Chili, autumn, rain, a good book and a giveaway (not necessarily in that order)
by Erin Quinn
I moved around a lot when I was a kid—Maryland, Illinois, Kansas City and then Denver. No matter where I lived though, the smell of autumn made me feel at home. I’m in Arizona now, and when I think of all the things I miss about the other places I’ve lived, that wonderful chilled smell is the one I miss the most. In Arizona we don’t really have seasons—not like the rest of the country. That is to say, we don’t have four seasons. We have two and half. Summer, spring, a very brief winter and then spring again. That’s right, two springs. One in—well—spring and the other during those months that should be fall. (You can’t make this stuff up, folks.) Spring, twice a year, complete with allergies.
Still, we try to pretend it’s really fall, despite the fact that the flowers start to bloom again (in the summer, they submit to the unrelenting heat and simply die) and it’s 90 degrees. We hang out our pumpkin banners and fill our houses with potpourri or candles called “Fall Leaves” or “Autumn Breezes.” But doesn’t replace the brisk smell of the changing season and this time of year I often find myself filled with nostalgia, wishing the leaves would turn colors, hoping for that cold drizzle that is perfect for baking cookies and reading a good book (while the little darlings are off at school of course).
Speaking of books, I’m supposed to be talking about mine. My latest is called HAUNTING EMBRACE and it’ the fourth and final book in my Mists of Ireland series. And yes, it takes place in fall, on the tiny Irish island of Ballyfionúir, a place as mystical as the people who live there. I fell in love with those people when I started the series and I’ve loved them ever since. Meaghan Ballagh is the half sister to Danni and Rory who readers met in previous stories. Finding the perfect man for Meaghan was no easy feat, because, of course, Meaghan isn’t just anyone. She’s a gifted empath who has traveled through time to the era of her grandparents. Now she’s embroiled in their lives and all the drama that has plagued the MacGrath and Ballagh families over the centuries. Meaghan’s hero is someone who’s played the villain from the start of the series. Dark, complex and utterly fascinating, Áedán walks a fine line between this world and the world of the Book of Fennore, where he’s been trapped for millennia. A part of him is set on vengeance, but Meaghan touches his heart and steers him to a new path.
Here’s a small excerpt to give you a taste of the Mists of Ireland:
“More than chance brought you. I see what’s in your eyes.” Áedán’s voice dropped an octave until it became something Meaghan felt rather than heard. He lifted a hand to her throat, let his fingers curl over the sensitive skin. He didn’t squeeze; he didn’t hurt her. In fact, the emotions pouring off him now were much sweeter than rage. They spilled like hot, spiced rum over her, coating her. Turning her into something perilously flammable.
“It was much more than chance,” he breathed against her cheek. His tone was like the caress of his hands on her skin. Like the brush of his lips against her temple.
Meaghan’s legs turned to rubber. She leaned against the stone to catch her balance, trying to calm the mated frenzy of fear and long¬ing that he’d managed to set loose inside her. Her feelings knotted in a melee as confusing as this man.
“Let me go,” she said.
He moved closer, his body heavy and hard, so hot that it melted her to the bone. He smelled of the woods, of fresh, salted air and deep shadows peppered with secret hollows and ancient mysteries. Elusive and seductive, his scent made something coil tight and low within her. Made her want to arch against him despite the fear and the certainty that this man would be her doom.
“You want the key to make you powerful again, don’t you?” she forced herself to ask.
“Yes, I do. That is exactly what I want.” He said it with a harsh bite in his tone, a gnashing of syllables and tearing of vowels.
“Why? All that power didn’t do you much good before.”
“I will not return to my prison. I will not be at your mercy ever again.”
“I never asked you to be at my mercy, Áedán,” she whispered. “That’s not what I want either.”
He stilled, his body hot against hers, her curves molding to the hard, muscled angles of his. “Then what do you want, beauty?” he asked, his lips brushing her temple again, his breath stirring the fine strands of hair there.
Mouth dry, she fought the urge to look into his eyes.
Stunned, hurt, needing more than anything for the crazy tilting of her world to be righted, she gazed into those eyes of green, found herself surrounded and overwhelmed by what she saw. His big hands cupped her face. The white bandage still around his stitches was softer than his roughened palms. His thumbs brushed her jaw as his fingers curled around her neck to the vulnerable skin at her nape. Each touch, each sensation sparked along her nerve endings and made her feel like she’d been plugged into the sun and now it melted her down, restructuring her foundation, reshaping her into a new mold.
The shock of his lips on hers shuddered into her soul. He pressed her back, against the solid wall of stone behind her, using his body like a tool to cleave her to him. Her traitorous hands moved to his ribs, sliding over rippled layers of muscle, around to the hard slope of spine, up to the ridge of shoulders. She’d meant to push him away, but something deeper drove her now.
If you’re interested in learning more about Meaghan and Áedán or the Mists of Ireland series, visit my website at www.erinquinnbooks.com where you can watch trailers, read excerpts and enter contests.
I hope on the next rainy that comes your way, you’ll take a deep breath of that autumn air, curl up with a good book (hopefully mine *grin*) and enjoy the seasons.
Haunting Embrace, Book 4 in the Mists of Ireland series—On sale October 4!
Watch the Haunting Embrace trailer: http://youtu.be/P0SilhfbJmk
Before I leave you, I want to share a quickie recipe for a chili dip that teenagers LOVE (seriously, my oldest is off at college and they all beg her to make it—this from a kid who can barely boil water. She’s quite famous now, ha ha). It’s perfect for Halloween because it turns orange thanks to the chili. It takes two ingredients, a bag of chips and a microwave. Ready?
Quick and Easy Chili Dip
1 can Hormel Hot Chili—no beans
1 pack/stick of cream cheese, cut into pieces
Place cream cheese in microwave safe bowl. Add chili. Zap for 1 ½ minutes, stir, zap another minute or until hot, stir again until mixed well and voila! Let the ghouls gather, chips in hand.
I’m giving away an autographed copy of Haunting Warrior or Haunting Desire (Reader’s Choice) to one lucky commenter so talk to me! Winner will be announced at the end of the day in this post — stay tuned & good luck!
Happy October everyone!