Here's Cursed Ink: Book 1 - Love & Curses.
….Calista Page always gives her heart to the wrong guy. The latest one gives her a tattoo before he dumps her to move on to his next conquest. As she falls apart from yet another failed relationship, her sexy, steadfast neighbor holds her. Why can’t she find a guy like him?….Successful restaurant owner, Andy Mitchell pines for the girl next door. Tired of being her go-to guy, he decides to tell her how he feels. But fresh off her latest rejection, he wonders if he can convince her that this time love will last.
….“Death is after you,” Calista’s crazy aunt warns. After cursing the tattoo artist who broke niece’s heart, she fears the black magic has splashed over to her. Gypsy mumbo-jumbo or not, Andy’s instincts kick in, but with Death determined to take Calista’s life at every turn, can Andy unravel the secret of Love and Curses before it’s too late?
Genre: Paranormal romance, suspense/thriller, erotic romanceHeat level: 3
Word count: 18k
Cover Art: TygraPro Designs
“I’d hoped you understood.” Annoyance settled heavily in Ben’s belly, creating a familiar lead weight that threatened not only to ruin his good mood but also attempted to tether him to New Orleans. Hell, since he’d turned sixteen, he hadn’t been tied to any one spot, and today certainly wasn’t the day he would change. Rolling to his side, the sheet slipping from his hip, he reached over to smooth a dark lock of hair from his lover’s forehead. “I thought we were on the same page here, Calista.”
Bright gold eyes turned toward him. “I thought we were, too.”
“Good.” He trailed his fingers over her collarbone and down to her chest where he drew lazy circles over her damp, bronze skin. Damn if she hadn’t ridden him like a female jockey. Got them both across the finish line, too. If only she’d had a whip—
“I just don’t understand why we can’t go out to a restaurant and have an actual meal together.” She sighed, her breasts rising and falling enticingly. “It’s not like it’s a big deal.”
Not a big deal? One meal turns into two, and next thing, she’s picking out fucking china. Hell no. Ben gave her his special smile—the one that more than one girl had admitted made her panties wet—and ground his pelvis against her thigh. “C’mon, baby. We’ve had two weeks of fun, why ruin what we have by getting dressed? Le’me order us a pizza.”
“It’s been ten days.” She shoved him away and sat up.
He nodded. “Yes, we’ve been eating way too much pizza. Chinese. How about Moo Shu Pork?”
Scooting her long legs over the side of the bed, she perched on the edge of the mattress with her back to him, shoulders hunched. “So, what is it? Do I embarrass you or something?”
Ben scrubbed his hands over his face. This was exactly why he didn’t care for relationships. Games, wordplay, the struggle for control, insecurities—all of it a waste of time. Amid that were about three hours of hot, sweaty sex—sometimes more if the girl he was with understood the score.
Calista did not.
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re gorgeous.” He moved closer to her, the thin sheet sliding away and the cool air wafting over his heated skin. As he reached to brush her long black hair to the side, a shudder coursed down his back. “And the tat on your shoulder makes you sexier than ever.” He trailed his fingers over his work, the tribal-style bird he’d inked two weeks—no, ten days ago. “My little sparrow.”
She twisted toward him. “So, you think of me as something you can keep caged?”
He bowed his head and squeezed his eyes closed. Damn it. Here we go. “No. Nobody’s caged. No one’s controlling anyone else.” He lifted his gaze to meet hers. “That’s the point.”
Her jaw tightened, and she swallowed. “So, all I am is a good time, right?”
“You sure sounded as though you were having a good time when you were riding me like there was no tomorrow.”
Her expression darkened, and tears welled in her eyes. Aw, hell. Didn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore? Ben flopped back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. “Sorry. I didn’t mean—”
“Yes, you did.” She shoved to her feet. Snatching her shorts from the chair, she stepped into them and jerked them up. “You meant exactly what you said. And I might be a little slow on the uptake, but I’m not stupid.” She yanked her T-shirt over her head sans bra. “For some reason, I thought we had something good going here. Something that might last. But I get it now.” She threw her arms out to the sides. “It was just sex.”
“Calista….” He left the bed and crossed to her.
She held her hand up, warding him off. “No. Don’t say anything else.” She grabbed her panties and bra from the floor, wadded them into a ball, and stuffed them into her purse.
He tried not to stare at her heaving chest while she yelled at him, but her tight nipples pushing against the thin shirt fabric were too distracting. Damn, he wished he could’ve played things out a little longer, had another tumble or two before it all had gone to shit.
She stepped into her sandals and marched to the door, and he followed after her.
“Okay, sooo….” He faced her, naked from head-to-toe, giving her one last chance to check out what she was giving up. “I’ll call you tomorrow, then.”
Her hand on doorknob, she stopped, a strained laugh erupting from her throat. “Sure, Ben. You call.”
Jerking the door open, she stormed out, slamming the cheap panel of wood behind her.
....“Well, all right,” he muttered. With a sigh, he checked his watch. Five o’clock. He had another client scheduled at the parlor for six thirty. Just enough time to get a shower, grab some grub, and get there.