Dear Reader,

I’m thrilled that Spring is finally here!  Winter is always a little trying in my house—my three boys do not enjoy being cooped up, at all.  But with the advent of blue skies and green grass, the winter blahs disappear—especially in the midst of baseball and soccer practice, swimming lessons, track meets, skateboarding, tree house building… You get the point ;)

And since Spring gets really warm here in Texas, I thought I’d include a fun, spring cocktail recipe that one of my closest friends gave me a couple years ago and that my family loves (it’s just as delicious without the rum as it is with it, so I make it often for my boys on lazy, spring and summer barbecue days).

May Day

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 6-8 strawberries, cubed
  • Handful of blackberries
  • flesh and seeds of 2 passion fruit
  • 4 oz apple juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 oz rum (optional)
  • Ice
Mix all the ingredients in blender. Pour into glasses with sugar-coated rims and enjoy!

Hidden Embers is the sexy dragon sequel to my July 2010 book, Dark Embers. Hidden Embers is Quinn's (the clan healer) book, and I have to admit I really put him through the wringer before I give him his happily ever after with Jasmine, the most kick-butt heroine I've ever written. The book was a blast to write and has been getting great reviews so far—I hope you'll pick it up and give my dark, brooding bad boy a shot!

Have a wonderful Spring!

Tessa Adams



Excerpt from Hidden Embers

© Tessa Adams


He was tired. 

So tired that he could barely hold his head up. 

So tired that he didn’t have the energy to finish the chart he was working on. 

So tired that sometimes even the act of breathing seemed like a chore.

Rubbing his hands over his face, Quinn Maguire tried to fight against the despair that was his constant companion. 

He failed. 

It weighed him down, made his movements slow and clumsy as it pressed in on him from every side.  When was this going to be over?  When was he finally going to be able to stop fighting?

After scrawling his initials on the line at the bottom of the chart, he shoved back from his desk and walked over to the window that stretched the length of one of his office walls.

Outside the desert was dark and peaceful, the city lights far enough away that the stars glittered against the ebony blanket of the night.  It was a sight that rarely failed to soothe him, but tonight was going to be one of those nights.  He could feel it.

His eyesight was keen enough that he could see the night predators shadowed against the blackness, his hearing good enough that he could listen to their prey as they scrambled across the rapidly cooling sand in an effort to get away.

But there would be no escape for them.  There never was.  If his years on this planet had taught him nothing else, they had taught him that much.  You couldn’t escape your destiny.

Like him.  He would be fighting forever.  It was, after all, the nature of the beast.

Never in his four hundred and seventy-one years had his nature, his abilities, his limitations, been so hard to accept.

Four hundred and seventy-one years.  He closed his eyes, leaned his head against the cool glass.  And wondered how he was supposed to survive another four hundred years.  How he was supposed to survive another day when every instinct he had demanded that he end things, now, while he still could.

Perhaps that was his destiny as well.

What did he have to live for, anyway?  His lover was dead, and while he hadn’t been mated with Cecily, he had cared deeply for her.  Two of his three brothers were dead.  Four of his closest friends were dead.

Thousands of his people were dead—a number that was growing exponentially with every month that passed. 

And there was nothing he could do to stop it. 

Nothing he could do to stop any of it.

All those years of training, all the time he’d spent honing his gifts—wasted.  Because now, when he needed the knowledge most, it was gone.  Or worse, so useless against this latest threat that it was like it had never been. 

He was useless, ineffectual, his power nothing but a joke in the face of the crisis ripping through his clan at an alarming rate.

Was this it then, he wondered.  Nearly half a millennium of life boiled down to nothing in a matter of months?  Was illness and exhaustion and crushing disappointment really all there was? 

If so, what was he still doing here? 

Why was he still fighting?

For the first time in centuries, he didn’t have an answer.

Inside him, his beast screamed in agony.  Battered at the walls he kept around it in an effort to get out.  Raked sharp claws down the inside of his skin as it fought for its very survival.

It sensed what Quinn’s mind was only now beginning to comprehend.  He had no purpose on this earth anymore, no meaning.  No matter what he tried, no matter how hard he fought, no matter how many antidotes he came up with—his people were dying.  And it was his fault.

He glanced over at his computer screen-- at the magnified results of the latest tests he'd run.  The virus was still impervious to his attempts to immunize against it.  His best ideas on how to stop its spread had only multiplied the infected cells, as if whoever had designed the disease had anticipated his every attack.  He didn't know why he was surprised.  It wasn't like this was the first time they'd thwarted him.

It was becoming a regular occurrence--His enemy was too determined, too insidious, too clever and he was not clever enough.

Quinn deliberately turned his back on the computer-- on his newest research-- and eyed the cabinets across the room instead.  Inside him, the beast roared in protest, but he shoved the thing back down.  And took two, halting steps across the carpet towards the built-ins.

Inside was every manner of medical device—medicines, bandages, scalpels and forceps for surgery.  He imagined what it would feel like to grab a scalpel and plunge it straight into his jugular—and was vaguely surprised when the thought didn’t bother him nearly as much as it should have.  Yes, dragons usually healed quickly—very quickly—but would that be enough to repair a mortal wound, especially if he didn’t try to heal it?

He was across the room, his hand reaching to open one of the cupboards as the dragon screamed inside him, before he finally regained control.  Finally stopped himself.  He thought of Dylan and Phoebe, Gabe and Logan, Michael and Shawn and Tyler—and despised himself for even thinking of taking the coward’s way out.  He might have lost all hope, but his friends, his clanmates, hadn’t.  Was he really selfish enough to off himself and take even that small grain of hope away from them?

His hand fell back to his side, sharp talons poking through his fingertips before he could stop them.  No, he wasn’t that selfish.  Wasn’t that pathetic.

At least not yet.

He wouldn’t kill himself and leave Dylan to clean up the mess.  He owed his King far too much to take the easy way out.

And yet the despair swamped him, overwhelmed him, until all he could see or hear or feel was the utter darkness of it.  Sinking to the floor, he laid his head on his knees and prayed for some idea of what he should do next.  But as with so many of his prayers of late, this one went unanswered.


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Contest!


Tessa's hosting a contest for ASR readers! Just visit her website (www.tracywolff.com) and find the answer to this question:

Quinn's dragon struggles when the blonde walks into the bar. What does she smell like to him?

Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answer by midnight on April 18th, 2011. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and please mark the subject heading as 'HiddenEmbers'.

Four winners will each receive a copy of Dark Embers.

Good luck!

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