Friday, December 19, 2008

Fortune's Flight by Lia Connor

Fortune's Flight
by Lia Connor

Cover art by Kassie Thrace
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-166-4
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Interracial, Ménage, Bisexual and More, Magic and Mayhem
Series: Fortune
Length: Novella


She’s no Mary but she’s quite contrary, and strange magics are how her garden grows.

Rosetta, too proud and too prickly to let anyone get close enough to win her heart, finds herself faced with mystery upon mystery when Mama Elise sends her to deliver the seed for a charmed tree to the Beast in the old manufactory. Her persistent suitor Bryan follows in her tracks and is caught up in the magical game when a Firebird -- who can take on the shape of a man -- arrives to entice hearts, minds, souls and bodies with his song.

Together with a worthy opponent and fiery lover in the roguish Bryan, Rosetta works to win the heart of the Firebird. But can she bring herself to sacrifice her pride for a chance at the passion of a lifetime with not one man, but two?


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A trick of the rose-hued rays of the late afternoon sun, and to Rosetta’s eyes the branches of the fallen tree outside the aged, nearly opaque window looked like the arms of a lover reaching out for someone’s hands they couldn’t quite grasp. The very tips, twigs barren of leaves, scratched and tapped at the glass, begging to be let in.
She had to draw that.
Focus trained on the window and the tree, Rosetta searched beneath the counter of the customer service desk where she’d drawn afternoon duty as Mama Elise’s clerk-of-the-day, hunting for her cheap spiral-bound notebook and one of her sharpened pencils. Someday she’d have the money saved for oil pencils in a hundred different rich, saturated colors and shades, and smooth, inviting linen paper to draw on. Someday.
She drew the first lines boldly. If you were going to sketch, you had to do it right. No dicking around with a hesitant stroke here and a tentative squiggle there. The bare tree limbs took shape almost without her looking at the paper, letting the feel of the moment guide her hands instead. Then, she didn’t want to look down. She almost had the mood captured, she knew it. If she let herself look at her work, the moment would be lost and the spell broken. A few more lines and --
A solid male body moved between Rosetta and the window, blocking her view with a sleek leather jacket, and a chest as solid as the Great Wall of China. “Pardon me, miss. You the one tending the register or are you just here to attract customers?”
Rosetta snapped her notebook shut, not wanting this joker to get a look at her work. “Say that last part again?” she asked, cross. She put her elbows on the counter before her. “Hey! My eyes are up here.” She snapped her fingers.
The man didn’t seem ashamed at having been caught checking out her rack. He laughed, raising his eyes to tell her she’d won the point, and mirrored her pose. The stance brought him closer to her than she’d have liked, barely a foot between their faces. He had green eyes, the deep green of new leaves, dark curling hair, and the kind of creamy-fair complexion that made her think of Ireland. She could smell the cold sharpness of the winter wind clinging to him.
Heat pulsed between her legs and Rosetta drew back, uncomfortable. “What do you want?”
“Aren’t you supposed to say ‘can I help you’ instead?” He didn’t try to touch her, but the open admiration in his gaze told Rosetta he certainly wanted to. “Word on the grapevine is that this apothecary, Mama Elise, can cure whatever ails you. That true?”
“Maybe,” Rosetta allowed, wary. “No uppers, no downers, no in-betweeners, no Viagra.”
The corners of his eyes crinkled when he was tickled. “I don’t need Viagra, thanks. I’m Bryan. And you are?”
“Not interested,” Rosetta lied, clipping the words short. She refused to squirm, not even to ease the slow pulse of arousal low and deep within. Guys like him, charming and roguish, weren’t worth the effort. All they were interested in was getting off, and if she had an urge she also had a small box devoted to toys she kept under her bed. “I’ll give you one more shot. What do you want?”
“Comfrey root.”
Rosetta raised an eyebrow. “Uh-huh.”
“You sound surprised.”
She was. “Not too many people know what comfrey’s good for. Why do you want it?”
He winked at her. “Nothing’s better than comfrey for mending cuts and breaks, right?”
“Right,” Rosetta agreed, dubiously waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“I figure it’d be good for a broken heart, and I’ll be crushed if I can’t convince you to take a break and come for a walk with me.”
The pencil Rosetta still held loosely between her fingers snapped under a sudden spasm of pressure. “If you think I’m dumb enough to go off with a guy I don’t know, you’re as simple-minded as you are pretty.” Damn.
“Pretty, huh?” He leaned closer, his breath smelling of sweet peppermint. “Why so many prickles, beautiful?”
Rosetta made herself drop the pieces of pencil rather than stab at him. “Don’t call me beautiful. Ever. Piss off.”
“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked, a puzzled line forming between his eyebrows. “You’re gorgeous.”
“Because the only guys who ever say it are ones who want to get in my pants.”
“Who can blame them?” Bryan reached toward her, and though the movement wasn’t abrupt and he probably had something impossibly romantic like stroking her cheek or brushing a curl of her hair in mind, it was the last straw. Rosetta whipped her notebook at Bryan, thwacking him hard on top of the head.
Rosetta glared at him. “Now I’m in trouble. Thanks.”
Bryan rubbed the back of his head. “God, you’re a hellcat.”

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