Snippet Saturday – First Night, First Kiss

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For those of you who haven’t read First Night, or may not even know it exists, First Night is a short story I wrote back in 2008 as part of a Samhain holiday celebration. Since it came out before Private Property, it was my way of introducing the world to my writing and Jodi and Mark, the hero and heroine from Private Property. (At the time I had no idea Private Property would be the start of the Hauberk Protection series.)  Two years ago, the head of my street team started nudging me to lengthen it and put it up on Amazon and other vendors so more readers could find it. Well, I finally sat down and followed her advice. First Night is now doubled in length and explains how Mark’s company ended up becoming part of Hauberk Protection (yes, Sam is in it — on a video call at least).  It is currently available on Amazon, Scribd and Kobo, and will be available through Barnes & Noble and iBooks shortly.

NOW AVAILABLE FROM

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First Night

copyright© 2014 Leah Braemel

“What do you say, Mark? Do we have a deal? You ready for a little R&R?”

First-Night-400x600-(300dpi)The breathy hitch in her voice told him there was no misunderstanding her intention.

He caught her hand. “Are you aware of what I might ask of you?”

Her gaze dropped to the tent in his pants, then slowly raised to meet his. The heat in her eyes seared a path all the way up his chest. “I’ll be at your command for the night. In the bed. Up against the wall. Or on the floor if you prefer. Whatever you say, I’ll do.”

He forced his mind from the image of tying her hands behind her, of pressing her to her knees, when he realized she was still talking.

She ran a finger along his jaw, tracing her thumb over his lips. “Just tell me what you want.”

He pulled her toward him so she tumbled onto his lap. He cupped her head with one hand until her mouth hovered a hairsbreadth from his. “Let’s start with this.”

Despite the danger signals ringing in his head, he couldn’t pull back if someone held a knife to his balls. She tasted of champagne, and paradise. There was no hesitation from her when he slid his tongue past the part in her lips, no regrets, no second thoughts. If anything, there was a tenderness he’d rarely experienced, and never expected from his hard-ass operative.

Everything about her softened, and when he stroked her throat she leaned into his touch. A need to protect her, to treat her gently, while at the same time the need to master her roared over him.

Welcoming in the New (and revisiting the old)

Way back in 2008, before Private Property was released, I wrote a short story for Samhain as part of their holiday celebrations. They put it up on their site for a limited time, and after that I posted it here for readers to download.

For the past two years, my street team leader Tabatha has been poking and prodding at me to update it and make it available at all the various vendors for readers to find. I’ve been so buried in deadlines, I’ve put it off, but I finally reworked it and look what happened!

FIRST NIGHT

First-Night-200x300-(300dpi)a Hauberk Protection short story

Was it the excitement of the New Year or stubborn pride that drove Jodi Tyler to challenge her boss? But when the clock strikes midnight, and the ball drops on Times Square, has Jodi Tyler won the bet or lost her heart?

FIRST NIGHT is being added to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. though it may take a few days to post at each site. I’ll add Buy Buttons on the First Night page, and post the links on the sidebar as it goes live at each vendor, but it is already available for sale through Amazon (it will be available at all Amazon stores) and Scribd.

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I’ve doubled the length from the original version from 4K to 8K–approximately 26 pages. The newest version includes a short cameo by Sam (His voice anyway), and updated it a bit for new technology, and of course, let you know more about Jodi and Mark. In one of my beta reader’s words, “It has a more romantic feel…”  The original version had been edited by Angela James, but because of the additions I’ve hired a professional freelance editor to ensure you got a quality product. A huge shout out of thanks to Anya Richards of Grammargoggles.blogspot.ca, who edited it for me. And a big squishy hug to Tabatha Scott of Graphics by Tabatha who created the luscious cover!

It’s gradually populating through the various vendors even as I watch. (Unfortunately the blurb on Amazon got truncated for some strange reason, but it hasn’t affected the book — but the beauty of self publishing is I can edit the blurb easily, once Amazon allows me to in about 24 – 48 hours.) Because of the added length, and the costs for editing and formatting etc, I’ve decided to make it available for 99 cents.

Oh, and if you’re already a member of my Leah Braemel Reader’s group on Facebook, check for a message about First Night for members!

Snippet Saturday – real life romance mimics fiction

So this happened on Christmas Eve.

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You may remember that Guitar Hero asked his girlfriend to marry him in October. They said at the time that the future Mrs. Guitar Hero had always wanted to elope rather than spend tons of money on a big church wedding. (This was reinforced after they’d attended a few of their friends’ weddings and seen the silliness of spending $30,000 for a single day event, especially when some of those marriages didn’t even last a year.) At the time they planned to get married in the spring up in the Canadian North. But apparently my son made a comment two weeks ago about how neat it would be to take their vows in front of a big Christmas tree in one of the small towns north of Toronto, and his girlfriend jumped on the idea.

Campus Martius Christmas TreeSo on Christmas Eve they drove up to the small town at 4 in the morning (there’s a big long explanation as to why that hour, mainly based out of practicality considering the timeframe for all the other places they needed to be during the day), said their vows to each other in the town square in front of the tree, then drove to a small chapel they’d reserved in downtown Toronto and recited their vows in front of two witnesses without telling anyone in the family in advance. (I’ve seen the photos they’ve taken, and they’re beautiful and romantic, but I don’t have copies yet — I’ll share one or two when I get some. And the bride’s mother plans on throwing a barbeque in the summer to allow members of the family to celebrate together. I imagine there will be more pictures then too.)

When they arrived Christmas morning, Guitar Hero handed me an envelope. I opened it and found a copy of their certificate inside. Yes, I cried tears of joy, and hugged them both.

When things quieted down later in the day, Gizmo Guy took me aside and said he liked how I’d handled it.  At the time I didn’t understand what he meant, so he pointed out that some women might have been upset that they hadn’t been invited to help plan the event, or share in the moment. He’s right — I have seen first-hand some women who expect to be part of the wedding planning, or worse who try to micromanage their grown children’s lives still, to insert themselves into all decisions even after those children are married and living their own lives. And I suspect a few extended members of my family think that I may be upset, or are upset on my behalf that my son and his wife didn’t include anyone else in their celebrations, but I’m not.

32089000_sTheir wedding day was not about me. Weddings are about celebrating the bride and groom, and the love they’ve pledged to share for the rest of their lives. It’s not about flowers that would be dropping before the end of the day, or a tuxedo that has to be returned at the end of the night. They won’t have to worry about paying a bar bill for booze that made someone (who they probably arrived at someone’s plus one and didn’t know anyway) act like an ass.  It’s not about what cousin is invited or which isn’t. Or about who sits next to whom. It’s about a celebration of love as the bride wants it. I’d said that from when I realized they were serious about their relationship — I told them to do whatever made THEM happy.

So I’m genuinely thrilled that they’ve taken my advice, that they created a memory exactly to their wishes.

But late that night, as I was scouring Etsy for a perfect wedding gift, I started thinking about the couples I’ve written, and their weddings (no, they haven’t all ended with a proposal or a marriage scene, though I feel confident their relationships would all endure long-term.)  So I started going through my stories to figure out how many actually included a proposal or wedding or a mention of a wedding.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Some that went well, and others…well, in Private Property, Mark had a scary moment waiting for Jodi’s answer…

“Babe? I, uh, have something to ask you.” He swallowed hard. She’d said she loved him, but that didn’t mean she wanted to marry him. What if she said no?

She pulled back to look at him, her eyes wide, almost fearful, held her body still. “What?”

He took a deep breath and leapt into his future. “Will you marry me?”

Jodi stiffened in his arms. “M-marry? Marry you?” The words seemed forced, as if they’d stuck in her throat.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he’d wanted her to throw her arms about his neck and shout, “Yes, yes, yes! Of course, I’ll marry you.” Instead her hold on him loosened and blank shock filled her eyes. The bright light that he’d hoped would be his future turned out to be a heat-seeking missile racing toward him, its target his heart.

 

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And there’s the entire story line of Perfect Proposal where Sam’s plans to propose to Rosie didn’t go so well either.

His plans had just been shot to hell. He wasn’t going to be able to propose in their suite at the Waldorf. There wouldn’t be candlelight and flowers and champagne; he was going to have to do this on the corner of Forty Ninth and Third Avenue. Not the most romantic place for a proposal, but he was going to make damned well sure she believed him. Right here. Right now.

Ignoring the pedestrians skirting around them and the few who stopped to watch, ignoring the honking horns of the cabs, he lowered himself to one knee.  The slush soaked through the fabric in an icy grip, not to mention the pavement was fucking hard.  His knee was gonna hurt like a sonovabitch if he had to be down here for too long, but if he was doing to this, he was going to do it properly.

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Sam ends up grovelling a while longer…after he is convinced his proposal will end up on YouTube filed under Proposal Gone Wrong.  

Then there is my latest, Feeding the Flames, where Zac’s proposal to Tabatha isn’t shown, but the wedding is:

Wow. Married. Though it had been his idea, and he’d proposed the moment he’d awoken that day of the fire, it had taken him three months to convince Tabatha to say yes. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to marry him, she’d explained, but because she didn’t want people thinking she’d jumped into marriage or that they had to get married. Not that he gave a goddamn what other people thought, but it took him a while to get her not to care. But who knew weddings could take so long to arrange? It wasn’t that they had trouble booking the venue—hell they’d both agreed his place would be the perfect setting, with its landscaped backyard. It had been arranging everyone’s schedule, and taking the weather in account—and they both agreed on a fall wedding rather than under the scorching hot summer sun. Now, one year less a day after their first official date, it was finally here.

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And like Guitar Hero and Mrs. Guitar Hero, Jake and Paige get married off-scene in No Accounting for Cowboys

Ben and Allie stood beneath a handmade “Welcome Home” banner they’d hung over the entrance. Gabe stood to the side, grinning.

The moment the bus’s door opened, Pebbles and Brewskie dashed down the steps, yipping and barking, their tails wagging in joy. Jake wondered if they knew they were actually home or if they were just happy not to be cooped up in the luxurious tin can with the strange humans for once.

He stepped off the bus into hugs from Allie and Ben, handshakes, a slap on the back from Gabe who rolled his eyes and then hugged him too. Eagle-eyed Allie immediately spotted Paige’s diamond with its plainer wedding band beside it and demanded the details. Scolding them when she learned they’d gotten hitched in Vegas, but was mollified when Paige explained they planned to hold a big party down by the lake and retake their vows in front of their friends and family.

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Hmm, looks like some of my advice to Guitar Hero and Mrs. Guitar Hero came out here — though this scene was written almost a year before the wedding. Now back to searching for the perfect wedding gift for them…any ideas?

Black Friday Sale!

Lots of deals today — every single one of my books is on sale. Both from Carina and Samhain.

If you haven’t already bought your copy of No Accounting for Cowboys, Harlequin has put it on sale for just 99 cents. But only for a limited time. From today (November 28th) to December 1st. Less than a buck for a full length book! What are you waiting for?

HarlequinAmazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Google Play ~ Kobo

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Jake Grady loves Bull’s Hollow ranch and all the challenges and hard work it entails. But the past year hasn’t been easy—his father’s good name has been tarnished, and new financial problems are threatening to destroy everything the Gradys have built. Performing live under a stage name has become his escape, a way of blowing off some serious steam.

Accountant Paige Reynolds found Jake’s guitar-playing alter ego intriguing, but her connection with the real Jake sends her attraction into overdrive. When she’s summoned to make order out of the chaotic paper trail at Bull’s Hollow, he sets her world a-rocking—both in bed and out. But Paige has a plan; she’s determined to create her own path for the future, but is soon left scrambling for firmer ground.

Good news about Jake’s potential singing career is followed by the revelation of another family secret, one that has him questioning whether he belongs at Bull’s Hollow at all. But leaving the ranch would mean leaving his family…and Paige. How much is he willing to give up for a real shot at fame?


Here’s what reviewers are saying about it:

Recommended Read…a sexy read that sizzled off the pages…well penned with twists and turns that added intrigue to a strong cast of characters. There’s family, love, hope, endings, and new beginnings, everything that will have anyone with a romantic heart cheering in the end. ~ Lace, BlackRaven’s Reviews

purestdelightaward10-300x300Impossible to put down; No Accounting For Cowboys was filled with twists, turns, and secrets new and old making it another fine offering from author Leah Braemel. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviewsreviewertoppick2

Top Pick! …an absolutely must read story ~ Terri, Night Owl Reviews


All my other Carina books are on sale for 40% off too. Use the coupon code BFSAV40 when you’re checking out. This sale is for FRIDAY ONLY.

Slow Ride Home ~ Tangled Bundle ~ Texas Tangle ~ Tangled Past ~ I Need You for Christmas ~ Red Hot Holiday Anthology

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(Note: No Accounting for Cowboys won’t be on sale for 99 cents on the Carina site. To get it at that extra low price you have to buy it from the Harlequin site or one of the other participating vendors.  Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Google Play ~ Kobo )


Samhain Publishing is also having a site-wide sale too — ALL Samhain titles are 30% off today, tomorrow and Sunday until midnight. So if you haven’t read my Hauberk series yet, now’s a good time to get them on sale. (But they’re only reduced on the Samhain site, not the other distributing vendors such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.) And not just my books are on sale but ALL Samhain books.

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On Birthdays, uncluttering and unplugging

I’m over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe today, talking about what I did last week. And what I didn’t do.

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Also, one of my favorite bloggers/reviewers, Shayna Renee, is celebrating her birthday on her blog by giving away signed paperbacks, including a copy of my Private Deceptions.  Stop by her blog to wish her a Happy Birthday, and enter the contest. (There are lots of other paperbacks to be won too)

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And if you’re on Facebook, (or you can leave a comment for her here) don’t forget to wish my friend and street team leader Tabatha a happy birthday too!

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