Authors: Stephanie Julian
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Erotica, #Fantasy
An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication
Seduced and Enchanted
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Seduced and Enchanted Copyright © 2008 Stephanie Julian.
Edited by Carole Genz.
Photography and cover art by Les Byerley.
Electronic book Publication November 2008
With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
SEDUCED AND ENCHANTED
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Chucks: Converse Inc.
Spock: Paramount Pictures Corporation
: Paramount Pictures Corporation
The Lord of the Rings
: Saul Zaentz Company DBA Tolkien Enterprises
The Twilight Zone
: CBS Broadcasting Inc.
Toyota: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha (Toyota Motor Corporation)
In the contemporary world, magic holds no sway. But looks can be deceiving.
Old gods remain. Old ways continue.
Mythical creatures live among us…if you know where to look.
The Etruscans were a mysterious civilization that came to prominence in what is now northern Italy. The ancient Greeks feared them. The ancient Romans revered them.
Their culture was powerful and sophisticated on the surface. But what they kept hidden was much more interesting… Magic!
The magical descendants of the ancient Etruscan race still walk the Earth. They comprise two groups. The
are of human descent, the
are spirits of the forests, water and air. Both have the ability to control the elements with the
, the magic in their blood.
For centuries, the Etruscans have maintained their culture, practicing their rituals and their way of life in the shadows, behind closed doors.
But they live among us. And they’re more powerful than you’ll ever know.
That guy was
too gorgeous to be smiling at her.
But for the past two minutes, as Rosalia Bianchi waited in line at the Square Deal market, she’d watched him watch her in the reflection of the glass doors behind the counter.
tempted to return that smile but she just couldn’t muster the courage to do it. And that really sucked, by the way.
Which begged the question, why the hell was the hottie giving her that look?
She was nothing special. Not in looks, body or brains. Not that she was ugly, deformed or stupid. Just average in every way. From her mouse brown hair to her B-cup bra and her size-six feet.
So why was he grinning at her as if she were gorgeous, stacked and confident?
Nobody had ever looked at her like that in all her twenty-seven years. Not once.
Hell, she was used to getting passed over for women like the blonde ahead of her in a red suit that looked like no business suit Rosie would ever wear. Not with its skirt at least two inches above her knees and a tight jacket that conformed to every abundant curve.
But the guy didn’t even glance at the other woman when she walked by him. Not even when the blonde flashed him a smile. He just kept his eyes on Rosie.
“Hey there, Rosie,” Ethel said from behind the counter, drawing Rosie’s gaze away from Mr. Hottie. “Your usual today?”
Blinking, she stepped up to the counter, takeout container in hand. “Hi, Ethel. You know I love your chicken potpie. It’s the best.”
Seduced and Enchanted
“You betcha,” the sexagenarian said as she rang up Rosie’s lunch order. “And you can certainly afford it. You’re a stick, babe. You need some meat on your bones.”
A blush heated Rosie’s cheeks at Ethel’s overly loud comment, but she couldn’t be mad at her. The woman had been a friend of her godmothers for decades. She was practically family.
But now the gorgeous guy behind her was probably looking at her skinny ass and rethinking that sexy smile. God, his mouth was almost too pretty to be a guy’s and he had gorgeous hair, straight and dark and long enough to cover his ears. He looked young, a bit younger than her, with those sharp cheekbones and strong Roman nose.
Not young enough to dismiss out of hand though…
Shaking her head, she said, “Thanks, Ethel. I’ll tell my godmothers you said hi.”
“You do that, schnook. Talk to you later.”
After Ethel handed over her change, Rosie turned—and found herself staring straight into Mr. Hottie’s dark brown eyes. They reminded her of chocolate—rich, yummy and sinful.
Her feet tangled together and she fell forward. She gasped but didn’t have time to extend her arms to break her fall because
caught her against his body, somehow saving both her lunch and her dignity. Well, maybe not her dignity, because falling over her feet like that was pretty damn embarrassing.
to know he was the cause of her clumsiness. Girls probably fell over him all the time. Girls, women, grandmothers, gay men…
“Hey. You okay?”
Her eyes widened just a little more. His voice matched that sexy smile, rubbing against her skin like velvet. Deep, a little raspy. God, she’d give anything to hear him say, “Come on, Rosie, harder. Take me deeper.”
A hot blush flamed her cheeks and she dropped her gaze, taking a step away from him and glancing down at the foam container in her hand to make sure her lunch hadn’t spilled. Well, at least that was her excuse, and she was sticking to it.
It was a good thing the guy couldn’t read her mind. She’d embarrass the hell out of him.
“I’m fine, thanks.” She still couldn’t look him in the eyes but her gaze had lifted to his chest at least. “Sorry about that.”
“No problem.” He shrugged his broad shoulders, encased in a tight black t-shirt.
The shirt showed them off to perfection and skimmed the strong muscles in his arms, hinting at six-pack abs. “Good day for potpie, huh?” He smiled at her almost shyly.
Potpie? Her eyes widened and the quick exit line she’d prepared stuck in her throat.
Did this guy really want to talk to her? Guys like him never wanted to talk to her. What was wrong with him?
She glanced down at his hand, warm on her arm. Those were poet’s hands, musician’s hands, long-fingered and beautiful. And wearing no rings.
Then she looked up, back into his eyes.
If she were the kind of girl who flirted, she’d smile, bat her eyes and step closer.
She’d say something witty, something a little sexy. She’d ask if he wanted to get a table in the back where they could talk. Unfortunately she wasn’t that kind of girl.
Instead, she said, “Uh, yeah. It’s chilly for October.” Christ, what an idiot she was!
She barely restrained herself from rolling her eyes.
His hand fell away as she dropped her gaze and practically ran for the door, cursing herself the whole way.
* * * * *
Valerio de Feo had noticed the woman the second he walked into the market to get lunch.
Seduced and Enchanted
Teodoro had told him this was the best place for a good fast meal within walking distance and since Teo lived in the city, Rio figured he’d take his older brother’s word for it.
He’d have to thank Teo for the suggestion when he got back to the apartment. He’d found way more than decent food.
He’d been struck first by the woman’s eyes as their gazes caught for just a second at the food bar in the back of the market. He’d noticed how pale a purple they were. They stood out like a beacon in her pale cream complexion.
She’d glanced away fast but it’d given him time to assess her features—and he’d found himself falling for her just a little harder.
She wasn’t beautiful. She was too soft for that, with her button nose, high cheekbones and pointed chin. But those eyes were gorgeous, huge and so unusual in color. Her mouth was such a perfect bow he couldn’t help but wonder how her lips would feel wrapped around his cock.
She was tiny—no more than five-two, he guessed—which made him feel like a giant at five-ten. Still, she wasn’t lacking in curves. Her breasts would fill his palms. Her hips were slim, with just enough flesh to hold on to and her sleek ass begged to be petted.
Rio liked women, all kinds of women. Blondes, brunettes, redheads. Bold women who liked to laugh. Who weren’t afraid to tell him what they wanted and how they wanted it.
This woman was different. Even his gaze seemed to make her nervous. But he couldn’t help staring at her. Hell, he got hard just looking at her.
When she tripped, he’d reached for her instinctively. Anyone else would have done the same. He hadn’t had any secondary motives… Well, at least none he felt guilty about. And then, as his hands touched her skin— He hadn’t been able to read her.
Rio was a
As one of the Etruscan magical races,
had abilities an
, a regular human, would think fantastical.
For one thing, the
aged differently than humans. Rio might look like he was in his early twenties but he was nearly forty, almost one hundred years younger than his oldest brother Cam. Not that his youthful looks had ever gotten in the way with women. On the contrary…
could dissolve their bodies into shadow. A hell of a tool for the job he and his brothers performed.
But Rio had been born with a little something extra. A goddess gift.
He could read a person’s mind through skin-to-skin contact.
So far the only people he couldn’t read were his parents, which frosted him to no end. Still, he figured it was just as well. As the youngest of four brothers, he probably didn’t want to know what his parents thought most of the time. His three older brothers were tough to read too, but he could if he really wanted to.
But now this woman… He’d be damned if he let her get away.
Through the glass doors behind the counter, his gaze tracked Rosie’s departure as he waited impatiently to pay for his lunch. As soon as he’d handed over his money, he hustled out the front door. He looked left then right and got lucky when he caught a glimpse of her just before she turned the corner from Sixth Street onto Penn.
He hurried to catch up but made sure she didn’t see him. He didn’t want to freak her out by getting caught following her. Luckily the decent weather had lured the office crowd outside for lunch, allowing him to hide in the masses.
When she hit Fifth Street, she turned left and walked a couple of blocks to the corner of Fifth and Franklin.
A smile curled his lips. It was almost too much of a cliché but it fit her to a T. His shy mouse worked in the library.
Yeah, he knew he wouldn’t earn any points referring to her as a rodent but, hey, he thought mice were cute and she reminded him of one. Small, timid, her dark hair caught in a braid flicking back and forth like a tail. Adorable.