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The winner from yesterday (an autographed copy of CRUEL ENCHANTMENT) is Jean P., who said, “Great excerpt, I always enjoy your books, they keep me hooked from start to finish.” Thanks Jean! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail and I’ll get your prize out to you.
Today’s book is the first in the Elemental Witches series, Witch Fire.
Mira Hoskins doesn’t know she’s a natural born witch who possesses the rare—and powerful—element of air. She also never expected to find herself tied to a mahogany bed frame, captive to a man who aches to fulfill her every desire and let loose the magick that dwells inside her…
Heat emanates from elemental fire witch Jack McAllister. The Coven, a governing authority of witches, has sent him to protect Mira from a band of warlocks who drain witches of power… and life. Long ago, he saw Mira’s parents murdered by this same dark magick. He’d like to quell his guilt and offer her everything she deserves. But she’s the long-lost cousin of his boss—making seduction off-limits.
With Jack’s strong guidance, Mira is luring forth her inner magick. But his sense of duty is quickly swelling into insatiable hunger. They warned him about the natural attraction between air and fire. Now he risks being consumed by the woman he shouldn’t want—but can’t stay away from …
He looked like sin and seemed like salvation. Salvation for her sluggish libido, anyway.
Seriously preoccupied by the man sitting at table eight, Mira slung plates of liver and onion, the special of the day. She couldn’t remember the last time a man had distracted her this way, made her feel like a clumsy fifteen-year old again. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d looked at a man and had an instant, primal reaction. Hell, she’d begun to think she’d completely lost her sex drive.
It was still alive and well.
She tucked her pen behind her ear as she finished taking an order and glanced at the man. He sat at a booth in the corner, sipping black coffee and reading the Star Tribune. He’d been there for close to two hours and hadn’t wanted any food. Normally that would annoy her, especially since he was taking up prime real estate during the busiest time of the day, but she was prepared to forgive him. Eye candy like him tended to be rare in Mike’s Diner. He was so gorgeous she felt like throwing herself at the poor guy, but her boss frowned on scaring the customers. Anyway, recently divorced, grease-stained waitresses probably weren’t this man’s normal fare.
It wasn’t just his physical appearance that made him so attractive. It was his attitude and his mannerisms. It was the way he held himself so confidently. He was one of those men to whom women had a deep, instinctive reaction, a response that harkened back to caveman days when females were most attracted to the biggest, baddest male around.
At least six foot three and powerfully built, the man seemed to walk and breathe sex, like he knew his way around a woman and would deliver one hundred percent satisfaction. Like he’d protect a woman from any threat and take really good care of her body while he did it.
Of course, that was probably just her fevered, under-sexed imagination working overtime. That doubtless happened when one unexpectedly rediscovered one’s libido.
As a result she was having sexual fantasies about a stranger during the busiest part of her shift. Instead of worrying if the salt and pepper shakers were filled, she wondered what his hands would feel like on her body, imagined his hard chest rubbing against her bare breasts.
As Mira took care of a table, refilling drinks and making sure the patrons had everything they needed, she glanced at the man again from under her lashes. She felt the need to commit him to memory so he could star in her fantasies later. During the last few months her vibrator had gathered dust in the bottom drawer of her night table. Now she had a reason to pull it out again.
He was broad-shouldered and leanly muscled. His golden, sun-kissed skin seemed to defy the Minnesota winter and made Mira want to run her lips and hands over it. Silky black hair framed a chiseled, interesting face with black slashes for eyebrows and a sexy dusting of a beard on his sculpted jaw. He was attractive, yet he wasn’t a pretty boy. This man had a face that could either freeze someone solid or turn a woman’s bones to warm honey, depending on his expression.
The man was sex on legs, but it was his mouth and eyes that really did it for Mira. Long, dark lashes fringed his light blue eyes. They seemed cold at first glance, but when he’d smiled at her the look in those eyes had made her knees go weak. And he had a positively indecent mouth. The slight curve of his full, sensual lips brought to mind all sorts of tempting images—skin moving on skin, limbs entangled, ragged breathing, mouths and tongues working as two bodies fused amid twisted sheets….
“Hey, watch it!” a customer complained when she nearly plowed him over after clearing off a table.
“Sorry.” She pasted on a smile and apologized. She was really off her stride this afternoon. Blowing an errant strand of dark hair out of her face, she carted the tub to the back for the dishwasher. As she passed nearby, she stole her thousandth glance at him.
He wore a pair of close fitting jeans, a gray turtleneck sweater, a long black coat and black boots. His dress was casual, but he reeked of money. The whiff she’d gotten of his expensive cologne and the silver Mercedes he’d parked outside was enough to tell her he had lots of that.
Nope. Definitely not her type.
In any case, she’d made a promise to herself to avoid any new relationships for at least a year. She owed it to herself to keep that promise.
Not that he’d want her anyway.
She headed back to the kitchen, hooking a loose hank of hair behind her ear as she went, and placed the order she’d just taken. It was lunchtime and the diner was crowded with downtowners grabbing a quick bite before they headed back to the office. Nobody wanted to go very far in February; Mike’s Downtown Diner was good enough in this kind of Minnesota cold. The sounds of conversation and clattering silverware nearly drowned out the piped-in music, and it felt hot in the small restaurant.
Normally, when she wasn’t so distracted, this was the time of day when she hit her groove. Her whole reality became the synchronization of taking orders, serving food, and refilling drinks. The time went fast and smooth. The rhythm of lunchtime at the diner was like the clackety-clack of well-oiled train wheels speeding down a track.
She was good at her job, able to sense people’s needs with a natural intuitiveness that she’d had her whole life. Her regular customers always commented on how she’d show up right as they were thinking about ordering a side of mayo or a slice of blueberry pie. Okay, so she wasn’t curing cancer, but at least she was being a productive member of society. Plus, the tips weren’t bad. Mira was saving up to go back to school and finish her degree in psychology. She had no intention of being a professional waitress for the rest of her life.
“Mira, order up!” Mike called from the kitchen.
She picked up her order and headed out to deliver it, making her way through the crowded diner toward table seven. It was right next to table eight where Mr. Gorgeous still nursed his coffee. She painted on a wide give-me-a-good-tip smile and served the man at table seven his meal. He looked like some middle management guy struggling his way up the corporate ladder. After working at the diner for the last six months, she’d gotten a good feel for the lunchtime crowd.
“Can I get you anything else right now, sir?” she asked brightly.
The man looked up from his plate and focused on her necklace. “You some kinda Satanist?” he asked.
Her smile collapsed and shock rippled through her at the angry tone of the man’s voice. Her hand flew to the pentagram around her neck. Damn, she’d forgotten to take it off before her shift.
Scorn followed the shock. This guy never would’ve said anything if she’d been wearing a crucifix. People instantly equated the pentagram with Satanism, even though it had nothing to do with it. Normally, she’d give him a lesson in religious sensitivity, but this wasn’t the time or the place.
“No,” she answered coldly. “I’m not a Satanist. Can I get you anything else, sir?”
“So what? Is it some kind a goth thing, then?”
“No, it’s not a goth thing. Do you want another Coke?”
“Why wear that damned thing around? It offends people.”
“Leave the waitress alone.”
Her head snapped up. It was Mr. Gorgeous. He hadn’t even raised his head from his paper. His deep, resonating voice commanded authority even without his direct attention. “She doesn’t want to explain her jewelry preferences, she just wants to know if you want a drink refill.”
Middle Management seemed instantly cowed by the note of aggression in Mr. Gorgeous’ voice. That’s why he probably wouldn’t make it very far up the corporate ladder, Mira thought with satisfaction.
“I’m fine,” Middle Management answered her, looking down at his plate. “Sorry.”
“No problem,” she said, turning away.
She glanced at Mr. Gorgeous. He looked up from his paper and their gazes met for a moment. His mouth curved a little in a smile before he turned his attention back to his paper. She imagined those full lips kissing between her breasts and down her stomach.
The image of his dark head working between her thighs as he licked away her deep sexual ache filled her mind.
A baby squalled a couple booths over, breaking her pleasant thoughts. Mira wished she wasn’t working and could be home wallowing in her fantasies of this man.
Since she had a little lull, Mira ducked into the break room to remove her necklace and put it in her locker. On her way out, she picked up a pot of coffee and walked back to Mr. Gorgeous’ table.
He looked up at her as she approached. “Would you like another cup of coffee?” She held the pot and tipped her head to the side in question.
He shook his head. “The check.”
She put the pot down, dug in her apron pocket for his bill and laid it on the table. “Thanks,” she said quietly. “I mean, for saying what you did.”
“Are you Wiccan?” he asked while he fished his billfold out and extracted a twenty. His hands and wrists, she noted, looked strong and capable. A little shiver went through her.
She nodded. “I was raised Wiccan, but I don’t practice magick or anything crazy like that. Wicca is my religion. I was raised on it.” She snapped her mouth shut so she wouldn’t babble on. The man made her feel vulnerable and awkward. Not to mention…not many people would instantly take her for Wiccan at the sight of her pentagram.
He threw the twenty on the table and stood. The faint scent of his cologne—spicy, a bit woody—assaulted her senses. He glanced at her necklace-free throat. “Too bad you have to hide it because of the ignorance of others.”
Oh. She was in love.
Rendered momentarily speechless, she looked down at his bill. “Uh, let me get your change—”
“No, keep it.” He turned and left.
She picked up the twenty and his bill. His coffee with free refills had only been a buck twenty-five.
Mira is definitely a “fish out of water” when she discovers she’s actually a witch. Later in life than usual for a witch, she has to start from ground zero and learn about herself and her power. Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve been thrust into an entirely new situation and been forced to adapt quickly? I can think of several times in my own life. How about you?
Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of WITCH FIRE. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow it see if you’ve won. Good luck!
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED