Sunday, November 20, 2011
Just One Bite - Ellora's Cave Quickie - out 23rd Nov
My little novella - Just One Bite - is a paranormal erotic romance that I'd originally intended for the ARe competition but it grew and grew and grew!
Liv is having the day from hell. Hit on by her piggish landlord, she’s the victim of an attempted mugging by a guy who bites, and then her hair gets caught in the coffee machine. Things go from bad to worse when she’s stalked on her way home, and the stalker turns out to be the morning’s mugger. Except he’s tall, dark and delicious, offering an apology, flowers, a body to die for and he wants to cook steak for her.
There’s just one snag. He’s a raving lunatic who thinks he’s a werewolf.
It wasn’t the worst day in Liv Miller’s life, that spot was taken by the day she’d slipped her father’s brand new car into reverse instead of park, plowed over a set of golf clubs and through the garage wall to end up in the fishpond. Oh God. Who knew Land Rovers were so powerful and walls so thin? And that grown men could be so attached to sporting equipment? Good thing that she and her father were close. He eventually forgave her. Afterward, when anyone in the family had a bad day, someone managed to bring up that day to top it.
But this day was coming close to that all-time low. Liv had been late for work because her fat, balding, chauvinistic pig of a landlord had grabbed her as she exited her apartment. His suggestion of a way she might like to pay her next month’s rent made Liv’s stomach crawl. When his rancid breath hit her face, she heaved, and that saved her because he thought she was about to throw up and let her go.
Liv had rushed out the building and hardly turned the corner before some fuckwit attempted to mug her. They’d tussled until she’d recalled the one surefire way to hurt a guy. A knee in the balls. He’d doubled over and she ran.
Less than an hour later, Liv proved that accidents in the workplace were indeed a daily hazard when she managed to trap her hair in the coffee machine. Her vindictive boss cut her free, no doubt snipping off far more than she needed to. That hair wouldn’t grow back anytime soon. And now after eight hours of grueling work checking insurance claims, the most stupid of which was from a woman knocked out when she yanked a frozen chicken from her freezer, Liv was being bloody stalked.
She walked faster, certain she wasn’t mistaken. She’d caught sight of a dark-haired guy in a leather jacket staring at her as she left work. He’d popped up again as she got off the bus and had crossed the road after her when she’d tried to give him the slip by dashing over on a red light. There had been a squeal of brakes but no thump, so she guessed he’d made it.
“Excuse me?” a man called.
It had to be him. A stalker with manners was a novelty, but Liv kept going. Her apartment building and safety, assuming Creepo the landlord was out, lay around the corner.
“Could I have a word?” the guy asked.
The tap on her shoulder flipped her from annoyed to furious. Liv gripped her purse tighter, ready to swing it into his face, and turned to confront him. Then she froze, because in front of her stood the man who’d tried to mug her that morning. He held out a bunch of flowers, and when he saw her scowl, lowered them to cover his crotch.
“I have no problem kicking flowers,” Liv snapped. Not when the target lay just beyond.
“I can explain,” he said, taking a step backward.
She scowled harder. “You have five seconds.”
“Name’s Cal Masterson. Not trying to rob you. Wanted to ask for directions, but you didn’t give me the chance to speak.” He flashed a devastating smile.
Potential homicidal mugger slowly morphed into Mr. Tall, Dark and Delicious.
Still…he’d followed her to tell her that?
“You bit me.” Liv glanced at the marks on her arm. He’d drawn blood. She hadn’t realized until she sat down on the bus.
“That was your fault,” he said.
Liv’s jaw dropped. “How can you biting me, be my fault?” She activated her death-ray glare, able to repel a normal man at thirty paces. This one smiled more broadly.
“Your arm got in the way of my mouth.”
“I was trying to defend myself. I thought you were attacking me.”
He rolled his eyes. “You flung your arm into my face. My mouth was open. I was trying to speak when your knee unexpectedly made contact with parts of me I feel particularly fond of, and I bit you. Sorry.”
He pushed the flowers into her hand. Liv sagged. She’d reacted because of Creepo’s earlier grope and maybe she hadn’t given this guy a chance to explain. If he’d wanted to mug her, he wouldn’t have tracked her down to apologize. Liv was a sucker for guys with good manners. Oh damn.
“Apology accepted. I’m fine. Just a few scratches. ’Bye.” Liv turned and he was suddenly in front of her. Wow, speedy guy.
“The thing is,” he said, “and I’m really sorry to have to tell you this, but I might have infected you.”
Liv gulped as the bottom fell out of her world. “Wha-wha-wha…” Damn, she sounded like a helicopter. Her head flooded with thoughts of hepatitis, HIV, the Ebola virus, bird flu.
He bent to whisper in her ear, “I’m a werewolf.”
Liv’s jaw didn’t just drop—it hit the ground and bounced. Oh God, he was out on day release from an asylum. Tall, dark and delicious regressed to tall, menacing and…darn it, he was still delicious. Plus, she had to give him points for an original pick-up line. He looked at her expectantly.
Play nice with the lunatic. “I see,” Liv said, and nodded in what she hoped was a caring way, sliding her foot back as she spoke and looking round for men carrying a tight-fitting white jacket in his size. “I’ll be sure to look out for signs of rabies.”
He gave her a puzzled look.
Okay, not rabies. That’s good. Liv took another step back.
He moved forward and glanced up. “It’ll be a full moon tonight.” His eyes darkened.
All the better to… Oh God.
“Mmm.” Another step back. Next time she went out, she was buying mace or a machete. Maybe both. Liv spent her days dealing with the results of the unexpected, but even she hadn’t expected to ever meet a werewolf. Not that he was, of course.
“It’s possible nothing will happen,” he said. “But I can’t take the risk. I need to stay and look after you. I’d never forgive myself if you were hurt. You’re much too pretty.” He smiled again with those perfect teeth.
All the better to… Stop it. Liv exhaled. Hopefully it was a coincidence she wore a red dress. If only they’d been in a bar and he’d bought her a drink, or three, and they’d spent a few hours flirting, and he’d called her pretty a half-dozen times, then maybe, just maybe she’d have been up for this. Except for the werewolf bit, of course. She took another step backward.
“Going to invite me in?” he asked.
His question triggered a memory of a TV show. “No.” She stared at him. “So you can’t come in, can you?” Why did the attractive ones have to be either gay or nut jobs? “I haven’t invited you into my apartment so you have to stay outside.”
Damn, so it was. Her shoulders slumped. “So you don’t sparkle either?”
He glared. “You’re not taking this seriously.”
Liv put on her stern face and thought of her old Latin teacher who had eyes like a hawk, a sharp mouth and loved pop quizzes. Guaranteed to snap her straight into gloom. “I am taking it seriously.” You’re insane, that’s very serious.
She glanced around. Where were crowds when she needed them?
He sighed. “Please let me come with you to your apartment. No funny business, I promise.”
“Let me think. No.”
Actually, bad girl that she was, idiot that she was, Liv fancied a bit of funny business. It had been far too long since— She gave herself a hard mental slap. He thought he was a wolf. She was allergic to dogs. This was not a match made in heaven.
“I’ll cook for you.” He held up a bag. “Steak.”
He had huge black eyes, the longest lashes she’d ever seen, and her willpower was a weak, pathetic little thing easily stamped on.
“Oh all right,” she muttered.
It beat watching a rerun on the TV while she ate a soggy microwave meal, plus her father had always told her to be kind to those less fortunate than herself—such as basket cases. Especially if they made her heart jump and her bits tingle, except not if they thought they’re a werewolf. Well no, her father hadn’t said any of that. His advice when Liv left home was, “Keep your knickers on.” Bless him.
I’ll bear that advice in mind, Liv thought, trying to remember which underwear she’d put on that morning, and led Trouble with a capital T to her apartment.
I’m such an idiot.
If you'd like to read the rest!