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Friday, November 20, 2015

Happy #Transgender Awareness Week! #Trans #Romance Rocks!

Good morning, friends! Happy Friday, and happy Transgender Awareness Week, which this year is Nov. 14 - Nov. 20. In honor of this special week, instead of simply touting my own stories (which I'm always happy to do, lol) I would like to share some trans romances that I have read and really enjoyed. Let's get started!


Two Spirit Ranch: A Romance by Jaime Stryker

from Amazon

In this groundbreaking romance novel, Terri Lawson, an alluring young attorney, has it all. She’s on the fast-track at her firm, widely recognized for her pro bono work, and has a handsome suitor, who she’s sure has marriage on his mind. But when her boyfriend abruptly calls off their relationship and her favorite uncle passes away, she suddenly find herself losing all that was important to her. 

Not sure where to turn next, Terri heads off for a trip to small town Clearview, Montana to explore the sprawling ranch her uncle left her. It’s there that Terri while speeding down the highway has a run in with the ruggedly handsome sheriff, Jake Collins. As the two find their mutual attraction too strong to deny, Terri, who had only planned to be in town a few days, finds herself wondering if she can risk opening her heart again and sharing a secret from her past with Jake...Terri was once Terrence. 

Debut novelist Jaime Stryker presents not only a romance with a transgendered heroine but a tale of true love and acceptance.


Nona's comment: This is an excellent "gateway" trans romance for anyone who'd like to read about the topic but is a bit nervous. It has the feel of an old fashioned romance with a woman leaving behind the troubles of the city for a new life in on a ranch in the country. She meets a handsome, rugged man and they begin a sweet romance. There's even a nasty villain who wants to stir up trouble. The only twist is the heroine is a trans woman. There is no explicit sex (the lovemaking occurs "behind closed doors").



His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner

from Amazon

Mark Talleo is something of a dog with the ladies. Any girl, anytime, anywhere is his motto until he meets Josie Frazier. The long lean redhead not only shares his love of musical theatre, but her smoky sexy voice and infectious laugh drive Mark wild and haunt his every step. Equally fascinating is his sense that she has a secret, one he is determined to uncover on his way to becoming her leading man. 

Josie does have a secret, one she guards with her whole self. Although she has always known she was female, her name used to be Joey and she's still biologically male. As much as she yearns for love and acceptance, her fear of rejection is just as strong. 

Mark's need to know the truth is matched only by Josie's need to hide it. But when malicious gossip reveals her deepest secret the price of honesty may turn out to be too high to pay. But if each can accept that the woman he wants is the woman she is then at last Mark may find His Fair Lady.


Nona's comment: The characters in this story are young, college age, and there are explicit sex scenes. Mark falls for Josie, but she's afraid of how he'll react when he discovers she's transgender. I was on the edge of my seat wondering when Josie would disclose the truth--and worrying Mark would find out from someone else. I really liked how Josie's family was completely accepting of her and the fact that there was another trans character playing a supporting role.


Scarlet Stilettos by Ash Penn

from Amazon

Although Laine Lawson is physically male, she's spent much of her life expressing the feminine side of her nature. She's also well-skilled at hiding her romantic feelings for her best friend.

Life's sweet for waiter and ex-stripper Tony Barton. He's met a guy who's everything he wants in a lover, both in and out of bed. Will Thompson isn't the love of Tony's life, but he's fun and doesn't take their relationship too seriously. At least, not until Will discovers Tony's best friend isn't quite as she seems. 

When Laine's ex-boyfriend contacts her about a past she'd sooner forget, and with Will's jealousy threatening her friendship with Tony, the only thing she can do is run.

Her absence forces Tony into acknowledging his feelings for Laine aren't entirely platonic. But Laine's a woman, no matter what lies beneath her skirt. They might have shared one night together when they first met, but that was business. A relationship could never work, even if she hadn't disappeared.

After Laine makes a major life-changing decision, she returns home to say goodbye. But Tony can't say goodbye back. He can't say much at all, not with Will doing the talking for him.

Publisher's note: Laine and Tony's road to happily ever after isn't a smooth one, and both must deal with violence along the way.


Nona's comment: Can a gay man and a transgender woman find love together?  In this story, Laine lives her life as a woman, but also cherishes the male part of herself as well. (This story touches on the aspect of being genderqueer or genderfluid.) She's in love with her friend Tony, but is afraid to let her feelings show and risk losing him. There is plenty of angst in the story (oh, and lots of sex, too :-) ) as Laine deals with family issues, a dangerous and powerful former lover, and shadows from the past. In a bit of a twist on romantic tropes, Laine is the one who must rescue Tony from a a physically abusive partner.




Man Enough by Beth Burnett

From Amazon

Things are going well for Davey Carter. She loves her job and she has a comfortable bed. Granted, her love life is non-existent, her pot-smoking mother is wreaking havoc in her apartment, and she is starting to suspect that her lesbian best friend might be secretly in love with her. But none of that matters when Davey meets Danny, a kind, loving, intelligent man who just may be the love of Davey's life. Until it turns out that Danny is harboring a secret of his own.

Nona's comment: This book combines touching romance, comedy involving family and friends, and some thought provoking issues. Davey is completely comfortable among her LGBTQ friends and workmates, but when she meets Danny, she realizes she may not be as open minded as she thought. Danny is smart, funny and brave--everything a romance hero should be. This is a very enjoyable romance feature featuring a trans man hero. 

I'm always looking for great new romances, friends, so if you have any suggestions featuring trans/genderqueer/genderfluid characters, please leave them in the comments! Thanks so much!


Nona Raines



Now available: my newest release, Her Kind of Man

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#Review: Pretty When You Cry @skye_warren #darkromance #erotic



BLURB:

I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside is full of sin, and the first night I escape, I know it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.

My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.


That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.

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Excerpt:

So far a city looks exactly how I thought it would—gutted buildings and dark alleys.

A den of wickedness.

This morning I woke up on my floor mat in Harmony Hills. Sunlight streamed through the window while dust rose up to meet it. The white walls somehow kept their color despite rough dirt floors.

A desperate trek through the woods and a series of bus rides later, I made it to a city. This city. Tanglewood. It could have been anywhere. They’re all the same, all sinful, all scary—and the only thing that makes this one special is that I ran out of money for bus tickets.

My shoes are made of white canvas, already fraying and black from the grime of the streets. I made these shoes by hand when I turned twelve, and the heel on the left side has never fit quite right. But the bamboo soles lasted four years in the hills. Now they’re cracking against concrete. I can feel every lump in the pavement, every loose rock, every rounded hump as the sidewalk turns to cobblestone and then back again.

That’s not the worst part.

There’s someone following me. Maybe more than one person. I try to listen for the footsteps, but it’s hard to hear over the pounding in my ears, the thud of my heart against my chest. Panic is a tangible force in my head, a gritty quicksand that threatens to pull me down.

I could end up on my knees before this night is over.

But I don’t think I’ll be saying my evening prayers.

Men are standing outside a gate that hangs open on its hinges. They fall silent as I walk close. I tighten my arms where they are folded over my chest and look down. If I can’t see them, they can’t see me. It wasn’t true when I was little, and it’s not true now.

One of them steps in front of me.

My breath catches, and I stop walking. My whole body is trembling by the time I meet his eyes, bloodshot red in a shadowed face. “What’s your name?” he asks in a gravelly voice.

I jerk my head. No.

“Now that’s not very polite, is it?” Another one steps closer, and then I smell him. They couldn’t have showered in the past day or even week.

Cleanliness is a virtue.

Being quiet and obedient and small is a virtue too. “I’m sorry. I just want to—”

I don’t know what comes next. I want to run. I want to hide. I want to pretend the past fifteen years as a disciple of the Harmony Hills never happened. None of that is possible when I’m surrounded by men. I take a step back and bump into another man. Hands close around my arms.

A sound escapes me—fear and protest. It’s more than I would have done this morning, that sound.

I’m turned to face the man behind me. He smiles a broken-toothed smile. “Doesn’t matter what you want, darling.”

My mouth opens, but I can’t scream. I can’t scream because I’ve been taught not to. Because I know no one will come. Because the consequences of crying are worse than what will happen next.

Then the man’s eyes widen in something like fear. It’s a foreign expression on his face. It doesn’t belong. I wouldn’t even believe it except he takes a step back.

My chest squeezes tight. What’s behind me? Who is behind me that could have inspired that kind of fear? The men surrounding me are monsters, but they’re backing off now, stepping away, hands up in surrender. No harm done, that’s what they’re saying without words.

I whirl and almost slip on a loose cobblestone.

The man standing in front of me is completely still. That’s the first thing I notice about him—before I see the fine cut of his black suit or the glint of a silver watch under his cuff. Before I see the expression on his face, devoid of compassion or emotion. Devoid of humanity.

“We didn’t know she worked for you,” one of the men mumbles.

They’re still backing up, forming a circle around us, growing wider. I’m in the middle. I’m the drop, and the men around me form a ripple. Then they fade into the blackness and are gone.

It’s just me and the man in the suit.

He hasn’t spoken. I’m not sure he’s going to. I half expect him to pull out a gun from somewhere underneath that smooth black fabric and shoot me. That’s what happens in the city, isn’t it? That’s what everyone told me about the outside world, how dangerous it is. And even while some part of me had nodded along, had believed them, another part of me had refused.

There had to be beauty outside the white stucco walls. Beauty that wasn’t contained and controlled. Beauty with color. Only apparently I was wrong. I haven’t seen anything beautiful—except him.

He’s beautiful in a strange and sinful way, one that makes me more afraid. Not colorful exactly. His eyes are a gray color I’ve never seen before, both deep and opaque at the same time.

He steps closer, the light from a marquee sign illuminating his face, making him look even more sinister. “What’s your name?”

I couldn’t answer those other men, but I find something inside for him. I find truth. “I’m not allowed to say my name to someone else.”

He studies me for a long moment, taking in my tangled hair and my white dress. “Why not?”

Because God will punish me. “Because I’m running away.”

He nods like this is what he expected. “Do you have money?”

I have fifteen dollars left after bus fare. “Some.”

His lips twist, and I wonder if that’s what a smile looks like on him. It’s terrifying. “No, you don’t,” he says. “The question is, what would you do to earn some?”

Anything.

My voice is just a whisper. “I’m a good girl.”

He laughs, and I see that I was wrong before. That wasn’t a smile. It was a taunt. A challenge. This is a real smile, one with teeth. The sound rolls through me like a coming storm, deep and foreboding.

“I know,” he says gently. “What’s your name?”

“Candace.”

He studies me. “Pretty name.”

His voice is deep with promise and something else I can’t decipher. All I know is he isn’t really talking about my name. And I know it isn’t really a compliment. “Thank you.”

“Now come inside, Candace.”

He turns and walks away before I can answer. I can feel the night closing in on me, the sharks in the water waiting to strike. It’s not really a choice. I think the man knows that. He’s counting on it. Whatever is going to happen inside will be bad, and the only thing worse is what would have happened outside.


I hurry to catch up with him, almost running across the crumbled driveway, under the marquee sign for the Grand, desperate for the dubious safety of the man who could hold the darkness at bay. It’s the same thing that kept me in Harmony Hills for so long—fear and twisted gratitude.

***Nona's Review for Pretty When You Cry by Skye Warren***

Candace runs away from a strict, strange religious cult and finds herself alone in the big city like a babe in the woods. Just as danger closes in, Ivan, a hard, mysterious man in an expensive suit rescues her. But Candace's relief is short-lived. Ivan, suspecting the innocent girl will only bring trouble, wants to return her to the flock. She begs him to let her stay and in return offers herself.

Ivan protects her, cherishes her and treats her like a princess in a tower. As time passes, Candace realizes her feelings for Ivan are those of a woman. She wants him, but he keeps himself at a distance. He will only lower his guard briefly, when he plays "Daddy" to his "little girl," rewarding her when she's good and punishing her when she's bad.

Pretty When You Cry is an erotic dark romance with a good amount of kink. There are some really hot scenes of spanking and sex. While Candace enjoys her "little girl" persona with Ivan, she also wants him to love her like a woman. He's a bad man, though, and afraid to let her too close. When outside danger threatens, he holds her even tighter to keep her safe.

As much as I enjoyed the sexy parts of the story, I liked Candace's struggle to find herself. She's always been under a man's control--first the cult leader, and then Ivan. One wants to use her, the other to protect her. But she must stand on her own two feet to discover who she truly is. I was glad the author made sure she finally got the chance.  Ivan grows as well, when he realizes he must give Candace freedom if he truly cares for her. I don't want to reveal too much, but the scene toward the end when they meet again after time apart was heart-wrenching.

I also enjoyed meeting some of the other characters, whose stories I look forward to reading in the rest of the series. I recommend Pretty When You Cry as a gritty, sexy, satisfying dark romance. 



AUTHOR Bio and Links:
  
Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Burning Captivity by Carol Storm #excerpt #spanking #romance @BlushingBooks



TITLE:                        BURNING CAPTIVITY 
                                  (CHARITY CHRONICLES #2)

AUTHOR:                   CAROL STORM

PUBLISHER:              BLUSHING BOOKS

RELEASE DATE:      NOVEMBER 10, 2015

BUY LINKS:             Blushing Books
                                                   
                                   Amazon

BLURB 
     Scandal and heartbreak. Spanking and Sex. Innocence tested in a whirlpool of decadence and desire! Cheeky American runaway Charity Hill fell madly in love with British billionaire Harry Edgewell in BURNING INNOCENCE. But in a single moment her world is shattered, as Charity catches Harry in a shockingly scandalous position with sexy superstar Lola Montez!
     Heartbroken and hungry for revenge, the innocent, freckle-faced beauty runs blindly from the scene of the crime – and straight into the arms of Harry’s worst enemy, the cruel and cunning Lady Margaret Carlton! Proud, icy Margaret is furious at Harry for jilting her. With Charity in her power, she plans a subtle and satisfying revenge, employing all her vast wealth and her seductive skills to transform Harry’s feisty little redhead into a willing sex-slave!

     Living in luxury within the posh confines of Lady Margaret’s stately country home, Charity’s emerald-green eyes are soon opened to all forms of pleasure. The crafty older woman pushes all manner of eligible males her way, from lusty country lads to kindly old squires, while at the same time disciplining Charity and pleasuring her to the edge of total submission. But no amount of pleasure can make Charity forget her true feelings for Harry. And as the cruel Lady Margaret attempts to lure Harry into a trap she discovers that flame-haired, freckle-faced Charity has a fiery desire for freedom – and a few sexy tricks up her sleeve!

EXCERPT

"It would give me pleasure to instruct you in the ways of discipline," Lady Margaret announced. "To take you to the heights of pleasure and the depths of willing submission. To expose you to every form of sex with both male and female partners. To market you like a high-class whore and watch you wallow in your own degradation. Yet none of that would be half as much fun as exposing your precious guardian for the thieving slut she truly is."
"Use your head, Lady Margaret," Charity chirped. "If you ruin Lady Beddington, Harry will destroy you. But more than that, you'll be the most hated woman in London. Everyone loves Edith, not just me. If you take that away from them, it may get you a little power in the short run, but in the long run you'll be even more of an outsider than you are today."
             "And what do you propose instead?"
"I want a regular business contract drawn up showing me as your personal assistant. You can use my weekly salary to pay back the money my guardian took by mistake.”
“And?”
Charity took a deep breath. “And once you've got hold of me, you can use me as a weapon of revenge, against Harry and his aunt. You can use me in any way you desire.”


BIO


Carol Storm is a teacher and librarian who lives in upstate New York. A member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) since 2003, Carol is a romantic at heart who believes that magic can happen in the most unlikely places, to the most unlikely people.

Find Carol at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Storm/e/B00IC7U4VI 

and on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/carol.storm.50

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#Newrelease Blitz & #Giveaway: Her Kind of Man! #transgender #romance @loveunleashed

Good morning friends. I'm so happy to share the news that my latest romance Her Kind of Man  has released today. I am also sponsoring a Book Blitz through IndieSage PR and am giving away a $15 GC. To enter, please just check out the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.


I will also be sponsoring a review tour for the story in early December. If you would like a copy of Her Kind of Man in exchange for an honest review, please sign up here.

And to thank you for following the Divas of Desire blog, I have an exclusive excerpt from the book just for you.

Blurb:

During the day, Roy Girard works with truckers. It's a macho environment where a man is judged by how tough he is. And everyone knows Roy as one of the toughest.
On his own time Roy helps mentor young people who are LGBT, and cares about them as if they were his own. He's in love with Venetia, a trans woman.

He's careful to keep his nine-to-five completely separate from his private life. He knows his work buddies wouldn't understand. And he doesn't want Venetia exposed to their crude, narrow-minded views. It's his job to protect her.

But when his two worlds collide, he has to make a choice. In trying to protect the woman he loves, he asks for more than she can give.  In his need to keep her safe, he risks pushing her out of his life forever. 


Excerpt:

     “You know, I’ve been thinking…”
     “Always a dangerous activity,” Venetia quipped.
     “Ha-ha. Come here.” Roy grabbed her and pulled her down onto his lap. What a relief to have the workday over, to just chill with his lady at her place. “Seriously. I’ve been thinking about getting back into driving.”
     Venetia flicked a strand of hair behind her ear, surprise washing over her beautiful face. Shit, every time he looked at her, it struck him how lucky he was. “Really? What brought this about?” she asked.
     Discomfort made him squirm, but he covered by settling her more firmly on his thighs. What brought it about? The article from this morning’s newspaper, for one. Bill’s stupid comments. And his own worry and fear, growing stronger each day he remained in that community of macho assholes. The community he used to be part of, feel at home in. But he’d grown beyond it now, because of Travis and Venetia and SPECTRUM.
     He wouldn’t share his fears with her. It was his job to protect her. Let him do the worrying. “Well, it’d be more money, for one thing.”
     “Yes, but a lot more travel. I thought you left over the road driving so you could settle down.”
     “Yeah, sure, I’ve given it a try.” He shrugged. “But I’m getting kind of itchy, a little bored. Maybe it’s time for a change.”
     “Itchy?” Her beautiful brown eyes widened and seemed to darken with concern. “Is your job the only thing you’re bored with?”
     He blinked. “What do you mean?”
     She loosened his arms from her waist and stood, then sat in another chair, putting space between them. “I know it’s not easy, Roy. Being with me.”
     “What’re you talking about?” He closed the gap between them, perching on the arm of her chair. Never mind he was such a lug he’d probably tip them both onto the floor. “Being with you is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
     She lifted her head to gaze at him, her expression only growing sadder. “Is it the guys at work? Do they give you a hard time because of me?”
     He went still. He kept his work life and his private life totally separate. Bill and a couple of other coworkers had met Venetia, though Roy had never meant for their paths to cross. He and Vee had been bowling at the Lucky Lanes when they ran into the guys. None of them knew she was trans, and none of them knew about his involvement with SPECTRUM. And that was how he meant to keep it.
      She didn’t need to hear that, though. “Hell, baby. You think I care what any of those shitheads think?” He stood and tugged her to her feet, then swung her close to snatch a kiss. He liked that she was tall and he didn’t have to stoop to kiss her. He liked how her full breasts felt against his chest and how the curves of her ass filled his hands. He liked—no, loved—every damn thing about her. “Don’t ever think I’m tired of you, babe. I’m just scared you’ll get sick of my dumb ass.”

Purchase Her Kind of Man now at:


Kobo 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 6, 2015

Her Kind of Man Coming November 10! @nonaraines #transgender #romance

Happy Friday, friends! I am so happy to share the news that my newest romance, Her Kind of Man, will be released next Tuesday. I'm very excited for this story as it is a continuation of the love affair of Roy and Venetia, who were introduced in His Kind of Woman. The publisher of both stories is Loose Id.



Blurb:
During the day, Roy Girard works with truckers. It's a macho environment where a man is judged by how tough he is. And everyone knows Roy as one of the toughest.
On his own time Roy helps mentor young people who are LGBT, and cares about them as if they were his own. He's in love with Venetia, a trans woman.
He's careful to keep his nine-to-five completely separate from his private life. He knows his work buddies wouldn't understand. And he doesn't want Venetia exposed to their crude, narrow-minded views. It's his job to protect her.

But when his two worlds collide, he has to make a choice. In trying to protect the woman he loves, he asks for more than she can give.  In his need to keep her safe, he risks pushing her out of his life forever. 


Pre-order from Loose Id


Excerpt:

    Upstairs, she collapsed on the divan, doubts writhing like a tangle of snakes in her brain. Had she been out of line to question him? Had she been too suspicious, even paranoid?
    Would he forgive her?
    She’d changed into on her nightclothes, the comfy cotton ones decorated with cats, and was just reaching for the H√§agen Dazs in her freezer when her phone buzzed.
    Roy had texted her. I’m home.
    Her fears eased. He’d kept his promise, letting her know he was safe. He was a man of his word. Her kind of man.
    Good, she responded. Then, as of their own volition, her fingers tapped I miss you.
    She waited, holding her breath. At last an answer came.
    Miss u 2.
    A few moments later, the phone rang. Her hand trembled as she picked up. “Roy?”
    “For God’s sake, do you really think I’m the kind of man who’d pull a shitty play like that?”
    “You don’t know the stories I’ve heard. Things that have happened to friends of mine.”
    “Forget your friends. Forget the stories. This is me. The man who loves you. You’re the only woman in my life, the only one I want. And fuck! It pisses me off, you thinking I’m some lowdown scumbag who’d cheat on you.”
    She caught her breath. The man who loves you. Did he realize what he’d just said?
    “I was scared. I had to ask.” Why else would he have been so secretive? But she didn’t want to bring that up now and start the whole argument again.
    “So you believe me?”
    “Yes.”
    “And you trust me?”
    She gripped the phone, her heart thudding. “Yes, I trust you.”
    “So how come I’m here and you’re way the hell over there?” His voice lowered an octave, turned soft and intimate.
    Her girl parts tingled, reacting to his sexy rumble. “It’s a problem. I do remember asking you up, though.”
    “Huh. And like a real dumb-ass, I blew it, trying to make a point.”
    “Well, the invitation’s still good,” she responded in the most mellow, seductive tone she could summon.

    “I’m on my way.”

TRR

The Romance Reviews