Friday, July 11, 2008

Be seduced by the Secrets of the Dark

Dangerous and magical in ways she never imagined, Simon sweeps into Tia’s life one stormy night and single-handedly shatters her reality. Her friends insist Simon is a threat, and even though Tia knows they are right, something draws them together. Could it be that she and Simon are truly soul mates, like he claims? Or is he just using her to increase his magical powers? When Simon’s enemies come after them Tia has not choice but risk her heart and try to discover the Secrets of the Dark.

Secrets of the Dark – Excerpt

“What’s your name?”

He straightened suddenly, coming to his feet and towering much taller than she’d expected. His jacket and shirt, both unbuttoned, flapped open with the movement, revealing a far more toned and massive chest than his previous stance suggested. The shape of him sparked interest low in Tia’s belly and made breathing difficult. In looks, he should have been a model but he carried himself like a cat, all smooth and fluid movements designed for efficiency but graceful none the less. He purred, “Do you need to know?”

Tia froze, recognizing the domination in his baring. Determined not to show fear, she tilted up her chin. “I need to know.”

“Simon. And yours?”

Watching him closely, she replied, “Tia.”

“Nice name.” Simon strode a few paces away, glancing at the impenetrable rainfall. “And what beckoned you to adventure out on a hellish night like tonight, Tia?”

She shifted from foot to foot, not sure she wanted to share any more personal information with this strange man. Then again, she didn’t want him to get the wrong impression of why she walked the streets alone this late at night. “I own a bar downtown. I just finished closing up and I’m heading home.” Living in the city, she’d learned never to display weakness to a stranger. With challenge in her voice she demanded, “And you?”

He chuckled to himself as if finding the question amusing and he eased back toward her. “Just out looking for a bite to eat.”

“Uh-huh,” Tia said, watching him size her up wolfishly as if she were on the menu. A tremble, composed of equal parts fear and excitement, coursed through her. Tia found him far too sexy to trust her judgment. She wanted to stay, wanted to get closer, maybe even touch him but she heard the warning sirens in her head blaring. Best to listen to the warning, she decided and circled a wide path around him toward home.

She was just a step away from reentering the pelting rain when a sudden explosion of thunder overheard jolted her back. Her heels slipped on the slick pavement and before she could fall or catch herself, Simon gathered her in his arms. He’d crossed the distance between them extraordinarily fast.

“Whoa, fella. Hands off.” Tia pushed against his chest, missing the opened shirt so her palms pressed on his unyielding bare pecs. The skin glistened with a golden tan and felt as supple as fine suede.

His hands slid down Tia’s arms, leaving hot trails in their wake. Simon lowered his hands to his side but didn’t step back. Standing so close to her, the rustle of the storm winds blew his open jacket so it fluttered against her torso. The heat pulsing from his body drove away the chills and pulled her magnetically toward him. He asked, “You’d prefer I allow you fall?”

“I guess not,” she mumbled, no longer focused on the minor offense but instead staring with fascination into his eyes. A starburst of white ringed his pupils and flamed into burning yellow only to cool into a red crown circling the edge of his irises. The color seemed to modulate, as if capturing the flicker of a flame in slow motion. “You have fire in your eyes,” she said, only half aware of how stupid the comment sounded.

“Not just in my eyes,” Simon smiled.

A gust of dry heat puffed over Tia and she stumbled back a step in surprise. “What was that?” She touched her newly dried hair and smoothed her perfectly pressed clothes. “How did you do that?”

“That was nothing,” he dismissed it with a wave of his hand.

“Sure impressed the hell out of me.”

He cocked his head, sizing her up. A grin quirked up the corners of his perfect lips, which were just full enough to imply a melting tenderness to his kisses. The expression softened the perfect planes of his face. With amused surprise in his voice, he stated, “You’re not afraid, are you?”

Tia thought about the question. The adrenaline pickling in her blood rushed not to her muscles, as if to prepare to fight or flee but to her skin, heart and lower regions, making her body ache with a longing only physical contact of a romantic nature could soothe. Breathlessly, she asked, “Should I fear you?”

He considered the question. “Should you? What an interesting dilemma. What should one do in your predicament? What should one feel? I have never pondered that.”

Tia stepped back out of arms’ reach, not able to reconcile the attraction and mistrust mingling inside her. “My predicament? What predicament am I in?”

“That I cannot express in words you would understand.” Simon held out his hand, palm up. “I can only show you.”

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