A New Gotham Novel
A Sinister Stiches Spin-off
Genre: Erotic Gothic Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Date of Publication: March 1, 2014
Number of pages: est. 355 pages
Word Count: est. 160, 000
Cover Artist: Elaina, For the Muse Designs
Remember the story about the troll who lived under the bridge—yes, well, that twit didn't have to pay rent.
Owner and operator of Bits and Pieces, and resident expert on charms and glamours, Elsa Karr is a witch with a sour frown and a list of things to do as long as Thor’s hammer. Top of the list is saving her father's shop from ruin. If she isn't trying to claw her way out of debt, she's arguing with her cat, Fenris, or shoveling carts of cake into her gob. She's not interested in romance or the vampire who rents the flat above her shop. All she wants is a little peace and chocolate--fine, all right! All right! The vampire is kind of screw all cute. (Curse him.)
The disgraced son and heir of the Wingates House vampire clan and a mad-man to boot, Marshall Ansley spends most of his time working and dodging his mother's phone calls. Marshall is beyond family. He's beyond everyone, actually. Don’t be daft, he especially doesn't do…Christmas. But behold, the plague brings an original flavor of annoyance this year when his boss tasks him with acquiring the account of a recluse fey and her upcoming Gothic clothing boutique, Sinister Stitches. That is the ONLY reason he's bothering with his shrewish landlord. No, that's it. No…really. Fine, if you insist, the witch might be a tad bit...all right, she's adorable. (Damn her.)
Scrooge meets Scrooge. Dominant meets Dominant. Tempers…spark. In each other, they may have unfold a tale that only comes to pass on the darkest of nights.
“Pardon the interruption, Ms. Karr, but are you ready for dinner?”
She forced her hand to her side and tossed a flat frown over her shoulder. “Indeed, vampire.”
Leaning against the door frame, Marshall was the picture of bloody elegance. Black slacks with a matching vest. A deep wine shirt. He’d left the top buttons undone. It was rich simplicity, and he wore it sickeningly well. Damp, disheveled locks drifted over his eyes as he peered at the blue marble on the coffee table with interest. She breathed in deeply, thoroughly appreciating the combination of his sandalwood body wash and amber cologne. His mouth quirked and she swallowed twice before she could speak. “Huldra, I—”
“And then be done with it, Elsa.” Ingrid reminded her firmly, but added in her signature sultry burst of frost. “Otherwise, enjoy. For both of us.”
Marshall lifted his eyebrows slightly and Elsa flushed and snatched up the speaker. “Ignore her.” She tapped the orb and it died into a mundane glass marble. “I’m ready.” She levered herself out of the chair and tossed the ball back in her bag. It clanked and rattled, circling until it dropped deep into the depths of the magical pocket.
He reached out for her hand. “Come here.”
She draped a black fur stole over her forearm and eyed his palm with suspicion. “Why?”
“I mean you no harm,” he promised.
Their gazes locked, time stilling between the two of them. She searched his expression and found nothing but the steely shrewd regard of a predator. Her feet felt heavy, leavened. She did not come to any man’s beck and call. Never. Never again. She offered her hand, but did not budge an inch. If he wanted her cooperation, he would appeal to her on her terms.
Marshall did not hesitate to take the distance between them, coming to stand so close, so quickly she back-stepped, the back of her shins bumping against the chair. Snowy blue eyes were almost black in the shadows. His cool slender finger closed around her wrist and he hauled her against the solid wall of his chest, his embrace sealing around her like a coffin.
“Stubborn little witch.” He yanked and something popped free from her dress. She hardly noticed. She was gone. Yearning for the individuals folds of the thin skin stretched across his bottom lip, wondering whether each individual wrinkle was a crevice of flavor. What would he taste like? Her tongue snaked out to tease the line of her mouth and she found it a poor substitute for his.
Marshall showed her the writing on the small tag he’d apparently pulled from her dress. “Twirl to activate skirt,” his voice rolled over the words in a deep murmur. It vibrated it in his chest and her naked shoulders tensed as she stifled a shudder. He took a step back and guided her around. He studied from hooded eyes. Slowly. So very slowly. He savored. Without reserve or shame.
One time around. Then two. Then a third. Every time their eyes would meet, her skin grew warmer as desire deepened the snowy depths into a profound sapphire blue. Her knees were weak, but as he drew her around faster and faster it didn’t seem to matter. Nothing seemed to matter. He became her only point of focus in a world quickly blurring beyond what she knew. Beyond what she could readily understand.
Magic. It crackled to life, sparking across the textile and thread. Energy tickled her naked thighs and the limp silky material puffed and inflated into a billowing bell of smoky black tulle. “What …” Unfamiliar excitement danced in Elsa’s veins and she reveled in the fabric twirling about her. Wispy and light. Akin to smoke and shadows, the bottom hemmed by a ring of gray fog.
Marshall finally drew her to a stop and she mopped her hair back out of her face, breathless. He didn’t immediately close the distance between them again, and Elsa couldn’t control her legs as they carried her across the floor until the hem of her large skirt covered his slick black dress shoes. Their gazes held. They stood enthralled in the moonlight. Pale light beating down them like a blessing.
“Beautiful,” he whispered and backed away toward the door, drawing her along with him.
Tethered to him by their entwined fingers, Elsa allowed her feet to carry her across the oak, and she couldn’t help but feel like somehow, someway, Marshall had finally caught her.
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1 Carriage Charm
1 set of Raven earrings
1 Sinister Stitches Dress
Sophie Avett is kind of a nerd. Like not even one of the cute, hip ones everyone brags about nowadays. More like the socially awkward hippie who eats way too much bread and dreams about being a dragon from behind towers of mythology books. Um...yeah. Picture old, tattered paperbacks and comic books--mostly Batman and Wonder Woman--dwarfing a tiny desk, with just barely enough room for the troll who writes there and the 70 pound hell-hound that insists of laying it's wet nose on top of her bare foot.
Granted not the most exciting existence, but she tries to make up for it by writing romances populated with her own peculiar ilk of paranormal beasties. Trolls, wyverns, the obscure Nordic brownie--she likes to keep things interesting. And bloody. (And mostly naked--but, we'll keep that bit between us.)
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