Welcome to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked for a new year of Mid Week Tease hosted by Sandra Bunino.
Authors: this is a great opportunity to spotlight a few lines or even a paragraph or two from a new release or backlisted title. Readers: you get to sample some delicious snippets! We’ll do our best to tease, titillate and tantalize you into the weekend.
Today I'm offering snippets from The Beltane Witch, a paranormal romance, and Book 2 in the Cloudburst Colorado series. Sabrina Foxglove has just been cornered by 5 men intent on doing something to her when a stranger arrives. And this stranger means business.
“She needs to be taught a lesson. She needs a husband.” Sabrina swore Mr. Frustrated had been dropped on his head as a child.
“Mayhap she does, but this is not the way to convince her,” the dark stranger remarked, amusement in his voice. “Did your fathers teach you nothing about wooing? Flowers, chocolates, perhaps even sweet poetry or jewelry. But never threats or fear.”
“Hey, man, we saw her first.” She knew that voice. Timmy Lewis’s pockmarked face looked ghastly in the weak light. “Go find your own woman.”
Nice to know she held some value to the local male population.
A deafening silence settled around them. No one moved for a few seconds, but the energy in the little parking lot shifted from tolerant amusement to icy disdain. In a flurry of motion, the stranger swept the feet out from under Mr. Frustrated, slammed Timmy into one of his cronies until they slumped to the ground, held the fourth man in a choke hold, and had a long dagger blade pressed against Marty’s throat by the time he stilled.
He’d positioned himself between her and the others and she got a good look at his back. The sword in its leather scabbard hung to his hips and she thanked her lucky stars it remained sheathed. The wide expanse of his shoulders assured her he could wield it, probably faster and stronger than the propeller on an airplane. His arms, one holding the gasping man and the other holding the dagger, never wavered.
“Now would be an excellent time to gather your friends and retreat to your mothers’ skirts.” The words came out in a growl and Sabrina shivered. “Go. Now.”
The stranger released the man he held, and Mr. Frustrated, Marty, and Choke-Hold scrambled to retrieve their two fallen comrades and retreated back toward Main Street. The hooded man watched them go, big, powerful, and menacing in his stillness. When their footsteps faded from hearing, he turned to her and offered her a gloved hand.
“Let’s get you home, Ms. Foxglove.” His voice encouraged trust.
Sabrina looked at his hand then up at his face for a long time while she waited for her heart to stop pounding. She’d just watched him kick ass on five guys in an icy parking lot, and he expected her to trust he meant her no harm?
On the other hand, he looks fast enough to catch me if I run.
Biting her lip, she reached out to grasp his hand. The warm leather engulfed her frozen fingers and she felt dwarfed by his size. Her hand looked like it belonged to a small child’s in his and he tugged her up, guiding her away from the black ice.
“Thanks.” She tried to pull her hand away as soon as she gained her feet.
His grip tightened and he dragged her closer to his hooded face. “They were right in one respect. It’s not safe for you to be walking alone at night.”
“Thank you for the reminder.” Goddess save her from nosy men. Her reactionary anger surged. “And you just helped so much by embarrassing them in front of their friends. Now they’ll be after me because of it.” She shook her head and tugged at her hand again.
“There are greater concerns than that now.” He released her, gesturing with his free hand toward her van. “Perhaps we could discuss them on the way to your home.”
Sabrina followed the line of his arm with her eyes then looked back into the darkness of his hood.
“What makes you think I’ll let you in my car with me?” She snorted. “I don’t even know you. Yeah, you beat off those guys, but it only proves you’re much stronger than me. Why would I trust you?”
“I just saved you.” He gestured, palms up, as if his words explained everything.
“So? I said thanks. Who are you? And how do you know my name?”
He hesitated for a moment, nonplussed. Then he pushed back his hood to reveal his face in the weak light of the bare bulb.
Good heavens, he’s beautiful.
Long, straight hair parted haphazardly and fell to his shoulders, the front strands pushed behind his ears to keep it out of his eyes. The eyes were some light color, but she couldn’t tell which one in the darkness of the parking lot. They had heavy lids and crow’s feet at their corners, telling of his experience. A goatee framed his elegant lips and deep laugh lines at their edges gave him a humorous expression, though he didn’t smile. He had eloquently arching brows, one higher than the other in amused query.
“My name is Darius Winterbourne, Chamberlain of the Summer Court, and I’ve been sent to prepare you for the Court’s arrival.”
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