Rites of Spring Blog Hop! CONTEST!

Rites of Spring blog hop

Welcome to the RITES OF SPRING blog hop! Thank you to Jessica and Heather for hosting it!

Starting March 20, visit the participating authors and bloggers to learn more about current titles and upcoming releases, and for your chance to WIN print books, ebooks, gift certificates, book swag, or other goodies.

1st Place: Kindle Fire
2nd Place: $50 Amazon gift certificate

When you think spring, what comes to mind? Flowers, birds chirping, grass poking up from the soil. And if you're a romance author like me, it might make you think about your first love or your first kiss.
I thought I'd share the first kiss scene from VIRGIN TERRITORY, my novel from Decadent Publishing.


Network analyst by day, erotic romance writer by night Vincent Buonfiglio is dealing with a work-in-progress that has gone colder than winter in his hometown of Ridgley, North Dakota. So what does a man who needs to write hot do to get cranking?

Search out a woman for a night of no-strings sex, of course.

But his choice of partner, Katherine "Kiki" Wyatt, manager of the Quikky Snak Gas & Lube, isn't biting. Flirting over his nightly chili dog is one thing. But a date? Sex? Not happening. Vincent reminds Kiki way too much of her cheating ex-fiancĂ©, and she's learned her lesson—dangerously sexy geeks with lots to offer outside the bedroom are off-limits. Until they're held up at the gas station, and Vincent gets shot protecting her. Then all bets are off.

With a painful shoulder injury and four weeks to get his book written, he turns to Kiki. She agrees to help him with his novel, but she doesn't expect to end up naked in the reformed womanizer's arms—or that helping Vincent write the spiciest book of the year will allow her to pen her own happy ending.



She didn’t notice he’d stepped toward her until his sneakers bumped her bare feet. Wet snow gushed between her toes as her gaze snapped up to his.

Whoa. What she saw simmering there—namely blatant, undisguised lust—had her fingers clenching around the knob.

Unless she was very mistaken, he hadn’t stopped by for a neighborly pinch of sugar. No, the sugar Vincent wanted was a different substance entirely.

He threaded his hand through her hair, tugging her closer. Her body strained toward him, her breasts all but bursting the buttons of her flannel pajamas. She swallowed the last of the candy cane as he lowered his mouth to hers.

He didn’t ravage, as she’d expected. His mouth was soft and warm on hers, and the scrape of his stubbled jaw added to the thrill. She moaned and clung to him, her mind emptying like sand tumbling from a bucket.

Resist? Absolutely not. She wanted this.


His tongue swept between her lips to tangle with hers, to explore her mouth so slowly and thoroughly that the snow melting between her toes had nothing on the melting happening between her legs.

The word sang through her, an acquiescence she couldn’t voice. It was as if she’d been frozen after Nico, and here was the heat, the life, that would finally allow her to come back to herself.

Thinking about Nico was her mistake. She stiffened, but Vincent was already drawing back, the gold rims surrounding his pupils burning.

"I didn’t intend to do that."

She rubbed the back of her hand over her mouth. Her lips still sizzled. "I didn’t intend to let you."

"I guess neither of us has control of our intentions." He smiled slightly, his gaze wandering from her messy hair to her old pajamas. The desire warming his eyes never waned.

Kiss me again. Everywhere.

Did you enjoy it? If so, you can enter to win a signed PRINT copy (US winners only) or if you're an International winner, you can win the ebook from my backlist of your choice!
Just make sure to:

1) Leave a comment through Rafflecopter (WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, please!) telling us what's the first way you celebrate spring - it can be by sitting on your porch to read, or planting flowers, or even just opening the windows to let in some fresh air! You'll be entered for BOTH the grand prize giveaways AND my giveaways here at my blog!

2) Optional: Sign up for my newsletter (the first issue is releasing soon with lots of fun book info and plenty of contests!) at or LIKE my Facebook reader page at

a Rafflecopter giveaway Keep hopping!


Welcome to erotic author Amber Lin! CONTEST!

Welcome back to the amazing Amber Lin! I loved her debut, GIVING IT UP, last year, and SELLING OUT's at the top of my TBR. Read on to find out how music inspired this book and also how you can win a gorgeous necklace related to the series!

Hi, Cari, thank you for having me on your blog!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Amber Lin, author of Giving It Up, which RT Book Reviews gave 4.5 stars and called “at once, scary and sexy in all the best ways.” I’m here to share my new release, Selling Out, featuring a high class call girl and a by-the-book detective with the Chicago Police Department.
Let’s talk about music.

 I don’t seek songs to match a book, but they have a way of finding me. When I’m writing a book, or even thinking of writing that book, it’s on my mind constantly. To the annoyance of my family members, even when we’re in the car, listening to the radio, anything at all. While I’m musing, a particular song will reach out and grab me, already perfectly in tune with my thoughts. Then I do collect them, picking them like wildflowers along the path until I’m done writing.

Here are a few that I listened to while writing Selling Out, with the title, artist, a quite note about why I liked it and an excerpt from the lyrics.

I Feel Everything by Idina Menzel

When you're furious
When you start to freeze
When you can't be touched
I feel everything

This is such a dark and intense song, but that works so well for Shelly’s book. She is this way, a naturally sensitive and empathetic person, but she works as a call girl, where she’s exposed to the worst side of men.

Someone Like You by Linda Eder

I wander lost in yesterday.
Wanting to fly
but scared to try.
A gorgeous, heartfelt song about the uplifting effect love can have on a person. And coincidentally, the character who sings it in the musical Jekyll and Hyde the musical is a prostitute as well. Of course, that story didn’t end so well. Selling Out is definitely a romance, with an HEA J

Where I Stood by Missy Higgins

I don't know what I've done
Or if I like what I've begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it's all or none

I really just love this song. The gorgeous melody and quiet desperation. If I wield those aspects and spatter them like ink onto the page, then it would be Selling Out.

Wanted by Rachel Diggs

And your expectations

Are killing you slow

You're getting what you wanted

But pain is all you know

What I really love about this song is how soft and sad it is… but ultimately hopeful. A strange and lovely dichotomy.

Underneath Your Clothes by Shakira

Because of you
I forgot the smart ways to lie
Because of you
I'm running out of reasons to cry

Okay, this one might be cheating a little because I have loved this since forever. I just love Shakira, and this one is my absolute favorite. But I really think it applies to Shelly. Love and lust are forever connected, but someone who has worked as a prostitute… they are hopelessly entangled. His body is who he is, and he’s hers.

Skyfall by Adele

Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark

Though this song wasn’t actually out while I was writing Selling Out, it is crazy applicable. I think Adele songs could apply to so many romantic books… at least, my books. But a call girl and a detective on the police force are really on opposite sides of the world, even when they stand in the same room. I think the above excerpt from the lyrics is both poignant and so applicable to the destruction they face together.

Ordinary World by Katharine McPhee

Close your eyes and feel me hold you
Can you lead me through this ordinary world

God, I love this one. In fact, if you look up just one of these songs, let it be this one. It’s heartrending and wonderful. Plus, this is exactly the dilemma Shelly faces. She lives in the most mundane, the very lowest common denominator of people as a prostitute. But she also doesn’t know what it feels like to be normal—to be ordinary.

And that’s it! Okay, I’m lying. There are just so many amazing songs, but I had to cut myself off here. Brevity: I have done it J

I hope you enjoyed pondering a soundtrack for Selling Out! If you do check out Shelly’s story, I’d love to hear what you think via my website or twitter.


Shelly Laurent escapes her life as a high-class escort, but against her better judgment she takes the scared young Ella with her. In retaliation, her pimp and his dirty cops frame them both for murder. On the run, Shelly turns to the one man who could be her salvation: Detective Luke Cameron. She doesn't know if she can trust him or if he's just a mirage, but she needs his help to free them all.

With a heart forged in fire and irreverence born of necessity, Shelly fights Ella's demons--and faces her own. She throws light on the shadows of Chicago's underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she's come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.

“Amber Lin drew me in with Giving It Up and became an auto-buy author with Selling Out. There is a uniqueness to her writing and her characters that will always make her stand out for me.”
—Swept Away by Romance

“This story is emotional, dark, erotic, suspenseful, traumatic and raw. It will have your heart hurting yet you will laugh plenty too. I can highly recommend this series.”

“Emotional, angsty, and just enough suspense to keep you hooked to the very end.”


“Shh,” I murmured, stroking his back.

“Shelly, goddammit.”

But his protests fell away as I pressed my breasts to his arm and my tongue to his ear. His harsh inhalation sounded broken, shattered, or maybe that was me.

I tasted salt and man, earth and spring. Slow licks alongside his lobe and upward, more suggestive than sensation, but for a man like this, anticipation would be everything. Or so I had imagined, all the times I had dreamed of it.

A small sound escaped him, somewhere between a grunt and groan. I took it as encouragement and smoothed my hands along the hard planes of his shoulders, his chest. Not anywhere near the bulge in his jeans, because this wasn’t about pleasure—it was about wanting.

Anything to get closer, I let my knees slide apart around his side, the faint heat of his body a shock to my core. His hands clenched and opened on his knees, and again, the muscles rippled beneath his darkly tanned skin. Was he restraining himself from touching me or pushing me off?

“Baby, no,” he groaned, letting his head fall back onto my shoulder.

No, I would never deserve to have him as more than a sex partner. And he had never fucked me, though I knew he wanted to. Every time he saw me, his eyes would darken and my stomach would bottom out, but we’d never touch. But maybe for one brief inconvenient moment, while the door was open and the young woman beyond it needed help, we could pretend. Maybe it could be enough.
I shut my eyes tightly and pressed a kiss to his temple. Pretend, just pretend. I would give him the sex he had craved, and in return, he’d give me memories. It would be a payment, just the same.

“You want this,” I whispered.

He shuddered in my arms; it was like hugging a wild animal, one who could just as easily maul me as cuddle.

“Can I touch you?” he whispered. “Please.”

It unraveled me, that plea. As if he understood that a little bit of my soul slipped away every time someone touched me. As if he would cherish the part I gave him.

I scrambled away from him as if burned, breathing hard. No.

No one understood, which was exactly the way I liked it. I ran a shaking hand over my face to smooth away the panic.

Sure, he knew the score better than most people. He had worked the beat as a patrol cop and then as a detective. Life as a high-priced escort wasn’t glamorous; it was sweat and blood sprinkled with glitter. But he didn’t know the full extent, and I prayed he never would. Henri didn’t sell bodies; he gutted them.

I panted against the headboard, unable to walk away but unwilling to beg. Luke remained carved in stone where I’d left him sitting on the edge of the bed. The air pulsed with doubt and longing—with sex.

“I want it to be real between us.” He spoke low and hoarse.

A quiet sound escaped me. Every caress, every pinch. Every slur ever spoken. “It’s always real. That’s the problem, Luke. It’s always too damn real.”

He hung his head, and I thought for a moment I heard him say I know, but the moment slipped away, the sweet intimacy sailed away like clouds on the horizon—never really mine.

Buy Links


This series is called The Lost Girls because each one of the heroines has pain in her past that keeps her from finding happiness. She’s adrift until the hero comes along… Now you can win this exclusive Lost Girls necklace by leaving a comment below.
What do you like about dark and edgy romances? Do you have a favorite one?



HUGE thanks to Romance Book Junkies and Bitten By Paranormal Romance
for holding such an amazing fundraiser!

The Paws with a Cause blog hop is something I knew I had to take part in, because I LOVE animals. If I were to pick another career other than writer, I would most definitely prefer to work with pets. I can admit it takes a lot for me to get gooey-eyed over a human baby, but a kitten or puppy? Forget it!
Before I go any further, I want to show you a grainy picture of my main man, my tabby cat Fozzie (hey, he wants a chance in the spotlight too!) I adore him.
And he's the handsomest cat ever. Nuff said.

There is a main giveaway going on below, with details for how to enter. For MY giveaway, one US winner will win a swag pack of a signed book, pen, magnet and other goodies. One International winner will win the ebook from my backlist of their choice, so comment away!
Also - feel free to sign up for my newsletter at The first issue will be out this spring and will contain lots of book info and chances to win fun stuff!

Hello Everyone! We have a total of 59 blogs that have gotten together to help raise money for a great cause. There are going to be some awesome prizes up for grabs for people that donate money to the cause. Here is a little about the company that we are raising the money for:

Paws With A Cause® enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs.
PAWS® increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog teams through education and advocacy. Founded in 1979, Paws With A Cause is dedicated to helping its clients who are challenged by many disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Seizure Disorders, and Hearing Disorders to name just some. Each of our dogs are trained to meet the specific needs of our clients. Tasks may include opening and closing doors, picking up objects, pulling a wheelchair, turning lights on and off, and alerting a person to particular sounds like a telephone, doorbell, smoke detector and many others. Our dogs change lives by enhancing the independence of our clients. By just opening a door, a dog opens up the world for a person with a disability and your donations will go to making that happen. PAWS thanks you so much for your donation and allowing us to open more doors.

Paws With A Cause
4646 South Division
Wayland, MI 49348

Warning: Do not try to email Danielle the name and donation amount of another person that is not yourself. If Danielle receives more than one email with the same persons name and donation amount she will have to ask for your copy of the receipt from Everibbon to verify that you are the correct winner. Thank you.

How to donate:
1. Go to
2. Click on “Make a Donation”
3. Enter an amount you wish to donate. Everibbon will add a small fee to your donation for processing. My fee for donating $5.00 was .49 cents. So keep this in mind when deciding your donation amount. You will receive 1 entry into the giveaway for every $1 you donate.
4. In the box that says “on the behalf of” please put your name. This is the name that will be listed on the Everibbon website so put a name you do not mind being visible to everyone. Do not check the box to make an anonymous donation because I will not be able to track your donation to enter you into the giveaways.
5. Next it will ask you for your credit or debit card information.
6. Then it will ask for your email address to send you a receipt. This is so that you can submit it for tax purposes.
7. Ta Da! You’re all done making your donation. Now you need to contact Danielle to enter the giveaway.
8. Please email Danielle at with the name you used to donate your money. For example the name I used to donate on behalf of was Romance Book Junkies. Do not send me your name off your credit or debit card because I will not be able to see this. Along with the name you used please tell me how much you donated and if you live in the US or are International.
9. You’re all done. Thank you for donating!

What’s in it for you? (Other than just that “I did something good!” feeling)
There will be 4 winners for the main giveaway.
  • 2 $65 gift certificates to any online book store.
  • 1 huge box of books and swag from Romance Book Junkies (for US residents only)
  • 1 huge box of books and swag from Bitten by Paranormal Romance (for US residents only)
Good luck to all and thank you for helping make this fundraiser a success.

Keep hopping!