Change of Heart
Release Day 3/1/17
|Fancy New Cover!|
I'm excited to be sharing Change of Heart! While it's different than the other Hours of the Night stories, a certain vampire does have a role. His true identity may be a secret, but I left hints and teasers to entertain readers who are familiar with the world. Secret identities is something of a theme in this story, and I hope you enjoy it. Also, be sure and enter the giveaway Irene and I are running for a $10 gift card!!
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A body reaps what they sow, and Clarabelle’s planted the seeds of trouble. The year is 1933, and not much else is growing in the Oklahoma dirt. Clarabelle’s gone and fallen in love with her best friend, so she figures it's time to go out and see the world.
If she’s lucky, she’ll find the kind of girl who'll kiss her back.
Clarabelle heads for New Orleans, and that's where she meets Vaughn. Now, Vaughn's as pretty as can be, but she's hiding something. When she gets jumped by a pair of hoodlums, Clarabelle comes to her rescue and accidentally discovers her secret. She has to decide whether Vaughn is really the kind of girl for her, and though Clarabelle started out a dirt-farming Okie, Vaughn teaches her just what it means to be a lady.
I pushed through the double doors, swallowing hard on my nerves. Vaughn and her friends were so worldly, and while my peach crepe dress was pretty, she’d seen it a bunch of times before. Despite the heat, my hands had gone cold from nervousness, but I made myself walk in their direction.
“It took you long enough.” Vaughn jumped to her feet. A few of the waiters were still cleaning up, and even the musicians had already packed away their instruments. “Come on.”
She all but pulled me off my feet, leading me away from the table.
“Are you snatching your little wildcat away?” Leo lolled in his seat, a shade too close to Mr. Dupont.
Vaughn drew me close to her side. “Shut up, Leo.”
She caught my eye and I blushed, ignoring the way Momma and the preacher were yammering in my head. Vaughn had something in mind, and while I didn’t want to burn in hell, I followed along behind her.
“You boys are here to see the boss, right?” she said. “You don’t want a couple of girls listening in on one of your bull sessions.”
Leo brayed loud enough to turn heads, and for a scant second I wondered why Vaughn put up with him. Vaughn’s happiness could warm a whole room, while Leo’s harsh humor left a bitter taste in my mouth. I couldn’t tell about Mr. Dupont. Someone that quiet could be thinking any ol’ thing.
“Come on, baby doll.” Vaughn spoke low, right in my ear, sending off a wave of shivers. I kept hold of her hand and followed. “Mr. Dupont and the boss have business dealings.” She pulled me along toward the rear hall. The only things back there were the kitchen and the boss’s office. We stopped at his office. She drew me into the room and locked the door.
I breathed so fast my head got light, overwhelmed by the scent of roses and my own sweat. At some point the boss would have to put my cash drawer away. Nervousness swelled into fear. “What are we doing?”
“Now.” Vaughn leaned against the door, still holding my hand. “No one’s going to bother us for a while.” Her gaze traveled over my body, leaving a trail of heat. “Such a pretty thing.”
I hitched a hip on the boss’s desk, and she crossed the room, moving slowly, as if we had all the time in the world and the boss wouldn’t be banging on the door any minute.
“I’m just…” The slink in her walk dried my voice like a stream in July. Her soft rose scent washed over me, followed by the heat of her body. She didn’t stop till our knees were touching.
“So,” she whispered.
“We shouldn’t be hiding out in here.” Though nothing under the sun could make me leave.
She ran a fingertip along my jaw. “Why not?” Her smile got saucy. “The boys’ll keep the boss busy for a while.”
Vaughn eased closer, and I arched against her. “It’s a…” Sin. My words were cut off by the press of her lips against mine. Pretty soon I learned that the taste of another woman’s mouth drove the preacher’s talk right out of my head.
This kiss was better than our first one because I knew what to do. She got a hand around my neck and pulled me closer, and, God help me, I let her. Her hands travelled over my shoulders, and our bubs rubbed together, sending tingles to the pit of my belly.
Things blurred, my body lighting up. Too many sensations came at me all at once. She licked my lips, and when I parted them, the touch of her tongue on mine made me gasp. So new. So good. Her arm circled my waist, pulling me tight against her hip. Her fingers teased my nipples through the flowing fabric of my dress.
She only paused when I tried to return the favor by reaching for the buttons of her blouse. She caught my hand and drew it back down to her waist.
“Nope, when I get drunk I get bossy, and I want to play.” She giggled, and I got it. I’d tasted gin along with the lipstick, smelled the booze on her breath. She wasn’t blotto, but she’d started well before they’d cajoled an after-hours pour out of our bartender.
“You”—she tapped the tip of my nose—“make me think all kinds of naughty thoughts.” Her lips tightened for a second, but then her smile brightened and chased away the passing dim. “Here.” She threaded our fingers together and drew my hands to the top of my head. “Now keep ʼem here.”
“What?” I let go as soon as she did. “I’m not going to—”
“Shh.” She grasped my wrists and returned my hands to my head. “I told you I want to play. Do you trust me?” She rested her forehead against mine. “Do you?”
My heart jitterbugged all the way up into my throat. “Yeah.” The word came out strangled.