What? You haven't read it yet? Okay, how about a little taste of Cal, a tough, Cimmerian warrior and Alpha-hot hero, to whet your appetite.
Salvatorus didn’t have any great ideas. He had one fucking awful idea. He wanted to have a party. With goddesses.
Okay, Salvatorus hadn’t called it a party. He’d called it a strategy session, and before Cal had been able to open his mouth to protest, Nortia had appeared in Salvatorus’s living room. And that didn’t mean she walked through the door. One second she wasn’t there, and the next, she was holding court with Salvatorus fawning all over her.
The Etruscan Goddess of Fate wore bright red, stiletto-heeled pumps and a fuck-me black leather dress that molded to each of her generous curves like a second skin. Like Tessa, she was a blonde, but Nortia’s hair was silver and gold and she looked like a goddamn Barbie doll.
Tessa left Cal’s side to hug the woman who could have been her sister. Hell, she probably was her sister.
And his brain really was not going to go there. No way. No how.
“Ooh, Tess honey, where’d you get the eye candy? Are you willing to share, or can you get me one of my own?”
Nortia had let her bright blue gaze travel all the hell over him like he was a piece of meat, and like a geek at his first school dance, he’d made a beeline for the kitchen where he’d been holed up with a beer ever since.
“Jesus Christ, Goat-Legs. This is my worst fucking nightmare. And you know it, don’t you, you sick bastard?”
Salvatorus’s laugh had a maniacal sound to it. “Suck it up, Conan. This isn’t about you.”
Cal bared his teeth and actually growled at the salbinelli. The bastard knew just how to needle him… and how he felt about deities. That was probably why Salvatorus hadn’t told him the house was going to be infested with goddesses.
So what are you doing with Tessa?
Not going there, either. “Yeah, well, you think this is a smart idea, having them all in one place at one time? If Charun finds them, it’ll be like an all-you-can-eat buffet, for fuck’s sake.”
“Vaffanculo, son. He’s not going to know they’re here. This place is untouchable and they’re all awake. You need to chill the fuck out. Nervousness does not become you.”
Salvatorus put the lid on the blender and hit the button, ruining perfectly good tequila by making it pink and prissy.
Cal picked up his glass of whiskey and took a healthy swallow. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
Salvatorus snorted and stomped one hoof on the floor. “Yeah, you’re full of shit, Caligo. How long have we known each other? Forty years? Fifty, since I brought you up here?”
More like sixty, and Cal owed the guy his life, but he wasn’t going to give the salbinelli any more ammunition than he already had. In all that time, Salvatorus had never mentioned the circumstances that had brought them together. It still shamed Cal to even think about it.
To be chained, shackled like an animal, and forced to beat weaker men into bloody masses of broken flesh for rich men’s entertainment. His own stupidity had led to his imprisonment. And he owed a huge debt of gratitude to Salvatorus for getting him out.
To his credit, the salbinelli had never played that card to get Cal to help him. He didn’t need to.
Cal knew all too well what he owed Salvatorus. So he kept his mouth shut, knowing the guy would get around to saying what he had to say on his own schedule.
“Look, kid. I sent her to you for a reason. You know that, right?”
“Because you like to bust my balls.”
Salvatorus snorted. “Yeah, that was a benefit. But you’re a sucker for the damsel in distress. You can’t help yourself. I knew you’d protect her.”
Now, how about a little taste of the next book in the series?
By the time the bar cleared out around one a.m., Brand thought maybe he’d regressed back to his teenage years.
He’d had a hard-on all night. His throat felt like sandpaper and his heart pounded like he’d just finished a half hour of sprints.
Her last set had been in Italian. Well, he was pretty sure it was Italian, though there were a few times he was pretty sure it wasn’t. That it might have been Latin. Whatever language it was, she sang it beautifully. And the kid accompanying her on guitar should’ve been playing arenas to sold-out crowds. Brand didn’t move the entire forty-five minutes of the last set.
When she finished the last note, the crowd got to their feet and gave her a several-minute standing ovation.
So did he.
With a smile, she stepped off the stage and made the rounds again, this time as everyone in the bar made their way out the front door. She acknowledged everyone by name as they approached her to say how much they’d enjoyed the show and to say goodnight.
And he could have sworn some of them bowed or curtsied. Weird.
When all the guests but Brand had gone, she walked to the opposite end of the bar and spoke to the bartender for a minute. Brand couldn’t hear a word and his hearing was pretty damn good.
After a few seconds, the guy nodded but the look he shot Brand was a warning. The woman obviously inspired loyalty from her employees. Brand returned the guy’s gaze until the bartender disappeared into the back room.
Then he looked at Lucy and found her watching him with a sexy half-grin that made his blood flow like lava through his veins.
“Did you enjoy the second set?”
She accompanied the question with a little tilt of her head and he watched, spellbound, as one midnight-silk curl slipped over her shoulder to curve around her full breast.
Damn, he was going to spontaneously combust if he didn’t watch out. Not that that would be a bad thing, but he didn’t want to come off as too eager and scare her away.
He was sorry to say it’d happened before. He weighed over two-hundred pounds and was built to take more than a few hits. Luckily, he still had all his teeth but his nose had been broken a few times and showed it.
His hands were chapped and rough and he knew his shoulder had probably turned about five shades of purple by now. Still, he’d never had much trouble picking up a woman when he wanted one. And he wanted this one.
“I did, though I couldn’t understand most of it. Italian?”
Her lips curved a little higher. “Some, yes. And a little Latin.”
He expected her to go on but she stopped, as if waiting for him. To what? He felt like he was missing something.
“Do you have classical training?”
Now her smile broadened into a full-blown grin. “Yes, you could say that. Would you like another drink?”
He glanced down at the tumbler on the bar in front of him and realized he couldn’t remember finishing it. He’d been that engrossed in her performance. “Yeah, sure. It’s a—”
“Seven and Seven. “ She moved behind the bar, mixing his drink with deft hands. She placed it on the bar. “A good bartender always knows what her customers are drinking.”
He smiled and he swore he could smell her arousal. “My dad has the same saying.”
“Your dad sounds like a smart man.”
“He is. The bar’s been in the family for almost sixty years.”
“So, Brandon, would you like to come upstairs?”
Instead he nodded, swallowed and said, “Sure, I’d love to.”