Please welcome back one of my favorite authors, the lovely Barbara Monajem!! I’m so happy to have her on the blog today. Barbara has a Christmas book releasing on November 1st, just around the corner.
Here is the lovely cover. Don’t you love the colors?
A note from Barbara about the book came to be:
I’ve long been captivated by the incubus/succubus mythology. An incubus is an evil demon who has sex with a woman in her sleep. (Sometimes impregnating her—the standard explanation, um, excuse in medieval times for a pregnancy that happened when her husband was far from home.) A succubus is a similar demon in female form that preys on poor, unsuspecting, sleeping men.
Much as I like the sex-and-sleep aspect of the mythology, I’m not interested in writing about anything demonic. I don’t get off on good/evil dichotomies, so I messed with the mythology until I got what I wanted: something that, to me, is almost possible—a combination of seductive power and the ability to send erotic dreams. (I did the same sort of thing with vampires; I’m not keen on undead either, so I chucked that aspect of vampirism in my paranormal mysteries but kept some good stuff, such as irresistible allure, unusual strength, night vision, and so on. It’s not that I don’t enjoy books about good versus evil or undead people. I do, but I’m not inspired to write them.)
I also love Regency spy stories. And second-chance-at-love stories. And gushy Christmas stories. So I squashed all this stuff I love together into an e-novella, Under a Christmas Spell, which comes out November 1st. I’m just dying to give away a copy to one lucky commenter who tells me what they think about good versus evil, or undead versus not dead at all, or seductive dreams or Christmas stories or Regencies spies or whatever you like. I also have a paperback to give away to another commenter—A Scandalous Regency Christmas, an anthology of five Christmas novellas (one of them by me).
In case you still need convincing, here is the blurb:
Hampshire, England, 1815
Dissolute aristocrat Lord Valiant Oakenhurst hides a sexy, supernatural secret—as a powerful incubus, he is able to influence others through erotic dreams. At an exclusive Christmas house party, his latest mission is compromised by the beautiful but deadly succubus Lucille Beaulieu. Though still drawn to his former lover, Val cannot forget her betrayal….
Hoping to atone for her past, Lucie uses her seductive powers to help couples find happiness. But she is distracted from her task by her own delicious dreams of the dark and dangerous Val.
As the riotous festivities begin, their passion is reinvoked, but can a little Christmas magic restore their lost trust?
Now what you’ve all been waiting for, and excerpt.
Setup: Lord Valiant Oakenhurst has just shot himself in the arm as a ruse to get into the home of Lord Westerly, who would refuse him otherwise.
By the time Lord Valiant reached Westerly House, he didn’t have to feign feeling a trifle under the weather. Strange how the lack of any real danger robbed one of the usual grim control.
He urged his horse up the drive to where a gentleman and two ladies hovered outside a coach while footmen unloaded trunks and bandboxes. It seemed an ideal moment for a dramatic arrival until he glimpsed a familiar pair of wide violet eyes. He blinked, so astonished and overwhelmed by memory that he swayed in the saddle.
He stared. It was truly Lucie. What was she doing at Westerly House? Damn and blast the Master of the British Incubi for sending him here. A surge of rage sent him into wartime mode. This wasn’t what it seemed.
Back into the game.
As he slid off the horse, people hurried around the coach. “Highwaymen,” he croaked, grasping his injured arm and stumbling to one knee, sensing without seeing the contempt in Lucie’s gaze. She had seen this ruse before. “Winged me.”
“Heavens, how dreadful!” The other lady rushed forward—an ordinary-looking Englishwoman, not a conniving succubus. “Lord Westerly, send a man for the doctor,” she ordered. “James, Charles, help this poor man into the house.”
“Lord Valiant Oakenhurst?” said Lord Westerly as two footmen set down the trunk they carried and hurried around to help. “What the deuce are you doing in Hampshire?”
“Getting shot,” Valiant mumbled. “It’s only a scratch.” He squeezed his eyes shut as if in agonizing pain—actually, the throbbing in his arm was nothing compared to seeing Lucie again—and reopened them. “I could ask the same of you.”
“I live here,” Lord Westerly said.
“The devil you say.” Val infused surprise tinged with distaste into his voice, slung his good arm across the shoulders of one of the footmen, and made the most of staggering into the house.
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Harlequin
Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she’s writing historical and paranormal romance for grownups. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays. Learn more about her books at http://www.BarbaraMonajem.com
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