excerpt

#Excerpt from Dark Stranger by Lisa Carlisle #pnr #shifters

Below is an excerpt from my new release, Dark Stranger, part 3 in the Chateau Seductions trilogy.

Dark Stranger

Chateau Seductions Part 3

DarkStrangerWolf shifters come to Chateau seeking a missing pack member. During an altercation, Cameron Stevens, the manager of the art colony, is separated from the others. He ends up alone with Nadya, one of the female shifters.

Together, in the forests of DeRoche Island, they struggle against conflicting feelings. In addition to battling each other as well as their mistrust, they fight a powerful, inexplicable attraction to one another—one that leaves them irrevocably entwined.

They’re mates? Cameron can’t comprehend or accept such a thing is possible. They’re two different species and their worlds don’t mesh. He can’t fight the heated desire burning between them and her touch is impossible to resist. His heart and mind aren’t on the same page where she’s concerned. One thing is certain—Nadya is stamped on both.

Paranormal, Erotic Romance
Shifters, vampires, gargoyles

A full minute later, the door opened. A male with dark hair and deep guarded eyes answered. Strong jawline, rough stubble, muscular frame. A rough masculine look that appealed to her, but something else about him arrested her. Something she couldn’t quite place.

“Can I help you?”

His voice was calm and deep, a rich baritone that flowed through her with sensual fluidity. Her wolf senses flared in a visceral reaction, and tiny flickers of awareness sparked through her like a steadily moving brush fire. She almost forgot why they were there until Viktor spoke.

What on earth was happening?

“I’m Viktor, this is Douglas and Nadya. We’re looking for a man who went missing months, ago.” He held up a photo of Alec. “Have you seen him?”

While the man glanced at the photo, she inhaled, taking in his scent. Human. One who had a woodsy scent as enchanting as the forests. Wonderful.

“No. I’m afraid I haven’t seen him.”

He was lying. It was obvious in the change in tone as it became carefully measured. The sudden avoidance of eye contact, followed by a direct wide-eyed look to counter it. By his body language, he knew far more than he admitted. The question was—why?

“Are you sure?” she asked. “Can you take a closer look?”

He’d barely scanned over her when he first opened the door, but now he fixed his gaze on her in a way that made her hold her breath. His eyes lingered on hers too long for comfort, boring deep into her. She’d never felt so naked before, so vulnerable, as though all her secret hopes and desires were revealed for this human to see and judge. The connection terrified, yet exhilarated, her. That one moment freezing time, leaving the world around them to melt into nothingness.

“Sure.” He scanned the photo again. He narrowed his eyes as if studying it. “I don’t recognize him.”

He was hiding something. She was sure of it. The wolf in her wagged her tail furiously as she caught other scents in the castle. Vampire and gargoyle. Glancing at Viktor and Douglas to see their hardened expressions revealed they’d picked up on them, too. Her radar went up.

“I’m curious,” Viktor said. “What’s this place all about?”

“Les Beaux Arts at the Chateau DeRoche is an art colony. Artists, musicians, writers, and more come here for residencies to focus on their craft.”

“How about vampires and gargoyles?” Viktor asked with a pointed glare.

Her stomach tightened. Once Viktor fixed on something, he wouldn’t let it go.

The man narrowed his eyes, now flashing with an intensity that made her heartbeat quicken.

“Excuse me?”

“I smell them clear as day.”

You must be mistaken. We’re all humans here.” He laughed, but it was forced. “Vampires and gargoyles, good one. As if they exist.”

“Human, you clearly know more than you’re revealing. Why don’t you let us in, and we’ll talk about it?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” the man replied in a carefully measured tone.

“And why not?” Viktor asked. “Do you have something to hide?”

“No. However, I’m the manager of this colony.” He straightened. “I cannot disrupt the residents with unannounced guests.”

Viktor fixed his icy stare on the man. “I’m afraid it’s too late for that.” He pushed open the door, forcing his way into the castle. Douglas followed, forging past the human.

“Antoine! Dante!” the man shouted.

A winged being flew down from atop the castle and pulled Douglas back outside. His skin was gray and appeared to be the texture of leather, not soft and pliant like human skin. Black feathered wings spread wide, giving him the appearance that he was twice as large. His face was marked by exaggerated features. A distinguishing scent. Gargoyle.

Another being flew out from behind a castle wall and forced Viktor outside the castle. Mouth open and fangs exposed. Pale skin and the unmistakable scent of the undead. Vampire.

No doubt these were the two who had breached Oakes Island, the ones caught spying. While Viktor fought the vampire, the gargoyle pinned Douglas down. Nadya quickly assessed the situation before jumping into action. The human pulled out a gun, aiming at the scuffling figures before him.

“No!” Nadya jumped onto him, knocking the gun loose as he fell back through the doorway onto the castle floor.

She struggled with him, and they rolled on the hard stone floor. He was remarkably strong for a human, so much so that she inhaled his scent quickly to verify what she was up against.

Definitely human. With a delicious male smell beyond the wilderness she’d scented before, stirring an unfamiliar reaction within.

While she was distracted, he got the upper hand, pinning her down with his body and holding her by the wrists. She tried to wriggle out of his grasp, a natural instinct to fight back. As she writhed beneath him, a sudden awareness of his body took over. The way his hard chest pressed down on hers, how his strong thighs straddled her own, and how his rugged face lay only inches from hers wasn’t something she should notice while in such a vulnerable position. His eyes were a captivating blend of brown and green, lulling her with an almost magnetic hold. For a moment, she stopped fighting him, caught up in the intimate way their bodies touched. Her breaths came out in pants from the struggle. And something more. Some kind of primal reaction she couldn’t explain.

The realization hit her with as much shock as an unexpected slap to the face. Hell no. Not now. Not ever! She must be misreading the signs. She forced it away, compartmentalizing it to deal with it another time.

A quick glance to her right showed the four still fighting. Fangs and claws were exposed. All were marked by crimson streaks. The sight and coppery scent of blood spurred her back into action, reminding her how dire the situation. She tried to wiggle her arms out of his grasp, but he didn’t yield his hold. Even though she had the strength of a wolf, she wasn’t as strong in human form, and he must have outweighed her by eighty pounds of muscle. The way he held her indicated he’d been well-trained in wrestling or some type of martial arts. Clearly, he wasn’t a typical human, but one well-trained.

“Stop fighting me,” he commanded.

His warm breath fanned her cheek. Scents of chocolate and wine reached her. And his masculine scent continued to make her body light up with awareness in a way it never had. Even his voice sent intimate shivers through her.

She ignored the sexually-charged effect he had on her. What was wrong with her to respond this way during a fight, when he could harm her and the others? It couldn’t be what she feared she’d just discovered. It had to be adrenaline, not lust.

“Get off me!” She thrashed up with her lower body to buck him off, but it was futile. Each thrust reminded her of an intimate act, especially when her pelvis brushed his. She dropped her hips back to the stone floor.

This was stupid. Stupid! She shouldn’t feel turned on by someone pinning her down, especially a human. Time to force the inappropriate thoughts away and find a way to escape this human’s grasp.

“Not until you stop fighting me.” He took his fiery eyes off hers and scanned the area.

She followed his gaze to something dark and metallic. The gun.

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Miss parts 1 and 2? Here’s more info on the other books.

Dark Muse

Chateau Seductions Part 2

Dark-MuseIt takes time before Gina Meiro warms up to people and her shyness is often misunderstood. She hasn’t had to worry about meeting new people at a remote art colony until a new resident arrives—a rock guitarist more suited for a billboard. Her carefree days of painting at the medieval-styled castle on a remote New England island are shattered when she stumbles right into his welcome gathering.

After a falling out with his band, Dante Riani wants nothing more at Les Beaux Arts on DeRoche Island than solitude to work on new songs. When a shy young painter asks to paint him at sunset, he’s tempted by the opportunity to be alone with her.

Someone at the colony claims to know what Dante is and asks for his help. Dante fears his plans are coming undone, especially as grows more drawn to Gina. Her scent and vulnerability are too difficult to resist. But he must stay away from her—she would never understand his secret.

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Dark Velvet

Chateau Seductions Part 1

darkvelvetGrad student Savannah Evans is thrilled to be accepted as a resident to a prestigious art colony. Where else would she be able to focus on her craft of writing poetry in a setting like that of the medieval-styled castle? The remote New England island is a respite from her hectic city life. When she meets her benefactor, a mysterious French sculptor, her expectations for carefree days writing near the ocean are distracted by unprofessional fantasies about her sponsor.

Antoine Chevalier built Les Beaux Arts on DeRoche Island to bring purpose back to an existence that has lost meaning. He’s wandered the earth for decades and finds solace in returning to art. When Savannah applies for a residency, something about her words touches him. After her arrival, a physical attraction grows between them, which he struggles against.  She deserves more than someone of his kind.

Antoine proposes they become lovers during her stay. But the situation turns complicated when Savannah discovers his secret. She had suspicions about his identity, but finds the truth overwhelming. Consumed by her desire for Antoine and faced with a tough decision, she is blind to the danger that has arrived at DeRoche Island.

A New Adult Erotic Romance
Paranormal / gargoyle / vampire / shapeshifter

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My Sexy Saturday – Dark Stranger by Lisa Carlisle #mysexysaturday #mss90

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday. This week I’m sharing seven more paragraphs from my new release, Dark Stranger, part 3 in the Chateau Seductions trilogy, which Books and Beyond Fifty Shades just gave Five Stars to. Here’s a bit of the review:

“I have read the first 2 books in this series and could not wait to get my hands on this one; and I was not disappointed. The thing I love most, is that while this is a story about paranormal creatures, you can still relate to the trial and tribulations that they go through. You can relate to how each character is feeling, even though you are nothing like them.”

Dark Stranger is part 3 in Chateau Seductions, bringing the characters back who were introduced in Dark Velvet and Dark Stranger. The series is set at an art colony in a castle on a remote island. It’s a tranquil space for artists, writers, and musicians to work–and perhaps find romance.

Dark Stranger

Chateau Seductions Part 3

DarkStrangerWolf shifters come to Chateau seeking a missing pack member. During an altercation, Cameron Stevens, the manager of the art colony, is separated from the others. He ends up alone with Nadya, one of the female shifters.

Together, in the forests of DeRoche Island, they struggle against conflicting feelings. In addition to battling each other as well as their mistrust, they fight a powerful, inexplicable attraction to one another—one that leaves them irrevocably entwined.

They’re mates? Cameron can’t comprehend or accept such a thing is possible. They’re two different species and their worlds don’t mesh. He can’t fight the heated desire burning between them and her touch is impossible to resist. His heart and mind aren’t on the same page where she’s concerned. One thing is certain—Nadya is stamped on both.

Paranormal, Erotic Romance
Shifters, vampires, gargoyles

 

Excerpt

A full minute later, the door opened. A male with dark hair and deep guarded eyes answered. Strong jawline, rough stubble, muscular frame. A rough masculine look that appealed to her, but something else about him arrested her. Something she couldn’t quite place.

“Can I help you?”

His voice was calm and deep, a rich baritone that flowed through her with sensual fluidity. Her wolf senses flared in a visceral reaction, and tiny flickers of awareness sparked through her like a steadily moving brush fire. She almost forgot why they were there until Viktor spoke. What on earth was happening?

“I’m Viktor, this is Douglas and Nadya. We’re looking for a man who went missing months, ago.” He held up a photo of Alec. “Have you seen him?”

While the man glanced at the photo, she inhaled, taking in his scent. Human. One who had a woodsy scent as enchanting as the forests. Wonderful.

“No. I’m afraid I haven’t seen him.”

He was lying. It was obvious in the change in tone as it became carefully measured. The sudden avoidance of eye contact, followed by a direct wide-eyed look to counter it. By his body language, he knew far more than he admitted. The question was—why?

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Temptation Returns #mysexysaturday #mss86

A long sexy time is the theme for this week’s My Sexy Saturday, about those who’ve loved each other a long time. I immediately thought of Lina and Antonio in Temptation Returns. Read on for a short excerpt when Lina spots Antonio in a rock club three years after he’d gone overseas.

Lina’s mind scrambled. “I don’t know what to do.”

He must have felt her eyes staring as he turned her way and caught her eye. She froze, unable to break the stare.

“Looks like he knows you’re here now.”

“Uh, ah, um…”

Krystal nudged her arm. “Snap out of it, Lina. No matter what happened between you, he’s still just a guy. It was a long time ago, and you’ve moved on. You’re a strong, confident woman. Don’t let that hot shit with a poker up his ass undermine that.”

Lina faced Krystal. “You’re right. It’s—unexpected. Last I heard he was over in Afghanistan.”

“And now he’s coming your way.”

Temptation Returns

The Morettis, Part 1

A Bestseller at All Romance Ebooks and Amazon’s Military Romances

Temptation-Returns-300x450

Antonio returns from the Marine Corps to begin a new life as a civilian. While visiting Cape Cod, he meets a strange woman who reads his Tarot cards. He doesn’t believe in such nonsense; after all, he’s a Marine. When he returns to Boston, he receives a ticket to a rock club where he runs into the one woman he never forgot.

Lina can’t believe Antonio is back in town, right before her wedding. Being around him again resurrects long-buried feelings. Will she be able to resist temptation in the form of a dark-haired Italian Marine, the same man who once broke her heart?

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Temptation Returns by Lisa Carlisle #militaryromance #newadult #mfrwauthor

Temptation Returns

Lisa Carlisle

A Bestseller at All Romance Ebooks and Amazon’s Military Romance Category

Antonio returns from the Marine Corps to begin a new life as a civilian. While visiting Cape Cod, he meets a strange woman who reads his Tarot cards. He doesn’t believe in such nonsense; after all, he’s a Marine. When he returns to Boston, he receives a ticket to a rock club where he runs into the one woman he never forgot.

Lina can’t believe Antonio is back in town, right before her wedding. Being around him again resurrects long-buried feelings. Will she be able to resist temptation in the form of a dark-haired Italian Marine, the same man who once broke her heart?

Excerpt

“These guys are awesome,” Krystal shouted over the music. “Impossible not to have a good time at their shows.”

“Glad I brought you,” Lina replied. “I doubt this would be Brett’s scene.”

They danced and sang along for several songs until the singer announced, “We’re going to take a break. Get a drink, take a piss, and get ready for the second part of the show, which will blow away the first.”

Lina and Krystal were among the first to get to the women’s room. By the time they came out, a line was forming out the door.

“Drink?” Krystal suggested.

“Yeah, let me think. What do I want?” She glanced up at the bar. “Oh, my God.” She turned away and looked up to the ceiling, which had dozens of rubber bats hanging from the rafters. “Oh, God. Oh, God.”

Krystal turned to her, perplexed. “What?”

“My ex is here.”

Krystal scanned the room. “Who? Where?”

“The tall one at the bar. Black hair, black shirt. Tattooed arms.”

“The guy standing so straight like he has a rod up his back?”

“Yes. He can’t help it. He’s a Marine.”

Krystal’s mouth became a perfect O. “Holy shit. The one you were crazy about?”

Lina couldn’t respond so she nodded, unable to tear her eyes from him. Three years had passed, but he appeared as young and as vibrant as when he was a teenager. His black hair was shorter than when they’d first started dating, but not as close cut as while enlisted in the Marines.

His eyes still conveyed a sense of amusement and burned with an intensity that could render women speechless, including her when they’d first met at a club like this one. His body was leaner than when she’d last seen him; he’d lost some weight that further defined his muscles. He resembled a boxer more than a bodybuilder. The whole package was one she’d never been able to resist. A sucker for dark, brooding Italian boys, he captured it so well he should have been on tourist brochures. It would get her on the first flight to Italy.

Krystal brought her back to earth. “Are you going to say hi to him?”

Lina’s mind scrambled. “I don’t know what to do.”

He must have felt her eyes staring as he turned her way and caught her eye. She froze, unable to break the stare.

“Looks like he knows you’re here now.”

“Uh, ah, um…”

Krystal nudged her arm. “Snap out of it, Lina. No matter what happened between you, he’s still just a guy. It was a long time ago, and you’ve moved on. You’re a strong, confident woman. Don’t let that hot shit with a poker up his ass undermine that.”

Lina faced Krystal. “You’re right. It’s—unexpected. Last I heard he was over in Afghanistan.”

“And now he’s coming your way.”

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#Excerpt of Temptation Returns by Lisa Carlisle #militaryromance #marines #newadult

Temptation Returns

Lisa Carlisle

A Bestseller at All Romance Ebooks and Amazon’s Military Romances

Antonio returns from the Marine Corps to begin a new life as a civilian. While visiting Cape Cod, he meets a strange woman who reads his Tarot cards. He doesn’t believe in such nonsense; after all, he’s a Marine. When he returns to Boston, he receives a ticket to a rock club where he runs into the one woman he never forgot.

Lina can’t believe Antonio is back in town, right before her wedding. Being around him again resurrects long-buried feelings. Will she be able to resist temptation in the form of a dark-haired Italian Marine, the same man who once broke her heart?

Excerpt

“These guys are awesome,” Krystal shouted over the music. “Impossible not to have a good time at their shows.”

“Glad I brought you,” Lina replied. “I doubt this would be Brett’s scene.”

They danced and sang along for several songs until the singer announced, “We’re going to take a break. Get a drink, take a piss, and get ready for the second part of the show, which will blow away the first.”

Lina and Krystal were among the first to get to the women’s room. By the time they came out, a line was forming out the door.

“Drink?” Krystal suggested.

“Yeah, let me think. What do I want?” She glanced up at the bar. “Oh, my God.” She turned away and looked up to the ceiling, which had dozens of rubber bats hanging from the rafters. “Oh, God. Oh, God.”

Krystal turned to her, perplexed. “What?”

“My ex is here.”

Krystal scanned the room. “Who? Where?”

“The tall one at the bar. Black hair, black shirt. Tattooed arms.”

“The guy standing so straight like he has a rod up his back?”

“Yes. He can’t help it. He’s a Marine.”

Krystal’s mouth became a perfect O. “Holy shit. The one you were crazy about?”

Lina couldn’t respond so she nodded, unable to tear her eyes from him. Three years had passed, but he appeared as young and as vibrant as when he was a teenager. His black hair was shorter than when they’d first started dating, but not as close cut as while enlisted in the Marines.

His eyes still conveyed a sense of amusement and burned with an intensity that could render women speechless, including her when they’d first met at a club like this one. His body was leaner than when she’d last seen him; he’d lost some weight that further defined his muscles. He resembled a boxer more than a bodybuilder. The whole package was one she’d never been able to resist. A sucker for dark, brooding Italian boys, he captured it so well he should have been on tourist brochures. It would get her on the first flight to Italy.

Krystal brought her back to earth. “Are you going to say hi to him?”

Lina’s mind scrambled. “I don’t know what to do.”

He must have felt her eyes staring as he turned her way and caught her eye. She froze, unable to break the stare.

“Looks like he knows you’re here now.”

“Uh, ah, um…”

Krystal nudged her arm. “Snap out of it, Lina. No matter what happened between you, he’s still just a guy. It was a long time ago, and you’ve moved on. You’re a strong, confident woman. Don’t let that hot shit with a poker up his ass undermine that.”

Lina faced Krystal. “You’re right. It’s—unexpected. Last I heard he was over in Afghanistan.”

“And now he’s coming your way.”

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7 from Rock My Senses #mysexysaturday #mss66

“What the hell was that about in there? You’ve got blood dripping down your neck.”

Hello and welcome to the 66th week of My Sexy Saturday. I’m sharing seven paragraphs from my new release, which just came out on Halloween yesterday!

Seven from Rock My Senses

“What the hell was that about in there? You’ve got blood dripping down your neck.”

She dabbed at her neck and stared at her fingers, now stained dark red. “What the—” A snowflake went straight for her finger and we both watched mesmerized as stark white met velvet red and was swallowed by it.

A few snowflakes fell onto her cheeks and her tiny nose and I felt an urge to brush them away, but they melted once they met the warmth of her flushed skin. She had delicate features and pretty blue eyes. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t place how I knew her. Her blonde hair  lay tousled on her shoulders, set off by the black of a dress that clung to her tight little body. My cock had settled down after the freaky incident inside, but twitched back to life again.

“Are you two into some weird-ass drugs and vampire role-play or something?” I asked.

My question distracted her from her blood-covered fingers. She still appeared dazed, but wobbled less. The fresh air and sight of blood must have jolted her back to reality. She reached into her purse and pulled out tissues to blot the blood.

“I’m not judging,” I clarified, in case I embarrassed her. “We all have our things.” When she didn’t answer me, I asked, “Where do you live?”

She focused on me with a dead-eyed stare. “Figures you don’t remember.”

Rock My Senses

Rock My SensesComputer geek by day, by night Mike Harvey becomes outlandish guitarist Chee Keydood for rock band Velvet Cocks. Spotting two women kissing in a club, he thinks he’s in luck.

Allana Miles isn’t sure what came over her, but she sure as hell recognizes Chee and can’t believe he doesn’t remember her from their one-night stand. But she has no time to think about him—she’s too busy opening her own yoga studio to get involved in a relationship.

When they meet again at a New Year’s party, their attraction reignites, too hot to ignore. But they’ve got issues to overcome. Allana catches glimpses of the man behind the façade, but doesn’t think they can fit into each other’s lives even though the sex is great. Mike has always known he’s a bit different, but is shocked to discover his real nature. Will he be able to protect Allana from danger and convince her to take a chance on him?

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

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My Sexy Saturday – 7 from Highland Shifters #MySexySaturday #Saturday7 #MSS61

Happy Saturday! I’m enjoying my second piping hot cup of coffee after getting up early and reading. Hope the weekend is filled with books and caffeine for you as well–two of my favorite things, especially together!

Today I’m sharing seven paragraphs from Knights of Stone, which is my novella in the Highland Shifters boxed set. I am thrilled to be part of this set with such talented authors. It has shot up the charts, is #1 in many Amazon categories, and is in the Amazon top 50 right now. It has over 70 five star reviews already and readers love it. The initial price of 99 cents is almost over so be sure to get it at this steal of a price before it goes up.

Excerpt from Knights of Stone by Lisa Carlisle

Five torches blazed on the stage all at once, lit by an unseen force. The audience erupted in cheers as the dancing lights from the flickering fire basked the statues. The flames lowered, casting the gargoyles in an eerie, almost reverent glow.

Movement. So slight, Kayla wondered if it was simply a play of light and shadows in her anticipation for the change. She fixed her gaze on the statue in front of her, the one she’d gravitated to each time she’d had snuck out to see the show. Its massive gray form stood straight on two legs built for sturdiness. Its chest jutted out proudly. Gray wings with detailed feathers etched in the stone arched from a point below its shoulder blades. Eyes cast straight ahead on a face that appeared to be a mixture of canine and lion. Its right hand twitched, so slightly she would have missed it if she hadn’t stared so intently. Then a clawed foot inched forward.

Murmurs of astonishment burst from the crowd as the transformation began. Their cries of fervor grew louder as the monstrous statues transformed into taller, slimmer figures with the bronzed skin of warriors who battled under the midday sun. The tartan fabric fell over their thighs as they stood erect, covering their nudity.

Kayla barely blinked, mesmerized as always, as the statue before her stood to full height, taking on the form of a human male, but with beautiful raven wings. Hair just as black snaked rebelliously past his chin. The stony eyes flickered with animation, turning to a mossy green. His deep gaze seared the audience, seeming to burn anything in the path. When he found Kayla, he stopped.

His expression was unreadable, but the intensity in his unblinking eyes made her swallow. She froze under the scrutiny as if hypnotized, unable to break eye contact. Her stomach lurched, heart pounded, and every muscle in her body tightened, fueled with blood now scorching through her veins. His penetrating appraisal affected her so. When his eyes took on a smoldering glint, her skin tingled and a red-hot awareness grew between her thighs.

He broke the stare and continued to assess the audience. She gasped, not realizing she had been holding her breath, and panted while she tried to breathe at a normal rate. He turned on robust legs and strode to a guitar stand. She tore her eyes from him to note the other gargoyles. They, too, had shifted into the form of striking males. One had black hair draped further down his back, one had long blond hair, and two had reddish-brown hair—one wavy and shaggy, the other straight. They took their place at other  instruments. She sought the guitarist again and caught the first sound of the pick striking the strings. On hearing the guitar projected through the amp, the crowd roared again, pressing Kayla forward.

The freak show was about to begin.

 

HIGHLAND SHIFTERS: Paranormal Romance Boxed Set

12 scorching hot shifter romances for only $0.99!
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Find out what’s under that kilt in this collection of steamy shapeshifter romances! NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors such as Selena Kitt, Michelle Fox, Tabitha Conall, Adriana Hunter and Liliana Rhodes offer stories featuring hot alpha shifters in kilts. Most of the 12 stories in the collection are brand new!

Are you ready to peek under the plaid?

Her Scottish Alpha by Tabitha Conall: In the midst of trying to figure out their mating, Alpha werewolf Lachlan and dragon slayer Keira have to find Keira’s missing sister, fight a war and save Lachlan’s life.

Liulf by Victoria Danann: For two thousand years the Scotia werewolves have enjoyed the protection of the Fae Monarchy, but the world is changing and the tribe must adapt or face extinction. Or move.

Highland Wolf Pact by Selena Kitt: Englishwoman Sibyl Blackthorne escapes her arranged marriage to a cruel Scot only to find herself in the arms of something even more dangerous – and discovers only one wild heart can claim another.

Kiss the Dragon by Michelle Fox: A cursed dragon finds his maiden is already claimed by the future. If he can’t save her, she can’t save him.

By the Light of the Scottish Moon by Red Phoenix: Bryn, the pack leader, is so lost in his own pain he can’t see beyond it. Freya is dying & has come home to Scotland.to say goodbye. Her fate lies in his hands – but to save her he must kill her.

The Highlander’s Mate by Liliana Rhodes: Centuries after an ancient curse on his clan tore werewolf Bran MacCulloch away from his mate Ainsley Drummond, he catches her scent on the breeze. But how can it be her?

Highland Moon Rising by Sarah Makela: When wereleopard Caitlyn returns home to see her werewolf half-brother after he’s rescued from scientists, she’s imprisoned by the Pack. Will the Alpha who hungers for her be the protector she needs?

Knights of Stone by Lisa Carlisle: Gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters have divided their Scottish isle. When a witch breaches into another territory, she’s tempted by a forbidden attraction that may affect the future for all.

The Zrakon’s Curse by Linda Barlow: Sea dragon shifter Colin Malloch’s need for a mate draws a woman from another world into grave danger. How can he keep her safe when his own brother demands her life?

To Tame a Highlander by Adriana Hunter: Curvy nurse Aspyn Montgomery’s night takes a sudden turn when a patient she watched die suddenly turns up at her apartment desperately needing help. Can fated love triumph over the threat of war?

Roots and Fang by Skye Eagleday & Ripley Sage: When McKay takes a male Fae lover it triggers the deadly jealousy of the powerful Pooka shape-shifter the Fae abandoned. Can love conquer all when only one of you is human?

Midnight Hunt by Arial Burnz: As Broderick unravels the mystery of why Monika reminds him of his late wife, his quest for answers causes a chain of events, starting a witch hunt, dooming them both to the fiery stake of judgment.

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My Sexy Saturday – 7 from Seduction: One Fortune at a Time

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday. I’m sharing seven paragraphs from Temptation Returns, my novella in the newly released boxed set, Seduction: One Fortune at a Time.

Temptation Returns

Lisa Carlisle

Temptation Returns by Lisa Carlisle – Antonio returns from the Marine Corps and runs into the woman he never forgot at a rock club. Lina can’t believe Antonio is back in town, right before her wedding. Can she resist temptation in the form of a dark-haired Italian Marine?

Excerpt:

Lina’s mind scrambled. “I don’t know what to do.”

He must have felt her eyes staring as he turned her way and caught her eye. She froze, unable to break the stare.

“Looks like he knows you’re here now.”

“Uh, ah, um…”

Krystal nudged her arm. “Snap out of it, Lina. No matter what happened between you, he’s still just a guy. It was a long time ago, and you’ve moved on. You’re a strong, confident woman. Don’t let that hot shit with a poker up his ass undermine that.”

Lina faced Krystal. “You’re right. It’s—unexpected. Last I heard he was over in Afghanistan.”

“And now he’s coming your way.”

 

Seduction

One Fortune at a Time

Seven steamy novellas from seven acclaimed romance authors, guaranteed to bring good fortune (or at least a hot read) to any romance fan. There’s a seduction for everyone in this romance anthology of never-before published stories that range from sensual to erotic—all for one seductive price! 

New boxed set – Only 99 cents for a limited time!

Temptation Returns by Lisa Carlisle – Antonio returns from the Marine Corps and runs into the woman he never forgot at a rock club. Lina can’t believe Antonio is back in town, right before her wedding. Can she resist temptation in the form of a dark-haired Italian Marine?

Love Charm for Fiona by Carly Carson – When Fiona receives a fortuneteller’s love charm, she casts the spell to bring her dead fiancé back to life. But a love charm has its own magic, and what she gets is a surprise in the form of a Navy SEAL on “shore leave.”

Fear Of Flying by Leigh Court – Book publicist Jessie Jordan is deathly afraid of flying, which prompts travel writer Regan Quade to come up with a highly imaginative (and intimate!) way to calm her anxiety. Thrown together on a two-week book tour, the result just might be a bestseller!

Hearts on Fire by Roz Lee – They’ve been burned before, but desire will rekindle the flames of love in this sensual and heart wrenching story of redemption and second chances.

Heart’s Destiny by Jennifer Lynne – Eve Perroniʼs quest to find her past leaves no time for love, until a chance prediction leads to the seductive Ky Ransom and a destiny that could make—or break—both their hearts.

Moonlit Seduction by Anne Kane – Winston is a mutt with a mission – to convince Natalie that her fortune lies in surrendering to the seductive Jacob McKinley.

Hidden Fortune by Laura Sheehan – Ava has always played it safe, but after a midnight run-in with a handsome stranger, she discovers that perhaps fortune favors the bold. Can she find the courage to seek the ultimate treasure?

Only 99 cents for a limited time!

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Anna Bayes Shares an Excerpt from It is Time – Egg-cerpt Exchange

Welcome Anna Bayes to the Book Spotlight today. Anna is here to share an egg-cerpt from It is Time.

It Is Time and Other Stories

It Is Time book coverA short story collection of contemporary M/F erotic romances.

This collection of 15 romantic bite-size stories is a must-have for Anna’s loyal fans and serves as the perfect sampler for new readers. Find out why fans from everywhere are addicted to Anna’s writing.

The collection begins with the tale of a woman who has decided that “It is time” to give her lover a final gift.

From the sweet, vanilla exchanges of love (such as “Love Letter,” “Gratitude” and “Ticket to France”), the electrifying thrill of instant attraction (“Stockings, Pendant, Arousal” and “Unexpected”), paranormal love story (“Lucy Reborn”) to steamy tales that stretch the mind and boundaries (for example, “My Reluctant Dom” and “Four Hot Guys”), these 15 stories promise to tease and gratify.

Note: Explicit sex scenes. Adult material intended for readers aged 18+.

Excerpt from title story, “It Is Time”

It is time, I believe.

My heart beats in my throat, and a chilling cold freezes my fingers, but I urge myself to speak my mind. “How many women do you have?”

He regards me calmly.

I gulp, and feel a whirlwind stirring in my stomach, but I look back at him with as much strength as I can muster.

“There are you, Robyn — you already know Robyn, and another girl called Tess.” He articulates slowly and clearly. “Three.”

A dull pain settles in my heart, but I accept it without letting it flare up. “Do they know as well?” I ask.

“Robyn possibly suspected that I had already met you before we had our threesome.” He says. “But no, basically. You are the only one who’ve ever asked.”

I nod.

The question, “Who’s your favorite?” circles in my head, but I know better than to ask that. Instead, I enquire, “You looked so peaceful when I asked you, were you expecting that question?”

“Not exactly.” He brushes a loose strand of hair out of my view as he continues. “But you’re easily the smartest girl I’ve met in my whole life. Whatever query you have, I think it’s best if I answer plainly, instead of trying to lie.”

I take a sip from my lukewarm tea and look around the apartment. The walls are bare; his suitcase is still leaning against the farthest wall, near the window. Except for the drinks on the kitchen counter, our shoes in the doorway and our clothes flung about casually on the floor, the place is empty.

He is in town every month or so, staying for about ten days each time. His business is good, so he can easily afford a spare apartment in the choicest region only for sleep and sex dates. The dingy brown sofa-bed does not bother him; he fucks hard and long on it, then cradles me to sleep.

I had known he was not for keeps, but the way he remembered details from our pillow talk, the meticulous attention he paid my body whenever he enjoyed me, and the sweet nothingness he consistently texted me everyday when he was away gradually built a cage around my heart. I grew attached to him and yearned for him earnestly.

To be fair, there is nothing to blame in him, because he has never deceived. Girls believed what they wanted; he never had to lie. I willingly accepted his sorry excuses whenever I wished to see him; it had always been him setting the time and date, and I showed up each time without fail.

I place the tea on the side, shift my position to face him and drink in his handsome features. His blue-green eyes effortlessly capture my soul; I drown in their watery symmetry. I often wonder if he truly speaks through his eyes, or am I the one convincing myself that I can read loving messages in his gaze. Perhaps I simply recite what my heart craves to hear in my mind when I worship his beauty.

 

Buy links:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00INCJFI0

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00INCJFI0

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/412890

 

**

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Excerpt for Bloodlust and Metal by Lisa Carlisle

Bloodlust and Metal
By Lisa Carlisle

Chapter One

 

Devon

On the flight from London, I studied a road map to drive from Boston up to the nightclub Vamps where Bloodlust Diamond was playing. Vamps was hidden in the warehouse district in Caterina’s Cove, a little coastal village on the coast north of Boston. A brochure advertising condos described it as a quiet seaside setting, the perfect place to have access to the ocean without the typical tourist crowd that attacked most of the other beaches on the North Shore.

The brochure conveniently left out how Cat’s Cove, as it was called, was also home to an underground/Goth club that attracted “freaks and weirdoes” as one regular had described it online. In my word-of-mouth research, I discovered it also attracted a small, but growing crowd of supernatural beings. Rumor spread it was once owned by a vampire. After an explosion took out a good chunk of the club, it was bought and rebuilt by the current owner. Employees described him as tall, dark and utterly mysterious; some speculated whether he is a vampire as well.

Vampires. I hated them. Always have. Cold, dead creatures stalking the Earth and sucking sustenance out of humans.

Pathetic.

When I got the call from a vampire named Stefano, one part of me cringed. I loathed dealing with these blood-lusting walking corpses. Since this one was willing to pay a large fee and it sounded like an easy gig, I swallowed my revulsion and took the job. All I had to do was hunt down a female vampire who stole from him and ran away. If he disposed of her, even better. One less vampire in the world.

After we landed in the U.S. and waited at the long lines at Customs, I found the car rentals. Earlier I had requested a black car with tinted windows and plenty of space in the back seat and trunk, either which might serve as a temporary abode for Miss Costa. Of course, I told the rental agent I had a lot of luggage. I smirked at the visual of having that bloody vampire bound in the car. Then I drove north to Cat’s Cove.

Stefano knew better than to hire a human to find Layla. They relied on paper trails and online transactions, both of which vampires kept to a minimum, especially considering their extended life periods. He needed someone like me, with abilities beyond a typical human’s. With those and the skills I’d learned in the British military, I had established a lucrative career as a bounty hunter. A job I enjoyed more than I like to admit.

Most of my targets were scumbags. They deserved to be caught and brought to justice. Not all, though. On a few occasions, I suspected the person whom I was hired to bring in might be innocent. But I had to stay objective. It wasn’t my job to judge a person’s guilt or innocence. It was my job to track them down and bring them to whomever hired me. This time, it was the thieving little vampire, Layla Costa.

Tracking her down wasn’t that difficult, but it did take longer than I had expected. I caught her scent all over Stefano’s place. It was rather sweet, reminding me of herbs and flowers, and not the smell of the dead I’d associated with most vampires. This distinctive scent helped me track where she’d went next. With her photograph in hand and scent imprinted in my mind, I asked about her at each location. One location led me to another. And eventually I discovered that Layla Costa was now portraying herself as Angelica Blackwell, a singer for a heavy metal cover band called Bloodlust Diamond. She changed her appearance dramatically, but I could still discern the same features.

She was quite striking, I noted. Both as the dark-haired vampire Layla Costa and the wild heavy metal singer with teased multi-colored hair Angelica.

What did her looks matter, I corrected myself. She was just another job. I would simply grab her, take her to Stefano and collect my money.

 

Layla

I teased my variegated black and blonde hair to get into character for the show. After all these years as a brunette, it was strange seeing myself with blonde. The hair stylist I paid big money to “reinvent me” insisted this is the look to capture attention as the new singer of an Eighties hair band.

“Heavy metal,” I’d corrected.

He’d snickered. “Okay, princess.”

What did he know about music anyway?

He’d bleached one side of my hair a platinum blonde and dyed the other side black. Then he added a few streaks of black amid the blond and white amid the black.

If I turned one way in the mirror, my reflection showed a raven-haired woman. When I turned the other way, my reflection showed the blonde. Amazing how the hair color made me look like two different women. Then I looked at my reflection dead on from the front. Whoever was looking at me would focus on my wild hair, which commanded attention, rather than my face. Money well spent. The better I disguised myself as Angelica, rock singer, the less I resembled Layla Costa. Which would make it harder for Stefano to find me.

I accentuated my eyes with black eyeliner, extending them slightly beyond my lash line to give me a cat’s eye style. Then I added two coats of black mascara. It was too easy for features to wash out under the stage lights. With some blush and a dark maroon lipstick, I made sure it wouldn’t happen tonight.

I put on red stiletto boots over the tight black vinyl pants and readjusted my tank top in the full-length mirror. Then I took a nip of the blood from my flask. Just a little bit to take off the edge. Immediately after drinking blood, I felt almost drunk so I tried not to overdo it before going onstage. But a little sip was my ritual to fortify me for the energy I’d expend tonight.

“Here we go again,” I said to my reflection. Then I drove to the rehearsal space to meet up with the rest of Bloodlust Diamond, the band I’d joined six weeks ago. Their lead singer had quit to enter drug and alcohol rehab. I was looking for a new opportunity after running away from Stefano. What would be more fun than reinventing myself as a sexy rock star for a fun metal band?

 

With our equipment stashed in the back of the van, we drove to Caterina’s Cove, a town I’d never heard of north of Boston. A woman named Maya Winters had called us from Vamps, some sort of Goth/underground club.

“We’re having a theme week,” she’d explained. “Hair and Roses—The best and worst of the Eighties. We’d like to book you to play here a couple of nights.”

Since Bloodlust Diamond was usually out there soliciting gigs, we jumped on the opportunity.

“How did you hear about us?” our guitarist Joey Bangs asked.

“I’m always looking for new talent to book here. I asked our regulars if they knew any good bands who played 80s covers and a few mentioned you. They’d seen you play around Boston. So I checked out your Web site and liked what I saw.”

 

When we walked through an alley to reach Vamps, I thought we’d probably made a mistake. Who would come to a hidden club in a town nobody had ever heard of? But when we reached a building with gargoyles perched on each side of the front door, my interest was piqued.

The bouncer called some of the staff to help us unload and set up our instruments, which was cool since we weren’t big enough to hire roadies. When I opened a door with a sign reading “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” and entered the main area of the club, my initial impressions changed drastically. Judging by the number of people wall to wall, this place was definitely not unknown.

The dance floor was packed with people jumping or dancing wildly to Ozzy Osborne’s Crazy Train. Although a number of people got into the spirit when they came to our shows, almost everyone here had dressed for the 80s theme tonight. Most of the women had teased their hair to make it bigger and harder than nature intended. Some of the guys had long hair, but I couldn’t tell if it was natural or very good wigs. I should go out there and give some a little tug.

Many of them wore band shirts with torn jeans. I read some of the shirts—Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, Biohazard, Danzig. Some of the women opted to vamp out in tight black spandex pants or animal print.

A smaller portion of the crowd dressed from the older punk scene. Spiked hair, hair shaved into an asymmetric style, or mohawks. I wondered if they were punk rockers or just going all out for the night. Punk band shirts—the Ramones, the Clash, and Black Flag—and a lot of spiked belts. An even smaller portion sported a gothic look. Black clothing, pale faces, and eyes painted dark and smoky.

Despite the variety of couture, one accessory was a given—black boots everywhere.

The sounds of Crazy Train faded out and I noticed the DJ at the back of the club. He’d play before and after we had our set. The crowd slowed down as the music dimmed. The DJ blended the final notes into Nine Inch Nail’s Head Like a Hole and the crowd’s energy rose again.

 

While the guys from the club helped us set up our equipment on stage, I walked up to test the mic and adjust it to my height. Whoever played here last had to be extremely tall as I moved it all the way down to reach my much smaller stature of 5’2”. Maybe I could inch up to 5’ 5” or 5’ 6” in stilettos.

Then I met up with the guys backstage and we went over the set list. Joey caught a glimpse of a tall, striking woman striding toward them.

“Hi, Maya,” he said. I noticed he used the tone he reserved for women he found attractive. “This is Mark, Rocco, and Layla. Guys, this is Maya Winters, the woman who booked us.”

After we all exchanged hellos and nice to meet yous, Maya ran over the last minute details about our set.

 

Maya walked out on stage as the DJ faded out the end of the song.

“Good evening, everyone,” she said. “I’d like to welcome you to a special event at Vamps tonight. As you know we’re having 80s week here, Hair and Roses, bringing all of you back to the best—and the worst—of the 80s.” Lots of shouts and hollers from the crowd. “Judging by the outfits here tonight, I’m glad you’ve all gone for the best.” More hoots from the crowd. “We’re also going with the best by bringing you an awesome band recommended by some of you regulars out there. Thank you. You know who you are. So without further ado, get ready for some of the best of 80s heavy metal. Let’s welcome Bloodlust Diamond!”

The crowd applauded.

“Ready?” Joey said.

“Ready,” Mark Dudley, who we called Studley, said.

“Let’s go.”

More cheering as the guys walked on the stage, raising their hands in welcome as they took their positions at their instruments.

I sipped another nip of blood while nobody was looking to counter the initial stage fright that consumed me before I went on stage. Once I started singing, I was fine. It was that quiet moment between walking out there seeing the crowd and beginning to sing that gave me an issue. I checked my lips for any signs of blood that the dark lipstick wouldn’t camouflage. Then I walked out to join the guys, striding confidently to compensate for my nerves.

Maya touched my shoulder as she passed and said, “Break a leg.” I had to look up at her. Damn, she was tall. What I would do for long legs like that.

Enough of that for now. I’d already reinvented myself for more than one lifetime.

 

Devon

“This is bullshit,” I overheard some guy in the club say.

“What is?” his friend asked.

“This whole fuckin’ night. I thought we were going to see Bloodlust Diamond play. Now they have some lame ass chic singing. When did that happen?”

I took a sip of my beer, pretending not to listen to the conversation.

“Don’t be such a dick, man,” his friend said. “The other singer left. Went into rehab or something. Their new singer is a woman. Big whoops.”

“She’s going to kill the band. How can a woman sing metal? The way the other singer did? No fucking way.”

“We’ll find out soon, won’t we? In the meantime, relax, dude. Go hang out at the bar if you don’t want to listen.”

“Good idea. You know where to find me.” He walked away in a huff.

His friend noticed me and must have assumed I heard the whole conversation. “I don’t know what crawled up his ass,” he said, then focused his attention on the stage as three guys and then a woman came out. “Who cares if she can sing or not? She’s smokin’ hot.”

I nodded. He was right—she was quite ravishing. The photographs of her didn’t do her justice and I had thought she was striking when I saw those. Now I was transfixed. Looking at the males in the club staring at her with rapt expressions on their faces, I wasn’t the only one. She wore a heavy black trench coat that hid her body and drew all attention to her face. Her large eyes sparkled, and her cheeks looked so soft I wanted to touch them. Her lips with the perfect amount of plumpness, were just begging to be kissed.

Not only had her presence commanded the attention of every guy in the club, but most of the women as well. What they couldn’t perceive, but I could, was she wasn’t human; her skin was far paler and eyes much brighter.

I examined the others in the band. Humans. Did they know their singer was a vampire?

When Layla yelled out, “Hello, all you motherfuckas!” the rest of the crowd looked up, too. “We’re Bloodlust Diamond and we’re here to have a wicked time rocking out tonight. Who’s with us?” A bunch of people hooted and cheered. “Good. I don’t want anyone creeping around in the back of the room. Get up closer. I want to see you. I want to hear you!” The crowd screamed again. “We’re going to start with some old school Metallica.” She turned to the band and said “One, two, one, two, three, four.”

The drummer launched a heavy beat and the band joined in. Then Layla leaned close into the mic and sang the beginning lyrics to Am I Evil.

I hope that jerk at the bar heard her, because as she wailed the lyrics, she left no doubt that she could sing. How a tough-ass voice came out of a petite body like that was a mystery. Even in her red stiletto heels and teased-up hair, I gauged her to be 5’3” at the most. The illusion of the heels and hair made her appear much bigger and tougher than she was.

For some reason, I imagined her coming out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. No hair done up or makeup on, no heels. All natural. She was probably a wee little thing that you’d just want to pull on top of your lap and hold. And touch…

Wait, why was I thinking stuff like this? I had a job to do—capture her. Not fantasize about her coming out of the shower.

I studied Layla as she played, watching how she moved. Although my eyes scanned every visible inch of her, I convinced myself I was focused on her the same way I would with any other acquisition I’d been hired to bring in. I had to be aware of anything I needed to know to capture her.

She was a vampire so she’d be fast, her reflexes even faster than mine. She’d be strong, but that’s where I had the advantage. I had more strength than most men in human form, and once I transformed, I had the strength of whatever animal I shifted into.

She would be tougher to capture than a human, but I loved challenges. Capturing humans was almost too easy. Throw a supernatural into the mix and that’s when things really got exciting.

When the band finished the song, I went to the bar to order a beer.

The jerk was still complaining at the bar. “Oh great. A girl covering Whitesnake. Just shoot me now.”

I ignored him, even though I agreed with him about covers. Most bands who played covers killed them. They either tried too hard to copy the original and failed or went the other way and tried so hard to make it their own they lost the essence of the song. That’s not to say some bands didn’t kill it in a good way. Every now and then a band would play a cover that blew the original away.

When I heard Layla wail out the first two lines of the Still of the Night, I turned back toward the stage, compelled to see her again. Her voice stirred something inside me. She threw off her heavy black trench coat. When I saw her up against the microphone stand in such an erotic stance, I tried to ignore the sensations surging through my body. Her skintight black pants showed off finely toned legs, making me wonder what her ass looked like. Her black tank top was torn at the top, revealing some cleavage. Her pale arms showed definition as she clutched the microphone.

She belted out the sexiest rendition of the song since David Coverdale sang it. Her voice alternated between a purr and a seductive wail. Whenever I heard this song from now on, it wouldn’t be Tawny Kitaen writhing on a Jaguar that I fantasized about. It would have to be this vixen on the stage compelling me and every other guy in the bar to watch her, listen to her, be her slave.

By the end of the song, I had completely forgotten that I had come to Boston for one specific purpose.

Focus, Devon. Snap out of it. You have a job to do. Don’t let your dick get in the way.

 

Layla

Our guitarist, Joey Bangs, went backstage for a quick change while the rest of us played. When he came back on stage, he’d added a button-down white shirt and tie to go over his black leather pants. Then he donned a pair of black horn-rimmed glasses and the ladies screamed their approval of the sexy intelligent persona.

While Joey distracted the crowd with a guitar solo, I escaped backstage to quickly take off the heels and spandex and throw on a tiny schoolgirl outfit. Plaid skirt, fitted white tank top, and chunky Mary Jane shoes.

When I came back on stage, I took the mic. “Call it heavy metal, call it hair metal, call it rock. We don’t give a fuck. We’re here to play music and have an awesome time. If you’re with us, let me hear you!”

The crowd responded with shouts and hollers.

“That’s what I like to hear. Now Rocco is going to start with a little drum solo I think you might recognize.” I turned. “Rocco.”

He launched into the familiar intro to Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher and the crowd cheered upon recognizing the song. I strutted over to the drum set, moving as sexy as I could to the beat.

Joey joined in with the guitar and I moved over to him, dancing in a suggestive way as I admired his talents. I mussed up his shirt a little and loosened his tie.

Mark started with the bass and I sang the beginning lyrics. Joey and I acted out our new stage personas with him as a tempted professor and me as a naughty school girl. At one point I bent over in front of him so he could catch a glimpse of my white cotton panties and he smacked me playfully on the ass. Mark donned a classic brown wool blazer and a pair of glasses to play the part of the principal. He stood between us as an authority figure, pushing his hands out to the sides to keep Joey and me apart, while I reached past him to loosen Joey’s tie and unbutton the top buttons of his shirt

When Bloodlust Metal hired me to replace the previous singer, I decided not to copy his stage presence. Instead I invented my own. Joey was on board with the concept of his skirting around a forbidden attraction on stage, flirting with the idea of becoming lovers. The act added a fun, sexy element to our shows. Mark often acted as an opposing force, throwing obstacles in our way or even pulling one of us away from the other.

So far, our act was working well. It helped get the crowd into the shows as we continued the forbidden lust-addled love story, rather than having four musicians simply play a string of songs.

By the end of Hot for Teacher, I’d managed to get the shirt, tie and glasses off Joey, so he was now donning a torn Bloodlust Diamond shirt. The ladies loved this part, hooting as I stripped off his good boy image to reveal the bad boy hiding inside the upright and proper professor. Rock star Joey with his wild brown hair and lean physique then took over the role of seducing me with the sultry stances and bedroom looks he’d perfected; I thought a few women might rush the stage and knock me over to get a piece of him.

 

Devon

As I watched Layla play, the sexy way she ran her hand over the mic stand. I pictured her tiny hand running over my body. Down the front of my chest, over the muscles in my legs, in between my legs, increasing the mounting excitement.

It’s just adrenaline building. Your body preparing for the capture.

The hard press of my erection in my jeans told me I was full of shit.

The music ended, jolting me back to reality. I wasn’t here to ogle her and fantasize about what she’d be like in my arms or in my bed. I was here to capture her.

I forced myself out of the mindset of a male attracted to a female and back into one of a predator on the prowl. She was prey.

I watched her say good night to the crowd, thanking them for coming, and then leaving the stage. Swarms of fans surrounded the band members to talk to them. While the females jostled to get closer to the guys in the band, males vied for Layla’s attention. Unfamiliar jealousy stabbed me square in the gut and I forced it away.

I could wait for her fans to subside. I’d wait for her to be alone or lure her someplace alone if I had to. No rush. Besides, I liked to take my time. Like a cat playing with a mouse. The thrill of the hunt.

I smiled at that thought. Like a cat.

The woman who’d introduced them came back onto the stage. “How about a hand for Bloodlust Diamond?”

The crowd applauded with a bunch of hooting and hollering.

“I knew they could play, but I had no idea how visually appealing they would be. A feast for the senses, don’t you think? Did you hear the way she sang? And the guitarist? Yummy.”

More hollering and whistling from the crowd.

“Lucky for you they’re coming back for another set tomorrow night. So how many of you will we see again tomorrow?”

More cheering. “Great. We’ll see you again. And now our awesome DJ is coming back to get all your hot bodies on the dance floor. Give it up for DJ Stark.”

The DJ started up again with The Clash’s Rock the Casbah. People were already back on the floor dancing. I scoured the crowd for signs of Layla, but she’d disappeared. I figured I’d check outside, in case she was a smoker. The bouncer stamped my hand when I said I’d be right back. I opened the large wooden door and stepped out into the cool New England night.

A few people who were smoking had congregated near each other. I wondered if it was a camaraderie thing. With fewer people smoking these days than ten years ago, did they stick together? Complain about being ostracized from the clubs?

I walked down the alley to the main road, which was devoid of people. I saw a black van, which was nondescript except for a few Bloodlust Diamond stickers on the back portion. It must be the band’s van, or some hardcore fans. I hoped for the former, as it  meant Layla Costa had not escaped me.

Although I wanted to hurry to get back inside the club, I resisted the urge to walk quicker. Part of the thrill was hunting her down and I didn’t want the excitement to end just yet.

Back inside, I searched the crowd for her, a petite woman with distinctive hair. One side so blonde it was almost white while the other as black as midnight. On each side strips of the other color. She’d be easy to spot in a crowd.

There she was standing near the bar.

Bingo.

She was talking to a few people, taking a sip of her drink from time to time.

I walked closer while staying behind the crowd so she wouldn’t see me approach. When I was in earshot, I tried to listen to their conversation. Even with my extraordinary senses, I couldn’t hear what they were saying over the sounds of a Siouxie and the Banshees song, Kiss Them for Me.

How would I get her alone?

As I pondered this question, she looked up and noticed me. When her eyes found mine, I froze. Not only did I feel as if I was caught doing something wrong, but something else made my chest tighten. Her dark, inquisitive eyes searched mine as if trying to figure out my secrets. Beyond making me aware that she might be more difficult to capture than a typical human, I was also now aware of parts of my body responding to her inquisitive gaze. My lips felt parched and I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs.

She was a vampire and vampires had that special ability to mesmerize humans, but I’m not human so she shouldn’t have any effect on me. So what exactly was going on?

Another part of me, the one that was former military and current bounty hunter, kicked in. Take control of the situation and seize any opportunity. Use whatever options you have to your advantage.

Now that she’d seen me staring, I’d play the part of a fan idolizing a band. I walked directly up to her and ignored the people around her. I didn’t recognize them as the band members on stage so this might fit.

“Hi!” I said in an excited voice. “I just wanted to say how great you were tonight.” As her eyes focused on mine, I was drawn in to them. They weren’t black as I thought from a distance, but a rich brown the color of hot chocolate on the outer edge fading to a honey brown toward the pupil. I’d never seen eyes like that. Could humans even perceive how Layla’s eyes appeared different from theirs? Utterly spectacular. Her eyes flashed excitement and hinted at mystery all at the same time. I looked away briefly to break the eye contact.

Vampire eyes, vampire eyes, I chanted in my head in an effort to avoid them.

If she was trying to mesmerize me with her vampire charms, it was working. No, I was a shapeshifter, I reminded myself. Vampire tricks that worked on ordinary humans wouldn’t work on my kind. I focused on a bottle of whiskey behind the bar, took a deep breath to refocus, and looked at her again.

“Thanks,” she said, flashing me a megawatt smile that disarmed me once again. Her teeth were perfectly white, even, and gleaming, showing no signs of fangs. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

Whether she was sincere or could see right through me and was playing along, I had no idea so I kept going with my act.

“I’d never seen you guys play before and I’m so glad I came tonight. I had a smashing time.”

“What’s your name?”

“Devon.”

“I’m Angelica.”

No, you’re not. You’re Layla Costa. I know who you are and why you’re on the run. You’re nothing more than a common thief. I nodded like a devoted fan. “I know.”

“Devon, you’re British?”

“Yes. I live in London.”

When she laughed, the sound was almost musical.

Vampire trait, I told myself. Don’t be taken in.

“I hope you didn’t fly all the way to the U.S. just to see us play.”

“Not exactly.” I didn’t come to see the band, but I did come especially for you.

“So what brings you over to this side of the pond?”

“Oh, you know, I like to travel. You ever go to England?”

“Not yet. I’d like to.”

Liar. You lived there for years.

She glanced at my arms. “Sick tattoos.”

“Thanks.”

“You get all those in England?”

“Most. I travel a lot.”

“For business or pleasure?”

“A bit of both.”

“Interesting. What do you do for a living?”

Hunt down criminals like you.

A question I would avoid answering directly. “I’m self-employed.”

She nodded slowly as if assessing my evasive reply. I still couldn’t figure out if my shtick was working. Was she humoring me as a fan? Or on to my ruse and playing with me? Time to turn the focus back to her.

“Would you mind giving me your autograph?”

“You have pen and paper?”

I looked in my pockets even though I knew I didn’t have them. “No.”

“Go buy a shirt or CD or something and find me later.”

I smiled graciously and walked away.

That didn’t exactly go as planned. But it didn’t blow up in my face either. As I walked over to the display selling T-shirts, bumper stickers, CDs and all kinds of merch, I tried to think of what my next step would be.

“What can I get ya?” A guy showing more tattoos than his actual skin color asked me.

I grabbed a CD, but then noticed it featured the previous singer. I imagined Layla wasn’t with the band long enough to record a CD. “One of these.”

After paying him, I retreated to one of the back walls of the club so I could think of my next move. I watched her all night. A few times I caught her looking around. A part of me hoped she was searching for me. But I remained in the shadows, lurking and waiting for the right moment. Like a predator.

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