Flirting With Fire by Tara Quan
I owe my lovely hostess a huge thank you for having me over today. My paranormal romantic comedy, Flirting with Fire, was just released by Decadent Publishing. It features a clueless fire mage, his fed-up cat familiar, and Madame Eve’s renowned one-night stand service. On All Hallows’ Eve, this witch and warlock iron out the kinks of an outdated employment contract in a spectacularly fiery fashion (and once you read the blurb, my very odd description will make a lot more sense).
In celebration, I’m giving away a $15 gift card. To enter, leave a comment here, and drop your details in the Rafflecopter widget (at the bottom of this post, assuming the code works, or at my website: TaraQuan.com/FlirtingwithFire)
Flirting with Fire (A Witch’s Night Out, 1)
Apprentice witch Catalina Gato is prohibited from assuming her human form in front of her new employer without his express permission. Since he doesn’t know he’s a warlock, he can’t give it, leaving her in a familiar’s limbo. To make matters worse, she’s barred from leaving his house, and her attempts to enlighten him of his true nature results in burnt notes, charred walls, and exploding laptops.
On All Hallows’ Eve, she gets one night of freedom. Deciding some no-strings-attached sex might take the edge off the intense attraction she feels for her clueless boss, she signs up for Madame Eve’s service. When she meets her masked mystery date at the Castillo Capital, she realizes she might have gotten much more than she bargained for.
After being gifted a one-night stand from his annoying best friend, attorney Leo Difuoco reluctantly ventures to the Castillo Capital to celebrate Halloween. When he meets his oddly familiar green-eyed date in a Cat Woman costume, flames literally ignite, sparks magically fly, and life as he knows it changes forever.
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy, Interracial/Multicultural
About Tara Quan
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, paranormal worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com
[Links as Text, mirroring the ones listed above]
[Excerpts are in increasing order of heat level, from PG to slightly spicy]
Excerpt 1 (PG) – 250 Words
Not bothering to close off the room, Leo hooked his fingers under his boxers’ waistband. “You’re a little pervert. Can’t you at least act like you’re not looking?” Very few sane people had lengthy conversations with their pets. He needed to get a life.
His audience of one lay down on her stomach, her face resting on her paws. The first couple of months, she’d pretended to be interested in something else— his assortment of fluffy white towels, for example. Now, she watched him shower like it was nobody’s business. Sighing, he took off his shorts and tossed them into the hamper, his aim perfect enough to remind him of his basketball-playing days. She meowed and nodded, as if in approval.
He stepped into the glass enclosure, feeling oddly self-conscious. With a twist of the handle, water fell like rain over his head. As he scrubbed, he continued to address the cat. “I’m going out tonight. It’s Halloween, and the guys are beginning to think I’ve turned into a hermit.”
The ensuing meow was pitched higher than usual. Though he hesitated to read too much into feline noises, his brain somehow interpreted the sound as an expression of enthusiasm. The plan he’d been lukewarm about gained appeal. “Besides, costume parties are great places to pick up chicks.”
He cringed at a loud crash. Poking his head out, he took stock of the damage. Ceramic shards from what used to be his soap holder covered the floor, along with globs of shiny translucent liquid.
Excerpt 2 (PG-ish) – 500 Words
Her lips pursed, [Cat Woman] stared down at him for a long moment. Then she muttered, “What the hell,” and dropped her very attractive behind onto the opposite seat. “So, this is your idea of an easy place to pick up chicks in costume?”
Not only was the question out of place, it bore an uncanny similarity to something he might have said to his cat. “Well…one in particular, I guess. What’s your name, by the way?”
She had to be joking. Or she obfuscated on purpose. He decided on the latter. After all, keeping one’s identity hidden made for a great exit strategy. “Mine’s Leo.”
She lifted the leather menu and opened it, blocking his view of her face. “I know.”
Madame Eve must employ a double standard, revealing the identity of men and not women. Another possible theory was Jack had forged the card and kept the woman’s details a secret on purpose. Both explanations seemed plausible. “What else do you know about me?”
She flipped a page. “Everything.”
Talk about unfair. Cat Woman must have received an actual profile, complete with a photo and an option to decline the date. “It might not be all true.”
She tilted the menu forward an inch, revealing the top half of her masked face. “What?”
“The profile you read. Jack has a weird sense of humor. You shouldn’t trust any of it.”
Her eyelids lowered into a slight squint, something the non-human Cat he knew had a habit of doing whenever he forgot to grab his keys. “I don’t follow.”
“It’s obvious you received some basic information about me.” When she shook her head, he waved off the denial. “It’s not a big deal, but I thought I should tell you someone else filled everything out. Since I hadn’t been offered a file on you at all, we should pretend this is a normal date and start over.”
With a shrug and a swift nod, she put the menu down, pulled her gloves off, and reached an arm across the table. The smile she sent him made his stomach do an unsettling flip. “My name is Catalina Gato. I’m a maid, accountant, and shape-shifting witch with a clueless boss and very meddlesome sister.”
What a sense of humor. Considering her costume, cat burglar would have been funnier, but she deserved bonus points for saying it all with a straight face. He took her hand and fought the odd urge to grab her, kiss her silly, and tear her clothes off.
The candle’s flame changed from blue to white. Then the fire shot up in a straight line, six inches high. Another round of nervous clapping followed.
Their palms still touching, he frowned. “Someone here must love Halloween. These special effects are over the top, not to mention dangerous.”
She shook her head and broke contact. Hints of disbelief and resignation laced her bell-like laugh. “Do you think Gomez has recovered enough to send a waiter our way?”
Excerpt 3 (Spicy) – 350 Words
Soaping her too-sensitive body, Cat closed her eyes and recalled an image of Leo from earlier that morning. She’d wanted nothing more than to slip through the glass doors, run her palms along those wet, chiseled abs, and trace the defined lines of chest muscle with her fingers. After less than two minutes of voyeurism, she’d imagined levering herself using those broad shoulders, wrapping her legs around his torso, and fusing her mouth with his.
Why did her boss have to be clueless and sexy? If not for the latter trait, it’d be much easier to hate his guts. Instead, she was trapped in a weird limbo between impatient annoyance and unbridled horniness. She switched the water to a cold blast. It didn’t help.
One cardinal rule existed in all professions—Thou shalt not lust after the boss. To it, she’d add—especially not when you’re his minion, bound by blood to do his bidding, and he doesn’t see you as a human being. But the impracticality of this attraction didn’t change the fact this man appealed to her in the most carnal way. It was a good thing she transformed into a cat whenever he came close, else her panties would be damp from constant sexual fantasies.
When she slept, she dreamt of learning the texture of his dark five o’clock shadow with her lips, of feeling his coarse chest hair rasp over her breasts. He might be no more than two inches taller than her, but she’d be powerless in his grasp. The man was all muscle, from his thick neck to his toned arms. Even without the magical rules demanding her complete obedience, he could compel her to do whatever he wanted.
This embarrassing and unrelenting lust put an impetus on finding a way out. She’d served Nonna for a little over three years and spent the past six months in his care, leaving an interminable eighteen months on the damn contract. By the time it ended, she’d be a frustrated nymphomaniac.
Excerpt 4 (Spicy) – 270 Words
Gomez’s manners thus far had been impeccable, but Leo could draw a straight line from the man’s eyeballs to Catwoman’s chest. To be fair, those were some gorgeous breasts—either that or the woman wore a killer push-up bra. High, pert, and full, they combined with lush wide hips to form a perfect hourglass shape. In those heels, her legs seemed to go on for miles.
Distracted by the lithe yet voluptuous body, it took him a moment before he could focus on her face. She had straight, silky black hair, cut at the chin to form a short bob. Her dark leather mask started halfway down her forehead and ended under her cheekbone, lending her heart-shaped face a mysterious and sexy air. Plum red lipstick accentuated a pair of pouting lips, which were perfectly situated between a small button nose and sharp pointed chin.
He had to agree with Jack. Catwoman was smoking.
The maître d’ led her into the lounge’s interior. As she walked closer, her spicy perfume blended with the scent of fresh tobacco, the intoxicating combination interfering with his ability to focus. Spotting him, she stopped in her tracks.
Her emerald-green eyes went wide. Then she swept him from head to toe with her gaze. The direct scrutiny triggered a sudden tightness in his pants. An electric sizzle spread over his skin and made his fingertips tingle.
A collective gasp distracted him from the odd physiological reaction. Thecandle on his table now blazed blue instead of orange, the flame growing to twice its original size. He snuck a peek at the other tables, all of which seemed to be experiencing the same fiery effect.
The lounge must have invested in some fancy pyrotechnic candles in honor of Halloween.