Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Lick and A Promise--Excerpt One

Over the next few weeks, until Big Release Day August 10th, I'll be providing teasers and sneak peeks of A Lick and A Promise. Check back often for some fun, sizzlin' reads!

First, the blurb:

And the Earthlings thought their sexual activity carried health risks…

Inappropriate lust for a sexy, recovering addict makes Dove Hansen wonder about her choices in men. Maybe she'll stick with her anonymous dream lover after all. He might not exist but at least he's sober and their ethereal couplings leave her panting. Still, she's gonna lose it if she doesn't get some with a human.

Mark Arianos isn't a junkie. He's a fugitive alien strung out on Earth air. In his world, sex is a capital crime and his uncontrollable passion for Dove could turn lethal. So their out-of-body trysts keep insanity at bay while he fulfills a critical mission.

But the longer Mark dallies with Dove, the deeper their attachment grows. Soon he must choose between betraying her or risking his civilization, and his life, to give her more than a lick and a promise.

Excerpt from chapter one...

“You’re home early.”

Arnie freed his signature sly grin. “The Prod Person got anxious and wanted to check in before the movie. Cell phone signal’s scrambled. Everything all right?”

How’d she know? Again. As usual, Ava looked stunning, the watery light from the moon making her white hair gleam. The night sky always softened her, the velvety atmosphere wrapping her in dewy blanket that made Dove think of mermaids in a fish tank.

She waved a hand. “Oh, fine. The usual. But someone’s behind the hedges teasing the dog. Also, I think a transformer went. I heard a snapping noise and saw a weird blue halo.”

“A blue halo?” Ava stiffened. She scanned the hedges, green eyes swiveling randomly until they seemed to focus on one spot.

Arnie glanced at her. “No transformers around here,” he muttered. “Who’s teasing the dog?”

“Some kid, probably. Male. Sounded kinda drunk.”

They all looked at Laika, sitting in the middle of the grass, her back to them, head cocked and ears alert.

“She didn’t bark,” Dove added. “Seemed very excited, in fact. I was just heading inside to phone the police when you came home.”

“Don’t call the police,” Ava snipped uncharacteristically. “I don’t think he means any harm.” She and Arnie stared at each other. Dove watched their faces.

Of the many unsettling qualities they possessed, this one often gave Dove chills. They seemed to communicate on some wordless level. As if through telepathy. Or maybe through microscopic changes of expression too small for an unfamiliar eye to detect. In the end, it didn’t matter how they did it. It was the fact that they could that got to her.

Jealousy stabbed her heart. She’d kill to have that kind of deep soul connection with a man. So far, at thirty, it had eluded her.

She’d had plenty of relationships, some good, some bad, most of them bordering on indifferent--Peter Pump-and-eat-her being a prime example. The aunties scolded her all the time about her failure to mate. Said her standards were impossibly high and threatened her with spinsterhood, like them.

Perhaps they were right. Dove didn’t know. What she did know, however, was that she had no intention of settling. There were certain unshakable qualities she wanted in a husband—high intelligence, high sex drive and high income, to name a few. If no one ever turned up possessing them, so be it. She’d be a spinster. Too bad that idea depressed the hell out of her.

“I’ll go investigate,” Arnie said. “I suggest you stay here.”

“But the electricity—“

“Probably some atmospheric phenomena,” Ava said. “Geomagnetic storm, Aurora Borealis, maybe.”

Not that Dove knew of. She would’ve given Michael a redundant lesson on it. “You couldn’t get a cell phone signal?”

Ava shook her head. “Satellite radio in the car is messed up too.”

Well, perhaps Ava was right and it was an aurora. They were visible once in a while from Seattle. Dove lifted her face to scan the skies. The bright moon and marine clouds would interfere with a viewing and she didn’t spot any telltale waves. No sense waking Michael up for nothing.

“Are you from the network?” a slurred voice cried out.

The two women stiffened and squinted into the shadows.

“Nah, I’m a geek from Boeing,” Arnie said, a smile in his tone. For the last four years he’d been subcontracted to design a new, commercial super-jet, and was currently overseeing construction up in Everett.

“You smell like a Markarian.”

Ava gasped and her hand shot to her throat. Dove suffered another adrenaline gush. “What do you think he means?”

“Hush,” Ava hissed.

Oh Boy. Possessed with the patience of a saint, Ava never snapped. Tonight it’d happened twice. She definitely knew more, or suspected more than she let on. Dove launched a fingernail between her teeth.

“I suggest your sniffer isn’t working too well at the moment,” Arnie chuckled. “Come on. I’ll help you up.”

The hedges danced and rustled and two shapes, one small, yet powerful and the other large and imposing, staggered into the light.

Dove froze at the sight of the magnificent stranger. Wide, muscled shoulders and a broad expanse of sculpted chest topped a slightly leaner waist. Her rapt gaze traveled over straight, agile hips and dragged endlessly south over a hard-boiled length of leg before returning to a head curtained in seal-sleek, straight black strands.

Even with his head bowed and his shoulder-length hair partially hiding them, she could make out exquisitely crafted features wrapped in swarthy, satiny flesh.

Her mouth watered and she swallowed hard. A snapshot of him naked, over her, spreading her and pumping into her barged, unwarranted and unasked, into her mind. He seemed somehow…familiar, though she’d never seen anyone like him. Or, at least, she amended, familiar to her suddenly pounding heart.

The fantasy dissipated quickly, though, as he leaned over and dry-heaved onto the grass.

Long-fingered hands braced his knees while wave after wave of fruitless nausea overcame him. Disgust rose in her throat and she glanced away, unwilling to throw up herself at the sight.

Obviously, he’d already gotten rid of the night’s liquid drugs and was now in the throes of aftershocks. Unbelievable for a grown man. And such a shame. She would’ve loved to fuck him.

In morbid fascination, her eyes hopped back to his pathetic form. How could he possibly lower himself to a drunken binge and a nap in the shrubbery? And yet, through his repellant display, he had an athletic, commanding air. Almost regal, like a warrior or a soldier.

He wore a loosely draped tunic of heavy, velvety fabric. Smudges of dirt and God-knew-what-else were smeared across the front and seemed to cover some sort of emblems or pattern. Nestled in the deep vee of the tunic’s neckline, a thick silver chain, weighted by a large medallion, glittered amongst thatches of chest hair.

His gorgeous legs were encased in a leather-like substance—badly wrinkled and straining at the seams. What was that around his waist? A tool belt? Perhaps he’d come from a wild costume party.

“Anthros!” Ava yelped.

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