We are over a month away from the release of Callum the first of The Cursed Clan series and I am already wanting to scream with delight. This is the book that finalled in the Romance Junkies Reader contest several years ago, and landed me an agent for a short time. Sadly, NY kept telling me that no one knew how to market it. I still find it absurd that a MARKETING department tells me they don’t know how to market my book. Seriously? Anyway, with the self-publishing market opening now, I can do it myself. And, I decided to give you a little preview because it is a bit different from other things I have written.
The Cursed Clan is a five book paranormal series that tells the tale of five cousins, four men and one woman, who are trying to break a curse that is hundreds of years in the making. I will warn you, the beginning of the series starts off lightly on the paranormal side, but it will grow, I promise. Lots of magik and villians, especially from the clan who had the Lennons cursed in the first place.
These books are going to be sexy, yes, but they will not be considered erotic. I know the Harmless series has given me a reputation of writing light to medium BDSM but these, at the moment at least, will not have that. What I am excited about that to me, they are just as sensual, and much longer than my other books. I am aiming for about 80K for these books because there is a lot of story in them. It has a special place in my heart because I started with this idea almost FIVE years ago. Thankfully, now I don’t have to wait for a publisher to tell me if it is good enough or not, and seriously, I just HAD to write these books. Poor Phoebe and Callum had been waiting for me to finish their book. I stopped right before their first love scene, lol.
I hope to have an ARC out to reviewers NLT Dec 20th, with a release date of January 17th, or there abouts. Here is a little tidbit and you can see that our heroine and hero are off to a bumpy start during their first meeting.
Unedited Excerpt (c) Melissa Schroeder
Callum Lennon was another story altogether.
Before coming to Scotland, she had researched the Lennon family, especially their leader. It was her way. Any smart woman would do the same before embarking alone on a mysterious trip like this. Other than the fact that he headed up one of the most successful corporations in the UK—if not the whole bloody world—Phoebe found precious little else. No pictures, no personal information. A man with this sort of money usually took pains to be seen out, a beauty on his arm, attending benefits, galas and whatnot. Truthfully, though, she doubted any photo could have lived up to the flesh and blood man standing before her. And what beautiful flesh it was.
From his expression to his dress, black suited him. Ebony hair, peppered with bits of gray, was cut ruthlessly short. Like his office, he was dour, and more than likely, predictable as a schedule. Where his cousins seemed approachable, Callum’s demeanor was a red light.
The only thing appealing about him, other than the fact that he possessed one of the best bodies she’d ever seen, was his eyes. The shape of them would be considered bedroom sleepy, seemingly half-closed. The lazy sensuality was belied by the vigilant alertness she sensed in his study. This man missed nothing, but that wasn’t their most amazing quality.
The color held her almost mesmerized. Blue, a completely boring description, would not do justice to their beauty. They were almost unworldly in the shade of blue, but when light struck them in just the right manner, there was a hint of green. She’d sigh over them, if it wasn’t a completely adolescent thing to do. She’d just have to wait until she was in her room alone. With the lights turned out.
“First, we need to talk contracts.” The burr in his voice had thickened since she’d first heard him speak, making her belly flutter. When his words registered, she sighed in regret. Such a beautiful man, completely out of her league, but she’d hoped they’d work on friendly terms.
“No. First, we need to talk about what you want me to do.”
He didn’t respond for a moment, clearly taken back by the fact someone disagreed so openly with him. There was a flash of irritation and something akin to admiration—which was an odd combination, to be sure—in his gaze.
“There is no discussion of anything until you sign a contract. We, meaning Lennon Enterprises, must protect our name.”
He crossed his arms over his broad chest and gave her what she was sure his most intimidating stare. Silly man, didn’t he know anything about her? She was handling professors who were just as intimidating when she was barely thirteen. And nothing would stand between her and the grant she needed to complete her most important work ever.
“No. As I discussed at length with Angus before I traveled here, I made it very clear that once I arrived I wanted information up front. I will sign a confidentiality agreement, but I will not sign a binding contract. I understand the need for secrecy, but I assure you there is no problem. I have a reputation that far exceeds even your vaulted standing in the business community.” One ebony brow rose in aggravation or respect for her snooping. “All I know is that it’s a serious matter dealing with an artifact you found and need help translating. We will work much better together if I understand what I am dealing with.” She offered him her best business smile, the one she used on interviewers and donors.
“I’ll no’ risk my family name, our honor, to be sold to the highest bidder. The information you could gather would be more valuable on the open market.”
Her temper wasn’t quick to ignite, but was a dangerous thing once it did. And Callum Lennon was perilously close to burning.
She took a deep breath. Then another. “Are you questioning my integrity? That something in your twisted logic thinks I would take what information you give me and sell it, my reputation be damned?”
By the time she finished her voice had risen almost to a shout, but the moment she stopped talking, deadly silence filled the room.
Callum’s eyes flashed and narrowed. “I doona know or care about your reputation. I have a policy for dealing with this situation. I willna have my family used.”
She counted backwards from ten, then did it twice more. Questioning her honor, was he? Granted, she wasn’t being completely honest with him, but she knew if she rolled over on this one, he would either be suspicious of her motives or think he would win every argument.
Phoebe pushed herself to her feet even as she told herself smacking a six and a half foot broody, totally delectable Scotsman wasn’t a good idea.
“Phoebe.” She didn’t even flinch when Angus tried to interrupt. “Dr. Chilton.”
She ignored the worry in the younger cousin’s tone. Locked into stare-down with his cousin, Angus’s voice didn’t completely register. The room, and everything in it faded away, until only she and Callum remained. Fire leapt in his eyes, showing his barely-controlled temper. His rigid stance bespoke his command over his emotions. He probably hadn’t said even a tenth of what he was thinking, and she was already offended.
She was no coward, but she tended to work with people, negotiate. Her parents had taught her from an early age to be diplomatic. So, it was complete surprise that the urge to push him further, question his integrity, and make him slip over the edge of control, almost overwhelmed her.
Before she could stop herself, she stepped closer to the desk. His expression shifted, turning from anger to something that resembled…lust? Her heart tripped over itself, and her nipples tightened against her cotton bra. His nostrils flared. A charge filled the air, drifting over her, heating her. Bloody hell, every drop of moisture in her mouth evaporated.
Something primal that she’d never experienced before leapt in her blood. Her breath tangled in her throat. All she could think of was touching him, moving her hand over his flesh. Bare flesh. Thankfully, before she could embarrass herself, Angus interrupted her thoughts.
The rebuke in his cousin’s voice reached the dark leader. He shook his head as if to clear it, and that was enough to bring Phoebe to her senses. She needed to keep her head straight or she would surely give herself away.
Drawing in a deep breath, she dropped back into the chair, her body still humming from the confrontation.