If Valentine's Day isn't the time for magic in romance, then what time is?
The other day I was tooling around Palm Springs, doing my usual Saturday stuff - banking, grocery shopping, eating lunch with friends. As I was looking for something good to listen to music-wise, I heard a bit of that moldy oldy I Put a Spell on You. Wow, the singer really sold that song. It got me to thinking about my newest release Freeing the Beast, book one of my Taming the Beast series.
Becca definitely puts a spell on Eric in this fun, flirty, erotic and oh-so-romantic tale.
I'll give you a meal scene from it in a sec. Here's the blurb first:
No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Magic is Becca Salt’s business, but it ain’t happening in her bedroom. The half-witch proprietress of From Crud to Stud performs miracle makeovers for paranormal creatures. Once she’s done with them, they’re out the door hunting for hot babes, not hanging around for a too-curvy, plain Jane like her.
Her newest client is hot, hung, mouthwatering perfection. What could she possibly improve upon?
Eric Diletto. Descendant of Cupid, bred for courtship, courtesy, and all that other gentlemanly junk. What has it gotten him? Dumped time and again for bad boys. He needs Becca’s help for an entirely different reason—regression therapy to release his inner beast. Grrrr.
Two potions later, they’re crawling all over each other. Becca aches for a man who loves her as she is, not because he’s under the influence. But Eric isn’t as impaired as she thinks. And he intends to take Becca here, there, and everywhere—anything to convince her his desire isn’t just the potions talking.
A witchdoctor’s nightmare. Contains potions with weird side effects, a sorceress with limited magical skills and a yearning heart, plus a minor god who wants to get down and dirty. Bad, bad boy!
Excerpt (dinner scene):
He noticed again how smooth her skin was, how flawless, not even a mole. No wrinkles either. “How old are you exactly?”
Becca choked on her wine and put her hand up as she coughed. “I’m okay,” she rasped, then frowned. “Twenty-seven. You?”
“Thirty-two. Mortal years?”
“Me or you?”
Smiling, he pointed at her.
“You do know that asking a woman her age or her weight makes you a jerk.”
“I’m many things,” he murmured, “but definitely not a jerk. I think your weight is just fine. I’ve already told you, most women are too skinny.”
Becca’s throat bobbed with her swallow. She got that faraway look again. One filled with sin that he really enjoyed. “Ah, mortal. That is, I’m twenty-seven in mortal years.”
“Is that why you went to a regular school?”
Becca fingered the stem of her glass and sighed. “Dad insisted upon it. He said it’d be a great experience.”
“Well yeah, if you’re a cheerleader or football captain.”
She nodded knowingly.
“My parents insisted the same with me. We both know how that turned out.” Eric threw back his head and opened his mouth as if someone had punched him out.
He grinned then asked, “Did you pretend things were okay at school? That you enjoyed it?”
“What other choice was there? I’d do anything not to hurt my dad.”
“Just like your mom always has?”
“Oh yeah.” She glowed. “They’re so much in love it’s nauseating.”
“Bread and olive oil,” Desi growled, putting the basket and bottles in front of them. “Enjoy.”
“You’re sure you want that?” Eric asked.
Desi clenched his jaw. “My wife says you should, so you should. Okay?”
“Send her my everlasting gratitude.”
“He gives you trouble,” Desi said to Becca, “you let me know. I’ll take care of him.”
“Don’t worry,” Eric said, his attention on her, nowhere else. “She has Zoe to do that.”
Becca lowered her face to hide her smile.
“Zoe?” Uncle Desi asked.
“Her pit bull,” Eric lied. “Little thing but mean.”
Becca’s shoulders and words shook with her laughter, “Careful. She has unusually good hearing.”
Desi frowned. “What are you two talking about? Oh hell.” He turned at his wife tapping his shoulder again. “I’m not bothering them.”
“Then come and help us, like you’re supposed to,” she said.
Grumbling, he left.
“Pit bull?” Becca asked.
Eric lifted one shoulder. “I couldn’t tell him she’s a demon, could I? She is, right? I mean with the sulfur smell, smoking hair and all.” He shuddered. “She couldn’t possibly think that’s attractive to men.”
“It is to other demons. However, Zoe’s doing her best to convert to the mortal way of doing things.”
Eric poured the oil and tore off a piece of bread. “How’s that coming along?”
“She hasn’t possessed or pulverized anyone for months.”
“Good for her.” With the bread lightly soaked in the oil, Eric offered it to Becca. To his delight, she scooted her chair closer, allowing him to slip the bite into her mouth. A dribble of oil slipped over her bottom lip. Eric captured it with his finger and licked it off.
Becca’s chews slowed then stopped. “This is really good.”
He sensed she wasn’t talking about the bread, but the bewitching time they were having.
“It gets even better,” he promised, not meaning the food at all. Rather, the way they were going to eat.
Once Desi delivered their appetizer and made himself scarce, Eric planned to feed Becca.
She must have had the same thought about him because she slipped a wedge of Camembert cheese and a marinated artichoke heart between his lips. Eric licked the deliciously spiced marinade from her fingers. Becca blushed and smiled.
He just about died from the happiest feeling he could remember.
They fed each other the pasta e fagioli, laughing as they both recalled the cheesy pasta artwork they’d created for their parents as kids.
“I did one of my dad’s trucks,” Becca said. “He gushed like mad. Said it was the best drawing of a piggybank he’d ever seen. I wouldn’t speak to him for days.”
Eric grinned. “I did Cupid. On steroids. Arrows flying everywhere, taking the bad fuckers down. My mother cried and kept suggesting therapy.”
Becca’s face turned red from her laughter.
They enjoyed their medium rare steaks next, the meat seared and seasoned to perfection. Eric pretended to accept the slice Becca held out to him, then nibbled on her thumb instead, making her giggle. He slipped a bit of his steak into her mouth, captivated by her tongue capturing its juices before they slipped past her lips.
At the end of their meal, Desi insisted they try his tiramisu, which he promised would be the best Becca had ever tasted, decadently layered and just brimming with espresso.
“So you don’t fall asleep while you’re driving because you had so much wine,” he said.
Eric hadn’t even finished the little Desi had given him. Nor had Becca enjoyed all of hers. They’d forgotten the booze, not needing it, clicking during their meal as though they’d been dating for years.
Desi handed Becca a fork. “You can share your dessert with my nephew. If that’s okay with you,” he said to Eric, sounding as if he couldn’t care less.
Eric’s attention slipped from Becca’s mouth to her breasts, the hard tips of her nipples pressing against the stretchy fabric, calling to the beast within him. “I’m full,” he said. “You?”
She nodded enthusiastically.
“I’ll wrap it up,” Desi said. “You can take it with you.”
Eric didn’t want to wait that long. “Another time. You have my AmEx number.” He helped Becca from her chair.
Desi scowled. “You’re leaving already?”
To Eric it seemed they’d been here most of his life, and yet, not that long at all.
“We have plans,” Becca said.
Eric hoped hers were as good as the ones he was imagining.
Buy link: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5354/freeing-the-beast
Please help support my Thunderclap campaign for Freeing the Beast:
Available for pre-order Feb 8 - ready to read March 10
I’m an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, and Kensington. Yay! Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work, and trust me, I’m forever grateful for that. I’ve had my books reach finals in the EPIC competition, one title was named Book of the Year at a review site, and others have won awards in RWA-sponsored contests. I’m actually featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Talk about feeling like a freaking star. Before my writing career, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company. Outside of being an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, I’ve flown a single-engine plane (scary stuff), rewired an old house using an electricity for dummies book, and have been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally whenever I’m eating anything Mexican or Italian. Yeah, I like to eat (burp).
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