Category Archives: Behind the Iron Cross

Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease

It’s Wednesday? Well, guess what? I’m sharing a teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my delightfully kinky historical MMF romance set in 1925 Berlin that is FINALLY almost finished! Just have to polish off the end of Act Three and this puppy is baked!

Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!

In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Harrison, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.

Sam found out what Kat’s obscure words about “adventure” meant once the lights of the lavish film theater had gone down and the first images flickered onto the silver screen. The theater, aping its brethren that catered to live performances, offered private boxes upholstered in red velvet and decorated with gilt curlicues. Kat had paid for one of these boxes, placing Friedrich between herself and Sam.

Ten minutes into the film he felt Friedrich stiffen beside him. Looking down, he spotted Kat’s hand resting on the German’s thigh. Her attention seemed to be focused on the movie, but her fingers slid over the other man’s fly with subtle deliberation, tracing the outline of Friedrich’s cock and balls through the wool of his trousers.

Sam found that he enjoyed playing the voyeur, deriving a deliciously wicked delight as Friedrich began to swell under Kat’s ministrations, squirming a bit as she stroked and teased him. She leaned forward a bit and caught Sam’s eye, glancing down at her busy hand then winking.

As casually as he could, he rested his hand on Friedrich’s other thigh. The muscle tensed under his palm and Friedrich muffled a tiny moan. The balcony of the box would prevent anyone on the main floor or mezzanine from seeing what was going on as long as it was kept at waist level. As Kat’s clever fingers continued to work Friedrich’s erection, he eased Friedrich’s belt open and unbuttoned his fly.

Kat murmured just loud enough for Sam to hear, “We’re going to make you come in public, Colonel. It’s up to you whether or not anyone notices. Do you understand?”

Friedrich swallowed hard and nodded, a bead of sweat trickling down from his temple at the movement. Sam wanted to kiss it away, taste the salt of the German’s arousal on his tongue.

“Excellent.” She licked her hand, then reached into his fly and tugged his erection out of his trousers. It looked dark in the silvery light from the scene, the plummy head swollen and glistening just a bit, and the thick veins that ribboned it already standing out along the shaft. Sam’s mouth watered at the thought of leaning over and engulfing it, using his lips and tongue to drive Friedrich wild. He loved the idea of their colonel desperately struggling to stay silent before giving in to pleasure and spurting helplessly across his tongue.

Kat leaned over again, looking like a considerate theatergoer passing along sotto voce comments on the film. “There are clubs here with stages, you know,” she whispered. “Sam and I could take you to one right now, strip you naked, and truss you to a wooden X on stage. You’re a handsome man with an attractive body. I can guarantee everyone in the club would be watching you as we played with your cock and balls.”

Another muffled groan came out of Friedrich, and he thrust lightly into Kat’s hand.

Sam decided to play along. He leaned close to Friedrich’s ear and whispered, “We’d take you to the brink, over and over again, until you begged us to let you come. Then I’d kneel down and suck you in front of everyone. Can you imagine how my mouth would feel, all warm and wet around you? I’d lick your balls, then a slow, wide lick up your shaft before I started teasing that little sensitive area right under the head. I know how much you like that.”

He widened the gap in Friedrich’s trousers and slid his hand in, avoiding Kat’s shuttling hand as he cupped the warm, furry sac. Friedrich’s balls flexed at his touch and he rolled them gently in their enclosure, stroking his thumb across crisp hair and soft, wrinkled skin.

“Maybe I should kneel down now,” he whispered. “Everyone’s watching the movie, after all. As long as you stay quiet, I don’t think anyone would notice. Would you like that? You could watch my head bobbing between your thighs as I sucked you off. My lips would be tight around your cock, and my tongue would feel so good against the underside.”

Friedrich made the tiniest noise, face twisted in pleasurable agony. “Bitte, bitte.”

“What, Colonel,” Kat murmured, her wicked little hand stroking faster now and adding a twist on the upstroke. “What do you want?”

Bitte, I’m, I’m close. Please, Fräulein, please.”

Kat leaned forward again, giving Sam a feline smile. “Should we let him come, darling?”


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A certain sense of meh

Sorry I’ve been quiet for so long (I keep saying that, don’t I?). I got somewhat stuck on Shifter Woods: Snarl due to what I can only describe as an insanely inopportune realization, and by the time I finally got unstuck I was way past my self-imposed publishing deadline and had to shift into fifth gear to get it edited, polished, and out the door. Oh, and Ramón and I went to New Orleans in the middle of that because the trip had been scheduled and paid for months ago and frankly he needed the break.

So now that it’s out (and for everyone who’s purchased a copy, thank you so much), I’m back to work on the long-stalled and much awaited Behind the Iron Cross. Today I finish reassembling the chapters (I’d separated them into scenes in Scrivener, but as it turns out that level of granulation just confuses the heck out of me) and started filling in spots in the first five chapters that need to be fleshed out before I can finish the pending third act. The damn thing is 75,000 so far, and my goal is 90K. At this rate, I should have the first draft done by Tuesday, and since I’ve been away from it for so long I won’t need a long down period before I can start editing it.

The only problem is, I’m feeling a certain lack of enthusiasm. Not about the book — about everything. Maybe it’s the dumpster fire that is the current US administration, maybe it’s the fact that the GOP is trying to ram through a woefully inappropriate candidate for the US Supreme Court because they gotta protect their corporate masters and make sure that white women keep pumping out those babies to stop brown and black people from demographic supremacy, blah blah blah, but I’m having a hard time coming up with reasons to get out of bed in the morning. I have a shitload of faith in people like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, Tammy Duckworth, and other rising Democratic stars who may be our last hope against Old White Men Ruining Everything, but it’s still a long fucking way to November and I wish something good would happen to remind me that we never know what can happen tomorrow.

Or maybe I just need to get drunk. That didn’t happen in NOLA, can you believe it? I even had a couple of hurricanes while I was out with Ramón, my sister, her friends, and my friend Epi, but I was so hot from walking around the French Quarter in August that the alcohol pretty much evaporated from my system the moment I finished swallowing. I dunno, Marty. I need a goal. Or something to look forward to. Or a fucking quest, maybe.

What do you mean, it’s already Monday?

Man, this weekend has flown by, and unfortunately I don’t have half the things I’d hoped to have done (didn’t finish Snarl, botched two bezels for my new ring, and didn’t get to the bills yet). So tomorrow is going to be a busy, busy day by my lights.

But hey, at least I can get everything done. In the meantime, enjoy my Day 6 entry for Romance Writer August.

And thus, it’s August

And while I’m running around like a headless chicken trying to get Shifter Woods: Snarl and Behind the Iron Cross done and out, I’m also participating in a rather cool Instagram event called Romance Writers August hosed by Jen Ellis where we post something about a specific topic each day in August. You already know who I am so I’m not going to bother recreating Day 1’s post, but here are all the other posts and I’ll make a point of posting each new day’s pic here as well for the rest of August. And now, back to work, whee…

Surfacing

Hoo boy, this has been an insane month so far, and it’s only the 10th. In between A/C failures in both our upstairs and downstairs units (the downstairs unit was a grand to repair, so luckily the upstairs unit was still under warranty and could be fixed for free), trying to get Shifter Woods: Snarl (I typed Snark there which is appropriate — this story has been fighting me like you would not believe) finished and out the door, getting back to work on Behind the Iron Cross, and finishing up a BUTTLOAD of jewelry in a very hot garage, it’s been interesting.

Did I mention that I’m also retaining about ten pounds (seriously) of water weight due to the oncoming Shark Week and look (and feel) like I’m seven months’ pregnant? I am clearly allergic to being female. It’s supposed to start tomorrow and I can already feel the blessed hormonal shift because suddenly I have energy again and want to eat vegetables. I just vacuumed the downstairs and as soon as this rain stops and the rush hour traffic dies down I’m getting the makings for stir fry, as well as egg salad and chicken salad for the rest of the week’s lunches.

And Midol, because damn. Ten pounds, people. I’m astounded my heart is still working.

But back to writing things. I think I worked out the problem with Snarl — basically, I have a packless wolf Alpha shifter/SEAL who’s been hired by his former commanding officer to work at the family ski lodge in Esposito County. He’s also been told to stay away from the officer’s daughter. Problem is, the daughter is Wolfie’s mate, AND she lost her sense of smell so she can’t tell she’s his mate. So Wolfie is dealing with a slew of emotions — honor, duty, a sense of being unworthy due to losing his pack, AND confusion as to how to convince her that they’re meant to be together since she can’t smell it — that’s stopping him from claiming her. Then I realized I had a chance to show how shifters learn to love when they’re not being driven by the mating instinct. In Kate’s case, she’s going to think, “I don’t care what my father says, I’m an adult and I want you, PLUS I’m heir to the pack’s Alpha so Dad can learn to deal” and go after Wolfie, re-igniting his sense of self-worth and leading her to realize that they’re mates. Boom, the block evaporated.

So, yeah, Snarl should be finished this week, God willing and the crick don’t rise. Iron Cross is 75% finished so I’m going to get that done as soon as Snarl is out, with an aim to releasing it in mid August, and then it’s on to Shifter Woods: Scream (Deputy Jane’s story, where she finds out she’s mated to a hot tiger shifter/FBI agent AND a half-elf zookeeper. Because I like complicating things).

The one where I’m on USA Today’s HEA blog

Or as I like to put it, SQUEE!

USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog has me on today with an interview talking about To My Muse, where I get my ideas from (everywhere), what distracts me (five cats), and what I looked like back in the 1980s (there’s a picture. I warn you). So if you want to know what makes me, me, go on over and check it out!

In other writing news, the rights to Storm Season have reverted to me and I’m bringing out a re-edited edition of it next Tuesday, including a spandy new cover! I’m also distributing ARCs for reviews tomorrow, so if you’re a blogger/reviewer and you’re interested, DM me with your preferred ebook format/email or fill out the form here.

And finally, I’m putting the finishing touches on Shifter Woods: Snarl. The plan was to have it out by 6/12 but it got bumped by Storm Season, so you can expect to see it on 7/4. I’m experimenting with the common wisdom that Amazon promotes you more widely if you bring out a title every 30 days, so that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of the year. Right now, the schedule is:

  • June: Storm Season (Olympic Cove 1)
  • July: Shifter Woods: Snarl (Esposito County Shifters 3)
  • August: Behind the Iron Cross (historical MMF)
  • September: Uncertainty Principle (Pacifica Rising 2)
  • October: Shifter Woods: Scream (Esposito County Shifters 4)
  • November: King of Blades (Two Thrones 4)
  • December: Two Thrones holiday novella

It’s not as insane as it sounds — Storm Season is already done, SW:S is a novella and almost done, Behind the Iron Cross is 80% done, and I have the plots for all the other books and novellas already worked out. Let’s see if I can pull this off!

Marvelous Monday Reads: Heidi and the Alien Cop

Welcome to another edition of Marvelous Monday Reads, angels! You know how much I love SF romance, so today I’m featuring Jessica Coulter Smith and her new SF romance Heidi and the Alien Cop (Intergalactic Brides #12), now available from Changeling Press. Take it away, Jessica!


Heidi’s life hasn’t been easy since she dropped out of school at sixteen to have a baby. The worst mistake she ever made was moving in with her boyfriend Brent, who turned out to be an abusive bastard, but with no education and no job, there’s nowhere for her to go. Her life for the last five years has disillusioned her that happily-ever-after could possibly exist… Then he comes into her life.

When Raylic rushes to Heidi’s aid, the last thing he expects is to end up with house guests, but she and her small son, Shane, are just what he needs. They bring life to his monstrous home and make him want things better left alone. But the more time he spends with the little family, the more he wants to keep them with him forever. Even knowing Heidi is pregnant with another man’s child doesn’t stop him from wanting to claim her.

Heidi knows Raylic is one of the good guys, but can she dare trust her heart to someone again? He’s everything she’s ever wanted, but she knows wanting and having aren’t the same thing.


Story Excerpt

Heidi hoped like hell that Shane had gotten out of the house. She hadn’t heard the door open or shut but prayed her little boy had run to safety and not stayed to help her. Despite his young age, he acted like her protector when his dad got mad, which was far too often.

She placed a protective hand over her stomach as she cowered in the corner of the room. Brent towered over her, his face flush from too much alcohol and the rage that was burning in his veins. It wasn’t the first time he’d struck her, and she knew it wouldn’t be the last, unless she finally managed to escape. But where would she go? Without a job, or friends, or family, only the streets waited for her and their small son.

“Everyone was talking tonight about how you’ve been whoring around behind my back,” Brent said, spit flying from his lips.

“Brent, please. You know how rumors are around here.” She swallowed the knot of fear in her throat. She’d learned the hard way that fighting back only made it worse. When she fought back, it pushed him to the point of nearly killing her, and she had to keep living to take care of their son. She couldn’t leave him in Brent’s hands. Either her boyfriend would kill him, or he’d turn her sweet boy into a monster.

“Stupid, lying bitch. Did you think I wouldn’t hear about it? I bet that brat in your belly isn’t even mine. Who’s to say the other little snot is mine either? You just saw a meal ticket and latched on.”

“Of course, it’s yours, Brent. They both are. You know I haven’t been with anyone else.”

He backhanded her across the face again, an explosion of pain ricocheting through her cheek and rattling her brain. Another blow landing in almost the same spot nearly knocked her off her feet. She had just braced herself on the wall when another fist pummeled her stomach. Heidi cried out, her hands clutching her belly, hoping he hadn’t harmed their child. She’d tried damn hard not to get pregnant a second time by him, but the condom had broken two months ago.

She saw his hand wind back for another blow and cowered down, but it never came.

“I know humans play by different rules, but where I come from, we don’t beat females,” a deep voice said with a hint of a growl.

Heidi’s eyes went wide as she looked around Brent at the purple alien with the badge clipped to his belt. Was he a real cop or one of those Terran guards? He knocked Brent’s legs out from under him, then pressed him face first onto the floor, wrenching Brent’s hands behind his back. Her drunken boyfriend was no match for the rather brawny guy manhandling him. The alien slapped cuffs on Brent, then pulled out a cell phone.

“Dispatch, this is Officer Raylic. Can you send a car around to pick up some trash I found beating a female?”

She didn’t hear what else was said as the room spun around her. Heidi sank to her knees and tried to process what was happening. Had someone really come to her rescue? How had he known where to find her? A small hand slipped into hers, and she looked into the terrified eyes of her son.

“Shane?”

“I found a police officer, Mama. He’ll take care of us, won’t he?” Shane asked, looking more troubled than a five-year-old had any right to.

“Are you all right?” the officer asked her.

“I don’t know. He hit me in the stomach and the face.”

Shane’s face scrunched up. “What about the baby?”

“You have a baby?” the officer asked.

“In her tummy,” Shane told him.

The officer cursed. Brent took his moment of distraction to rear up and lunge at Heidi, a murderous glint in his eyes. She jumped to her feet and lashed out at him, kicking him in the shin and hitting him in the eye. The officer made a grab for him and shoved him back down. Brent fell face first onto the floor, getting a mouthful of nasty carpet. Heidi had to admit that it had felt damn good to fight back for once.

Heidi approached her boyfriend. With a well-placed kick between his splayed legs, she had him howling and cursing her all at the same time. She felt a bit of satisfaction, knowing she’d caused him pain, but it wasn’t enough. She looked at the officer who regarded her with a bit of mirth for attacking her abuser.

“Want to have another go at him?” the officer asked.

“What I’d like to do is beat him over the head, with a cast-iron skillet, until he can’t ever hurt anyone again.”

He nodded. “I probably would get into a bit of trouble if I let you do that. But feel free to kick him again. It’s just his word against mine.”

She looked at her bare feet. “It might contaminate my foot if I kick him there again. I’ve always heard if someone accuses you of cheating, they’re probably the one with the guilty conscience. No telling where he’s put that thing.”

The officer chuckled a bit. “As soon as backup arrives to take care of him, I’m going to take you somewhere safe. We’ll stop by the Terran Station first though. I want our healer to look at you. As small as you are, he could have easily broken bones or caused internal damage.”

“Thank you for helping us,” she said. “No one’s ever helped us before.”

He frowned. “Have you called the police before now?”

She nodded. “The officer who answered the call said I was overly emotional and it was just a domestic dispute. He said if he got another call, he would haul both of us to jail. It was the first and last time I asked for help.”

“Asshole,” the officer muttered. “Do you remember who it was? I’ll make sure he’s written up.”

“Officer Clarke.”

He nodded. “I can see him saying something like that. Don’t worry. Your husband is getting locked up this time.”

“We’re not married,” she said.

“Good. Then you can make a clean break when he’s taken out of here today. Do you plan to stay in this apartment?” he asked, looking around.

She knew what he’d see. Cracked walls, stained carpets, and the ugliest furniture imaginable. The place reeked of mildew and piss, and unfortunately for her, the rent was past due. It might not have been much, but it had been home for the last year. As often as they’d been late, no way the landlord would renew the lease. Not that she could pay it anyway.

“Where are we gonna go, Mama?” Shane asked.

“I don’t know, baby.”

The officer tilted his head. “Go pack your things. I was going to take you to a hotel for the night to give you some time to think things through, but it sounds like you need a more permanent solution.”

“The rent is past due here,” she said. “I don’t have a job to pay for a hotel room. Could you take us to a shelter?”

“Don’t worry about the cost,” he said in a soothing tone. “Just pack your things and be ready to go as soon as possible. Don’t leave anything behind that you want to keep.”


Where to Buy

Amazon | Changeling Press | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes


About the Author

Award-winning author Jessica Coulter Smith has been in love with the written word since she was a child. Her first stories may have been written in crayon, but now she’s a multi-published author of over seventy-five novellas and novels. Romance is an integral part of her world and spills over from her professional life into her personal one. When she went on that first date with her husband, she never expected to hear the words “marry me” pop out of his mouth–and judging by the shocked look on his face, he hadn’t meant to say them either. But, being the hopeless romantic that she is, Jessica said yes and they’ve been married since 2000.

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Welp, I passed 5000

And by 5000, I mean five thousand actual sales, not including returns (God, those annoy me because I know a good percentage of them are people who are gaming the system to read new stuff then return it and get the price of purchase back) or giveaways. And by “I” I mean Empress of Storms.

The funny thing? I honestly can’t tell if that’s good or not. Some sources say that you need to sell 10K copies, but that’s if you’re with a major publisher. Other sources say that a self-pubbed book sells 500 copies on average, so in that case I’ve done really well. I dunno, Marty. I guess all I can do is keep writing and hope people like the new stuff as much.

Lord, I just realized — I have to finish Palace of Scoundrels, Do No Harm, and Behind the Iron Cross, get those out, write The Chevalier and get that out this fall, then start researching the historical M/M romance that my BFF suggested so that I can start writing it in November. Sleep? What means this word, sleep?

Nicola’s Progress Reports

NotEnoughCaffeineSince I was poked by my buddy Peter on this:

Palace of Scoundrels (Empress sequel) – 1,645 words since I spent a fair amount of time outlining the thing. Nonetheless I’m hoping to have this done by RT — I would like to have it out and available, but that may not be possible. We’ll see.

Behind the Iron Cross – 76,039 words and I’m storming into Act Three as we speak. This one is gonna take mega editing, though.

Cross Current (Olympic Cove #4) – 3,538 words, and I came up with a refinement for my main character that is extremely organic and effective AND makes the story more diverse.

“Do No Harm” (Dark Captive antho entry for Evernight) – 1,520 words. This is the one I really have to focus on since the deadline is March 15th. It’s also the most difficult of the bunch because, well, here’s the antho description:

Dark Captive will be a collection of dark erotic romance stories featuring alpha men with fierce sexual appetites. They’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. And they have their sights on one man. Possessive and bold, these heroes give their conquests exactly what they crave—to be taken … to be owned. Any resistance offered will be tested, but in the end love rules.  

So, dubcon with a romance and HEA/HFN. Kinda hard to do that effectively in less than 25K words, but I think I found a way to make it work.

I’m also trying to catch up on some desperately needed housework in my spare time, but I think I’m breaking down and paying for a professional spring cleaning of the place after I get back from RT. My blue collar South Side soul is screaming blue murder at this, but my professional writer brain is saying, “You can spend time cleaning or you can spend time writing. Which is more productive and satisfying to you? Plus if you hire a service you’re pumping money into the economy, and you can give them mega tips to shut up that screeching soul of yours.” Works for me.

Happy anniversary to me!

storm-season_webFacebook’s Memories function has just been kind enough to remind me that three years ago today I got my acceptance from Evernight on Storm Season. My exact post on the topic was:

So, yeah, uh, I just sold my first standalone novel, Storm Season, to Evernight Publishing. Um…I’m a novelist. So what do I do now?

The answer is, write another novel, of course. Which I did, and I thank each and every one of you out there who has been buying them and chivvying me to write more. Y’all rock.

Speaking of books, writing continues apace in the Cameron manse. I’ve started on Palace of Scoundrels (the Empress sequel) and I’m flipping back and forth between that, Iron Cross, and Cross Current depending on my mood. Hey, it works for a lot of bestselling authors so why not me? But three books (plus a short story, plus another project that I’ll announce here in due time) apparently isn’t enough for my sozzled slavedriver of a muse, since she’s been prodding me to write a MF contemporary standalone like you would not believe. Thing is, it has some really deep, relevant hooks for me so I think it’s got to go on the To Be Written list (which is now stretching to 2020 and beyond).

At least it means you have lots of reading material to look forward to, right? That’s what I keep telling myself.

In other news, I’ll be at Wild Wicked Weekend this weekend in San Antonio and I’ll have print copies of Storm Season, HIS: Manlove Edition, and Empress of Storms with me, so if you’re coming and want a copy please hunt me down. This is my first romance convention where I’m a signing author, so I’m both excited and a little nervous. I’m putting together a gift basket and bringing swag, but I still have to learn the lay of the land and what’s expected from an author at such events (e.g. this ISN’T a science fiction convention so the graphic t-shirts will probably be left at home).

And yes, there will be pictures. And I’ll give you a full report on our outing to the Lair (San Antonio’s premier BDSM club). Pity I can’t wear what I wore to the Rubber Ball in London, muwahahahahaha…