When fear and extinction threaten life, the only way to survive is to change…or fight back.
Mona Moussai is on the run—from her family, from a dragon and from herself. She wants nothing more than to stay in the Mortal Realm and live a normal live, yet when she tangles with a shape-shifting attorney bent on her capture, instinct demands she hide. However, the secrets buried deep inside could have deadly consequences.
Braeden Hollister has long ago made peace with his dragon heritage but he refuses to live it. He’s a man with many vices, always living for himself, and when the opportunity to drag Mona to the Moussai Realm for a bounty presents itself, he can’t resist the glitter of gold.
What happens next is a foray into a backward realm circa the 1820s...
Dragons at Dawn
Eirelander Publishing, April 2011
...where dragons not only exist but they’re intent on ruling the realm and restoring power. Personal agendas are forgotten, battle lines are drawn in a world where familial ties strangle and old foes resurface. Political angst explodes all around them. In the end, only the strong will survive to live, and love, another day.
Here's an excerpt:
“What the hell do you mean you started the rumor?”
The roar that accompanied the bellow sent chills over her skin. Fear unfurled in the pit of her stomach like a rolled tea leaf in hot water, expanding, filling her insides until a quick shot of adrenaline sent her into action. She darted through the Portal, and upon leaving the Mortal Realm, tripped over its threshold and tumbled to the ground. Landing on her hands and knees, she wrinkled her nose against the sharp smell of dirt.
She couldn’t afford another stupid mistake. Not now. Now with him close on her heels and problems multiplying with the speed of copulating rabbits.
Mona Moussai, missing daughter of the First Family of the Moussai Realm, jumped to her feet as her heart hammered through her chest like a freight engine. Risking a quick glance over her shoulder, she saw the dragon bearing down on her as he stepped from the Portal, a string of curses issuing from him that would make a sailor blush. At least he hadn’t shifted into dragon form. No amount of positive thinking could make her forget the acid green belly scales or the darkly black scales on the remainder of his body that she’d seen the night before.
“Damn it, Mona, I order you to stop!”
She was sick of being commanded to do things. No more.
Ignoring him, she ran as if death would claim her if she were caught. Maybe it would since Braeden Hollister was a bad-ass attorney with a large appetite for fine food and fast women. Unfortunately, until she could fix her current problem, she was also bound to him. Thanks to one regrettable incident a day ago when she’d picked his pocket and stole a pair of rings that worked as supernatural handcuffs, once she’d slipped a ring on and he did the same, she’d become a prisoner.
No time for regret.
Mona’s pulse pounded loud in her ears. With every ragged breath, her lungs burned as they struggled to pull oxygen into her body. Barely aware of the nighttime world around her, she ran indiscriminately through a heavily wooded area. A crash and subsequent cursing from somewhere behind let her know Braeden hadn’t given up the chase.
Fear knotted her insides and bile rose in her throat. She pushed on, stumbling over twigs and forest debris while her soft wool sweater snagged on pine trees. Straggly branches reached out to snarl in her hair. Tears prickled her eyes but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t. Of all the places in the Eight Realms she didn’t want to be, it was here.
The thought spurred her onward. Her feet ached. The muscles in her legs screamed for a reprieve. A second wind brought a burst of speed and she shot forward over the semi-damp ground. Just being back in the Realm that bore her name made her physically ill. She’d worked hard to create a new life, far away from the drama that belonged to her family. Her efforts were for naught.
A clearing loomed close, frosted from the light of the full moon high overhead. She set her sights on it to get her bearings, reaching the edge of the grassy patch. For two seconds she paused, turning slightly toward him before Braeden tackled her. Mona’s back smacked against the earth. His weight on top of her drove the air from her lungs.
“What part of stop did you not understand?” His deep voice rumbled near her ear and his breath warmed her cheek. “Running is stupid. You already know you can’t move farther than twenty feet from me at any given time.”
She did know and had tested the boundary more than a few times since she’d slipped the damn ring on her finger last night. Unfortunately, it was a cold, hard fact. Any attempt at breaking the twenty foot mark resulted in a sudden migraine and terrible stomach cramps.
Mona struggled, desperate to be out from under him. “Get off me.” She pushed at his broad shoulders. His muscles flexed beneath her fingertips. “I mean it. I won’t stand for this sort of treatment.”
“Considering that you’re not standing at all, I don’t see how it’s an issue.”
“Semantics.” She beat on his chest with her fists, huffing out her irritation when he didn’t budge. “In case you haven’t noticed, you’re not in a courtroom anymore.”
“That may be true, but I still wield the power.” Instead of doing as she asked, he shifted his weight and held her captive with a palm to the ground on each side of her head, his face close to hers. “Until I deliver you back to your family, you will do as I say.”
Her heart pounded and little shivers raced up and down her spine as much from his touch as his close proximity. The moonlight gilded him with silver light, highlighting dark hair, coiffed and gelled in the style of a New York morning news show anchor. His lips could charm any woman’s heart if he would ever give a genuine smile. Braeden Hollister could potentially be a huge threat to her peace of mind.
Lucky for her, she loathed him too much to be affected.
Here's a link for the book trailer video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGicfFGiW6o
Dragons at Dawn will release on April 8th, 2011 from Eirelander Publishing (http://www.eirelander-publishing.com), but will also be available at Amazon and All Romance e-books.
Welcome to Get Lost In a Story, Sandra!
Sandra's portfolio pf romance fiction includes historical, contemporary, sci-fi and paranormal in full length as well as shorts. She loves to blend genres, spice them up and often times will add humor as well.
When not immersed in creating new worlds and interesting characters, Sandra likes to read, bake and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World. It’s where dreams come true and the soul can play. When she’s not writing, she’s keeping things interesting at the Believing is Seeing blog or spending time with her husband.
You can write to Sandra at http://firstname.lastname@example.org/, visit her website at http:///www.sandrasookoo.com or look her up on Facebook and Twitter.
Part of the Fool Me Twice anthology
Sandra K. Marshall
Devastated after her fiancé dies in Iraq, Claudia Foster packed up her life and moved to the city of Indianapolis. She wants to lose herself in the noise, sights and sounds of a place so foreign from her upbringing that nothing could remind her of her guilt surrounding Andy’s death. But fate has other plans.
Daniel Sorenson has put all thoughts of his brother Andy’s death from his mind just to get through the day yet running into Claudia again stirs up all the hidden feelings he has struggled so hard to hide. How can you love the girl who was supposed to marry your dead brother?
As the two share their grief, they also share something deeper: laughter. But is it enough? Or will they spend their whole lives simply remembering Andy and never embrace the love that could be theirs if only they could have the courage to reach for it.
Fool Me Twice (with Remembering Andy) is available from Eirelander Publishing http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/ as well as on Amazon and All Romance e-books. See my website for buy links.
Get Lost In a Story Interview with guest blogger, Sandra Sookoo.
Jillian: What's the first book you remember reading?
Sandra: THE BLUE SWORD by Robyn McKinley. I was very young, maybe 10 or 11 and it made such an impression on me. Probably lit the fire for fantasy in me.
Jillian: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Sandra: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I've seen/read the story in many different versions and spins but I'll always love the concept. It's mostly about acceptance, which is what a lot of my work is themed like as well.
Jillian: What turns you off like nothing else?
Sandra: In reading? Probably storylines that are too wild and wacky and can't easily make me suspend my disbelief. Barring that, it might be when the heroine/hero is young like in the 18 year old category. I just can't connect to teens and besides, young people rarely know why they want at that age or have any life experience lol!
Jillian: Describe your favorite kind of hero to read/write?
Sandra: Hmm, my favorite kind of hero? A guy who knows what he wants, and can take the heroine's stuff but who also has enough of a backbone to stand up for what he believes. This man will lay down rules but will bend on some. He'll fight to protect his love and he'll go all mushy when she says or does something just for him. He's a mix of 60 percent good and 40 percent bad and it's that badness that I root for at times!
Jillian: Oh yeah, plus that 40 percent bad is so fun to read/write! What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Sandra: Hands down THE PRINCESS BRIDE. I love the mix of characters in that film (as well as the book) It's such a great cast I don't have a favorite character. I love them all and each one of their back stories. That, in my mind, is great writing.
Jillian: PRINCESS BRIDE fits you like a glass slipper! I can definitely see that style of whimsy/humor in your work! So, who’s your favorite villain?
Sandra: Hmm, that's a tough one. It could be Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes books. It could be Nemo in Jules Verne's books 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, but it could also be Malcolm MacDowell in the remake of FANTASY ISLAND or the evil Ba'al who is a Goa'uld system Lord in the STARGATE SG-1 franchise. The combination of the character itself plus the actor Cliff Simon puts him over the top in scariness. I love a bad boy when done right, when you know there's a tiny part of him that's good but he ignores it.
Jillian: Complex villains are some of my faves, as well. Okay, so be honest, when reading 1st person...do you miss the hero’s POV?
Sandra: At times, yes I do and I think that it cheats the reader. I don't like reading the male perception in the 1st person also. I think the only time the 1st person is really successful is if the heroine's journey is the only thing that matters and it's about how she grows as a person through the book. Everything else, in my opinion, needs to be in third person to give the reader a well rounded experience.
Jillian: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Sandra: Not usually. What I do before I ever pen word one is get together a handful of songs that embody both the hero and the heroine. Then I listen to them over and over while I put together an outline and do character sheets. After that, once I get a good feel for the book as a whole, I write in silence. I've found that for me, writing while listening to music is distracting.
Jillian: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Sandra: LOL Laundry. Housework I've neglected the past weeks it took to write the book. Seriously, that's what I do. Sometimes, my hubby will take me out to dinner but mostly I breathe a sigh of relief, pat myself on the back for a job well done and leave the book to sit for a few weeks before I do any sort of revisions on it. After the revisions, it sits for more weeks to "simmer". Sometimes I'll think of small issues that need to be addressed once I'm away from it for long periods of time. Celebrating doesn't really happen until it's been contracted.
Jillian: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Sandra: Definitely tea. I don't care for coffee. I love to brew it up and smell it but I'll never drink it. In my tea, it's got to be straight up. No sugar, milk, honey or lemon. Just the tea.
And now for the Get Lost In a Story GOTTA ASK, GOTTA ANSWER QUESTION:
Jillian: Share a secret or two about your impressive e-publishing success and please share one of your fabulous recipes!
Sandra: LOL There is no secret. There is no "if you do this you'll make it" cheat sheet. The fact of the matter is that writing is a business and it's hard work. If you want to succeed in this industry, you have to come prepared to work your fanny off, fall down, get back up again, work even harder. It's a constant learning experience to get better, write stronger, push the envelope. Above all never give up no matter what happens.
Tiger Striped Chicken
(my niece’s favorite dish)
4 fresh chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)
Seasoning salt (the orange stuff)
Instructions: Preheat oven on 375 degrees. Lay chicken breasts in an oven safe baking dish. Sprinkle meat with the seasoning salt until covered. Carefully make “stripes” diagonally over the breasts to resemble the markings of a tiger.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the juices run clear.
(my husband's favorite rice side)
1 cup of long grain white rice
1 tablespoon dried, minced onions (I use these because my husband doesn’t like real onions in this recipe but if you’re using real onions then ½ of a medium onion, chopped finely)
1 ¾ cups chicken stock (or water)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of your favorite salt free herb blend (I use one that’s a bit on the floral side)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ of large tomato, chopped and seeded
In a three quart sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onions. If using real onions, let sweat until soft. Add rice. Stir to coat rice (butter will prevent sticking together) Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT tomatoes. Stir. Put lid on pot. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.
Turn off heat and add tomatoes. Replace lid and keep warm until serving.
Now it's Sandra's turn to query readers:
Sandra: What would you like to see more of? What kind of story would be your perfect book for enjoyment? I might just write that novel!
I'm ready to give away a free PDF download of any book from my back list*** to a lucky commenter chosen at random (2011 releases are not included). I have books that range from sweet romances to hot erotics so there is something for everyone! I invite you to visit my website http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/ to keep current about book releases, reviews or just browse books currently available. You can also connect with me on Twitter http://twitter.com/SandraSookooo or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/sandra.sookoo.
***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.