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Tuesday
Feb252014

FIFTY FIRST TIMES is here and only 1.99! Read a sneak peek...

Look at that, it's another release day. This is seriously going to be the busiest three weeks ever for me, lol. But I'm really excited to be part of this kickass anthology. FIFTY FIRST TIMES is a New Adult anthology about *drumroll*...first times. How's that for a high concept title? ; )

My story is one of the two male/male stories in the bunch but there is something in this collection for everyone. And we have some awesome, big time authors in it too. So go forth and buy. This is not the normal price and I have no idea how long the promotional price of 1.99 will run so get it now! 

Buy it: Amazon | Nook | Kobo

And if you want to read a sneak peek of my story "Two In the Morning", scroll down. Happy reading!

Blurb:

You always remember your first time...

Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade.
Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.
Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan.

NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our first times, you'll have to buy us a pet monkey first.

 

 

***

 

READ THE OPENING OF MY STORY "Two in the Morning"

Copyrighted Material Roni Loren 2014 - All Rights Reserved Harper Collins Publishing Group

EXCERPT

There were three things I knew for sure as I lay in the dark of my cinder-block cell of a dorm room.

One: I shouldn’t be awake.

Two: I definitely should not be listening to my roommate round second base with Cami/Cassie/Chloe, or whatever her C-name was.

And, three: I should not be sporting the monster of all hard-ons from all those deep, growly sounds Malcolm kept making.

Goddammit.

I needed to turn over. I needed to face the window and my desk and the stack of physics textbooks instead of the wall with the closet and the narrow full length mirror that was giving me just enough view of movement to make me feel like some creeper. But I was afraid if I flipped over, I’d alert them that I was awake. I closed my eyes and tried to block it all out, but the girl’s muffled giggle and then kissing sounds made it hard to ignore. 

My gaze flicked over to the mirror again, and there was a flash of Malcolm’s bare shoulders as he shifted what’s-her-name beneath him. It wasn’t an unfamiliar sight. Hell, I’d seen Malcolm in the locker room every damn day during soccer season in high school, but something about seeing him like this was altogether different. It made me want things I shouldn’t. It made me want to tell him.

Who was I kidding? It made me want him.

Screw it. I couldn’t keep watching. I needed to move. I rolled over, wishing I could fall into some portal that would take me anywhere but here in this moment. It wouldn’t hurt if the portal could also transform me into a guy who’d be turned on by C-girl’s sighing girly sounds instead of my best friend’s caveman ones. My pillow shifted with me as I rolled, and the corner caught the wire from my phone charger. Horror streaked through me as my phone launched off the crates I used as a bedside table. I grabbed for it, the scene morphing into slow motion, but my fingers only grazed the wire. The phone clattered onto the ugly linoleum floor, making a noise that sounded like a bomb going off in the muffled quiet of the room.

I froze, my lips clamped together to keep the string of colorful profanities from escaping. Please God, please God, please…

Whispered sounds, then Malcolm’s sleepy, lust-drunk southern accent drifting over from across the room. “You awake, Bates?”

That’s it, God, I’m going atheist. 

I debated whether or not to open my mouth. What the hell was I supposed to say? Yeah, man, just hanging out over here listening to you get it on with your girl of the week. Soldier on. Don’t mind the tented sheets. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Fuck.

“Hmm?” I said, a lame attempt to sound like I was coming out of a deep sleep.

  The girl let out a whispered ohmigod, and there was a hurried rustling of sheets or clothes. Her voice was urgent and low but I could hear everything. “Malcolm, where’s my bra? Find it. I don’t want him to see anything.”

Malcolm chuckled at her obvious panic. “Bates, if you’re really awake, close your eyes for a minute. Chrissy’s got to get herself together.”

Chrissy. That was it. I knew it was something like that, but Mal went through hook-ups so quickly I’d need a spreadsheet and a flow chart to keep them straight. And dear Chrissy had no need to freak out. As much as I wished it weren’t the case, I had about as much interest in seeing her naked as I did in seeing my seventy-year old astronomy professor do a striptease. I’d tried the boob thing in high school. Saw them. Touched them. Even tasted one. Well, two, I guess. It wasn’t something you could just do one of,  apparently, but the whole experience had been clumsy and uncomfortable. 

“Um, you don’t have to leave because of me,” I said into the dark. “I can, you know, go hang out in the lounge until y’all are, uh, done or whatever.”  

Awkward, aisle one. But what else was I supposed to do? It was a high bullet point on the bro code that one should not cock-block a friend. I’d learned this freshman year from our dorm neighbors Howie and Jun. Apparently, Howie could never remember the sock tied around the doorknob signal and interrupted Jun and his girlfriend regularly. 

“Dude, it’s two in the morning,” Malcolm said. “What the hell are you going to do in the lounge?”

Not listen to you. Not think about you in completely non-best friend ways. Not wonder what’s she’s doing to get you to make those sounds. “They have cable out there.”

“No, it’s okay,” Chrissy said. “I need to get out of here anyway. I’m leaving early to drive home for Thanksgiving break, so I better get some sleep.”

“Baby, you don’t have to go so soon,” Malcolm said in that voice that I was convinced channeled the Force because it was so damn effective. Chrissy could probably feel her underwear being tugged down by invisible hands.

“Aww, you’re sweet,” she said and the click of heels hit the linoleum as she apparently slipped on her shoes. “But I really shouldn’t have stayed this late anyway. Call me when you get back into town, okay?”

“Definitely,” Malcolm said, all Alabama charm and promises. But I knew definitely probably meant never. Mal was good at finding girls to make out with but rarely hung out with any of them more than once or twice. This was Chrissy’s second rotation, so her library card was about to expire.

There was a quick smooch sound, more clicking of heels, and then a shaft of light cut across the room as she opened the door to the hall. She gave a little finger wave to us both and then slipped out.

I blew out a breath, thankful that my body was finally calming down and cooperating, but still feeling like a dick for interrupting. “I’m sorry, man. I didn’t meant to—”

“Nah,” Malcolm said, cutting him off and flicking on his desk lamp. “I knew you were awake the whole time.”

“What?” I pushed up on my elbows. 

He grinned, a flash of white teeth in the lamplight, as he climbed out of his bed. He grabbed a rubberband off his desk and tied his hair back, somehow making wavy shoulder-length hair look masculine. “Dude, you snore like a fucking lumberjack when you sleep, and you were quiet as a mouse tonight. Perv.”

My face went hot. “Y’all were noisy.”

He waggled his eyebrows. “I have that effect on women.”

I snorted. “If you knew I was up, why didn’t you say something sooner? You know I would’ve made myself scarce.”

He stretched his arms above his head, causing his pants to sink lower on his hips and his abs to flex in their full glory. God, did he have to preen? I was having a hard enough time focusing as it was. The talk I gave myself on a daily basis lately ran through my head on loop. He’s your best friend. He’s straight. He thinks you are, too. Ruin this and you have nothing. 


Monday
Feb242014

Win Gift Card Goodness in the RIDING DESIRE contests!

Hi y'all! First, HUGE thanks to everyone who has bought the RIDING DESIRE boxed set. We've been holding steady in the Amazon Top 50 since release and are a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Anthologies! Yay! *hugs*

And if you haven't bought it, get to it! The 99 cents release price is only for a limited time. And where else can you get 14 hot biker novellas for under a buck? Available at Amazon or on Nook. (Apple and Kobo links are coming soon!)

And tomorrow, I have another release I'm super excited about with FIFTY FIRST TIMES: A New Adult Anthology. More about that tomorrow. (And then next week is Kade!)

But for now you have a great opportunity to to win a $50 gift card from Amazon with this contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

AND The Smutketeers are running a Biker Pimp Dash in honor of RIDING DESIRE, so you can also pop over there and win up to $100 gift certificate!

See y'all tomorrow! 

 

Monday
Feb102014

Cover Reveal: BLURRING THE LINES (Invitation to Eden series)

Hey y'all. I know I've been revealing cover after cover lately, but that's because I have so much going on! (That's a good thing, right?)

This book won't be out until August and is part of a fun multi-author series that centers on the mysterious island of Eden, where the island always knows what you need. : )

The series starts at the end of March with a FREE prequel from Lauren Hawkeye. Then each month, three new books will release. Mine will be in August, but I hope you'll check out some of the others, too, as the series progresses because man, we have some great authors including Carly Phillips, Joey W. Hill, Opal Carew, Sara Fawkes...the list goes on. See the full list of 27 authors here.

And if you want to find out more about the Invitation to Eden series and the books in it, check out our shiny new website.

In the meantime, here is my cover. Isn't it GORGEOUS? I'm in love with it. Blurb is also below.

*Note: Mine will not be up for pre-order because this is an indie project, but you can add it to your Goodreads list and I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Also, there is lots of things coming up--contests, free books, etc. So if you haven't signed up for my newsletter, get to it, people! ;) Sign up form is in the sidebar -->

 

 

BLURRING THE LINES (Invitation to Eden series) by Roni Loren

Coming August 2014!

After the devastating loss of her fiancé, Gretchen Price has moved back home to New Orleans to find her way again. But it’s been a year, and all she’s done is bury herself in her work and shut the world out. Her only indulgence is her weekly pop-ins to The Daredevil Travel Agency where her fiancé’s younger brother, Burke, regales her with tales of his thrill-seeking adventures. She can’t seem to move forward, and he can’t sit still.

Burke Brennan knows what Gretchen is going through. But he can’t stand to see the girl he’s wanted since high school becoming a shadow of herself with each week that passes. He wants to show her the beautiful, exciting side of life again. And he’s tired of doing it through stories. So when Burke gets an invite to a private luxury island, he knows what he has to do. This invitation’s for two, and he’s not going stag.

But when they arrive at the mysterious Eden, and Burke sees all of its sexy offerings, it’s time to put up or shut up. Gretchen needs an escape, and he’s the man who can give it to her. He just hopes that when they get back to the mainland, the fantasy won’t fade. He’s not afraid to show her exactly how he feels, but how can he compete with a memory?

 

What do you think?

Monday
Nov182013

My Promise When I Review or Recommend Books

Photo via chicagogeek (Flickr CC)Mondays are usually reserved for Must-Read Mondays, but today I wanted to talk a little bit about a related topic. There was a post last week on Dear Author called When the Personal Becomes the Professional and was about how authors approach giving negative reviews of other books. Some argue that it's professional courtesy not to tear down another author's book. Others feel that authors should be able to review like readers do and that the author on the receiving end of the feedback shouldn't get personally offended.

I'm of the school that anyone has the right to review my book and have an opinion about it. If another author posts a negative review about my book, I'm not going to think that author is being unprofessional. I can take it. However, having said that, I don't post negative reviews or talk bad about books publicly. Why? Well, frankly, it's not worth the drama--having an author take it personally, seeing them at the next conference and it being awkward, looking like you're being jealous or spiteful by panning a book in your genre, or offending readers who thought that book was the best book ever.

But, there's also this thought out there that if someone only does positive reviews, that their opinion is somehow not valid because they "like everything." But I disagree with that. I don't like everything--believe me. If I don't like something or have neutral feelings on it, you'll just never hear about. The books I recommend on Must-Read Monday or rate highly on Goodreads are books I honestly loved. I'm not going to "be nice" and give something a high rating or recommendation because I know the author or whatever. There are authors who I really like as people but I just don't connect with their writing. I'm not going to pretend I do just to be friendly.

So I'm saying all this because I want you to know that when you see me talking up a book, that means one thing--I, Roni the reader, loved the damn thing. I looked back at Must-Read Monday posts for this year. Almost all were books by authors I've never met or interacted with. None of them were given to me for review. They are just books I bought as a reader and enjoyed. Just because I don't post about the ones I didn't like doesn't make that any less valid. So you can feel confident in knowing I'm not blowing smoke or trying to sell you something on a friend's behalf. If I say I loved it, it means I loved it. : )

I'm curious, how do you view authors reviewing or recommending other authors' books? Do you assume they are just helping their friends if it's positive? If you're a writer, how do you feel about the debate on whether or not to post negative reviews?

 

Monday
Oct212013

Must-Read Monday: The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith

One of the things I love about being linked into the reading/reviewing/writing community is that I get book recommendations that lead me to stories I never would've picked up on my own. So last week, when I was pouting about having two DNF books in a row, I was on the look out for something good. That's when I saw buzz around Twitter about a book called The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith. And when I saw reviewers like Jane at Dear Author and Mandi at Smexy Books raving about it, I paid attention. 

But I looked at the summary and I'm thinking--meh, I don't really read adult sci-fi. And I'm not really into books where characters have those crazy, hard to pronounce names. And wait--the hero is a lizard man? And it's something like 1500 pages long?! It's like the opposite of what I gravitate to, lol. But the reviews were so effusive and those reviewers don't hand out praise easily. So I decided to give it a shot.

And omg, I'm so glad I did. For the last five days, I've been obsessed. Like reading into the night and sneaking pages on my phone while I'm out and about. I could not put it down. I'm sure my hubs was totally annoyed with me because I've basically ignored him during our normal TV time. And for me to read such a long book in less than a week is a testament to how much it captured me. Because even really excellent 1k+ page books like Stephen King's 11/22/63 take me a while to get through because I have a hard time staying with any book for that many pages.

So, I could try to summarize the book, but there's just so much and I know I won't do it justice. (Check the reviews I linked to above if you want more of an analysis with example passages and such.) Plus, the world-building is complex, so much of what I can say probably won't make much sense anyway. But here's a bullet point list of my thoughts on the book:

  • This is sci-fi--spaceship crashing on alien planet and all. I do not read sci-fi. I should not have been the audience for this book. But it totally worked for me. So don't be scared if you don't normally read this genre.
  • If you are sensitive to reading about violence, particularly rape, be warned. This is a brutal book at times. I've heard it called erotic horror. The things the characters have to go through are horrible and intense--particularly for the heroine and the other women in the story. There were times it was hard to read and I wanted to read faster just to get some relief from the horrible dark moments. And the bad times can last a long time. No brief ten page black moment. You're there for 200 pages or more at times. Then just when you think they're in the clear, something even more awful happens. It's gut-wrenching. But I also think this is why the love story ends up feeling so epic. These two have fought through things worse than death to be together.
  • Yes, the hero is a lizardman. He has a snout and red eyes and different, er, parts. I couldn't get my head around those things before I read the book. How could that work? But it totally does. Meoraq is a fantastic hero who does not start off as a very good person/lizard. He has a dramatic journey to go on, but the end result is one of the best heroes I've read in a long time.
  • In 1500 pages, there are bound to be some slow parts. This story is broken into "books" and then chapters. In Book 2, when we first meet Meoraq, the worldbuilding takes a while. There is so much to learn about their culture and religion and the hero himself that it can drage a bit. Don't give up. Keep reading.
  • Outside of Amber (the heroine), the humans in this book are pretty horrible people. It's hard to read some of it and can be over the top. They suffer from a bad case of TSTL often.
  • Faith is an important theme in this book. Religion plays a big role in the story and it leaves you with some fantastic food for thought on what religion is and what it can/can't do for a society. I loved this aspect.
  • I think this is a book people will either love or hate. I can't imagine having ambivalent feelings about this one. I've heard some have issues with the gender roles in this book and the fact that the hero doesn't treat women well before the heroine comes into his life. (Women don't have any say in anything in that world, including refusing sex.) But I saw those roles as part of this alien society and the heroine was a good, strong badass woman to break that mold. As for how Meoraq was with women before the heroine, I felt that was a big part of his journey and made the end result more satisfying. He had a long way to go.
  • Even after all those pages, I hit the end (which was fantastic) and wanted an HEA epilogue. So--yeah, 1500 pages and I still wanted more. That says a lot.
  • This is the biggest book hangover I've had in a long time, and that's the best sign that a book really got to me. I won't forget this one for a long time.

 

So that's all I've got to say about that. : ) If you decide to read it or have already read it, let me know what you think.

 

About the book:

It was her last chance:

Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.

It was his last year of freedom:

Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.

From R. Lee Smith, author of Heat and Cottonwood, comes an epic new story of desire, darkness and the dawn that comes after The Last Hour of Gann.

WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, strong sexual content and explicit language. It is intended for mature readers only.

Have you ever been bowled over by a book that's not in your normal reading comfort zone? What was it? Why was it so fantastic?