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Frances Pauli


Though she always held aspirations to be a writer, Frances originally chose to pursue a career in visual arts. Her stories, however, had other plans for her. By the time she entered her thirties, they were no longer content existing solely in her head. Compelled to free them, she set aside her easel and began to write in earnest

She currently resides smack in the center of Washington State with her husband and two children. When not writing, she dabbles in insane things like puppetry, belly dance and playing the ukulele. She collects rocks and is a firm believer in good wine, fine chocolate and dangerous men.

Her short fiction has appeared in Alternative Coordinates magazine.

Website : http://www.francespauli.com

Divine Intervention

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Torbin never meant to offend the Gods, but when an errant meteor whisks him off to another world, he’s prett...
Torbin never meant to offend the Gods, but when an errant meteor whisks him off to another world, he’s pretty sure they’re punishing him for something. If the tomb he wakes in is not his own, then the only thing left to do is prove his valor and win his way back into their graces.

When Nesset prays for a miracle, the last thing she expects is the pale foreigner stumbling through her prison. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, and she’s running out of time. She’s scheduled for the sacrificial altar, and no doubt that’s where she’ll end up—unless she can convince the barbarian to help her.

If they survive beyond that, maybe she can even convince him to stick around.
Price: $1.59
Friend or Foe

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

When Simon Maxwell’s archenemy backs out of the annual competition, he thinks the prize is in the bag. But a...

“Hello, Simon.”

Her voice pulled him into step beside her, but she turned back to Mayor Lee almost immediately. The spell held just the same and Simon continued along at her right shoulder, rapt and watching the highlights shimmer in her hair while she listened to the mayor go on about something or another.

“I’m thrilled that you’re here,” the mayor said.

Simon nodded agreement, but the woman continued to watch Lee instead of him.

“A chance to show our gratitude,” Lee continued. “For all that you’ve done for the town.”

“There’s no need.” She shook her head, protesting the attention.

Simon approved wholeheartedly.

“Surely there is, my dear.” Mayor Lee waved an arm toward the library across the street. As he did so, he caught site of Simon alongside of them. “Oh good, Maxwell. Thought I’d lost you there for a moment. The new library.” He continued his argument. “Your generous check for the parks foundation.”

“Anonymous check,” the woman corrected. “If you please, Mayor Lee.”

Simon swooned inside. He managed to keep walking, resisted the temptation to run a hand through the mysterious town benefactor’s silky hair. He tuned out the mayor and focused on imagining what their children would look like. He’d almost chosen a name for their firstborn by the time they reached the platform.

Spaulding’s voice, whiny and trembling with anger, broke through his trance. “It’s about damn time you got here!”

Simon started up the stairs, intent on defending the mayor and the future Mrs. Maxwell, but a strong feminine hand wrapped around his forearm. The contact sent enough electricity through him to stop his feet. He turned and found a pair of brown eyes appraising him. She stepped closer and the hand on his arm tightened. Her lovely face turned to either side in a gentle reproof. Of course, Simon thought, restraint.

Mayor Lee passed them, took the stairs to the podium with nothing more than a scowl of disapproval for Spaulding. Simon frowned, but resisted the urge to throttle Rutherford for his insolence.

“Now,” Mayor Lee waved for them to join him. “Since we’re all here, we can get this year’s competition started.”

“No.” Simon found his voice, remembered his predicament in a rush of clarity. He hadn’t had a chance to run the plan by Lee, but there’d be no help for it now. He shook his head. “I don’t intend to compete against Agnes. I suggest we postpone.”

“Simon, Simon,” the woman at his elbow whispered. She stepped away from him and laughed softly. “It’s cute, really, but there’s no need.”

The mayor nodded agreement from the podium. Behind him, Spaulding sneered and rubbed his hands together. Simon looked from one to the other. He looked at the woman beside him and then back to Spaulding. He squinted and looked at her again. His bride-to-be had Spaulding’s high cheekbones. She had a strong, Rutherford jaw. The satisfied smile, however, was all hers.

“As for intentions,” she said. “I fully intend to leave you in the dust.”

When Simon Maxwell’s archenemy backs out of the annual competition, he thinks the prize is in the bag. But a surprise appearance from The Spartan’s long-lost sister leaves Simon scrambling for a foot hold. He’s sworn to protect the town, but the girl from his past has him spinning in circles from the start. Is she here to help her brother, or are her motives pure? When every turn hides another trap and each twist holds a new secret, Simon risks more than just his honor. Can he win the girl before the finish line? And how can he save the town, when winning the race means losing his heart?
Price: $3.99
Lords of Oak and Holly

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

When her interpretation of a traditional holiday scene loses Maris the annual ice sculpting competition, her favor...

A throat cleared nearby. Maris started, opened her eyes and nearly slapped the hand away on reflex. A man stood opposite her, and his long fingers stroked the sculpture she’d spent so many hours shaping. She clenched her jaw against the urge to chastise. He might be a judge, or a potential patron, but he had a lot to learn about ice.

She followed the hand with her eyes, willed it to lift away from the lines she prayed didn’t blur at his attention. The heat from a finger—Maris cringed—could ruin her efforts in mere seconds.

“The epic battle.” His voice held no hint of his opinion on the piece. It stated fact only.

Maris tore her gaze from his disobedient hand. She followed a tailored, indigo suit sleeve to the man’s face, and found her words frozen in her throat. He had eyes that pinned you in place, clear blue, backed by an unnamed authority. She sensed little amusement when he smiled at her. His expression simply cracked.

He nodded toward the sculpture, and his finger pointed to the apex. Night black hair danced around his angular face with the gesture. “If I’m not mistaken,” he continued. “You’ve veered slightly from the traditional formula.”

“A small, artistic license.” Maris’ spine stiffened. As intimidating as the stranger looked, she felt compelled to defend her work. Years of school may have prepared her for criticism, but exposure hadn’t lessoned the sting of it. “The Summer Prince would typically be ascendant.” She pointed to indicate the sculpture’s deviance. “I’ve chosen to feature his adversary, in honor of the season.”

“Delightful.”

“Pardon?” She had to tilt her head back to meet his gaze. This time the smile held at least a trace of humor at the corners. His eyes flashed and held hers captive, frozen in a field of ice blue.

“I like it.” His smile cracked wider, one end curling as he nodded again. “Wonderful.”

When her interpretation of a traditional holiday scene loses Maris the annual ice sculpting competition, her favorite season takes a turn toward dismal. The rent is due and her landlady won’t accept a fourth place ribbon. When the enigmatic Lord Brayce arrives with a last minute commission, Maris jumps at the chance. As her host’s icy exterior begins to melt away, Maris finds there is far more to him than meets the eye and his attentions leave her wishing this particular job could last forever. When Brayce’s family arrives for the holiday, Maris is plunged head-over-heels into a world of secrets and an age-old conflict between brothers. Can an ordinary girl survive at the center of a battle straight out of myth? And if her impossible suspicions are correct, what are the odds that Maris can win her prince?
Price: $3.99
Man on Fire

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Extasy Books
Heat Level:

Amanda’s one fired-up mercenary, but the truth about her new commander just might be too hot for her to hand...
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Amanda’s one fired-up mercenary, but the truth about her new commander just might be too hot for her to handle.
 
When Amanda’s unit is assigned to a brand new base at the edge of company territory, she thinks she’s ready for anything until she wakes from cryo-sleep and finds that their new leader is far more than she expected.
Mercenaries don’t have time for the feelings Commander Wells stirs in her and none of her training could prepare her for the instant heat between them. When the big brass orders her to spy on him, Amanda’s sense of duty takes her personal desires to task.
Wells is keeping secrets, he’s behaving in unusual ways and suddenly Amanda has more to worry about than a few sparks. If the man she wants isn’t who she thinks he is, will the truth be too hot for her to handle?
 
Price: $1.99
New Canterbury Affair

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Devine Destinies

Lierra drags her barely tolerable fiancé to New Canterbury, a planet where history is almost recreated for...

“Technically, yes,” she said. Collette made a noise to her right. Lierra had nearly forgotten her cousin in her fury to prove herself to a complete stranger. Now she heard the girl shifting from foot to foot. No doubt, nervous at the situation, at the man’s blatant disregard of their status.

“You’ve left something off.” His eyes narrowed. “There’s a but hanging on the end of that statement.”

“Yes,” Lierra stared straight back at him. Behind her, Colley squeaked. “Personally, I prefer his earlier works. The later pieces lack his initial passion.”

“But certainly, you’d admit they exhibit a great deal more skill?”

“Skill, yes, but without the emotion. I saw Woman with Yellow Veil yesterday…”

The man snorted at her, actually snorted.

“You dislike it? I’d say it’s possibly his best work.”

“I certainly hope not,” he said. “It’s sloppy, sentimental and amateurish.”

“Quite easy to say, I imagine, from the sidelines.”

“It’s widely considered,” He stole her earlier words. “That Ecks’ work became progressively more sophisticated as he mastered his medium.”

“Mastery is not a fair trade-off for passion.” Lierra refused to be unnerved, though a shadow of concern blossomed in her thoughts. There was something about this man, something intense that went beyond his fine clothes and long black gloves. “The early paintings had a wild edge, something raw and unchecked—”

“Reckless abandon?” The corner of his mouth twitched into an amused smile.

“Yes, in a way,” Lierra answered. He’s enjoying this, she thought. In truth, so was she. The debate topped Trent’s occasional, Hey babe, what you doodling? by a landslide.

“Sloppiness is no substitute for craft.”

“Craft is good,” she said. “But without the raw emotion it can come across as sterile.” Behind her, Colley let out another squeak.

“Sterile?” His eyes widened. Both of his eyebrows raised in a startled stretch. A warning bell chimed in the back of Lierra’s mind.

He stepped forward and gave the Ecks a good long stare, tucking one of his hands into the front of his coat and tilting his head sharply to the side.

“Interesting perspective,” he said. “Unconventional, but interesting.”

Lierra had no idea if he referred to the painting or her comments, but the chime of alarm escalated. She heard sirens in her head, stared at the glove tucked into his doublet. She darted a helpless glance in Collette’s direction. Her cousin inspected her own feet, demur, unhelpful. Lierra scrambled for something to say, but he spun away from the painting before her brain supplied any answer.

“It has been a pleasure.” He bowed, a stiff, formal gesture that might have soothed her had it happened ten minutes ago. “I look forward to more conversation over dinner, Lady Darvid.”

She stood frozen, knowing from the heat spreading across her cheeks that she blushed and that he noticed. The man knew exactly who she was. Her brain whirled. She managed a rather breathless, “Likewise,” and watched him pass, stride across the room and make his exit. The Gallery doors swung closed in slow motion.

“That was Forrest Ecks, wasn’t it?” She turned to where Collette waited. The girl’s horrified expression answered for her. Forrest Ecks, of course it was.

Lierra drags her barely tolerable fiancé to New Canterbury, a planet where history is almost recreated for the nostalgic, human colonists. While preparing for their wedding, however, she encounters Forrest Ecks, her hero and one of the premier artists of the time. Despite his fame, Forrest Ecks has little in the way of promise. Injured in the war, his painting career has withered along with his damaged hand. When the Lady Darvid shows him an E-sel full of amateurish, but promising sketches, Forrest takes on the task of teaching the woman. But Lierra herself proves far more interesting than her paintings. Lierra’s engagement hovers ever closer, but more than her art blooms during her lessons with Forrest. With the little time they have, can they teach each other that giving up is never the best option?
Price: $4.99
Roarke

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

They have to be lying when they tell her she was dead. With no memory of her past, and no idea who she actually is...

"I'm afraid we'll have to brave a small crowd on the way out. News of your…return has been hard to keep quiet."

"I should imagine." I smile congenially at him and allow myself to be led from the room. The crowd doesn't surprise me, though small is an understatement. I've sensed them building outside all along. I brace myself, grateful for the doctor's arm, and we emerge onto a long walkway. The floor drops away on both sides, and the spaces are filled with craning faces. I'm torn between scanning the assembly for some shred of recognition and shying from any contact with the eager expressions. In the end, I dart sparing glances at random people. Nothing stirs any memory.

Halfway across the space I give up and choose to focus on the long strips of blue-tinted lights that line the walls. I think that nothing seems familiar here because this isn't where I belong. Perhaps, I think, this is a prison after all.

I hate to consider the doctor as a participant in my capture, perhaps even directly responsible for removing my memory, but the possibility can't be ignored. It is, given the unbelievable alternative that is their story, quite likely closer to the truth. Yet I allow myself to be led toward another curving doorway. I have few options, few options for now.

I concentrate, instead, on how playfully the blue light interacts with the metal of my dress. The fabric flashes and shoots refracted fire as I move in it. I let myself be mesmerized by the effect. The door is near, and Doctor Williams slows as we approach it. My irritation surges again. Another foreign hallway beyond this one? Another unfamiliar room? Suddenly, I have no wish to continue peaceably. I have no interest in allowing myself to be led to any destination they've selected. I scan sideways from the door, searching for a pathway of my own choosing, wherever it may lead.

I'm struck dumb by a familiar face. He stands back from the others, aside from them, but near the door. Where I'm most likely to see him, I decide. He leans against the gray wall and looks at the ceiling. The strong muscle of his jaw tenses. Lines etch across his rugged face. My chest lurches at the sight of him. I search for a name to assign to the single familiar person in this crowded hall. The set shoulders and staggered legs ring through my mind looking for something to cling to.

Exact memories, like the name I want to put to him, shy from my grip. The feeling sweeps through me of something just on the tip of my tongue, too elusive to pin down. I'm frantic to snare it, but it dances out of reach. I realize that I've stopped walking.

His red hair crowns a complexion nowhere near pale. He shifts his gaze downward slowly, with great intention, and meets my gaze. The intensity in his eyes belies his casual pose. He knows me.

In an instant, I'm lifted from the room, my mind trapped in darkness without a body to attach to. I drift without direction or purpose in a sea of warmth. Softly, the singing whispers, return, return to me. The persistent voice hovers near desperate, saturated with emotion. The words pull me down.

I come back to myself. The doctor tugs gently at my arm. Concern scrawls across his face. I see the question there. "I'm fine," I say, stepping in line with him once more. "Get me out of here, okay?" And we pass through the second doorway together.

They have to be lying when they tell her she was dead. With no memory of her past, and no idea who she actually is, Nora has little options. Alone, and at the mercy of the Mercenary Defense Conglomerate, she searches for clues into her past, and the truth
Price: $3.99
Thrice Shy

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Extasy Books
Heat Level:

Jane Johnston has always nursed her crush on the boss in silence. Then a rare invitation to the company conference...
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Jane Johnston has always nursed her crush on the boss in silence. Then a rare invitation to the company conference drops a golden opportunity in her lap. She’s got the dress, she’s got a plan, but when she gets lost along the way, a roadside attraction leads her to a sexy Vampire who thinks Jane is the answer to his prayers. When he shows up at the conference hotel, all her plans go right out the window. Will Jane choose the man she’s always wanted, or the one who claims to own her soul?

 
Price: $2.99
Twelve Dances

Written By: Frances Pauli
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

When Clara adds a brand new nutcracker to her favorite Christmas collection, she immediately starts having vivid,...

“You can tell me at the party.”

“Right. Sure.” What the hell had she been thinking? Clara hung up the phone and leaned her head against the wall. The stupid dream had shaken her up is all. She’d just woken feeling nostalgic and naturally reached out to family. “I’m losing my mind.”

Across the room, her nutcrackers stared and smiled their stiff grins. The dream dance whispered to her, the memory still crisp enough to cling to. She could hear the music, soft, familiar. Holy shit, she was losing her mind. Clara shook her head and turned her back on the princes. Dream or not, dancing with princes didn’t pay the rent, and she had to get to work.

The tree jingled overhead. Not again. Clara sat and stared at the branches. Same plums, same tree, same dress—she laughed and stood up. The ground shone with silver leaves, and the fog called with the echo of a distant oboe. She could think of worse dreams to be stuck in.

She shrugged and skipped down the path. This time she knew the world around her for a dream. This time she knew exactly what to expect and couldn’t help but hurry to the edge of the dance floor. Her princes would be waiting. Clara broke through the fog and slid out onto the smooth floor just as the nutcrackers began their march down the stairs.

She watched them this time, stood close enough to catch the details. The sound of boots rang out—march, march. Her nutcrackers lined up along the floor’s edge in coats of green, blue and burgundy. They wore tall hats, crowns, helmets and some sparkled with huge jewels. Each face was individual, though each wore the same, phony version of the nutcracker’s swirly mustache. Clara couldn’t help but smile at the stern expressions behind the ridiculous disguises.

Clara also couldn’t help looking behind them. Her eyes just drifted up to the spot where her newest prince stood. He already peered at her, eyes glinting like sapphires. His mouth twitched at a corner, and he tilted his head ever so slightly in her direction. Clara’s breath caught in her throat. She felt the heat of a blush creep into her cheeks. The nutcracker stood at attention, almost not smiling.

But her dance partner this time clacked out of line to her far left, and she had to scramble to meet him. She slid into his arms just as the music kicked up and they moved out into the dance. The floor tiles shifted under their steps, glinting in a pattern of holly berries and candy canes. Clara watched their feet slide over the tiles, leaned into the nutcrackers hold and stared out as the silver world swirled around them to the hollow notes of the oboe.

 

When Clara adds a brand new nutcracker to her favorite Christmas collection, she immediately starts having vivid, recurring dreams about her twelve wooden princes. As the holiday nears, her infatuation with the new nutcracker grows into a flirtation that sets the rest of the little soldiers against her. Dancing through an impossibly real battle in her sleep and dodging her infuriating family during the day, Clara’s holidays take a spin toward disaster. If she can survive both and make it to Christmas Eve in one piece, will Clara get to dance with the one prince she actually wants? And even if she does, what happens when the holiday passes and the nutcrackers are packed away for another year?
 
Price: $2.99