Welcome to Paranormal Love Wednesdays blog hop. This is my first time participating in this weekly blog hop featuring paranormal stories. Vampires, witches, and werewolves....oh My! This hop is open to authors and writers who's work is unpublished or published. Works in progress are also welcome, some come and join in on the fun to check out some fun and exciting stories. Authors sign up at Clare Dargin's Blog.
Today my excerpt is from Book 3 of my Raven's Falls Series, Witch and The Vampire.
No matter how hard she tries, Dehlia Lee McQueen can’t seem to overcome her feelings for her boss, the vampire; Niall Cowan. The steamy encounter they shared in his office haunts her days later after the breakup and she tries to find a way to get him off her mind.
The little Friday night visit to Club Ravenous is just what two neophyte witches need to take their mind off McQueen duties and let their hair down for an evening—but there is no rest for the wicked. A demon appears to them at the club and they discover a new threat looming in Raven’s Falls.
Even though she was the one to break it off with him, Niall knows he can never let Dehlia go. Silently he stalks her in the night and follows her to Club Ravenous and decides to make his move on her. He wants to pick up where they left off, but he shelters a dark secret from the past—one that Dehlia may have a hard time forgiving.
I'm sharing Dehlia and Niall's story because they are close to my heart. I enjoyed writing all the Raven's Falls Series, but for some reason I felt a special connection to these two. Perhaps it's because their love is forbidden...Curious about a town full of witches, vampires, and shifters?
Dehlia Lee McQueen piled her shoulder length tightly coiled hair on top of her head and gave herself another glimpse in the mirror. Her long black lashes formed a luscious veil over her brown eyes. The dusky shade of eye shadow with a hint of silver flecks highlighted the gold shimmery shadow above it. The liquid eyeliner she used adorned her almond shaped eyes while the berry blush made her cheekbones stand out.
“Perfect.” She purred before removing the red silk robe and donning a black leather bustier with a matching black skirt that stopped just above the knee. She pulled the zipper up in the middle of the form fitting bustier and gave her bosoms a slight push upward. Now she was ready to blow off some steam at Club Ravenous far on the other side of town. After being fired by Niall over a week ago, she fully immersed herself in McQueen magic to keep busy--to keep herself from initiating contact with him. She needed some way to forget about her love interest and move along with her life.
Unfortunately, she noticed that magic was not her forte and felt something was missing. She even toyed around with casting a spell to completely remove Niall from her heart and mind, but Jasmine had warned her this could somehow backfire on her. McQueen magic couldn’t be her destiny and all she had to offer as a witch and a person.
A knock jolted her from her thoughts and her cousin, Jasmine’s voice filtered in through the oak double doors.
“Dehlia, girl, are you ready?”
Dehlia slipped several gold bangles on her left wrist and her delicate gold designer watch on the other. “Just a moment,” she chimed before securing the ruby pendent on a gold chain around her neck. With a sigh of satisfaction, she walked over to the door and opened it.
Jasmine rushed in with a large smile on her face. “Oh, look at you.” She closed the doors behind her and leaned against the wall. “You’re going to knock em dead girlie!”
“Thank you for suggesting we get out for a while. You’re right, I do need a break.” Dehlia returned to her gold trimmed vanity mirror and picked up her favorite fuchsia lipstick and carefully applied it.
“You’re looking pretty awesome there, yourself cuz,” she observed with a smile. Jasmine sported a knee length black and red designer dress and a black bolero jacket and knee length patent leather boots. Usually the young woman pulled her hair up into a topknot bun, but tonight, her long wavy tresses rained past her shoulders. Her dark brown skin glinted with a hint of golden makeup.
“Well, we’ve both been hitting the books pretty hard. Tobias is a slave driver, never letting up.” Jasmine smiled, flashing her perfectly white teeth.
“He means well, he just wants us to be prepared since he is an advanced witch.”
“I can’t wait until I’m at Rose’s level. Hey, enough talk about witchery. Are you trying to replace Niall with another?”
“How’d you know?”
“It’s written all over your face. Girl, you’re on the rebound.”
“The possibilities are endless, but I wish I could easily erase Niall from my mind,” Dehlia stated boldly. “He really hurt me last week, Jasmine and I just need to forget about him, even if it’s only temporary.”
“Are you secretly trying to make Niall jealous?” Jasmine’s heels clicked against the shiny wooden floors of Dehlia’s chambers as she walked over to her. “I know you’re upset over him but have you tried to contact him?”
Dehlia sighed and in agitation, tapped her French-manicured nails against her vanity. “Between me and you, I’m furious at the fucker.” She turned, put a hand on her hip and paced the floor.
“How dare he fire me for something I had no control over. And further more, why should I contact him? He’s the one who booted me out of his life.” A pain resonated across her chest at the episode in Niall’s office. That night, she’d returned home and stormed into her chambers, but Jasmine was just going to bed and without thinking, she poured her heart out. “Thanks for lending an ear, I really needed to talk to you, and I’m not sure if Rose would have understood me.”
“It’s okay,” Jasmine assured her. “But should you really give up on him without a fight? I know he’s a vampire, but you’re in love with him babe.”
“I don’t want to think about this because it hurts to much Jasmine.”
“Fine. But, surely your paths will cross again. If so, what will you do? You can’t avoid the man forever. I’m telling you, I’m sensing we’ll run into him tonight. Are you looking to bed him down if you too somehow are able to patch things up? You know what will happen if you allow him to feed on you.”
“Yes, I’m aware of Clara’s curse and it got me thinking last week.”
Jasmine sucked in a breath. “About what? How to lift it? Girl, you’re crazy if that’s what you were thinking.”
“Look, it hurts like hell and I want some semblance of a normal life without a stupid curse hanging over my head. I’ve liked Niall for years now and I’ve always put those feelings off because of McQueen destiny. It’s up to me to think for myself.” She held her head down for a few seconds and quickly looked at her cousin. “Even if it means giving up my powers. Oh Jasmine, if I still have a chance with him, then yes, I’ll give up my powers. But I’m not going to pursue him.”
“You’re letting pride stand in the way. Why go to the club, just go and see him.”
Dehlia shook her head stubbornly. “Yup, I guess I am stubborn. Let him pursue me.”
“Uh-uh, the easy way out. So if he doesn’t come to you first, then you have nothing to worry about, right?” The young witch frowned.
“C’mon Jasmine, lay off.”
“I know you better than you know yourself.” Jasmine teased. “Maybe you’re banking on him showing up at the club—to make him jelly. Um-hmmm.”
Dehlia nudged her cousin with a smile. “Stop.”
“Yeah, see that? I knew it!” So, say we do run into him and let’s say you succeed in your little campaign of getting him jealous. You bed him—then what, genius? You know what will happen.”
“I’ll cross that bridge if and when I get to it,” Dehlia admitted with a sigh.
Jasmine shook her head stubbornly. “You’re hoping it will.”
“I haven’t been truly happy in years. Niall’s a vampire, I’m a McQueen; you can’t help who you fall in love with. When I’m with him---He makes me feel so much, like a longing that’s being satisfied. I don’t know if you can understand what I’m trying to say.”
“Yes, I think I do. He’s possibly your anchor, your soul mate, like Rose and Storm are soul mates. Clara and Micah too. Even so, you know the consequences. Are you prepared to take them on if this comes to pass?” Jasmine asked.
“At this point in my life--yes.”
“Does he know about your secret?”
Jasmine’s words were like ice water washing over her. Dehlia sucked her teeth, a little nervous habit she’d picked up since the Blood Moon. “Let’s not go there.”
“Listen, if you two have another chance, he should know before the two of you have sex. I mean, I’ve had my doubts about you and him, but you’re my cousin so I want to help you any way I can.”
She smiled. “That means a lot to me, it really does. If only Rose felt the same.”
“Everyone has their opinions on the matter,” Jasmine explained, “It’s no big deal, so let’s go. It’s eight o’clock and everyone else is either out and about or asleep.”
“Rose and Storm?”
“I haven’t seen them since yesterday.” Jasmine told her. “They’re probably off on one of their romantic getaways. And they really deserve one. I think she’s finally learned the meaning of balance, and Storm sure as hell has been looking very happy these days.”
“Good, I don’t need Rose sticking her nose in my business.” Dehlia walked over and opened her walk-in closet. She bit her lip as she plucked her best pair of thigh high leather boots with the gold tips from the shelf and flopped on her black velvet Chaise Lounge to put them on.
“She’s only looking out for your best interest,” Jasmine reminded her gently. “She and Storm put up a hell of a fight.”
“We all put up a hell of a fight. Tonight I’m partying until the sun comes up.” Dehlia zipped the last boot and slipped into her black leather jacket.
“I will.” Dehlia snickered.
“Awesome! I’m planning on having a few drinks too.” Jasmine chortled. “And if we both get smashed, we’ll just call a taxi.”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
“Cool, let’s blow this joint.” Jasmine entwined her arm around her cousins’ and they headed down to the garage.
Dehlia and Jasmine maneuvered their way through the crowd of Club Ravenous, the most prestige club in Raven’s Falls. Immediately Dehlia was filled with a euphoric feeling as she stalked through the sea of writhing bodies. Her heart pumped in time with the heavy beat of the music. Men made eye contact with her, some winking, and others, stopping dead in their tracks in awe of she and Jasmine’s presence.
“You’d think they’d never seen a witch before,” Jasmine snickered.
Sensing what the men were thinking, gave Dehlia a boost of confidence, but deep down she’d never give them the chance. There was only one man she wanted tonight, and she couldn’t find him anywhere. Regret hung heavy in her chest because she’d expected to find Niall here since he’d fired her. At least she hoped he’d be here.
The two women made their way over to the blue glass neon bar. Mirrors decorated the place, giving it a three dimensional appeal. Expensive spirits sat on glass shelves in the middle, and the blue glass extended in a triangle.
Couples sat around the bar, drinking and dry humping one another, and there were a few lonely souls scattered about, drowning their sorrows or staring whimsically at the several large flat screen televisions perched in the ceilings. The people around the bar stopped and nodded at the McQueen witches before tending to their business. Several bartenders worked the bar, two males and a female.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous in here,” Jasmine said breathlessly as they perched themselves in the black leather stools. “We really should get out more, don’t you think.”
“You don’t say.” Dehlia looked around at the décor. “It’s a shame we’ve been so focused on our craft over the years.”
One of the bartenders with long raven hair and a five o’clock shadow approached them. “What are you ladies drinking tonight?”
Jasmine flashed her pearly whites. “I’ll have a Buttery Nipple.”
“Good choice,” the bartender said in a dark husky growl before extending his hand to Dehlia. “My name is Decker.”
“Hello. I’m Jasmine. Do you greet all the patrons in this manor?”
“No, you just so happened to capture my attention,” Decker grinned. “It’s an honor to have McQueen witches here at Club Ravenous.
“And this is my cousin, Dehlia.”
“Nice to meet you,” Decker glanced quickly at Dehlia and smiled before returning his gaze to Jasmine.
Dehlia watched in amusement as the bartender’s gaze settled on her cousin’s breasts. “And I’ll take a Cosmopolitan, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course.” Decker nodded. “I’ll have your drinks to you in a moment,” he said softly and cast Jasmine another appreciative look before walking off.
“Ah, looks like someone has a fan.” Dehlia teased.
“He is cute.”
“He’s a roughneck.”
“And a griffin.”
“Yes, I saw the gold amulet around his neck. There aren’t many griffins in Raven’s Falls though. I’ll need to read up on their history one day.”
“A man who works with his hands and mates for life peeks my interest.” Jasmine said in husky tone.
“How’d you know his hands were calloused?”
“Dehlia, that’s the first thing I look for in a man. I’ve always been attracted to the blue collared gentleman.”
“At least he’s not a vampire.” Dehlia’s shoulders slumped as she thought about Niall.
“Aw, honey. Cheer up. We’re not here to drown our sorrows, we’re here to celebrate.”
Decker returned, setting their drinks down in front of them. “For cousin Dehlia, he said with a smile, and for the lovely Jasmine.”
Dehlia could feel the attraction between her cousin and the griffin and smiled. “Thanks Decker.”
“You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can get you?
“No, we’re good. I’m not all that hungry.” Dehlia admitted.
“Are you sure? We can put on a couple of steaks, or maybe some seafood?” Decker pushed a few menus in their direction.
“We’ll think about it,” Jasmine told him. “Thank you, Decker.
“I’ll be back to check on you ladies in a few, “Decker said with a smile before leaving to wait on other patrons.
“Oh damn. He really likes you, Jasmine.”
“I know. I wonder what his story is?”
“Why don’t you find out?” Dehlia took a few sips of her drink and surveyed the club.
“Don’t want to be too forward. I think I’ll let him pursue me,” Jasmine wiggled her eyebrows and sipped her drink. She swiveled the stool around to gaze at the crowded dance floor. “See anything you like?”
“Well, there are many eligible bachelors here in Raven’s Falls.” Dehlia checked out the dance floor and recognized many of the townspeople, many of whom were lion, dragon, and jaguar shifters.
In the midst of it all, Dehlia set her sights on a tall, buff blond haired man who was similar in appearance to Niall. Like her love interest, this man was dressed in black suit and tie with the exception of his hair, which hung a bit longer than Niall’s. He caught her looking and raised his glass to her. “There’s a prospect.” She continued studying the man as he stalked through the crowd, all the while, keeping his gaze on her. But there was another presence that caught her attention.
Jasmine nudged her. “He’s coming over—oh shit. Guess who else is here?”
“I know, Niall’s here.” Dehlia stole a glimpse at the vampire. He’d even dyed his hair to a dark brown. Before she could speak, the blond stranger was standing in front of her.
“What are you drinking, sweetheart?”
The voice was an octave lower than Niall’s. He eyed her with piercing hazel eyes that promised only a night of gratuitous sex—nothing more. He was a handsome man, but at such a close distance, she had to admit to herself he was nothing like Niall.
At least with the vampire, there was familiarity, warmth, and kindness between them. This man seemed so cold---and predatory, yet his sexual appeal radiated heavily from him. She sensed something else about him too, but couldn’t put her finger on it. She was about to send him along his merry way when she looked to her right and caught Niall scowling at her. The vampire leaned against a glass pillar, almost daring her to talk to the stranger.
“Cosmopolitan.” She snatched her gaze away from Niall looked up at the man and licked her lips. If she was going to play this game, she had to play it cool. Niall needed to be taught a lesson and after the treatment she received in his office, he deserved what he got.
Decker strolled up and the stranger ordered. “A Cosmopolitan and another whiskey.” Decker nodded and fetched the drinks. “I’m Kohl,” he said as he pulled the stool next to her a little closer and sat down. “So----what brings you here tonight?” His gaze cut her to the quick, but she wouldn’t let it show. She looked up just in time to see her cousin’s warning glare. Something was off and Jasmine simply shook her head.
“Just having some fun with my cousin,” Dehlia admitted.
“I see.” Kohl narrowed his eyes and leaned over to whisper in her ear. “Come dance with me. After that, we can go back to my place and fuck until the sun rises---witch.”
An icy, erotic chill surrounded her and she suddenly realized this to be a huge mistake, but with Niall watching in the distance, she couldn’t help but to put on a show. “But we’re getting ready to leave soon, so---“
Kohl’s eyes spoke his disapproval. “You were so ready to throw yourself at me,” he said with a sly smile. “Can’t a witch and a demon have a little fun together?”
“Leave this club or we’ll banish you now.” Dehlia promised, her heart pounded painfully against her chest. She’d been so busy trying to make Niall jealous she hadn’t realized she’d attracted a demon. Oh no. Another demon in Raven’s Falls?
“And put so many lives at risk?” Kohl said with a snort. “I’d love to see you give it a go.”
For the first time in her life, fear held Dehlia in its cruel gasp as she studied the bar. She glanced over at Niall who stood with his arms folded across his chest, giving her one hell of an eye gazing. He’d been staring at them the entire time.
“Meet me in the parking lot in five,” Dehlia whispered and winked at him. “I’ll give you a night you won’t forget.”
“That’s what I’m talking about. Didn’t know you McQueen witches were so easy,” he said with a husky laugh before rising to his feet.
When the demon left, Jasmine and Dehlia stared at each other. “This was a mistake, I’m so stupid,” Dehlia opened her purse and flung some cash on the bar for Decker. “Keep the change,” she muttered quickly as she and Jasmine left the bar.
“You were too hasty,” Jasmine whispered, but it’s okay. No harm done.
“Rose would kill me if she found out.”
Ignoring the vampire, Dehlia walked past him until he grabbed her by the arm.
“What the hell were you doing?” Niall asked, his lips set in a harsh line. His cerulean eyes blazed his anger.
“Get the hell off me, Niall.” She snatched away from his grasp and continued following Jasmine through the crowd and out of the entrance.
“Didn’t know he was a demon, did you?” Niall called from behind them.
“He’s not the only demon in our midst,” Dehlia bit back sharply.
“You wound me,” Niall said with a chuckle.
Kohl appeared in front of them, his arms folded and his eyes glowing. “Two McQueen witches,” he said with a matter of factedly smile.
“We don’t have time for this,” Dehlia said.
“I’m here to strike a bargain with you,” Kohl said in an icy tone.
“We don’t work with demons,” Jasmine folded her arms. “Don’t know how you got into Raven’s Falls, but we’re going to send your ass packing back to the void.
Kohl held up a hand. “No, wait! There’s something you should know—A powerful warlock is after you.”
“What?” Jasmine’s high pitch shriek broke the silence of the parking lot.
“He’s back from the dead and if you don’t act now—“
“What’s in it for us?” Niall sneered.
Don't forget to check out Paranormal Wednesdays Blog