Laid Bare With Flair Contest – Day 22!

Today we’ve got the awesomesauce team of Moira Rogers! Donna and Bree are going to give away a digital copy of Crux, a pair of earrings created by Donna and a gorgeous hand knitted scarf made by Bree! If you’ve not read them yet, I highly recommend it! Crux is the first in their Southern Arcana series and it’s a really fabulous read.

Blurb: To find her destiny, she must trust him with her life…and her heart.

Southern Arcana, Book 1

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.

An excerpt from Crux
Copyright © 2009 Moira Rogers
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Mackenzie resisted the urge to change positions again. It didn’t help. Instead she wrapped her hands around the strap of her bag and stared straight ahead, refusing to look at Jackson. Every time she did, the arousal that had been on low simmer all afternoon burst into full-on desire, and she could barely keep her hands to herself.

Even thinking about touching him made primal satisfaction unfurl slowly inside her. She stubbornly headed it off. “Can you explain this to me again?” she asked in a low voice, wrapping her fingers more tightly around her bag. “Maybe thinking will help. Or distract me.”

“Explain what?” His eyes didn’t leave the road. “The ants in your pants?”

She let out a strangled laugh. “That’s one way to put it. You said Alec thinks it’s some…spell or something?”

“Well, no. The spell would be what normally keeps you from getting this way.” He checked his mirror and signaled to pass. “It’s some sort of shapeshifter thing. The animal has to get out. When she doesn’t, you get restless.” He arched an eyebrow. “Sometimes really restless, I guess.”

Mackenzie groaned as she slid lower in the seat and closed her eyes. Every instinct in her body screamed for action. Her vivid imagination provided endless scenarios for how she could soothe the hot need twisting her into knots. The scene unfolded behind her eyelids like an erotic movie–pulling off the road, finding someplace secluded… She could almost smell the clean scent of his skin, could imagine how it would feel under her lips when she slid into his lap and nuzzled her face into his neck.

The earlier fantasies of long, hot lovemaking vanished. The frantic need inside her would be satisfied by nothing less than equally frantic sex. She wanted his hands and mouth on her skin, wanted to feel him writhing helplessly beneath her as she moved above him, driving them both into limp exhaustion.

A tiny whimper escaped as she fought back the image of his face, eyes hazy with pleasure and lips forming her name as she rode him to completion in the front seat of the car. “Oh, God. You have no idea how restless.”

He shot her a sharp look. “I suppose I… Hey, how about some music?” He cranked up the volume on the radio, and a song with a low, throbbing beat spilled out of the speakers. He stared straight ahead as he stabbed a button with his finger, changing the station to one featuring talk radio.

Mackenzie stared out the window into the night and took a deep breath. “I don’t suppose you–I mean, it’s a bit of an odd proposition, but would you consider–” She snarled. “The sexual frustration is going to kill me.”

Jackson reached for his phone, hit a button and slapped it to his ear. After a moment, he said, “Yeah, it’s me. Look, about what you said… Yeah, what can she do about that? You know, that won’t–” He paused, obviously listening. “Yeah. Oh no, uh-uh. Okay, yeah. Later.” He snapped the phone closed. “Sorry, no sex. The bottom line is that you could die, and that would suck. You also can’t take care of it yourself, because you could weaken the spell even further.”

A tiny part of her curled in on itself in embarrassment when she realized Jackson and Alec had just had a discussion about whether or not she could masturbate. The rest of her just wondered if she could talk Jackson into taking the chance that she might not die.

“Jesus Christ.” She closed her eyes again. “Can we pull over at the next town, maybe get some food? The close quarters aren’t helping.”

“Absolutely,” he said immediately. “I think food is a great idea. We can walk around and stretch our legs too. Terrific idea, Mackenzie.”

“Terrific idea,” she agreed faintly. Except we’re not even halfway there and I’m already losing my mind. It was going to be a very long night.

The diner was small and cozy, and looked to cater mostly to truckers. Their waitress showed them to a booth without a word, setting two menus down before returning unprompted with a pot of coffee.

Mackenzie glanced at it, but caffeine wasn’t something she needed to add to her system. “Have you got any milkshakes?” she asked hopefully.

“Sure, honey. Chocolate or vanilla?”

“Vanilla, please.” She glanced across the booth at Jackson. “You drinking coffee?”

“Yeah. Got a lot of driving to do if we want to make it to Boca anytime soon.” He favored the waitress with a smile as he turned over his mug. “Fill ‘er up, darlin’, and I’ll have an omelet as big as my head, with bacon, peppers and cheese, please.”

The waitress’s bored expression melted into an answering smile as she filled Jackson’s cup, Mackenzie apparently forgotten. She seemed terribly impressed by Jackson’s easy smile, and set aside the coffee pot as she jotted down his order. “Anything else with that, sweetheart? Sausage? Pancakes? We got some of the best muffins in the state here, if I do say so myself. Bake ‘em fresh every night.”

“He said he wants an omelet.” At first, Mackenzie didn’t even realize she’d spoken. Her voice barely sounded like her own, low and dangerous with a hint of menace. Color flooded her cheeks, and she avoided Jackson’s eyes, wishing she could sink into the booth and disappear.

Jackson choked on his coffee, but recovered quickly enough to throw his head back with a laugh. “Now, now, sweet tart, I’ll stick to my low-carb diet, but the nice lady’s just doing her job.” His smile turned sheepish. “That’s what I get for marrying a health nut, I guess.”

The woman turned back to Mackenzie, her expression cool. “And what would you like with your milkshake, ma’am?”

The urge to snarl at her again was so overwhelming Mackenzie dug her teeth into her lip and flashed Jackson a pleading look.

“She’ll have a couple of those muffins,” he said quickly. “Damn hypocrite’s what she is, huh?”

As soon as the waitress retreated, Mackenzie folded her arms on the table and dropped her forehead to rest on them. “What in hell is happening to me?” she demanded, though she wasn’t sure she wanted an answer. The intense desire to slide across the table and rub herself against Jackson to warn off the waitress was too disturbing for words.

“Well, you seem to be getting possessive there, darlin’.”

She raised her head and glared at him. “No, really?”

“Look.” He leaned forward earnestly. “This isn’t any more fun for me than it is for you, but it’s going to be one hell of a long trip if we can’t come to some kind of understanding about what I can and can’t ignore. The wiggling around on the car seat like a cat in heat? I can ignore it. But I can’t let you make some poor waitress’s life miserable just because I’m a charming bastard. She can’t help that.”

A powerful need to strangle him replaced the urge to climb into his lap. Her scowl deepened as she inched out of the booth. “I’m going to the restroom.” Maybe to run my head under some cold water.

Jackson unlocked Mackenzie’s door and swiped a hand across his forehead. They’d managed to finish dinner without further incident, and he had to credit his purposefully conceited comments with distracting Mackenzie enough to make it possible. “Watch the muffins,” he told her as she climbed into the car.

The look she gave him as she deliberately threw the muffins roughly into the backseat was hot and challenging, but at least it wasn’t inviting. She seemed capable of switching back and forth between lust and rage with startling speed, but she’d been having a lot more success controlling the anger.

Thank God for that. Jackson rounded the car and opened his own door. It would be a lot easier to deal with her hating his guts than to smack her hands away from the button-fly of his jeans when she started feeling randy again. “All right, buckle up. Miles to go and all.”

She took another of those deep breaths that seemed to be the only thing holding her together. “Damn it, I’m hungry.” She twisted in her seat and reached for the bag of muffins.

Her shirt rode up when she stretched out her arm, revealing the smooth skin of her side and stomach. By some stroke of bad luck–or her own subconscious design–it happened just as she brushed against his arm.

Mackenzie froze, her skin still pressed to his, and moaned, low and needy and desperate. “I want you so badly.”

He snatched his hand away and slammed his forehead on the steering wheel. “Okay, woman. You have got to have a little pity on me, here. Fucking around in the backseat could kill you.”

She crowded against him suddenly, her body soft and her breath hot against his ear. “Right now I feel like not fucking around is killing me too.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, she ran her tongue lightly along the shell of his ear.

Jesus God. He flattened himself back against the car door and batted her away. “Am I going to have to put you under?” he demanded.

For a moment–just a moment–something flashed in her eyes. The Mackenzie he’d been slowly getting to know stared back at him, and she looked terrified. Her fingers curled in his shirt. “Help me,” she half-sobbed. “I don’t want to–I can’t–”

He framed her face with his hands, breathed a word against her forehead and she shuddered.

The spell took effect, but not nearly as quickly as it should have. It seemed as if it had quieted the frantic battle inside her without putting her to sleep. Her blue eyes slowly cleared, and the hands clutching at his chest relaxed.

“Thank you.” The words were a barely audible whisper, and her eyes fluttered shut. When they opened again she looked dazed, as if her body was fighting sleep and losing. She leaned closer, her lips touching his cheek and then sliding to the corner of his mouth. “Thank you,” she breathed again.

She kissed him. It wasn’t frantic or desperate or aggressive like her earlier advances had been. Her lips were warm and soft, her kiss heartbreakingly gentle.

He relaxed into the caress, but she sagged against him, dragging him back to reality. Kissing her while she was in this condition was no better than doing so while she was drugged, so he pulled his mouth from hers and moved her back onto the passenger seat. “Sweet dreams, Kenzie.” He pulled the seatbelt across her body and fastened it. After another moment’s thought, he reclined the seat and brushed her hair from her face.

His phone rang, startling him, and he fumbled for his headset. “Hello?”

A rich voice filled his ear. “I know you’ve got a good reason for leaving fifteen frantic messages on my voicemail and scaring the living daylights out of me, don’t you, Jack?”

“Damn straight I do, Mahalia.” Jackson started the car and spared Mackenzie’s sleeping form another glance. “I’ve got a cougar trying to climb in my pants.”

“Is that some sort of clever euphemism?”

“I wish to hell it was, May.” He gritted his teeth as he pulled out of the parking lot. “I’m on the way to your place right now. Tell me you’ve got some experience with spells meant to keep the animal at bay.”

“Some, but not much. You’re coming to Boca Raton?”

“Yeah. I’ve got a woman here who’s in a bad way. Some extremely well-connected asshole has been stalking her across the country, trying to convince her to have his babies. She’s never shifted, and now she’s getting…frustrated. Besides which, there’s something weird about her parents and a deadly house fire that maybe wasn’t deadly at all…” He trailed off and exhaled roughly. “It’s a fuckin’ mess, May, pardon my French.”

“A house fire?” Jackson could practically hear the gears turning in her head. “What was the name? Do you remember?”

“Evans. Why, does it ring a bell?”

She didn’t answer. “Get here as fast as you can,” she commanded. “I’m calling Steven.”

“Hang on just a minute,” Jackson protested. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t have time to explain, Jack. Just get your ass down here.”

She hung up, leaving Jackson perplexed and frightened. Any situation that could put that edge of fear in Mahalia Tate’s voice was serious enough to make a grown man piss his pants.

What’d I tell you? Looks really good, doesn’t it?

Today’s Question: Do you read digital books and if so, what was the first e-book you read?

I’ll choose a winner tomorrow afternoon! Good luck.

72 comments to “Laid Bare With Flair Contest – Day 22!”

  1. Zarifina
    July 24th, 2009 at 4:33 am · Link

    Do you read digital books and if so, what was the first e-book you read?

    I do not like ebooks and I refuse to buy them. To me there is something special about holding a book and having it on my bookshelf. I wish publisher’s would stop releasing ebooks, but of course I know that will never happen 🙁

  2. Erica B.
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:21 am · Link

    I just started reading ebooks, although I do agree with Zarifina. The first ebook I read was Stranded by Eve Vaughn.

  3. lorettaC
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:23 am · Link

    I don’t remember what the first ebook I read. I now have a ebookwise and a Kindle and buy at least 5 ebook a week. I still buy books but I cannot get over carry 100’s of books so easily.


  4. Amy Mowers
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:27 am · Link

    I do read them, but my preference would be a real book that I can hold. That being said, I have purchased probably at least 15-20 ebooks…so I guess they don’t bother me all that much 🙂 I think that my first one was Shameless by Lora Leigh.

    Thanks! Have a great day!

    Amy M

  5. Eva S
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:35 am · Link

    I read some ebooks now and then, but I’m more for print books, I like to have them in my hands and on my shelf.
    I think my first was Trouble with Harry by Myla Jackson

  6. Tamara Holbert
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:40 am · Link

    I don’t normally read them. I do not own a Kindle or anything similar. I either have to sit uncomfortably in front of my pc or print it out. I have printed out a few and discovered that they use alot of ink. The first one I read was one by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The title escapes right now!! I much prefer a paper copy. I guess I’m just old school!! LOL!!

  7. Fedora
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:45 am · Link

    I still read mostly print but have been reading more and more e-books (no reader yet, so e-books I still have to read on the desktop–not quite so portable!). I think the very first I read was one of Jaid Black’s Trek series.

  8. Crystal B.
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:53 am · Link

    I do read ebooks. The first I read was Brazen by Maya Banks.

  9. Frana
    July 24th, 2009 at 5:56 am · Link

    I do read e-books but I don’t remember the first eBook I read. I read them on my PC but in the end I prefer printed books 🙂
    And I just adore Bree and Donna’s work.

  10. Lisa J
    July 24th, 2009 at 6:04 am · Link

    Definitely read e-books. I finally broke down and bought a Sony e-reader and I love it. There is something about carrying almost 40 books around with you.

    The first e-book I bought and read was Aiden’s Charity by Lora Leigh.

  11. Christine
    July 24th, 2009 at 6:43 am · Link

    I love both ebook and print books they both have their pros and cons. The great thing about ebooks is you can have so many w/out worrying where to put them. The first ebook I read Dementia by Jaid Black.

  12. Melissa
    July 24th, 2009 at 6:56 am · Link

    I love eBooks…….I’m totally hooked on them these days.
    And the first eBook I read was a Jaid Black book, too……I can’t remember which one, but it led to me buying the whole series, and when I was done with that, I started branching out to more Ellora’s Cave authors….then discovered all the other ePublishers and sites out there I could get books from!!
    I read for a couple of years on my computer, and actually printed them out for a LONG time. Then I finally bought myself an eBookwise…and it was such a great thing to get!! I love it, and use it on a daily basis. I’m having myself some serious Kindle envy these days, but can’t quite make myself pay that steep asking price….

  13. Christina Mays
    July 24th, 2009 at 7:06 am · Link

    I have never read an ebook. I occasionally listen to a book on tape during a long drive but I love having the book in my hands and turning the pages. I guess I am old fashioned. 🙂

  14. Edie
    July 24th, 2009 at 7:28 am · Link

    I live for ebooks, despite struggling these days to find quality new authors.. buh

    My first ebook was a Sarah McCarty, after picking up one of the promise series (EC) in print, I HAD to have the other books, and the only place I could get them easily was as ebooks. And several years later, and a whole lot poorer, I am still addicted.

  15. Beverly
    July 24th, 2009 at 7:29 am · Link

    I buy all of the books I read in e-book format if it is available that way.
    First Book was “A Thousand Words For Stranger” by Julie Czerneda

  16. Edie
    July 24th, 2009 at 7:33 am · Link

    whoopsies, forgot to mention that please do not enter me in the comp, as I have all the Moira Rogers books.. and enjoyed them all. lol

  17. Bella
    July 24th, 2009 at 7:44 am · Link

    I read my first e-book about 8 months ago — I think it was Surrender by Lora Leigh — and I now have more than 400 (a VERY expensive habit)! I love e-books, because I get to own them but they don’t take up so much space. Also they are more discreet 😉 And, generally cheaper and certainly more environmentally friendly. In fact it really pisses me off when the e-book is priced the same as the paper. My only wish is that I had an e-reader, because sometimes curling up in bed with my mac just isn’t that cozy 😉

    Anyway, thanks for the contest, but please don’t enter me because I already own Crux (and I think every other Moira Rogers book). Love you guys!


  18. Dana
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:02 am · Link

    Yes. I think the 1st e-book was ‘Fated’.

  19. Anne
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:05 am · Link

    I read E-books, but I have to be able to print them out. I can’t enjoy reading sitting at a computer. I don’t remember what the first one was. Something from Ellora’s Cave.

  20. Karin
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:10 am · Link

    Yes. My first e-book was one of JA Konrath’s, but I can’t remember which one.

  21. Anne
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:19 am · Link

    I prefer paperbacks to ebooks so I can take them anywhere. However, if santa gave me a reader, I’d probably switch more to ebooks.

  22. Armenia
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:20 am · Link

    I do read ebooks….but, pretty hard to read in the bathtub since I don’t have a kindle.


    First ebook was Dare to Love by Jaci Burton.

  23. ann marie
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:32 am · Link

    I love my palm and still do, I don’t think I will ever buy different ereader. The first ebook I read was Bloody Mary by J A Konrath.

  24. Crystal D
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:33 am · Link

    My first e-book was Sarah McCarty and although I don’t buy nearly as many ebooks as print, I like books anyway I can get them.

  25. Blanche
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:36 am · Link

    I love ebooks and my very first was Colters’ Woman by Maya Banks!! :mrgreen:

  26. jennifer cecil
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:37 am · Link

    I’ve never read an ebook. I like having a hard copy on my bookshelf. I’m hoping to get a Kindle soon so I can buy some ebooks and give them a try.

  27. Ley
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:45 am · Link

    First e-book I read was… gosh, something Harlequin. Let me think…. Hmm, probably Dark Moon Gathering by Alison Paige. Good one too. 😀

  28. Larena Wirum
    July 24th, 2009 at 8:59 am · Link

    I love reading ebooks. As for the first one I read I don’t really remember. Read too many. :mrgreen:

    This sounds like a great book. Loved reading the excerpt.

  29. Marjana Kalt
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:16 am · Link

    Yes I do and the first I read was something by Annmarie McKenna..can’t recall the book’s name.

  30. Jody F.
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:17 am · Link

    I enjoy ebooks, but wish I had a better device to read them on. And I wish I could remember the title of the first one I read but it was from Ellora’s Cave.

  31. Roberta Harwell
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:26 am · Link

    I can’t remember the first ebook I’ve read. However, here lately I’m come across some wonderful and talented authors. I just need to invest in a reader of some sort. It’s hard being tied to a traditional desktop all the time. Have a great day.

  32. Kris
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:39 am · Link

    i read ebooks but at the moment prefer paperbacks because i do not have an ereader yet.
    I am not sure what my first ebook was but I think it might have been Revealing Skills by Summer Devon

  33. limecello
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:41 am · Link

    I do read digital books and oh gosh – the first one? No idea >.< I want to say it was some ellora's cave book. Although there's an equal likelihood it was Samhain. Maybe Jokers Wild? Or a Lorelie James… or Maya Banks. :X
    Haha yay my faulty memory!

  34. Pamk
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:42 am · Link

    I do and my first was Lora Leigh’s breeds. I believe it was the frst in the series. and there’s been no stopping me since then lol.

  35. Lisa F.
    July 24th, 2009 at 10:38 am · Link

    I have read e-books. But I can’t remember what the first one I read was.

  36. molli
    July 24th, 2009 at 10:59 am · Link

    I love Ebooks, especially since I’m out of shelf space! Like Lisa, The very first Ebook I ever read was one of Lora Leigh’s breed books. I haven’t looked back since. 🙂

  37. tina b
    July 24th, 2009 at 11:03 am · Link

    would have been from the cave cause that is the first ebook site i found.. probably lora leigh breeds I am still in love with them…

  38. Heather Brewer
    July 24th, 2009 at 11:37 am · Link

    I love ebooks. I have a Kindle and have a ton of books for it. I have been downloading ebooks for awhile. I think some of the first ebooks I downloaded were Lora Leigh’s Breeds. I have a lot of Ellora’s Cave and Samhain books.

    I love Bree and Donna’s books. Thanks for the opportunity to win one.

  39. Jeanette Juan
    July 24th, 2009 at 11:51 am · Link

    No I don’t read ebooks because I just love sitting in bed with a book and I like having a huge collection of books.

  40. Tracy
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:33 pm · Link

    I read ebooks all the time! My first ebook reader was the ebookman, and when that died I got an ebookwise. My first ebook was The Empress’ New Clothes by Jaid Black.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  41. Jane
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:37 pm · Link

    I do read ebooks. The first ebook I read was “Sinderella” by Jan Springer.

  42. Cathy M
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:37 pm · Link

    I love reading ebooks, my first one was Elizabeth’s Wolf by Lora Leigh. I think I read the whole EC library on my pc before I bought my Ebookwise Reader, which I totally love.

  43. Pearl
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:41 pm · Link

    I haven’t been reading ebooks very long and remember my first one vividly!!

    Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James (samhain pub).

    I read both ebooks and print and equally like them. Both have their pros and cons!


  44. Valerie
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:47 pm · Link

    I’ve been reading e-books for quite a few years now.

    The very first one I got was one that I won. I can’t remember what it was, I’ve read hundreds since, but I was….wow!!! And I never turned back.

    I have thousands of ebooks on my computer.

  45. Beverly Carr
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:55 pm · Link

    I do like e-books,just started reading them actually.My first taste of an e-book was Carol Lynne Branded by Gold :cool:and I was hooked.

  46. Beverly Carr
    July 24th, 2009 at 12:58 pm · Link

    Yes I like e-books,just started reading them recently.My first taste of an e-book was Carol Lynne’s Branded By Gold and it was a delicious read. :cool:I’m hooked now. 😀

  47. Calila
    July 24th, 2009 at 1:17 pm · Link

    Not really a regular e-book reader. The first I read if you consider them a full book was Juila Quinn’s 2nd epilouges for her Bridgerton series. If you dont count those it was her latest book What Happens In London.

  48. jessi
    July 24th, 2009 at 1:22 pm · Link

    Yes, I read e-books, as I find it easier to store them on a computer than find room for the paperback on a shelf 😆 The first e-book that I read was Triad by Lauren Dane, and now I usually get 1-2 ebooks a week.

    Jessi 😆

  49. ReadingIsSoMuchFun
    July 24th, 2009 at 1:27 pm · Link

    Yes I do read e-books. My first e-book was by Sierra Dafoe her wonderful Devarian series. Love this series by her its a must read.


  50. Gloria T.
    July 24th, 2009 at 2:04 pm · Link

    I read one ebook. I really like to read a good book held in my hands while I’m relaxing.