Dear Reader,

A couple of months ago my publisher asked me if I was interested in making my Red-Hot and Royal available in electronic format. I had one word for them: Absolutely!

Ebooks are gaining more popularity. I remember in the year 2000 when an ebook meant it was available on disc. I'm not kidding! Now ebooks are instant downloads, and the reading devices are user-friendly. There's even a high school in my area that uses ebooks for some of their textbooks. The times are changing.

But I don't think all books will be in digital format in the near future. A lot of people don't want paperbacks to disappear. I don't either! I read more print books than ebooks, but the most important thing for me is that readers are getting more choices when it comes to format.

And that's why I'm happy that my books are in both formats. There are some people who prefer print, some who find time to "read" books in audio, and some who can only access books in digital. Most readers can enjoy a mix of formats while a few people—especially those with visual impairments, learning disabilities and mobility concerns—have to rely on one type.

I don't know if I will ever read more electronic books than print books, or if I'll ever get used to audio books or manga for that matter! I don't think the argument should be when or if ebooks will make print books obsolete. The discussion should be: what other formats can we create that will better serve readers?


Excerpt from RED-HOT AND ROYAL

"Look at her."

Zain was about to take a drink from his beer when he turned to where his private secretary pointed. He had heard the awe in Ali's voice, but he hadn't been prepared. His hand froze, the amber bottle suspended, as he saw the slender brunette in the silver dress.

Her moves were hypnotic and fluid. Sensuous and feminine. She didn't bump and grind like the other women fading in the background. This woman was like dancing fire.

He set the bottle down hard. Zain felt the pull and he didn't want to resist. It was an elemental call, something ancient and imprinted deep inside him, telling him to move toward her.

He wanted to get closer and play with her brand of fire, to harness her intensity for his sole pleasure. His skin felt drawn tight against his bones as he watched her. He longed to feel her move just like that underneath him.

A part of him knew he should play it safe. Tonight of all nights was not the time to lay a claim on her, no matter how fascinating she appeared. He knew to hang back, but his instincts were to go after her. He had to capture her before she flitted away.

Her long brown hair swayed and fanned against her face and shoulders. The silver dress pulled and tugged against gentle curves. A sheen of sweat glowed against her toned arms and legs.

The woman's eyes were closed, but her mouth curled up with a secret smile. She looked lost in her own world, dancing for her own satisfaction. His chest tightened at the deep roll of her hips. White heat flashed through him, and Zain bolted from his chair.

"I'll be back," he said, his eyes never leaving the woman. There was no chance of losing her in this crowd. She radiated with power and sexuality.

"Your Highness," his secretary warned, "wait until after midnight."

"Don't worry, Ali." He waved off the man's urgent words. The man was more superstitious than he was. "I'm only going to dance."

He hadn't forgotten about the prophecy. His small entourage already thought he was pushing his luck celebrating at a nightclub. But no one recognized him around here, and this woman wouldn't know who he was.

He wasn't looking for a kiss from her anyway. That was too tame and didn't offer enough contact. He wanted to feel the woman's body against his and create some sparks.

Zain pushed his way across the crowded dance floor. The closer he got, the more impatient he became. The woman opened her eyes and pushed the long hair away from her face.

Her gaze skimmed the crowd and suddenly connected with his in a jolt. Her electric blue eyes had the ability to hold him immobile.

Her dancing changed subtly. It was as if his attention set her ablaze. He found it difficult to breathe as his chest rose and fell sharply with anticipation.

Watching her dance wasn't enough. He ached for more. Zain wanted her to perform only for him. Dance against him, skin against skin.

As if she could read his mind, the woman reached for him. He took her hand, almost expected her touch to singe. Instead he felt a zip in his blood, the hot sensations curling around him. The woman's hand felt delicate and warm under his fingers.

Zain helped her down the steps, noticing her graceful movement. She was much shorter than he expected, only reaching to his shoulders. He could tuck her against him easily.

Careful… The warning was like a wisp of smoke. He should finish this dance. He should turn away now. What he was doing was dangerous. He has gone halfway across the world to play it safe.

The woman looped her arms over his shoulders and pressed her curves against his body. The contact was almost too much. He drew in a shallow breath and inhaled her spicy scent.

He wrapped his arm around her waist, his hand spanning her hip. His eyes widened when the woman glided her bare leg against his jeans before hooking it against his hip.

His cock lurched against her hot center.

She arched her back, pressing her breasts against his chest. He felt the pounding of her heart. Or it could have been his. They followed the same beat.

Zain pressed his other hand against her spine and felt that the back of her dress dipped low. He swallowed roughly as his fingers flexed against her warm, silken skin.

She tilted her head, her hair falling back like a curtain. The woman smiled at him, her confident invitation beckoning him closer. His attention zeroed in on her mouth and his lips tingled.

Her fingers cupped the back of his head and he shivered as her nails raked through his hair. The music dimmed when he dipped his head. The smoky lights in the nightclub flashed as colors swirled around them.

The woman leaned closer and paused. Zain's chest tightened with a mixture of disappointment and regret. He didn't want her to pull back now. Thrusting his hand at the base of her head, he tangled his fingers in her soft hair.

She couldn't escape now, but getting away was obviously the last thing on her mind. She offered no hesitation as he pressed his mouth against hers.

The kiss wasn't exploratory or tender. It was hard, primal and searing hot. Heat licked his body, flushing his skin. His knees buckled as his mind went blank.

She deepened the kiss, holding him tight as if he might step away. Like that was going to happen. He couldn’t move. He felt like he was disintegrating as a flood of raw energy coursed through him.

The woman suddenly pulled away. She looked as dazed as he felt. She pressed her swollen lips together. Zain's hand tightened against her hip.

She easily glided from his hold and dove into the crowd. It was as if she disappeared right before his eyes. Zain followed, but he lost her trail in the spinning lights and dark shadows.

"Your Highness?" Zain's private secretary pushed his way through the crowd and stood a step behind him. His eyes were wide with shock and worry. "What happened?"

"I'm not sure." He stared in the direction the woman went, but he couldn't see her anymore. She had vanished.

"Who is she?" Ali yelled over the music as his gaze frantically darted over the crowd. "Where is she?"

"I don't know." Zain shrugged, not sure what had happened. What did he do to spook her?

"We have to find her."

"Good luck on that." Zain ran his hand through his hair. His heart continued to thump against his ribs.

"We have to," Ali insisted. "The prophecy has been fulfilled."

The prophecy. The watch on his wrist suddenly felt heavy. Zain slowly raised his hand and looked at the time. It was three minutes past midnight.

His head snapped up. "Do you mean that woman…?"

Ali nodded. "She is destined to be your bride."

© Susanna Carr

Adobe Reader ISBN: 9781436261630
eReader ISBN: 9781436261647
Microsoft Reader ISBN: 9781436261623
MobiPocket Reader ISBN: 9781436261661


Susanna's running a special contest just for ASR Newswire subscribers. 5 winners will each receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate. To enter, just watch the video and answer the question below. Then send us an email with your answer and your full name and mailing addresss.

If you can't view the video, please click here.

Susanna was inspired to write Red-Hot and Royal after watching Disney Princesses on Ice. What was her objection to the storyline that prompted her to write her own version of a fairy tale?

Contest Deadline is December 21st. Winners will be notified via email. Good luck!

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