A very merry Christmas to all of my lovely readers. Here is a teaser from Punished Arelia LaRue Book #2
I just want you here…
“But, I thought.” Lucus was frozen as he stared at me. Uncertainty softened his strong features as he brushed away the lock of dark hair that had fallen over his right eye. Why didn’t he just get a haircut? “I assumed you were leaving.”
“I can leave if you want me to.” I gave him a small smile as I took a step back. I didn’t want to let on that I was nervous or anything. I wanted answers and maybe some fried Oreos.
“No, please, come in,” he said quickly as he moved aside making space for me to enter the room. “I’m going to do as you requested and put on a shirt.” He gave me a knowing wink. So, he had caught on that the sight of him shirtless was more than just a little distracting.
“Thanks.” I attempted to gracefully stride into the spacious room and poured myself some overpriced cognac. A warm breeze wafted through the balcony window and the scent of fragrant jasmine filled my nostrils.
“I’m so proud of you,” whispered Erzulie as she hovered outside the balcony. Apparently, in the span of twenty minutes, she had already changed her outfit and was now dressed in a flowing, red dress and matching headscarf. Strands of thick, gold necklaces hung from her neck and her arms were adorned with delicate, wooden bracelets.
“Not now Erzulie.” I was mortified that she chose to make another grand entrance at exactly this moment. The moment I was pretending to be totally calm and in control rather than a raving, mud-flinging lunatic that spoke to voodoo spirits.
Of course, she ignored me and continued, “Jasmine is the flower of love, you know.”
“Thanks for the random info,” I hissed praying that Lucus wouldn’t hear. I wasn’t completely ready to let him listen in on my conversations with the spirits just yet. Even though he wasn’t exactly normal, I wasn’t prepared to expose all of my own craziness to him. Lucky for me, he was too busy hunting for a t-shirt within the massive, antique closet that sat at the other end of the room.
“You should always give love a chance my dear, even if it comes in unexpected forms.” She was giving me one of her motherly speeches again.
“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to make of that ominous advice Erzulie,” I whispered as I inched towards the balcony and unsuccessfully tried to shut the heavy, lace curtains on her.
She laughed delicately before continuing, “you do know what I mean, my child.”
“No, I don’t. I don’t exactly see any epic romance developing here. I’m just sticking around because you asked me to.”
“Sure you are my dear.” Her hazel eyes shone as she gave me a small wink and disappeared.
“I thought you despised that.” Lucus eyed the glass in my hand as he put on a blue t-shirt and walked towards me.
“I do,” I replied. I didn’t want to tell him that I needed something to calm down my nerves. I couldn’t get his speech out of my head. How was I supposed to act around him now?
Lucus placed his smooth hand over mine, and took the crystal glass from me. He raised his other hand up to my cheek and grazed it softly with his fingertips. Consuming chills ran through my body, all the way from my split-ends to my non-pedicured toenails. His scent mixed with the aroma of sugary jasmine and cognac was undeniably intoxicating. His gentle breath was deliciously sweet as it made contact with my sweaty skin.
“There’s no reason to be anxious, I’m perfectly harmless,” he whispered softly. “The last thing I want to do is make you uncomfortable or hurt you in any way.”
“Sure.” I grabbed the glass from him, moved my cheek away from his hand and tossed back the cognac. “Gross! How can you actually like drinking this stuff?”
A hint of a smile crossed his full lips. “You get used to a lot of things if you’re around long enough. You’d be surprised at the things you’re capable of as time passes.”
“Well, I don’t think I’m going to get used to the fact that you’re basically a very old man.”
“Is that the way you see me, as a very old man?” Lucus causally asked as he walked over to the heavy, wooden table and poured himself some absurdly expensive cognac. He studied me intently with his intense, dark eyes as he waited for me to answer.
“I mean you don’t look like Mr. Dumpty or anything, but you’re just wearing a disguise to cover up who you really are,” I reasoned clutching the crystal glass just a bit too tightly while tugging on my hair.
He let out a dry laugh and took a sip of cognac. “Aren’t we all?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I raised an eyebrow.
He shook his head and took a step closer. His sharp gaze saw right through me. “If you see me as a very old man, why didn’t you leave? What reason do you have to be here wasting your time?”