The 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest Finalists – Short Story

 This week the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance are pleased to host the finalists of the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest. Visiting today are the Short Story finalists – Nancy Lee Badger and Cara Michaels. Read their short excerpts, click on the book covers to read more, then hit that Buy Button.    


DRAGON IN THE MIST by Nancy Lee Badger


Her heart ripped apart as she stamped her feet. Her dragon strength surged and the earth beneath her feet shook. Birds took to the skies and screeched, as they flew away across the loch. Stacked timber near the dock gave way beneath the tremors, and fell into the water. A boat in dry-dock slipped off its scaffolds and crashed on its side. Screams echoed from the inn and the two American females ran into the street.


     Nessía closed her eyes and took several deep, cleansing breaths. Collecting herself, she urged the trembling to stop. When it did, she strode toward the pub.



     She forced her feet to keep moving away from the inn, but two strong arms circled her shoulders. Rory turned her until she faced him. She refused to glance up. He cupped her chin, forced her head up, and she gazed into eyes filled with concern. And…love?

Silly dragon. Ye are a powerful, earthquake- causing creature. Forget him. Nessía found it hard to believe her own thoughts, especially when his mouth crushed hers in a brutal, yet passionate kiss.

     “My God. Are you okay?”

     “I am quite well, sir.”

     “So formal? When the earthquake shook my backpack and notebooks to my bedroom floor, all I thought of was making sure you were safe.”


Visit Nancyat


Commander Gemma Bryant left Earth knowing full well the man selected to be her mate couldn’t stand the sight of her…

Chosen to lead Gaea’s Ark, humanity’s first deep space settlement ship, Gemma is awakened from 19K years in stasis to find her mission gone horribly wrong. They’re off course and missing crew, and for the remaining Chosen, the world they’ve landed on is far from uninhabited.

Supplies are short and cabin fever is growing. As if she doesn’t have enough to manage, a humanoid species is unexpectedly claiming her crew’s attention. They’re unbelievably fast and beautiful, but are they friend or enemy?

Gaea’s Chosen: Ten men and ten women traveling 20 light years across the galaxy to settle a new world. The chance of disaster far outweighs the chance of success.

* * * * *

It was him—the meta—as big as life and impossibly beautiful. He circled the chamber in a slight crouch that made his full height impossible to gauge. I spun to keep him in view. I doubted he could see me through the treated glass, but when he stopped I laid my hand against that cool barrier separating us. For a moment I swore his eyes tracked my movement and disappointment stabbed through me when he didn’t return the gesture. Then his eyes locked on my face—maybe he could see me—and he stood, drawing my eyes up. And up.

Oh, my God. I swallowed around the boulder in my throat as he leaned closer. A completely irrational self-consciousness had me running a less-than-steady hand over my hair. The corner of his mouth tipped up. A smile?

I didn’t move, I barely breathed. Both actions distracted me from memorizing his face. His eyes, green with a catlike iridescence, sparked in the ambient light. He sat down, his side against the glass. Looking out over the ship, he patted the spot next to him. Whether meant or not, I took the gesture as an invitation and slid down, imagining that I could feel the warmth of him pressed against me.

 Visit Cara at

The Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance ( were pleased to host the finalists in the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest. Contest winners will be announced at the Silken Sands Conference, March 16-18, 2012, at the Hampton Inn on Pensacola Beach, FL.    

 The conference will feature Barbara Vey from Publishers Weekly as the Kickoff Speaker and author Beverly Kendall as Keynote Speaker. Activities include three days of workshops and panels, a costume ball, banquet and pitch sessions with well known, acquiring editors and agents. Editors/agents include: Amanda Bergeron, Associate Editor at Harper Collins/Avon; Angela James, Executive Editor for Carina Press; Holly Blanck, Associate Editor at St. Martin’s Press; Grace Bradley, Editor at Ellora’s Cave; Lucienne Diver, Literary Agent at The Knight Agency; Jenny Bent, Literary Agent at The Bent Agency; and Sandy Sullivan, Executive Editor, Secret Cravings Publishing.

Conference registration remains open and Friday or Saturday-only registration is available. For more info:                          Rita Bay for the Sizzlers


2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest Finalists – Novella

This week the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance are pleased to host the finalists of the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest. Visiting today are the Novella finalists – Nina Pierce and Cara Marsi. Read their short excerpts, click on the book covers to read more, then hit that Buy Button.    


Turning on his heel, Ayden started to walk away, when the noise came again. It wasn’t the moan of sexual pleasure. It was the keening sound of sadness. Someone was crying. And from the quiet hiccupping, it was female.

Ayden shot a longing look over his shoulder, debating between the refuge of the path and the complications under the boat.

Chivalry won out and he stepped warily around the bow.

The redhead sat on the wooden slats, her bare feet digging restlessly in the sand, her face cupped in her hands. Between shuddering breaths, she sputtered angrily into her bent knees, but her tears and her fingers kept the words from him.

“Uh-hmm.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how else to get her attention.

“Holy shit…” She tried to jump to her feet, but banged her head on the iron rigging attached to the upside of the boat and fell back down. “Crap.” Her hand flew to her head.

“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.

“I’m fine.”

She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the sadness in her eyes.

“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She brushed the sand off her ass. “You scared the living shit out of me.”

Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn to fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.

Visit Nina at




“I’ve always wanted to do this,” he said, his voice surprisingly, deliciously husky. He reached behind her and tugged at the band holding her hair. Freed of its confinement, her hair swirled around her shoulders, heavy, wild, and sensual, matching the wildness he incited in her.

He slipped his hands beneath the mass of her hair, sliding his fingers through the strands, slowly, seductively. She felt boneless, hot, needy. When he cupped the back of her head, pressing his fingers gently into her skull, she moaned deep in her throat. Then, with the inevitability of the tide coming in, he dipped his head to her waiting lips.

His mouth, sinful and tempting, seduced her with promise. He tasted of wine and mint and Daniel. Her purse slipped off her shoulder. Molding her body to his, she curled her arms around his neck and kissed him back with all the pent-up yearning she hadn’t even realized she felt. Lust, yes. Yearning, no. This was a whole different ballgame.

He deepened the kiss, and a strangled groan she barely recognized as her own bubbled up. Her body on fire, she savored the feel of his tongue probing her mouth, savored his masculinity and the heat of his strong body.

His answering growl fueled her feminine pride and she pressed closer, telling him with her body how much she wanted him. She felt his hard erection against her stomach. He left her mouth to string a line of hot kisses down her neck.

Visit Cara at

Tomorrow, the Young Adult Finalists  RB

2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest – Historical

This week the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance are pleased to host the finalists of the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest. Visiting today are the Single Title Historical finalists – Elysa Hendricks, Michelle Beattie, and Rose Gordon. Read their short excerpts, click on the book covers to read more, then hit that Buy Button.





“What’s your rank of choice?”

Juliet started, nearly spilling her cup of lemonade. “Pardon?”

Drake gestured to all the other men in the room. “Every rank from a duke down to a second son who became a vicar is available for your choosing. Any rank strike your fancy?”

“I believe you’re incorrect,” she said, looking over all the men in the room. “I see one second son-vicar, one baron―” she turned to him―“one viscount, two earls, and one duke. But alas, no marquis.”

His brown eyes lit with mischief. “I’d say that I stand corrected, but I do not. There is a marquis on the premises. If you’d like to dance with him, I’ll see if a servant can fetch him from the nursery.”

He was right of course, the duke and duchess’ oldest son, who carried the courtesy title of marquis, was sleeping up in the nursery. “How about we call this a tie?”

“Fair enough,” he agreed. “So who will it be, Juliet? Whose wife do I need to go charm?”


One of his long, blunt-tipped fingers reached up and pushed a loose tendril of her hair behind her right ear. “Who do you want to dance with?”

“This viscount,” she whispered, her face growing warm.

His hand engulfed hers and he led her to the middle of the floor. “I was hoping you’d choose him. I think I should like to dance with his wife.”

Visit Rose at

THIS HEART FOR HIRE by Elysa Hendricks



“Esteban, what do you find?” Rico called.

Esteban appeared briefly in the doorway. He ducked as a shoe sailed past his head. “A she-cat!” He laughed then dove back into the room.

Shrieks, curses, and crashes echoed throughout the cantina until Esteban reappeared. The young woman he held in front of him fought like a mountain cat. Her hair whipped about, tangling in her face. Frantically, she twisted and turned, seeking her freedom, until exhausted she went limp in Esteban’s grip, her bare feet dangling above the floor.

A white nightgown draped her figure from neck to ankle, but the thin cotton did little to hide her curves. A thick mane of honey colored hair framed a perfect oval of creamy skin. Her blue eyes, wide with fear, anger and shock, stared at the men below.

Jake’s stomach knotted. The innocence reflected in her eyes hit him like a punch below the belt.

Now he understood the greenhorn’s action. She was worth dying for.

He calculated his odds of getting himself and the girl out of the cantina alive. Not good.

Slowly, Rico circled the girl. She turned with him, never letting him get behind her. He reached out to touch her hair, glowing like strands of spun gold in the lamp light. She batted his hand away.

The scene reminded Jake of the time he’d seen a kitten thrown to a pack of half-wild dogs. The tiny cat spat and clawed, but it hadn’t stood a chance.

He hadn’t been able to save the kitten.

Visit Elysa at

ANOTHER CHANCE by Michelle Beattie



“They’re not going to get here in time.”

Wade Parker ran a frustrated hand under his Stetson.  What was taking so long? he wondered.  He’d sent for the veterinarian almost an hour ago.  Once he’d realized he’d had no other choice.

“They’ll be here soon, son.  But the way the rain’s coming down, it’ll slow down old Doc and Scott.”  James rested a calloused hand on Wade’s shoulder.  “Go check on the cow again, and I’ll have a look outside.”

Wade had been taught from a very young age that no matter how bad things ever got, there was always something to be thankful for.  And right now, he was thankful for two things.  One, for James.  Not only had James been foreman of the Triple P for as long as Wade could remember, he was also a friend.  A friend who, at times like these, was the rock Wade needed.

The other thing Wade was damn glad for was that Doc Fletcher’s replacement hadn’t arrived yet from Pennsylvania.  Not that Wade hadn’t helped chose his replacement and not that he wasn’t satisfied with the new doc’s qualifications, but the lives of his animals were at stake.  He needed a familiar face tonight.  One that he trusted.  One that would get him through this latest crisis.

Visit Michelle at

Tomorrow, the Single Title Paranormal Finalists  RB


2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest – Contemporary

This week the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance are pleased to host the finalists of the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest. Visiting today are the Single Title Contemporary finalists – Christina James, Catherine Bybee, and V. K. Sykes. Read their short excerpts, click on the book covers to read more, then hit that Buy Button.    


FOR THE LOVE OF A WOMAN by Christina James

Mitch stood quickly, but shakily, and reached her before she could turn away. “I know one way you can thank me.”

His mouth landed on hers so fast it caught her off guard. Her hands automatically rested on his chest. Her mouth gave in to the pleasures of his as the hardness of his lips crushed onto hers, sending sparks of pleasure throughout her body to places she’d long forgotten.

She remembered this kind of need. The hunger deep within her to be wanted, needed, taken. It was too powerful for her. Marly didn’t know if it was the kiss taking her breath away or the need to have more.

Mitch stopped the kiss. Her lips tingled and her cheeks warmed where the day’s old growth on his face had scraped. She rubbed at it absent mindedly while staring at him.

His fingers caressed her jaw. “Sorry about the stubble. Didn’t plan on kissing anyone, so I hadn’t bothered to shave.”

“I’m not sure we should do this as much as I want to. My life is way too complicated for intimacy.” She walked quickly to the kitchen.

He followed her, staying on her heels. It unnerved her to have him so close. She could clear the counter and have him take her right there. Good God, where are these thoughts coming from?

“It was just a kiss. And you kissed me first yesterday, so you started this.” 

Visit Christina at

WIFE BY WEDNESDAY by Catherine Bybee

“This is crazy, isn’t it?” she asked him, wanting desperately to know what his thoughts were.

He ran a hand through his hair in a gesture Sam started to recognize as a sign of stress. “What’s crazy is how much I want you, and how much effort we’re going through to convince people we’re sleeping together when we’re not.”

She tried smiling, to lighten the mood. “When you put it that way, we sound certifiable.”

Visit Catherine at

HARDBALL by V.K. Sykes


Finally, Holly glanced at him, signaling her readiness to leave.  As they got up, she wobbled just enough to let him know she could use an arm to steady her.  When he slid his arm around her waist as they said their goodbyes, she leaned into him slightly and Nate’s hormones kicked into overdrive.

He kept his arm firmly around her as they strolled down a flagstone path to the parking lot.  “Have a good time tonight?” he said softly.

“I sure did,” she murmured.  “Your friends are great.  I especially liked Maddie and Martha.”

Nate was not interested in talking about his well-meaning but sometimes annoying friends.  He wanted Holly’s attention fully on him.  “I usually find these banquets boring, but not tonight.  It’s obviously because I spent the evening with the most beautiful and interesting woman in the place.”

She hesitated a second longer than he liked.  “You’re sweet to say that, but I think that must be the wine talking.  And, speaking of wine, I could kick myself for drinking as much as I did.  I had a grand plan you know,” she said with a sleepy, sexy smile.

Oh, he had some grand plans too, and he was about to set them in motion.  “Hold that thought.”

 He opened the passenger door of the DB9 and handed an almost boneless Holly into the car seat.  After he went around and slid into his own seat, he turned to face her.

“Okay, the grand plan.  I’m almost afraid to ask,” he said, deadpan.

Visit the V. K. Sykes team at

Tomorrow, the Single Title Historical Finalists  RB

%d bloggers like this: