Archive for March, 2014


Tempted From the Oak Cover

 

It’s release day for TEMPTED FROM THE OAK (Tales of the Grove #2)! The Tales of the Grove tell the stories of the Gille Dubh, or Dark Men, a race of male tree spirits native to Scotland. The Gille Dubh and their daragin, the sentient oak trees in which they live, were thought to have died out thousands of years ago, but one by one (two by two, actually), the Gille Dubh and their daragin are reawakening.

 

In celebration of Tearlach and Gavin, please enjoy Chapter Two from TEMPTED FROM THE OAK!

 

 

 

Gavin turned up the collar of his leather jacket as he walked and tugged his hat down around his ears then plunged his hands back into the pockets as deep as they’d go. Which wasn’t nearly deep enough. Fortunately it wasn’t all that windy anymore and the snow they’d been predicting all day was apparently going to hold off long enough for him to get home, at least.
Home. He tried not to wince as he trudged along the path through the park in the darkness, new snow crunching under his thrift-store boots. He had a home for a few more days, at least. Jeremy hadn’t wanted to kick him out at Christmastime. Sleeping on the couch, though, didn’t feel much like any kind of home he’d ever heard of. Especially not with a tipsy ex-boyfriend and his equally tipsy new boyfriend tiptoeing past him in the middle of the night, trying to make it to the bedroom without turning on the lights.
It’s my own damn fault. Gavin wondered how people ever managed to take comfort in the thought that they’d brought their troubles on themselves. Maybe that was the kind of thing people only did in books. The notion—the entirely true notion, unfortunately—that he was wholly responsible for his current predicament left him feeling nauseous rather than comforted.
He’d been an idiot. The ink hadn’t even been dry on his diploma—Gavin Cross, M.F.A. in Scenic Design—when he’d met Jeremy at a performance at the Bathhouse Theater. He’d thought it was kismet, meeting a hot and available guy who just happened to be looking for a roommate in the same city as the Guthrie Theater, the very place he’d had his heart set on working ever since his undergraduate days.
Maybe it had actually been kismet. But just because something was fated to happen didn’t mean it was a good idea. Moving halfway across the country and moving in with a guy with the emotional maturity of Miley Cyrus had been a spectacularly bad idea. One step closer to his dream, sure, but maybe he wasn’t supposed to be getting closer to that dream just yet. Or ever for that matter. Now here he was—four days before Christmas—looking at ringing in the New Year sleeping on the street in the middle of a Minnesota winter unless one of the leads he’d found on Craigslist surprised the hell out of him by calling him back.
You, my boy, are a fucking idiot. Which was news to absolutely no one, least of all to the fucking idiot himself. Gavin had a long and ignoble history of deciding he “ought to” be in love with someone for whatever reason—because everyone said a guy was perfect for him, because a guy had smiled at him when he was having a bad day or because a guy offered him half a bed in the city of his dreams and ambitions—and then making himself do what he “ought” to do. It was kind of like crushing except that a crush was something mindless and whatever it was he did, he always did it to himself with his eyes wide open. Which broke his heart every time. And this time, it had also brought him halfway across the country to a deep freeze in which he knew essentially no one and committed him to a future with a man who saw him as a temporary decoration rather than a permanent fixture.
You could always go home, you know. Gavin hated the sensible voice in the back of his head with a passion. It’s not like you stand a chance at the Guthrie, not for years yet. Why hang around here and let the man you convinced yourself you loved treat you like shit when your only reason to stay is a pipe dream?
Well, at least the being-treated-like-shit part was getting taken care of.

Little spots of cold stung his face. Great, the snow decided not to wait. There was already a good foot of it on the ground, more than he’d ever seen in one place at one time before. And Jeremy had said earlier in the month, when the two of them were still on speaking terms, that Mother Nature was just getting warmed up. Mother Nature can take this particular twelve inches and she can shove it where
Gavin blinked, then squinted. Loring Lake was up ahead on his left. And— impossible on this overcast night—a huge oak tree on the shore was bathed in the cool white of moonlight.
A spotlight? Gavin studied the tree and the ground around it. But there was no light source, no reason for there to be one—and judging from the shadows, the light was coming from above. The way moonlight was supposed to.
Bemused, he did a quick three-sixty. He hadn’t seen many people out tonight to begin with—apparently, even hardy Minnesotans preferred to spend the longest night of the year indoors. This end of Loring Park was nearly deserted, but there were a few other people on the paths and not one of them seemed to be paying any attention to the odd phenomenon, despite the way the clear light bathing the tree made it stand out from the darkness around it.
Gavin shrugged. It’s not like I’m in a huge hurry to get home. Damn, there was that word again.
As soon as he stepped off the path, the snow was over the tops of his boots. It clung to his jeans and fell into his boots, one soft clump after another as he slogged through the unmarked snow. He hardly noticed, though. His gaze was fixed on the tree.
That’s odd. The moonlight—if that’s what it was—cast no shadows anywhere but under the tree itself. He was almost to the overhanging boughs now and glanced up— having a snow-covered branch dump its load down the back of his neck a couple of weeks ago had been enough for him.
The snow on the branches was melting.

Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.

Gavin stepped into the circle of moonlight.

He was still under an oak tree. A completely different oak tree, one growing out of bare and rocky soil, its roots visible in places. The sounds of an urban park, cars and planes and dogs barking, were gone, replaced by a profound silence. Only the moonlight was the same, pouring down through the branches and dappling the ground.
Gavin spun around to look back the way he’d come. There was no sign of snow or park or lighted walking path. Only darkness and a sense of something massive, looming, blotting out the moonlight. Something that definitely hadn’t been there a few seconds ago. The lake was gone too. Where it had been was a rocky slope scattered with patches of scrub grass. Down the slope, a few hundred yards or so, he could make out water, gleaming in the clear white light. And the stars were glorious.
Shouldn’t I be panicking? Gavin looked past the tree, down toward the water. I’m not. Not yet, anyway. Maybe I would, if this were even a little less impossible. As his eyes adjusted to moonlight and starlight, he could make out shadows rising around the lake. Great hills or small mountains, their tops mostly bare, pale stone. Chances were the presence he could still feel at his back was another one. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Minneapolis anymore.
Wherever he was, it was warmer than Loring Park had been. The leather jacket was still a good idea but he pulled off his knit cap and stuffed it into a pocket, running his hand idly over the short dark fuzz the barber had left him yesterday. Jeremy liked his hair long. Which was a reason for a buzz cut if he’d ever heard one.
Maybe I’m dreaming. Though if he was, why he’d started dreaming in the middle of an after-work stroll through the park was an open question. Unless the whole day had been a dream. Surely, though, there were better things to dream about than spending six hours explaining the difference between a tall, a grande and a venti. Still, dreaming was the only explanation he could come up with off the top of his head that didn’t somehow involve total insanity on his part.
Gavin tipped his head back, looking up through the branches and the sparse leaves into the impossibly beautiful night sky. If it was a dream he’d wake soon enough. Hopefully not when Jeremy or his Quentin or Benton or whatever the hell his name is trips over me again.
He shook his head. There was no place, no time for idle thoughts here, or fear, or nursing a grudge. It was just too damn beautiful. Stark, silent and peaceful. Exactly what he needed.
The space around the oak was a little more grassy, a little less rocky. Gavin slid down the trunk to sit. He’d almost touched down when he lurched to one side, as a rock rolled out from under the heel of his waterlogged boot. The heel of his hand skidded off more stones as he caught himself and he felt the slam all the way up to his shoulder as he finally fell against a gnarled tree root.
Cursing under his breath, he fell back against the trunk of the tree and rolled his shoulder, shook out his hand. Bleeding. Hell. But it wasn’t the ache or the scrape he minded so much as the broken spell.
“Damn it.” His voice sounded much too loud in the stillness and he lowered it to a murmur. “No peace even in my dreams.”
The crown of the oak tossed as if in a wind.

But there was no wind.
Peace is here. Leaf on leaf, the tree whispered to him. Wait for it.

 

 

For the whole story, check out:  http://www.amazon.com/Tempted-From-Oak-Rory-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00J8N6SY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396035509&sr=8-1&keywords=Tempted+from+the+Oak+Rory+Ni+Coileain

 

And the story begins with HEART OF THE OAK (Tales of the Grove #1):  http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Oak-Boys-Will-Do-ebook/dp/B00FBF4XIY/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_d_2

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So I sing in my church choir. Our Sunday contingent is very small, usually a quartet. Today it was a trio. We sit up in the chancel, facing the congregation. In our lovely red robes, with our big black music folders. And I was listening to Rev. Susan’s sermon this morning, and suddenly I knew exactly what my WIP was missing. So I took the pencil out of my music folder, and started making notes on the front cover of my bulletin. I probably looked very studious and attentive…. at least, I hope I did…

They know all about me at church, though. Rev. Susan’s wife is probably my biggest cheerleader, and I’ve already had to explain to my choir director that no, sorry, I’m going to be missing Easter this year because I’m going to be at an LGBT romance readers’/writers’ convention in Tampa…

Oh, conventions…. here’s my schedule for the spring and summer. Hope to see you at one of them!

April 17-20: Rainbow Con, Tampa, FL. QUILTBAG conference.

July 3-6:  CONvergence, Bloomington, MN. Science Fiction/Fantasy conference.

September 26-28:  Midwestern Book Lovers Unite, Minneapolis, MN. Romance conference.

Firestorm for Kindle — http://www.amazon.com/Firestorm-Soulshares-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00IOWB2BW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1393540924&sr=1-1&keywords=rory+ni+coileain

Firestorm for Kindle, UK — http://www.amazon.co.uk/Firestorm-Soulshares-Rory-Ni-Coileain-ebook/dp/B00IOWB2BW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1393543044&sr=1-1&keywords=rory+ni+coileain

Firestorm for Nook — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/firestorm-rory-ni-coileain/1118761114?ean=2940149592579

Firestorm for Kobo — http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/firestorm-45

Firestorm, Ravenous Romance — http://ravenousromance.com/fantastica/firestorm-soulshares-number-iv.php?keyword=firestorm&search_by=all

Firestorm, All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-firestorm-1436511-340.html

Firestorm, Bookstrand — http://www.bookstrand.com/firestorm-3

Heart of the Oak for Kindle — http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Oak-Boys-Will-ebook/dp/B00FBF4XIY/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1380206135&sr=1-4&keywords=Heart+of+the+Oak

 

Heart of the Oak for Nook — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-the-oak-rory-ni-coileain/1116996454?ean=9781419948145

Heart of the Oak for Kobo — http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/heart-of-the-oak

Heart of the Oak, All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-heartoftheoak-1374595-340.html

 

Deep Plunge for Kindle (US) — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00EV7OAYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377825393&sr=1-1&keywords=Deep+Plunge+Rory+Ni+Coileain

Deep Plunge, trade paperback, Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Plunge-SoulShares-Number-III/dp/1607779498/ref=la_B009M8XQP2_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394317628&sr=1-1

Deep Plunge, Ravenous Romance — http://www.ravenousromance.com/fantastica/deep-plunge-soulshares-number-iii.php

Deep Plunge, All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deepplunge-1271533-145.html

Deep Plunge, Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deep-plunge-rory-ni-coileain/1116795221?ean=2940148572602

Deep Plunge, Kobo — http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/deep-plunge

Deep Plunge for Kindle (UK) — http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-Plunge-SoulShares-ebook/dp/B00EV7OAYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378063082&sr=1-1&keywords=Deep+Plunge+Rory+Ni+Coileain

 

Gale Force for Kindle (US) — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Soulshares-ebook/dp/B00BSEDKB8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363476525&sr=8-3&keywords=Gale+Force

Gale Force for Kindle (UK) — http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gale-Force-Soulshares-ebook/dp/B00BSEDKB8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363112251&sr=8-1

Gale Force, trade paperback, Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/Gale-Force-Soulshares-Volume-2/dp/160777934X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375935343&sr=8-1&keywords=Gale+Force+Rory+Ni+Coileain

Gale Force, Ravenous Romance — http://www.ravenousromance.com/fantastica/gale-force.php

Gale Force, All Romance eBooks — https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardasstone-977359-143.html

Gale Force, Barnes & Noble (Nook) — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gale-force-rory-ni-coileain/1114819137?ean=2940016296111

Gale Force, Kobo — http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Gale-Force/book-Lcg0U_igUUyXOsufiKIvPQ/page1.html?s=GakQctslHkqvHH3JsFY8JQ&r=3

Gale Force, Angus & Robertson (Australia!) — http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebook/gale-force/40329536/

Gale Force, Amazon (Kindle) Germany — http://www.amazon.de/Gale-Force-Soulshares-ebook/dp/B00BSEDKB8

 

Hard as Stone for Kindle — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-as-Stone-ebook/dp/B009SX91JQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355285138&sr=8-1&keywords=hard+as+stone+rory+ni+coileain

Hard as Stone, trade paperback, Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/Hard-as-Stone-Rory-Coileain/dp/1607779293/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363476804&sr=1-1&keywords=hard+as+stone+rory+ni+coileain

Hard as Stone for Nook — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-as-stone-rory-ni-coileain/1113526804?ean=2940015530766

Hard as Stone, Kobo — http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Hard-As-Stone/book-06D0J5iMoEOk2FwhYFWLnQ/page1.html?s=1sR8MxtCREeacsxkHGm4gQ&r=2

Hard as Stone at Ravenous Romance’s Web site — http://www.ravenousromance.com/fantastica/hard-as-stone.php

Hard as Stone at Fictionwise — http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b135271/Hard-as-Stone/Rory-Ni-Coileain/?si=0

 

Dangerous Curves (anthology) for Kindle (writing as Susan Swann) — http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Curves-Stories-Voluptuous-ebook/dp/B007ZE2H2S/ref=sr_1_18?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355285356&sr=1-18&keywords=Dangerous+Curves

Here’s an excerpt from Blowing Smoke, the first book in the Broken Pattern cycle of the SoulShares. (I’m sitting at my desk, looking out my back window at the sight of snow melting, hearing a chorus of angels singing “Hallelujah,” and I’m just so happy I need to spread a little joy around!) This bit is part of Chapter 7, and it doesn’t actually involve the main characters, Lasair Faol and Bryce Newhouse (ducks objects thrown by those who have read the first four books and think I’ve lost my mind). This chapter lets us catch up with Lochlann and Garrett, the Fae healer and the pole dancer from Deep Plunge. Enjoy!

Garrett slid a hand down Lochlann’s side, along the curve of his ass to his thigh where it rested over his own. At the same time, he leaned in, catching the dark Fae’s startled breath with a kiss, and a soft laugh.
Lochlann relaxed into him, deepening the kiss, and using his leg to draw him closer. Garrett’s hips tilted, without him telling them to, getting the most out of the sweet friction.
“My morning wood thanks you.” He didn’t feel like pulling back from the kiss, so his lips rasped against Lochlann’s heavy stubble. One more reason to regret all the years he hadn’t been waking up with his SoulShare. Or anyone. “Though it’s almost my afternoon wood.”
“Noon?” Lochlann worked his hand between the two of them and wrapped it around Garrett’s erection, his thumb immediately going to the heavy ring piercing the head. “You’re up early. In several senses of the word.”
“Noon isn’t early.” Garrett groaned as Lochlann toyed with his PA. “You realize, I’m supposed to be using that to drive you insane.”
“It is when you got in so late.” Lochlann’s smile was pure wickedness. “And life’s unfair, grafain. Get used to it.”
“That wasn’t a complaint, exactly.” Garrett bit his lip, closing his eyes to focus on Lochlann’s touch. It was still new, this thing of having someone else focused on his pleasure. Hell, someone else focused on blowing his mind with every touch, every kiss, every word out of his mouth.
After almost ten years of renting his ass out to pay the rent and keep the lights on, and almost nine of being HIV-positive, Garrett had become an expert at sex without intimacy. Expert even for a rent-boy. Whore. Fracun, the Marfach had called him. A thing, an object, only valued for how it was used, not for what it was. Lochlann had been furious, but Garrett had just shrugged. That was what he’d been, before Lochlann.
And to hear Lochlann tell it, Fae never got close either, and for some of the same reasons. The only way to be sure you couldn’t be broken was to be damn sure no one ever touched you.
The tip of Lochlann’s tongue traced over his closed eyelids, breaking off Garrett’s thoughts. He was glad. That train of thought never took him anywhere he wanted to go.
“I worried about you. Last night.” He could almost feel Lochlann’s voice, like silk on his skin. Rough silk.
“I’m sorry.” He flushed, opening his eyes. “I actually meant to tell you what happened, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open.” He hadn’t made it back to the hotel until just after sunrise, and the decadently soft bed had been way more temptation than he could handle.
Lochlann laughed softly, rolled Garrett onto his back, and pinned the lower half of his naked body to the bed with his own hips. “So tell me now.”
“Vice showed up, about an hour before closing.” Garrett felt his erection softening, and sighed. What happened to Purgatory affected all the Fae, though, and all their human partners. Report first, afternoon delight later. “They sent an undercover cop in first, but Lucien spotted him right away. He always does, I don’t think  Vice has ever gotten anyone past him.”
“What did Tiernan do before he hired Lucien?” Lochlann propped himself up on his elbows, his black hair tumbling down around his face as he studied Garrett. Apparently his lover wasn’t giving up on afternoon delight entirely.
“Nearly got busted a couple of times, I think. Kevin’s a fast talker, though, and it didn’t hurt that he’s a partner at a big-name law firm with some real clout. Fabian, the guy who owned the club before Tiernan, just bought off the cops. Probably put a dozen of their kids through college, just in the years I worked there. But Tiernan refused to work that way.” The new owner had started putting the protection money into improvements in the club. And in the salaries of the dancers.
“So Lucien called in Conall.” Lochlann worked the fingers of one hand into Garrett’s curls and tipped his head back, eyeing his throat speculatively.
“Yeah.” Garrett sucked in a breath between clenched teeth as Lochlann’s hot, soft lips caressed his throat. He’d compared notes with Kevin and Josh, and the humans were all in agreement that Fae never let any business, other than the most serious, interrupt amorous play. They were also all in agreement that that tendency was one of their more attractive features, and one of their most frustrating. “He doesn’t know that’s who he’s calling when he trips the alarm, he thinks it only goes to Tiernan’s office. But Conall showed up right away, down in the cock pit where no one would pay any attention to one more naked guy, and glamoured the cop.” According to Conall, an undercover officer with a see-no-evil channeling on him could stand on the edge of the cock pit and look down, and be convinced he was seeing a dimly lit, semi-private lounging area, with tables set up for drinks and maybe a few guys getting hot and heavy outside the clothes. He could even walk down into the pit, but the channeling didn’t work against physical objects, and things could get interesting if a cop ever tripped over a twink giving a BJ or a writhing mass of leather boys spilling off a sofa. So far, that hadn’t happened.
“So then what happened?” Lochlann started nuzzling right below Garrett’s left ear, his breath warm, his tongue gentle and insistent.
Then I had to stop for a mind-blowing orgasm. Jesus Christ in a rickshaw. Garrett had to pause for a couple of deep breaths before he could go on. “About half an hour before closing, Detective Harding came in.” Purgatory was part of Russ Harding’s bailiwick, had been since just after Tiernan bought the place. and while the Man from V.I.C.E. gave Tiernan props for running what he’d been heard to call a ‘remarkably clean place, considering,’ he was convinced Purgatory was crossing a line somewhere, and that it was his mission to find the line.
Things would be slightly less awkward if he were wrong. Between the “official” goings-on in the cock pit, the occasional freelance ass-rental a few of the dancers still kept up in the dressing room, and the tendency of some of their wealthier and better-connected customers to tip the dancers in designer drugs, there was probably enough action on any given night to keep butch cop Russ Harding busy for a week.
“And Conall took care of him, too.” It wasn’t a question.
“Well… kind of.”
That, unfortunately, brought Lochlann’s head up. “What do you mean, ‘kind of’?”
“When Detective Harding strolled over to the cock pit, he saw Conall. And he saw all of Conall, if you take my meaning.”
“The illusion didn’t work?”
“Apparently not. Conall thinks he just got careless. As soon as Harding said something, Tiernan came up with a distraction, and held his attention long enough to let Conall conjure some clothes, but even that glimpse was enough to put a bug up the cop’s ass. “ Garrett grinned as one of Lochlann’s fingers slipped briefly past his tight entrance. “Brat. Anyway, he went on the prowl, and it became my job to get everyone in the cock pit disentangled, dressed, and on their way out the door before he started to look too closely. Not that he ever actually goes into the pit.”
“And that was your job why?” A frown line appeared between Lochlann’s dark brows.
Garrett nipped his Fae lover’s chin. “Because Tiernan was escorting Harding around and trying to distract him from what he wasn’t supposed to see without looking like he was distracting him, and Conall had his hands full keeping the channeling up given that Harding was acting especially snoopy. I could have used Mac’s help, at least with getting guys out the door without it looking like a scene from fucking Exodus, but his prosthesis was giving him grief early on and Tiernan sent him home.”

GarrettDancing