Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Once Upon a Christmas Moon

The authors will giveaway a copy of their previous anthologies. A Valentine Anthology, A St. Patrick's Day Tale and A May Day Anthology to three randomly drawn commenter.
Title: Once Upon a Christmas Moon
Authors: Christine Young, C. L. Kraemer, Genie Gabriel
ISBN: ebook: 978-1-62420-369-5   POD: 978-1979071093
Genre: Anthology/Roamnce/Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at: Amazon

A collection of stories about the magic of romance at Christmas time.


When Archer Steele shows up at Calanthe Durand's failing plantation with
an alligator over his shoulder, Cali thinks she's never seen a more
handsome man. During the war she had to defend herself and her servants
from both union and confederate soldiers. Independent and
self-sufficient, she vows to never marry. But Archer Steele has
different ideas. The first time Archer sees Cali in town, he feels an
instant attraction. He decides he will do everything and anything to
convince the beautiful Miss Durand he is worthy of her love. During the
weeks leading up to Christmas, he gives her twelve gifts in hopes she
will fall in love with him.

An ancient evil from the old country has arrived in the high desert of
Oregon. Gnome children are vanishing then re-appearing, showing various
stages of traumatization. Tiamoon, warrior gnome, will put her skills to
use alongside Killian, a handsome warrior, also in need of a cause.

With their world destroyed and their space ship malfunctioning, the
dogizens of Planet Canid have little choice but to crash land on Earth.
They face tortuous experiments at the hands of the Geeks in Green...or
they can trust an eccentric inventor and his zany family to deliver the
Canine Queen's puppies and help them celebrate new lives.

EXCERPTS: Once Upon a Christmas Moon

Twelve Days to Love
Christine Young

Near New Orleans October 2,1867

“Sam! Close the shutters on the back landing. I’ll get the front. Hurry. There’s a storm coming.” Calanthe Durand felt the small hairs on the back of her neck rise and shivers run down her spine. A big storm was on its way, probably a hurricane. Energy and fear poured through her like the pounding rain and flooding that accompanied high winds. Closing the house to the storm was imperative.
Cali took a moment to smile. She’d heard Sam grunt. He didn’t talk much, but she wouldn’t have survived the war or these last two years without Sam and his daughter Daisy. Both sides, the North and the South, had occupied their home. Daisy and Sam were family, the only family she had. She’d do whatever was necessary to protect them. Even with emancipation, life wasn’t easy for blacks in the south.
“I’ve got them, Miss Cali.” Daisy rushed past her and out the door. Wind whipped her hair and tugged at her dress. Branches torn from trees landed on the porch.
Cali followed, the storm swirling around her, her hair beating against her face. Her breath was ragged, and fast as her heart thundered. She pushed and tugged at her skirt, trying to detangle the fabric from her legs. “Get inside!” The tempest raging around them swallowed her voice.
“Not until we’re finished here.” Daisy fastened a shutter before moving on to the next one.
They worked together to protect the windows from the storm on the raised porch which stood five feet off the ground as wind howled around the eaves. A steady rain poured from the black sky, and lightning slashed the darkness.
Cali pushed dripping strands of hair that had slipped from her chignon away from her face. “I’ll light the candles. It could get dark here pretty fast.”
“Horses and livestock are safe for now.” Sam stepped beside her. “Hope it’s not a big one.”
“Hello up there. Hello, bonjour, anyone home?”
Hearing the voice from below, Cali left the protection of the house to lean over the porch railing. Below her a man stood, with cupped hands to his mouth and a dead gator slung over one shoulder a quiver filled with arrows on the other. “Hello. Can I get shelter from the hurricane?”
“Don’t know if it’s a hurricane.” Terrified of unknown men, Cali didn’t want to do the charitable thing. She pursed her lips, thinking, but all that came to surface was memories of troops commandeering her home. Good lord but she’d had to hollow out a bedpost to hide her jewelry. The soldiers had taken everything they could see. Sometimes she felt as if the war had ripped her soul from her body.
“Maybe not a hurricane. Could be just a bad storm, but I don’t want to be on the swamp right now. The water’s rising.” A loud roar and a thunderclap followed his pause. Behind him an old Cyprus tree crashed to the ground, uprooted by the wind.
“You can take shelter in the stable.” Cali watched his back stiffen, while she swallowed hard, but she wasn’t about to back down. The stable was good enough for some wandering man who she owed nothing. Besides, there was a tack room with a bed. No one slept there anymore, but she kept it clean and the moss in the mattress was fresh. Daisy had rolled it out two days ago. Yet a small niggling in the back of her head kept telling her this wasn’t a traveling man but one of means. He was a man she should treat as a gentleman. She’d been taught better but the war had changed all that and the lessons she learned were not served to her with a silver spoon.
“Much obliged.” He nodded before turning toward the barn. His natural swagger and broad shoulders sent a different kind of sensation through her. Warmth swept inside, swirling within and heating her frozen heart. For a moment he looked back, a strange expression on his well-chiseled face.

Boots and Blades
C.L. Kraemer

High Desert, Central Oregon

Killian stared at the rise of rock from the desert floor. The emerging sun tricked the sky into revealing pink and blue streamers across the horizon exposing the severe lines of craggy mountains. Pine trees scented the air, and the slightest hint of sage tickled his nose.
“Where are they disappearing to? They’re much too young to be running away.”
“Master Killian?”
The young man turned his blue gray eyes from the mountain to answer. “Yes, Ms. Luna. What can I do for you?”
“Are you sitting out here at this early hour worrying about the young ones?” Luna’s black hair was braided down her back and she sported a shawl bright with her clan’s colors. She handed the young man a steaming cup of coffee. “I hope you don’t mind black. I’ve yet to milk the goat.”
Killian flashed her a seldom seen smile. “Ms. Luna, you make the best coffee in the desert. Black is fine.”
Taking up a spot next to him on the porch, she turned her attention to the mountains admiring the soft colors of rose and tan springing to life in the morning sun. “What is it that haunts you so?”
“The illogicality of it all.”
“Aye, I figured that. It is indeed illogical. The children are too responsible to leave unannounced, yet they are snatched from their beds in the middle of the night with no clues.”
Killian sipped the wicked black brew and allowed the liquid to spike his taste buds. The brilliant light of a new day was caressing the landscape and warming the air. “The kinders disappearing are not inclined to run off. They are the eldest and most reliable. These missings make no sense. They don’t happen in the same area or at the same time. They’re completely arbitrary and being so—random—has given me pause to find a method. If I were to discover a pattern, the recovery would be simpler.”
Luna watched the anguish distort his handsome young face. His blue eyes clouded to a dark grey when he spoke of the missing children, and his normally full mouth stretched to a tight slash across his face.
“I don’t wish to sound cruel, but none of these are young ones of your own family. Why take their absence to heart?”
Killian relaxed his scowl a bit, and a smile began to touch his lips. “Because it is they who will be the leaders of our clans in but a few short years. I had hoped to retire my sword someday to warm my boots by a fire. Having a mate and young ones around isn’t such a bad idea.”
He automatically sipped his dark brew. It would indeed be nice to warm my feet by a fire with a mate and children. The problem being I’ve found no person who makes me think in such terms.
“Well, I must admit, Master Killian, I never would have thought you to be the settling type.” She picked up his cup, returning from the kitchen minutes later with fresh coffee in the container.
“Neither had I, Ms. Luna, neither had I, however, aside from our missing young ones, there has been no conflict between the clans, nor have the Others tried to interfere in our affairs in a very long time. It is a good thing for many but for me, what good is a warrior without a war?”
Luna could only agree with his forlorn assessment; what good, indeed, was a warrior without a war? “Maybe a solution will arrive in the near future. You never know.”
Killian shrugged his shoulders. Who knew indeed?

Christmas Pawsibilities
Genie Gabriel

“So where is this alien craft?”
Fletcher had never completely trusted Commander Viktor Atrocitor. Since he had taken command of GIG two years ago, the atmosphere at the agency had become cold and suspicious, like the man himself. He seemed carved from six and a half feet of granite, blocky and scowling.
“It has disappeared.” Fletcher knew this statement would draw Atrocitor’s ire and disdain, but what was the use of denying the obvious?
“Fool! Can you do nothing right?” Atrocitor turned to the GIG agents waiting at a wary distance. “Search the neighborhood. Someone must have seen something or is hiding them.”
While Atrocitor berated Fletcher, other GIG agents spread throughout the neighborhood, offending pretty much everyone by demanding they stay in their houses while their property was overrun and searched.
After two hours of fruitless searching, Commander Atrocitor called a halt. “If you want to save your career and this town, you will bring me these aliens within twenty-four hours.”
As Fletcher watched the caravan of GIG vehicles disappear down the road out of Watermark, he felt like a six-year-old kid again. Bullied and humiliated for his belief that beings from distant galaxies simply wanted to explore and build alliances. They weren’t like aliens in movies who wanted to destroy humanity.
That’s why Fletcher started working at Geeks in Green. He thought he found other humans like himself who believed alliances with aliens could benefit everyone. Now he was starting to believe the rumors about Commander Atrocitor being heartless and determined to eliminate aliens were true. How could he know for sure?
His thoughts were interrupted when Agnes staggered out the back door toward the barn. “Who’s disturbing my goats?”
With her hair disheveled and her clothes askew, she did indeed look as if she had spent a raucous night of partying—the after-effects of being zapped by a ray gun.
Laycee and Fletcher followed Agnes into the barn, where the spacecraft was once again visible. Now the hatch was open, with guards standing on either side pointing ray guns at Agnes, Laycee and Fletcher.
“Holy extraterrestrial!”
With a sizzle of purple, one of the alien guards fired his gun and Fletcher crumpled to the ground.
“Why did you do that?” Ryan hustled out of the spacecraft.
“He is of GIG,” one of the guards stated. “He is a danger to our Queen.”
“Is he dead?” Ryan knelt over Fletcher’s inert body.
“Simply stunned. We will revive him when the danger to our Queen is gone.” The two guards loaded Fletcher onto a transport board, which levitated and moved inside the spacecraft.
“Your mouth isn’t moving but I can hear your words.” Laycee’s shocked whisper matched the stunned expression in her eyes.
“Our Canine Queen is birthing and is not to be disturbed.” This time the alien’s mouth moved as he spoke, and he looked like any other human except for a twinkle of star light in his eyes. “Weren’t you getting milk for the royal puppies?”
“Yes.” Ryan refocused his attention on this task, determined to ignore Laycee’s presence. What was she doing here anyway? “Agnes, do you have milk from your goats?”
“My goats don’t much like to be milked.”
“Surely it can’t be that difficult,” Ryan said.
Agnes lifted an eyebrow. “You’re welcome to try. I’ll get a clean bucket.”
Determined to get milk for the Queen’s puppies, Ryan began stalking one of the goats.
“I think it should be a female,” Laycee said.
Ryan felt like a first grader again. “I knew that.”
Laycee coughed behind her hand to cover her laughter. “There’s a girl goat on top of the space ship.”
Ryan looked up the curved, smooth surface. “Maybe there’s another girl somewhere easier to reach.”
He stepped around the space ship and over the boards broken when the craft crashed through the roof. “There’s a girl! Help me get her into a stall.”
While Ryan circled around the nanny goat one way, Laycee closed in on her from the other side. The little goat narrowed her eyes at the humans and, when they were within a couple feet of her, she let out a bleat and ran between Ryan’s legs. Startled, he stumbled and dropped to one knee.
“Watch out!” Laycee’s shout made Ryan turn in time to see an irritated male goat charging toward him.

Christie L. Kraemer Bio
A traveler for most of her life, C. L. Kraemer has settled in the Northwest with her husband and two cats. When not creating a new world or entity, she likes riding next to her husband on their Harleys.

Genie Gabriel
Fur against my face and the soft smell of a dog curled protectively around me existed before my first memories of this life. So began my journey of being more in tune with animals than with people.

I went through the expected motions of marriage, kids, divorce, and career, but usually out of step with most of the human population. This proved to be an advantage in developing an independence and a curiosity about things most people don’t even consider.

A minor health issue led to energy healing and becoming a master level Reiki practitioner. Working at the local animal shelter flipped on the switch to communicating with animals. Each dog I adopted showed miraculous changes most people couldn’t believe.

As a writer, I explored the mysteries of why people behave as they do, and also became fascinated by science, especially quantum physics. But perhaps my favorite way of writing stories is to ask the question, “What if?” and dive into those imagined worlds—surrounded by my beloved furbabies, of course!
Christine Young
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children.  Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.


Christmas, anthology, romance, fantasy, adventure, mystery


Rogue’s Angels


Christine Young

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Everlasting Love

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Miranda Cummings inhaled the fresh fir scent the moment she opened the door of her Chevy Impala-the fragrance of freedom. The cold, crisp air bit at her warm cheeks yet she felt exhilarated. Gravel and slushy snow crunched under her shoes as she hurried around her car. Opening the passenger door she picked up her overnight bag and placed the strap on her shoulder then she added her computer bag. Not wanting to make another trip out in the cold, she hooked several grocery bags on each hand. With one swift hip movement, she closed the door.

Gingerly she walked up the three snow-covered, wooden steps to the deck. Focusing on her weekend of solitude, she quickened her pace to the cabin on her right.

“Can I help you?” a deep baritone voice startled Miranda causing her to fling her arms out and drop one of her grocery bags.

Intent on carrying her belongings into the cabin, she hadn’t seen or heard the man behind her. Turning around, she froze. Reclined in an old-fashioned, white cast iron bathtub with claw feet, the man appeared relaxed, content and not at all perturbed as he bathed on a deck outside.

Steam rose from his warm water into the cold air. Water dripped from his short brown hair and glistened on his muscular torso. She suppressed the desire to caress the breadth of his wide shoulders. Stubble darkened his face with a day’s growth of beard. His rugged good looks caused her heart to flutter.

“I must have made a wrong turn…“ She couldn’t tear her gaze from his broad chest. As the water droplets traveled down his body her gaze followed suit. Miranda realized the hunk of a man was not only tranquil but also very naked. His muscular arms, which rested on the edges of the tub, could easily wrap around her. She wanted to feel his strength, his support from those strong arms. “…somewhere,” her voice squeaked.

He reached down and picked up a can of beer, which sat on the deck. Tipping the can back he took a swig then set the beer beside the tub. “Where were you going?”

His pecks rippled when he moved. Look at his face not his chest, Miranda scolded herself. “A friend of mine has a cabin up here.”

She glanced at the A-frame structure to her right nestled in a grove of fir trees where she’d intended to spend a couple of nights off the beaten path. Flower boxes below the two paned windows held browned plants from winter’s frost. The plumbing’s primitive her friend had said, which would explain a bathtub on the deck. The cabin in front of her fit her friend’s description.

“Abby Denton, I mean Chambers. Abby Chambers said I could stay at their cabin for a few days.” Confident she’d found the right place Miranda met his gaze.

She shifted the packages to her left hand and pulled a GPS device from her coat pocket. “I was a little confused on which road to take at the bottom of the hill.” She couldn’t stop rambling in her attempt to hide her obvious desire for this man.

Miranda looked toward the front of the cabin again. When she heard water splash, she stole a quick glance in his direction wondering if he’d gotten out of the tub.

He tilted his beer back for another drink then returned it to the deck. “You found the right place.” His angular features appeared stern and unyielding.

“Oh good.” Her shoulders lowered, relaxed. “How long until you leave?” Miranda’s gaze held his. She’d planned a quiet weekend which did not include a ruggedly, attractive man. Even with the snow falling around them she felt overly warm and knew the man in front of her caused her flush.

“Lady, it took me half an hour to fill this tub. If you don’t mind, I’m staying in here till the water’s ice cold,” the man’s rich voice drew her attention to his firm chin and broad, enticing smile which reflected in his eyes. “Then I plan to have a good night’s sleep in there.” His toned arm lifted as he pointed toward the cabin.

The man’s brows rose suggestively and Miranda wondered if he knew she found him appealing in a primitive, sexual way. He winked. He knew.

Miranda needed solitude, a chance to put her thoughts on paper. She had a deadline. Within three weeks, her editor required a completed manuscript on her desk. Since she filed for divorce, six months ago, Miranda found writing a romance novel impossible. To create a story of everlasting love was now ridiculous. She knew first hand there was no such thing as happily ever after.

“Obviously Abby and her brother Scott don’t communicate very well. Scott allowed me use of the cabin for the weekend.” The man shrugged his shoulders, his firm pecks lifted with ease.

Tiny snowflakes continued to drift down and stick to the frozen, wooden deck around her. Twilight settled around them with a darkening cloud-filled sky, which held a promise of more snow. Frustrated from the drive up the road, Miranda had no desire to turn around and drive back to town on a snowy mountain road especially at this time of night. She slipped the GPS unit back in her coat pocket. Her stomach churned; she desired this time as much as the stranger in the tub wanted a retreat. She needed a break so bad Miranda was willing to share the cabin with the man she’d just met.

“We could share the place. I’ll stay in my room and you won’t even know I’m here.” She tried to wave her hand in the air but the bags in her grasp forestalled the movement.

The man’s humorous laugh rumbled deep in his chest, causing excitement to dance through her.

“You’ve never stayed here before?” his reply was more of a statement than a question.

Miranda shook her head. “No. Why?”

“The cabin has one room.” He held up the index finger of his right hand. “Not one bedroom but one room. Kitchen, living area and bed are all in one room.” He studied her face.

Determined to hold her ground and not reveal her feelings, she tried to maintain a neutral expression on her face. The packages suddenly weighed her arms down and strained against her fingers. Miranda didn’t know how much longer she could hold them.

“If you’ll excuse me, my water is now cold and I’m getting out of the tub,” he stated matter-of-factly.

Miranda froze. She was unable to move and incapable of taking her eyes off his powerful male form. Reaching for a towel, which rested on a chair beside the tub, he started to stand up. She looked toward the cabin again. Could she spend the weekend in the small cabin with this stranger? She shook her head. The fact she didn’t know him wouldn’t be the challenge. The knowledge she’d spend the time with a virile, handsome man was what stopped her.

When she returned her attention to him, the towel was securely wrapped around his lower torso. With a desire for her fingers to run along the edge of the towel, Miranda swallowed quickly. Her gaze followed the caressing water down his body. He had a perfect male form straight from a page of her romance books. At least six feet tall, his body was lean and muscular. Desire had her heart racing.

Water dripped down his contoured torso and absorbed into the towel wrapped tightly around his waist.

“You’re welcome to spend the night, but I’m not sleeping on the couch,” he said.

Mesmerized, her gaze followed his movements as he started walking toward her. Standing within Miranda’s comfort zone, he glanced down at her face. His nearness didn’t trouble her. She felt the attraction and desire even stronger. Clutching the plastic bags tighter, Miranda suppressed the need to touch his bare chest and wipe the moisture off his skin. Rich chocolate brown eyes held her spellbound; the kindness she saw put her at ease.

“I don’t bite. At least not too hard.” His smile was her undoing, her legs felt weak and if she weren’t careful she’d follow him anywhere.

His statement brought to mind two lovers intertwined. Desire raced through her, heating her blood. The magnetism from this man radiated a rugged sex appeal she couldn’t refuse.  Without a doubt, she knew if she spent the night here they’d have an evening of passionate sex. Staring at the man’s dark hair and broad shoulders, Miranda couldn’t think of a down side to this situation. She’d never had a friend with benefits or a one-night stand. Not even a short-term affair.

He gave her a slow lazy smile. “What’s your name?”

She swallowed quickly to relieve the dryness in her throat. “Miranda Cummings.”

“Miranda,” his deep rich voice awakened a hunger within her. “Nice to meet you. I’m Kevin Mathews.”

His grasp felt firm, strong and matched the confidence she’d seen in his eyes. She wanted to feel his caress on her bare skin; her body. He stared at their joined hands, and Miranda wondered if he felt as moved by their touch as she did.

“Scott and Abby have been friends of mine for a long time. I’d suggest you call and verify my credentials but most cell phones don’t work up here.” Holding the towel ends at his waist with one hand, he bent down and with his other hand he retrieved her grocery bag from the deck. The lower ends of the terrycloth opened slightly revealing a very masculine, toned thigh. “So Miranda what’s it going to be?” Lifting her bag of groceries up, he asked. “Do I take this to your car or to the cabin?” His brows arched in an obvious challenge.

Miranda thought of the divorce papers she’d received that morning and the freedom she’d experienced for the first time in years. She wasn’t one to make a snap decision, but her newfound independence and her need for a weekend away overrode her logical judgment. She nodded. “I’m staying.”