April 8, 2013

About Face by Amy Lee Burgess {Guest Post & Review}


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Guest Post

Today I thought I’d do something different and share a piece of flash fiction I wrote featuring two of the characters that are first introduced into the Wolf Within series in the latest book, About Face

Fee is Murphy’s twin sister and Alpha female of Mac Tire in Dublin. Siobhan is their mother. She’s rather feisty and abrasive, but I do like her. She has her softer moments.

I hope you enjoy this. I call it The Blue Dress.


The day I found out I was pregnant, I was trying on a dress for the New Year’s Eve party at An Puca, the pack pub. Mac Tire put on a traditional pack party every December 31st and this would be the second Paddy and I had hosted as Alphas. It was eight-thirty and half an hour past the time I should have been there. Paddy, my bond mate, had called me three times so far yelling good-naturedly that by the time I arrived, he’d be too drunk to shag and that would be a terrible waste of a night like New Year’s Eve, wouldn’t it?

“Yeah, like you’d wait for me,” I’d said with a grin the last time he called. He and Ellen McGuire had been circling each other like crazy lately and if he thought I hadn’t noticed, he was an idiot. Not that I minded. We were Pack and our relationship was open and always had been. I knew he loved me best and although I slept with many other partners, I’d loved Paddy since I was seventeen and I’d never stop. No one could even come close.

Siobhan, my mother, was helping me choose from the limited possibilities in my closet. As usual, I’d been too sidetracked by the planning side to get to a store for a new dress.

“What about this one?” Siobhan chose the navy blue dress just like I knew she would. It was the most conservative of everything I owned.

“You’ve already bedded half the men in this pack, Fiona Carmichael, you’ll not be needing to put your wares on display. Everyone’s seen them,” she said when I pointed out the dress was more fit for a nun than a woman in her thirties. Of course she bristled. She’d given me the damn thing for Christmas.

“I might like to feel a little more like a young woman than a grandmother.” I held the sizzling black sequined mini dress up to my body and grinned at my reflection in the full-length mirror on the inside of my closet. So what if I’d worn this last New Year’s Eve, I rocked it hard.

Siobhan snorted and picked up my discarded jeans and knickers. When she straightened, she had an odd expression on her deceptively pretty face. She and I looked like sisters, but I really hoped she hadn’t also gifted me with her caustic personality. I loved my ma, but damn, her tongue was sharp sometimes.

“Holy Mother of God, you’re pregnant! I can smell it! When the hell were you going to tell me, you selfish wench?” Shock bleached her features and I ducked when she threw my knickers at my face.

I snatched them before they hit me and gave them a suspicious sniff. Damn. She was right. Siobhan had one of the best noses in Mac Tire and she was never wrong about what she smelled. And she’d passed that ability down to me. One of her genetic gifts I was grateful for.

A warm glow of joy bubbled through my veins. Paddy was going to be so excited. Ever since my miscarriage just before the Paris Gathering, he’d been worried. I had been too, but this time I knew it would be different. This baby would be born. I had the strangest feeling of surety I never had with the first pregnancy. I’d known something was off with that one from the start, but didn’t want to admit it.

“Tell me you know who the father is,” Siobhan demanded.

“Ma! is that really going to be your first reaction? You’re going to be a grandmother. Your Alpha is pregnant and all you have to say is ‘Tell me you know who the father is’?” I scowled.

“Well, do ya?” she demanded, but she was happy. I could tell by the way her hazel eyes danced.

“Ever since I went off birth control and became Alpha, I’ve only slept with Paddy. I want to have his baby. Since I’ve been fourteen I’ve wanted his baby.”

Fourteen was the year I’d fallen in love with the man. He’d been seventeen and madly in lust with Sheenaugh Donovan who I’d hated ever since, the treacherous cow. He hadn’t noticed flat-chested me until I was seventeen and he was twenty and we’d been together ever since. We’d been best friends since before I could walk, but lovers are different than best friends.

“Well, congratulations. Alpha female, surely the pack prospers because of you.” Siobhan spoke the traditional words with a smile and when she hugged me, I squeezed her back. After she released me she picked up the navy dress again and said, “Now you really have to wear this. I’ll not have our pregnant Alpha catching cold wearing a skimpy mini dress that barely covers her ass. Put it on and don’t give me any backtalk. You may be my Alpha, but I’m still your mother, you little witch.”

I really hated that dress, but the idea I was going to have Paddy’s baby made everything seem beautiful. Maybe the damn dress wasn’t so bad after all.


The Cafe Review

Once again Amy Lee Burgess weaves a "can't put this book down" tale of the paranormal, romance and mystery. In About Face, Stanzie Newcastle, who is an Advisor to Councilor Jason Allerton, has been given the assignment of going to Dublin, Ireland in order to convince her estranged bond mate, Liam Murphy to give up his search for the "grandfather" he suspects is responsible for the death of his first bond mate. However, when Stanzie arrives in Dublin, she begins to realize that there's much more going on, and the deeper she digs, the more she uncovers a full-blown conspiracy involving two opposing sides of the Great Pack. And, to her dismay, she finds that her Alpha, Paddy O'Reilly, has put himself in danger trying to help Liam. 

This book has it all. Besides the mystery, the hotter than heck Liam Murphy and the sizzling sexual tension between Stanzie and Liam, there's also a great deal of humor in this story. Stanzie is definitely a smart-ass who won't take crap from anyone. The scene where, after a hellish twelve-hour delay, she arrives at the An Puca pub and is confronted by a "red-haired giant" is hilarious! And the dialogue is so well-written, you can actually hear the Irish brogue in the voices of the MacTire Pack. Then there's Stanzie's obsession with shoes...

I've only read About Face and Inside Out of this series, but I intend to get the rest of the books in the series and start from the beginning...Its that good. Oh, and I have to say that all the covers for the series are BEAUTIFUL! About Face has definitely earned a 5 Cup Review from The Authors' Cafe.


Stanzie’s job as Advisor to the Great Council is discovering other people’s secrets. When those secrets are being kept by the ones she loves most, can she find the courage to expose them?

Under orders from a Councilor, Stanzie journeys to Dublin and the MacTire pack. Her mission: warn her estranged bond mate, Liam Murphy, to abandon his overzealous search for the man responsible for the death of his first bond mate. Not only is he endangering himself, but also disrupting the delicate balance between opposing factions in the conspiracy threatening to tear the Great Pack apart.

Liam needs Stanzie’s help to protect their Alpha, who has entangled himself in the conspiracy’s deadly web. But he also desperately wants her back. In a race against time, Stanzie and Liam discover enemies often wear the faces of friends.

CONTENT WARNING: Vulgar language, sexual situations, some violence
A Lyrical Press Paranormal Romance


Excerpt


Our fingers were still linked when I opened my eyes hours later. The bedroom smelled of sex--of us--and while he wasn't snoring, Murphy’s breath was slow and heavy, the way I remembered from the nights we’d spent together in America.

For a moment I was filled with such aching happiness I almost expected to levitate off the bed. But then I remembered everything, and black despair bit into me so hard I wondered I didn't bleed.

He’d rolled off me at some point, but we were still on top of the covers. I let go of his hand and slid off the bed. I found his t-shirt and my panties, put them on and fled to the living room.

The remains of our dinner had congealed on our plates on the table. The lights were still on, and I got as far as the sofas before my legs went out from beneath me and I couldn't breathe.

Murphy appeared like a ghost in the bedroom doorway. His eyes were very dark.

“Can we talk about it, Stanzie?”

“What’s to talk about?” I drew one of the throw pillows defensively close to my stomach.

I loved him but he didn't love me. I’d tried so hard not to let that overwhelm me and make peace with it. Of all the people in his life he protected, I was the last on the list and that’s not where I wanted to be. “You chose Paddy and Mac Tire over me, and I guess I get that, but it hurts.”

“I had no idea you loved me.” His tone was raw and desperate. “I thought I was doing the right thing. You didn't need to be put at risk in this, and I thought I could--”

“What? Don’t lie to me, Liam. You didn't want me involved because you’re going to do something stupid to save Paddy and your father. Why should you martyr yourself for them?”

“Paddy came to me for help,” Murphy shouted and the muscles in his face strained as he struggled to regain control. “He had nowhere else to turn, don’t you see? It’s not like I could tell him to go screw himself. He’s my best mate.”

“But it’s okay to tell me to go screw myself, I guess. I’m your bond mate. You wouldn't come to my tribunal. You threw me out like so much garbage when Paddy told you his problems. And you couldn't even tell me why. You’re so hell-bent on saving everybody, but it’s always on your terms and you have to be the one to give help--you never want it in return. I would have helped you. I would have done anything for Paddy--he’s my Alpha--but you decided what was best for me in your typical high-handed Liam Murphy fashion, and to hell with what I thought, what I wanted.

“And then tonight you take advantage of the fact I love you so you can, what? Have sex? 
Haven’t you screwed anyone in four months, or have you just screwed people over?”

His face blanched of all color, and he stared at me, his dark eyes bottomless.

“That wasn't just sex. Did that feel like just sex to you?”

“No, not to me. I love you. But that’s what it was to you. Will you please leave me alone? I’m tired and I want to go to sleep.”

“Stanzie, I know you’re tired, but we've got to talk about this.”

“In the morning. Maybe.” I turned away from him because I couldn't stand to look at the entreaty in his eyes. In a heartbeat I’d be across the floor to him, and screw that.

He abruptly gave in. “Look, you take the bed, I’ll sleep out here.”

“No, I’ll stay out here.” I was ten seconds from tears, and I wanted him gone so he wouldn't see.

“Stanzie, take the bed.”

“No,” I shouted, and the damn tears poured down my cheeks. “It smells like us in there, don’t you get it? And us is a lie. Just let me do what I want, goddamn it.”

He opened his mouth to argue, but then, defeated, retreated and did as I asked.


Amy Lee Burgess is a transplanted New Englander living in Houston, Texas with two dogs and lots of DVDs. In an attempt to bond with the city after being forced out of New Orleans post-Katrina, she turned to her writing. Determined to finally finish that novel she'd been hacking away at since high school, Amy managed to come up with a wolf shifter character named Stanzie Newcastle. She and Stanzie have been BFFs ever since.

In addition to Stanzie, Amy has also forged a relationship with several vampires, a witch or two, and other assorted supernatural creatures she hopes will entertain her readers. But she will always have room for coffee and butterscotch squares with Stanzie.




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