Excerpt day, of course!!
Today we have a little somthin', somethin' from Cynthia Arsuaga's novel, Born to Play!!
ONE VAMPIRE, ONE WOMAN, ONE CONTRACT, ONE WEEK TO PLAY.
Candi Hartz, is a romance author in a loveless marriage. One fateful night, she follows the cheating husband to the local vampire sex club and meets the vamp owner. Her life takes a drastic turn when with one kiss she enters the world she only read about.Gregori Van Zant is a dangerous vampire. As the head of the Mid-Atlantic Blood Family of vampires, he can have any vamp or human woman at his disposal. One night, a captivating woman walks into his club and he devises a plan.
The two lovers come together and sign a contract—an exchange of sex for research. Candi is born to play and Gregori is anxious to show her. An old enemy of Gregori’s arrives unexpectedly and disrupts their plans. With a final battle looming on the horizon, will the two fated lovers find love eternal or will death play a part?
“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde
With a few flutters of her eyelashes over azure eyes and the upturn of lips, she hoped he might mellow and be less angry with the earlier comment. Now was the time to turn on female charms. Years since practicing the art of dating ritual tactics, not that she ever was an expert, she wasn’t sure if the female human mystique even worked on vampires. Hell, this was the first vampire she even met and totally out of her realm of expertise. He is cute though. Can a vampire be considered cute? Her gaze swept the bar behind Gregori, any direction except at this beguiling vampire. Then she took another sip of wine to continue the distraction. At this rate of drinking, she thought, someone might have to drive her home. What the hell am I doing with this…this man, ‘er vampire? Oh good golly, am I flirting? I’m too old to flirt. Another shiver ran down her spine. Fear or arousal, she couldn’t tell.
He snickered. “You’re making that up, right?”
“What? Oh you mean my name. No. No, my name is Candi Hartz. And don’t look at me like that. It’s not a stage name. I’m not a…you know.”
“No, I don’t know.”
“An exotic dancer. Stripper. I’m too old and not good looking enough for the job.”
Leaning closer, he said, “Okay, this is obviously your first time and you’re nervous. How about I call you, hmm, Katje.”
The word rolled off his tongue with such ease. Did he call all his female human prey pet names before he did whatever vampires do? “Huh, what is that a foreign word for a scared little cat?”
He laughed. “Not quite, but close enough. You are very funny.” He ran fingers across his cheek. “I asked you before but you didn’t answer. What brought you here, Katje? The sex or a fix?”
What? He thinks I’m here for sex or drugs? She slowly turned to look at the vampire named Gregori. “Uh, neither actually.” She looked away, scanning the room for any sign of Ethan. Nothing. But she couldn’t take her eyes off the man, ‘er vampire. Cute didn’t quite describe him, gorgeous did. When he smiled two deep dimples appeared on either side of his upturned mouth, just like the hero in her last novel, Tomas, her flamboyant flamenco dancer. But, Gregori didn’t hail from Spain or wear bolero jackets, that fact she could make bank on. His chiseled features, pallid skin, and long hair that fell to the shoulders reminded her of the Spaniard though. Gregori’s silky black mane could pass as almost blue being so dark and the color complemented the eyes of silvery gray. Oh those eyes, they were sharp enough to pierce steel with a single glance and were set in a face of classical beauty. Good golly, he smells delicious too. Fresh and cool like vanilla…and what is that other scent? I know it. What is it? Like a forest. No, a fresh-cut Christmas tree. Yeah, that’s it. Hmm, nice. She sighed and slightly slumped in the seat.
“So what other reasons would there be to show up to a vampire bondage and submission dungeon scared half out of your wits if not for sex or blood?”
Sex or blood? A fix is blood? Oh good golly vampires, of course. Hit me with the stupid stick again! Did he say bondage and submission dungeon? Vampires yes, bondage no, no, no. Continuing to scan the club, she answered matter-of-factly to retain composure, “Research and you.” Lying, she considered the statement harmless, a little white lie. She really did need to do research, not necessarily specifically on Gregori Van Zant though.
Sheena returned with Gregori’s drink and placed the snifter on the table. “Anything else Master Gregori?”
“Would you like another wine, Katje?” he asked.
“What’s that you’re drinking? A strange color for cognac or is it brandy?” She leaned over to take a closer peek at the liquor in the glass snifter.
Gregori’s brow crinkled. “I’m impressed. Yes, it’s our house special, a special blend made from Cognac Paradis laced with blood. Vampire blood. A taste perhaps?” He lifted the snifter toward her.
What? “Umm, I don’t think so. I tried cognac once and it didn’t sit well. It’s definitely an acquired taste for those with an iron palate especially if, um, blood is in the mixture. I think I’ll stick to the white wine, thank you very much.” She righted herself in the seat.
“Another white wine, it is,” Sheena said, winking at Gregori as she turned to leave.
Gregori’s smoldering silvery grey gaze pinned Candi’s attention. “Why are you researching me? Who are you really? You don’t exactly look like a bounty hunter or even a newspaper reporter.”
“Aren’t you a smart vampire? What can you do, read my mind?”
“As a matter of fact, I can.”
What? She glared at him and swallowed hard. Is he kidding?
“Well, you need to stop doing that. Didn’t your mother tell you it’s not polite to spy on people?”
“My mother died when I turned two years old. I don’t really remember her.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I-I didn’t mean…”
“It’s all right. It happened a long time ago.”
They sat in silence for a few long painful moments.
Sheena returned with the wine.
“Thanks Sheena,” Candi said and smiled.
“By the way, I’m not kidding. A woody blend of pine needles and patchouli. I think that’s what is written on the cologne bottle.”
Candi’s brow crinkled. “Huh? Pine needles and patchouli?” A tingly, warm sensation rippled across her skin. What? What is this guy doing to me?“You couldn’t figure out what the other scent I’m wearing. It’s vanilla, pine needles and patchouli. Do you like it?” He gave a wicked, boyish grin.
Remember, for those who want to read more you can find
Cynthia at her website:
You can also Born to Play and my other works on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookstrand, and Are.