. It was an inability, her shamed expression told him. And Cameron ached for her. What would it be like to be an adult and not know the joy of sexual satisfaction?
Tragedy.
“See? She’s frigid,” Thorn mouthed off.
Cameron whirled on him. “Has anyone ever told you what an enormous prick you are?”
Thorn grinned. “No, but I hear frequently what an enormous prick I have.”
Cameron rolled his eyes then turned back to Brenna. “Ignore him. When the phrase son of a bitch was coined, they had Thorn in mind.”
“You’re not much better. Pinching me so hard it brought tears to my eyes.”
So he had. Totally unlike him. This stupid plot of Thorn’s wasn’t getting them anywhere, but he may be onto something.
“Key.” He held out his palm to Thorn.
“Ah, shit. Man, you’re going to uncuff her? She looks hot, bound and ready.”
She did. No refuting that. But Thorn couldn’t see the long-term benefit of uncuffing Brenna beyond the short-term benefit the view provided his dick.
“I’d hate to have to arrest you. You’d have to call your brother to bail you out.”
“Oh, hell no!” With another curse, Thorn slapped the key in Cam’s palm. “You ruin all the fun, you know that?”
“I’m the original party pooper.”
With a quick turn of his wrist and a few tugs, Brenna’s wrists were free. He untied her ankles. Just as she would have leapt from the bed and reached for the robe on the floor beside it, Cameron placed a palm between her bare collarbones.
“Not just yet.” Once he had her pinned to the bed, he said, “I am sincerely sorry that no man has taken the time or care with you to give you the pleasure you deserve. I’m sorry you have yet to figure out how to bring yourself to orgasm.” He brushed a stray curl from her cheek. “I know it must bother you. You must feel somewhat left out and…defective.”
Tears flooded Brenna’s eyes, and Cameron sucked in a shocked breath. He’d hoped that he was close to the truth, but hadn’t imagined that he was dead on. Her tears and pained expression said, however, that he was.
“It’s okay,” he whispered. “You’re not. It’s wrong for you to go on suffering needlessly. We will help you discover what you need to find fulfillment, if that’s what you want. But…” Cameron sighed, hating what he had to say next. “Thorn is right. We need your help in return. Lawton worked with a man named Julio Marco and others to traffic humans across the border and sell them into slavery. I was Lawton’s arresting officer. Thorn is his bail bondsman. We need Lawton to live up to his word to turn evidence for the state so the victims can have justice. He must come in and provide the testimony he promised. You’re our only hope of finding him.”
Brenna blinked. Tears ran down the sides of her face. Cameron hurt for her. She was clearly confused, didn’t know who to trust or what to do. He understood.
Cameron thumbed her tears away. “I would never want to hurt you. I believe we can help you. In return, I hope you’re willing to help us.” He leaned down and placed a gossamer kiss across her trembling lips. “Will you?”

3/19/2009

Eyecandy

Posted by Munk




3/18/2009

Eve Of Destruction

Posted by Munk



S.J. Day



I can't tell you how much I am loving this new series.

Eve has started her "mark" training, her enemies keep piling up, and marks are dropping like flies. She must find the guilty party before it's to late for them all. The excitement, tension and amazing fight scenes in this series will keep you planted with book in hand until completion.

Poor Eve she's really a one man woman....to bad she has 2 of them in her head and her heart. Alec and Reed keep the pressure on and the heat up where Eve is concerned. With tension rising and jealousy showing it's ugly head I'm almost afraid of where this will lead.

I cant wait to see what's in store for us in the next book!


When you're learning to hunt demons, homework can be hell...
Class is in, but Evangeline Hollis is far from being the star pupil. She's struggling to get through the required training to be a full-fledged Mark -- one of thousands of sinners forced to hunt demons for God. When her class goes on a week-long field trip to an abandoned military base, passing the course suddenly isn't just a matter of pride... it's a matter of life and death. There's a demon hidden among them, killing off Eve's classmates one by one.
As the body count rises, a ragtag team of ghost hunters from a cable TV program unwittingly stumbles into the carnage. Now keeping the Mark system secret competes with the need to keep the "paranormal researchers" alive. With Cain on assignment and Abel investigating a new, terrifying class of demon, Eve must fly solo on her hunt to stop a killer before he strikes again.
When you're learning to hunt demons, homework can be hell...
Class is in, but Evangeline Hollis is far from being the star pupil. She's struggling to get through the required training to be a full-fledged Mark -- one of thousands of sinners forced to hunt demons for God. When her class goes on a week-long field trip to an abandoned military base, passing the course suddenly isn't just a matter of pride... it's a matter of life and death. There's a demon hidden among them, killing off Eve's classmates one by one.
As the body count rises, a ragtag team of ghost hunters from a cable TV program unwittingly stumbles into the carnage. Now keeping the Mark system secret competes with the need to keep the "paranormal researchers" alive. With Cain on assignment and Abel investigating a new, terrifying class of demon, Eve must fly solo on her hunt to stop a killer before he strikes again.


















3/17/2009

Saint Patrick

Posted by Munk


Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick, The Apostle of Ireland, was born at what is now Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 493. At the time of his birth it was known at Briton and ruled by Rome. His parents were Calphurnius and Conchessa. The language of the time was latin and his given name was Patricus. His father belonged to a Roman family of high rank and held the office of decurio in Briton. Conchessa was a near relative of the great patron of Gaul, St. Martin of Tours. Kilpatrick still retains many memorials of Saint Patrick, and frequent pilgrimages continued far into the Middle Ages to perpetuate there the fame of his sanctity and miracles
In his sixteenth year, Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftan named Milchu in Dalriada, a territory of the present county of Antrim in Ireland, where for six years he tended his master's flocks in the valley of the Braid and on the slopes of Slemish, near the modern town of Ballymena. He relates in his "Confessio" that during his captivity while tending the flocks he prayed many times in the day: "the love of God", he added, "and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me." In the ways of a benign Providence the six years of Patrick's captivity became a remote preparation for his future apostolate. He acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic tongue in which he would one day announce the glad tidings of Redemption, and, as his master Milchu was a druidical high priest, he became familiar with all the details of Druidism from whose bondage he was destined to liberate the Irish race.
Admonished by an angel he, after six years, fled from his cruel master and bent his steps towards the west. He relates in his "Confessio" that he had to travel about 200 miles; and his journey was probably towards Killala Bay and onwards thence to Westport. He found a ship ready to set sail and after some rebuffs was allowed on board. In a few days he was among his friends once more in Briton, but now his heart was set on devoting himself to the service of God in the sacred ministry. We meet with him at St. Martin's monastery at Tours, and again at the island sanctuary of Lérins which was just then acquiring widespread renown for learning and piety; and wherever lessons of heroic perfection in the exercise of Christian life could be acquired, thither the fervent Patrick was sure to bend his steps. No sooner had St. Germain entered on his great mission at Auxerre than Patrick put himself under his guidance, and it was at that great bishop's hands that Ireland's future apostle was a few years later promoted to the priesthood. It is the tradition in the territory of the Morini that Patrick under St. Germain's guidance for some years was engaged in missionary work among them. When Germain commissioned by the Holy See proceeded to Briton to combat the erroneous teachings of Pelagius, he chose Patrick to be one of his missionary companions and thus it was his privilege to be associated with the representative of Rome in the triumphs that ensued over heresy and Paganism, and in the many remarkable events of the expedition, such as the miraculous calming of the tempest at sea, the visit to the relics at St. Alban's shrine, and the Alleluia victory. Amid all these scenes, however, Patrick's thoughts turned towards Ireland, and from time to time he was favoured with visions of the children from Focluth, by the Western sea, who cried to him: "O holy youth, come back to Erin, and walk once more amongst us."
It was probably in the summer months of the year 433, that Patrick and his companions landed at the mouth of the Vantry River close by Wicklow Head. The Druids were at once in arms against him. But Patrick was not disheartened. The intrepid missionary resolved to search out a more friendly territory in which to enter on his mission. First of all, however, he would proceed towards Dalriada, where he had been a slave, to pay the price of ransom to his former master, and in exchange for the servitude and cruelty endured at his hands to impart to him the blessings and freedom of God's children. He rested for some days at the islands off the Skerries coast, one of which still retains the name of Inis-Patrick, and he probably visited the adjoining mainland, which in olden times was known as Holm Patrick. Tradition fondly points out the impression of St. Patrick's foot upon the hard rock -- off the main shore, at the entrance to Skerries harbour. Continuing his course northwards he halted at the mouth of the River Boyne. A number of the natives there gathered around him and heard with joy in their own sweet tongue the glad tidings of Redemption. There too he performed his first miracle on Irish soil. Leaving one of his companions to continue the work of instruction so auspiciously begun, he hastened forward to Strangford Loughand there quitting his boat continued his journey over land towards Slemish. He had not proceeded far when a chieftain, named Dichu, appeared on the scene to prevent his further advance. He drew his sword to smite the saint, but his arm became rigid as a statue and continued so until he declared himself obedient to Patrick. Overcome by the saint's meekness and miracles, Dichu asked for instruction and made a gift of a large sabhall (barn), in which the sacred mysteries were offered up. This was the first sanctuary dedicated by St. Patrick in Erin. It became in later years a chosen retreat of the saint. A monestary and church were erected there, and the hallowed site retains the name Sabhall (pronounced Saul) to the present day. Continuing his journey towards Slemish, the saint was struck with horror on seeing at a distance the fort of his old master Milchu enveloped in flames. The fame of Patrick's marvelous power of miracles preceeded him. Milchu, in a fit of frenzy, gathered his treasures into his mansion and setting it on fire, cast himself into the flames. An ancient record adds: "His pride could not endure the thought of being vanquished by his former slave".
Returning to Saul, St. Patrick learned from Dichu that the chieftains of Erin had been summoned to celebrate a special feast at Tara by Leoghaire, who was the Ard-Righ, that is, the Supreme Monarch of Ireland. This was an opportunity which Patrick would not forego; he would present himself before the assembly, to strike a decisive blow against the Druidism that held the nation captive, and to secure freedom for the glad tidings of Redemption of which he was the herald. As he journeyed on he rested for some days at the house of a chieftain named Secsnen, who with his household joyfully embraced the Faith. The youthful Benen, or Benignus, son of the chief, was in a special way captivated by the Gospel doctrines and the meekness of Patrick. Whilst the saint slumbered he would gather sweet-scented flowers and scatter them over his bosom, and when Patrick was setting out, continuing his journey towards Tara, Benen clung to his feet declaring that nothing would sever him from him. "Allow him to have his way", said St. Patrick to the chieftain, "he shall be heir to my sacred mission." Thenceforth Benen was the inseparable companion of the saint, and the prophecy was fulfilled, for Benen is named among the "comhards" or successors of St. Patrick in Armagh. It was on 26 March, Easter Sunday, in 433, that the eventful assembly was to meet at Tara, and the decree went forth that from the preceeding day the fires throughout the kingdom should be extinguished until the signal blaze was kindled at the royal mansion. The chiefs and Brehons came in full numbers and the druids too would muster all their strength to bid defiance to the herald of good tidings and to secure thehold of their superstition on the Celtic race, for their demoniac oracles had announces that the messenger of Christ had come to Erin. St. Patrick arrived at the hill of Slane, at the opposite extremity of the valley from Tara, on Easter Eve, in that year the feast of the Annunciation, and on the summit of the hill kindled the Paschal fire. The druids at once raised their voice. "O King", (they said) "live for ever; this fire, which has been lighted in defiance of the royal edict, will blaze for ever in this land unless it be this very night extinguished." By order of the king and the agency of the druids, repeated attempts were made to extinguish the blessed fire and to punish with death the intruder who had disobeyed the royal command. But the fire was not extinguished and Patrick shielded by the Divine power came unscathed from their snares and assaults. On Easter Day the missionary band having at their head the youth Benignus bearing aloft a copy of the Gospels, and followed by St. Patrick who with mitre and crozier was arrayed in full episcopal attire, proceeded in processional order to Tara. The druids and magicians put forth all their strength and employed all their incantations to maintain their sway over the Irish race, but the prayer and faith of Patrick achieved a glorious triumph. The druids by their incantations overspread the hill and surrounding plain with a cloud of worse then Egyptian darkness. Patrick defied them to remove that cloud, and when all their efforts were made in vain, at his prayer the sun sent forth its rays and the brightest sunshine lit up the scene. Again by demoniac power the Arch-Druid Lochru, like Simon Magus of old, was lifted up high in the air, but when Patrick knelt in prayer the druid from his flight was dashed to pieces upon a rock. Thus was the final blow given to paganism in the presence of all the assembled chieftains. It was, indeed, a momentous day for the Irish race. Twice Patrick pleaded for the Faith before Leoghaire. The king had given orders that no sign of respect was to be extended to the strangers, but at the first meeting the youthful Erc, a royal page, arose to show him reverence; and at the second, when all the chieftains were assembled, the chief-bard Dubhtach showed the same honour to the saint. Both these heroic men became fervent disciples of the Faith and bright ornaments of the Irish Church. It was on this second solemn occasion that St. Patrick is said to have plucked a shamrock from the sward, to explain by its triple leaf and single stem, in some rough way, to the assembled chieftains, the great doctrine of the Trinity. On that bright Easter Day, the triumph of religion at Tara was complete. The Ard-Righ granted permission to Patrick to preach the Faith throughout the length and breadth of Erin, and the druidical prophecy like the words of Balaam of old would be fulfilled: the sacred fire now kindled by the saint would never be extinguished.
The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism.
St. Patrick remained during Easter week at Slane and Tara, unfolding to those around him the lessons of Divine truth. Meanwhile the national games were being celebrated a few miles distant at Tailten (now Telltown) in connection with the royal feast. St. Patrick proceeding thither solemnly administered baptism to Conall, brother of the Ard-Righ Leoghaire, on Wednesday, 5 April. Benen and others had already been privately gathered into the fold of Christ, but this was the first public administering of baptism, recognized by royal edict, and hence in the ancient Irish Kalendars to the fifth of April is assigned "the beginning of the Baptism of Erin". This first Christian royal chieftain made a gift to Patrick of a site for a church which to the present day retains the name of Donagh-Patrick. The blessing of heaven was with Conall's family. St. Columba is reckoned among his descendants, and many of the kings of Ireland until the eleventh century were of his race. St. Patrick left some of his companions to carry on the work of evangelization in Meath, thus so auspiciously begun. He would himself visit the other territories. Some of the chieftains who had come to Tara were from Focluth, in the neighbourhood of Killala, in Connaught, and as it was the children of Focluth who in vision had summoned him to return to Ireland, he resolved to accompany those chieftains on their return, that thus the district of Focluth would be among the first to receive the glad tidings of Redemption. It affords a convincing proof of the difficulties that St. Patrick had to overcome, that though full liberty to preach the Faith throughout Erin was granted by the monarch of Leoghaire, nevertheless, in order to procure a safe conduct through the intervening territories whilst proceeding towards Connaught he had to pay the price of fifteen slaves. On his way thither, passing through Granard he learned that at Magh-Slecht, not far distant, a vast concourse was engaged in offering worship to the chief idol Crom-Cruach. It was a huge pillar-stone, covered with slabs of gold and silver, with a circle of twelve minor idols around it. He proceeded thither, and whith his crosier smote the chief idol that crumbled to dust; the others fell to the ground. At Killala he found the whole people of the territory assembled. At his preaching, the king and his six sons, with 12,000 of the people, became docile to the Faith. He spent seven years visiting every district of Connaught, organizing parishes, forming dioceses, and instructing the chieftains and people. One the occasion of his first visit to Rathcrogan, the royal seat of the kings of Connaught, situated near Tulsk, in the County of Roscommon, a remarkable incident occurred, recorded in many of the authentic narratives of the saint's life. Close by the clear fountain of Clebach, not far from the royal abode, Patrick and his venerable companions had pitched their tents and at early dawn were chanting the praises of the Most High, when the two daughters of the Irish monarch -- Ethne, the fair, and Fedelm, the ruddy -- came thither, as was their wont, to bathe. Astonished at the vision that presented itself to them, the royal maidens cried out: "Who are ye, and whence do ye come? Are ye phantoms, or fairies, or friendly mortals?" St. Patrick said to them: "It were better you would adore and worship the one true God, whom we announce to you, than that you would satisfy your curiosity by such vain questions." And then Eithne broke forth into the questions:
"Who is God?" "And where is God?" "Where is His dwelling?" "Has He sons and daughters?" "Is He rich in silver and gold?" "Is He everlasting? is He beautiful?" "Are His daughters dear and lovely to the men of this world?" "Is He on the heavens or on earth?" "In the sea, in rivers, in mountains, in valleys?" "Make Him known to us. How is He to be seen?" "How is He to be loved? How is He to be found?" "Is it in youth or is it in old age that He may be found?" But St. Patrick, filled with the Holy Ghost, made answer:
"God, whom we announce to you, is the Ruler of all things." "The God of heaven and earth, of the sea and the rivers." "The God of the sun, and the moon, and all the stars." "The God of the high mountains and of the lowlying valleys." "The God who is above heaven, and in heaven, and under heaven." "His dwelling is in heaven and earth, and the sea, and all therein." "He gives breath to all." "He gives life to all." "He is over all." "He upholds all." "He gives light to the sun." "He imparts splendour to the moon." "He has made wells in the dry land, and islands in the ocean." "He has appointed the stars to serve the greater lights." "His Son is co-eternal and co-equal with Himself." "The Son is not younger than the Father." "And the Father is not older than the Son." "And the Holy Ghost proceeds from them." "The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are undivided." "But I desire by Faith to unite you to the Heavenly King, as you are daughters of an earthly king." The maidens, as if with one voice and one heart, said: "Teach us most carefully how we may believe in the Heavenly King; show us how we may behold Him face to face, and we will do whatsoever you shall say to us."
And when he had instructed tham he said to them: "Do you believe that by baptism you put off the sin inherited from the first parents."
They answered: "We believe."
"Do you believe in penance after sin?"
"We believe."
"Do you believe in life after death?" Do you believe in resurrection on the Day of Judgement?"
"We believe."
"Do you believe in the unity of the Church?"
"We believe."
Then they were baptized, and were clothed in white garments. And they besought that they might behold the face of Christ. And the saint said to them: "You cannot see the face of Christ unless you taste death, and unless you receive the Sacrifice." They answered: "Give us the Sacrifice, so that we may be able to behold our Spouse." And the ancient narrative adds: "when they received the Eucharist of God, they slept in death, and they were placed upon a couch, arrayed in their white baptismal robes."
In 440 St. Patrick entered on the special work of the conversion of Ulster. Under the following year, the ancient annalists relate a wonderful spread of the Faith throughout the province. In 444 a site for a church was granted at Armagh by Daire, the chieftain of the district. It was in a valley at the foot of a hill, but the saint was not content. He had special designs in his heart for that district, and at length the chieftain told him to select in his territory any site he would deemmost suitable for his religious purpose. St. Patrick chose that beautiful hill on which the old cathedral of Armagh stands. As he was marking out the church with his companions, they came upon a doe and fawn, and the saint's companions would kill them for food; but St. Patrick would not allow them to do so, and, taking the fawn upon his shoulders, and followed by the doe, he proceeded to a neighbouring hill, and laid down the fawn, and announced that there, in future times, great glory would be given to the Most High. It was precisely upon that hill thus fixed by St. Patrick that, a few years ago, there was solemnly dedicated the new and beautiful Catholic cathedral of Armagh. A representative of the Holy See presided on the occasion, and hundreds of priests and bishops were gathered there; and, indeed, it might truly be said, the whole Irish race on that occasion offered up that glorious cathedral to the Most High as tribute to their united faith and piety, and their never-failing love of God.
From Ulster St. Patrick probably proceeded to Meath to consolidate the organization of the communities there, and thence he continued his course through Leinster. Two of the saint's most distinguished companions, St. Auxilius and St. Iserninus, had the rich valley of the Liffey assigned to them. The former's name is still retained in the church which he founded at Killossy, while the latter is honoroured as the first Bishop of Kilcullen. As usual, St. Patrick's primary care was to gather the ruling chieftains into the fold. At Naas, the royal residence in those days, he baptised two sons of the King of Leinster. Memorials of the saint still abound in the district --- the ruins of the ancient church which he founded, his holy well, and the hallowed sites in which the power of God was shown forth in miracles. At Sletty, in the immediate neighborhood of Carlow, St. Fiacc, son of the chief Brehon, Dubthach, was installed as bishop, and for a considerable time that see continued to be the chief centre of religion for all Leinster. St. Patrick proceeded through Gowran into Ossory; here he erected a church under the invocation of St. Martin, near the present city of Kilkenny, and enriched it with many precious relics which he had brought from Rome. It was in Leinster, on the borders of the present counties of Kildare and Queen's, that Odhran, St. Patrick's charioteer, attained the martyr's crown. The chieftain of that district honoured the demon-idol, Crom Cruach, with special worship, and, on hearing of that idol being cast down, vowed to avenge the insult by the death of our apostle. Passing through the territory, Odhran overheard the plot that was being organized for the murder of St. Patrick, and as they were setting out in the chariot to continue their journey, asked the saint, as a favour, to take thereins, and to allow himself, for the day, to hold the place of honour and rest. This was granted,and scarcely had they set out when a well-directed thrust of a lance pierced the heart of the devoted charioteer, who thus, by changing places, saved St. Patrick's life, and won for himself the martyr's crown.
St. Patrick next proceeded to Munster. As usual, his efforts were directed to combat error in the chief centres of authority, knowing well that, in the paths of conversion, the kings and chieftains would soon be followed by their subjects. At "Cashel of the Kings" he was received with great enthusiasm, the chiefs and Brehons and people welcoming him with joyous acclaim. While engaged in the baptism of the royal prince Aengus, son of the King of Munster, the saint, leaning on his crosier, peirced with its sharp point the prince's foot. Aengus bore the pain unmoved. When St. Patrick, at the close of the ceremony, saw the blood flow, and asked him why he had been silent, he replied, with genuine heroism, that he thought it might be part of the ceremony, a penalty for the joyous blessings of the Faith that were imparted. The saint admired his heroism, and, taking the chieftain's shield, inscribed on it a cross with the same point of the crozier, and promised that that shield would be the signal of countless spiritual and temporal triumphs. Our apostle spent a considerable time in the present County of Limerick. The fame of his miracles and sanctity had gone before him, and the inhabitants of Thomond and northern Munster, crossing the Shannon in their frail coracles, hastened to receive his instruction. When giving his blessing to them on the summit of the hill of Finnime, looking out on the rich plains before him, he is said to have prophesied the coming of St. Senanus: "To the green island in the West, at the mouth of the sea [i.e., Inis-Cathaigh, now Scattery Island, at the mouth of the Shannon, near Kilrush], the lamp of the people of God will come; he will be the head of counsel to all this territory." At Sangril (now Singland), in Limerick, and also in the district of Gerryowen, the holy wells of the saint are pointed out, and the slab of rock, which served for his bed, and the altar on which every day he offered up the Holy Sacrifice. On the banks of the Suit, and the Blackwater, and the Lee, wherever the saint preached during the seven years he spent in Munster, a hearty welcome awaited him. The ancient Life attests: "After Patrick had founded cells and churches in Munster, and had ordained persons of every grade, and healed the sick, and resuscitated the dead, he bade them farewell, and imparted his blessing to them." The words of this blessing, which is said to have been given from the hills of Tipperary, as registered in the saint's Life, to which I have just referred, are particularly beautiful:
A blessing on the Munster people -- Men, youths, and women; A blessing on the land That yields them fruit. A blessing on every treasure That shall be produced on their plains, Without any one being in want of help, God's blessing be on Munster. A blessing on their peaks, On their bare flagstones, A blessing on their glens, A blessing on their ridges. Like the sand of the sea under ships, Be the number in their hearths; On slopes, on plains, On mountains, on hills, a blessing. Patrick's ministry covered a period of 60 years. He founded 365 churches, and a school arose beside each church. The schools were frequently called monasteries. The monasteries of St. Patrick's day were nothing like the Roman Catholic monasteries of later years. They were not isolated from the world - no vows were taken and the clergy were always allowed to marry. The monasteries were associations of studious men, who occupied their time in transcribing the Scriptures, in cultivating such sciences as were then known, and instructing the young. They were colleges in which the youth were trained for the work of the home ministry and the labors of the foreign mission-field. St. Patrick continued until his death to visit and watch over the churches which he had foundedin all the provinces in Ireland. He comforted the faithful in their difficulties, strengthened them in the Faith and in the practice of virtue, and appointed pastors to continue his work among them. It is recorded in his Life that he consecrated no fewer than 350 bishops. He appointed St. Loman to Trim, which rivalled Armaugh itself in its abundant harvest of piety. St. Guasach, son of his former master, Milchu, became Bishop of Granard, while the two daughters of the same pagan chieftan founded close by, at Clonbroney, a convent of pious virgins, and merited the aureola of sanctity. St. Mel, nephew of our apostle, had the charge of Ardagh; St. MacCarthem, who appears to have been patricularly loved by St. Patrick, was made Bishop of Clogher. The narrative in the ancient Life of the saint regarding his visit to the district of Costello, in the County of Mayo, serves to illustrate his manner of dealing with the chieftains. He found, it says,the chief, Ernasc, and his son, Loarn, sitting under a tree, "with whom he remained, together with his twelve companions, for a week, and they received from him the doctrine of salvation with attentive ear and mind. Meanwhile he instructed Loarn in the rudiments of learning and piety." A church was erected there, and, in after years, Loarn was appointed to its charge.

The manifold virtues by which the early saints were distinguished shone forth in all their perfection in the life of St. Patrick. When not engaged in the work of the sacred ministry, his whole time was spent in prayer. Many times in the day he armed himself with the sign of the Cross. He never relaxed his penetential exercises. Clothed in a rough hair-shirt, he made the hard rock his bed. His disinterestedness is specially commemorated. Countless coverts of high rank would cast their precious ornaments at his feet, but all were restored to them. He had not come to Erin in search of material wealth, but to enrich her with the priceless treasures of the Catholic Faith. From time to time he withdrew from the spiritual duties of his apostolate to devote himself wholly to prayer and penance. One of his chosen places of solitude and retreat was the island of Lough Derg, which, to our own day, has continued to be a favourite resort of pilgrims, and it is known as St. Patrick's Purgatory. Another theatre of his miraculous power and piety and penetential austerities in the west of Ireland merits particular attention. In the far west of Connaught there is a range of tall mountains, which, arrayed in rugged majesty, bid defiance to the waves and storms of the Atlantic. At the head of this range arises a stately cone in solitary grandeur, about 4000 feet in height, facing Crew Bay, and casting its shadow over the adjoining districts of Aghagower and Westport. This mountain was known in pagan times as the Eagle Mountain, but ever since Ireland was enlightened with the light of Faith it is known as Croagh Patrick, or St. Patrick's mountain, and is honoured as the Holy Hill, the Mount Sinai, of Ireland. St. Patrick, in obedience to his guardian angel, made this mountain his hallowed place of retreat. In imitation of the great Jewish legislator on Sinai, he spent forty days on its summit in fasting and prayer, and other penetential exercises. His only shelter from the fury of the elements, the wind and rain, the hail and snow, was a cave, or recess, in the solid rock; and the flagstone on which he rested his weary limbs at night is still pointed out. The whole purpose ofhis prayer was to obtain special blessings and mercy for the Irish race, whom he evangelized. The demons that made Ireland their battlefield mustered all their strength to tempt the saint and disturb him in his solitude, and turn him away, if possible, from his pious purpose. They gathered around the hill in the form of vast flocks of hideous birds of prey. So dense were their ranks that they seemed to cover the whole mountain, like a cloud, and they so filled the air that Patrick could see neither sky nor earth nor ocean. St. Patrick besought God to scatter the demons, but for a time it would seem as if his prayers and tears were in vain. At length he rang his sweet-sounding bell, symbol of his preaching of the Divine truths. Its sound was heard all over the valleys and hills of Erin, everywhere bringing peace and joy. The flocks of demons began to scatter, He flung his bell among them; they took to precipitate flight, and cast themselves into the ocean. So complete was the saint's victory over them that, as the ancient narrative adds, "for seven years no evil thing was to be found in Ireland." The saint, however, would not, as yet, descend from the mountain. He had vanquished the demons, but he would now wrestle with God Himself, like Jacob of old, to secure the spiritual interests of his people. The angel had announced to him that, to reward his fidelity in prayer and penance, as many of his people would be gathered into heaven as would cover the land and sea as far as his vision could reach. Far more ample, however, were the aspirations of the saint, and he resolved to persevere in fasting and prayer until the fullest measure of his petition was granted. Again and again the angel came to comfort him, announcing new concessions; but all these would notsuffice. He would not relinquish his post on the mountain, or relax his penance, until all were granted. At length the message came that his prayers were heard:
many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession;
whoever in the spirit of penance would recite his hymn before death would attain the heavenly reward;
barbarian hordes would never obtain sway in his Church;
seven years before the Judgement Day, the sea would spread over Ireland to save its people from the temptations and terrors of the antichrist; and
greatest blessing of all, Patrick himself should be deputed to judge the whole Irish race on the last day. Such were the extraordinary favors which St. Patrick, with his wrestling with the Most High, his unceasing prayers, his unconquerable love of heavenly things, and his unremitting penetential deeds, obtained for the people whom he evangelized.
It is sometimes supposed that St. Patrick's apostolate in Ireland was an unbroken series of peaceful triumphs, and yet it was quite the reverse. No storm of persecution was, indeed stirred up to assail the infant Church, but the saint himself was subjected to frequent trials at the hands of the druids and of other enemies of the Faith. He tells us in his "Confessio" that no fewer than twelve times he and his companions were seized and carried off as captives, and on one occasion in particular he was loaded with chains, and his death was decreed. But from all these trials and sufferings he was liberated by a benign Providence. It is on account of the many hardships which he endured for the Faith that, in some of the ancient Martyrologies, he is honoured as a martyr. St. Patrick, having now completed his triumph over Paganism, and gathered Ireland into the fold of Christ, prepared for the summons to his reward. St. Brigid came to him with her chosen virgins, bringing the shroud in which he would be enshrined. It is recorded that when St. Patrick and St. Brigid were united in their last prayer, a special vision was shown to him. He saw the whole of Ireland lit up with the brightest rays of Divine Faith. This continued for centuries, and then clouds gathered around the devoted island, and, little by little, the religious glory faded away, until, in the course of centuries, it was only in the remotest valleys that some glimmer of its light remained. St. Patrick prayed that the light would never be extinguished, and, as he prayed, the angel came to him and said: "Fear not: your apostolate shall never cease." As he thus prayed, the glimmering light grew in brightness, and ceased not until once more all the hills and valleys of Ireland were lit up in their pristine splendour, and then the angel announced to St. Patrick: "Such shall be the abiding splendour of Divine truth in Ireland." At Saul (Sabhall), St. Patrick received the summons to his reward on 17 March, 493. St. Tassach administered the last sacraments to him. His remains were wrapped in the shroud woven by St. Brigid's own hands. The bishops and clergy and faithful people from all parts crowded around his remains to pay due honour to the Father of their Faith. Some of the ancient Lives record that for several days the light of heaven shone around his bier. His remains were interred at the chieftan's Dun or Fort two miles from Saul, where in after times arose the cathedral of Down.
The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters states that by the year 438 Christianity had made such progress in Ireland that the laws were changed to agree with the Gospel. That means that in 6 years a 60 year old man was able to so change the country that even the laws were amended. St. Patrick had no printing press, no finances, few helpers and Ireland had no Roman roads to travel on. Even the 12 apostles with all their miracles never accomplished a feat like that.

3/17/2009

Fashion

Posted by Munk



Now that's more like it!



3/16/2009

I'm The Vampire That's Why

Posted by Munk

Michele Bardsley


Book 1 in the Broken Heart, Oklahoma series!

Widowed mother of two Jessica Matthews is just trying to survive one soccer game and PTA meeting at a time. Then she’s killed by a ravenous creature, and saved by the yummy vampire Patrick O’Halloran. If you can call being undead and on a blood diet “saved.” Then some not-so-nice bloodsuckers show up and threaten everyone Jessica holds dear. Big freaking mistake.

Read an Excerpt

FIVE LIPS! RECOMMENDED READ! In I’M THE VAMPIRE, THAT’S WHY, “Michele Bardsley created vampires that are completely outside the stereotype we expect, they are hilarious, lovable, hot … you will love reading about them.” — Two Lips Reviews
TOP PICK! “This book is the best mix of paranormal, humor and sex that I have read in a long time. … I can’t say enough about how much I love Michele Bardsley’s I’M THE VAMPIRE, THAT’S WHY.” — Romance Reader at Heart
AVAILABLE NOW AT…
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Borders




Dakota Cassidy The Accidental Human Book Contest!
Review by RachelCategories: Contests, Site News
The Accidental Human Contest!

I know this is going to break your heart, BUT we have another amazing book contest for you. We are excited to offer up TEN shiny new copies of The Accidental Human!! The multi talented, hot roller toting, author extraordinaire, Dakota Cassidy is sponsoring this amazing giveaway here at Bitten by Books! For the next week you can enter everyday to win one of these copies for your very own. The contest is open to readers worldwide.
… the zaniness continues inThe Accidental Human - Book 3 of The Accidental Series
“Immortality bites.
Wanda Schwartz is raking in the dough selling Bobbie-Sue Cosmetics—and she’s a pro at recruiting new saleswomen. So, she’s shocked when a man comes to one of her in-home parties—a very hot man. Heath Jefferson is sure to put some extra spin into a lot of women’s color wheels.
When Wanda is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. With a werewolf and a vampire for best friends, she has options that most ordinary people wouldn’t. As Wanda ponders what to do about her mortality, Heath reveals he has secrets, and one of them is that his former bloodlust has turned into an old-fashioned lust—for Wanda. And he’s already given up too much to lose the love of his lifetimes.”
Click here to read Chapter 1 - http://www.dakotacassidy.com/TAHchapter1.html
****************************************************

Readers, learn more about Dakota Cassidy here:
Read the Bitten by Books reviews of the author’s work here.To visit the author’s website go here.To visit the author’s blog go here.

****************************************************

Readers, here’s how to enter the contest. You can do ONE or ALL of these things EVERY SINGLE DAY for a week! And each one will give you additional entries at a chance to WIN. TEN lucky participants will win a copy of The Accidental Human Dakota’s NEW release. Contest is open to international readers.
Please note, the prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be absolutely no substitutions or changes the prize is non-transferable. If you don’t want the prize being offered, please don’t enter the contest. If you ever win an electronic copy of a book, please note that it is ILLEGAL to forward, give away or copy it in anyway once you receive it. Doing so violates copyright. If we find out that it has been done, you will no longer be eligible to win any of our contests

3/10/2009

Bad Boy's Ahoy

Posted by Munk

Sylvia Day



Three sexy rakes wreak havoc in the romantic lives of three Regency ladies in this loosely, yet cleverly, connected trio of novellas. Day provides plenty of richly detailed love scenes in each tale, and her wickedly entertaining combination of steamy sex and bold language is certain to be appreciated by readers who like hot historicals by Virginia Henley and Susan Johnson.
– John Charles, Booklist


Back Cover Copy
Oh, those naughty rakes. With their wicked winks, sensual smiles, and bad boy habits, you just can’t take them out in polite society. But who wants to go out when you can stay in…?


STOLEN PLEASURES


Sebastian Blake, Earl of Merrick, long ago fled the responsibilities of his title to become the infamous pirate, Captain Phoenix. But the booty he’s just captured on a merchant ship is a fierce tempered minx who claims to be a bride…his bride, married to him by proxy on behest of their fathers. He could shame his hated family and return his beautiful wife untouched, but no treasure has ever proved more tempting to Sebastian, and making their marriage a true one–in every sense–is his one urgent desire …


LUCIEN’S GAMBLE


Lucien Remington’s reputation as a debauched libertine who plays by no one’s rules–in business or the bedroom–is well deserved. He gets what he wants, social repudiation be damned. But society can keep from him the one thing he truly desires, the untouchable Lady Julienne La Coeur. Until she sneaks into his club dressed as a man and searching for her irresponsible brother. Suddenly she’s in Lucien’s grasp, his to take, and his mind is filled with the most wickedly sinful thoughts. A gentleman would walk away from the temptation she presents. But then, Lucien has never claimed to be a gentleman…

HER MAD GRACE


Hugh La Coeur never wanted to be the Earl of Montrose. Wine, women, and a hefty wager are preferable to responsibility of any kind. It’s certainly preferable to spending the night in an eerie, neglected mansion owned by a legendary madwoman. The duchess’s companion, the fiercely independent Charlotte, is another matter altogether. Hugh would be happy to spend as many nights in her bed as possible. He knows she’s hiding terrible secrets, but for once in his life, Hugh has the desire to take on someone else’s burden as his own, no matter what the danger…
They’re mad, bad, and totally irresistible…

3/09/2009

Undead And Unwed

Posted by Munk


MaryJanice Davidson


Undead and Unwed - Book 1


Betsy Taylor turns 30, gets laid off, is killed by an SUV and wakes up dead all in the same week. The vampire community is convinced she's their prophesied Queen. But she's not having any of it - she's got shoes to buy! And now the undead world is being turned upside-down by a Bela Lugosi throwback and her subjects expect her to take care of it! Why didn't she read the handbook? But her would-be consort, Eric Sinclair, is (annoyingly) ever-present. If only he wasn't so tall, dark, gorgeous...and undead.


author Christine Feehan"Erotically passionate, absolute delightful wicked fun!"


Honorable Mention for Best Vampire in LoveRomances.com 2004 Golden Rose Reader's Choice Awards!

3/06/2009

Bound and Determined

Posted by Munk


Shayla Black

Bound and Determined
Berkley HEATISBN-10: 0425226905ISBN-13: 978-0425226902Genre: Sexy Contemporary RomanceRe-release Date: March 3, 2009

WANTED FOR KIDNAPPING: A bubbly blonde with a penchant for trouble. May be armed (with good intentions) and dangerously seductive…
Kerry Sullivan is running out of time-and patience. With her brother wrongfully accused of embezzling millions, she can’t face one more humiliating hang-up from the man she’s begging for help. Rafael Dawson may be one of the top electronic security experts in the country — and the only man who can prove her brother’s innocence — but his phone manners are appalling. Damn Yankee. Too bad kidnapping the man isn’t an option. Or is it?
There’s nothing Kerry wouldn’t do for her brother. There are lots of things she longs to do to Rafe Dawson when he’s lying tied-up and naked in her secret hideaway. Rafe is certainly something to look at, but Kerry’s brother’s life is riding on her pulling off the impossible: getting this man who’s always in control to lose it. But when the tables get turned, Kerry finds herself at Rafe’s mercy. And the only way to get her way is to let him have his way — with her…

Excerpt

This excerpt contains both explicit language and sexual content intended for adult audiences and readers should be 18 years or older to continue reading.
Chapter One
A woman thought of just one thing when she looked at a man like Rafael Dawson–and it had nothing to do with firewalls and passwords.
Oh, my. Kerry Sullivan watched him prowl into the baggage claim at Tampa’s International Airport with a restless, sexual grace. He looked good enough to eat…or at least nibble on for prolonged periods.
Not the most intelligent way to regard the man she had to abduct in the next two minutes.
Grimacing, she tugged down the little black mini skirt Jason had insisted would distract Dawson. Looking at her prey, Kerry feared she would be the one hard-pressed to focus. He was far more devastating than his little black and white picture—or his annoyed voice on the phone telling her to seek professional help—had implied. “Nerdy” was the last word she’d use to describe him, not with that wide, sensual mouth and cheekbones that could have been chiseled from a work of art. Damn it, he was supposed to be a techno-geek. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t see a pair of thick glasses or a pocket protector anywhere.
Kerry watched as Dawson retrieved his black hanging bag from the serpentine carousel and slung it over one wide shoulder. He gripped his laptop case with his other hand and scanned the signs the chauffeurs around her held up.
Now it’s up to me.
The bank hadn’t sent a driver. Kerry had invented one for her purposes and made a sign to lure her quarry. All she had to do was raise it—when she found her nerve.
I am woman. I am strong… I am way outta my league!
How was she going to coax a major melt-in-your-mouth hottie like Rafe Dawson, especially if he recognized her voice from their previous…misunderstandings? Even if he suspected nothing, she doubted he’d give her a first glance, much less a second. And if he knew she had absolutely no experience with men, she would have two chances of interesting him: slim and none. Already, Slim was packing its bags.
A virgin at twenty-three, she felt like a freak.
Even if he did look at her, couldn’t place her voice, and fell for her plans, what then?
Her brother Mark and the possible prison term in his future forced her to ignore the vise of self-doubt and fear cramping her stomach. Screw what the FBI and her brother’s boss, that tyrant, Mr. Smikins, thought. Mark was innocent. She owed it to him to persuade Dawson to help her prove it. The good news was that she was much more articulate face-to-face than she ever could have been over the phone. The bad news: Rafe was already one pissed-off puppy.
No, she had to put some positive energy into her thoughts. Her plan would enable her to get Dawson’s undivided attention. Then he would understand she’d been right about Mark and not press charges. She hoped. Damn, she was breaking something like ten laws here.
Kerry sighed. Her first instinct had been right: This was a stupid, stupid plan.
But Rafael Dawson had refused to listen to her pleadings during any of her calls. Mr. I-Only-Take-Corporate-Clients had blocked her number, too. Since then, the brainstorm fairy hadn’t gifted her with a brilliant plan, and time was slipping away. This was it.
In a way, Dawson’s abduction was his own fault. If he’d only listened when she called, they could have worked something out! Well, okay…a teeny, tiny bit was her fault, too. Being less rattled would have helped, but still… His personal assistant screened his calls so thoroughly, Kerry wondered if the woman was a talking Doberman.
The first time he had answered the phone himself, presumably after the rabid canine’s departure for the day, had been the most successful. Of course, he’d accepted the job to shore up Standard National Bank’s electronic security some weeks prior and had assumed she was a bank representative. Once she’d corrected him…well, he’d disconnected the call. The next time she called, he’d barely listened. Her coworker’s four-year-old with ADHD stayed tuned in longer. The third time, she’d been smarter. She’d pretended to be calling from another company and asked him if he did any investigative work. He’d covered his list of impressive credentials and client list—FBI and tons of Fortune 500 companies. She had no doubt he could prove her big brother innocent of embezzlement. Dawson definitely played in the big leagues. The price per hour he’d quoted her confirmed it. Kerry had nearly dropped the phone and started crying. Trial attorneys were less compensated. Much less.
She sighed. But the fourth conversation… That one had gone really badly. Even now, she could hear his deep growl…
“You again?”
“Consider me a fan.” She’d done her best to put a smile in her voice.
“As often as you call, you’ve fallen into the obsessive groupie category. Should I worry that you’re going to show up at my apartment angry and armed? Or are you the other kind of psycho who stalks a guy completely naked?”
Kerry paused, considering. “Those are strategies I hadn’t thought of.”
“Forget I said anything. I didn’t mean to give you ideas. You don’t work for Standard National Bank or eBay, do you?”
“No, but I can explain.”
“At this point, I don’t care who you are or what you want.”
“Actually, I’m—”
“Seriously, don’t tell me. I’m better off not knowing.”
She’d gripped the phone tightly, feeling opportunity slipping away. Mark had practically raised her. She had to make this work.
“Just listen to me, please. I need help in the worst way.”
“Oh, I figured that out a while back. But since I don’t wear a white coat, I don’t think I’m the right choice. Stop hounding me.”
“Don’t hang up. Please! I’m desperate. Our lawyer is awful, the FBI won’t listen…”
She’d tried to keep it together, truly. But the date for her brother’s trial had just been set, and the enormity of their problem had made her…well, emotional. Which was why she’d rambled. And cried. At the same time.
“No one will listen, and he’s never even had a speeding ticket. If the pain of chemotherapy didn’t make him a criminal, why would anyone assume getting married would?”
“I have no idea, nor do I want to.” A brief pause later, Dawson added. “Don’t call again.”
He’d hung up, leaving her to plot something far more forceful and devious. Kerry really wasn’t good at either. So here she was, in the frigid airport, determined to tie the man down—literally—to enlist his help.
With a resolute breath, Kerry raised the sign with Rafe Dawson’s name printed in permanent black ink. Perspiration broke out under her hairline. Her hands shook. Would he recognize her voice? Or guess that she was up to no good?
He saw the sign and moved closer, luggage in tow. Then Dawson shifted his gaze to her. And didn’t look away. She swallowed as he discreetly took her in, his gaze brushing her curve-hugging red halter, skimming her bare midriff, grazing her microscopic miniskirt and almost-bare thighs.
Kerry was sorely tempted to make sure her siren red lipstick hadn’t smudged, that the Florida humidity hadn’t detonated her sleek style into its usual curly tumble and that she still showed signs of cleavage above her indecently tight top.
As his focus returned to her face, a bad-boy smile curled the edges of his mouth. The heat in his to-die-for gray eyes was ferocious enough to liquefy her knees in world-record time. Despite his unfriendly demeanor on the phone, Kerry was stunned that she had no trouble imagining herself running her hands across the yummy width of his chest…
Down, girl, down!
Dawson came closer, now a breath shy of infringing on her personal space. His heat pulsed at her in a palpable wave. She drew in a deep breath, and his killer scent enveloped her. It wasn’t manufactured. The man simply smelled like black silk midnight wrapped in velvet sin. The scent totally matched his voice.
Yikes, she was in major trouble here—for so many reasons.
“Mr. Dawson,” she greeted, keeping her voice breathy to disguise it.
He nodded, his gaze glued to her. Nothing in his face hinted that her voice seemed familiar. Yeah! So far, the goddess of bad and illegal plans was smiling on her.
But Rafe wore a hint of a smile, too.
Staring at him sent her pulse into a circus-like frenzy. She could make an obsession out of wondering how well muscled he was beneath his pricey linen shirt, considering the amount of hair dusting his broad chest, pondering whether he wore boxers or briefs. Or went commando altogether.
Stop! Kerry chastised herself. Being attracted to the jerk wasn’t a good idea, but apparently she had no control over that. Still, distracting the man so she could successfully abduct him would be impossible if she was too busy drooling. Nor would he find it alluring.
She had to get ahold of herself. Mark’s fate rested in her hands.
Why couldn’t Mark have another sister, one who wasn’t curvier than current fashion dictated? One with more confidence? A sister who didn’t have to persuade a man she’d already irritated to help her?
“Welcome to Tampa,” she forced out in her best Marilyn Monroe voice, fidgeting with the sign.
He raised a surprised brow. “You’re my driver?”
Kerry hesitated, biting her lip again. Could she say this? When she had conceived this plan, the words had sounded so simple. But Dawson didn’t look like an idiot. In fact, he looked more like a shrewd sex god, put on this earth to make her mind mush. Worse, what if he figured out who she was before she had him bound? Kerry pushed aside the fear that her plan had less than zero chance of succeeding. Positive energy, she reminded herself.
“Your driver is in the car. Think of me as a…hostess.”
“Hostess?”
Kerry had no idea if his tone indicated disbelief or intrigue, but she pushed on. “I understand this is your first trip to Tampa. We—that is, everyone at Standard National Bank—thought you might appreciate a tour guide of sorts.”
Did he recognize her voice? Believe her? Impossible to tell. Instead, Dawson watched her, adjusting his burgundy silk tie with dark, elegant fingers. Her gaze climbed to the sharp angle of his jaw, the sculpted temptation of his lips. She’d bet last week’s tips the man knew how to do fantastic things with that mouth. Not that she would ever find out.
He screamed New York polish in his thousand-dollar suit. The scent of money wafted from him like a subtle cologne. She, on the other hand, probably still smelled like today’s lunch special of a double cheeseburger and onion rings.
“Lead the way.” He gestured her before him.
A new battalion of nerves attacked her with the force of a blitzkrieg. For her plan to work, she needed to get him comfortable at least. Hot and bothered wasn’t necessary. In fact, it wasn’t even likely if he really listened to her—or looked at her hips. But comfortable she could do.
“It’s pretty hot today. Humid, too. You might want to lose the coat or you’ll swelter.”
With a shrug, he rested his hanging bag over the back of a nearby chair and removed his suit coat. Beneath, his crisp white shirt, comfortably creased from his travel, strained to encompass a pair of shoulders so broad, Kerry would have been hard-pressed to pry her gaze away with a crowbar. Mr. Unpleasant sure was easy on the eyes.
He retrieved his garment bag, gaze discreetly scanning her. Then he paused. Looking as if he was suppressing a grin, he handed her his suit coat. She took it with numb fingers. Lord, it smelled like him–musky, mysterious, manly.
“You can wear that if you like,” he offered.
Kerry stared at him with a puzzled frown. “Thanks, but it’s way too hot.”
His hot gray gaze drifted away from her face, down her body for a moment. He glanced away, wearing a ghost of a smile. “Suit yourself.”
What did the man see, goose bumps all over her body? Yes, the air-conditioning in the airport was set on subzero, but they’d soon be outside. Scowling, Kerry looked down at her body—and found her nipples puckered prominently against the form-fitting gauzy shirt Jason’s girlfriend had told her could stop traffic. Too bad it hadn’t stopped her nipples from being as obvious as a neon sign.
As she turned away, mortification rolled over her in a heated wave.
With a sigh, she slung his coat over her shoulders and drew the lapels together with a tight fist. A hint of a laugh sounded from behind her. She ignored it.
“This way, Mr. Dawson.” She marched toward the door.
“Rafe,” he corrected, following her with a long-legged stride. “And if you’re going to be my guide, shouldn’t I know your name?”
Surprised that he asked—or cared—she blurted the truth. “Kerry, with a K.” Thankfully, she’d never had a good opportunity to give him her name when they’d spoken on the phone.
“Nice to meet you, Kerry with a K. Since I have no meetings until tomorrow, are you scheduled to show me around this evening?”
“I’ll be…with you for the duration of your visit.” Kerry swallowed past the half-truth. She’d be with him, all right. He just had no notion that he’d spend the next few days not tied up in meetings…
But tied to a bed.
The thought made her stomach churn again—and not unpleasantly. The image of a man of his size and power being completely at her mercy set her imagination spinning. As for the flow of her juices…thinking about that now simply wasn’t a good idea.
As they walked outside, the sultry May weather hit them with a gust of hot, damp air. Warm raindrops clung to every car in sight, and heavy gray clouds hovering above promised more.
Rafe sucked in a breath and loosened his dark tie with a grimace. “Wow, you weren’t kidding. This is like August in New York.”
“Yeah, well, we hang Christmas lights in shorts and tank tops, so there’s a trade-off.”
Rafe laughed. The deep tones vibrated down her spine, igniting a spark within her. Lord, when the man smiled, he was downright edible. Other than a hot glance or two—maybe even imagined on her part—he did not seem nearly as affected by her. And any minute now, he was going to hear something in her voice, which she was desperately trying to disguise, and realize she was his psycho “fan.”
Damn it, positive energy! Where was it today?
“I’ll take the coat now, if you’re no longer cold,” he offered, grinning.
Kerry risked a quick peek down. Nope, her nipples still stood straight up as if saluting a superior officer. Odd, considering the warmth curling through her at the sight of his smile. In fact, the tips of her breasts rasped against the filmy top with every breath she took, so sensitive and tight…and damn it all, even arousing. She couldn’t remember anything like it. The whole problem was downright embarrassing.
“I–I’ll keep it for a bit,” she stammered, mentally cursing her fair skin. Her cheeks were likely just a shade lighter than the average fire engine. “So you don’t have to carry it.”
His knowing gaze coasted down, to where she clutched his coat over her chest. “Very considerate of you.”
She sent him a weak smile. He had to at least suspect he was the cause of her little issue.
Oh, yeah. She had control of this abduction. No problem.
Kerry cursed under her breath. Why didn’t she have a Plan B?
Thankfully, she arrived at the limo, Rafe just a few steps behind. Jason, Mark’s best friend and coworker at the bank, stood there, hat pulled low over his blue eyes.
I can’t do this, Kerry mouthed to Jason.
He nodded—and took over.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Dawson.” Jason stepped forward to retrieve his garment bag.
“Hello,” Rafe answered.
“Any other bags?”
“This is all I need.”
Jason nodded and opened the door to the backseat, slinging the bag over his shoulder. Kerry stood close to her brother’s buddy.
After Rafe climbed in the car and sat, Jason shut the door. Kerry felt her pleasant mask dissolve as panic took over.
“You can do this,” Jason whispered, squeezing her hand. “Just get in the limo. I’ve already made his drink.”
She was in over her head here. “With what?”
Jason hesitated. “Flunitrazepam, better known as Rohypnol. It’s a benzodiazepine.”
“Huh?”
“The date rape drug. Think Valium with a big kick. He’s not likely to remember much tomorrow.” Jason shrugged. “One of the perks of your family living overseas is that they can send things the U.S. government doesn’t like.”
“The drug is illegal?” Kerry buried her face in her hands. “Oh, this is bad. Hollywood makes comedies about stupid plans like this and they never end well.”
“Do you want to prove Mark innocent? You know he’s been framed. Dawson is one of the top electronic security experts in the country. I didn’t schmooze Smikins to get his name so that you could back out. Dawson is your best option to prove Mark didn’t steal a dime.”
“But–”
“This is your opportunity. School just ended, Pops gave you a couple of days off from the diner. The timing doesn’t get any better than this. All you have to do now is distract him so that he doesn’t realize we’re headed away from his hotel. Or wait until he passes out. Once we reach the cottage, you’re home free.”
Kerry shook her head. “Did you see the man? There’s no way I can distract a guy like him with mere small talk. He’s like—like Antonio Banderas crossed with Brad Pitt…only taller, bigger. And if he recognizes my voice, I’m hosed.”
“It’s fine. He’s not suspicious, and trust me, he looked his share.” Jason’s buck-up stare cut through her insecurity. “You don’t have to have sex with the guy. A little light flirtation will most likely work. If not, do…the minimum and move on.”
No, she had no plans to have actual sex—not that a guy like Dawson would seriously look at her as a potential bedmate. He might flirt a little, but that didn’t mean he wanted to get down and dirty. Still, Kerry had visions of what the “minimum” might entail, assuming he actually was interested, and in every scenario tempting him to such an act required more knowledge than her limited experience allowed. Hell, she’d never even seen a naked penis in person. What if he wanted a blow job?
She couldn’t think about that now. Positive energy!
“You’re right. I came up with this plan and I’ll finish it. When I get him alone, I will persuade him to help Mark. Somehow.”
“You’ll be fine. Just present Mark’s case as logically as you can. Don’t get emotional.”
Kerry rolled her eyes. “That’s like telling the sun not to rise.”
Jason conceded the point with a shrug. “Do your best. Now lose the coat.”
Yes, she wanted to be unafraid of her sexuality, be bold, be brave—but being liberated was harder than it sounded. Kerry shook her head, clutching the lapels of the coat tighter.
He sighed. “Dawson can’t be distracted by what he can’t see.”
Jason had a point, damn him.
Reluctantly, Kerry removed the coat, resisting the urge to cover herself with her arms.
“You look hot,” Jason assured her, giving her a quick grin.
Her, hot? Yeah, she had guys clamoring at her door. In her dreams…
Okay, so she hadn’t had time for a relationship yet. Mark’s bout with cancer had begun just after she’d left her last hellish foster home. Kerry had been trying to put herself through school and working, taking care of Mark after the chemo–all that had taken a toll on her social calendar. But Mark had been healthy for a while. Why, oh why, hadn’t she found someone to date? Or at least have a quickie? Once upon a time, Jason might have been a candidate…except he was like another brother to her. And Mark would have killed him.
So now she got to have her first sexual experience since Richard and the nightmare of her prom. And she got to acquire this new experience with a veritable god. Granted, she didn’t intend to have sex with him…but coaxing him to the cottage without touching him—or him touching her—seemed unlikely.
Lord, what if she started hyperventilating?
“Hot? I’m packed into this outfit like a sausage. I’m all boobs and hips.”
“And that’s a bad thing because…?” Jason smiled at her hesitation. “Besides, I doubt he’s thinking about sausage when he looks at you, Kerry. You look great.”
She took a deep breath. “Okay, I can do this. I’ll just keep him talking for now.”
“Between conversation and that damn near see-through handkerchief you’re wearing, that really ought to be enough.”
Hope sparked. Likely Jason was right. She could handle it. She would. Positive energy.
Besides, what choice did she have? It was either survive this humiliation or see her brother go to prison.
* * * *
It hadn’t escaped Rafe’s notice that Kerry with a K was one very sexy woman.
Or that she was a nervous one.
He sipped on a Black Irish, his drink of choice, grimacing with pleasure as the whiskey and Kahlua burned a sweet path down his throat. Very nice. Most limo services didn’t pay that kind of attention to detail. Then again, Standard National, after a recent security breach in which an employee had electronically embezzled nearly three million dollars, was worried enough to pay through the nose for his services to tighten things up.
Desperate enough to hire a limo, complete with his own personal “hostess.”
And since Rafe didn’t live in Mayberry, he was pretty sure he knew what “hostess” meant. Interesting for a bank, usually conservative to the core, to have sent such a woman…but who was he to look a gift horse in the mouth?
Except that fair-skinned, wide-eyed Kerry didn’t act like a woman who fucked for a paycheck.
So what the hell was she?
Generally, Rafe dated worldly women. A little conversation, maybe an evening at the theater, lots of experienced sex, then an air kiss or two goodbye. No scenes if he encountered them later by chance on the street. No tears, no regrets, no messy emotional shit.
Kerry wasn’t sophisticated. In her, he sensed an odd sort of innocence that went beyond the appearance of her pink-bowed mouth smeared with too-dark lipstick and the artless sunshine ringlets beginning to overtake her hairstyle. Hell, for someone who “entertained” men for a living, she’d certainly covered up a pair of hard, heart-stopping nipples faster than a preacher’s wife.
Getting naked with someone hired for the job had never appealed to him in the least.
Getting naked with Kerry…very appealing—as the hearty erection south of his belt buckle could prove.
Where did that leave him with Kerry? He pondered, swallowing more of his cold, tangy drink. Was she a sure thing? He couldn’t possibly have misread the situation, right? No one wore a fuck-me skirt with boots like that, along with a shirt so small it made a bikini top look like nun’s garb, if she wasn’t a sure thing.
It sounded logical, but that question niggled in his mind: Why was she so nervous?
Then again, why question the situation? This simple job with Standard National would finally put him over the five-million-dollar revenue mark. He’d worked two bartending jobs to afford college and damn near starved through his first year in business–all without the help of his father’s money—just to reach this milestone before his thirtieth birthday. And he’d make it with two weeks to spare. He’d be someone in his own right then, more successful than Benton Dawson III had ever been. Screw the past—and his old man.
The car door opened and Kerry slid into the backseat with him. She sat close—but definitely kept air between them. A tense silence ensued as the driver took his seat, started the car, and drove away. Sipping at his drink, Rafe studied Kerry. She couldn’t be a day over twenty-two, twenty-three tops. Why was she working as a glorified hooker? And her breathy, starlet-on-Valium voice? He shrugged. Maybe she thought it was sexy.
His thoughts scattered when she scooted closer and leaned in, providing a spectacular view straight down the front of that tiny red halter, which instantly confirmed two curiosities: Yes, her breasts were naturally large, and no, she wasn’t wearing a bra.
Rafe bit back an insane urge to tear the tiny scraps of her clothing away and persuade her to dance the horizontal mambo with him in the limo’s backseat. Now. His cock got even harder at the thought she might oblige him.
He closed his eyes. Where was his self-control? Normally, he didn’t take the Neanderthal approach—stupid and ineffective. But Kerry made him feel surprisingly primal.
Rafe searched his memory for the last time he’d had sex—and came up empty. Two, three, four weeks ago? Hell, he couldn’t remember. Not after being treated to a view of the best breasts he’d ever seen.
Wearing a wobbly smile, Kerry with a K tapped one of her fingers to his chest and began tracing a light, random pattern. Where did her teasing sugary vanilla scent come from? That alone made his mouth water. Coupled with her touch, his heart started chugging.
If she smelled that good, how fabulous would she taste?
Kerry stared, batting thick, dark lashes over huge green eyes. “We’re going to be busy tonight—lots to see and do. If you have someone to call, someone you should check in with, now is the time. We’ll be much too busy later.”
The words sounded sexy and ripe with promise. His cock certainly stood at even greater attention. But the look on her face did not say come hither. More like now what? When the privacy panel between the two of them and the driver slowly rose with an electronic buzz, her sweet-faced confusion turned to dread. She crossed her arms over her chest self-consciously.
Again, he wondered just who she was and what she was doing here. Kerry didn’t seem comfortable alone with him or with exposing her…assets. And was she asking if he was single? Would a real professional “hostess” care?
He blinked, feeling suddenly too tired to solve the riddle. Too little sleep and too little coffee were not a good recipe for a late night with a beautiful woman.
“Nope,” he answered. “No one to check in with. My mother died years ago and my friends don’t bother me when I work.”
“Great news—about the friends.” She smiled, showing a sweet pair of dimples. “I’m sorry to hear about your mother.”
Whoever sent Kerry his way must have read his fantasies. He was a sucker for blondes with dimples… Would she surrender herself completely? The question rolled around his mind the way candy rolls on the tongue. He’d give his right arm to be inside her in the next five minutes, but the reticence she was trying to hide made that doubtful, no matter her occupation. Instead, he sipped the last of his cocktail and fished around for another tactic.
His sluggish brain took a while to cooperate. “So Kerry, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a skirt like that?”
He tossed the question at her playfully. Her defensive stare took him aback.
“What do you mean?”
Rafe sighed. “You seem awfully nervous. I won’t bite…unless you want me to.”
She sent a stilted, dimpled smile his way but said nothing.
Damn it, his head was beginning to hurt. A nap before dinner would probably be a good idea.
“You don’t…entertain men regularly, do you?”
Those green eyes widened to big-screen proportions. “I–I…”
“First day on the job?” he guessed.
“Exactly.” She nodded vigorously, emerging curls bobbing.
Oddly, her answer pleased him. So she wasn’t a hooker and she was having second thoughts. Which was good. He didn’t like the idea of another man pawing her in the back of this limousine. For some reason, the image pissed him off.
Lord, he must be tired to be caught up in a woman he’d met all of fifteen minutes ago. What was wrong with him?
Still, his thoughts continued to spin in his oddly lethargic brain. Why had she felt compelled to take a job she obviously did not want? Was she in some sort of trouble?
“This job is more difficult than I thought. I—I’m sorry if you were expecting someone sexier.” Her apology broke into his contemplation, startling him.
Forcing himself to focus, he peered across the inches separating them. Kerry had bowed her head and apparently taken up hand-wringing as a new hobby.
Something—compassion, empathy?—stirred to life within him. He placed a gentle hand beneath her chin and lifted her gaze to his. Tears shimmered in her eyes, disturbing him.
“If you were any sexier, I couldn’t restrain myself. You already blow my mind.”
Kerry’s jaw dropped. She blinked once, twice. “Me?”
Rafe nodded—and noticed a lock of stray golden hair curling about her moist bottom lip. Slowly, he lifted his hand to brush the hair away. Kerry didn’t flinch, didn’t tense.
Was her silent acquiescence a green light to touch her more?
Fighting off a wave of exhaustion, he smiled and dragged his thumb along the edge of her full, red-painted lips. Damn, how would she taste? He was dying to know.
“Yes, you. Very sexy. If you don’t hear that often, the men in your life are stupid and should be beaten.”
That sweet pink flush crept into her cheeks again. She tried to reproach him with her stare, but that low-lashed gaze caressed more than punished him. A hint of a sexy smile played at her pretty mouth.
She was an amazing combination of angel and temptress. And he wanted her under him, legs splayed wide, in the worst way. But jet lag and an oddly fuzzy brain were beginning to spoil the moment. And damn, it was hot in here. Wincing, Rafe loosened his tie.
“I’m sure my brother has never considered whether or not I’m sexy.”
“Your boyfriend?” he prodded, stifling a yawn.
Why was he asking her this? The guy was likely a loser who simply couldn’t appreciate Kerry with a K the way he ought to. What kind of guy would let his woman “entertain” other men for a living?
Sleep. He needed sleep. That would restore his common sense.
“No boyfriend,” Kerry whispered.
Rafe grinned, despite his weariness. “That’s a shame.”
His teasing made her laugh, and her dimples came out to play once more. A bleary-eyed moment ruined it, and he knew he would need that nap before dinner whether he wanted it or not. He really should have eaten lunch during his layover in Baltimore…
Hell, why did he have to give out now?
No. He would not fold like a cheap tent—not without tasting her.
“Kiss me, Kerry,” he blurted, aghast to hear his words slurring.
She appeared not to notice. Instead, she sent him a shy nod. Rafe grasped both of her arms like a lifeline and pulled her close, dragging her firm, fine ass onto his lap. Kerry gasped. Refusing to acknowledge his utter exhaustion and his screwed-up speech, he pressed on. His raging erection demanded attention. He wanted Kerry to ache the way he did.
Odd that he should be tired and aroused at the same time…but who cared when he had a beautiful blonde on his lap?
Rafe settled one hand low on the curve of her hip. The other he thrust into the soft silk of her hair. He wanted to kiss her, touch her, until she was desperate to have his cock inside her. Hell, he wanted to inhale and savor her at once.
And he would make it happen now…if his growing headache weren’t slamming him between the eyes and the need for sleep weren’t shutting down his brain.
He felt freakin’ weird. What was happening to him?
Apparently, he was going to have to settle for inhaling Kerry—quickly.
Rafe covered her incredible lips with his mouth. She was soft, as he had suspected. But he needed more. Everything. He plunged his way inside. Her sweet taste, like summer-ripe cherries, exploded on his tongue as she opened for him. Kerry kissed shyly, but somewhere in his lust-fogged brain, he heard her moan. If a kiss could do that, he wondered what sort of amazing sounds she might give off when he laved her clit with his tongue.
He was dying to know. And if he didn’t get closer to her in the next few seconds, he was going to combust.
As he swept through her mouth for another searing kiss, Rafe lifted Kerry and shifted her to straddle him. Her inner thighs hugged his middle. Her skirt inched up around her hips, revealing the fact she wore tiny, very sheer black panties. No question, she was a natural blonde.
“Wanna touch you, rip your panties off,” he breathed against her neck. “Then taste you.”
Kerry shivered in his arms.
A new wave of weariness followed. He ruthlessly squashed it.
Cupping her delectable ass in his hands, he urged her hips forward until he felt the damp heat of her pressed against his tented trousers. Unable to stop himself, he broke the kiss and threw his head back. She arched into him, too, a cry rising from her lips. Raw pleasure clawed up his spine, crashing between his legs. God, the woman was killing him.
Breath coming in harsh pants, Rafe looked back to her, the disheveled hair, the swollen mouth and flushed skin. Her green eyes looked darker, dilated. Hunger tore at his belly. She would be a goddess in bed.
“Want you,” he grunted. “Damn bad.”
Where the hell had his ability to speak gone? Was he getting sick? Or was the light-headed feeling the result of all his blood rushing below his navel?
Fighting suddenly heavy arms, Rafe found the little bows holding her halter together. The one between her shoulder blades wasn’t too difficult. One quick tug…ah, magic, he thought, sliding one hand around to cup her breast, tease her distended nipple.
Kerry bit her lip at his touch, her lashes fluttering closed.
“So sexy,” he murmured, faltering about for the next tie. After a Herculean effort, he raised his free hand to her nape and found it. The tug required to set the top loose exhausted him. But once it fell free of her body, having her breasts bared at mouth level…worth the effort.
Determined to stay awake long enough to enjoy the sharpest arousal he could remember–and the woman who had caused it–he stroked both nipples with thumbs and forefingers. The sweet mewling sounds from the back of her throat encouraged him. He latched on to her with his mouth, sucking hard on her flushed, rosy nipple, nipping gently with his teeth. Her sigh became a groan.
“Skin so soft,” he muttered, taking the other nipple in his mouth.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he registered the fact Kerry had sunk her fingers into his hair and was holding him in place. That suited him. He laved her again, then looked down at her panties. They were damp. Perfect.
But once focused down, his eyes refused to lift again. He gave up. Sight wasn’t as important as touch or taste right now.
“Here,” he rasped. “Now. Can’t wait to be inside you…”
“Yes,” she moaned in his ear.
Triumph spiked briefly as he reached for his belt buckle. He would have all her slick heat closing around his cock. For a while, the goddess would be exclusively his to take in every way he ached for. But consciousness became harder to grasp. What the hell was wrong with him? Heat poured over him in inferno-like waves. Sweat rolled down his temple. Rafe fumbled around to find the button that would roll down a window. No luck. Nausea hit him. Damn, he’d never been sick like this before. Never. Why now?
Kerry shimmied against him, those fabulous breasts swaying near his face. Determined to press on, Rafe slid a hand between them to tug down his zipper…then his world went black.