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Stella and Audra gives an overview of the book:

The holidays are a time for giving, so when Marsh decides to give Jane a real Christmas, complete with family and friends, he never expected everything to go haywire. Meeting his family is only part of the problem. His parents, the reigning royalty of his race, are going to be a surprise to Jane, but no more so then his station as crown prince, a fact he had kept hidden from her till now. Throw in a conniving princess that contracts his death, an engagement ring and his quirky and outlandish parents, and Marsh has his hands full, just presenting Jane as his consort. Two days before Christmas, Trent Duvall, Janey’s Silent partner in the assassin syndicate shows in Austria and informs them of the fact that a special member of the Duvall inner circle has gone AWOL, and its up to Jane and Marsh to help him get him back. With the help of Malcolm Frost and a few choice...
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The holidays are a time for giving, so when Marsh decides to give Jane a real Christmas, complete with family and friends, he never expected everything to go haywire. Meeting his family is only part of the problem. His parents, the reigning royalty of his race, are going to be a surprise to Jane, but no more so then his station as crown prince, a fact he had kept hidden from her till now.
Throw in a conniving princess that contracts his death, an engagement ring and his quirky and outlandish parents, and Marsh has his hands full, just presenting Jane as his consort.
Two days before Christmas, Trent Duvall, Janey’s Silent partner in the assassin syndicate shows in Austria and informs them of the fact that a special member of the Duvall inner circle has gone AWOL, and its up to Jane and Marsh to help him get him back. With the help of Malcolm Frost and a few choice friends, Trent and Marsh leave Jane in Austria and go to Africa to retrieve their family member, and usurp the position of a murderous and insane Fallen Angel.
And you thought your holidays were stressful.

Read an excerpt »

The villa was dark when he finally arrived twenty-five minutes late, battling traffic coming from the roads around the Vatican. December was always traffic hell in Rome due to the Holy City's existence-all these pilgrims coming in hopes of forgiveness made him shudder. They had yet to figure that their savior was just a man, a talented and charismatic man, but just a man nonetheless. It was the belief that made him grand and that was the man's greatest trick of all.

Janey. His Janey. He pulled into the driveway and shut the car off. He got out and carefully grabbed the holocaust lilies and the shopping bag before locking the door. He punched the code into the door's keypad and it opened for him, the lights coming on automatically. It was good to be back at the house. He knew from calling the office that Janey had gone to meet a client, so he had a few minutes to get everything set up. He went to the kitchen and unpacked the shopping bag--two New York strip steaks, a bag of mussels, salad fixings, fresh baby spinach and a bottle of Merlot.

Putting the water on to boil for the mussels, he took his coat off and draped it on the nearby chair, leaving his scarf on. He grabbed paprika, garlic, pepper, oregano and salt from the spice cabinet and over seasoned the water, leaving it to come to a boil. He then grabbed the fresh rosemary and some garlic and sunflower oil, throwing them in a pan on the eight-burner stove and sautéing the herbs before pouring the mixture into a bowl where the steaks floated in a generous portion of Merlot.

He let that sit as he made the salad, adding fresh basil and red olives to the mix. As he was setting the spinach to cook the water for the mussels began to boil, and he emptied the bag into the swirling heat. Minutes later he was setting the kitchen island with plates and two crystal goblets when he heard Janey's code being punched into the door. He waited, knowing the smells coming from the kitchen would draw her further into the house out of sheer curiosity. Marsh rarely cooked.

After a few moments she appeared in the doorway, looking tired. She'd kicked her shoes off at some point between the short walk from the door and her suit jacket had been discarded. She held a manila folder in her hand. "I have something for you." she said, waving the folder and leaning against the door frame.

"Yeah? Well, can it wait till I put the steaks on?" he said over his shoulder. "Wine's poured already."

She bit out a strangled laugh. "Sure, take your time, love." She pushed off from the door, throwing the folder on the table along with the knife. Sitting down, she took the wine glass staring contemplatively into it. "I have had the worst day today. I really hate working on the weekends. In fact, I hate leaving bed on the weekends. I'm going to ban it."

"You do what you have to pet, you hungry?" He turned to kiss her and spied the dagger. "Okay, what is the Dagger of Wormritz doing on our table?"

She nodded to the folder. "Like I said, it's been an interesting day. I got the crap beaten out of me by Trent. I got shot, passed out, twisted my ankle and was offered a hit on you. Not all in that order. Tell me, do I look stupid?"

He went to her and gathered her up in his arms and kissed her fiercely. "No, pet, you don't. Trent was here, was he? I thought I smelled old man aftershave. So, who wants me dead?" he asked in an amused voice as he set her back down on the chair and moved back to the stove to turn the mussels off.

She shrugged, taking a sip of wine. "No clue, not one of mine. There's photos...interesting ones."

"Photos? No shit." He turned from the stove, grabbed the envelope, and took out the shots. he whistled. "Well, I'll be damned. The Braven sisters, so which one approached you? Had to be Lillian right? Damn cow. Though these shots, they aren't me...the older ones, yes, they are me, but these. Seems the sisters learned how to work a tangible glamour. Interesting."

"Indeed. I must say it is quite a likeness, though, not exact but very close. Exactly who are they? And why do they believe that I must be on the same level of intelligence as a mealworm?"

Marsh sighed. "Well, that's complicated, and they will both pay dearly for upping my timetable. How about we eat and I'll tell you? Steaks are done, how you like it, pet..."

She nodded, her stomach growling. "Sure, I haven't had a chance to eat anything yet. Unless coffee counts."

"It doesn't. You know that." He smirked and speared a thick steak on her plate, then meted out some spinach and then gave it to her, doing the same with his own. He filled a bowl with mussels and placed it on the table as well, and sat across from her. "The mussels are spicy just like you like, pet." He winked and grabbed his glass, pouring some more wine, then sighed. "So, where do I begin, eh?" he asked absently. He was pissed off, his perfect romantic evening fucked to hell because a spoiled princess wanted what she saw as competition out of the way. He said as much to Janey as she forked a rare piece of steak and spinach into her mouth.

"Royalty, eh?" She sipped her wine. "Well, I suppose that explains a lot."

He shrugged. "Don't be mad at me for not telling you, pet, I could care less about what I am by birth."

She looked up at him, her fork paused mid-strike. "I wasn't talking about you..."

He smirked. Janey wasn't stupid, nor was she oblivious, so she had to know at some point. "The Braven sisters are twins, fraternal, of one of the main houses of Jenai. Like my mother, they can ascend to be a Djinn's consort and possible queen. Apparently they take that seriously."

"Enough to piss the hell outta me? Boy, do they not know me; I've already had Trent bitching at me about my judgment."

"Well, they aren't the brightest crayons in the box, I'll grant you that. Trent came to piss you off? It's been a while, eh? Let me guess, he doesn't approve of our relationship?"

"Not really. He questions my judgment and thinks I've been slacking. He also said I was fat..."

"Well, you are pudgy." He grinned at her and forked a mussel into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. "So how much did they offer for my hit?"

"She started at fifty mil but I worked her up to two-fifty. After all, you're worth it."

"Shit, two-fifty? That's it. I must be overestimating you, love." He reached down and brought the long midnight blue velvet box and set it before her. "Happy Christmas, pet, even if it's early."

Her eyes lit up and she grinned, reaching for the box. "It's not like I'm going to kill you, love, I needed her to agree to a price and I didn't want to accept something to cheap or they would have suspected something. I mean, really, I'm not just fueled by my own greed. I have depth and layers. A lot of the time I kill people because I don't like them, and if I can find somebody who'll pay for that death then I'll consider it a job well done." She stroked the box, lovingly dragging it in front of her. "I didn't think we were doing Christmas, it's not really my thing, even Ko's given up on it this year." She guiltily lifted the box to inspect it.

"Christmas really isn't my thing, either. I mean, I'm all about consumerism, but the actual thought behind it all for me boils down to the all mighty dollar. Technically we aren't doing Christmas, we are doing something else." He watched with small amusement as she opened her first present.

"Well, if we're not doing Christmas then what are we doing..." She gasped sharply as she opened the box, small sparkles of light reflecting on her face. "Marsh...My God..." She trailed off, truly speechless for the first time since he'd met her. "I..." She shook her head grinning at him. "It's beautiful."

"It pales to you, pet, but yes, it is beautiful. You approve?" he asked in a joking tone, knowing full well she was enchanted by the jewelry.

She nodded heartily, her hair bouncing around her face. "I do. I most certainly do."

"Good. I knew you would when I had it commissioned. You have one more, love, though for this you'll need to close your eyes," he said and watched her, palming the ring box from his jacket and waiting.

She grinned at him. "You know you're making me look bad?" she teased as she shut her eyes.

"All will be forgiven in but minutes, pet." He opened the small box and turned it to her with the ring facing her. "Open it, pet, and say yes."

"Yes?" She frowned, opening her eyes and looking at him. Her gaze fell to the box and widened in surprise. She looked up at him, the shock clear on her face.

He smirked at the look. She really didn't think he ever would do it, it was written all over her face. "Well, you going to say it? Or do I have to take it back?"

"No!" she started, snatching the box quicker than lightning. She looked down at the ring then back up at him. "I mean, yes...I do mean yes." She laughed, pushing the box at him. "You have to put it on me...at least, I think that's how it works."

He grinned and got up, quickly making his way around the island to stand next to her, and grabbed her hand. He took the ring out of the box and kissed her, and as he did, his fingers slipped it onto hers.

She kissed him back hard, pulling back to look at her hand. "Its perfect, it really is." She kissed him again, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him tightly to her.

He chuckled. "I'm glad you like it. If you didn't it was going to be hard justifying half a mil otherwise."

"Well, I'm worth it." The grin on her face widened as she moved to watch the glistening ring. She kept it on, turning it and holding it up to the light. "You do realize that a lot of money just got won and lost in my office They've been betting on this for months. I think Malcolm was in for a few thousand Euro," she told him quietly, watching the ring sparkle.

He laughed and kissed her again. "Eh, it is the season of giving, after all, isn't it?"

"I guess it is." She laid her head on his shoulder, her gaze still not leaving the ring. "It was a surprise, nobody expected you to buy the cow...Not in the human way. Are we really going to get married? With chapels and guests?"

"That's up to you, pet. You're mine already, the binding like a human marriage. I don't require it, but if you wish to we will." He smiled at her and rubbed the pad of his thumb on the nape of her neck.

She nodded. "Maybe. It certainly would be interesting...although, maybe not entirely a good idea. Guest wise, I'd hate to have to work out the seating arrangement. There are some people you really shouldn't sit next to other people, and I think I know most of them."

"True, though seeing you stunning in a white gown would be worth it. A lot of bets would be won then, too, no doubt."

She laughed. "Yeah, and a lot lost, too. Security would be a fucker; we could just do a private thing. Me, you, and very few other people. Somewhere bright and hot so we don't get any unwanted demons or vampires."

He laughed. "You do know Mal can withstand sunlight, right? I don't think he would show. Taylor, he'd show regardless, even just to see you in the dress and use it against you."

"I know, but the bright light irritates a vampire's sensitive eyes. If Taylor shows he better bring presents, or at least one big one."

"I think we could count on that, pet." He pulled her close to him and nuzzled her behind her ear. "But we don't have to decide now. We do have forever. I do have one more surprise, though."

She pulled back from him, raising a questioning eyebrow. "You do? Hmmm...Let's see, you cooked, you gave me an exquisite and beautiful choker and you proposed." She counted them off in her hands, and at the mention of proposal she grinned and flashed the ring at him. "What else is there? You realize I'm being spoiled, I'll come to expect this sort of thing every Christmas."

He smiled and swallowed hard. "Remember how I told you I was going to take you to meet my parents?"

"Kind of..." She said carefully.

"Well, it's a little more complicated then just stopping by my parents for the holidays. Which is why I didn't spring it on you last minute, like, when we were at the citadel itself."

"This holidays? Like as in...What citadel?"

"The birth of Christ coincides with the highest of holy times for Djinn. We call it the Birthing. The scrolls say it's when we were breathed to life is the deepest desert of the true continent. Tradition is that the nobility of Djinn congregate at the Citadel in Sumeria, but the last three hundred years it's been at my parents' palace in Austria, for seven days of festivities."

"Uh huh...their place." She worried her bottom lip for a second before taking a deep breath. "Marsh, exactly how royal are you? Just to clarify."

He coughed and looked at her. "Really royal, like crown prince royal."

 

 

Excerpt 2:

 

He grinned at her and ran a finger down her cheek. "You comfortable?"

"Of course, you're a very comfy man." She wiggled on his lap to emphasize her point. "I'd sit on you all day if I could."

"I bet." his hands reached down and grasped her ass as he ground her into his erection, a smirk on his face.

She gasped softly into his neck. "Mmm..." She laid feather soft kisses on the nape of his neck loving the way his scent enveloped her. "Now Marsh... in the car?" she chuckled throatily pausing to suck gently on his skin. "But we behaved ourselves all the way in the plane... well almost." Her tongue flicked out leaving a wet trail down to his collarbone.

"Pet, you keep that up and we will be caught I guarantee it. We haven't properly celebrated our engagement though."

"You started it." she rested her head on his shoulder. "But maybe now isn't the place to celebrate, although we do have the room. How long till we get there?"

"We just crossed the border to the citadels acreage. Well be there in about twenty minutes, and you and I both know that's not nearly enough time. It's my fault though, had I not been so preoccupied these past forty eight hours I wouldn't be this pent up."

She growled in frustration, "You can't be blamed; I could have jumped you on the plane. I'm sure you'll excessively make up for it the next time we're alone."

He bent his head and kissed her, a long lingering kiss that held the promise of much more then she could dream. "Bet your ass on that one pet. You sure you're ready to meet them?" he asked as he once again looked out the window.

She rested nervously back on him, her stomach in a ball of knots. She truly hadn't been worried until the plane ride, but now she really wasn't so sure. "It's too late now, I guess." His reaction to the whole situation was off putting. These people ruled their race, and they were his parents the whole trip was suddenly a lot more daunting than it should have been. The royalty part didn't bother her as much she'd met more than her fair share in her time. But they weren't clients that she had to play nice to once in a blue moon. It was Marsh's parents, there was the very distinct possibility that she'd have to see them a lot and if they didn't like her she stood to lose a lot more than a contract or two. 

He stroked her back. "Pet, I don't wanna alarm you, but I'm not kidding when I say my parent are insane. You don't live as long as they have without getting... what's the word Uncle Elias used... weathered... Personally I think Eroded is more the right description."

She pulled back looking up at him. "Are you saying its not too late?"

He sighed and shook his head. "No pet I'm afraid we will both have to endure. Insanity doesn't only run in my family love, it gallops, and you'll see now why I have stayed away for so long."

She chuckled. "I guess I will. I'll deal with them, and if it all becomes too much we'll just have to find some way of keeping ourselves occupied. Besides its not like your dad can perv on me too much, I packed actual clothes and you promised no corsets. Plus I'll be heavily armed and I know you wont leave me alone for any longer than is necessary."

He grinned a very wolfish grin. "That's right pet, I promised no corsets. And make no mistake, Asa can "perv" as you say on a cloistered nun. The man has no scruples. And that," he pointed to the large castle they were fast approaching, "Is where I grew up."

"Wow, look at all the pretty colors." She said in awe. The castle was huge and, well castle like. But it was the colors that stood out the most. Each turret and section was painted a bright color, all the colors in the color wheel was used, sometimes twice. On top of that there was bright pink and deep purple. Colors aside, the castle was now looming over them making the ball of nerves constrict painfully.

"Yeah, that's only been in the past hundred years. I told you Rosalinda is insane." the Car came to a stop and Marsh sighed. "Well you ready?" he asked as he opened his door and slid out offering her his hand to help her out. Just as Janey slid out of the warm confines of the car a woman, dressed in bright pink spandex leggings and an oversized white sweatshirt, cut around the collar and hanging off her shoulder, ran out to them. "Nicoli! You little devil! You could have called. When Gregori called from the gate that your car was coming up the drive I hardly believed it!" She threw herself at Marsh and he wrapped his arm around the woman, his right hand still in Janey's.

"I know how you like surprises." he said, his tone dry and affected. Old marsh was back and rearing his ugly head.

It took every ounce of will that she possessed to keep her smile friendly as she watched the woman wrap herself around Marsh. The look on his face was worth all the nerves she'd just been through. Sure she'd known that this trip was going to be difficult for him but only now did she understand just how much. This was going to be a very amusing Christmas. She held his hand quietly waiting to be noticed and allowing herself a better look at the multicolored castle.

The woman untangled herself from him and looked him up and down. "You look good love, not skinny like last time you were home, of course it's been a while hasn't it?" she asked only then noticing Marsh's hand was attached to a shorter woman. She looked her up and down and smiled. "Your boots are Fabulous!"

Janey beamed at the woman, shoes and skinny Marsh she could talk about. Things were going to be ok. "I know. It took me ages to find them and their comfy too which is surprising. I have a pair in the most to-die-for teal but well..." She looked to marsh then shrugged. "Apparently I had too many shoes in my case already, so I had to leave them." She smiled warily at the woman.

Marsh shook his head and looked at Janey. "Well you guys have something to talk about don't you? Bonding already."

The woman looked at Marsh and frowned, as if just realizing there was another person standing there, not just a mannequin with savage kicks. "Nicoli who is this? She's not a princess I can tell you that."

Marsh looked at the woman and sighed. "No, not by rights, at least not yet. Mother, I wish to introduce you to my bound consort, Janey Duvall. She's an Assassin."

Rosalinda looked at Janey and then to Marsh. "She's too short to be an assassin, but if you say so pepper. Shell need to be one to fend off the Braven Sisters from that posh bedroom." she looked at Janey again, realization becoming clear on her face. "Oh! So you're his mate? A human. You are beautiful, you'll do as a daughter I suppose." she smiled again and looked down at the boots once more. "What size do you wear Posey? I'm going to borrow those while your here." she said absently. Then shook with cold. "Look at me, talking like its summer out here. Ernest?" she called to the driver who appeared from behind the car. "Bags. You know the room." she turned to Janey and Smiled. "Well dear? Cat got your tongue? She's not mute is the pepper?"

Marsh groaned. "You just heard her talk about her boots you lunatic."

"Ah so I did. Well that was ages ago! She's a quiet one isn't she? Well miss? What do you have to say for yourself?"

The woman was a lunatic; even more so if she though she was getting anywhere near Janey's hard earned boots. She loved her shoes almost as much as her weapons. Even Janey, who's been accused or ranting incoherently herself a few times, found it difficult to follow the woman's train of thought although in truth she'd heard very little after she called Marsh pepper. "You think I'm short?" Was all she could really come up with, she was not short and, she was wearing heels.

"Well you're hardly leggy, though Asa will be appreciative of your other... attributes. Don't get too close if you don't wanna get pinched. And don't fall for the welcome to the family hug, that will just get you groped." she turned to Marsh again. "So Pepper? Shall we? She asked and hooked her arm into his unoccupied one. "She will need to see Silas of course, but that can wait till tomorrow." she said absently as she ticked off numerous things that didn't mean a damn thing to anyone listening. Marsh Squeezed Janey's hand and leaned in kissing her on the cheek. "I told you pet, don't say I didn't warn you."

Janey laughed, mostly because there wasn't much else she could do. She didn't think a hysterical laugh would look out of place. God help her she liked the woman. Hardly leggy, was the singly most amusing comment anyone had ever made about her to her face. She wasn't short, by any stretch of the imagination. Admittedly she was no Xena, but she never met a top shelf she couldn't reach. Then again short was better than being pudgy. She told Marsh as much as his mother rattled off more to-do lists out loud.

"Ok, so you're short and pudgy? Well your just having a banner day aren't you pet? Don't worry she blows herself out soon enough and goes for a brandy, then will forget who I am for a while and start this all over again. I told you this was going to be fun." he said dryly.

She chuckled. "You did and it will be, I'm sure. Exactly how long are we staying for again?" She asked switching her phone on to see if Ko had left any messages.

"The celebration is a week long and that's a week and a half from now. So.."

"So its a little while." The phone told her she had no messages and she disappointingly placed it back in her pocket. "So you've filled out well since the last time you were here then?" She grinned feeling a little wicked.

"I'll show you just how well once we are alone pet." he winked and got smacked upside the head by Rosalinda.

"Don't talk like that around me Pepper! Who do you think you are?!"

Janey bit her tongue till she tasted blood to stop herself collapsing in laugher. Who indeed? She had no real experience with parents, most of all mothers, but this was beyond amusing. She smirked silently at Marsh, his normally perfect hair now displaced loosely around his head. The king of cool was really having a hard time keeping himself together. In fact, she didn't think pepper would ever be capable of holding the cool crown again.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Stella and Audra

Dark. Devious. Sensual, sinister, and startling. These are the words used to describe the wild worlds of Stella and Audra Price. New to the literary scene, these up and coming talented writers are the next phase in literary evolution.

Their stories are fresh,...

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Author's Publishing Notes

Book three of the Duvall Inc. Series Reviews: The ending of Gifts will leave you desperate for more of this series. I know I await it eagerly. 9.5, Howling Scribe Gifts is another mustn’t-miss from the dynamic sisters Stella & Audra Price. Run, to not walk, to your nearest e-book outlet and pick this one up immediately upon release. Caution: do not read without an ice pile or partner near at hand! 5 SWORDS, Frost Reviews The Price Sisters really know how to create unique supporting characters as well, each standing out from the background, when usually supporting characters have the tendency to blend in. The authors will never bore you with one plotline that gets drawn out unnecessarily- they blend together several exciting subplots seamlessly and always keep you entertained! You will be drawn in by the fast-pace of the story, the fantastic characters, and new developments in the series. The action just keeps going; one thing after another- and you will love it! Gifts is a fantastic present to paranormal romance readers from Stella and Audra Price! Mandy, Rogues and Romance/PNR Gifts is the third book in the Djinn series and this time Janey and Marsh face something even worse than the worst type of criminal – family. Janey learns that being the consort and bride of this particular Djinn is much more than it seems and together they learn that fate is giving them a very special gift. You would expect a top assassin and a Djinn to be uncaring in what goes on around them, but I have never found this to be so with Janey and Marsh. In Gifts I found out exactly how much they do love each other and the lengths they both will go to for the other. Of course there was the violence to go along with the love and passion, but what else can you expect when you have a loving consort who is a top assassin and an ages old Djinn who has finally fallen for a woman and will protect what’s his. For those following Janey and Marsh and their courtship, Gifts is a can’t-miss-book because of everything you will learn. However, if this is your first Djinn book, I believe you will definitely want to go back and find the others once you’ve read Gifts. I can’t wait until the next chapter of Janey and Marsh’s journey as they head toward their happily ever after. Jo, Joyfully Reviewed