The World of Desire’s Embrace

 

 

 

Morgan Latimar knows what it is to be lonely.  He’s reminded of his predicament every day when he reaches for the cane which he uses to walk.  He watches over his shoulder constantly and examines what people don’t tell him more closely than the words they utter.  He has many responsibilities of which he guards with his life.  No one knows his secret, not the full extent of his misery.  For if they did, he would have to eliminate their existence.  So, this is Morgan’s world.

Soon, a young woman will come into his world and turn it upside down.  Her mere presence will rip the cloak from his secret and leave him exposed to the dangerous knowledge he is not what he appears to be.

Laura Sinclair, a bright, exuberant, young woman who’s on her own for the first time in her life is anxious to meet the mysterious man from Louisiana.  His letters painted a picture of beauty and home and she wants to see for herself the wonders that await.  Her first job as a nanny and governess to two children will drop her amidst this storybook world.  She’s on her way to becoming independant.  A dream of hers for so many years.  So, as she stands on tiptoes and crains her head to see the man waiting for the new nanny, she imagines all the splendor of a new adventure.

This is the backdrop for Desire’s Embrace.  While writing this tale of deception and discovery, I strove to prove that though, things aren’t always as they seem,  the heart is still a magical place where forgiveness and trust form a bond so strong, nothing can tear it apart.  I invite you to discover the world of Morgan Latimar and Laura Sinclair in Desire’s Embrace.  Enjoy the excerpt and happy reading.

Desire’s Embrace – Chapter 1

“Give it back!”

“No, get your own!”

“Children.”  As Morgan Latimar entered the kitchen, he admonished his quarreling children for the noise.  It did not matter that their escalating argument was over who got the last piece of bacon.  The scene was the third such episode in a week.  Tensions were running high in his household.  The situation needed a resolution.  This morning, Morgan was on a mission that would cure their unruliness.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he told Ruby, the housekeeper.  Not breaking his stride as he scooped up the last piece of bacon, Morgan divided it into two portions and presented it to Sara and Jacob. Then he exited the kitchen door.  Hearing their laughter, he hoped the peace would last, yet knew it would not.

As the screen door smacked shut a second time, Bertrand, his manservant spoke up.  “That solution will last about five minutes.”

Morgan did not respond.  Instead, he decided not to glance back at the small disturbance mounting as Ruby tried to establish order in the kitchen with her demand for quiet.  His manservant was right.  Lately nothing had calmed his children.  They were out of control.  It was past time he found a nanny for them, someone who could give them the loving, yet strong hand of a guiding force in their lives.

The temptation to shift into a wolf and bound off into the woods sounded better and better these days.  Coming to a stop just shy of the barn doors as he waited for Bertrand, Morgan realized he desperately wanted to run.  However, the reason was not the children.  He loved his son of seven years and his daughter of five.  Jacob and Sara meant more to him than life itself.  His desire to run lay in the loss of their mother and his soul mate.  Diana, the only woman in the world he had ever loved, was lost to him now.  Sara’s birth had taken her five years ago despite everything they had tried to do for his beloved wife.  And yet, it felt like it was only yesterday on a morning like this.  Sometimes he could hear her calling to him from the fields, or he would see her standing on the ridge of the mountains beyond his family’s land.  She waited for him in the cool of the evening breeze as the sun settled quietly over the horizon.  He yearned to race with her once more over the fields and through the woods of Bay Ridge.  His family’s sugar plantation held nothing except memories now.  The discomfort in his leg spiked.  Morgan sighed as he propped open the barn door and adjusted the mechanized brace holding his useless limb upright.  The old war injury plagued him daily.  Life had changed.

Diana had died early on a June morning as the world started to stir.  Perfection – no one expected anything less of Sara’s birth.  Diana’s pregnancy had been a normal occurrence.  She was healthy throughout the months as they awaited the arrival of their second child.  Something had gone dreadfully wrong, and Diana had slipped away from him as he held her in his arms.  Time passed, as time always does, and Morgan forced the daily responsibilities to consume him.  A way to survive he supposed.  After all, there were the children to consider.

“Where are you going?”  His brother, David’s voice held concern.

“This morning I’m going to meet The Creole Belle, a paddle-wheeler out of Memphis.  The children need more than Ruby, the housekeeper or me or even your dear wife Jacquie can give them.  They need supervision from a dedicated caregiver.  Not to say Ruby and Jacquie haven’t done all they can to help with the children.”  He slowed, shaking his head.  “No, they’d been wonderful since Diana’s death.”  Glancing out at the tree lined boundary, a pang of longing shot through him.

The overwhelming urge to race through the fields would simply have to wait.  There was trouble brewing.  Morgan did not fully understand how he knew this, yet things were not right.

“I understand the need.  I just don’t understand how you’re going to accomplish this without jeopardizing your safety as well as the safety of the family.”

Turning, Morgan studied his brother.  “Don’t worry.  I’ll manage.  The children need a nanny.  She will arrive before I get to the dock if I don’t hurry.  Give my best to Jacquie.  I’ll be back as quick as I can.”  Climbing into the steam buggy, Morgan gripped the wheel.  Bertrand, his manservant, rode shotgun as they sped off.

Checking his hydraulic watch, Morgan parked the buggy as close as possible to the dock.  Crowds always gathered when a paddle-wheeler dropped anchor, especially one as refined as the Creole Belle.  Carnies and hobos scouted their next grift while ladies of refinement awaited the unloading of their luggage.  Men of color labored in the already oppressive heat of a youthful spring day.  Some, visiting the city for the first time, gawked at the chaos while frequent visitors to the Crescent City dove into the bedlam as a matter of routine.  He scanned the dock for the woman he had asked to come to New Orleans.  She was probably already lost in the congestion of the crowd.  The city, still the commerce center of the south, was growing exponentially since the war of northern aggression.  Thriving in a climate of renewed business, the unique pleasures the city always proved noisy and rude.

In Morgan’s opinion, the rude and noisy overrode the immense and busy when the topic arose about his beloved New Orleans.  Then there was reality, which took a back seat to customs and superstitions.  Voodoo, the dark religion, ran rampant throughout not only the alleys and byways of the city.  The religion also consumed the parlors and drawing rooms of the enticingly mysterious region.  The city’s underbelly thrived on superstition embedded in fear.

“Do you plan to divulge anything about your background, sir?”

Morgan cut a cool gaze at Bertrand.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”  The hour was early for so many questions concerning his common sense.  The irritation rolled restlessly in his gut.  His French father would have said the timing was bad.  His Indian mother would have soothed his concern with a prayer to the Great One.  “Are you trying to get under my skin, Bertrand, or just bored?”

The manservant flicked a piece of lint off his cuff before cocking a brow.  “Perhaps both.”

“I’m Creole, not stupid.”  Morgan slapped the buggy door shut.  Steadying his leg brace, Morgan glanced up.  “You are a free man of color and as such, you may find employment where you wish.  There’s nothing holding you.”

The comment did not sit well with Bertrand.  Sniffing lightly, the manservant glanced outward, rather than dignify his employer’s comment with an answer.  The routine was an old one the two friends rehearsed practically daily.

“Hey, mister.”

Caught off guard, the hairs along Morgan’s crisp, white collar stood at attention.  An eerie, old witch with knarled fingers curled atop a crooked cypress cane poked him in the side.

“You got a coin for an old woman?”

“Be gone with you, hag.  I don’t have time for your nonsense.”

The witch clucked her tongue.  “You’ll be needing my kind of wisdom soon.  The stirrings are multiplying.  The child grows restless.  Be warned.  You’ll seek that which can save those you love.”

“I want nothing you have, woman.  Be off with you.”  Tossing a coin in the old hag’s basket, Morgan moved as quickly away as his leg would permit.  The sheer shock of the witch’s words had him scurrying to safer ground.  Shame in his fear had nothing to do with his wish to rid himself of the needling sensation the witch was right.  How had she known a child of his grew restless?  Unease clawed at his insides.  He gripped his silver-headed cane until his knuckles grew white.  No one outside of his immediate household had witnessed Sara’s spells.  Sweat trickled slowly down his backbone one vertebra at a time.

Surely, there was a reasonable explanation for her dilemma.  For three nights past, she had awakened screaming.  Crying, she had begged Morgan not to go.

“Don’t go into the dark, daddy.  Please don’t go!”

Stroking her silky blond hair, Morgan had prayed desperately for help with her nightmares.  That is what they were after all.  Nothing more and certainly nothing like he had experienced over the years.  He would not believe she had succumbed to the same fate as he.  The damned Voodoo Mambos with their potions had tried countless times to rid him of the misery of the shift. No one could break the curse.  Marie Laveau had done this to him.  In the darkness, Morgan prayed the plight he faced was not hers as well.

“You’re safe, my sweet.  Don’t worry.  I am here, and I will not leave you.  Rest, Sara.  Get some sleep.  I’m right here.”

The child clutched the covers tight.   Vigilant, Morgan sat as she fought the trouble brewing inside her small frame.  Soothing her with soft assurances, he did his best to calm both their fears.  Surely, the gods were not so cruel as to burden his only daughter with the curse.

***

The loud clap of board against board brought him back to the present.  The Creole Belle had docked.  Ropes flew through the air landing unceremoniously onto the planks as crew members worked to secure the vessel.  The Belle crept closer to dry land.  Shipment planks fell from deck to dock, and the unloading commenced.  Laborers went about pulling heavy pallets of cotton, sugarcane as well as grain, all bound for market, with a swift indifference of pure purpose.  The passengers, attempting to disembark early, found themselves caught in the chaos.  Such noise as the laborers toiled at their task.

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Morgan straightened his frock coat as he glanced into the sky.  The morning had broken clear and bright.  Squinting, he gazed across the channel as the sun danced on the water.  Spring was coming. With the shift in the season, a change was upon them.

Bertrand walked up beside him, breaking his concentration.  “I never dreamt anyone would answer your ad.  Who in their right mind would seek employment in this postwar confusion?”

The needle, thou well selected, did not set well.  Touché old chap.  Morgan glanced askance at the man who had been loyal to his family for two generations.  Bertrand was overly opinionated.  He always knew, exactly, how to play his pawn without regard of reprimand.  After all, he was a free man, a Creole, who worked where he chose.  Unwilling to let the jab get under his skin, Morgan faced the water once more.  “You sound surprised.”  Morgan did not wish to rehash the tired topic.  Not since everyone in his household had a negative opinion of his plans.  Taking a step toward the gangplank, he planted his feet firmly before continuing to stare out at the horizon rather than let Bertrand’s innuendos get the best of him.

The fact was he had placed several ads in the eastern papers.  After numerous correspondences, Morgan had almost given up.  One morning several weeks past, a peculiar missive had arrived from Georgia.  A young woman had written to inquire about the position.

Out of the corner of his eye, Bertrand appeared at his side.  Apparently misreading his employer’s silence as his opportunity to elaborate on his opinion, Bertrand expanded on his theory.  “Undoubtedly, sir.”  This woman has very little experience, despite the fact she comes with glowing references from her school instructors.  There must be something about her that has bewitched you.”  He cut his eyes at Morgan’s profile.

Morgan had to marvel at the precision of his man’s barb.  Truth resided in Bertrand’s assumption.  For despite the woman’s lack of hands-on practice with young children, Morgan was fascinated with her determination and persistence in securing the position.  Not only had she written him three different times, she had telegraphed him as well.  Besides, she was far more pleasant to look at than the prune-faced old maids he had interviewed thus far.  Morgan answered her missive, inviting her to come out for a face-to-face interview.  Wondering if the tintype in his vest pocket was recent, his mouth drew up in a quirk at the thought of the young woman’s dark hair and slim build.  Irritated with his train of thought, Morgan limped closer to the Belle’s gangplank.  The smells of leather and hay invaded his nose as he made his way to the edge of the dock.  “Haven’t got anyone to best in poker this morning, Bertrand?”  Morgan knew the man was only a step behind him.  “I’m sure I can scrounge up a game for you with the local card sharks if you’re bored.”  With a cutting gaze, he arched a brow.  “Better enjoy your entertainment while you can, old man.  I am looking forward to a little boredom.  With this woman in charge of the children, maybe our lives will return to some level of normalcy.”  Eying his man, Morgan smiled as the barb hit home.

Still, a twinge of guilt mingled with longing washed over him as he realized he was about to place his children in the care of a stranger.  Would Diana have approved?  His heart began to ache with the things he knew were true.  She had wanted a large family, something they had dreamt of such on those nights as they lay awake planning their future together.  The painful truth he understood too well.  Diana was not coming back.  Their lives changed forever.

The coal-fired engines of the paddle-wheeler spewed smoke into the sky in perfect unison with the churning of the pistons.  The Creole’s massive boilers belched out identical, dark plumes of smoke from matching stacks into the morning sky.  The commotion sent a signal to the rest of the passengers on board to disembark.  Morgan watched as men in finely tailored suits and ladies in proper bonnets with matching gloves scurried to leave.  Soon the dock overflowed with all manner of people.

He stretched to his full six-foot-four-inch frame.  His superior height allowed him to scan the milling crowd.  The woman in the tintype, a dark-haired, doe-eyed creature, resembling a life-sized doll in her starched pinafore was not there.  Glancing down at the picture once more, he realized Miss Sinclair would not be wearing a school uniform.  Morgan closed his eyes briefly, trying to envision her in a traveling suit – probably a dowdy gray, ill-fitting spinster suit with an ugly hat, which did nothing to accentuate her features.  Chiding his inner demons once more, Morgan reminded his wayward mind, how she appeared did not matter – only that she perform her duties responsibly.  Tapping his index finger against the cane he leaned on, he scowled at the vessel, wondering if, after all their correspondence, Miss Sinclair had changed her mind.  Perhaps she had gotten a last minute marriage proposal and sailed off to Atlanta to keep house for a young, well-to-do banker whose pockets bulged with ill-gotten gains since the war’s end.  Only prune-faced old maids came looking for employment while the youthful grasped their future in their fists, taking what they wanted despite anyone else’s problems.  “You fool.” He growled under his breath.  “What made you think a lovely young woman like Miss Sinclair would accept a nanny position for a middle-aged, crippled, old war veteran.  Stupid.”  Morgan was well aware his man heard the comment, yet to Bertrand’s credit, he did not jump to answer.

As they both stood carefully watching each passenger disembark, Morgan never saw the young woman until she tapped him purposely on the shoulder.  Slowly turning, he came face to face with a tall, regal vision.  The woman stood with her back to the paddle-wheeler.

The Creole Belle picked that particular moment to release the remaining steam from its great boilers.  As the vessel did, the sudden blast of evaporating moisture created a perfect backdrop for her lovely form.  Certainly a vision, yet with purpose, to be sure, he mused.  What a look of irritated inquiry on her angular face.  Her doe’s eyes narrowed as she sized him up.

Presenting a hand, she proceeded to introduce herself.  “My name is Laura Sinclair.”

The vision stood only inches shorter than he did.  Her shoulders squared as she extended her gloved hand in a gesture normally reserved for dealings between businessmen.  Her set jaw and thin-lipped smile gave her the appearance of a woman with unwavering determination.  He could not find his tongue.  Her eyes, the color of rich, blue pools of azure, bore into him.  His inner wolf stirred despite Morgan’s attempt to quell the urge.  The suit she had chosen for the trip was a smart blue and gray tweed, which accented those amazing eyes.  She had cinched her waist with a leather corset, which accentuated her firm, round breasts.  Secretly he congratulated her on the choice of a smart, veiled hat of the same blue hue as the suit.  .  She was a breath of fresh air in their dull environment.  Proper, yet with a sparkle of courage, Miss Sinclair stood out in their postwar city.  Seconds passed in silence as he decided she would have looked marvelous in anything she wore.  Her skin reminded him of Georgia peaches.  Glancing down, he noted she carried a derringer in her skirt hooked to the leather corset about her waist.  Despite her beauty or perhaps because of it, the young woman was serious.  Her demeanor spoke of confidence.

The boat’s whistle took that moment to blast a loud arrival signal.  The distraction proved effective.  Now vexed at the trail of his musings, Morgan shoved the image of her wearing nothing at all away, before growling under his breath.  “What a stupid man you are.”

“I beg your pardon?”  Confused curiosity bloomed in her eyes.  “Are you not Mr. Latimar?  Mr. Morgan Latimar?”

“I am.”  His mouth felt like he had swallowed a handful of sawdust.

Her hand remained out in anticipated acceptance.  “I’m Laura Virginia Sinclair.  I’ve come to apply for the position of nanny you posted.”

His brain drug its feet.  Staring at her extended hand, Morgan moved in slow motion.  Observing her slim fingers, covered in lace, he noted she wore intricately carved leather bracelets encircling her slender wrists.  The bracelets connected to metal rings circling both her pinkies.  Fascinated with the daring fashion accessory, he faltered in his response.  He would have taken her slender hand, bowing low before dropping an air kiss above her knuckles, as was the polite custom in his world.  However, her bold stance and the blood rushing to his loins gave him pause as he realized he was still staring.  Since she did not budge and squared her shoulders once more before giving him another narrow-eyed perusal, Morgan hesitated a moment before taking her hand in his.  When he did, he discovered strength in her grip.  Her flesh lay coolly in his palm.  He detected a minor tremor.  Morgan warmed to the way her hand fit neatly in his.  The thought stole the remainder of the composure, which had not already drained to his crotch.  She was no average woman.  She was young, which meant she was of the new notion the world splayed, fresh in anticipation of her.

Snapping back, Morgan nodded as irritation rippled up his spine.  “This is my man, Bertrand.  He’ll get your luggage.”  Despite the awkward step back on his bum leg, he made a sweeping gesture indicating the steam buggy he had driven into town that morning.  “My carriage awaits,” he quipped as he moved aside for her.

Laura eyed him without words.  He indicated she move ahead of him.  She continued the rigid, no-nonsense posture, without asking for his assistance into the carriage.  The young woman struck him as serious for her young age.  Having been an orphan, she had probably grown up fast.  Truth – she appeared to be ready to handle what came her way.  He, on the other hand, had a needling urge to protect her.

Lifting her booted foot to the landing, Miss Sinclair alighted in the shotgun seat.  In his younger days, Morgan would have enjoyed the view of trim ankles and a well-defined waist accentuated by the lady’s darkly tooled corset.  That man had flourished in a world untouched by the war and its life-changing aftermath.  The present day Morgan Latimar remembered little of the flirtatious ways of a gentleman groomed as a wealthy, affluent plantation owner.  So, with Miss Sinclair seated and Bertrand securing the bags in the boot of the steam buggy, he concentrated instead on leaving the congestion of the dock.

The reins lay loosely in his hands as Morgan let the horses have their heads.  Responsibilities – he had them in spades.  The time to think of seducing a woman, even one as lovely as Miss Sinclair was long past.  He sat straighter in the seat.  Now he was a single parent, a rebel against a regime gone mad, not to mention a shifter with much to lose.  Clearing his throat, he tugged at the reigns, snapping the horses to attention.

She cut him a contemplative eye.  “This is a lovely buggy.”  Her dark head had bowed briefly, before she asked pointedly, “Why did you go to such trouble?  You could have sent your man, Bertrand to fetch me back.”

Clearly spoken with a lovely twang.  Morgan smiled to himself.  If he wasn’t mistaken, he heard Tennessee in her voice.  It reminded him of his days in the Confederate Army and a march through Tennessee.  First impressions were important, even if she had no training for the position.  “I wanted to make sure you were safe and-” A prickle of idiocy nagged at his tongue.  The words were there, right there, yet he would rather die than admit his real reason for coming after her himself.  Did the idea of seeing if she resembled the breath-taking beauty in the tin type mean he was behaving irrationally?  Probably.  “The steam buggy is a much more comfortable ride.  I am the only one who would recognize you,” he lied.  After a pause he added, “Besides, I’m the only one who can drive the fool contraption.”

“I see.”  With her eyes focused straight ahead, Miss Sinclair folded those long, slim fingers in her lap.

If he was not mistaken, she did not believe him.  Well, the devil take her.  Why should he care?  He was her employer.  Why should he care what she thought of him?  Still, Morgan wondered what they would talk about on the long trip home.  He was so out of practice with people he barely knew where to begin.  “How was your trip from Savannah?”

“Fine.  The train kept a perfect schedule.  When we boarded the paddle-wheeler, we didn’t suffer any delays either.”

Precise and to the point, she did not elaborate or attempt to flirt like many of the others he had encountered since becoming a widower.  The slight turn of her head in his direction was the only indication she had finished what she had to say.  The first stirrings of panic swam in his gut.  What was he doing?  She was a perfect stranger.  Morgan Latimar had so much to hide.  Bertrand was right – she was not qualified.  The menacing urge to yank the buggy around, taking her back to town rode heavy in his thoughts as they traveled in silence.  His mind would not fix on one problem at a time.  To hell with it!  Mention the points of interest if you must, you imbecilic oaf, but get her to talk.  “Have you ever been to Louisiana before, Miss Sinclair?”

“No.”

Her smooth yet short replies gave the panic in his stomach a reason to churn.  Well, bloody hell!  He closed his eyes and prayed for inspiration.

After all, he did not want the woman who had traveled all the way from Georgia to change her mind simply because he could not manage a polite conversation.  What must she think of him?  The fact he wore a mechanical brace around an injured leg bode ill for most people, he mused.  To have lost the ability to converse was mortifying.  Morgan inhaled slowly and tried again.  “The children are looking forward to meeting you.  I have shared your correspondence with them.  They are happy you agreed to make the trip.”  Flicking a glance in Miss Sinclair’s direction, he hoped she would take the bait.  He thought his heart stopped when she smiled.  The transformation was illuminating.

“I must confess I can’t wait to meet them as well.  However, there is some anxiety I had not expected to face.  Please forgive me for speaking so frankly…”

Her pause set small warning bells off in his head.  Did she suddenly reconsider after all?  “There’s no reason to feel anxious about the position.  The children will love you.  You’ll fit right in at Bay Ridge.”

The smile was warm as her mouth turned up at the corners in a smooth, fluid expression of pleasure.  The response was like a sucker punch to the chest.  Sucking in air, Morgan willed away the darkening of his peripheral vision as his heart beat quickened.  He had to maintain he reminded his befuddled brain.  The damn young bucks at the plantation were going to trip over their tongues when Miss Sinclair flashed her smile their way.

“Mr. Latimar, I need to be frank with you.”  She glanced down at her hands knotted in her lap before meeting his gaze.  Turning, she faced him more completely.  “I lack in experience as a nanny.  However, I love children very much.  I am looking forward to meeting Jacob and Sara.  In addition, I am educated and capable of teaching them all I know.  Furthermore, being young and strong are qualities I consider necessary if an individual is to care for others.”  Her spine straightened as she locked eyes with his.  “I resolve to do everything in my power to be the best nanny.  I’ll take care of your children as if they were my own.”

Morgan blinked.  She had stopped talking.  Relaxing a fraction, he attempted to appear composed.  “To be sure, Miss Sinclair.”  He watched as her chin lifted right above level.  The line of her elegant neck stirred something in his gut.  “I consider your frank honesty refreshing, Miss Sinclair.  What do you say we give the arrangement a trial run…to see if the children take to you?”

“Oh, yes.”

Again, there was that smile.  The stars in the sky could not shine any brighter, Morgan thought, as when Lara Sinclair smiled.

***

Thanks for dropping by,

Catherine

P.S.

I came upon this delightful review today.  Thank you so much for your kind words.

 

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Once you start reading a Catherine Wolffe book you can’t put it down I loved this book so much I have to say I cried and I don’t cry over a book, but this book is so great and I fully recommend it to all who loves Catherine’s books you won’t be disappointed I can’t wait to read your other books Catherine and thank you so much.

 

 

 

Desire’s Embrace-A Wolf Shifter Romance

11160571_1649199951968626_2103220830101452295_nMorgan Latimar seeks a nanny for his children. Being a Creole and a shifter makes the search hazardous for him as well as his family. The woman who accepts the position can never know his secret. Yet, despite his Wolfen wisdom, Morgan falls for the passionate, Laura Sinclair.

Laura Sinclair answers the post from the mysterious man from Louisiana. Soon she’s thrown into the world of Voodoo magic deep in the heart of Creole New Orleans in 1872. How can she perform the job she was hired to do when she’s falling in love with the handsome Morgan Latimar?  Will he want her once he knows her secrets? Where can she turn for help?

Thankful

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It’s been five years since I began writing.  Sometimes, I wonder what I’d have done if I hadn’t found writing as an outlet for my thoughts, concerns, ideas, creative energy.

Lately, I enjoy writing in a historical setting with paranormal elements such as wolves and werewolves.  The mysticism allows my mind wander and ask ‘why not?’

There are times I sit and simply read through the story in my head.  Getting to know the characters and their personalities, quirks and talents always prove to be a challenge I love tackling.

downloadHappythanksgiving

What would you say, if I told you, the next book will include the 3rd great granddaughter of Laura Sinclair as well as an ancient sorcerer’s nephew? ‘Magic Man’ is the latest work in progress based on the adventures of the sexy seer, Aubry Slone, and devilishly delicious, Logan Latimar, 3rd great grandnephew of Morgan.  Can he shift?  We’ll see.  So many ways the story could unfold when you write by the seat of your pants, a.k.a. – a ‘pantster.’

In case you are interested, I have ‘Desire’s Embrace’, ‘Comanche Haven’ and ‘Casey’s Gunslinger’ on sale at Smashwords.com and AllRomanceEbooks.com at least until the end of November.  Just my small way of saying thanks for all your support.  Here’s an excerpt from ‘Desire’s Embrace.’

Happy Thanksgiving!

Morgan could still feel her touch.  The burn ran along his skin in a most enticing way.  He straightened his back, giving the steam buggy a good surge forward.  Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel.  Mind on Miss Sinclair.  Damn it!  Who was he kidding?  The woman had somehow gotten past his guard.  A quick glance in her direction and he had to grin.  The whole episode in his room earlier was totally inappropriate.  Every ounce of blood in his body had surged right to his groin with the feel of her hand on his neck.  Who knew a fool thing like a collar could be useful in sexual arousal.  Irritation rippled along his backbone.  Again, he reminded himself he did not need the added weight of yet another problem.  An affair with Miss Sinclair would be a problem.  Truth!

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Interview with Marie Laveau, Voodoo High Priestess in Desire’s Embrace

“I promised you an interview with the Queen of Voodoo, Marie Laveau. This woman ruled life as it was in 1872, New Orleans. She reigned as the Mamba of the Voodoo religion in Louisiana for countless years. Her talent is legion among the believers.”

“I had the opportunity to sit down with her and ask her some difficult questions. Here is the interview.”

“Good day, Marie. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.”

“Thank you for having me, Catherine. I sense you have an interest in Voodoo but hold back because of your social position. Am I right?”

“Ah, well, I suppose you’re right. I’m here today to talk about you, Marie. What is your title among the believers?”

“Some call me Mamba, some call me priestess, some call me Marie and some even call me Mother. I go by many names. I am a servant of the great one. I serve the believers.”

“You serve the-the great one. What is his name? Who do you serve?”

“I told you, Catherine. I serve the great one. He is known by many names. He is our leader, and I await his pleasure.”

“Really? Because I have information, that states you perform many rituals that involve some very disturbing elements. Is it true you eat the hearts of newborn babies and the young among the believers. Sacrifices continue to include human offerings despite the constables raids and arrests.”

“Catherine, forgive me. I don’t want you to think I am using the position I have been given as a catalyst for my own desires. The constables are mistaken. I govern the believers in the name of our leader.” Marie shares a short laugh. ” You see, I want nothing but the power of our father to shine through.”

“Yes, yes, of course. You want what’s best for the believers. Correct?”

“Yes, and with that said, I want to thank you for the opportunity to share this space in time with your readers. Their belief in our devotion is welcome and cherished. I invite them to contact me for more on our religion and the strength of discovery.”

“Marie, one last question? Are you responsible for the curse on Morgan Latimar? A simple yes or no will suffice.”

“No. It is an insult for you to ask me that question. I curse no one in such a way. My power is to heal. This interview is over. Good day, madam.”

###

Purchase your copy of Desire’s Embrace at Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Desires-Embrace-Catherine-Wolffe-ebook/dp/B0130OFQCE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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10 Ways for ADD Writers to STAR WARS! …Be More Productive

Thanks Kristen.  This is information I can really use.

We have dreams and deadlines and most of us have grown fond of clean clothes. Also, our family is all needy and whiny and says things like, “Mommy, why is there no food?”

Source: 10 Ways for ADD Writers to STAR WARS! …Be More Productive

The Interview with Morgan Latimar from Desire’s Embrace

Desire's Embrace - Where passion and secrets collide.
Desire’s Embrace – Where passion and secrets collide.

I’m thrilled to share the release of Desire’s Embrace with all my readers. I’ve invited the hero from the book to be with us today.  Please help me welcome Morgan Latimar.

“Thank you, Catherine.  It’s a pleasure to be with you and your readers.”

“Tell me, Morgan.  You’re a shifter, correct?”

“Yes, Catherine.  That is correct.”

“How did you become a shifter?”

“Well, that’s a difficult one to explain.  Let me see how to begin.  I came back to New Orleans from the war of northern aggression unable to walk.  I’d taken a shot to the leg, and the injury left me a cripple. The doctors said I’d never walk again.  After countless examinations, I feared they were right.  My foreman, Sampson is very talented and fashioned a hydraulic brace for my injured leg.  It allows me more mobility.  Still, if I could find relief from the pain, it would be a miracle.  I was told to seek the help of the high priestess of Voodoo, Madam Marie Laveau.

“Wait.  I’m sorry to interrupt, but…  “You don’t mean, the Mambo of Voodoo that’s said to eat the hearts of young children, do you?”

“Yes, I’m ashamed to say, the woman I sought was she.”

“Well, our readers are going to want to hear this.  Continue.”

“I was desperate and knew the chances of any of her spells being more than superstition was slim.  Still, I suppose I was at my wits end.”

“She cast a spell on me and assured me I would be free of pain. It’s just that…

“Yes, Morgan, go on.”

“I didn’t understand the ramifications when she said I’d know great power and prowess with the spell.”

“I’m not sure what you are saying, Morgan.  Was Marie responsible for you becoming a shifter?  Is that what she meant?”

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“Yes.  The spell, when cast, had side effects.  I can shift into a wolf and run free without pain.  Before now, no one outside of my immediate family has known about this.  Sometimes it feels like such a gift and other times it is a curse.  I find myself shut off from the rest of the world.  Others wouldn’t understand.  In the tumultuous times we find ourselves living in with the Federals still governing the city, I can’t take the chance of anything leaking about my condition.

“Yes, I can see what you mean.  But, haven’t you recently hired a nanny for your children?  How will you manage to hide the truth from her.”

Morgan chuckles without humor.  “It hasn’t been easy.  I tell myself, the children need her, and, therefore, I must curb my thoughts and actions as they pertain to Miss Sinclair.”

“How is that working for you, Morgan?”

“I’m finding it more difficult than I imagined.  Still, the children and my family are my number one priority, so I must maintain a steadfast persona in the face of Miss Sinclair.  She can never know the truth.  I hope you and your readers understand the importance of secrecy as it pertains to my situation.  I must be going now.  So many things to do today.  You know, being a sugar cane broker is difficult work.

“Yes, we understand you have business to attend.  Morgan, I must say how happy we are to have had you drop by.  Please return soon, won’t you?”

“Of course, Catherine.  Anything for you, ma petite.  Good day.”

“Good day, Morgan.  I want to thank the readers for visiting.  Next time, we’ll have a very special woman with us.  You won’t want to miss our visit with the high priestess of Voodoo, Marie Laveau.  Until then, may your dreams always be, my darlings.”

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Click on the book cover for your direct link to Amazon and Desire’s Embrace

Also available at all major outlets including Barnes & Noble, I-Tunes and Smashwords

Cowboy Heat

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      “Gotta love a cowboy,” right? I wonder sometimes what you envision when the word cowboy is mentioned. Everyone’s ideas are different. Mine is of a rough, tough, no excuses kind of guy with a no-nonsense attitude about life. If you’ve ever tried to get close to somebody like this, you know how “hard” it can be. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, I want to share an excerpt from my novel, Comanche Haven. Given twelve years apart, Seth Loflin has a difficult time deciding how Celia, the woman from his past “fits” into his well-ordered life. You decide if he’ll succeed or not. Have a scintillating Sunday and enjoy a little cowboy heat.
Oh, by the way.  Check out the interview I did with Celia back in the day.  Click on the book cover below to be transported.  Cheers!
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Comanche Haven by Catherine Wolffe (Amazon link)

Seth sank into the steaming tub of water the housekeeper had prepared for him, almost immediately, after reaching his room.  Steam rose in a cloud around him.  He leaned back and closed his eyes.  The numbing power of the hot water was doing a fine job on the aches and pains in his body.  What the water couldn’t fix, the whiskey in his hand could, so he closed his eyes and tried to forget the trouble brewing around him.

Dark hair and cool green eyes appeared in his mind’s eye.  Ty and he had traveled hard to make it back by sunset.  He hadn’t wanted to leave Celia alone any longer than was absolutely necessary.  Jake’s report on her activities had him wishing he’d sent the foreman to Tyler in his stead.

While the bath and whiskey did their job, Seth had time to consider what Jake had told him.  Celia had slipped out and gone to meet Red Bear.  It didn’t set well.  But the fact she’d gone alone and told no one was more disturbing.  Right now, he was in no mood for deceit under his own roof.

The knock at the door startled him.  Seth sloshed water as he sat upright in the tub.  “Who is it?”

“It’s me, Celia… ma…may I come in?”

“Wait a minute,” he snapped, more harshly than he had intended.  It took a moment of stretching at the low-slung table just out of arms reach, but Seth managed to retrieve and strategically place a towel over the tub for her sensibilities.  “Come on in.  It’s open.”

“I didn’t get a chance to speak to you when you arrived,” Celia said as she slipped into the room.  Her polite but prim demeanor faltered when she spotted him in the hip bath.  “Oh! Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t know you were bathing.  I’ll come back later.”

She wheeled and her hand was already on the doorknob when Seth called out to her, “No, wait.  It’s okay.  I’m covered.”  His wry smile topped off the smoothing of the cloth over the big brass tub.

Slowly, Celia turned.

He had to chuckle to himself.  It was admirable she didn’t turn scarlet or wave away the vapors or some such nonsense at the sight of a half-naked man.  He reminded himself of others who would do just that when presented with a bit of male anatomy.  Satisfaction surfaced.  Probably seen all there was to see in the surgery theater, Seth mused.  With a waving of his wrist, he motioned her in as his smile became wicked.  “Come on in and keep me company.  I might even get you to scrub my back later.”  He took a deep swallow of the whiskey before setting his glass on the stand beside the tub.  The dark liquor burned all the way down and still didn’t numb the feeling of need growing in him.  He watched her out of eyes gone to slits.  For the life of him, he couldn’t seem to curb the irritated bend to his mood.

Cutter got up from his post near the hammered brass tub and wagging his tail, before sashaying over to greet Celia as she neared the bed.

Traitor, Seth mused as the dog thumped his tail with affection for the room’s newest member.

Lighting on the bench at the foot of his bed like a butterfly, Celia relaxed fractionally and let out an exaggerated breath when she noticed the hint of mischief in his expression.  “I never know how to take you.”  Trying to get her bearings back, she reached out and rubbed the cow dog behind the ears.  “I wanted to ask if you’d heard anything about the… the… about my father’s murder while you were in town?”  She finished in a rush.  “You went to the sheriff, right?”

Nodding, Seth cupped water in both of his big hands and splashed it into his face.  He was in no hurry to respond as he wiped the back of his hand across his face and then shook his head like a dog sending droplets of water in all directions.  “I went to alert Sheriff Cole and Major Chance at the Fort like I said I would.”  Seth reached for the bar of soap and began to scrub.  “We checked the tracks leading away from Lone Eagle’s campsite.  They headed north into Oklahoma territory.  We lost them not too far from the boundary to the reservation.”  He shook his head.  The ponies still carried Army issue shoes.  The riders are either U.S. Army or somebody with balls of steel.  They left a lot of signs and discriminating evidence.  I’m thinking they did it on purpose.  Whoever is responsible wants it to look like the army did it.”

His gaze met and held hers for a minute.  “I spoke to Jake earlier.”  He waited a beat.  “How did you like your ride?” Watching her closely, Seth waited.

Celia looked away, “Fine.”  She worked her hands in her lap.  The knuckles she gripped turned white under the pressure.  “Your place is so big.  I still have trouble with how vast it is.”

Seth watched as Celia placed her hand on her stomach and rubbed.

“We spent most of the day seeing a great deal of your place.  It’s beautiful,” Celia concluded quickly.

Too quickly, Seth thought, Nerves – not a good sign.

“Jake said we’d only skimmed the surface.  He mentioned how far away the outlying line shacks sat.  He reminded me the Shooter Creek remained the northern boundary of your spread.  He said you own everything almost to the Oklahoma territory.”

Seth watched her and only nodded.  His expression remained benign.

Celia responded with her hands moving to grip the bench on either side of her.  “Do you need help with your back?”  She rose.

The question came unexpectedly.  To his surprise, Celia got up and walked toward the tub.  Leaning over the squat table to retrieve the soap, she began to lather his back.

What was she up to?  Seth stalled in the water.  His next thought had nothing to do with the cooling temperature of the water.  He realized the true reason he’d been driven to get back to the ranch so quickly, which had nothing to do with her safety and everything to do with her.

The stroke of her fingers along his back had him tensing and sent blood rushing to his shaft.  Seth closed his eyes and willed himself to focus on something else.  His back muscles twitched as her hands glided up and down in a slow, rhythmic dance along his backbone.

“Seth, I wanted you to know how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me.” Her voice sounded like distant music. “I don’t think I would have made it without you.”

Trying valiantly to regain his composure, Seth sat in the water in silence for a time.  Her words sounded sincere.  Then as if driven, he slowly leaned back in the tub.  He had to admit, if she was toying with him, she was damn good at deception.  “No need to thank me, Celia.  You’ll always be able to count on me.”  Seth took mental stock one more time and assured himself he was in control.  But the need churning inside him had other ideas.  One look into those emerald green orbs and his heart gave a little lurch.  His mind simply stopped working.

Celia’s fingers continued to glide over his soap-slicked skin.  With each stroke, her fingertips were sending molten heat straight to his loins.

They reminded him of satin.  He wanted more.

Before he realized what he was doing, he reached out and clasped the nape of her neck.  Feeling her start to pull back, Seth whispered, “Relax girl, I won’t hurt you.”  With his eyes on her lips, Seth hesitated briefly, searching for something – anything, which would let him know how she would react.  Then he reached up and took her mouth with his.  The hunger breaking free had nothing to do with sensibilities.  This time he coaxed her mouth to open and let him taste the sweetness of her tongue.  Seth’s pulse hummed as her lips gave warm and tender under his.  She opened for him like a flower and Seth tasted the warmth of her lips, which were pliant against his.  He groaned softly.  She tasted like honey and the line of her throat like cream heated by the sun.  He thoroughly explored the inside of her mouth and then the slender neckline she offered when her head lolled to the side on her own gentle moan.  Slowly he discovered every slick, wet curve of her mouth.  His teeth grazed her lips and tasted the salt of hunger in her response.  Did she want him as much as he wanted her right now?

Celia exhaled and her eyelids fluttered shut.

The hunger growing inside him knew only one end.  Long agile fingers sank deep into the silken strains of her hair as he levered himself up the side of the tub angling for a better hold on her warm skin.  Cupping her head in his big hand, he kissed her again.  This time it was with the fever of need.  A need he’d, long ago, locked away.  It surged up from the cold depths of his own desire and rocked Seth with its intensity.  Taking her mouth in an attack meant to capture and possess, Seth realized too late he was losing the battle with reason, but he’d lost the will to care.  She tasted so good.  Her head fell to the side on another soft sigh of pleasure.  Seth found himself trailing long wet, ardent kisses down her neck.  The soft dip of her collarbone was a perfect place for him to linger.  He could feel the blood pulsing there, just under her skin.  Her smell, the smell of roses was all around him.  Another soft moan escaped.  So full of life, a life he’d thought he’d never hold in his arms again.  The warning bells were going off in his head by then.  His blood was roaring in his ears.  He was in too deep to heed any of it.  He felt like a drowning man with no desire for rescue.

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It took a moment for it to register.  She was saying something and the air around him was cooling as she drew back.

“Seth…”  Her voice was a fragile murmur as she pushed gently at his chest.  “I think I better go and let you get out.”  Celia shifted and disengaging his hands.  She slowly rose from the edge of the tub.

His eyes were on hers, those deep green orbs, pulsing with a thinly veiled need.  He could see it lying there in their depths, a molten-hot, burning fire.  Then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone – snuffed out like a candle flame.  Logic reined once more.

“You better get out before you turn into a prune,” she said primly.  The words, spoken so plainly, sounded strange coming from the swollen mouth Seth saw was bruised red with passion. Her lip quivered before she bit down on it.

He noted a small mark along her neck where, he surmised, he’d used his teeth.  Some base demon urged him to pull her back and take what was so close.  He simply stared.  Unable to say anything, Seth watched her cross her arms over her breasts in a protective gesture.  There was no question in his mind she’d been affected by the kiss.  She ran her tongue over her lips again and looked away.  Seth watched her as she brushed deliberately at the front of her day dress before she spoke again.

Long, sooty lashes rose and Celia looked once more into his face.  “I better go,” she whispered.  Quietly heading for the door, she quickened her pace when, she heard him sloshing water as he rose.

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Cowboys and Angels

Thanks for dropping by and be sure and check out all the other scintillating blogs in this weeks showcase!  Click on this link:

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Country Music and the Story

Country Music and the Story.

Happy 2015 and Zombies Unleashed (Coming Soon)!

Happy New Year! It’s the first day of 2015 and I thought I’d share some news. The buzz and whirl of the holidays are winding down, so it’s back to work for me.

COMING SOON

Coming soon, Zombies Unleashed (Part 6) of The Vampire from Hell series will be released. If you pre-ordered the book before 12/26/2014, you’ll receive a link to read additional chapters because as I rewrote a few portions of the book, I decided to add 2 chapters. Please email me if you have any questions.

Release Date – January 6, 2015

ZOMBIES UNLEASHED (The Vampire from Hell Part 6)

Click the image to pre-order now!

PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON NOW!  | PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON UK!

The last thing Rayea, the Vampire from Hell needs to worry about is a zombie invasion. In the sixth installment of this series, Rayea realizes contending with creatures forged by her father, Satan may be a reality for her and her friends on Earth. Her walking nightmare begins as Rayea struggles to deal with the ongoing complications of her life: a wedding to plan, the world to save from zombies, and an unexpected call for help from her evil sister, Stephanie.

MAILING LIST

Be sure to subscribe to my new mailing list on my website. If you’d like to receive an email when new books are released, this is an easy way to stay in touch with me. Go to http://thevampirefromhell.weebly.com/contact.html to subscribe. Be sure to accept the notification validation that will be sent to your email to complete the process.

MORE FOR 2015

Several other books are in the que (or waiting to be developed.) Click My Books and view what projects I have on the horizon for 2015! I can tell you already that a Spring Release is in the works (Zombie Wolf!) and Part 7 of the Vampire from Hell series is set for this Summer.

Happy New Year!

~ally

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