SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele Review: 5 STARS 100/100 (I fricken got 100%!!!!)

OMG – U guys r gonna make me cry! The reviews for SCANDALOUS have been so phenomenal. I can’t thank you enough for trying something new with me!

Here’s the latest review by Reese:

5 STARS 100/100 (I fricken got 100%!!!!) 

Synopsis: Millionaire Jack Gray earned his fortune creating erotic art for a discerning clientele. He doesn’t use a brush to depict these hauntingly beautiful portraits–he uses bare skin. A sterling reputation is the only thing standing between Jack and poverty as he skirts the thin line between fine art and cheap sensationalism. To ensure that his character remains beyond reproach, an assistant observes his sessions.

While interviewing for a new assistant, Jack hears her voice–Abby Tyndale–the girl who got away. The last time Jack saw her was over a decade ago. After years of romantic tension she had nearly kissed him, but then disappeared without a trace. He hasn’t seen her since. Until now. When he learns that his lost love joined the clergy after she fled to West Texas, his heart sinks. She’s forbidden, forever set apart by her vows.

Jack’s life quickly spins out of control as Abby grows closer to him, and worsens when his client list is stolen. The financial blow alone is damning, but it’s the scandal brewing beneath the surface that he fears the most. Jack and Abby’s livelihoods rely on their reputations. A single scandal will destroy them both. While fearing a contrived scandal, they have courted a very real one as their romance reignites.

This erotic romance is an addictive tease that will leave you breathless and begging for more.

This romance novel is by bestselling author H.M. Ward under the pen name Ella Steele.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from H.M. Wards novel Scandalous before I read it. I loved the cover, just like all her others, was completely stunning. While reading I honestly could not put this story down. Scandalous follows the life of Abby Tyndale who finds herself back in New York after a mishap with her congregation down in Texas.

This book was nothing like I expected. It was completely original, and breathe taking, and just over all like any of H.M. Wards books, mold breaking.

I originally thought you that they would meet, lots of sexual tension, and then in then end they would be together. And honestly if you’re looking for that, don’t read Scandalous. This book was nothing like I expected.

I loved everything about this novel. The characters, the plot, the art….Oh the art!!! In my mind all I could see was provocative, bold, colorful canvases. Such amazing description, I honestly wish from the deepest depths of my soul that I could see one of these amazing works of are that Jonathan/ Jack Gray created. The art in my mind is so stunning I can only imagine what H.M. Ward was imagining while she wrote this story up.


Abby Tyndale was the perfect character. Seriously I loved her. She’s an amazingly strong character. Never giving up on what she wants. She knew exactly what she wanted, and although sometimes she doubted, she knew who she was and never backed down. She was shy, and was always blushing which was so cute. Honestly, even though she had flaws, that’s what made her even more likeable.

Jack Gray was the perfect male character. Naughty, professional,drop dead GORGEOUS!!! And amazingly talented. I loved reading about what he did with the paintings and the models. I had to start fanning myself when reading about how he moved his artistic ways into the “bedroom.” Honestly they were the perfect couple. Both seeing what the other needed and wanted.
Kate was amazing. She’s the best kind of friend. Honest, even when you don’t want to hear the truth. She was incredibly funny, and so mom like, yet friend at the same time. Completely hilarious.

Oh and on the sexual tension level I have two words: Nipple clamps. Seriously, I loved how the sexual tension was so perfect and not over the top. In all honesty I was a little scared for a while that they would never get together, and when they did, I was doing a serious happy dance around the entire planet.

The twist towards the end of the book, and yes of coarse there’s a twist…you sillies, I never saw that coming. I was completely appalled! Seriously H.M. Ward knows how to throw an extremely heart wrenching twist you’d never see coming into every novel and Scandalous was no exception!!!

Favorite Quote:

“You suck, you know that?” I laughed, cringing as I felt sand in places they shouldn’t be. “I’m full of sand. All my clothes could be from Sandcastles-R-Us.”

He straighted, “Is that so?”

“Which one? The sucking or the sand?” I laughed. I couldn’t stop. I hadn’t laughed so hard in forever. My sides felt like they were going to split open. Before I knew it, Jack was leaning down, reaching for me. I laughed, swatting, swatting him away, not realizing what he was doing. He managed to get a hold of my wrist and my thigh. He swung me up over his shoulders while I kicked and screamed.

Jack began to wade into the water, as I pulled his hair trying to stop him. “The sucking or the sand,” he murmured, still laughing as he went into the water deeper.”

(I seriously had a extremely hard time picking just one quote but I did it! I love this quote because it’s so cute, and just made me laugh. Reading about how perfect they were together was in little cute moments like these and I enjoyed this one mostest.)

Okay so if you missed it somewhere in my review I’ll spell it out: YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!! ASAP!!!

Rating: 100/5(5/5)



Don’t miss the giveaways for June 2012.  SCANDALOUS is one of the signed books you can win.  Details are listed on this post.  Thank you so much!!!!

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Woooh! Is It Hot In Here? Get SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele for 99 cents!

SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele is on sale for only 99 cents for the next 24 hours!  For less than $1, you can read the steamy romance, swoon over Jack, and route for Abby.  It’s the perfect beach read!

This won’t be 99 cents for long.  Grab it now and tell me what you think.

SCANDALOUS was just named in A Dozen Top Romances for summer by Ana’s Attic.

Reviews for SCANDALOUS:

“5 huge sinfully scandalous stars! Beautifully erotic. I cannot recommend it enough.” -Tessamari

“This might be the sexiest book I have ever read! Sooooo freaking sexy!”

“Steamy, sexy read… One of my favorite couples.” -Faithima
Grab SCANDALOUS now on Kindle for only $0.99
Happy Reading!
Pssst!!!  Nook specials will be on different dates.  Keep your eyes peeled for Nook promos.  :)
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Vampire Apocalypse #1 Bane by H.M. Ward Release Day & Giveaway!

Happy Release Day to BANE!  This is my latest YA Paranormal Romance novel.

Want to enter to win a copy of the beautiful paperback book that’s AUTOGRAPHED by the author?  You know you do!  After you’ve read BANE, leave a review on Amazon or Barnes&Nobel and you’ll be entered to win.  Two winners will be chosen at random from those who left reviews on July 31, 2012.  Make sure you check back to see if you won!

VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE #1 is today for only $3.99



The world as we know it is gone. The ice caps have melted and shifted south, devastating the northern territories and eradicating major cities such as New York and London, which are now under water and frozen. Humans died off during an epidemic prior to the ice disaster, and many more died during the floods at the start of this new ice age.

These events have forced vampires out of hiding. In order to ensure that their food source wouldn’t completely die off, the vampires have sequestered the remaining humans into farms and taken control of all that remains of civilization. Over time, the humans breeding on these farms became anemic. Their blood no longer sustains the master race. But not all of the humans were captured and sent to the farms. Some of the humans evaded the hunters, hiding in safe houses across the frozen tundra. As decades passed, the free humans disappeared, died, or were captured, until all that remains is one. Kahli is the last wild human. BANE is her story.


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More Love for SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele (5 Stars fm Lisa’s Book Review)

romance novel, erotic romance book, 50 shades of grey

Thought I’d post this reader review of SCANDALOUS, my new romance book. Having totally swoon-worthy moments reading the reviews.  Thought Lisa’s was AWESOME!


REVIEW: I am just going to come out and say that this book is so good that it should be scandalous! I absolutely loved it!

I read that this book was an addictive tease that would leave me breathless and begging for more. That statement is not a lie! I started to read this book on Friday morning and it had me from the beginning and when I finished it Friday afternoon I did feel a little breathless. This books could have easily doubled in length and I would have been a very happy lady!

This story has a uniqueness to it that I really enjoyed. Abby is a minister in Texas but gets put on a mandatory one year sabbatical after she caused some drama at the church. Abby goes to live with her good friend Kate in the Northeast and her whole world turns upside down when she runs into the one man she has ever loved, Jack Gray. Now, when I say that Abby is a minister, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression and think that she is completely buttoned up; she is a little feisty and full of passion. She struggles between the life she choose and the life that she could have had.

Now Jack, I butterflyingly LOVE Jack. First, he is an artist who just happens to be hot. For me, artists kind of fit right up there with musicians and movie stars:) Second, he has this sexy, mysterious edge to him. He is a tortured artist who puts his pent-up frustrations for losing Abby into his art. Last, I love the way he loves Abby. There are some really great moments in this book that will make you want your own Jack Gray;) I will just mention paint, canvas, and nakedness; it takes body painting to a whole new level!

Jack and Abby have been apart for ten years at the beginning of this novel. Jack loved Abby back in high school and Abby loved Jack but one little misunderstanding left Abby running for the seminary and Jack to a lonely existence full of art inspired by Abby. The two have never even kissed before but they are soul mates and they belong together. They have hot, searing chemistry after they are reunited and I was rooting, loud from the rooftops, for these two to be together. Things are not always easy though; Abby is a minister and has taken as oath and Jack does not want to be the one to make her fall.

This book is pure goodness and did not have many unnecessary moments. I wasn’t too sure about it after reading the description but take my word for it, it is fabulous! It flowed and was a quick, enjoyable read. I only wished it would have been a little longer as I could not get enough of Jack and Abby! I really hope this author writes more books like this because I will be reading them.  -Lisa’s Book Review

SCANDALOUS is on sale for $3.99 through this weekend!


Related posts: SCANDALOUS book giveaway.

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Summer Sizzle, Signed Books, & Extras

You ever get to the end of a good book and think, I wish there was more… just another kiss, just another smoldering look… It can’t be over yet!

Well, here’s your chance to get more.  Once SCANDALOUS reaches 50 reviews on Amazon, I’ll post an extra sizzling hot scene between Jack and Abby for free on the blog!  Eeep!

Psst! Haven’t read it yet?  SCANDALOUS is on sale for $3.99 through the weekend.


More?  You want more?  Okay!  Once DEMON KISSED reaches 100 reviews on Amazon, I’ll post bonus content.  There was a scene between Ivy and Collin that was deleted for being too steamy before it went to press.

Long story.  It had to do with agents, publishers, blah blah blah.  Anyway, it was removed from the manuscript.  I’ll post this extra chapter for free on the blog when we hit 100 Amazon reviews!  We’re almost there!  Hooray!!!

DEMON KISSED is on sale for $3.99 this week!



The next book release is for VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE #1 – BANE on FRIDAY JUNE 15th, 2012!  The first book in the  series will appear on Nook and Kindle.  Paperbacks will follow about two weeks later.  Have you read the chapter 1 sneak peek?  It’s over here.

Description: The world as we know it is gone. The ice caps have melted and shifted south, devastating the northern territories and eradicating major cities such as New York and London, which are now under water and frozen. Humans died off during an epidemic prior to the ice disaster, and many more died during the floods at the start of this new ice age.

These events have forced vampires out of hiding. In order to ensure that their food source wouldn’t completely die off, the vampires have sequestered the remaining humans into farms and taken control of all that remains of civilization. Over time, the humans breeding on these farms became anemic. Their blood no longer sustains the master race. But not all of the humans were captured and sent to the farms. Some of the humans evaded the hunters, hiding in safe houses across the frozen tundra. As decades passed, the free humans disappeared, died, or were captured, until all that remains is one. Kahli is the last wild human. BANE is her story.



I’m giving away 3 SIGNED copies of DEMON KISSED this month!  These copies have the new purple covers!!!  The book has been reformatted and looks stunning!  If you read DEMON KISSED, leave a review on Amazon or B&N to enter to win.  I’ll choose a name at random from the people who left reviews.

I have 2 SIGNED copies of SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele (my pen name) that I’m giving away this month, too!  Mind you that this book is an adult romance book.  If you read SCANDALOUS you can leave a review on Amazon or B&N to enter to win.  I’ll choose names at random from the people who left reviews.

BANE giveaway is also going on!  This is the first book in my new vampire series.  If you read BANE you can leave a review on Amazon or B&N to enter to win.  Full details are listed here.

There will be more give-a-ways each month.  At least that’s my plan!  I’ll have signed books, kindle skins, nook skins, and more awesome stuff!

To make sure you don’t miss anything, sign up for the newsletter by clicking here.

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Evolution of a Book Cover (aka Dude, that’s fickin awesome! How’d u do that?)

It’s been drawn to my attention that I have an unusual perspective when it comes to being a writer.  Not only do I write and market all my books, but I also create the covers–from scratch.  And not stock photography, pre-fabby, template kinda scratch.  I’m talking non-Betty Crocker insta-cover, going-the-full-mile kinda scratch.  The kind of covers that truly start with nothing but a camera and an idea.

Here’s what I got to work with.  (Yes, I am speaking in my muppet urban vernacular in this post, because it’s fun and trendy, so you’ll have to deal).

You see this?  I got a regular girl, a camera, and my brain.  That’s it.  That’s all I start with.  (Want to see everything bigger?  Click the image and it’ll open full size).

We usually shoot a few different outfits, something plain–but who likes plain?  I mean, why not pull out all the stops and throw on a ball gown?  These are Young Adult book covers after all.  (And once you own a ballgown, I’m convinced you’ll wear it everywhere.  Because they are that much fun!  It’s only a matter of time until ballgowns become street clothes).  Anyway, a big dress with lots of folds in the fabric adds texture, depth, and interest–in other words it photographs really fricken awesome!

Next, I find stuff that will help the flow of the final image and tie into the story.  In this shoot, the model is wearing Collin’s ring and holding Shannon’s dagger.  The images were shot (usually) with one large soft box and fill light.  I wanted high contrast between the skin and the background and dress, so I made sure this series had more evenly lit skin in the shots for the TORN cover below.  On the Demon Kissed cover (jacket pictured below), things are much more shadowy.  The short lighting gives that tense ominous feeling that I <3.

After the model is set up, we start shooting.  The shoot runs 2-3 hours depending on what we are doing.  Going into a new shoot, I usually have an idea of the kind of feelings I want from the final image and then try to figure out the poses that match.  So its like reverse-engineering a little bit.  The entire series will have all the covers shot on the same day at the studio.

Most images tend to be low-key (dark images with a lot of black) since that reflects the mood of the Demon Kissed series. When I shoot romance covers next week for more Ella Steele’s upcoming releases, they’ll be brighter to match the moods of those books.  (YES!  I’m writing more romance under the name Ella Steele.  I’ll talk more about that in another post).

I can’t tell you how important it is to make sure the mood of the book matches the mood of the cover.  If you have happy hearts, bright colors, and unicorns–then read Demon Kissed–you’ll have a wtf moment and your brain will explode.  Okay, maybe not explode, but if you were looking for something fun and light, and got something dark and sexy, you might not be too happy with me.  The cover is one of the things that worried me about going the traditional publication route, since I’d have no control.

So, if you remember one thing from this post it should be this: MOOD MATTERS.

After the shoot, we look through the images.  You might be thinking, FUN!  Well, in a way it is, but what is actually happening is that I am looking at a series of sister shots (a bunch of shots that look nearly identical).  It’s like looking at a filmstrip, and playing spot-the-diff. After going through each and every image, I’ll chose the one that I like best for the cover.

The 4 images above are unedited and uncropped.  They’re straight out of camera – which I NEVER show to anyone cuz it’s like walking around the mall in nothing but underpants, and I’m not that kinda girl.  But for the sake of art, I decided to post them today, so you can see the process that goes into making the book cover.  Parts of making the cover are fun.  Parts are tedious.  I mean, do you see the difference b/t #1 and #3?  Imagine looking at 30 shots of those, where the differences are so minor most people can’t see them.  This is where being a freaky OCD perfectionist helps.  I can use my super-critical skills for good instead of evil, and all while not donning a cape.  (Although capes are really fun, right?)

So I chose an image.  We hold a huge ceremony and bust open champagne and… well, no.  Not yet.  But keep your cape on.  We’re almost done and you’ll want to fly and show all your friends.

The next thing is editing the image.  My models wear stage make-up when we’re shooting. It makes editing go a lot faster.  The thick make-up hides skin issues and makes certain that the model still has color on her face after the cover is fully processed.  During the final stages of making the cover, the image’s brightness is pushed, and it’s possible to lose skin tones, so the edited image above is actually intentionally underexposed.

The next step is pulling her off the background and starting the cover design.  If you purchase stock to make your covers, this is where your cover begins.  If you’re a control freak like me, look at all the things you didn’t get to control!  Sometimes it pays to use stock, but if you are writing a series, promoting the hell out of it, and then have the same cover models as everyone else–well, it’s not very good branding.  Dude, I’ve seen at least 17 covers, all by different authors, who have the same exact couple on the cover.  The images were being used by the Big 6 and Indie authors.

It makes your branding moot when other people have access to the same images.

Business brains might be thinking, Yes, but is a photo shoot cost-effective?  The answer:  Hell yes!  Stock images are expensive and now Indie authors can’t buy the little images because the pixel dimensions are too small for Amazon’s new requirements (they are asking 2500px on the longest side for ideal viewing).  You want ideal viewing.  That’s the whole purpose of the cover – to lure in readers.  Having it showing like crap won’t help you.  So, your covers suddenly shot up in price if you are using stock.  Price a photoshoot.  You can find anything from $30, which can include the disc, and up.  Photographers’ rates are all over the place.  In other words, it’s worth looking into.

So I chose the shot I want to use, but it’s not perfect.  It’s not EXACTLY what I want.  It has the feeling, and she looks pretty, but it needs something.  I can see Shan’s blade and Collin’s ring, but I want the dress to pop more.  Although I LOVE purple, the Demon Kissed cover is purple, I want this cover to be different.

So, for TORN, I decided to make her gown red to match her lips.

As soon as I change her gown to red, I can see everything.  I know I want the gothic-ish overlay.  The entire series uses those to help tie them together.  I need to add her Martis mark to her forehead, the violet mark Ivy has in the book.  I change her eye color and make them rimming violet, like in the book.  And I brightened her hair.  It was getting lost a little bit after applying the layers of the overlay.

So, now my image has about 35 layers.  Here is a screen shot of what things look like at this point.  (And I’m working in CMYK for print.  I’ll convert it later to RGB for computer screens.  I’ve found it’s easier to maintain rich colors that way).

Next, I take my cover image (minus the words) flatten it and drop it onto the print template.  I check my gutters and crop lines (the little blue/ green rulers) to make sure everything lines up correctly so that it will print right.  My books are printed at a standard trade paperback size, in this case 5″x8″.  If I just made the template at 5×8, when the book is printed, it won’t look right.  You have to leave extra room so the cover can be cut before it’s bound to the rest of the book. You also need to leave a place for the barcode.  Your printer can give you the margins so you can place guidelines on your cover to make sure everything lines up correctly.  If you can do the interior margins, this is the same kind of thing.

Next, the text is added.  All my covers have large text on the back.  It’s the hook from the first book in the Demon Kissed series, then they go into their own description.  Then I add my other book covers from this series to the back of the book.  Again, images lend to mood.  The more images you have, the better.  There’s a jewel pic on the spine, a little glimpse of the cover pic.  And the number in the series, author, publisher, etc.  I also put on the back cover a new series that is coming out next.

And this is what it looks like when the jacket is complete and ready to print.

It’s kind of cool to see the process from start to finish.  It has that awesome-esk feeling of seeing a before and after shot.  Below is another completed book jacket.  It’s for the first book in the Demon Kissed series.  Remember how I told you that I LOVE purple?  Yeah, well, I have to make a consious effort not to make every single cover purple.  That also means my favorite cover in the entire series is this one… cuz it’s PURPLE!

That’s the evolution of a book cover.  It starts as a hunched-over, slobbering hairy guy, and ends with a pretty girl in a dress holding a dagger.  Tah-dah!



H.M. Ward is the bestselling author of the Demon Kissed series, and an award winning photographer.  To see all of her covers, click here.

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Sneak Peek: VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: BANE (Book #1) by H.M. Ward (Paranormal Romance)

Sneak Peek: Chapter 1 of VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: BANE (Book #1) by H.M. Ward

That day lingered at the back of Kahli’s mind like a nightmare. The memories and emotions bled together, making every terrorizing moment painfully clear.  Kahli and her mother were not halfway through the crystalized trees when the first ray of light burst forth. Icy pines jutted up out of the ground forming towering spires. Kahli remembered everything: The crisp scent of the morning air, the sunlight on her face, her mother’s voice—even and urgent—telling her to stay hidden. Every piece of information was stored with acute detail in her mind.

Making their way down the icy slope of the mountain had taken longer than expected that day.  It was nearly ten years ago now.  She was barely seven. Just after they’d entered the woods, Kahli’s mother turned sharply. Instinctively, she grabbed her daughter’s hand, and searched the landscape behind them. Mother’s heart stopped. The Trackers were too close.  If she didn’t do something, they would both be captured.

Her grip on Kahli’s small hand tightened. Leaning closer to her daughter, she whispered in her ear, “Run.”

Kahli blinked, shaking her head. It felt like she was stuck in a dream and time had stopped.  Her mind couldn’t comprehend what her mother had done.  What she said. This couldn’t be real.  But it was.  Mom ran directly toward the Trackers, leaving her behind.

Ignoring the terror that rushed through her tiny body, Kahli finally turned and sprinted in the opposite direction.  The pounding of her heart echoed in her ears as she gasped in the frigid air.  Cold dry wind whipped her small cheeks.  Kahli’s spiked shoes cut deep into the glittering snow, but they left no foot print, only tiny holes left by the spikes.  They would soon be covered with the dry powdery snow that blew through the air like dust.

Kahli ran until the stitch in her side felt like it was going to burst.  Her legs screamed in protest, burning, begging her to stop, but she didn’t.  She couldn’t. Sucking in huge breaths, Kahli ignored the needles pinching her lungs and fled.  She didn’t look back.  There were no sounds other than the thumping of her heart and the howl of wind ripping through the trees, nothing that indicated pursuit. She didn’t know what her mother heard, but she knew without a doubt that there was danger behind her, and that her mother had run straight into it.  Kahli stumbled, forcing her feet to continue.

The brightness of the frozen trees shone in her eyes like a thousand suns, blinding her.  They should have passed through these woods earlier.  It was her fault they were here now, trying to escape from creatures that couldn’t be outrun. Her heart hammered harder, her small body filled to the brim with fear, shaking as she ran. The ski mask that covered her face to protect her from the wind made it difficult to see.  She’d nearly collided with a tree. It didn’t fit quite right.  The worn wool was slightly too large for her small head. Kahli untied her hood and tore off the mask. She decided it was better than slamming into one of the ancient aspens. Gasping for air, she shoved the mask in her pocket.  Fiery red hair streamed behind her as she fled.

Nearing the edge of the woods, Kahli slowed.  A sound carried through the trees to her left.  Jerking her head toward the noise, Kahli saw her mother rush through a thicket of briars, shattering them into tiny fragments as she thrashed her way through.

Breathless, Mother reached for Kahli, and shoved her into the frozen thicket.  The branches gave way without shattering, concealing the small child.  Leaning down, Mother breathed so hard that Kahli could barely understand her.  “Stay in there. Don’t come out.”  She put her finger on her lips, and backed away from her daughter’s frightened green eyes and small round face.

Mother was within reach when the Trackers burst into the clearing.  A large man with a thick coat that barely concealed his round belly said, “Thought you could escape, did you?”  He wore white like we did, so he could blend into the landscape.  The man moved towards Mother, who stood utterly still.  The dark-haired man examined her, sliding his eyes up and down her thin frame.  Her fingers fisted at her sides, ready to fight.  The man’s narrow eyes ignored the gesture.  Stubble lined his jowls, as if he hadn’t shaved for days.  He scratched his chin like he’d forgotten something.

A boy appeared next to him.  He couldn’t have been more than 8 years old.  His gangly frame seemed too tall for his thin body.  He was like the other man—pale with dark hair.  Stepping into the clearing, he stopped behind the man.  The boy appeared frail, but Kahli knew he wasn’t.  That boy was a Tracker, a vampire, like the fat man.

Kahli pressed her face to the cold ground, trying not to breathe.  She didn’t know what they were doing.  Tears stung the corners of her eyes as terror coursed through her veins, but she remained hidden as her mother said.

Mother held her chin up high, “I evaded you long enough.”  She’d lost her mask.  Wisps of dark hair blew gently away from her face.

He laughed, reaching into the bag he carried across his chest.  “Not much good it did you.”  He removed something that glittered in the sunlight.

Mother stepped away, ready to run.  But she didn’t want to flee and leave her daughter with the Trackers.  Even the boy was dangerous, but there were no other options.  When the man moved to wrap the gleaming metal around her wrists, Mother lifted her foot and stabbed the man in the leg with the spikes of her shoe.  A wild howl tore from his throat. The nails pierced his skin, leaving long deep holes in his flesh.  Blood covered his shin in long lines where metal met flesh and blackened blood poured down his leg.

The dark haired boy came to life.  He moved faster than she could see.  Before her mother got in another shot, she heard her hit the ground. A gush of air was forced out of her lungs when she fell on the packed snow.

The fat man reached for Mother, jerking her to her feet.  “You’ll pay for that.” Without another word, his hand collided with the side of her face.  The sound filled Kahli’s ears.  Her tiny stomach lurched within her, her small eyes wide and frightened.  His hand landed squarely on her mother’s jaw with such force that her head turned to the side.

Mother didn’t scream.  She just closed her eyes.  When she reopened them, she glared at him.

The man ignored her glare, and cast his gaze at every tree in the clearing.  The holes in his leg had already healed, but his pants were stained with blood.  The boy watched, standing nearby, his eyes scanning the trees.

He addressed the boy, his dark eyes searching the gleaming forest. “She doubled back.  There has to be a reason.”

The boy was quiet for a moment and then asked, “Do you think she has young nearby?”

Mother didn’t move.  Her expression remained the same.  Kahli’s heart was beating so fast within her tiny body that she thought they would hear it.  She stuffed her mittens into her mouth to keep from crying.  They’d find her.  They knew she was there.  Hidden at their feet.

The man nodded, his lips snaked into a grin, “It stands to reason…”

The boy stepped forward and began to move methodically through the clearing.  Looking between the branches in the frozen thickets, his ungloved hands pushed through thorns, bending back the branches.  The ice-covered brambles slid against his pale skin, but he did not bleed.  He continued pulling vines and branches, parting them and peering into the shadows until he was next to the exact place Kahli was hiding.

Kahli held her breath.  Her mother’s eyes were glued to the boy’s back as his hands were dangerously close to her daughter.  Mother’s entire body was stiff.  She swallowed hard, watching the boy get closer and closer.

Kahli’s heart slammed into her ribs.  Air wouldn’t come. She couldn’t breathe. The boy crouched, parting the thicket and bent down low.  He was standing just above her, his hands right above her head.  And then he stopped.  His blue eyes stared into the dark place where Kahli hid deep within the thicket.

His eyes locked on hers.

Kahli’s small body was frozen.  A scream was stuck in her throat, refusing to come out.  Her teeth were biting into her mitten, and she couldn’t stop.  Every part of her wanted to scream.

His blue eyes remained fixed on hers, but the boy didn’t move.  He simply stared. She wasn’t certain if he saw her among the shadows or not.  After a moment he turned away.  The branches flew back into place, concealing Kahli.

“There’s nothing here, but frozen thorns.  Whatever she had is gone,” the boy stated.

The man grunted, displeased.  “Then find her.  You know the situation we’re in.  Bringing in a wild female and her young would fix everything.  We’d be welcomed back by the Queen herself.”  He beamed, imagining it.

The boy nodded, dark hair falling in his eyes, “Yes, Sir.”  And he took off between the trees, tracking down a girl that was hidden right in front of him.”



-Excerpt from VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: BANE (Book #1) by H.M. Ward, a paranormal romance novel.  Release date: June 15, 2012.  Please note that this is not the final copy.  Changes may be made prior to publication.
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Cover Reveal: Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar (Demon Kissed #6) Gets Sexy

The cover for ASSASSIN was driving me nuts.  I mean, it was striking, but it didn’t really talk to me.

I was thinking, we needed a cover with more WHAM! than that.  I mean, this is crazy, sexy, unpredictable Eric we’re talking about.

So, we started from scratch and tah-dah!  Here’s the cover, complete with Eric.  His eyes look awesome.  I can’t wait to see the printed edition.  This is what we were waiting for.  So those of you who ordered a print copy, it’ll be here soon.  I’ll let you know when they ship.  And it was totally worth waiting for this cover.  Now you can drool all over it and stick Eric under your pillow – or lock him in your closet.  Hee hee.

And, now you know who was carrying Ivy on the cover of #5.  Wink wink.

Fans have been asking when pics of Collin will appear?  The answer is: as soon as the Collin muses strike.  I’m ready for a frying pan to the head, but so far, no such luck.  I have an image in my head, but haven’t found the perfect match.

ASSASSIN is on sale for under $5 right now on both Nook and Kindle!  Go grab it and tell me what you think.  The Demon Kissed fans are saying it’s their fav book in the series right after Demon Kissed #1, which made my jaw drop.

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