The Last Soul – Carolyn Rosewood

Carolyn is one of my critique partners. She’s a wonderful writer and this is her debut.

Faina has been dead for one hundred and fifty years, but she’s about to become human again. All she has to do is seduce Jace Blackmon,the most honest financier ever to grace the city of angels, into signing awayhis soul.

Jace Blackmon has fallen in love with his fantasy woman. But when he realizes she was tricked by a demon to bring about his ruin, including the revelation of a long-buried secret to the media, he must choose between his heart or life without her.

Excerpt
Faina donned a Betsey Johnson flowered dress and wedge sandals, then materialized a few blocks from where Jace worked. It felt so good to be outdoors. The warm air was soothing, the traffic noises and bustling crowds reminding her of New York City. Faina didn’t often getnostalgic for her human life, but today she did. If she succeeded in this mission, she’d be human again. Warm weather, noisy crowds and city life would be her reality, not simply the realm in which she was allowed to work.

Unless Mastema had tricked her. No. She wouldn’t think about that now. She had a job to do. She took her time, peering in shop windows and trying to look like just another California trust fund babe out for a stroll on a bright summer day. The fact nearly every man pounding the pavement tripped over his own two feet as she strolled past wasn’t lost on her. She didn’t have the baby face, long blonde curls, and legs up to there for nothing.

She avoided eye contact. It was enough to leave them with her scent, they’d have trouble getting it out of their head for weeks, but to look them in the eyes would be downright cruel. Even when she’d been alive all she’d had to do was turn her baby blues in a man’s direction and he followed her around like a dogin heat. She’d made more money for Madame Lily during her first six months than most of her girls made over the course of two years.

As she made her way to the entrance of the 770 Wilshire Building, she caught a whiff of burned toast. She ducked into the nearest shop and pressed her nose to the plate glass window, scanning the crowd for a familiar face. She’d only seen Mastema appear once in human form. He’d looked ridiculous dressed in a long coat and cowboy hat on the streets of Aurora Nebraska, population four thousand two hundred and twenty-five as of last year. His bad-boy Western get-up would have been more appropriate for Arizona in the late nineteenth century.

Either Mastema hadn’t been the demon she smelled or he’d already evaporated. The sidewalks were filled with six foot blondes and men who looked like they walked off the cover of GQ. Not a weird outfit or menacing swagger in sight.

“Help you, Miss? You need mani and pedi today? We have new summer colors look perfecton you.”

Faina whirled around to face the ancient Vietnamese woman. She’d ducked into a nail salon. Her senses had been so focused on the burnt toast smell and Mastema’s human form she hadn’t noticed the acrid smell of nail polish.

“No, not today. I’m sorry. I’ve got to go.”

Faina opened the door and strode to the parking garage entrance of the building. On the way a clock struck five. The smell of burnt toast wafted from a nearby taco stand. Had that been what she smelled? Tacos? She was jumping at shadows. That wasn’t like her.

She made her way to Jace’s sports car by visualizing it. As the flood of workers poured into the garage, she hoped Jace would stay calm when he saw her. She was taking a risk as there would be plenty of witnesses if he wigged out.

He was busy scrolling through messages on his phone as he sauntered to his car,and didn’t see her until she stepped in front of him as he was about to open the door.

“Oh Jesus. Holy fu—” His warm brown eyes opened wide and he visibly swallowed. “How did you… you’re real. Holy shit.”

“Get in your car, Jace. People are staring. One of them looks like he’s going to take a picture with his cell.”

The lie snapped him out of his trance. He unlocked the doors and she slid into the passenger seat. “Start the car but don’t move yet.”

He stared straight ahead as the engine roared to life. Beads of sweat pooled at his hairline. She could hear his heart pounding. When she reached up to wipe his forehead he moaned. “It’s all right, Jace. Just try to relax.”

“I don’t understand.” His voice shook.

“You don’t need to. Wait until the garage clears out a bit. Then we’ll leave.”

“I…I have a dinner date. A family friend. I have to go. I don’t want to but… I… I should.”

“Do you want me to leave?”

He looked into her eyes with the most desperate longing she’d ever seen on a human face. A flash of apprehension shivered down her spine, unbalancing her. She was going to hurt him. Badly. He’d lose everything. His home, the Foundation, his dinner date, maybe even this fancy sports car. And some kid wouldn’t have a place to sleep on a cold, winter night, or a youth group to keep him off the streets.

The men she brought to Mastema were bad-to-the-bone to begin with. They just needed a little help to push them in the right direction. The inevitable direction, as he liked to call it. But Jace Blackmon was a good guy.

Then why does Apollyon want him? But what if he didn’t want Jace? What if Jahi was right and Mastema had forged the contract?

“Faina.” His whisper pulled her back to the present. Until she had proof to the contrary, it was Jace’s soul or her eternal torment as one of Mastema’s sex slaves. This was self-preservation. Nothing more.

Shelooked into his eyes and smiled “Yes, Jace?”

“Please don’t leave, Faina.”

Buy THE LAST SOUL at Evernight Publishing.

Her Own Best Enemy – Cynthia Justlin

In honor of Cynthia Justlin’s birthday later this week, she’s holding a $0.99 SALE on her romantic suspense, HER OWN BEST ENEMY. This is a limited time sale, so grab it while it’s cheap!

Desperate to track down her ex-husband who disappeared along with their son, Grace Stevens delves into his past and uncovers evidence of a shocking dual life. The man she thought was an ordinary computer consultant is in fact a former high-ranking Special Forces officer with unique skills in military intelligence. With nowhere to turn she is forced to plead for help from Keith King, the one man she hoped to never see again. Against her better judgment she’ll have to put her child’s fate into his hands.

Keith has officially hit rock bottom. Framed for the theft of deadly missile components, the cynical Special Forces officer is in danger of losing the only thing he can count on: his career. His one shot at clearing his name lies in locating Grace’s ex, who was working with Keith on a secret mission to take down a cutthroat military traitor. But to team up with Grace he’ll need to spend 24/7 with a woman who has every reason to hate him. Out to use each other for their own agenda, desperate mother and disillusioned soldier find they must work together to stay alive, and in the process discover that sometimes even the best of enemies fall in love.

Get it from Amazon or B&N!

Let there be sunshine and smiles!

Reasons to be cheerful:

1. Today is our 30th wedding anniversary and we’re still in love.

2. As everyone on twitter and various other places knows from my squawks of happiness over the weekend, our daughter Heather and her husband Ian are expecting their first baby. We’re going to be grandparents!

3. This is a big week for one of my critique partners, Carolyn Rosewood, whose THE LAST SOUL will be released from Evernight Publishing on Wednesday 20th April. Carolyn will be guest blogging about her book here on the day.

4. My THE WEAVERFIELDS HEIR will be released on Friday 22nd April.

5. It’s sunny and we’re smiling. 🙂

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