New Fantasy Romance!

Hey everyone! I have a special treat for you today. No, not a new fantasy romance from me – though I’m working on it! But my good friend Veronica Scott has taken a break from her stellar science-fiction romances and brought a new fantasy romance into the world for our delighted consumption.

I’m happy to have her guest post here today. Take it away, Veronica!

*  *  *

Thank you so much for having my as your guest today! And congratulations on the RWA RITA nomination for Pages of the Mind, one of my favorite books.

Before we get to the exclusive excerpt, a bit of background about my new release, The Captive Shifter (Magic of Claddare Book 1. This novel is my first foray into writing fantasy romance, featuring witches and shifters in an alternate world. I actually wrote the kernel of the story back in 2010, as my first attempt to sit down and seriously aim for publication, versus ‘just’ telling stories for myself and my family to enjoy. Along the way, I got sidetracked from this manuscript by a submission call from Carina Press for romances set in the ancient world and ended up publishing Priestess of the Nile with them. That book had paranormal and fantasy elements and sent me down a path of writing more stories in the Gods of Egypt series (no relation to the awesomely awful movie of the same name!). At the same time I self-published my first science fiction romance novel and really found a home in the SFR world. So much so I’ve concentrated primarily on that genre ever since, with a few forays to ancient Egypt along the way.

But The Captive Shifter was always there in the back of my mind because I really loved the characters, Kyler the leopard shifter and Caitlyn the witch. Periodically I’d return to working on the story and had sent it to my freelance editors, so by this year it was 90% ready to go. When my current SFR novel experienced schedule delays in editing, I thought this was my perfect moment to finish the final edits on Shifter, get a gorgeous cover from Fiona Jayde and see if readers might enjoy my venture into fantasy romance. I have all kinds of sequels lined up in my head, depending on whether there’s a demand from anyone other than myself to know more about the magical world of Claddare and its people.

The story:

Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.

In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?

The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?

The excerpt – Cailyn’s first experience with how magic is practiced in the Witch Queen’s city and how Kyler the Shifter is required to lend his support to the spell casting. As a man, he lies drugged in the center of the altar sands:

The princesses began a new chant, slowly dancing around the altar counterclockwise. Power sparked and flared, spewing purple and red starbursts in the air. The apprentices sang a capella, weaving a counterpoint to the song. Caitlyn mouthed the words, not giving them voice, certainly adding no magic. Hot anger suffused her entire body, watching Kyler used as a source of power for the purposes of others. Her heart hammered in her chest so hard she was amazed no one heard the pounding.

Fists tightly clenched, she closed her eyes, launching a mental search for him in the dreamspace, almost without realizing she’d done it.

The room, the smells and the overpowering chants faded from her consciousness.

Silence.

She was standing in a small forest clearing. Long tail thrashing side to side, an agitated leopard paced at the far side of the glade. The huge cat raised its head and yowled, then resumed patrolling the tree line. Apparently scenting her arrival, the leopard spun, hunkering close to the ground, snarling, the great green eyes locked on her.

Caitlyn retreated one instinctive step as the cat stalked her, belly low to the ground.

“Kyler,” she said barely above a whisper. The cat paused for a moment, ears twitching before creeping closer. Trying to master her fear, Caitlyn shut her eyes, despite the predator stalking her. I don’t need to be afraid of Kyler.  Having gotten her emotions under control, she opened her eyes to find the leopard crouched at her feet, gazing at her. She reached out with one shaking hand and the cat pushed to meet her fingers, positioning its head for her to rub. She scratched behind one black velvet ear and under the chin, rewarded by a rumbling purr.

A storm raged in the forest and lightning flashed in the skies. Winds howled through the trees over her head but no breeze wafted through the clearing, no rain fell. The ground shook with a particularly loud blast of thunder. Ears flattened, the leopard snarled at the sky, prowling away from Caitlyn as if seeking escape, yet always circling to her side sooner or later. Finally, the beast flung itself on the mossy earth, panting.

She knelt beside him, stroking the velvet ears. Caitlyn murmured comforting words while the leopard closed its eyes and burrowed closer to her, laying his head in her lap, wrapping the great forepaws around her, deadly claws sheathed.

She realized he was shivering. Small growls worked their way from his throat.

“You’re not alone, I’m here,” she said quietly. She continued to stroke the cat’s plush fur, admiring the velvet spots in the pale gray coat, tracing them with her fingertip. She kept one eye on the lightning and the swirls of power filling the air. After each crash of thunder the edge of the clearing shrunk closer.

“Queen Margred takes too much,” Caitlyn said, enraged beyond all reason on his behalf. “You’ll die if she keeps this up.” She gazed into the leopard’s glowing emerald eyes. The cat blinked first. “No spell of hers is worth your death.”

There was an iridescent shimmer in the air, like a thousand dragonfly wings, and vibration under her hands. She watched as the leopard faded, shifted, changed—until the man lay on his side, with his head in her lap and his arms curled to hold her in a tight embrace.

“I don’t care if she kills me,” he said, flat, cold. “At least then my captivity will end. Death equals freedom.”

Caitlyn didn’t know what to say to such despair.

 

Book’s Availability

I don’t do pre-orders (because I’ve heard too many horror stories) but you can sign up for my newsletter or follow the blog, follow me on Amazon – but you can be sure I’ll be tweeting and talking about the novel on social media when it’s available! I won’t be keeping it a secret LOL. The book will be available on all major ebook retail sites as of April 3rd and the buy links will be added to this post on my blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/cover-reveal-the-captive-shifter/

Author Bio and Links:

Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

Blog: https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthor

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Scott/177217415659637?ref=hl

 

Releases! Awards!! Ohhhh Myyyyy!!!

THE FORESTS OF DRU, book 4 in the Sorcerous Moons fantasy romance series is out today! Whee!!!

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Also, I’m feeling like it’s a serendipitous day (maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket??) because RT Book Reviews announced that THE PAGES OF THE MIND was nominated for Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 in their Reviewers Choice Awards!!!

I’m particularly pleased to be sharing that honor with two friends who also write books I adore – Grace Draven and Thea Harrison. (CS Pacat was also nominated for the final book in her Captive Prince trilogy, but I haven’t read or met her.)

Very excited to be listed with these gals!

Finally, I’m over at Suzanne Johnson’s blog, talking about *cough* when to end a series. Which I clearly don’t know much about…

The Transition that Became a Book

The Tides of BaraAt last – it’s release day for THE TIDES OF BARA! The next installment in Lonen and Oria’s epic tale is here! 

I have a somewhat sheepish confession to make. You can gaze on this gorgeous cover by Louisa Gallie to salve your soul while you brace yourself. I’ll wait.

Ready?

(It really is a pretty cover, isn’t it?)

Okay, okay – head on over to Here Be Magic to read the rest.

TEETH, LONG AND SHARP Is Out!

screenshot-2016-10-07-09-22-42

TEETH, LONG AND SHARP is out and doing quite well! So fun for me to see my pic next to my darling friend, Grace Draven, along with those lovely rankings. (The other authors are working on getting their pics up, too.)

Thanks to everyone for buying this collection! I hope it tickles your short hairs in just the right way. I haven’t read the other stories yet, but plan to spend some delicious time doing so this weekend. If you’d like to do the same, the buy links are here!

Amazon/Kindle

iBooks

Nook

Kobo

Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe and warm and have what you need. Duck those hurricanes!

Release Day for LONEN’S WAR!

Lonen's War Book CoverI have a new book in a new series out today!

LONEN’S WAR kicks off a new Fantasy Romance series, Sorcerous Moons.

You can read a bit about why I wanted to write this series (and self-publish it) here. And about why I set it where I did here

~pops bubbly~

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On Career-Ruining Books and Moments of Panic

CjVEzFzW0AAwjEOAt long last, THE PAGES OF THE MIND is out in the world!!

That was a long stretch, huh?

Sometimes it works out that way. Because this book and the next, THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, were part of the second contract I signed with my publisher, this series got bumped out a full year from the previous novel, THE TALON OF THE HAWK

I hope the long wait was worth it!

So far, it seems like yes. This book is selling gangbusters and you’ve all been *awesome* about posting those reviews thick and fast. I love that you all embrace Dafne’s story like family. It’s one of the best parts of writing these stories. 

Plus I’m amused by the debates over whose story should come next. I’m contemplating what direction to take after Jepp & Kral’s story in THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, so now is a good time to chime in with your wishlist! I’m totally taking notes, as there’s several paths open in the overall arc to my mind.

Another cool aspect of having you all *finally* get to read this book, is hearing the reactions. I’m fascinated by who chooses which book, which hero and which heroine as their favorite. There’s so much variety! And each book is difficult in its own way to write. I don’t blog regularly about my process because it’s so up and down. One day I’ll be thrilled with how well it’s going and the next I’ll be convinced THIS is the book that will ruin my career. My close friends and critique partners (CPs) have gotten quite good at weathering my despair moments – which can last a week or two, quite frankly. They’ve learned to tell me, “Jeffe, you always do this. Just keep writing.”

With PAGES, I got all the way to the second volcano scene – if you’ve read, you know the one I mean – when I abruptly panicked, quite sure that the book was All Wrong and I needed to go back and… I dunno. Start from the beginning? Scrap it entirely?? I even briefly entertained that Kral was meant to be Dafne’s true love, until my editor gently but firmly informed me that I was Not Allowed To Do That.

And in retrospect… yeah.

So I made my CPs read it at that point and tell me if it sucked. Instead they all said, “how dare you stop there – keep going, dammit!” 

Which really helped.

At any rate, this story was a big departure for me. The title of the next phase of this series, The Uncharted Realms (my editor’s idea), turned out to be strangely prescient. I’m not usually much into fated mates, but this story insisted. I worried to death that all the gesturing would be too much. I fretted that Nakoa was too impenetrable. 

As usual, all that angsting turned out for the best and my CPs were right, as always. It seems I did okay by Dafne, which was hugely important to me. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, here’s all the current buy links!

Thanks ever so much for your love and support. 

~twirls~

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Why I Hate Han & Leia’s Backstory

A woman's torso, naked but for a wrap of crimson velvetToday is the release day of THE DEVIL’S DOORBELL! Very cool to see the excitement out there about it. Also, working with this group of amazing, high-caliber and professional authors has been one of the highlights of my career so far. You ladies rock!

So, I’ve been stewing on this post since I saw Star Wars: the Force Awakens. OBVIOUSLY this post will contain spoilers. You all have had six months to see the movie, so I figure any spoilerage is on you at this point *and* you’ve been warned. It does affect your experience of the movie. After all, my own mother spoiled it for me as I talked to her on the drive down to Albuquerque to see the movie with a friend – after I’d avoided spoilers for WEEKS! 

Alas.

(Also, I seem to have gotten quite worked up writing this post, so the F-bombs are flying. Be warned.)

Anyway, The Force Awakens (TFA) opens many years after The Return of the Jedi finishes. Luke has disappeared to parts unknown, Han and Leia consummated their love affair long enough to birth and raise (for an unspecified period of time) their son, Kylo Ren. He’s an emo dude who ran off at some point to take up Darth Vader’s megalomaniacal legacy. Because of some vague disagreement over their bad boy son, Han and Leia broke up and have lived apart for *years*. She’s been key in the ongoing rebellion leadership (which is super-cool; more of this, please; yes yes yes) and Han went off to … I dunno. Scavenge around the galaxy with Chewie? That part wasn’t terribly clear to me.)

I should caveat here that I am decidedly NOT a follower of the Star Wars overall canon. I’ve never read any of the books written around the franchise, or anything else. I’ve seen all the movies, but that’s it. I’m aware that people write about and discuss all kinds of story threads not in the movies, but I don’t know anything about them. 

ANYWAY… this seriously stuck in my craw. Yes, it’s a great moment when the movie’s central heroine and hero run into Han and Chewie, and it’s a lovely moment of reunion when Han and Leia see each other again, but is it worth this backstory of their long separation?

No.

No no no.

And you know why this annoys me so greatly?

Two reasons: because it’s facile storytelling and because it transmits SFF’s contempt for romance.

Allow me to unpack a little. 

Why have Han and Leia be long-separated at the beginning of the movie? To add conflict. I can’t think of another reason. (Enlighten me if you have one.) To me this reads as screenwriting shorthand: separate the lovers so that you can have the tension of their old differences and the simmer of sexual tension renewed. Because Hollywood thinks you can’t have an established love affair AND sexual tension. 

Also I think Hollywood believes that long-term relationships can’t last happily, which is part of their contempt for romance. In most movies with romance, the focus is entirely on the establishment of the early relationship – as with Han and Leia in Episodes IV-VI – and rarely on a long-term relationship. When a movie IS about later in the relationship, it’s nearly always about trouble. Conflict, doncha know. 

So, I suspect the screenwriters didn’t give much thought to the possibility of having Han and Leia having been together all those intervening years. They just tossed out that, oh no! They separated acrimoniously because their son was a shit head. Because this does in so many marriages, right? 

That annoyed me, too. Han and Leia are both strong-minded people who’ve endured great losses in their lives and emerged scarred but victorious. And we’re to believe they could not preserve their great passion for each other, that their love and loyalty that survived the worst pressures simply crumbled because they couldn’t agree on their grown son doing stupid, disappointing things?

Talk about undercutting two truly great characters. Which brings me around to the contempt for romance.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it occurred to anyone working on the movie how this change in trajectory affects our long-held feelings for Han and Leia. All these many years since Return of the Jedi, I’ve had them in my heart living Happily Ever After. Sure, fighting the Empire and various scourges of civilization, but TOGETHER. Side by side. Heroic partners in life. Enjoying at least that much joy, which is the WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF TRIUMPHING OVER AN EVIL EMPIRE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

*deep breath*

Did I mention this annoyed me?

Basically this movie told us that there is no happiness. Even Han and Leia don’t get to have it.

Worst of all, Han dies, so they’ll never be together again. Even though they reconcile (and it IS a lovely scene), there’s not even a kiss. He dies. Leia soldiers bravely on, alone. (She’s an older woman now, so she wouldn’t be interested in having sex again anyway.)

Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled to pieces that it looks like Carrie Fisher will be back to play Leia in perhaps an even greater role as a general in the rebellion in the next movies. (Which I wonder if the movie folks had planned on before they saw the *overwhelming* “Fuck-Yeah, General Leia” response.) However, I Am Not Pleased that she seems to be relegated to crone status. 

But, hey, it’s SFF action/adventure and who cares about mushy stuff beyond the occasional dirty-hands, smexy kiss?

Oh yeah. We do. 

And you know what? We can have both. Let’s get out there and write those damn stories. 

Forbidden Romance and Fictional Bar Names!

12573673_1031344770255657_394058623659722734_nFirst off, big congrats today to bestie and all-around lovely person and Zen influence on my life, Anne Calhoun, on the release of THE SEAL’S SECRET LOVER today! This novella kicks off a super sexy romantic suspense series of three novellas and three novels. I’ve been in on the brainstorming and these are unique storylines with Anne’s trademark high-stakes emotional angst. Here’s the blurb for this one: 

Logistics director Rose Powell agreed to chaperone her grandmother on a guided tour of Roman ruins on one condition: her brother Jack would come with her. But when Jack backs out, his best friend and fellow SEAL Keenan Parker takes his place. Without a working cell phone, Rose’s orderly world drifts into dreamy days and hot, secret nights in Keenan’s bed. Keenan left the Navy but never made it any farther than Istanbul, much less to a viable future. Until he does, he’ll show Rose things she didn’t know about herself. Can he give his heart and his future to the woman he promised his best friend he’d never touch?

See what I mean? Go snag it now!

A woman's torso, naked but for a wrap of crimson velvetIn other news, last week I finished drafting my story for the upcoming DEVIL’S DOORBELL anthology. In the course of writing, I discovered I needed to name the bar that the heroine frequents. So, I posted this to Facebook:

Okay folks, I need to name a bar. Contemporary U.S. Something in the name should evoke heaven, hell, angels, demons, the devil. Anything along those lines. And… go!

I got over 150 suggestions, counting duplicates!

Of course, I couldn’t use all the names and there were so many great ones, I thought I’d share them here. Feel free to use! In fact, please DO, because it took me *way* too long to sort these…

A Dimensional portal

Ace of Spades

Afterlife

Angel’s Roost

Apocalypse.

Armageddon

Asylum

Baal’s Asylum

Bedlam

Beyond Good and Evil

Bitchbox,

Black Star

Bob’s Road Kill Grill – “You kill ’em, we grill ’em!”

Brimstone’s.

Broken Halo

Carrie Nation’s Delight

Cemetery Gates

Chains

Cherubz.

Church

Club Beyond, . 

Communion

Constantine’s Smoke

Crooked Halo

Dam Site Inn

Dante

Dante’s

Dante’s Circle

Dante’s Fire

Dastardly Spirits

Devil’s Backbone

Devil’s Dew

DewDropInn

Diluted Atheist

Duality

Elohim’s Den

Elysia

Elysian Fields

Elysium

End of days

Exodus

Fallen Saints

Firewater Shack

Flaming Wings

Forbidden Fruit

Gargoyle.

Genesis

Gethsemane

Hades

Hades by Nigh

Handbasket,

Heaven & Hell

Helen Back

Hell Raisers.

Hell with the Lid Off

Hell’s Half Acre

Hell’s Kitchen,

Hellvard

Hemingway’s Delight

Holy Spirit

Horn & Clove

Horns ‘n Halos

I Like It Like That

Inferno

Judgement Day,

Last supper steakhouse

Limbo

Lividicus

Lost Soul Watering Hole,

Lost Souls

Lucifer

Lucifer’s Pub

Lucifer’s Taphouse

Mephistopheles Mezzanine

Nailed Spirits

Nexus

Old Scratch’s

Pagan Spirits

Paradise Lost

Pearly’s gate

Pentagrams

Perdition

Preach,

Purgatory

Rahab’s Roadhouse

Reality Rehab

Revelations

River Styx

Sacrificial Blood

Saints & Sinners

Sam’s Fight Tavern

Satanic Bites.

Satan’s Tavern,

Seraphic

Sinnerville,

Soul and Sacrifice

Soul-stealers bar and grille.

Spirits.

Stone Club Baby Head

Streetcleaner

Styx and Stones

Tavern in the Circle

The Abyss

The Altar

The Chamber,

The Crossroads

The Crypt

The Devil’s Fork

The Devil’s living room.

The Devil’s Waterhole

The Emerald Cross

The Fallen

The Hourglass

The Inferno

The Last Judgement

The Morningstar

The Nailed Redeemer

The Ninth Circle

The Office

the Redeemed Soul

The Rogue Angel

The Serpent’s Tavern

The Seventh Circle

The Stygian Crypt

The Tarnished Halo

The Third Ring

The Trilogy,

The Y’all Come Back Saloon

Tomb

Underworld.

Unknown Redemption

Unrepentant Spirits

Vodun’s Delight

Wings

Wish

 

 

BirdWoman Is Available!

Low Res
Bird Woman by Jeffe Kennedy

Very excited to announce the release of BIRD WOMAN, a creepy true story about my brush with the paranormal!

I wrote this story some years back and it was published in a literary magazine. I’ve told the story to a few people over the years and thought it would be fun to put out there for you all to read.

Can’t wait to hear your reactions! 

Bestie New Releases!

A Billionaire Between the SheetsNew releases today from two of my favorite people!

Katie Lane, member of my local RWA chapter, LERA, and a lovely person in every way, is kicking off a new series today. When she was first cooking up this idea, she talked about it to me as Duck Dynasty meets Victoria’s Secret.

I was all, yes, yes, yes!

Now A BILLIONAIRE BETWEEN THE SHEETS out in the world!

Overnight billionaires, the Beaumont brothers are thrust into life in the fast lane with exotic cars, private jets . . . and sex and success on their minds.

A commanding presence in the boardroom and the bedroom, Deacon Beaumont has come to save the failing company French Kiss. He was born to be boss in this glamorous new world of lacy lingerie and stunning supermodels. But one bold and beautiful woman dares to question his authority.

Olivia Harrington has dedicated her life to the company’s success. Just because Deacon is sexy as hell doesn’t mean he’ll make a better CEO. With a limitless supply of push-up bras and garter belts, Olivia turns her considerable feminine charms on Deacon to discover what makes him tick . . . and reveals instead the billion reasons why she wants him to stay.               

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And the other release comes from online buddy and amazing author, Megan Hart. Seriously, Megan keeps me sane on instant messaging, even if she does bring out the all caps in me. I also love her stories and this is no exception. With a damaged heroine fighting to find a normal life, HOLD ME CLOSE will take your heartstrings in a fist and yank hard.

Apart, they are broken, but together, they are whole 

9780778317623_TS_smp_sidebarEffie and Heath are famous. Not for anything they did, but for what happened to them as teenagers. Abducted and abused by the same man, they turned to each other for comfort until they were finally able to make their escape. 

Now adults, their relationship is fraught with guilt and despair. Whether fighting or making love, their passion is strong enough to destroy them both—and Effie’s not about to let that happen. She knows it’s time for her to have a “normal” relationship, and Heath is nothing but a constant reminder of the dark past they share. Heath, on the other hand, knows Effie is the only woman he can ever love. She may want to forget what happened, but he’s convinced that they must face their past together in order to move forward. So while Effie continues to bring new men into her life, Heath becomes obsessed with proving he’s the one she needs. 

Then a new crisis arises and Effie begins to lose every scrap of self-control she ever had. As she struggles against her desire to return to the one man who understands her, she discovers that sometimes the only safety you find is with the person who is the most dangerous for you.

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Under ContractAlso, I should mention that my UNDER CONTRACT is on sale this week for only 99 cents! This is a great opportunity to pick up this most recent of my novel-length erotic romances.

The kinkier the sex, the higher the price tag…

Ryan Black has admired Celestina Sala from afar for years, her lush body and sensual nature calling to the dominant in him. For just as many years, Celestina was off-limits—married, proud and self-sufficient. But all that has changed, and now Celestina is in debt and in need…and available. Ryan proposes a contract: he’ll pay off her debt if she gives herself to him in bed, yielding control in exchange for the pain and pleasure he’ll bring them both. 

There are words for women who take money for sex, and none of them are nice ones. Celestina never thought she’d have to sink this low, but giving up control sounds more enticing than ever before. And suddenly it’s not about having to give in to Ryan. It’s about wanting to. 

But when Ryan’s dark past comes to light, they may both be in over their heads. The terms of his contract say her body is his…but her heart may be another story.

One thing is for sure—now that Ryan has Celestina, he can never let her go. 

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Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!