A Djinn in the Mirror

dark-secrets-box-set-1I’m continuing the Sneak Peek Party, revealing little glimpses of our dark secrets. That is, of our collection, DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY

Six award-winning authors bring you this spellbinding collection of stories about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule.

Yesterday I featured an excerpt from Rachel Caine’s contribution and had one from my own at Here Be Magic.

Today, I’ve got one from Mina Khan’s story, A DJINN IN THE MIRROR.

A paranormal Cinderella story with a young witch as the heroine and a wicked, sexy djinn instead of a fairy godmother.

Dahlia, the step-daughter of a power hungry wizard, promises to free a djinn trapped in a mirror if he rescues her from impending death. But Ashmael the djinn has his own agenda: to trick & seduce his way to freedom. The only problem is he ends up falling for Dahlia. Can he win his freedom and save the girl?

The Excerpt

Goosebumps raced across Dahlia. Her breathing grew hoarse as the smoke gathered in dark storm clouds above the dusty attic floor a few feet from her. Instead of the acrid stink of fire she expected, the air held the sharp electric scent of rain. Anticipation tightened her chest as the cluster of clouds solidified and reformed into a male figure, into Ashmael. Thankfully, with the robe on.

Dahlia met his gaze. It still held cool contempt that made her want to shrivel and disappear. She didn’t deserve this…judgment. She had a good heart and good intentions. “Once I’m safe, I will free you.”

“When will that be?”

“After I survive my twenty first birthday and I own this house, you will be free. Completely free in about five days from today,” she said. Not even a full week. Her words loosened the tension inside her, filled her with warm hope. Once she owned the house, she’d be free too. Free to live as she pleased. She could roam and explore the world, but then always return home. “I promise.”

A cynical smile quirked his lips. “Forgive me, but experience has taught me not to trust humans. They have a tendency to forget promises.”

Anger shot through her. The djinn was impossible. Hell bent on seeing the worst in her. “Feel free to remind me. Though I plan to keep my word.”

“So you won’t mind if I give you a reminder?”

“What do you mean?”

“In my time, some people tied a thread to a finger as a reminder, others exchanged promise rings.”

Rasputin brushed against her, grounding her. She sneaked a glance at Ashmael’s sharp, handsome face. Dangerous territory. Rings seemed a bit too romantic. “I could do something like a string.”

“You’d have to wear it all the time.”

She figured this was a safe request to give in to. “That’s fine.”

He reached up with one hand, grasped something from the air with a twist and a mutter. Then, smiling, he stepped closer. A black satin ribbon dangled from his fingers. “I get to choose where, or are you going to say no again?”

Dahlia held up her left index finger. “I thought you were going to tie it around a finger.”

“You thought wrong,” he said. “This is way too much ribbon for a finger.”

He trailed the ribbon around her wrist. The soft, shimmery black material slid like a snake on her skin.

“Perhaps not.” He whisked the ribbon away. “Lift up your hair.”

At her glare, he laughed. “Are you regretting your pretty little speech about us being equals?”

The stupid djinn was testing her. She bit her tongue and grasped handfuls of her thick, dark hair and lifted it up. Cool air kissed her bared neck. He stepped close, too close. Heat from his body washed over her, made her dizzy and lightheaded. She almost swooned, but firmed her stance.

His nostrils flared, his breath came fast and ragged. Good, he wasn’t as cool as he pretended to be.

A shiver escaped her when the ribbon dragged across her collarbone as he slipped it around her neck. Would he try to choke her with it? Dahlia’s breath stopped as his warm knuckles brushed against her skin. Warm, not cold like marble. He stepped back. “You can let your hair down now.”

She met his gaze and, even though her arms ached, she continued to hold her hair up. “How does it look?”

Something flared in his eyes, but he blinked it away too fast for her to catch. “Beautiful.”


We are now on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26135577-dark-secrets-a-paranormal-noir-anthology

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Sharing the Love

Going Underthe talon of the hawkOne of the fun things about writing in several genres and series is that sometimes exciting things happen in multiple worlds at the same time – a very frisky kind of serendipity!

If you haven’t seen it yet, the USA Today HEA Sci-Fi Encounters Blog has a great write up on Fantasy Romance, with terrific insights from the leading writers of the genre – including me, wow! – along with selections from their TBR (to be read) lists.

Also, Going Under tied for Honorable Mention (3rd Place) for Best Book of 2014 at the Love Romances Cafe! This is a readers’ Yahoo loop, so I don’t *think* there’s any way for me to link to it. That came as a total surprise – a thrilling one!

One of the most fun parts of being a writer – particularly in the romance community – is sharing the love with other authors. I’ve been so privileged in the last year to have developed even more friendships with writers who are writing similar stories and even reading mine. We get to have the great pleasure of talking about each others’ work with sincere enthusiasm. Two authors who I’ve been reading and loving – and who’ve been really great about suggesting my books to their readers – are Grace Draven and Jennifer Estep. Really fabulous ladies. 

and the possibilities for collaboration go up.

For example, I’m participating in an anthology with five other amazing authors. We’re calling it DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY. It’s going to be SO delicious, people!! The participating authors are Rachel Caine, Cynthia Eden, Megan Hart, Suzanne Johnson and Mina Khan. I’ve only read Megan Hart’s story – a chilling and sexy deal-with-the-devil tale – but I’ve read everyone’s blurbs. Really excited about this!

Through this anthology – and another weird, random connection – I’ve become quite chatty with Megan lately. Yesterday on IM she suggested an idea for a future project. Did I want to play? Yes, ma’am! I’m already percolating on that one. Her idea is terrific and I love being inspired that way. In a similar vein, I read and loved, loved, loved Rachel Caine’s PRINCE OF SHADOWS. Seriously amazing book. It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but from Benvolio’s point-of-view. Almost impossible to describe how super good it is. That said, Rachel doesn’t go for the smexy like I do, and I complained to her about the scene we did NOT get. (I don’t want to be spoilery, but if you’ve read it – and if you haven’t, you should! – you’ll know exactly what scene I mean.)

So she wrote it for me.

Ha! How awesome is that? Even better, I get to make it even hotter. I don’t know if she’ll share it publicly, but what a fun thing for me.

At any rate, this is kind of a rambly, gushy post, but that’s my mood today.

Sharing the love, people!