Sunday, December 28, 2014

Nightmare in #Mauritius: the dark side of Casela Nature Park #tourist #attraction #avoid #placetovisit

Hey, ye all!

You guys know me as that girl who's always talking about her beautiful island - heck, I even use Mauritius as the setting for a good many of my novels. Yes, I do wax lyrical about my motherland...but I haven't got my head up my you-know-what so I don't recognise when there's awful stuff going on to tarnish that good image my country upholds.

Case in point - Casela Nature and Leisure Park, touted as one of the must-see attractions on the island, both for locals and tourists. And, to me, an example of the worst kind of service and an utter lack of consideration and hospitality ever!

Quick recap - Casela has existed since way before my birth (my parents have pics of my brother with awful 70s hair taken there, so I know it exists since then), and it was primarily a bird park. Parakeets, other exotic birds - you could see them all on a trek that took you from the entrance to the exit. Along the way, you'd also see beautiful ponds with swans and other such birds, and yeah, there were tigers in a big cage somewhere along that line up.
Fast-forward to the 2000s, and the park has diversified into providing leisure and other such activities (check their site if you wanna know more...and glimpse their hefty rates, too, btw!). So, anywho, they've diversified, and I suppose that means they're making a ton of money.

Kids go on school's summer break between November and early January here, so of course, a stop during vacation trips is Casela. And lo and behold - they'd brought in giraffes and antelopes, among other animals, from Africa, and their quarantine time would be lifted in early December.
We'd been planning an outing there since November - checked the prices and all, and it appeared adults (locals) paid abour Rs225 for entrance and the priviledge to walk the grounds and the aviary, and kids under 12 paid $95, I think. If you wanted to, say, go on the safari, you'd pay an additional $135 each, for a safari that needed to be booked in advance because there was one at 9.30am, one at 11.30am, and one at 1.30pm.
Which all sounds fine.
Then I check the site yesterday morning, and the prices are now Rs350 per adult (locals) and Rs 175 for kids under 12 (Double both up for non-residents aka tourists). Why the sudden increase in the prices? Well, guess what - the safari is now included in the price, for everyone! Yay, right? There's a toboggan slide in there, too, for kids, as well as access to the petting farm. All fine and dandy, right?

So there we go yesterday afternoon. First thing that should've ticked us off - the parking! Overflowing, and there's no one to direct you anywhere. It's free for all and it looks like a bumper cars ground on there! Finally find a space, and walk up to the entrance.
Enter the sweltering hall where you buy your tickets. We were directed to the left booths, though the right also seemed to have booths and were empty, but hey, we're not gonna get picky, innit? So we wait in line.
Our turn at the booth. Last month, back in November when we'd been planning this trip, one of the local discount sites presented a coupon discount for Casela park - present the coupon (that you have to download and print, coz they wouldn't take mobile versions) and you earn 20% off an adult's fee. I printed 3 - hubby, me, and the teen. Kiddo is still under 12 so pays kids' rate. What's the harm, right? It's a legitimate coupon that the park itself offered on that site. (With the savings, we could get a full meal for all of us at McDonald's! Who wants to spit on such savings, eh?) We give the coupons, and heck, the guy there doesn't recognise them...and doesn't know what promo it's even for! They don't even have the promo listed, despite they themselves putting it up till Dec 31, 2014. We tell him to forget the coupons and make us pay full rate, but he says he can pass it onto another promo that has the same code to allow 20% discount.
And all this time, there seems to be no air-con in this dark, cavernous space, and we're feeling the ambient heat while he deliberates with his colleague and appears to get lost in his own booking system!

Finally get our tickets, and the guy tells us it's better for us to go do the safari first so we can then take in the rest of the park. He says a bus will take us on the safari.
Fine by us - we get in after scanning our tickets...and we're lost! My husband sees a sort of bus at the far left of the enormous hall, and we head there. Turns out it's for the mountain trip and not the safari, which is at the very opposite end. Directions, maps, guidelines, guides, anyone??? Trek there, and we're told the safari bus comes every 15 mins, and we're to wait for the next one.

The actual safari bus...that we didn't even see!
But the shuttle is pretty much the same size
 
25 mins later, we're still standing (yes, there's nowhere to sit! A German lady tourist had the brilliant idea of turning one of the big rocks in the driveway as a makeshift seat, and I don't blame her).
Bus finally comes - it seems to seat 50 people, 60 at best. No order or anyone to guide people on - a family of French tourists who come from Reunion Island jostle us to get on the bus first, despite us and the German family being the first 2 in line; they'd come way after us. Still, we do get seated, and the bus takes off. Yay, we're going on a safari, right? The guide's tiny voice gets lost under the rumble of the engine (no device, nothing, not even a megaphone, to make her voice carry through! Wonderful guide bus, innit?), and you're so being jostled along the pot-holed, muddy road that it's hard to make out what she says. Seems there are 2 stops on the way to the safari - you can stop and get down at the petting farm, and then at the Big Cats part of the park.

We stop at these places...and there's like hundreds of people waiting for the bus there. Didn't really figure out what was going on... I mean, a bus must be coming to pick them up, right? Maybe there was a lot of people as it was the weekend and the holidays. Some people get down at the big cats, and a few get on the bus...standing!
We get trundled along to the safari now. So far, so good; we're looking forward to it.

Safari Land (or whatever they call it! There's a tribal-type door with a rhino carved in there and we go through.) And then, the bus stops! Terminus - everyone has to get down now!

Wait a second! What about the safari?

Oh, it just turns out...that this bus just drops you where the safari is to take place. You have to walk about half a mile from this drop point to the spot where the actual safari bus will take you on the safari where you can see ostrichs and zebras in the 'wild'.
I ask the guide girl where we have to go...and she's like, 'Honey, there are indications over there,' and unspoken is like, don't make me waste my time when you can go look for the direction trees somewhere over there!
Hello missy, aren't you helpful!

Oh, and did I mention that, when we were getting down from the bus, a swarm of zombie-like people had crowded around the bus' entrance so they could get on the bus first before everyone else? Guess they'd been waiting ages, too, to even spot a bus!

So fine, we're gonna do the safari - we paid for it, right? If you go to the left, you can go see the giraffes (we'd also come to see them! I mean, how often do you see giraffes in Mauritius?) and to the right, a half-mile trek at least, you go to the safari pickup point.

We get there...and there must be 150 people waiting for the next bus!!! Hold on one second - how much more waiting will we have to do? Nobody even told us we had to swap buses and go here and go there and wait and fend for ourselves with no help or indication! This place gets trophy of the year for being the least helpful and intuitive ever!!!
How are we even sure we'll get a place on a bus? There's no control, no one to help, to direct the crowd, to even answer your questions! It's like you're dumped in there and go fend for yourself because this is really the wild, baby!
Ah, and I spot that Reunion-French family stalking in and going to the front of the line again...despite there being 100+ people who've been there for a while, waiting their turn, among them old people and families with little babies.
15 mins? No way is that safari bus coming down so soon, and do you hope to get a place in unless you're knocking everyone else in the chin with your elbows so you can get to the front of the line? No way, no! Be prepared, maybe, to spend the rest of your day waiting to even get one spot on that bus. If you're a family of, say, four, watch your chances dwindle down to a big fat Zero!

So we've come all the way...and we have no hope of doing the safari! Just in November, you paid extra and BOOKED your place on one of those buses! First come first served, because there were just 3 safaris in a day. But hey, the park is a commercial venture, right, so why not try to make more money by fleecing everyone and tempting them with the safari in the price...and then we have no way of giving any effing sort of service!

Can't find the actual pic, but this is what
the deck is supposed to be like.
Still not done with the woes, though. Remember - there are giraffes! Supposedly, an observation deck has been built and the giraffes are rambling about, and the most adventurous ones will even come check out the humans on the deck.
That's how it sounds...and the reality? Here it is - you get on the deck...and there's no sighting of a giraffe anywhere! You have to walk down another half mile (yes, lots of walking for nothing here! Even the scenery is shitty!) and there's a barrier; you stay behind that. Fine...and the giraffes are there...if you can even see them where they are closed off behind fencing...some 400-500 yards from where you are!!! Trust me - I've seen a giraffe better and with much more detail when I watched any Madagascar movie! This is supposed to be the giraffe viewing??? We paid for this???
And the antelopes! Didn't see any anywhere!!! Like they didn't exist at all!

Take another detour by the safari upload point (yes, if you're keeping count, we've walked 1 more mile to do this, to and fro)...and now, there are 200 people waiting for the same bus! O. M. G! Strike the safari out, right away! We'll never make it before the park closes (and before we've all lost what remains of our sanity! By this time, the boys are sulking and trudging their feet and the husband is cursing a blue streak! I'm praying he doesn't get a heart attack right there from all that anger!)

Okay, let's at least try to do something... How about we take the next bus - and we have to call it what is is - a damn shuttle bus and not an effing safari bus!!! - and stop by the Big Cats' section as this will close at 4pm and it's about 3pm now?
So we take the next shuttle that comes in to dump its unsuspecting people in (heard a lot of Mauritians and even tourists asking, 'wait, wasn't this supposed to be the safari bus'? So it wasn't just us, thank God!) No, wait - we take the second shuttle coz the Reunion-French people have elbowed their way in first again! And since there were people already waiting beforehand, we waited out turn.

Dropping down at the Big Cats' section. Swarm of people waiting for the shuttle, again...and another half-mile trek to get to the animals. Actually able to see the animals here - the cubs playing with the guards, the lions prancing around (and the two male lions getting frisky together...Cripes! Gay lions? Uhm, what is this place?) The cheetahs can be seen from the observation deck - we do get to see a cheetah like live, less than a yard from us! Hallelujah!
And what about the tigers? I remember my first trip to Casela some 25 years ago, when you saw the tigers in their cage and you got like 3-4 yards from them. Yesterday? The tiger was waaaaay off there in the distance - 500 yards, easily. It's only when it roared that we figured out there was a tiger, and we managed to spot it because we were up on the observation deck.

Back to the shuttle point...and a wait of 30+mins to get a bus that had space for a few people. How the hell can you have a trek route with stops for people...and no bloody shuttle/bus to pick up the people? And there's no place to sit, at least, no anywhere close to where the shuttle stops. If you want to sit, then waive away the fact that you'll ever need to get onto a shuttle to get back to the entrance or wherever else! Remember, there are old people, children, and families with babies all along here!

You might ask - why didn't you walk? Fine...1 mile between each stops, on dirt roads rendered into veritable mud pits thanks to the recent rains, and set in so much bush-type foliage that you run the risk of being run down by a shuttle bus coming round the bend? No - you are TOTALLY at the shuttle's mercy!

Miracle of all miracles, we do get a shuttle that has space for 4 people, and we go back to the entrance. By this time, we've been so jostled (okay, fine - it's dirt roads and in a bus that seems to have no shock absorbers!) and so disappointed and annoyed and peeved and at the end of our patience's tether that the only thing we want is to leave this place, once and for all.

Looking for the exit? You won't find it...because it is located at the other end of the cluttery gift shop! We had to have a very nice Chinese young lady working as a guide there to point it out to us.

On the way out, on the bus back, waiting for the shuttles - all we heard was people grumbling about the shitty service, total lack of informations/directions, and the atrocious wait times and no organization whatsoever in that park! Yes, we didn't get the hefty packages that take us on quads and segways, etc - these might be tip-top perfect experiences because you are shelling out a looooot of money to do these, but the regular stuff for the regular people? Forget it!

Want the perfect way to bring up your blood pressure, suffer from dehydration in the sweltering heat (everything is obviously way over-priced at the 'only' shops on the park), pay money to go see exotic animals and then see next to nothing, spend your whole day waiting for your turn (when there aren't unscrupulous people elbowing their way in - and trust me, we'll never be rid of those!!!) in a setup that boasts a total lack of organization and which seems to just be rapid at work only when they have to cash in your entrance fee payment? Then head to Casela Nature World!

Rant over - but please, take all this into consideration if you're ever going there! Don't say I didn't warn you!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Color of Love Blog Hop: Why I spice up my worlds with colour

Hello beautiful people

It's that time of the year again; the second annual Color Of Love Blog Hop. Why do we authors write about colour and culture? Why do readers dig this so much?

I can tell you about why I use colour to spice up my works. For, you see, when I started writing a decade ago, there was one little piece of advice that was taken as gospel at the time: write what you know.

As my bio already states, I grew up on a fence - one side had the modern world where everyone was equals, and the other had the maelstrom of the Indian and Muslim cultures of my ancestors who left India in the late 1800s to come settle on this small island I call home, Mauritius.
So I knew all about being a modern girl brought up amongst the confines of tradition and social mores, with cultural expectations piled up on me, all while I tried to break free to be 'like everybody else'.

So I started writing about what I knew; this reality I was privy to, but that girls of Indian origin the world over would totally 'get' because they faced the same barrage of old, nagging aunties trying to marry them off the minute they turned eighteen; or that you have to produce a baby, preferably male, within the first year of your marriage or otherwise be spoken about in hushed whispers as probably being barren. There's the race to be 'the fairest of them all', because fair skin is so prized among us girls with brown skin - one of the first things any mama looking for a bride for her son does is to ask the family and acquaintances to look for a girl with fair skin.

This is my world, and yes, it does sound like it holds every cliche of Indian culture in there (we don't break into song like in Bollywood movies, though). However, it is my reality, and the one I wanted to share with the rest of the world. Girls of the Indian diaspora like me find themselves in my tales, and people from other races and cultures get a window into the world I grew up in.

Mind, I also dispel some of the myths - for example, never mind that the mama is looking for a fair-skinned bride; the suitable boy in question might be looking for dusky skin as that's his 'type'. And all of us Indian girls are not pliable, self-servient, & dutiful daughters who just bow to all the conventions laid down on us...nor are we all utter rebels who brandish the banner of anarchy and tear ourselves from our roots!

Culture represents our roots...but it is up to us to spread our branches and reach for the sky, without losing sight of where we come from. My heroines reflect this stand - my stand - and their journeys to find love depict this quest to find their place in the sunlight, all without losing their roots.

You can find more about my stories here, and then there's one of my books in the giveaways, The Other Side, my very first book and cultural dramatic comedy. And you can win another of my multicultural titles here itself! Scroll down for this opp!

Don't forget there are tons of prizes to be won in this hop! Here's a glimpse!

Grand prizes:
1st prize $50 Amazon GC + 7 ebooks
2nd prize $25 Amazon GC + 7 ebooks
3rd prize $15 Amazon GC + 7 ebooks
4th prize $10 Amazon GC + 6 ebooks
5th prize $5 Amazon GC + 6 ebooks

The first box
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

The second box
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list


Enter the giveaway for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Catch all the other participants in this hop!




And comment on this post to win a copy of 1 of my 2 1NightStand multicultural romances (winner's choice)! Answer this question in the comments to enter my draw. I'm eager to read your answers!

What is it about colour and culture that draws you in?


From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

MAKING SCANDAL by Kiru Taye: Top Ten Facts About The Essien Trilogy


Making Scandal by +Kiru Taye, Author 
The Essien Trilogy, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural

BLURB
Sassy, successful Faith Brown has earned her place in the boardroom through hard work and sheer ambition. Making family is not on her agenda when there are businesses to develop and competitors to outdo. So when a casual affair with smooth and irresistible tycoon Mark Essien leads to an unplanned pregnancy, she’s determined not to make the mistakes her mother made by living with a man just for the sake of her child.

For Mark, personal matters have no place in the boardroom. Spotting the perfect opportunity, he ruthlessly launches a takeover bid for Faith’s Investment Brokerage firm. Finding out he’ll soon be a father, he knows he can’t let the indomitable and sexy Faith go through with her plans of single parenthood. All gloves are off. He’ll seduce her by any tactic necessary if it means his child doesn’t suffer the same stigma he did as a child.

With the media dogging their affairs in the boardroom and the bedroom, they find that making family is harder than making scandal.

BUY LINKS


DREAMCAST


 
 
EXCERPT
Faith's cheeks heated and she half-laughed, half-coughed in a self-conscious manner. Her body still tingled as if it finally woke up from a long sleep. A really long sleep.
"Of course, I wasn’t expecting that finally getting you to loosen up will get me so out of control I was going to explode within seconds like a teenager."
How could he say that or even expect her to believe it? In the past year, he hadn’t exactly been lonely. Unlike her. He shouldn’t pretend this was more than it was. Sex. Lust. That’s all they had.
She rolled over, trying to cover herself up in a semblance of decency. The thought of him with other women had her heart clenching tightly.
"If I believe that, I’ll believe anything." She pulled herself up and away from him. "You forget that your pictures have been splashed over the papers with different women hanging on your arms this past year."
The mattress depressed as he sat on the edge. Tendrils of his heat curled around her. Breathing saturated her lungs with his spice. Need bubbled in her veins. She closed her eyes, hating the tightness in her chest.
Remember, this is just sex. It doesn’t matter how many women he’s been with this past year.
Bullshit. Her hands clenched into fists, tightening on the seams of her clothes.
"Yes, I’ve attended events with women all because you refuse to be seen publicly with me. I would rather have had you as my escort on those occasions."
Fingers, steel bands, wrapped around her ankles and tugged. Eyes flying open, she gulped in air and slid down the bed on her back until her legs straddled his hips. One by one, he removed her shoes and massaged her bare feet. His fingers worked blissful magic. She purred, to her dismay.
"But I haven’t had sex with another woman since I met you at that conference in Jo’burg."


CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
You reach Kiru via her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest
Follow her blog for latest news and giveaways: http://kirutayewrites.blogspot.com
Read book excerpts and free short stories on her website: http://www.kirutaye.com
Link to her Amazon author page

GIVEAWAY
Kiru is running a contest during the book tour. She is giving away a $20 Gift card, one Making Scandal T-Shirt, one Essien Trilogy cap and a signed copy of A Valentine Challenge. For your chance to win, complete the rafflecopter entries. This contest is open internationally to eligible entrants over 18 years or as applicable in their country of residence.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

CATCH UP ON THE OTHER ESSIEN TRILOGY BOOK
Keeping Secrets is 99cents /77pence for a limited time only


Have you ever loved someone and didn’t even know it?
That’s the dilemma facing Felix Essien when he wakes from a coma to find he is married to the most beautiful and sensual woman he’s ever known. He cannot remember her or their wedding. He who had sworn never to get married or to give his heart to another. Yet he feels an intense bond with her that he intends to explore fully.

Ebony can’t believe her good fortune when her paper husband wakes not remembering the temporary marriage arrangement with no intimacies he’d proposed but is now the adoring husband she’s always dreamt of. She plans to make the most of the passion blossoming between them. However would he still feel that way when he regains his memory and realises she’s been keeping secrets and their marriage is not what he thinks it is.

BUY LINKS



~~~~~

From Mauritius with love, Zee

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Elizabeth Morgan's BLOOD SERIES - Spotlight + Guest Blog: What is Cranberry Blood?

Hey beautiful people!

I have the utmost pleasure today of welcoming a dear friend of mine on the blog! Elizabeth Morgan is a young gal from England whom I met over crit loops and author networks a while back, and friendship blossomed between us, and I like to think trust, as well, because when it was time for her to dust off her series and self-pub them, she asked me to edit for her...and I thus had the honour of working on her books.

What can I say about the Blood Series? Let me sum it as this - it's like no other vampire and werewolf book you've read out there. I am not a fan of weres - they never click with me...but Elizabeth managed that feat because she made me care for her wolves, for the pack (and yes, for those hunky, gorgeous, drool-liscious men that turn into weres, starting with Owen then with Brendan. They might look like Ken dolls, but they're much, much more!)

Anywho, here's a bit more about the series and its books. Elizabeth also penned a guest post where she explains what a critical aspect in her mythology is all about.

~~~~~

Scottish Werewolves: freaky Vampires and a Slayer with a bad addiction and an insane legacy. Add a big dose of sarcasm, sizzling chemistry; a lot of silver and a ton of blood and . . . Welcome to the Blood Series.
 
They're back! The Blood Series has been revamped and repackaged and is available to buy now!
Note: She-Wolf and Cranberry Blood are both previously published titles, but have been polished, improved, and have even had scenes added for their re-release. Both books as well as all that will follow will be self-published.



She-Wolf
Blood Series Prequel

Blurb:

Dealing with the Rogue Werewolves terrorizing his Pack? Simple.
Trying to convince his mate he does want to be with her? Bloody impossible.

Owen MacLaren is the Alpha's son and the Pack's second, and he has never been one to let anything get to him. So when a bunch of Rogues begin purposely dumping mutilated bodies around the Pack Keep, he is more than ready to deal with the Werewolves responsible.
But one night off and a trip to a local strip joint for a colleague's stag night changes things, and Owen soon discovers he isn't immune to everything . . . .

Being an independent Loup and travelling the world? Easy.
Having to come home and face the Werewolf who broke her young heart? Challenging.

After five years away, Clare Walker finds herself back home in Scotland, working in a strip club. The tips are decent, and she gets to dance, but it isn't a place she thought she would ever be, let alone Owen, her Pack second and the mate she has always desired.

Although Owen is determined to prove he wants to be with Clare, things can't go smoothly between them, not when they have past issues to sort out and a bunch of unusual 'Rogues' to deal with.

This title contains explicit language, violence, and graphic sex.

Buy Links:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/463701
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/she-wolf-elizabeth-morgan/1120057363?ean=2940046079852
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/She-Wolf-Prequel-Blood-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00MT091TK/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408735068&sr=1-4&keywords=Elizabeth+Morgan
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/She-Wolf-Prequel-Blood-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00MT091TK/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408734869&sr=1-2&keywords=Elizabeth+Morgan

And will soon be available in print!


Excerpt:

“That’s what I’m fucking talking about.” Karl leaned forward and banged his fists on the table. He threw back his head and howled. Any other moment, I would have found such a reaction hilarious, but I couldn’t pull my focus from the woman on the stage; couldn’t move due to the heavy beat of my heart banging against my ribcage. I knew that scent, would know it anywhere.
She made a slow turn as she loosened her ponytail and shook her head. Her hair streamed down her back like a glossy black waterfall. She finished her spin, then her focus landed on me, and the air caught in my throat.
Clare.
Her body went rigid. Her sultry gaze hardened as she stared at me.
Clare Walker. I’d know those moonlit eyes anywhere.
What in God’s name is she doing working in a fucking strip club?
Straightening, I tensed as my wolf skimmed the surface. My energy pulsed as his focus zoned in on her. A moment was all it took. My Wolf settled. Satisfaction hummed through me. Acceptance.
What the fuck?
Her jaw tensed, chin tilted up as she stared us both down for a single moment, before she ran and grabbed hold of the stage pole on the right. Her feet left the floor as she wrapped her legs around the brass and spun.
I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding, but the tension didn’t drain from my body.
Her feet hit the floor, the pole between her perfect thighs. She pulled herself upwards, rubbing herself against the warm metal.
Every drop of blood in my body headed south.
She swung round and pressed her back against the pole. Her hands traveled down her breasts, then her stomach, to stop at the waist of her hot pants.
My jeans suddenly felt too tight, and the sound of my heartbeat drowned out the loud music.
She slid her hot pants down her thighs and....
The neck of the beer bottle broke in my hands.
“You okay?” Robert looked at the bottle.
I let my gaze slip down to the broken glass and grunted. “Oops.”
Throwing the shards on the table, my attention turned back to Clare. She crouched before a group of men pushed up against the stage. Fire licked through me at the sight of them slipping notes into her cleavage and the band of her knickers, their fingers skimming her milky flesh. The sight caused a strangled snarl to break from my throat.
Easy boy, this is Clare. It’s just Clare.
My Wolf began to pace, hackles rising, the urge to beat the shit out of them and protect her overwhelming me. No man had any right to touch her. I didn’t want any other man to touch her, let alone look at her, and the sudden realization scared the hell out of me.
She stood and danced away from them. Every move she made was graceful; each step seemed to have a meaning. Touched by the fake moonlight, her body shimmered with sweat and sparkling body dust. She looked exotic, feral. She was Loup-garou. She was mine.
No. Not mine. She’s not mine. It’s fucking Clare, for Christ’s sake!
That simple fact didn’t stop the images filling my mind—images of her writhing across the damp earth of the forest floor, the light of the moon bathing her pale flesh. I’d explore every curve and crevice with my fingers and tongue until she begged me to mark her. Claim her.
Those wants alone had me hard as a rock, and on the border of having a panic attack.
Fuck, this is bad. Margaret Thatcher dancing naked in the rain. Margaret Thatcher dancing naked in the rain . . . .


Cranberry Blood
Blood Series: Book One


Blurb:

Killing Vampires? Easy.
Tracking someone? Simple.
Helping, and protecting a Vampire slayer . . . . Bloody hard work!


Thirteen years ago, Brendan Daniels made a deal with a psychic. In exchange for information on the whereabouts of a Rogue Werewolf, he promised to help and protect Sofia's granddaughter.
Unfortunately, he had no idea what he was letting himself, or his Pack, in for.

Nothing about Heather is simple, from her weird dietary needs to her life’s mission. The girl can handle herself, but the promise to protect her soon becomes a need, and one he can't fully understand.

Vampire Slayer.
Born Infected.
Addicted to blood . . . but not by choice.


Heather Ryan is the current Slayer in a long family line. Like all before her, she has spent her life searching for her ancestor, Marko Pavel, the Vampire her family has sworn to kill. If that isn't complicated enough, she is also a born "Infected", and to keep her from becoming insane or giving in to her darker side, she is on a very strict diet.

Now that her Grandmother Sofia has passed, it is up to Heather to take the family legacy into her own hands. Or at least, it would have been...if her Grandmother hadn't sent a Werewolf to help her.

What is the irritating Brendan supposed to help her with? Sofia never told either of them. Luckily, it doesn't take long for Heather and Brendan to find out that the Vampires have big plans, and that the Leeches have waited a long time for them both.

This title contains explicit language, violence, and some scenes of a sexual nature.
 
Buy Links:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/463706
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cranberry-blood-elizabeth-morgan/1112119033?ean=2940046079869

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Cranberry-Blood-Book-Elizabeth-Morgan-ebook/dp/B00MXDVWDQ/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408735068&sr=1-5&keywords=Elizabeth+Morgan
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cranberry-Blood-Book-Elizabeth-Morgan-ebook/dp/B00MXDVWDQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408734869&sr=1-1&keywords=Elizabeth+Morgan

And will soon be available in print!

Excerpt:

I’m finally going crazy. Somehow, I got myself home; it doesn’t really matter how. Maybe I came in, sorted myself out, and then passed out in bed? I must have. What other explanation could there be?
With a sigh, I walked across the landing to the bathroom door. The throb in my temples increased. My muscles felt tighter than a bowstring. A shower and something to eat and drink; these should do the trick. Then maybe my brain would decide to start working, and I could fill in the blanks.
The scent of wet dog flew into my face once across the bathroom threshold. My clothes from last night sat in a shredded pile on the black marble floor, along with my set of daggers. The first aid kit lay open in the sink.
A deep inhale revealed more; combined with the smell of dog, the bathroom held traces of blood. My blood.
I stepped into the room and peered into the waste-bin to see a large amount of dried, red cotton wool.
“I don’t remember doing this.” My eyes bugged at the mess.
Surely, I would remember doing this? Why the hell do I smell dog? Another inhale. And pine?
Something really didn’t feel right. I had never been so bad that I couldn’t remember what had happened on a hunt, and by the looks of things, I’d been in real bad shape.
Back into the hall and to creep quietly down the stairs. The odour of dog grew with each step, the smell of coffee and bacon gradually joining in. My stomach clenched at the familiarity of walking down these stairs every morning to find my grandmother happily cooking breakfast in our kitchen. Minus the smell of animal, though.
I couldn’t believe she’d died almost six weeks ago. God, I miss her.
As I stepped into the lower hall, a glance out of the side window showed my black Range Rover sitting in front of the house, between the front door/porch and the closed, wrought iron security gate. A long, silver scratch marred the paintwork on the bonnet. Antonio’s face flashed through my mind.
I remembered stumbling back to the car to find him there, waiting for me. The bastard had dragged his filthy claw along my Rover. That son-of-a-bitch!
I killed him, though. I think. He lunged and . . . . I looked down at my left arm. Two pale lines slashed across my skin. He’d stumbled and caught me on the arm, but I got him in the neck . . . .
The sudden sound of rustling paper snapped me from my thoughts. Tension grabbed me, the awareness crackling beneath the surface of my skin.
Someone is in my house.
Stepping through the open living room door, a new scent invaded my nostrils. Tangy, manufactured, like expensive cologne. An unfamiliar, black travel bag sat tucked away between the red leather sofa and the TV stand. The papers rustled again. I moved lightly toward the archway that lead into the dining room, my sword still gripped comfortably in my right hand.
“Your breakfast is getting cold, Heather. I suggest you stop trying to sneak in here and just come in so that we can get this over and done with,” said the deep male voice of whoever was in my kitchen.
What the hell is going on? Who is he? Why is he in my house? How does he know my name? And why the hell has he cooked me breakfast?
I took a deep breath, and then exhaled before slowly walking through the archway into the empty dining room. When I turned my head to the left, I saw a strange man seated at my kitchen breakfast bar. He sat casually, in jeans and a forest green T-shirt that clung to his broad, sculpted back and defined biceps. The sun flooded into the kitchen through the side window and glinted off his copper-blond hair, which brushed his shoulders.
“Are you going to come into the room or stand there drooling all day?” He turned a page of his newspaper. I couldn't place his accent, nor the sleepy twang that couldn't quite form at the edge of his words.
I inhaled again; nothing new amongst the scent of dog, pine, bacon, and coffee, which meant he wasn’t a Vampire. Leeches smelled like mouldy, wet earth; not an overpowering smell, but hidden underneath the products they wore. Not that a Vampire could get in here, anyway. They could only come in with a personal invite, and since they all wanted me dead . . . . No matter what state I’d been in last night, I wouldn’t have invited one in. So, who the hell is this guy?


Guest Post:


 
What is Cranberry Blood?
By Elizabeth Morgan

Like the title says, “What is Cranberry Blood?”

Apart from the title of the book it is a disgusting mixture of cranberry juice and blood. I know, very gross, and not something I would personally choose on a night out, but what exactly is the point of this concoction? Why cranberries? Does it play a part in the story?

When I was piecing together the events of Cranberry Blood (Blood Series: Book One) I wanted very much to give my heroine – Heather – a problem; an odd sort of problem that was very inappropriate for her line of work. I wanted a problem that would make her insane life even more complicated and crazy than it already was. I wanted her to be a part of what she had to fight.
I wanted her to be a vampire slayer who was half way to being a vampire herself, and therefore she craves blood.

It’s been done?  Perhaps. As much as I love the paranormal genre, and I do have quite a few series on my shelf, I haven’t read every vampire/slayer book that has been written. In fact, none of the books I have read so far have been based around a slayer fighting just vampires.

My aim for this book – and the series – has and continues to be to write an adventure that I would love to read; one that would drive me crazy, keep me intrigued, get me hot under the collar, and make me laugh. I wanted a dark serious comedy of sorts with lots of tension, sarcasm, and scary vampires and werewolves – oh yes, there be a whole lot of werewolves in this series as well. I basically wanted to create a series from my own warped little imagination, which I have done, and I hope, successfully.

So, I wanted to basically give my heroine a hard time and see how she dealt with it, which I quickly found was indeed with sarcasm, humour, and a sword. But despite her thick skin and fighting skills, she needs to drink blood to keep going, if she doesn’t she will go insane; literally. She will fall into bloodlust and just drain everyone who crosses her path.

What exactly is the point of this concoction?

Thankfully Heather had a smart grandmother who figures that if she waters the animal blood down in a way that dulls the taste, she can still keep her granddaughter strong, healthy, and sane. Yup, you guessed right, Cranberry juice was what Granny dearest used to water down blood for her granddaughter.

Cranberry Blood is the fix to Heather’s unwanted cravings. It is a way for her to sustain herself without needing to drink pureblood and over pollute her system.

Why cranberries?

Honestly, because they are bitter, overpowering, and they leave a sharp after taste in your mouth – or at least, I feel they do. All in all, a good form of fruit juice to water down blood. No, I haven’t tested that theory. It would be totally gross. Also, I kinda hate cranberry juice. :-P

Does it play a part in the story?

As you can imagine from reading the above, it does indeed play a big part in the story. This is the way Heather has coped all her life. It keeps her going. It keeps her from giving in to the part of herself she hates.

So, what is Cranberry Blood? Honestly, it’s Heather’s medicine and her life line to humanity.


About the Author:

Elizabeth Morgan is a multi-published author of urban fantasy, paranormal, erotic horror, f/f, and contemporary; all with a degree of romance, a dose of action and a hit of sarcasm, sizzle or blood, but you can be sure that no matter what the genre, Elizabeth always manages to give a unique and often humorous spin to her stories.
Like her tagline says; A pick ‘n’ mix genre author. “I’m not greedy. I just like variety.”
And that she does, author of erotic ménage horror, Creak, paranormal erotic horror and UK, US & Australian Amazon best seller (Gay/Lesbian, Fiction, Lesbian), On the Rocks, erotic romance, US, UK & Spanish Amazon bestseller (Erotica Short Story) Truth or Dare? And sweet contemporary romance, UK & US Amazon bestseller (British/Drama & Plays) Stepping Stones.
She also has her hand in self-publishing. Look out for more information on her upcoming releases at her website: www.e-morgan.com
Away from the computer, Elizabeth can be found in the garden trying hard not to kill her plants, dancing around her little cottage with the radio on while she cleans, watching movies or good television programmes – Dr Who? Atlantis? The Musketeers? Heck, yes! – Or curled up with her two cats reading a book.
For more information on Elizabeth's work, published and upcoming, head on over to her site:
Website: www.e-morgan.com
Blog:
www.xxxxmyworldxxxx.blogspot.com
Twitter: @
EMorgan2010
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/ElizabethMorgan
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.morgan.944
Pinterest:
http://www.pinterest.com/elizabethm2012/boards/
Blog: (Shared with Dianna Hardy):
http://notjustastiffupperlip.blogspot.co.uk/


Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~~~

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Sneak Preview Pages 36-38: WINDS OF CHANGE (Island Girls #3) releasing June 6, 2014

Hey peeps!

We're reaching the conclusion of Chapter 2 here - will there be a game changer thrown into the plot, especially to make Logan civil with Neha again? Read on to find out!

And yay - this book comes out officially tomorrow!!!

Catch up with all the excerpts I posted this past week-and-a-half, right from Page 1!
pages 1-5 here;
pages 6-8 here;
pages 9-11 here;
pages 12-14 here;
pages 15-17 here;
pages 18-20 here;
pages 21-23 here;
pages 24-26 here;
pages 27-29 here;
pages 30-32 here;
pages 33-35 here.

And the full book is out! Get it from Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Decadent Publishing ~ Barnes & Noble (Nook) ~ AllRomance Ebooks ~ Smashwords
~~~~~

The walls of the house closed on him, making him suffocate with the need to be out and about. Bloody hell. Why did he have to think of the past? He banged his fist into a wall and didn’t wince when another knuckle tore open. Some would think boxers had strong hands, but they’d be surprised how a little insignificant action could injure hands rendered fragile by too many punches.

Not bothering with the blood seeping down his finger and drying into an ugly scab, he stormed out of the villa and headed for his car. After sliding behind the wheel, he started the engine and set out on the road toward the cyber village of Ebène and the cybertower housing the station.

He’d planned to work from home today, but the prospect had turned to custard. Being in the station’s setting would ease his mind, and hopefully, make him forget New Zealand.

The memories refused to clear from his mind, and he gave in to their tug with reluctance.

Privilege. He chuckled with bitterness. Privilege had lured his mother and saddled her with two sons, before dumping her back unmarried and on her own in a shack in Newtown, the poorest working-class suburb of Wellington back in the days when he’d been young.

Anne Warrington carried to her grave the name of the man who had fathered her children. Logan had never been able to extract anything about him out of her.

The only time she spoke about him happened when Logan came home flanked by two police officers, at fourteen, after having been involved in a fight in the rowdiest pub in the area.

After one glance at his bloodied fists and bruised face, she'd asked him if he preferred to be feared or respected. Fear proved easy to stir, but respect wasn’t easy to earn. Privilege won’t earn you respect, she’d added. A wistful sadness had tinged her words, and he’d known she thought back to her own life. Seeing an opening, he’d prompted if his father came from that world, getting an affirmative reply.

To this day, Logan still carried those words in his mind. They’d been the ones to forge his character, made him strive for more when he could have settled into one of the racist, bullying gangs in the neighbourhood.

The sight of a bright yellow car on the side of the road caught this attention. The driver seemed to be replacing a flat tyre at the back, sunlight reflecting off shiny black hair.

A woman? Should he go help? She appeared alone, pulling the heavy spare out of the boot herself.

As he parked a few feet behind the Citroën, his stomach lurched when he glimpsed the driver from up close. Neha Hemant. Bugger. Why her? He wouldn’t take the easy way out, however. She could probably use a hand. He stepped out of the SUV and walked toward her. She glanced up and brushed the hair from her face, to leave a small trace of dark grease on her flawless cheek. Her eyes widened when they locked on him, and she muttered something he couldn’t quite hear.

His gut told him she’d sworn.

“Need a hand?” he asked.

She fixed him with a dark, even glare and went about her task of dragging the spare next to the punctured one. “No. Thanks. I can manage.”

She carried on with changing the flat, and her lack of further conversation or glance in his direction made him think she ignored him completely. However, when the time came to pull the tyre from the chassis, she visibly struggled.

He knelt by her side and settled his hands on the black Michelin rubber surface to tug it out for her.

Logan received the surprise of his life when she slapped his hand away.

“Don’t you dare,” she said in a low growl.

Too stunned to react, for even his temper had been dumbstruck, he sat there in a squat as she huffed and wrestled with the tyre, finally wrenching it free.

The weight and the sudden give knocked her off balance, and she fell back. He shot an arm out to catch her before she hit the hard asphalt.

She shrugged away from his touch and continued with her task.

“Let me help,” he again said.

She bowed her head, and her hair fanned about like a curtain at the sides of her face to block the sight of her features. After a few seconds, her body started shaking.

Bugger, no. She was crying?

At a loss, Logan reasoned he could at least finish the task for her, since she sat in no fit state to continue. She’d probably inflict some injury upon herself.

He put the spare tyre in place and had started to screw it back in, when she snatched the spanner from his hand and proceeded to secure the bolts.

“I said I could do it. I don’t like accepting favours.” She turned to face him, her huge eyes glistening with tears, yet her voice had an incredible hardness when she calmly said, “It’s a question of principle.”

Touché. He didn’t know what to say, his wit having deserted him.

“What is it with everyone?” She rambled without looking at him. “Why do you all think I’m not up to par to achieve anything on my own? Why take me out of the comfy little cotton box, right?” She snorted. “Does your mother drive you insane, Logan?”

She continued before he could answer.

“No, I bet not. She wouldn’t dare, would she? Mine would drive anyone over the edge. Because I’m looking for a job, she’s got it in her head I’m out looking for a man to warm my bed.” She snorted. “Everyone’s conspiring to drive me crazy. Why can’t anyone accept how some people have more dignity than to accept favours? All I’m doing is trying to look after my kids in an honest way. How will I have respect for myself if all I do is give in to favours?”

She stopped and stared straight at him.

“Why am I telling you all this? You’ve already put me in a box and labelled it as ‘cheap and worthless’, innit?”

Logan’s skin crawled with shame. Heat burnt his dignity. Did he do that? Bloody hell, where would his respect for himself go if such was the case?

Processing all this in his mind, he startled when Neha got up and pulled all the tools around them in her hands. She stepped up and around to the boot of her car, placing the metal objects in a corner at the back.

He heaved the flat tyre and dropped it in the stow, under her angry glare.

“I said I can—”

“I know. You can do it. I wanted to help, that’s all.”

 “Thanks.” She muttered the word while closing the hatchback door. She rushed to the front without another glance, for all intents dismissing him as if he were nothing more than a speck of dust in the air around her.

Why didn’t such a callous treatment make him fly into a temper?

Her previous words rang in his head.

What sort of woman did it take to attempt a tyre switch when she could simply call for help or hail someone to do it for her?

A woman who doesn’t ask for favours.

He’d been an arse.

He strolled over to the driver’s window and bent forward until his face drew level with hers.

“Two weeks’ trial. You start Monday.”

Once back at his car, he stopped by the door. Closing his eyes, he prayed he’d taken the right decision.

Something told him he had. The same something that made him realize Neha had remarkable similarities with a woman he respected more than anything.

His mother.


Continue reading...by getting the full book from the following outlets! Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Decadent Publishing ~ Barnes & Noble (Nook) ~ AllRomance Ebooks ~ Smashwords

~~~~~

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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