Friday, February 27, 2015

February Fave Fives: Once Upon a Time!

Welcome to a very special edition of Fave Fives! I'm thrilled to have my fellow anthology authors joining me this month. For February, we're talking fairy tales, legends, fables, and nursery rhymes in anticipation of the Seduction at Midnight Box Set release on March 9th!

Keep reading to find out our favorite fairy tales, what inspired us to write a modern-day fairy tale anthology, and get a sneak peek at each book in the collection!


Born with a silver tongue and a pen in her hand, Kali spends her days sleeping (she's part vampire) and her nights crafting scandalous romances with larger-than-life heroes.

Self-proclaimed patron goddess of reclusiveness, Kali currently resides in the Midwest with her oddly supportive family and tragically misunderstood cat. 

Seriously, though, the cat is evil.

I was a bit of a hellcat when I was young, and never enjoyed the princess stories quite like most girls, I think. That's not to say I didn't enjoy a good fairy tale, legend, or fable, though. Here are my favorite five, in no particular order. 

  • Robin Hood - Growing up, we got by, but my family struggled. The idea of some noble do-gooder taking from the greedy and pampered to give to the poor was a very appealing ideal when I was little.
  • Peter Pan - Who doesn't want to battle pirates, eat all the candy they want, and never grow up?
  • Red Riding Hood - I always thought Red was a little daft, and it gave me enormous satisfaction when the wolf ate her. I was a morbid child. Don't judge me.
  • The Tortoise and The Hare - I'm a fairly methodical person, rarely given to spontaneity. Slow and steady wins the race. This is something I definitely still relate to.
  • Beauty and the Beast - I think this was my one concession to the whole princess trope. People can change, love conquers all, and well, let's just face it. Who didn't want that library?


Driven and career-focused, Starla Winters doesn’t have the time or patience for dating. Other than her family, she has only a handful of personal connections, only a few relationships that truly mean anything to her, but she’s content. Or so she thinks. Then the laidback, free-spirited owner of a local toy store blows into her life, making her want things she’s never even contemplated. 

Turner McCord fell in love the moment the uptight advertising agent marched into his office, and nothing has been the same for him since. He knows it won’t be easy to break through Starla’s shiny layer of professionalism to the fiery woman beneath, but he’s determined to make her his. After all, to love someone as beautiful and captivating as Starla Winters would be an awfully big adventure.


Stardust © 2015, Kali Argent

Unfolding from his crouch, Turner pushed to his feet and stared down at her for several, uncomfortable seconds before he spoke. “We should have dinner.”

Sure she’d heard him wrong, Starla blinked. “Dinner?”

“Yes, dinner. It’s this thing that happens every day, usually around the same time, and I hear there’s food involved.”

“I’m aware of how it works.” She couldn’t have dinner with Turner McCord. It would be incredibly unprofessional. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea. You’re a client…” And something else she couldn’t remember when he smiled at her like that. “You’re a client,” she repeated.

“Okay.” Folding his arms over chest, Turner pursed his lips and nodded. “You’re fired.”

Anger, swift and forceful, snapped Starla out of her daze, and she launched out of her seat, advancing until she’d backed him deep into the corner of the room. “Excuse me?”

“If your only reason for not having dinner with me is because I’m a client, then fine. You’re fired.”

She’d worked her ass off to create a respectable, family-friendly image for Neverland, and she planned to use that hard work to launch herself right into a promotion. If he thought he could take that all away from her, she had news for him.

“No,” she bit out through clenched teeth. “I am not fired.”

Turner didn’t back down, and he didn’t even have the decency to wipe the ridiculously charming grin from his lips. “Okay, you’re not fired. So, dinner? Let’s say tonight at seven.” Slipping past her, he picked her laptop case up from the table and returned to slide the strap onto her shoulder before ushering her toward the office door. “Should I pick you up, or would you rather meet me at the restaurant?”

“I…well…stop that!” Whirling around, she slapped at his arm when he tried to push her through the open door. Her five-foot-nine stature put her at eye-level with his Adam’s apple, forcing Starla to tilt her head back to glare up at him. “Turner, this really isn’t a good idea.”

“Okay, I’ll text you the address, and we can meet there.” He nudged her out of the office and closed the door behind him. Bending to accommodate for their height difference, he brushed a kiss against her cheek. “I look forward to it.”


Lacey Thorn spends her days in small town Indiana the proud mother of three. When she is not busy with one of them she can be found typing away on her computer keyboard or burying her nose in a good book. Like every woman she knows just how chaotic life can be and how appealing that great escape can look. So toss aside the stress and tension of the never ending to do list. For now sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride with Lacey. It’s your world…unlaced.

  • The Paper Bag Princess! Absolutely my favorite. If you haven’t read this one, go pick it up. A fabulous fairy tale for young girls.
  • King Arthur. I’ve been in love with the knights of the round table since I was a very young girl!
  • Greek Mythology! I had books and books and books of this as a child. I devoured them, imagining myself back in time, the daughter of a god and goddess. Sometimes I still do!
  • The Ugly Duckling. What’s not to love? The thought of blooming and growing from something others discount or ignore into a rare beauty that outshines them all. It’s a great story!
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I love this story! 


Two weeks ago, Chase Riley and her best friend were kidnapped, severely beaten, and left for dead. Chase was the lone survivor but has been in a coma since she was found. The police, led by her ex-boyfriend, Detective Phillip Wade, still have no idea what happened. 

When Phillip gets the call that his sleeping beauty is finally awake, he rushes to her side. But Chase doesn’t recall that fateful night, and doctors aren’t certain if she’ll ever remember. The woman before him is nothing like the laughing jokester Phillip once fell for. This woman is quiet, cautious, and afraid.

Lines are crossed from the first moment he holds her in his arms and promises everything will be okay. She doesn’t remember their friendly break-up over his inflexible schedule or her uncertainty of whether or not she could handle being a cop’s wife. But he’s not the only one watching and waiting to see if she’ll remember. There’s someone else with plans to make sure Chase goes back to sleep—permanently.


Beautiful Dreamer © 2015, Lacey Thorn

“Don’t leave me,” she begged. “Please, don’t leave me.”

“I’m not going anywhere, honey. I’m going to stay right here with you.”

She nodded, and he watched her body relax. He ran his fingers over her cheek, unable to refrain from touching her. She moved her face into his hand and smiled up at him. 

“Chase, what’s the last thing you remember?” he asked.

She shook her head, her brow furrowing in concentration. “You kissing me goodbye before you left for work,” she answered hoarsely. 

“That could have been any morning,” he said with a smile. “What else do you remember?”

“You came home late the night before. We ate cold spaghetti on the couch, and made love in the shower before falling into bed.”

He remembered that night well. God! That was more than a month ago. She’d lost several weeks before the attack had taken place. Which meant she could only be talking to him because she didn’t remember the marriage proposal or turning him down. She didn’t remember the conversation where she didn’t think she was cut out to be a cop’s wife. When she’d left that night, there’d been tears on both their faces, and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it. He remembered it, every moment of it, but she didn’t. Part of him felt like a cruel bastard for feeling a sense of relief. 

“What happened?” she asked again, tugging on their joined hands. “Please, Phillip. I need to know.”

He took a deep breath and leaned down to wrap his arms around her, and lifted her just a bit into his chest.

“Let me hold you for a minute,” he soothed. “Just let me hold you for a minute.”

“You’re scaring me,” she whispered, and he closed his eyes.

If she was scared now, how would she feel when he told her why she was in the hospital?

Jenika Snow is a bestselling author of paranormal erotic, dark erotic, New adult, and many other sub-genres of erotic romance. She lives in the northwest with her husband and their two daughters. Before she started writing full-time she worked as a nurse. 

  • Beauty and the Beast is probably one of my all time favorites. I just love that Belle falls for the big, bad beast despite his demeanor and appearance. It shows that not everything is how it seems. 
  • Cinderella is another favorite I have. The fact a woman can be beat down emotionally, not knowing if she will ever be good enough, but then finding that silver lining. It’s a fantastic love story.
  • Snow White is a favorite, but I like to think about the more silt rated version ;) 
  • Sleeping Beauty makes me think of someone going to hell and back just to make sure he gets the girl he was supposed to have.
  • The Last Unicorn (not sure if this counts as a fairy tale) but this is probably my all-time favorite. I remember this story from when i was younger and fell in love with it right away!


When Cinder Franco finds herself in a new city after fleeing an abusive home, she hopes to start fresh. Her new job may be cleaning up after others, but it pays her bills and keeps her off the street. And right now that is all she can hope for.

Ryder Prince has never taken anything for granted. He has worked his way to the top of his career to become one of the most renowned surgeons in the country. But because he has immersed himself in his career, he has found himself alone and detached when it comes to the female population. When he hires Cinder, he instantly sees a light in her eyes. She has been hurt, he can see that, and there is something inside of him that wants to help her.

As time progresses and his feelings for her grow, he knows there is something special about her. He wants her, wants to protect and shelter her. When Ryder has to attend a charity event he invites Cinder as his date, hoping that things can naturally progress forward despite her dark past, and the fears they both harbor. But Cinder flees after her emotions get the better of her, and it is up to Ryder to show her that she is worth so much more than she gives herself credit for. It is up to him to show her that to him she is his world now.


Cinder’s Rising © 2015, Jenika Snow

“I want to kiss you, Cinder,” he said in a deep, soft voice. He slowly moved his gaze up to her eyes, stared at her for a second, and she felt like she was tilting on this axis and Ryder was the only one holding her up. “I want to kiss you really damn badly."

She wanted that, too, but was afraid to say the words. In all honesty, she had never voluntarily kissed a man, never consented to giving herself to someone of her own free will. It had always been taken from her, and she had kept a part of herself away, detached from the situation because it was safer that way. But right now, she wanted to give herself to Ryder, wanted to show himshe was the one who wanted this as well. He had seen her scars no doubt, yet he hadn’t questioned her about them. Would he? Maybe, but right now this was just about them, a kiss hanging perilously close between them.

She nodded once, not able to find her voice, but seeing the realization that he knew she was agreeing to kiss him. It was a dilation of his pupils, the way he breathed harder, faster, and the fact he was staring at her mouth again. She licked her lips, finally finding the words she wanted to say. “I want this, Ryder. I want you to kiss me.”

He was doing just that as fiercely as she wanted. His lips were smooth, firm, and he took possession of the kiss in a sweeping motion of his tongue along her lips, and of pressure from his mouth. His hand in her hair tightened in the strands gently, securely, and for the first time in her life she felt this wave of desire, want, need, and comfort all swamp through her.

“Is this okay?” he asked as he broke away from her.

“Yes,” she whispered, and leaned up to kiss him this time. Their tongues touched tentatively at first. He molded his body to hers, pressing the hardness of his muscles to her softness. She started to feel weightless as he moved his lips and tongue on hers, caressing her to the point she felt wetness slip out of her. She was aroused, wanting to do so much more with him, but she broke away, breathing heavily.

“I’m sorry,” he said on a breath. His mouth was red, slightly parted and wet from their kiss. Did hers look that way? “Was that too fast, too much?”

She touched her lips with a finger, felt the pain in her hand start to become apparent again, and heat spread through her. How could she have kissed him? Despite how much she wanted to, and how good it made her feel, she was damaged, had only been in the state for a very short time, and he was her employer. “No, I’m the one who should be sorry. I’ve got to go.” She turned and headed out of the office, trying to block out the sound of his voice as he called for her.

Susan lives out on the Canadian west coast surrounded by open water, dear family and good friends. She’s jumped out of perfectly good airplanes on purpose and accidently swum with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.

If the world ends, she plans to survive as the spunky, comedic sidekick to the heroes of the new world, because she’s too damned short and out of shape to make it on her own for long.

To contact her about her books or to arrange end of the world team-ups, you can email her at  

One of my most enduring memories of my grandmother is sitting in a sunbeam in her living room, pouring over her collection of fairytale picture-books she had just for us grandchildren. She would read them to me, and once I learned to read I would read them aloud to myself and anyone within earshot. I can still envision the artistry that went into some of those drawings, and those books are now part of my own library.

These five are the ones she and I loved best. 
  • Puss in Boots
  • The Six Swans
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier
  • The Elves and the Shoemaker
  • Thumbelina


As the future CEO of Forrester Industries, Lucas Forrester has the kind of life most men only dream of. He’s travelled the world, brokering deals and sealing contracts that have benefited the company while making a name for himself as a cold, calculating negotiator.

At work, Luke lives behind his corporate persona, but when a chance encounter with a beautiful and caring stranger brings out his true nature, he finds himself reluctant to go back into hiding.

Veronica Hood’s life will never be mistaken for a fairytale, but she’s proud of what she’s accomplished so far. After years of planning, she’s finally got her own coffee shop, with enough money coming in to stay out of the red and pay for her grandmother’s medical bills, too. When Lucas sees her delivering food to the hungry, he appoints himself as her protector, stealing her heart and starting a whirlwind love affair straight out of a storybook.

The trouble is, Lucas isn’t the only one who has fallen for Ronnie. When her stalker finally emerges from the shadows, Luke will have to fight for his redheaded angel. In the end only one of them can possess her, but who will be the victor...her champion or the dark-hearted wolf?


Rescuing Red © 2015, Susan Hayes

She laughed and shook her head, freeing more of her flame-colored hair. “I’m not from a shelter or a mission. I have a café in the neighborhood and hate wasting food. Instead of throwing out the day-olds, I give them away. I’m Ronnie Hood, by the way. Want a cupcake?”

“Pardon?” Luke blinked down at her, painfully aware that he sounded about as smart as a pole-axed steer.

“A cupcake. Small cake, tasty, covered in frosting? Clearly you’re not homeless, given the fact you’re wearing shoes that might cost more than my first apartment, but you were sweet to check up on me, and I have plenty. So…cupcake? Unless you’re a cookie person. You look like a cupcake type, though.”

Ronnie was babbling, and she knew it, but holy hell, she had a good reason. Her reason was six feet tall, with dark, slightly curly hair, bright blue eyes, and a face so handsome he could have walked right off the cover of a magazine. And here she was, offering him a cupcake.

And my friends wonder why I’m single…

He grinned, and the impact of his smile made parts of her brain turn to goo. “My name’s
Lucas—Luke, and I am definitely a cupcake guy. Where’s this café of yours? I didn’t know there was one around here.”

“I only opened it a few months ago, Granny’s Kitchen. It’s two blocks down from here.” She found herself pointing the way and then blushed. As if this guy was ever going to step foot in her little store. He was only being polite. 

Located in a beautiful little town thirty minutes south of Charlotte, North Carolina, Catalina spends her day trying to keep up with her crazy family and indulging her caffeine habit. A firm believer in second chances and happily ever afters, you can usually find her hidden away in her office, penning her next romance novel.

Fairytales are the perfect escape for a boring moment in life. There are a few that really stay with you, though. My favorites would have to be:

  • Little Red Riding Hood, because I lived in western North Carolina and loved the thick forest setting.
  • Snow White, mostly because I loved the musical moments in the original Disney version.
  • Cinderella, due to her kick ass outfit and revenge on the people who were jerks to her.
  • Hansel and Gretel, while terrifying, the idea of an entire house made of candy is a diabetic coma inducing delicious idea.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Jack and the Beanstalk, because I loved the idea of climbing into a magical world up a huge tree (I didn’t get what a beanstalk was when I was little) and finding something that would make me a rich hero. 


We’re all Mad Here. The words immortalized on the door of Chris Jensen’s nightclub, Wonderland, have been a beacon for other eccentric souls in Chicago’s urban landscape. Chris might have been alone but he hadn’t realized he was lonely until he finds a bartender who makes him want more than good music and great Scotch. Alison Liddell walks into his life brandishing a rapier wit and a take-no-lip attitude, but trusting the attraction that sizzles between them will take more than his gut instincts to come into fruition. 

Alison has wanted Chris  since the day she started working at Wonderland. However, the beautiful man is nearly as stubborn as she is and keeps her at arms’ length. A night of drinking leads to a kiss that neither of them are prepared to deny, however, walking into a relationship is unfamiliar territory for the both of them and only time will tell if they will be able to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.


Wonderland © 2015, Catalina Harper

“He needs to suck it up and take his meds, bad day be damned,” Alison said.

“You can’t bully him into it.”

“Wanna bet?”

Z released her arm. “Fine. It’s your funeral.”

She turned from him and climbed up the steps. Without bothering to knock, she threw open the door once she reached the top.

Chris sat at his desk, glaring at his laptop. The thumb of whiskey on his desk told her his pain was up. Chris abhorred losing control almost as much as he hated being reliant on pain meds.

Green eyes the same shade of ripe Granny Smith apples flicked in her direction. “I’m not surprised by the interruption, but I am wondering why you’re harassing me during your shift.”

Alison played it casual, resting her hand on her hip in what she hoped was a relaxed manner. “I’m on break.”

“Most employees grab a bite to eat or smoke or something,” he griped. “Lucky me. I have the most meddlesome staff in all of Chicago.”

“If you took your meds when you were limping around like a world-class gimp, I wouldn’t be up here.” She took a few steps into the room before turning around and closing the door behind her. “So, where are they this time?”

He gave her the lousiest look of fake innocence that she’d ever seen. “I haven’t the faintest.”

“I’m sure.” She headed to the cabinet he usually stashed his meds in. It wasn’t in the top drawer. “Come on, Chris. No games. Where is it?”

“Are you going to go away if I tell you?”

“I’m sure as hell not going away if you don’t tell me.”

Chris actually growled. “In my bedroom. Left it up there last night.”

That explained why it wasn’t down here. The pain it would take to ascend the steps was probably too much for him to handle at the moment.

“What’s your pain level right now?”

“I’m fine, Alison,” he rumbled.

She somehow doubted that. “Your bedside table right?”

He sighed. “Yeah.”

“I’ll be right back.” She stepped around his desk and slid the pocket door back to reveal the other staircase. It might have been unusual to the outside world for employees to be this familiar with everything in their employers’ homes, but it was different in Wonderland. The lot of them had been misfits before finding their way inside. She still wasn’t sure how Chris managed to get this place up and running, but however it happened, it had been a godsend for the offbeat of the world.

Erika Reed lives in Southern California with her loving husband and two beautiful daughters. She is very thankful for her family and friends that have been there, supporting her from the beginning of her writing career.

When she is not writing or running her busy household, she enjoys sitting down with her Kindle, reading one of her favorite authors. She enjoys her writing and will continue to surprise her readers with more exotic stories in the future. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached at

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was one of my favorites growing up. Snow White was so loved and adored by all they she encountered, except for her stepmother of course.
  • Old MacDonald had a Farm was one of my favorite nursery rhymes. I often wished, as a kid I was raised on a farm. I have always been an animal person.
  • The Ugly Duckling was a sad story to me. I was the kid in school that made the new kids in class feel welcome. And I never partook in teasing other kids. I usually defended them against the mean ones.
  • This Little Pig was one that was always fun when growing up. Still to this day I grab my daughters toes and make them giggle.
  • And of course there was Cinderella. As a little girl we all wanted to find our prince one day and to live happily ever after.


Goldie Locke is in love with her boss, Travis. He has always been the man of her dreams, but it’s getting harder to work for him when she really wants more. After a fire in her apartment leaves her temporarily homeless, she finds herself on her way to Travis’ cabin in the mountains, at his brothers’ insistence. She decides to use the time away to make some decisions about her future...with or without Travis.

Travis Baer had always prided himself at making his construction business a success. He is a man who goes after what he wants, but what he desires more than anything is Goldie. After being tricked into a weekend alone with his gorgeous assistant, Travis is determined to finally make Goldie his, and reveal his true feeling for her.

Could their weekend retreat be the beginning to the fairytale ending Goldie has always wanted?


Goldie © 2015, Erika Reed

“Damn it, woman! Why are you so damn stubborn?” he said as he paced the floor in front of her, while running his hand through his hair. “You never take time off. Do I need to insist that you take the week off, or are you going to continue to argue with me about this, like everything else we disagree on? It’s Friday, and I don’t expect to see you at all next week. Do I make myself clear?”

He smelled so good. Why can’t I be normal and just have a normal, fat and bald boss like other employers I worked for in the past?

“Ok, Travis. You win. I’ll finish off the day and take the next week off. I just need to make sure the Mattheson job is moving smoothly before I can take the week off. Colin and Christian were waiting on John’s call today from the site. John was going to let them know if the shipment of block and rebar had shown up this morning. The men are on standby until that truck shows up. When I know that has arrived, then I’ll gladly take the week off.”

“Good. Now, I know you’ve accrued vacation time that you should use since you have never taken a day off since you started for us. It’s a good time for you to take that time and use it well.” His eyes began to soften. “I wish you would have called us to help you last night. You shouldn’t have had to go through that alone.”

Laurie Roma lives in Chicago and mainly writes contemporary, romantic suspense, and sci-fi romance. She has always loved immersing herself in a good book and now enjoys the pleasure of creating her own. She can usually be found tapping away on her keyboard, creating worlds for her characters while she listens to music. Of course her playlist depends on her mood...but then again, so does her writing.

An avid reader of the romance genre, nothing bothers her more than annoying characters. Seriously, who wants a happy ending for someone that pisses you off? She loves tough alpha-male heroes and strong heroines that have brains as well as beauty. Her novels are filled with both passionate romance and down and dirty lust-driven interludes, as she believes both are essential to a good love story. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached at

  • Beauty and the Beast: A curse, redemption and true love...who doesn’t love that? 
  • Rapunzel: No man is an island, right? And you can’t exactly fall in love if you are trapped in a tower by yourself, hence, go out and be social....make life happen. 
  • Hua Mulan (or the Disney version - Mulan): Because she kicks ass. Need I say more? 
  • Cinderella: I love a good rags to riches story...and 
  • The Odyssey: Although it is technically not a fairy tale, this epic poem is one of my favorite stories and I think it deserves a mention.


Tessa Campbell is a woman in an impossible situation. As the owner of an event planning company, her days are usually filled celebrating the best moments of people’s lives, but all of that changes when her father makes a grievous mistake that may cost him the job he loves. He is depending on her to fix his mistake, but nothing is ever as simple as it seems. In order to save him, she must find a way to reason with his boss...the man everyone calls The Beast.

Drake Vidal has a dangerous reputation. A ruthless business man who has taken Vidal Labs and Technology to the top of the industry, he expects perfection from everyone who works for him. He has never believed in love, but all it takes is one look at the gentle beauty that comes to him to plead for her father for him to lose his heart. Can she find a way to see beyond the savage veneer he portrays to the world to discover the good hidden beneath, or will she think he isn’t worth taming? For who could ever really love a beast?


Beauty © 2015, Laurie Roma

“What am I going to do, Jamie? He’s going to break my heart. I just know it.” Tessa sighed again. “I just have to make it to the ball, then everything can go back to normal.”

Jamie looked thoughtful for a moment before she said, “You know...maybe you just need to get him out of your system. You know, just do it...or him to be more exact. Don’t you want to know what sex with him would be like?”

“Of course I do! What sane woman wouldn’t want to sleep with Drake? But he doesn’t want me—”

The sound of a throat clearing from the doorway had Tessa stiffening in her chair. Jamie’s expression of shocked horror told her all she needed to know. “Oh, God, oh, God. He’s standing there, isn’t he?” At Jamie’s silent nod, Tessa slowly lowered her head to her desk with a low moan of distress. “Just kill me now.”

There was the whisper of movement, then Jamie said, “I’m just going to...go.”

A few minutes passed, but it seemed like an eternity. The silence was unbearable. He made no sound, but she felt Drake’s presence looming over her. Like the angel of doom, she thought sullenly. Tessa raised her head and slowly looked up at Drake, who was indeed standing right in front of her desk. His strong, handsome face was a mask of impassivity, but his eyes—holy God, those bright blue eyes—were blazing with heat.

“Drake, I...”

“Come with me.”


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