Sunday, November 02, 2008

Excerpt: Fortune's Favor

Fortune's Favor
by Lia Connor
Cover art by Kassie Thrace
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-095-7
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Interracial, Ménage, Bisexual and More, Magic and Mayhem
Series: Fortune
Length: Novella


Fortune favors the brave…

Nicky thinks she made the biggest mistake of her life four years ago -- falling into bed with her best friends. Not that it would have been a problem if she hadn't heard them regretting what they shared the next day. Since that night, Nicky's been eating her heart out.
Something's got to give. Anyone with eyes can see Nicky and her men belong together. A couple of helping hands from unlikely, magical sources give Nicky what she needs -- a second chance to claim her men -- if only she’s got the courage to take what she wants…


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Nicky jumped, yelped, and nearly knocked over her soda. “Taylor!” She swung around to mock-glare at the man who’d popped up behind her. “You scared me half to death.”
“Gotta be tougher than that, Nicky.” Taylor tousled her hair with the palm of his hand and dropped lightly onto the trestle bench beside her, straddling it easily. A sleek, compact guy, tough with a working man’s hard muscle, he wore a leather vest and nothing else over black jeans sculpted to his body through long wear. He had freckles almost everywhere.
Nicky’s lips parted. “Wow.”
“What? Do I have something on my face?” Taylor turned to and fro, pretending to preen for her with a wicked twinkle in his eye.
“Nothing except this scruffy thing you’re calling a beard.” Nicky tweaked one of the neatly trimmed chestnut whiskers.
“Who’s calling who scruffy?” Ross appeared, sitting on Nicky’s other side. She’d been expecting him and wasn’t startled, though she pretended for the sake of playing the game that made these two rascals happy.
“I’m calling your friend scruffy,” Nicky informed him. “And I’m calling both of you jerks for being mean to me.”
Ross tugged one of Nicky’s loose braids, coming unraveled as always by the end of a long day. Once upon a time, on a steamy-hot summer night that tasted of sweet red wine, he’d said the arrangement of loose strands and tousled curls was kinda hot. Made her look all disheveled, were the words he’d used.
Nicky knew better than to dwell on the memories, and she’d trained herself not to worry about her do when her boys were around.
“Her” boys. She wished. But they’d never know that. Not from her.
Across the table, Rosetta gave Nicky a significant look over her half-drunk pint of hard cider. Rosetta, pretty as a picture of a Renaissance angel, the pale platinum of her curls tumbling artlessly over her cheeks, contrasting beautifully with her skin tone. She had gorgeous skin, damn her, a smooth coffee-with-cream shade. Not afraid of a thing in the world, either. Too bold sometimes. Right now, Nicky could almost hear what Rosetta was thinking. Make a move already, would you?
Nicky blushed, looking down. Rosetta didn’t understand. She’d almost come between them once. She couldn’t let that happen again.
She was now and forever stuck as the gal-pal.
No matter how much it sucked.
Ross, cool and collected as ever, looked at her through ice-blue eyes over his mirrored shades and grinned, the tip-tilted, roguish quirk of lips that set every heart he ever came across to beating faster, female or male. And that was the problem. He was already in love -- with Taylor. “I heard some pretty lady around here was having a birthday today.”
Taylor pretended over-the-top surprise, pressing his hand to his bare chest. “No. Now who in the world could that be? Nobody I know.”
“Guys,” Nicky protested. “Quit playing the fool. You do this every year.”
“Yeah, and you love it.”
Nicky bit her lip. Did he honestly not know the memory of her twenty-first birthday still haunted her? Or was he just being a typical out-of-sight out-of-mind man?
“It’s the anniversary of when we found you, and that counts as a birthday to me,” Taylor pointed out.
True enough. Eight years ago, they’d saved her. He and Ross, joined at the hip even back then, had yanked her off the street corner where she, a scrawny runaway, had been trying to work up the nerve to turn tricks for food. Found her a job with Mama Elise, a place to sleep, and a new life.
She owed them everything, which meant the least she could do was honor their wishes, and not remind them of their one mistake, that one delicious night, four years ago. Their one mistake. No matter what she would have liked from them -- and she could spend hours thinking about the details in luscious, X-rated fantasies -- she’d never allow herself to come between them again.
Rosetta thought she was being an idiot and not stepping up to fight for what should have been hers a long time ago, but she knew better.
“Happy birthday, baby girl.” Ross kissed her cheek, noisily and sloppily, and laughed when she wrinkled her nose at him and wiped her face with a napkin Taylor handed her.
“She’s not exactly a baby,” Rosetta observed, as dry as dust.
“Bah,” Taylor scoffed. “She’ll always be our baby.”
I only wish.
“Can’t anything change that if we don’t let it, right?” Taylor kissed her temple, a quick, friends-only smooch, and tweaked her ear. “Tell me, birthday girl,” he said, digging for his wallet. “What do you want from the bar tonight? My treat. Our treat. Ross and I both want to show you a good time.”
“If only,” Rosetta murmured.

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