So pleased to have Cate Masters, one of my favorite Decadent Publishing pals, with me today, to preview CHARMED, Book 2 of her The Vitruvian Man series for Decadent's Tease line.Please welcome her!
Dark fantasy, paranormal romance
Coming Aug. 20 1013
Brought together by accident, bound by fate—and magic. Love works its charm over Bruno DiCesare and Melina Weaver during his transformation from beast to man. But love likewise blinds them to the secrets each holds. Bruno thinks his secret will devastate Melina. Melina’s afraid Bruno will hate her for what she’s become. Neither guess the greatest danger lurks outside their door – and will force them to decide between love and life itself.
Wow, so fast. Melina held Bruno’s hand until his grasp went slack. The treatment seemed to take effect almost as soon as he’d swallowed it. He shouldn’t react immediately; his body should be able to handle it better by this time. Unless Eldie increased the dosage?
Suspicion drew her gaze to the bottle. Of course she couldn’t tell by sight, and she had no idea what ingredients the sorceress had used in the other preparations. She shouldn’t have agreed to it so readily, nor trusted Eldie so blindly. In any other situation, she’d have asked to review the complete specifications.
She stroked Bruno’s arm. I wanted him cured for me as much as for himself. If her selfishness harmed him in any way, she’d carry that guilt forever. Try to make it up to him forever.
For now, she’d have to occupy her mind with something else or drive herself insane. His deep breaths meant he’d sleep for at least a day.
A hushed sigh sounded from the other room.
“Eldie?” Back so soon?
No answer came except for a slight rustle. She crept to the curtain. “Who’s here?”
Even as she asked, she sensed a presence unlike any she’d encountered before. Everything remained as she’d left it, the lamp glowing in the center of the table, laptop beside the scattered books. Lucky the sorceress hadn’t seen them. Luck, or something more.
She returned to the volume she’d left open. A page rippled, lifted straight up and fell over. Another muffled sigh escaped. Melina. The whisper so slight, it was barely audible. Yet without a doubt, she heard her name.
She traced a finger down the spine. It quivered beneath her touch like the plucked string of a guitar. With a gasp, she jerked her hand back.
Uncertain she hadn’t imagined it, she repeated the move and got the same result.
How? She pulled the chair close to the table and examined the pages. Nothing out of the ordinary, except perhaps how finely executed the handwritten entries appeared, each letter as perfect as the last. Almost like they’d been printed to fool the eye of a curious reader. An Italian reader. If only these were in English.
The longer she studied the text, the clearer it became. The letters blurred, shimmered, then shifted, rearranging themselves into… English. She didn’t need to enter the words into the translator site on her laptop, she understood every sentence.
She ran her fingers lightly over the page. The letters shifted again, scattering at her touch, as if she’d disturbed the surface of a pond.
“What the…” It changed back to Italian, the letters appearing to float. She swirled a fingertip across the surface, and the words formed a swarm, like a school of fish following bait. Like fish, they seemed to nibble at the tip of her finger. Impossible, but it tickled.
Fascinating. But this silliness got her nowhere. She’d never learn anything if this kept up. “Stop.”
The scripted words froze in a jumbled, nonsensical order.
She hovered her hand above the passage, and the letters stretched up off the page in tall columns to meet it. The pull of the connection reached inside her skin, as if it had been magnetized.
This is crazy. But obviously it’s not. It’s happening. It’s real.
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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