Monday, March 30, 2015

Serendipity Bites excerpt--a non-piratical R

Serendipity Bites
Part of the April Fools For Love collection
Biting Love Short Bites, Book 4

Best April Fools joke ever—falling in love.
Coming soon to more vendors!

Serendipity “Sera” Braun wears glasses and a bun to teach during the day, but at night, she adds a breast-plumping vest and dirndl for her job hoisting beer steins at Nieman’s. The big, leather-vest-and-earringed Viking bouncer? He’s bedsheets waiting to get sweaty, but all he does is scowl at her. She’s trying to keep her geriatric stripper of a granny from breaking a hip, but it’s hard when she keeps getting distracted by that sexy, smoky baritone.

Thorvald Thorsson is bitingly lonely—every vampire around him is mating. But his ex-fiancĂ©e rejected him as a killjoy (her exact words were he ate rules and s*** misery), so it’s high time Fun Thor comes out to play. No way he’d pair up with the cute but too-serious little schoolmarm who waits tables at the bar.

Sera bridles the wicked, delicious things she’d like to do with the muscular Viking, suppressing herself until she’s a volcano about to blow. Then they are thrown together in a prank war, and all his potent masculinity is focused on her. He makes her burn to let loose, but how can she and still be responsible for Granny and set a good example?

Warning: A terribly lonely vampire, a conflicted schoolmarm with a caged wild side, nosy roommates and the female version of a bromance, not to mention scorching sex, swearing with the **** filled in, a whole town full of busybodies—and the best April Fools joke ever.

This story contains material intended for mature audiences. Reader discretion advised.

Biting Serendipity
© 2015 Mary Hughes
Enjoy the following excerpt for Biting Serendipity:

My boss Camille leaned against the open door of the women’s restroom, tapping one impatient foot.
We hustled into the narrow, tiled room smelling of pine disinfectant and lime-and-coconut foaming soap.
Shutting the door, she came right to the point. “Our motto is Sexy And Fun. In the spirit of Fun, I’ve entered Nieman’s into the annual citywide April Fools’ Day competition.”
“That’s nice,” Thor said in a tone of voice that I’d use for snaking hair-clogged drains.
“Nice,” I echoed feebly.
April First in Meiers Corners was like New Years Eve in the rest of the world. Tons of people went out, did things they’d never do the rest of the year, and made utter asses out of themselves. The more sober townsfolk cringed at the antics and stayed home. But enough pranksters would be out, trying to get their video into the haloed winner’s circle, that I’d planned to call in sick to work and lock myself in my bedroom with a good book until it was all over.
 “I’m so glad you think it’s nice, because I’ve entered the you two.” She jabbed an index finger at me and Thor.
That finger could have been an icicle, jabbing me in the gut. “No. No way. That competition is for the most outrageous prankster. That’s not me.” Me, outrageous? These days, I colored so much within the lines, I felt weird smudging my eyeliner.
“Not me, either.” Thor flashed palms like stop signs. “Camille, I tried before and…let’s just say it didn’t work out.” Somehow, he made “Didn’t-work-out” sound like “Ti-tan-ic”.
The finger came out again, jab-jab. “Look, Not-Me and Not-Me-Either. I hired extra help to grow my customer base. The winning prank gets played at the award ceremony and covered in the paper—basically, free citywide advertising. So we win, we grow. We don’t win, we don’t grow, and I don’t need help. Capiche?
“But why us?” I exchanged another baffled glance with Thor, getting the same combination of zing and reassurance.
“Because you both need to loosen up and show more Sexy And Fun. Besides, no one else is available. Consider this incentive to prove to me that you have the right va-voom to be at Nieman’s. Win the April Fools’ Day competition—or you’re fired.”
My insides iced.
Camille sailed out, leaving Thor and me riveted in place, staring after her, shocked like we’d just had cattle prod enemas.
This was a disaster. Me, play a joke? And not just any trick, but a winning prank in a city of master pranksters?
Thor groaned. “It’s March twenty-ninth. How does she expect me to come up with a gag in three days?”
“We don’t stand a chance.” Now I groaned too. Maybe I could’ve done it when I was a kid, but, like Scrooge visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, I’d had a change of heart—although in my case, I’d been visited by the Kangaroo of Karma. Monkeyshines were no longer part of my life.
“We?” Thor said.
Slowly, he and I turned to face each other. I use the phrase “face each other” loosely. With me in my barmaid flats and him in his boots, he stood nearly a foot above me.
But his expression…it wasn’t the usual faint disapproval, but a stunned disbelief—strangely tinged with what almost looked like yearning.
He actually wanted to do this?
Then he gave a sharp shake of the head. “Ridiculous. She couldn’t have designed worse partners.”
That stung. “Hey.”
“I didn’t mean…” His mouth tightened.
I jumped in before he could pound in yet again what a killjoy I was for a little old lady just trying to have some fun. “My mistake. No we about it. Camille only said we had to do this, she didn’t say we had to work together.” My chin jutted.
“Don’t.” Thor growled, low in his throat. “We can work together. All I meant was neither one of us is into pranks.”
“Right.” I heard killjoy.
“Look, I’m just saying I’ve entered this contest before, and I didn’t stand a chance even when I had a fun partner.”
“A fun partner?” What was I, chopped obligation?
“All I mean is that it takes a sort of daredevil mentality to win. It’s not like either of us has a single adventurous bone in our bodies.”
“Keep talking.” The night had turned sour. “Reinforces just how much you don’t want to work with me.”
He looked away. “I want to work with you.”
His mouth said yes but every other stunning body part underlined no.
“Right. And all the sniping we do has nothing to do with our mutual dislike.”
I knew it was a mistake the moment it left my lips.
His gaze swung back. “Mutual dislike?” His eyes were like arctic storms. Angry?
Or hurt?
“You know what I mean. You’re always on my case about Granny.”
“Just because I don’t agree with how you treat Ms. Butt doesn’t mean…fuck. Doesn’t matter. Camille ordered us to do this, so we do this.” He jerked one shoulder in a shrug.
The sleeveless T-shirt and leather vest meant what shrugged was bronzed, naked skin, muscles jerking, especially luscious triple-scoop deltoids that I wanted to lick.
Wanted to lick so bad, to keep myself from doing it, I had to run my tongue over my suddenly throbbing lips instead.
His gaze dropped to my mouth and darkened, stormy this time like a steamy tropical squall. “What are you doing?”
“M-me?” Nerves prompted me to lick again. “Just…nothing.”
He leaned closer, his hair swaying forward to frame his chiseled, handsome face. “Nothing?” His pupils dilated to pools of black.
My heart shot into overdrive. Air seemed to have left the small room; contrarily, what there was of it smelled, not of lime and coconut, but leather and male.
Searching my gaze, he reached out and gently cupped my chin. His fingers, warm and slightly rough on my skin, thrilled me down to my toes. His face was so near mine now I could feel the heat of his breath on my skin.
He’s going to kiss me.
My lips parted on quickened breaths. My desire must have shone in my eyes because the saucers of his pupils lit with a red flame. Blood pounded in my ears.
The vampire was staring at me.
Insanely, that turned me on. I tightened toes in my ballerina flats and lifted toward him.
The moment crystallized between us. His red gaze was tethered to mine, the hand that so gently held my face was crowned by a hint of talon, and when his lips parted, fang tips were revealed.
Vampire, human. I was prey. Yet I was also something precious. My lids slid shut in anticipation.
His mouth captured mine.


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