Read Masked Attraction Online

Authors: Mary Hughes

Masked Attraction

BOOK: Masked Attraction
7.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Masked Attraction
Number 0.50 of
Pull of the Moon
Mary Hughes
7th Octave Publishing (2015)

The masks are coming off.

Daniel Light loved Zoe Blackwood when he was a gangly dork. Now a powerful wizard prince, a masked ball gives him a new chance to woo her.

Wolf shifter Zoe, desperate to recreate the feelings of romantic love she had in high school, throws the ball as her last chance at romance before her wolf forces her to mate. That romantic memory was courtesy of rich, classy, dorky Daniel, the only boy she could always count on yet never really noticed. When he shows up at the ball, he's still rich and classy, but not dorky at all, and she notices his lion's prowl and deadly grace plenty. The question is—can she still count on him?

Coming between them is an evil fire wizard and an ancient parchment with a deadly prophecy.

Warning: A wolf shifter on the cusp of mate-or-else, a smokin' hot wizard who won't let anything stand in his way, and fun in closets.

"A joy to read"
~ Dragon Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews on
Assassins Bite

 

BOOK OF THE MONTH
"I recommend reading this with a fan and ice water, because this one is hot enough to melt the screen of any device." ~ Foxglove, Long and Short Reviews on
Assassins Bite

 

The masks are coming off.

 

Daniel Light loved Zoe Blackwood when he was a gangly dork. Now a powerful wizard prince, a masked ball gives him a new chance to woo her.

Wolf shifter Zoe, desperate to recreate the feelings of romantic love she had in high school, throws the ball as her last chance at romance before her wolf forces her to mate. That romantic memory was courtesy of rich, classy, dorky Daniel, the only boy she could always count on yet never really noticed. When he shows up at the ball, he's still rich and classy, but not dorky at all, and she notices his lion's prowl and deadly grace plenty. The question is—can she still count on him?

Coming between them is an evil fire wizard and an ancient parchment with a deadly prophecy.

Warning: A wolf shifter on the cusp of mate-or-else, a smokin' hot wizard who won't let anything stand in his way, and fun in closets.

This title contains explicit sexual language and swearing, and may not be suitable for all readers.

 

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for your support and respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

 
Masked Attraction
Copyright © 2014, 2015 by Mary Hughes
ISBN: 978-1-940958-01-9
Print ISBN: 978-1-940958-03-3
Cover by EJR Digital Art
 

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Masked Attraction

Pull of the Moon Prequel
 

Mary Hughes

Dedication

To Gregg, as they all are.

Thank you to Renee Wildes for her expertise and guidance on horses, and to Stacy D. Holmes for her expertise in manuscript assessment and gentle guidance editing. All mistakes are my own.

Chapter One

“Damn it.” Wizard Daniel Light zipped his Ferrari along Lincoln Memorial Drive, the lapping waters of Lake Michigan to his right—along with a solid line of parked cars. He spoke into his thumb-size wireless hands-free, connected to the smartphone in his tuxedo jacket pocket. “Not a single open space between here and the moon. And me, late.”

“Isn’t being late for a party a good thing?” Cousin Sophia said in his ear.

“Not with that prophecy ticking.”

News of a nasty old prophecy was the reason Daniel was here, its parchment the prize for romancing a beautiful woman—like a masked-ball Bachelorette contest. He took the event as a challenge, to see how far he’d come from his dorky, painful high school days.

He never dreamed the real challenge would be finding parking.

“Anyway, it’s a Halloween masked ball, not a party. Double damn with a side of blast. I don’t have time for this.” He spun a U-turn into a tow-away spot smack in front of the venue, a mansion villa high atop a bluff. “I’m here.”

“You found legal parking?” Sophia asked.

“I found parking. Legal is more of a movable concept. But I might need a quick getaway, if that prophecy is as dangerous as we think it is.”

“Does telling yourself that help you sleep at night?” Her amused voice was like honeyed whiskey.

He laughed. “Oh believe me, I do whatever it takes to get the job done.” The clop-clop of horse’s hooves along asphalt caught his attention. “Hell’s bells. Hold on.” He glanced into his rearview mirror. A large, dark shadow moving between pools of light made him twist in his seat to see better.

Bearing down on him was a mounted police officer, her mouth pressed in a firm line.

“What’s wrong?” Sophia’s voice was breathy in his ear. “Is it a mugger? A
demon?

“A cop.”

“Oh.” A self-conscious laugh. “That’s almost worse, considering your ‘movable’ legality. I hope it’s not a bad omen.”

“You wound me. When has my luck been anything but great?”

“In high school—”

“Yes, yes, all right. But in this case, luck is with me. The cop in question is female. Now hush. The master is going to work.”

These days, no one could play the game of love better than Daniel. He’d honed his body, gathered a fortune, and polished his social graces until he could seduce most any woman.

No one guessed his playboy façade was all a sham, to shield a fragile heart.

Daniel sprang out of the Ferrari and brushed an invisible speck from his immaculate black tux. “Good evening, officer.”

“Sir, you can’t park here.” The woman reined in, gaze hard.

“I’m so sorry. I’m late for an important event.” He stepped into a streetlamp’s golden glow, tilted his head at just the right angle for the light to kiss his blond hair, and gave her his best smile, enhanced with a twinkle of magic.

Her eyes widened. She blinked a few times, and there was a creak as she adjusted her seat as if her saddle was too hot. “But…” Her brow furrowed and her eyes blinked rapidly, evidently trying to remember why she was there. “But this is a tow-away zone.”

He only smiled and reached a hand toward her horse. “May I?”

When she nodded, he ran his palm along its sleek neck. The gelding nickered.

“A fine Morgan,” he said.

Her expression softened. “You know horses?”

“I have a way with animals.” He continued to stroke. “Officer, I know I shouldn’t ask this, but I’m late, and it’s extremely important I make this event.” He raised his eyes to meet hers, not a soulgaze, but he was a wizard prince, and his power gave his eyes a certain glamour and more than a touch of sex appeal. “Just this once?”

“Well…” She blushed. “Just this once.”

“Thank you. You won’t regret it.” He ticked a mental note to donate to her department’s charity fund and mounted the first of several long flights of stairs up the bluff. Leaping two at a time, he was aware of the woman’s appreciative gaze following him.

“Still stunning them with your good looks, Cuz?” Sophia’s amusement sparkled in her voice.

“If you’ve got it…use it, or lose it.”

She
tsked
. “You’re mixing your metaphors again.”

“Metaphors are like alcohol. They should be mixed early and often. In this case, though, a little magical suggestion helped.”

“That’s cheating.”

“Enhancing,’ he countered.

“Cheating,” she said firmly. “I think I miss the old, serious Daniel. Witchkind—hell, magic itself—is at stake if we don’t find Jean-Dion d’Avignon’s lost prophecy, and you’re partying.”

He crested onto a large terrace, reached into his tuxedo’s jetted side pocket, pulled out a Zorro-style black mask, and tied it on. “You know what they say. Eat, drink, and be merry.”

A model-gorgeous redhead zeroed in on him, her big blue eyes artistically framed by a glittering sapphire demimask.

Daniel blew her a kiss.

Gazing at him with frank admiration, she blew a return kiss with plump, glistening lips.

He caught it and mimed tucking it next to his heart.

Sophia made a sound of disgust. “
They
also say, ‘For tomorrow we may die.’”

“I’m teasing you.” He crossed the terrace. “This is work, not play. The Avignon Quatrain is here. It’s tonight’s prize.”

She sucked in a breath. “For what?”

Two more sets of angle-bracket-like stairs scissored to the top. He bounded lightly up. “For doing what I do best—tenderly, passionately wooing a woman.”

“Huh? Sorry, can’t hear you over the sound of your ego.”

He laughed as he reached the upper terrace and began threading his way through gorgeous sculpture, topiary, and a swarm of women in silky gowns and men in severe suits. Lowering his voice, he said, “At midnight, the hostess, the Queen of Hearts, is offering a ‘valuable antiquity’ as a prize. She doesn’t know how valuable. Our seer says this particular antiquity bears the Quatrain.”

Sophia whistled. “But it’s a
masked
ball. How will you know which woman to woo?”

He joined the stream of glitterati entering the villa. “Considering the stakes—I’ll make love to them all.”

“That’ll try your stamina.”

He stepped into the ballroom with confidence. “But ah, such a trial.”

She said goodbye, and he ended the call and slipped the earbud into his tuxedo’s breast pocket. Beautiful women surrounded him, smiling and nodding. As he considered which he’d sample first, his body tingled pleasantly in anticipation.

Then the crowd parted.

A woman stood there, and his breath rasped in his ears, the rest of the room fading, until bright light haloed her and only her.

Spring-green eyes shone against the black of her domino mask. Glossy hair rippled like a living mahogany waterfall. Her lush figure was banded provocatively in black glitter. She held herself with the sensuous grace, not of a dancer, but a lioness.

Daniel’s heart leaped and began to pound. His blood heated until it almost boiled. He started toward her with a lion’s hunting prowl.

Her scent hit him, a complex mixture of jasmine, saffron, and woman.

His breath caught. Heart banging against his breastbone, he took one last stuttering step toward her. That scent…

He knew her.

High school memories crowded him. Her lush body, her sweet smile, her kind soul…and the most erotic dreams a boy ever had. Or a man still had.

Zoe Blackwood.

She was the only female he’d ever really loved—and the one woman who knew the truth of his hurtful past.

*  *  *

Fifteen minutes earlier…

“Dammit, Dorine, how can I have forgotten to turn on the champagne fountain?” Zoe Singer Blackwood, successful motorcycle dealership owner and secret wolf shifter, sailed through the back of the ballroom, dodging wait staff tending the laden buffet tables.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Blackwood.” Her stalwart event planner, clutching her ever-present clipboard, scurried to keep pace. “That was my job.”

“Your job, my responsibility. Granted, I’m not expecting much, romance-wise, from tonight’s crop of bachelors. But I’d like to give them a chance. Speaking of…” Zoe caught sight of her nearly naked breasts in the wall of gold-encrusted mirrors. “Your taste in decorations is impeccable. Your advice in clothes, not so much.” She tugged up the spangled bodice of her little, black, strapless number. On the model, it was cut to showcase feminine assets; on Zoe’s lush figure, it was a rubber band with a ruffle. “I want to make romance, not a porno.”

“Still getting dressed?” The deep voice in her earbud was amused. “Hasn’t your shindig already started?”

“Bite me, Noah.” She adjusted the earpiece, trying not to tangle it in the elastic holding her thin black domino mask in place. The phone itself was in her purse in one of the prep rooms a hundred or so feet away. For the first time, she wished the earbud’s range wasn’t quite so far.

“I can’t bite you,” he said reasonably. “We’re related.”

“Just because you’re going to be my alpha one day doesn’t mean you can be a jackass.”

Zoe headed for the center table dominated by a three-tiered crystal fountain, currently dark and silent. She crawled under a white-linen tablecloth to flip the fountain’s rocker switch. The burble of liquid started, then splashed as champagne cascaded.

As she backed out, she found Dorine staring at her backside, embarrassment clear on her maskless face.

“You might be right about the dress,” the planner said. “Um, cute panties.”

“Thanks,” Zoe said dryly. She stood, brushed hands and knees, adjusted her mask, then tugged down her hem. Her breasts bobbled dangerously, and she sighed. “How’s the rest of that checklist?”

“Good.” Dorine’s red face ebbed as she ticked efficiently on her clipboard. “Decorations complete, food laid out, bartenders here, and bars fully stocked. Orchestra assembling. The doors opened early, but we were ready.” Her gaze flicked to Zoe’s bosom, and her cheeks practically went
bomf
. “Except for you, that is.”

Zoe caught sight of herself in the mirrors. Her nipple waved hi. She tugged the dress up—which bared her stocking tops. She shook her head and gave up. “This party isn’t about me. This is for all the women like me who’ve had enough of pawing guys. Women who want romance—or at least a few candles and cuddles before the mauling.”

“Candles and cuddles. Yes, Ms. Blackwood. I’ll go check on the greeters.”

“Wait. I meant to say thanks. For everything. The place looks enchanting.”

“You’re welcome.” With a small, pleased smile, Dorine left.

Zoe’s gaze swept the room. Red streamers, sweet-smelling flowers, champagne, and choice tidbits of shrimp, cheese, and
petits fours
.

If guys couldn’t get their romance on with all this, they weren’t trying.

“Why a ball?” Noah asked in her ear.

Because she’d had one glimpse of romance, in high school. One rich, classy, untouchable boy amid all the bleacher gropes. He’d shown her what real love was, the kind that didn’t have sex strings attached. The sweet-down-to-her-toes feeling was unforgettable. She was trying to recreate that feeling with a rich, classy ball.

But she didn’t know how to say all that in a way Noah would understand.

“Didn’t you call to give me a pack update?” she asked, instead.

“Avoiding the question? All right.”

As he bullet-pointed the latest atrocities their idiot alpha Scauth had perpetrated, she sailed around the ballroom, double-checking everything.

When Noah finished, he said, “I wish you were here.”

“Matinsfield needs my income more than it needs my jaws and paws. And now with you there, the money I make with the motorcycle store is actually getting to hungry mothers and pups. Before, it only made it as far as Scauth’s liquor cabinet.”

“Except for the cash you spend on fancy parties.”

“Just this one,” she defended.

Tuxedoed men and women in dresses from long and floaty to short and sassy filled the room. She smoothed hands along hips, her stomach churning with both nerves and excitement. It surprised her; her wolf wasn’t usually jumpy. A good run would take care of that, but she couldn’t leave her guests.

“Doing sophisticated and romantic isn’t cheap, you know. I’ve got an orchestra with real strings and everything.”

“All to find a date? Wasn’t MatchShift.com good enough?”

“Noah, I’m thirty-nine. You know what that means. When I hit forty, my wolf will
force
me to take a mate.”

“You’ve given up finding Mr. Right?”

“Or even Mr. Good Enough. In one year, I’ll get Mr. Pup Daddy whether I want him or not.” She shuddered at the thought. “Before I do, you bet I’m gonna get me Some Enchanted Evenings.”

“Zoe, you’re a shifter. You have your pick of men.”

“Sure, my wolf gets me plenty of sex, but romance? I’ve seen too many beds—and couches and tabletops. My human knows there’s more. Roses and poetry and walks on moonlit beaches.”

BOOK: Masked Attraction
7.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Hearts of Iron by Day, Laura
B00B15Z1P2 EBOK by Kollar, Larry
Halloween Submission by Bonnie Bliss
Second Chance with Love by Hart, Alana, Philips, Ruth Tyler
The One She Was Warned About by Shoma Narayanan