Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My 1st Valentine by Stephanie Burkhart

Valentines Day used to be a cold, cold holiday for me. Well, let's face it, growing up in New Hampshire put Valentines smack in the dead of winter. Snow littered the ground. Cold chilled the bones. And I was too young to have a Valentine anyway.

Then I joined the Army. Valentines still proved to be a cold, lonely, snowy holiday. Sure, I had boyfriends, but I always seemed to be "in-between" them when Valentines Day showed up.

Why am I talking about Valentines instead of my 1st kiss? Because it's over 20 years and I can't remember. I'm sure it was sweet, filled with promise, but it's my 1st Valentines that really resonates with me.

Brent and I were stationed in Bad Hersfeld, Germany and yes, it was cold and snowy. We lived off the base in a small 1 room apartment we called "The Love Shack." The apartment was across town, about 10 minutes from the Kaserne and up on the hill, so you could look down onto the city.

The landlady was crazy, but that's another story for another blog.

My husband loved Oingo Boingo (being the California boy he is) so I bought him their latest disc and decorated the living room in pink and white crepe paper.

At the time, Valentines wasn't a big holiday where we were stationed at. (Germans really get into "Fashing" though, which generally occurs mid-to-end Feb right before Ash Wednesday) My husband hunted high and low until he found a small florist that had a dozen red roses. He paid 50 marks for the flowers. (approx. $30.00)

I so appreciated the hunt he undertook to find me flowers. That involved a lot of effort and thought on his part, especially since he was an American in Germany with limited knowledge of the language. My husband gives me flowers every year, but behind the gesture, I'm always reminded that he was the 1st guy to go out of his way for me and buy me flowers, and that means a lot – even 20 years later.

Enjoy this Excerpt, from "The Hungarian" where Matthias and Kate bond over flowers.

"What happened to you?" Katherine whispered. She needed to know more about him.

"It isn't easy for me to discuss." He dropped her hand. His eyes darkened as if a storm threatened the horizon.

"I understand."
"Do you?"

She hesitated. Matthias's wound was still raw.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Was he trying to push an unpleasant memory away from him?

"Katherine--" he began.

"No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up."

He grabbed her wrist again with his cat-like reflexes. "It is unpleasant, but I've come to terms with it."

"Have you?"

"Yes. I'm just not prepared to talk about it right now. I want to focus on you. I find you intriguing, and I would like the opportunity to get to know you better."

"You find me intriguing? Boring old me and my books?"

"Don't talk about yourself like that. You are not boring. Your desire to own a bookstore is admirable. This is not an easy admission for me. Since my wife died, I vowed not to get involved with anyone else, but the stars guided me to you."

"The stars?" she questioned.
"You believe as I believe."

"I believe what precisely, Matthias?"

His eyes burned gold. He stepped into her personal space, his lips curving into a seductive smile. Her heart pounded like a horse on a track pursuing a reckless course to the finish line. The sunlight struck his face in such a manner that it cast gray shadows over his satyr-like cheekbones.

"In the stars," he finally said. "I live my life by them."
She drew in a breath. The stars had been her lifeline once. He leaned forward, his mouth trapping hers with his sweet lips. Warmth pooled inside her, unlocking unspoken desire. His kiss was gentle yet filled with hunger, teasing her with silent promises of more before he backed away. His eyes never left hers. She betrayed too much in that wicked kiss, for his lips curved into a feral smile full of delight. Did he want more? Confusion pooled next to desire. Was this what it was like when the heart and mind collided?

His eyes darted to a nearby lavender bush. He easily closed the distance between them and the bush. Gently, he picked a sprig. "For you."

Happily Ever After Reviews, 5 Cups
"This is an excellent book and I think fans of both the paranormal and historical romances will really, really enjoy it."

Hope Chest Reviews - 4 Hearts
Overall, The Hungarian was a pretty good read. Stephanie Burkhart is good at telling an interesting story that holds my attention.

You Gotta Read Reviews - You Need to Read, Lupa
I was so very happily surprised by this book. The characters are enchanting, the scenes are vividly written, and the story has a fantastic flow. I really enjoyed the warm love and fiery passion that seemed to leap off the page.

Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, 5 Hearts
"I highly recommend The Hungarian, even if you aren't that interested in the paranormal such as werewolves. The romantic tale of The Hungarian is enough to win over anyone."

Reader's Favorites, 5 Stars
"This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic."

Coffee Time Romance, 3 Cups
"Ms. Burkhart tells this tale in such a voice that we can practically feel the waves of emotions both characters are feeling coming off the pages."












Monday, February 27, 2012

The Most Depressing Kiss That Never Was

Ahhh… kisses and romance.  I wish I could tell you I'm an immensely romantic person, but in actuality nothing could be further from the truth.  Sure, I enjoy a good romantic story and I love writing about Christina and Shaw in Future Savior, but for the most part my own love life can be summed up in two words: crapped on.  From being cheated on to being dumped on my birthday, romance hasn't been the number one thread in my life.  Luckily my husband has helped to cure my romantic anorexia, but in previous years things were lack luster at best.  Today, I've decided to share with you a story about the most depressing non-kiss in the history of the world!  

I was in 9th grade on a field trip with my classmates.  We were returning to school pretty late and, while sitting in the back of the bus, some kids came up with the brilliant idea to play a modified version of Spin-The-Bottle… I think we were using a pencil for the "bottle".  Anyway, one of the cutest guys in the whole class was up to spin.  Amazingly, it landed on me!  To say I was excited would be an understatement, but instead of kissing me the boy said, "I can't do it!  She's too ugly!"

Of course to try and save face, I laughed it off like it was some big joke, but on the inside I was crushed.  How horrifying, right?  Thus begineth my life time of self deprecation.  However, before you feel too badly for me, and before you strike up the violins to play at my pity party, I think I turned out okay in the looks department.  I'm no longer "the ugly girl".

I suppose I could end this post here, but what a horrible way to leave a post about romance and kissing!  So to try and cheer you up a little bit, let me share with you my favorite romantic scene from a movie.  The year was 1998 and I had the biggest crush on Ben Affleck.  Now, I know Armageddon is not the most romantic movie ever… or even a very good movie at that, but the scene with Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler eating animal crackers for some reason gets me every time. I think this scene is just so realistic in its simplicity… and Ben looking so fine certainly helps too!  Okay, go ahead and make fun of my romantic scene pick.  I've been picked on for worse… after all, I was the ugly girl!

All righty then… now it's time for some shameless plugs.  First and foremost, Future Savior Three: Evacuation will be released on Thursday! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  In honor of the simple fact that I was actually able to write three books, I've giving away the best prize EVER:

BECOME PART OF THE STORY!!!  That's right.  If you buy a copy of Future Savior Three: Evacuation, you could win a chance to be a character in Future Savior Four: Desecration.  Stop by my blog (http://jenniferhartz.com/blog) later this week to find out how to enter.  Plus leave a comment here for your chance to win the post card I'm holding in the above picture... complete with my John Hancock.

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Kisses, and Kisses that Count

"There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C. ... (before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy...Well, this one left them all behind." ~ The Princess Bride

So, we're talking kisses… the good, the bad, the most memorable.

Call me old fashioned, but I can't confess to having a whole lot of experience with different kisses with different people. I fell in love young, fell in love quick, and fell in love completely. I didn't have to keep trying. But, for the sake of conversation, I'm going to talk about three 'first kisses' for me.

My first 'kiss' from a boy was in second grade, and Brent Mack stole a kiss on the playground. I got mad at him, pushed him, and took back my big blue marble and walked away. (We were playing marbles). That was the extent of it. Barely memorable other than I managed to save my marbles. Sorry, Brent. (Since there's a chance he might read this... I'm just putting that out there. )

My second 'kiss' was when I was sixteen, and a boy at church whom I'd been spending time with asked for a kiss. It was sloppy, poorly executed, and the last one he got from me.

My third 'kiss' was the only one that matters.

I was in college, and had been spending a lot of time with this boy named Patrick Delaney I met in Algebra class. We'd spent time in groups, we'd studied together, and we'd spent a lot of time talking. We'd even graduated to holding hands. In truth, I'd seen him the first day of school and even pointed him out to my mother. She and I had this game we called "Beep". If one of us saw a cutie, we would say "beep" and the other would have to find him. I "beeped" Patrick to my mother. Months later, after we started seeing each other, that's how I told my mother who he was. "Mama, remember that boy I beeped to you?"

The first kiss with Patrick wasn't the first one he tried, but it seemed he was thwarted with each effort. You know how in the romance novels, the couple looks into each other's eyes and there's that "click"? They lean in… lips almost touch… and they're interrupted JUST before that magical moment? Yeah… that was us.

Kind of made it fun… would he succeed this time?

A bunch of us had gone to the movies… Friday the 13th Part Gazillion or something… and after the movies we all went to Clarendon Gorge near the campus. This is a beautiful park you have to reach by crossing a suspension bridge. NOT easy for me. I was always terrified. Still would be if asked to cross that bridge again. Patrick usually had to coax me across, because I seriously was petrified. (Look at that view... seriously... if you're not scared, you're dead) But, on the other side was a gorgeous wooded area, and down the path you reached a river. Once we got there everyone kind of disbursed. I have very poor vision, even when I was nineteen, and seeing at night is an exceptional challenge for me, so I didn't want to walk around in the dark even though the moon was bright. Just not bright enough for me.

So, Patrick and I made our way to sit on this large, flat rock on the edge of the water. It was gorgeous. The sky was bright. The moon was big. It was cool but not cold (early October in Vermont). Just right for sitting close. The water was trickling by. We sat on the rock talking and holding hands for a long time… and then he kissed me.

And that was it. I was done. Call it overly-romantic (Hello! I'm a romance author!), call it naïve youth, call it whatever you want, but at that moment I knew he was the last person I would need to kiss. I'd found the right one.

We will celebrate our 20th year of marriage next month. So, I guess I was right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fiddle Dee Dee!

My romantic relationships have always been…tumultuous to say the least. They've ranged from utter disinterest on either my part or the guy's to insanely passionate and cruel by and for both of us. Kind of like an Eminem song.

With that in mind, I've chosen to keep "the kiss" the one I like to call "The Earth Shatterer" in the vault for the time being—scorching memories buried under the icy ground for the moment.

But I'd still like to give you a picture of the most romantic onscreen kiss and scene that ever affected me. Yeah, I know I write sci-fi and futuristic but the other side of that coin is, I think, history and while I've never been a civil war buff, how can any movie rival (well, okay there are a few) the magnificent love saga of Gone With The Wind? It's the kind of love story that most women dream about: think of it, a man, a gorgeous (well dressed) manly man, Rhett Butler (even the name is dreamy and sexy) loving you unconditionally no matter how foolish or reckless your behavior and keep loving you for decades hoping against hope you'll realize what the heck's going on and finally wise up. The only man who can match your blazing emotional passions and laugh at you both while doing it, the laughing part being a big deal to me if no one else.

That Kiss— the one between Scarlett & Rhett at the bottom of that magnificent, sweeping staircase (I'd love any man who could give me that too! Yeah call me a merc!) The one after he tells her she's not turning him out that night—it's the one that depicts the pinnacle of romantic passion for me. Scarlett starts out resisting and by the morning she's singing and giggling to herself. How can you resist a man who's forceful but not abusive? For me he's the ultimate. That kiss might have been brief but for women like me who can't respect any man not stronger than themselves—emotionally, physically, mentally—Rhett's brief kiss with Scarlett is the one that sets the bar—forever.

For me that entire scene from the kiss to the top of the stairs embodies the statement of the hotter the flame burns the faster it burns out. If you've been scorched a few times yourself you probably know what I'm talking about—when it burns it burns baby. And when it burns out? Like Atlanta it's ashes to ashes...and Gone With The Wind.

P.I. Barrington

A. R. Norris - Memorable Kisses in Movies

Ah, kisses. Gotta love ‘em. I will admit I’m not really a romantic woman, but there are a couple kisses in movies that have caught my heart. The first is purely from both my love of SF and my love of the scoundrel.

1980s The Empire Strikes Back. I love the scene where Hans and Leia kiss while repairing his ship. Their frustrated and resistant attraction to each other finally boiled over into this moment. It was, for their relationship dynamic, almost sweet, and definitely hot. I liked how they both realized there was more to this then a flyby kiss and it unnerved them a bit.

It wasn’t until 2005 that another kiss snagged me. Don’t get me wrong, there were the occasional “nice” and “interesting” and “sweet” movie moments. But it wasn’t until Darcy came striding over the hill, his jacket flapping around his legs in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice, that my heart swooned again.

Boy did that walk take my breath away. The morning sun, the green fields. Perfect. More perfect was his shy and nervous declaration of love. So worried about being jilted again by the woman he was head-over-heels for. And her quiet reply.

Of course, the most romantic kiss ever for me was the first one from my husband. It was perfect, and sweet, and memorable. No actor, no scene, no story could ever be more romantic than the romance that is ours. Two teenagers falling madly for each other, then proving the world wrong by staying passionately in love 18 years later.

Yup, the stuff of stories for sure, and I get to live it every day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Would you kiss this man?

There's a lot to be said about a kiss. Then again, there's a lot of talk about them too. Not to mention a lot of emphasis put on a kiss. All that amounts to a lot of pressure on being a good kisser. With Valentine's Day just past, I've done a lot of thinking on the subjects of kissing. What is the most important kiss you can ever have? Your first kiss? Your first romantic kiss? Your first kiss with your significant other? The kiss your grandma gives in front of all your friends? Okay, maybe not that last one, but there's a lot of kisses out there to choose from. So, like I said it got me to examining all the kisses I've had in my life to come up with the most important one. I ask you to bear with me, as I take a trip down memory lane. Feel free to pick your most important and let me know if my final choice is the right one. Just to keep you informed. Names have been changed, because none of us are that innocent.

My First Kiss. It was springtime, as such things happen most in the spring. I was in the first grade, minding my own business, as I waited for my turn on the big boy swing. Everything was right with the world, because in four short hours I'd be home in time to watch Tom and Jerry and if I was lucky there would be a Droopy on, too. Then it happened! Sarah--not her real name--Jenkins jumped between the swing set and kissed me! Right on the lips! I spit. I sputtered! I might have tinkled myself from the shock but don't expect me to admit to it freely. The point was it was my first kiss and I could very well have contracted cooties! None of that mattered so much as the fact, she did it in front of all my friends and several bullies from the third grades. Those guys were vicious and for a solid month, I was known as kissy kissy smoochy face. As first kisses went, I was too traumatized to remember much of it, but in the back of my mind, I think I secretly liked it. Of course, it took me about seven years to come to grips with that.

My first romantic kiss. It had everything a first real kiss should have. Teenage angst. Passion. A touch of the forbidden. This thing had the makings of an after school special. Her parents didn't like me. My parents didn't like her. Which ought to tell you we weren't backing out of this for anything. Twenty-six years later I can still remember that kiss and it's the benchmark that I judged every other kiss by for years to come. Even though, her dad found out about us and pretty much ended it for us, I still see her from time to time and think fondly of that kiss with no regrets. Teenagers don't love with their hearts. They love with their hormones, so whatever we had was captured in a moment and not in a lifetime. Love takes more work than teenagers want to deal with. Drama on the other hand they excel at dealing with.

Let me take a break here to say, there are many kisses between these and the rest of your life. Some are good, but most are practice for the ones that matter. I hope you'll excuse me for not mentioning them. I'm spilling my guts enough without giving you the dirt on everything. I do have some self respect left inside me. Being an author hasn't totally killed all of it. Yet!

The Kiss! Yep, we're to that one. Let me set this up for you. I'd known Jenn for awhile, about eight years. We'd seen each other sporadically over that time. From the first time, I'd seen her, I thought she was beautiful. At that time, she was seeing someone, and I had just stopped seeing someone. So, she wasn't totally on my radar and I didn't even blip on hers. A couple years passed. She wasn't with someone, but I kind of was. Again not a good time. I still thought she was beautiful. Then, about five years down the road, I finally worked the courage up to ask her. She said yes and we went out to see a movie, Fallen with Denzel Washington. Guys, if you're reading this, make Denzel your go to guy on romantic movies, even though Fallen wasn't romantic. Any Denzel movie works just as good. The date ended great and I asked her out again. She said yes. So we went to see Spice World, which Morgan, her daughter wanted to see. I took them with my niece Jamie to see it. Afterwards, we all went out for pizza. Don't worry I'm getting to the kiss. You're all a bunch of kiss addicts, if you ask me.

After I dropped Jamie off with my brother, we went back to Jenn's apartment. Morgan, begrudgingly, took her bath. She was seven at the time, so still at that I'm clean enough stage. Somewhere between you better use soap this time and water sloshing under the door, it happened. The kiss that told me I'd never kiss another woman again. It had everything that kiss had back in high school. A touch of the forbidden, because neither of us wanted Morgan to catch us and give us that yuck look. Passion. But, it had something that first kiss didn't. In that lippy embrace, I felt real love for the first time. I'm sure there was some hormones involved, but this time my brain was onboard. I can't explain why, doubt anyone can, but I knew this funny, beautiful and slightly crazy woman was the ever-loving it. In that kiss, I couldn't imagine living without her. Luckily for me, she felt the same or this would be a sick stalker post. Six months later were married. Hey, I work fast and it must have been right. This year we celebrate 14 wonderful years. Why they are wonderful is another blog entirely, but trust me they were.

Still that wasn't the most important kiss. What is, you're screaming at your computer screen? Well, let me answer that before you start smashing the screen with your coffee mugs. The most important kiss is the last one Jenn and I shared. It might not have been romantic. It might have been a quick peck on the cheek or lips as I dropped her off for work but it is the kiss of two people who have loved each other, gone through hell for each other and pretty much promises that no matter what comes, we're going to be there for each other in spite of the nagging things that we do to drive each other crazy without realizing we do them. I might not be able to be romantic all the time, but in that kiss hopefully Jenn knows, I will never let her down or make her doubt my love. I will on the other hand leave my shoes in the middle of the floor where she'll trip over them and leave the toilet seat up. Those are givens.

Yet, as we crawl through life together, I'll be the shoulder she needs to cry on, the warm body she sucks all the heat out of on cold winter nights and steals the covers off of. Above all else, I'll be the man who loves her more than life itself. In the end, isn't that the only thing that matters? So, the next time you pucker up, remember it isn't always about the quality of the kiss. It's about the quality of the heart behind it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ceana and Royal's first kiss...If only she were who he thought she was. Innocent Deception

As if her thoughts had conjured him, Royal spoke softly, his big, battle scarred hand gently stroked her hair. She wanted to scream that her name was Ceana, not Sorsha, and his compassion was wasted on one such as her.
A maid and a liar.
She sniffed. "I'm sorry, husband, for shaming ye."
"Lass, the shame is that ye w-were so very h-hungry in the first place." He soothed, sitting next to her. "I noticed ye did not eat much yesterday, I should have t-taken better care of ye then, or at least ordered ye a meal h-here in our chamber this first morn. It is I who apologize."
She lifted her eyes to his and her heart all but burst with gratitude and shame. With awkward moments she wound her arms around his neck, then burrowed into his warmth, absorbing his quiet strength.
He smelled of man and woods.
Ceana decided, then and there, although there was nothing she could do regarding the lie she had agreed to live, she would do everything in her power to make Royal proud. She would be the best wife she could possibly be to him. If somehow she survived this bitter masquerade, she would be eternally grateful to the guardsmen who, for whatever their reason, had chosen her to be his.
 Royal wrapped his arms around her with a tenderness that made her throat tighten. He brushed his hands up her back, creating a hot, shivering trail on her flesh, then he sifted his fingers through her hair and her eyes half closed in wonderment. The warmth of his breath touching her cheek made her shiver. He kissed the curve of her neck, slowly worked his way along her jaw, then hovered at her mouth, his storm gray eyes smoldering with something she could not identify.
"Lass," he murmured. "If it pleases ye, I w-would like to make ye my wife in t-truth."
She swallowed, gazed deeply into his eyes, knowing if she agreed, there would be no turning back from her deception. "Aye, husband, I would like that very much."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Kiss: Morgan & Adam from Danube in Candlelight

Enjoy this first kiss excerpt from "Danube in Candlelight," Book 3 in the Budapest Moon Series, released 11 NOV 2011.


Adam walked from room to room. The kitchen was small, but he could make his way around that. It had a gas stove and several cabinets.

The living room had a small couch, but the appeal, for him, was the view. He could see Buda Hill over the Danube and the King's Castle next to Fisherman's Bastian. He peeked into the bedroom. It contained a double bed just big enough for him.

"So, who's renting the apartment? Both of you?" Naxos asked.

Adam spun around. "Just me. Miss Duma is here to give me her thoughts."

"Do you have any questions?"

"How much is the rent?"

"Three hundred Korona with utilities. You have to pay for your own telephone, though, and the rent is due the first of each month."

Adam nodded. The amount was a bit expensive on his pay, but if he budgeted carefully, he should be able to make it work. That's probably why the apartment hadn't rented as quickly as Adam thought it might have.

"Do you mind giving me a minute or two to make my decision?"

"Not at all. I'll be downstairs. You can find me in the café behind the bar."

"Thank you," Adam said.

Naxos shut the door behind him.

Morgan looked at him quizzically. "I'm curious."


"Why did you use 'Miss Duma' instead of 'Lady?' Are you ashamed of--"

Adam held up his hand. "Ashamed of you? No. Never. I thought it would put him more at ease. I'm sorry if I offended you." "No. I just thought--"

"Don't read anything into it, please. I wanted him to think we are ordinary people, that's all. I didn't want to call attention to us."

Slow understanding filled Morgan's expressive eyes. A bit relieved, he gestured around the living room. "So, what do you think?"

"It's small, but cozy."

He walked around the living room, surveying the area. "Cozy? I agree. And it's clean." Morgan approached the window and gazed out at the river. Adam couldn't help himself.

He walked right up to her and placed his hand on her elbow. "What are you looking at?"

"The river. It's so fast. The current is strong."

"It pulses with the heartbeat of our nation."

She turned to face him, her look contemplative. "It does. I'm proud to be Hungarian, even though we lost the war."

"So am I."

She glanced back out the window. "I wonder if we can see Vadvirágok from here." "I don't think so. It's higher on the hill, and more toward the west."

"I think you're right."

"Still, there's a great view of Fisherman's Bastian and St. Matthias' Church."

She smiled. "The view alone is worth renting the apartment."

"So you approve?" He leaned closer, catching the faintest whiff of her lavender perfume, but sadly, it was mostly covered by the medical scents from the hospital.

"I adore the view." She turned to face him. Their eyes met. He raked a heated gaze over her figure. She worried her lower lip and demurely turned back to face the window.

"I adore the view, too." Adam reached out and cupped her chin. An intense physical awareness flared between them.

She hesitated. "Adam--"

"You want this."

"This... what?"

"You want me to kiss you."

"You're pretty certain of that."

"I just know what you want."

"You are infuriating. How could you possibly know what I want?"

"Because it's in your eyes."

She placed her hands on his chest and admitted as much. Heat flared between them, actually making the space between them warm. His pulse spiked. Blood rushed to his manhood. He took her lips, savoring her taste. Her mouth hinted of tokaji. Sweet. Honeyed. They drank each other in. He curved his hand around the nape of her neck and pulled her closer. God, her mouth was so velvety and smooth.

Her body pressed against the length of him, her curves hugging his muscles. His manhood pressed against her thigh. She arched closer to him. How responsive she was. She placed her hands on his shoulders and deepened the kiss. He slipped his tongue past her lips, sweeping it into her mouth. Her hands threaded through his hair and practically undid him.

Want. Need. Lust. Desire... all slammed into him. He broke off the kiss, even though he didn't want to immediately withdraw.
She gazed into his eyes, and he swore the gold rings around her irises were as brilliant as a bonfire. Their first kiss had been an incredible betrayal of what he felt for her, and he was proud to let her know.


She curved her hand around the nape of his neck and tugged him closer. He trailed his lips along her jaw, down her neck.

"Adam..." she said, his name a husky groan on her lips.

He looked into her eyes. The heat between their bodies rose. The bonfire consumed her irises. Her eyes sparkled in the sun.

"Adam, your eyes are gold."

"So are yours. See what your kisses do?" he teased lightly.

He turned them toward the window to look at their reflection and was amazed at how their bodies had responded to such an intimate kiss.

Adam drew in a breath. What did it mean? Did their eyes betray their physical lust? Attraction? Or deeper emotions?
Morgan put her hand on his chest and took a step back.

"That was amazing, Adam, but I can't believe what happened to our eyes."

"They reacted to the kiss, to the heat -- they grew more gold, responding with us."

She nodded. "Feeding off our bodies..."

He placed a hand on her hip. "How do you feel?"

"My body is tingling. It's hard to describe. I've never felt like this before, but I know this -- it's everywhere. It's wonderful. I had no idea kissing you would make me feel so alive." Her voice grew soft, and was filled with awe.

He gently tucked a tendril of curly hair behind her ear. "It's in our makeup -- in our bodies. We're different, and we've known that since we've known each other."

5 Stars, Reader's Favorite:
This story is the closest I have ever come to reading a book that feels like a movie!

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews:
Once again, Stephanie Burkhart has touched my imagination and with her writing brings 1922 Hungary to life. Danube in Candlelight is a very romantic, yet spicy read. This is a must read if you enjoy the paranormal werewolf stories or even if you merely enjoy a great romance.

5 Lips, Two Lips Reviews
I found the setting for Danube in Candlelight intriguing.The 1920 period Ms. Burkhart chose for this story lends it a wonderfully dynamic tempo.   The discerning reader will not want to miss reading Danube in Candlelight; I highly recommend it.
Book Trailer on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgzUIHCRN0I

Set in Budapest 1922, The Hungarians are recovering from the war. Adam Varga is Hungarian to the bone and becomes an architect to help rebuild his nation. Morgan Duma returns from England also intent on helping to rebuild her country.

After a tragedy happens to her mother, Morgan discovers her father is a werewolf. She begins to question who she is, becoming more reckless, moredaring, and her choices more bold. When Zoltan Kristos, a known werewolf, requests Morgan accompany him to the summer ball, Morgan has to decide which man will best fit her life.
 PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-219/Budapest-Moon-Book-III/Detail.bok

AMAZON KINDLE BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Hungarian-Moon-Book-Three-ebook/dp/B0061XJFG0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1320188529&sr=1-1
BARNES & NOBLE NOOK BUY LINK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hungarian-moon-book-three-stephanie-burkhart/1107039692?ean=2940013659148&itm=1&usri=danube%2bin%2bcandlelight
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

First Kiss: Rinny and Danny

Alrighty, here's my first contribution to the smooch-a-rama fest! Valentines is for romance, love, and, well, all things smooshy. Unless you're a gangster. Then it's about blood and massacre and all things bloody...

...Any-who. I was going to do the First Kiss post with the first Telomere Trilogy book, Revelations of Tomorrow, but Jetta and Galvin's kiss was not very valentine-sy. So, I thought I'd call back to my first SFR release, Duty and Devotion.

Sitting down to her music, Rinny meditated a few moments on her mood: upbeat and romantic. She pulled up a retro-romanticism Mendelssohn composition, one full of drama and energy. The notes flowed from her lips easier than any words ever could. All the passion and sensuality she buried during her average day released through her body and out the trumpet. Rinny reached for a depth of emotion and innermost truth through the composer's musical elements and harmonies.

On the last note, she relaxed in her chair and enjoyed the moment of accomplishment. She'd booked the room for two hours. It was a great space in the arts and entertainment wing, which used to be part of the civilian city. Since it was a temporary take-over, the militia left it as-is. The owners continued to run it for soldiers off-duty.

She caught sight of Lieutenant Gubvre through the glass wall. He gestured to the handle with an inquisitive expression. She set the trumpet down on its holder and waved him in.

"You and I shouldn't keep meeting like this," she joked.

He smiled and shrugged, then clasped his hands behind him. She realized this was a habit of his and for some reason it was appealing. The height of him was refreshing to someone who was always taller than everyone. From her sitting position, the feeling was exaggerated. By his posture, she could tell he came from an upper class family. Not from the Earth region, like her, but somewhere more exotic by his accent. Possibly the Saturn Rings.

"Yes. Well, I was passing through to see the painters and spotted you." He released a hand long enough to gesture towards the music sheets. "I didn't realize you played. You do it well."

A sound proof room, he wouldn't have heard her. Rinny patted the chair next to her. After he sat, she picked up the trumpet, pressed for another musical piece, and started to perform. Within the first few bars she closed her eyes and continued. She relished the feeling of power that rose in her as she made what so many couldn't. Felt from it what so many weren't able to. The notes created a whole world just for her and a select few. She'd loved playing in the concert group and suddenly realized she'd missed it.

Halfway through she stopped, opened her eyes, and grinned at him. It died on her lips. The intensity in his eyes flared the heat in her system. She lost her breath as his gaze dipped to her lips and then back at her eyes.

"Don't stop," he whispered. "Please."

Unable to trust her words, she picked the song up again. She closed her eyes once more, but this time to keep her concentration. His gaze unnerved her, sending the attraction she felt into overdrive. She felt him draw his chair closer, his knee lightly tap hers. Only years of experience enabled her to finish the song. For a moment, she kept her eyes closed.

They fluttered open when his fingers grazed along the side of her face. Her breath caught and started again, more shallow. His touch stopped at her chin before sliding beneath her hair to grasp her nape. He skimmed his gaze over her hair, her face, her eyes, then at her mouth before drawing in. The kiss was soft, exploring, and perfect. Rinny let the breath seep out as she leaned in and it deepened. Then it was over and he stood.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Very Rare Treat

Whoohoo!  It's smoochy time! 

Between Future Savior Book One: Conception and Book Two: Resurrection there are few very nice kissing scenes that I could use for our lip lock contest here on The Writer Limits.  However, with the release of Future Savior Book Three: Evacuation less than a month away I thought I'd offer up a very rare treat.  The following is a super fun smooch scene from Evacuation!  Enjoy J  

*     *     *
I started kissing him again, even more passionately than before. Not breaking our contact, we moved off of the floor toward the bed. As we settled down onto the comforter, dust that hadn't moved in years flew up into the air and tickled my nose. Shaw repositioned himself. He scooted until his back was against the headboard of the bed and I wrapped my legs around his waist. My body felt like liquid heat and my mouth could not get enough of Shaw's lips.
"Whoa! Sorry!" Drexton exclaimed from the doorway. He had walked in the room, most likely not expecting to find Shaw and I entwined in a passionate embrace, but when he discovered us he burst out laughing. I flushed with embarrassment and scooted off Shaw's lap. Drexton, seeing my awkward blush, proceeded to push the issue.
"Having fun, are we?" He laughed heartily, walked over to the bed, and plopped himself down beside us. "So I guess you two kids are back together now, eh?"
"You could say that," Shaw replied, getting up out of the bed.
"Oh, come on now," Drexton continued patting the bedspread next to him, "you don't have to get up. Stay, stay. Continue, continue. You won't even know I'm here."
"Drexton, you're crazy," I scoffed getting out of the bed, too. I followed Shaw out of the room and back downstairs to the fall colored sitting room where Beliza and Markella were. Drexton chased after us making suggestive comments the whole way down the stairs.

*     *     *

I hope you loved that sneak peek at Future Savior Book Three: Evacuation.  For more on The Future Savior Series be sure to visit the fancy schmancy links below!

Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000624983529&ref=tn_tnmn
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz


Friday, February 10, 2012

First Kiss: Michael and Jacqueline

For my contribution to the 'first kiss' contest, I bring you Michael Tanner and Jacqueline Anderson of The Phoenix Rebellion Book Four: End Game. Michael takes everything slow, for reasons you won't understand without reading, but you should also know Jackie isn't quite so slow moving. :-) They met in Book Two: Outcasts, so it took awhile to get here. Enjoy...

"Michael, am I alone here?" Her voice was rough and whispered near his ear.

He scowled, pulling back to study her face. "I'm here."

She shifted her hands across the back of his neck and shoulders to rest above his elbows. He let his palms slide naturally to her back again, splaying over her warm skin. A voice in the back of his mind told him he should take his hands away. To touch her skin-to-skin -- as her caregiver -- was acceptable. But, at this moment, he felt as far from her doctor as he could be.

"Trust me, there is no doubt in my mind just how here you are. What I mean is... am I alone with just how nuts it makes me to have you this close? Touching me?"

Michael swallowed, watching the small dimple that threatened to appear in her cheek each time her lips curled up in a smile. He compulsively tightened his hold on her, pulling her closer, and her eyelids slid heavily over her eyes.

"No," he finally managed to say through the desert in his throat.

"Are you planning on doing anything about it any time soon?"

He slid his hand along her spine, the hem of her sweater slipping up her stomach. Her muscles slowly rolled beneath his touch. She sighed, her head tipping back slightly and Michael watched, mesmerized. The arch of her neck was beautiful, and the flash of desire to press his mouth to her skin surprised and shook him. His blood hummed just beneath the surface of his skin, and the layers of clothing he wore in defense against the drafts and chill in the old building now smothered him.

Without making the conscious decision to do it, Michael leaned into to her, speaking close to her cheek. "What do you want me to do?"

Her breath skimmed his skin and her lips parted, dark eyes watching him. "That's a loaded question."

"Tell me."

"Kissing me might be a good start."

Michael pulled one hand free from its warm place beneath her sweater to lay his palm against her cheek. His lungs burned and he carefully schooled each breath, his heart pounding hard, rushing blood hot and thick through his veins. He touched her lower lip with the pad of his thumb, and she parted them, her breath warming his skin. He couldn't tear his eyes away from the glistening smoothness on the inside of her lip and the tip of her tongue as it moistened her skin, brushing his thumb.

The need to follow her tongue and taste her crashed into him, and he lowered his mouth to hers. Their lips brushed along each other, open and slick, and her soft moan whispered between them. Michael hovered over her, matching her movements as she tipped her chin, letting their breath mingle together. He still needed to taste her, to know the feel of her wet lips. Slowly, he slid his tongue against her lips, her teeth and finally her own tongue, and pure energy vibrated through him.

He pushed his fingers into her hair, the silken threads weaving around his hand, as he tilted her head and let the power of the jolt reverberate from head to toe. Her hands curled into his shirt and he pulled her harder against him, the need to be careful a persistent whisper in the back of his mind. The slow, learning kiss catapulted into a devouring need.

Only when the demand for oxygen overpowered the furor did Michael break the contact, pulling deep breaths of air into his burning lungs as he rested his forehead against hers. A small tremor shifted through her and he pulled her closer, once again sliding both hands beneath the sweater to touch her skin.

Her skin.

Silk and satin and heat.

Michael swallowed his groan.

"Damn," Jacqueline finally said, breaking the sound of their rasped and out-of-sync breathing. "Where did you learn to kiss like that?"

Michael shook his head, letting his forehead roll against hers. He couldn't form a thought, let alone an answer, and pulled her closer. He wanted to kiss her again, wanted it as much as he wanted to live, but didn't trust himself to do it. His body screamed for more. Screamed too loud and too hard to be ignored.

He pulled her closer and pressed his face into the fragrant curve of her throat.

Read more about The Phoenix Rebellion at my website.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Most of us have been there. That defining moment when we know our world has been rocked so hard that we're almost derailed. It's that moment when, once experienced, makes us greedy for more; a child lusting after melting ice cream. Like the song says it's pivotal, centrifugal, it's that kiss; the one with the power to expand or contract our emotions, to rearrange our life processes and to change us entirely, permanently for good…or for bad.


The white faded into dull grey, room contracting into a narrow rectangle lit from above with dirty artificial light. She sat on a bunk that extended from the wall that was hard, cold and covered with blanket and sheet the color of gun metal. Forty eight hours earlier Isadora had been tossed into the brig for insubordination and then tossed into solitary for starting a food fight with another inmate that escalated into a fist fight with Isadora on losing end of the battle.
Now she sat on the bunk, head down, staring at the floor at nothing in particular, waiting out the silence and boredom of her sentence. The door of the cell slid open and Renan Marcus entered. He pulled the chair seat down from the wall niche and dropped onto it. Isadora refused to look up at her commanding officer.
"Isadora," he said in a quiet voice.
She did not respond.
"Isadora, do you even understand why you’re here?"
She snorted.
"Yeah because I wouldn’t obey your stupid orders and because I kicked somebody’s ass in the mess hall." Her lower lip stuck out like a pouting three year old. She remained staring at the floor.
He sighed.
"Isadora, orders exist for a reason. One of these days you’re going learn the hard way what they’re there for; as for the fight I heard you were on the losing side." He tried to conceal a small smile, but Isadora’s head snapped up and she glared at him.
"That’s a lie! I wasn’t losing anything—"
He sighed and stood up pulled out a remote and aimed it at the camera in the upper corner of the cell and then sat back down.
"There. The camera is off Isadora. I want to talk to you. You have such potential but you waste it by not thinking through anything that you do. You take the easy way and you respond with anger and rebellion whenever someone points that out. It’s a damned shame Isadora because you would make one hell of a soldier if you’d just tighten up your attention and learn to control your emotions." He paused and Isadora looked at the floor again. Renan stood up and sighed one more time. "Such potential, Isadora," He brushed a strand of hair from her face and then pulled her up and kissed her.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine's Day, Smooching and Prizes!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and we thought what better way to celebrate this time of love with some fun blogs and a contest! Well, a contest within a contest, if you want to get technical. But, what best symbolizes Valentine's Day? True love? Roses out the ying yang? Chocolate hearts? Machine guns and mobsters? All good things to be sure, but we got to thinking. What is the first thing you remember about your true love and has the most lasting impact? That First Kiss. You know the one. That first smooch that tells you this is the one. So, for the next two weeks, we're going to post excerpts from our books of that first kiss between our favorite characters.

Here's where the first part of our contest kicks in. We want you, our readers, to tell us what you think of that kiss. Or, you could tell us about your first kiss. It could be with your spouse, a werewolf, vampire, or alien. We don't care. We just want hear about it. Now, why should you spill your guts like that to an Internet full of perfect, or past imperfect, people? Because each day of our kissing posts, we're going to pick one winner to get one of our ebooks. That's right! Seven authors, seven kisses, and seven winners!

But, we're not stopping there. At the end of the month we're going to choose one winner from all those comments to win a piece of autographed swag from each one of us. What could be better than getting one prize? Seven prizes with different post marks. That's what!

Now what do we get out of all this. Well, you didn't think this was all about you, did you? At the end of the month, we're going to have another contest and this time you get to pick the winner. From the First Kiss posts you get to choose your favorite kiss and vote. The author with the reader picked best kiss gets to be crowned Queen of the Blog, yeah Jmo too. He'll just have to wear the crown, and like it, if he wins.

So, there you go. February is all about Romance, Smooching and Prizes! So, make sure you have your lips puckered and get ready for the fun. Most importantly, unless you comment you don't get a shot at winning!

All Winners will be announced Saturday March the 3rd, so stay tuned!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Love to Stake Another Day: The Kiss

Well, I decided to go way back for my first kiss. This is from Love to Stake Another Day. Book 2 in my Love Bites Series. To set things up for you Lyssie and Kris are in a plane that's about to crash big time. Now, it's up to Kris to save them before they can go boom. I think that brings you up to speed. Now onto the smooching!

Love to Stake Another Day
The First Kiss

“Before you trust your life to me, we need to get a couple things straight. There’s a very good chance this isn’t going to work. This is a long shot at best. I did get the idea from a movie after all, but I thought you should know.”

“I figured that out, but we don’t have a lot of options. I’m willing to trust you know what you’re doing.” A boost to his confidence couldn’t hurt. “You said there were a couple of things. What else do you have on your mind?”

“Just this.”

His lips closed over mine and all those electrical shocks you hear about in the movies came flowing through me. Whatever hesitation had fueled me earlier abruptly and utterly deserted me. The press of his lips into mine felt unlike anything I’d ever experienced in my life. I didn’t even flinch when his hand cupped my cheek drawing me in deeper to his embrace. Normally touching me without my leave would have earned him a quick excruciatingly painful death. Lucky for him the kiss distracted me before I could knife him. It’d happened before, so it was a worry of mine.

I reached the point where my brain whispered naughty things into my ear. Stuff like ripping my clothes off and throwing him across the nearest place that would be suitable to you know have…the sex with unbridled passion and all that kinky crap you read about. I was considering copilot’s chair when the warmth of his touch left me licking my lips and wondering why he tasted like watermelon lip gloss.

“Wow!” Who said that? Damn, it was me.

Kristain fell back against the wall. “Yeah.”

“You should know. I will have to kill you for that later.” I sounded breathless and wanting. Gawd, what if I came off slutty too. Not sure if I could live with slutty. How could one kiss, from a human no less, turn me into a slobbering breathless slut? There was that word again.

“Make you a deal.” He reached over and stroked his finger down my cheek. “Let me save us from this certain death, then you can kill me all you want but I get to pick the death of my choice.”

I saw a perverted angle to his reasoning, but at that point I didn’t care. The naughty bits had taken over. Whether we survived the next few minutes or not, I was afraid something worse than death awaited me. Looking into Kristain’s twinkling blue eyes I thought I knew what it was and was too damned scared to admit it to myself.