Title: A Bewitching Christmas: Holiday Novella
Series: Under Realm Assassins Book 1
Author: Amanda J. Greene
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 13, 2013
It has been seven years since Analette Dyson stopped practicing magic and headed to New York, where she created a new life, complete with a fabulous job, an apartment in Central Park West, and a sexy werewolf fiancé. She never planned on returning to her small home town in Maine, but when she learns her grandmother is ill, she decides to pop over for a visit and what better time than Christmas? Excited for her fiancé to meet her family, they head up a day early.
Worst idea ever!
After doing some last minute Christmas shopping, Analette returns to their hotel to find her fiancé in bed with another woman. Cursing the universe for her never ending bad luck with men and dreading telling her family about her cheating fiancé, she heads to the bar to self medicate.
Not one to celebrate the holidays, vampire and assassin, Cole McRae, has followed a lead to a rustic town in witch territory. But after a few days of research and waiting for his target to show, he begins to suspect he has wasted his time. That is, until he meets a curvaceous blonde with bewitching green eyes at the local bar. One night with the enchanting Analette could make this useless trip well worth his time.
Their passion is undeniable and unbeknownst to them, their fates are intertwined. Magic and romance will strike on Christmas, changing their lives forever.
Cole McRae took a deep breath. The sweet scent of magic filled his lungs. The entire town reeked of mystical energy. This was the perfect hunting ground for Silver. To him, every witch in residence was potential prey.
Cole silently crossed the snow dusted parking lot to the bar entrance.
This wasn’t his kind of hang out, but it would do while he waited for his mark. He preferred his bars to be loud, boisterous and crowded with dark corners where he could entertain a woman or two.
He paused in the entryway, wiping off his boots as he casually scanned the bar, noting all the exits and patrons. A vacant stage stood above an empty dance floor in the left corner, high round tables lined the sidewalls, with the bar located directly across from the entrance. A few bar stools were occupied by men who appeared to be regulars. For such a small, out of the way town, no one seemed interested in him, a stranger. The men at the bar continued to stare blankly at the flat screen TVs that played a never-ending loop of Sports Center. A group of young women sat in a corner, giggling and laughing. A few of the girls glanced his way and remarked on his “dangerous vibe” and “great ass”.
Cole claimed a bar stool and waved to the bartender.
The burly, red bearded human came over, “What’ll you have?”
The man quickly poured the Scotch and Cole asked him to leave the bottle. Yeah, it was one of those nights.
He’d been tracking his target, Silver, for six months. The werewolf was sly, but he wouldn’t escape him this time. That is, if the bastard had come to town. Witches overran this quiet, annoyingly cheery place and the werewolf had yet to make an appearance. Common sense told him his informant had led him astray, but his assassin instincts insisted Silver would show. His target was a magic thief and he wouldn’t be able to resist a tiny town like this. Cole just needed to wait and he hated waiting.
He was an assassin. He thrived on the hunt and the satisfaction of the kill. Sitting on his ass and playing the waiting game was not his thing, but he had no choice. His options were to hang out in a town decorated to the nines for Christmas with happy, smiling, contented humans and witches until Silver showed or head back to New York and wait for another tip. Both involved waiting.
Tension spread throughout his body, tightening his shoulders and his grip on his glass. He tossed back the Scotch and poured himself another two fingers.
Cole had already endured three days in this town. Everywhere he looked, people rushed about, buying gifts, and setting up their lawn ornaments. His favorite was the nauseating couples that window-shopped, holding hands, and sipping peppermint-flavored lattes.
He hadn’t been a fan of Christmas when he was human and nothing changed when he became a vampire. Orphaned at eight years old, he grew up on the streets of Boston, fighting not to die of starvation or exposure year in and year out. There never was anything to celebrate when he was a child. When he came of age, he joined the rebel army and died in battle in 1778 at the ripe age of twenty-two.
Cole took a sip of the liquor and savored the burn as it slipped down his throat.
He refused to think of the past. Those memories he had stuffed in a pine box and buried six feet under over 200 years ago, never to rise again.
Cole was about to take another long drink, when the door swung open. A strong, cold wind blustered in along with the unmistakable scent of female and…werewolf? No, the wet dog stench wasn’t strong enough for the woman to be an actual werewolf, but she had been in contact with one. He could talk to her and see if they knew the same wolf, Trent Millsap, a.k.a. Silver.
He glanced over his shoulder and found a tall blonde with all the right curves. Her green eyes were electrifying and her rose pink lips begged to be kissed. Even if they didn’t have a werewolf in common, he was going to get to know the woman, very well.
He watched her carefully remove her winter layers, his lust rising. This trip may have been nothing but a waste of his extremely valuable time, but he suspected one night with the tempting blonde witch would make up for his troubles.
* * * * * *
Analette peeled off her bulky snow jacket and hung it on the coat wrack just inside the bar’s entrance.
God, it seemed like an eternity since the last time she stepped foot in this place. It had been seven years since she had come home to Maine.
She was in desperate need of a drink. Make that several drinks. She would need to be stumbling drunk if she were to forget even for a precious second the image of her now ex-fiancé screwing some enthusiastic women who had twin tattoos of butterflies on the backs of her thighs. Oh, yeah, Trent had been giving that girl a work out. Analette had heard her moans as she walked down the hall to their hotel room. She had known what was going on before she opened the door.
Her fingers curled into fists as the image slapped her in the face again. Trent had been covered in sweat, his chestnut shoulder length hair dripped as he pounded into the woman from behind.
Where had he picked her up? Had he met her at the complimentary hotel breakfast that morning? Or had Trent gone out and found her while Analette had been doing some last minute Christmas shopping?
Analette shook her head. It didn’t matter when or where he had met his afternoon delight. The wedding was off and that dirty werewolf could get run over chasing cars, for all she cared.
She should have known this would happen one day. He was a mongrel and she was a witch. Witches tended to stick with witches, werewolves with werewolves, shifters with shifters, and so on, throughout Other Society.
Just be thankful you caught him cheating now rather than after the wedding, she told herself. Unfortunately, that fact didn’t take the sting of betrayal away. No, only alcohol could do that.
Analette crossed to the bar and took up two seats, one for her, the other for her purse. The bartender sauntered her way. He was cute and looked familiar, but she couldn’t think of his name. It had been ages since she’d come home and after what she just witnessed, she wished she had stayed in New York.
She gave a heavy sigh. She had come to visit with her grandmother who, according Analette’s mother, wasn’t doing well. Her health was fading and no one knew how many more holidays they would all have together. She had to shove aside her bad memories of this town and ignore her aversion to magic in order to come home. She had also hoped to introduce her soon to be husband to her family, but that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon now she was single.
“Dyson? Analette Dyson?” the bartender asked.
She nodded. “And you?”
“Miles O’Malley. We went to high school together. Damn, it’s been a long time.”
“Not much has changed around here,” she said, trying her best not to sound miserable.
“Your sister told me you’re living in New York.”
“Yeah, I’ve been there for a couple years now.” She had the perfect apartment in Central Park West, she worked as an editor for one of the top women’s health magazines in the nation, and up until an hour ago, she had the ideal fiancé. “I’m just in town for the holiday.”
“That’s good. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother.”
“Well, what would you like?” Miles asked.
Analette had quickly learned in college that she wasn’t much of a drinker, but tonight she would make an exception. She glanced over her shoulder at the table of obnoxiously loud young women. They each had some type of colorful, fruity drink with tiny umbrellas.
No, thank you. However, I could use a tropical getaway right about now.
The men on the opposite end of the bar were nursing bottles of beer, not her thing either. Finally, her gaze fell on the lone man a few seats down. His shoulders were slumped and he leaned over the bar top, his eyes fixed on his glass. She could tell he was tall, despite his posture, his legs were long, his back broad. He seemed so out of place, with his rough, dangerous biker look. She wondered how she hadn’t noticed him when she first came in. He was hard to miss. His profile was strong, with a square stern jaw line, a roman nose, which looked like it had been broken at least once before, and prominent cheekbones. He had short, dark hair that he wore swept back.
I’d like to have him; she thought then shook her head.
“I’ll have a vodka tonic with a little lime.”
Miles quickly made her drink then went to sweep the floor by the door; customers had been tracking in snow.
Analette took a sip and gave an unladylike cough.
“You’ve got to learn to love the burn,” the man said with a deep chuckle.
Once her eyes stopped watering she replied, “Obviously, I don’t drink.”
He took a swig before turning toward her.
Holy, hell! A gasp escaped her lips. The man was not just handsome, he was knockout gorgeous. He had a face and a mischievous smile that would make any woman melt and his eyes were an impossible shade of ice blue.
Was he here alone? She doubted it. Men like him were never single, unless…Oh, God, please don’t let him turn out to be a serial killer. “Rough day?”
She took in a deep breath and slowly exhaled before taking another sip. “One of the worst days of my life.”
He raised his glass and said, “Here’s to self medicating,” then tossed the Scotch back. She cheered and polished off her vodka with one straight shot. Her face scrunched up, the alcohol stung her throat.
“I’d like to buy the lady another,” he called.
Miles returned and made up another drink for her.
“It’s all right. I’ve got it,” she insisted.
Ignoring her protests, he told Miles, “Add the rest of her drinks to my tab.”
“Really, that isn’t necessary.”
“I was planning on drinking alone. This way, I can enjoy your company.” He extended his hand. “Cole.”
She hesitantly reached out. “Analette, but you can call me Ana.”
His hand was large compared to hers. The chill of his touch was a pleasurable shock to her system.
She instinctively knew he was Other. He was not a witch, like her. His touch wasn’t hot like a werewolf’s, his eyes didn’t glow like a shape-shifter’s, and his skin didn’t shimmer like the fae. Cole was a vampire. That fact should terrify her. Yet, the thought of him pinning her against a wall and sinking his fangs into her throat was highly erotic.
Vampires were wild, unpredictable. His race was a mystery. It was believed that any human could become a vampire if they were near death and received a vampire’s blood. Rarely did they procreate naturally, though it was possible. The vampire population was small. They believed a mortal had to be worthy to receive the gift of immortality. Blood was sacred and those who changed humans as often as they changed their shirts quickly met their end, as did all their fledglings. She also had heard a rumored that the Under Realm Syndicate preferred to use vampires as their enforcers, soldiers who protected and upheld the law of the Others society.
Analette’s eyes narrowed. What was a vampire doing in her hometown? New York up to Eastern Canada was witch territory; everyone knew that.
“So, Cole, do you visit Maine often?”
He smiled, revealing the tips of his sharp canines. Her pulse fluttered.
“First time,” he answered.
“Visiting someone for Christmas?”
He took a drink. “I was expecting to meet someone, but I’ll be heading to New York shortly.”
“That’s where I’m from. Well, I’m really from here, but my life is in New York.”
“Yes, I heard,” he said.
Analette nodded. Vampires had over active senses. Naturally, he would have overheard her conversation with Miles.
“You said today was one of the worst ever. You’re family a nightmare or something?”
She shrugged. “No. There are certain things we don’t…agree on, but that’s true of every family.”
“Your love life took a hit,” he said so matter-of-factly she wanted to laugh.
“That would be putting it lightly. My love life blew up.”
“I’m sorry. That really sucks, but hey, you can now spend your night with me.”
Staggered, Analette could only blink in response. She blushed when she noticed her mouth had fallen open. Did the sexy vampire just ask her for a one-night stand?
Smart, Sexy, and Short.
This holiday themed novella is everything a fan of paranormal romance could want. As the first installment in the Under Realms Assassins book/novella, the author hit it out of the park with a story filled with,heat, danger, & character growth.
The chemistry between the reluctant witch Analette & assassin vampire Cole was hot and intense from the get go. I wanted more!
I can’t wait to read more of the Under Realm Assassins!
Hello everyone! It’s nice to meet you all and thank you for stopping by for the interview and giveaway.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born, raised, and currently live in Southern California. My husband and I have bounced around a lot since he’s in the military, but are fortunate to still be close to our families. We’ve got 2 fur babies, a super sweet, but a bit sassy cocker spaniel named Kelly and a rambunctious, snugly blackmouth –cur mix, Barrett.
Tell us about A Bewitching Christmas? How did you get the idea?
I absolutely love the holiday season. It really is my favorite time of year. My husband really didn’t know what he was getting into when we got married. I go all out with decorations, flavored coffees, winter scented candles, Christmas movies and music – Yep, I’m one of “those people” that Cole, the vampire hunk, finds annoying in the book.
Anyway, it was just before Thanksgiving 2013 when I decided I wanted to write a holiday themed paranormal romance. I hadn’t written a book featuring a vampire/witch love story yet, so I decided to go that route and I completed the novella in about 2 weeks. A Bewitching Christmas was originally indentured as a standalone holiday novella, but as I was writing more characters were created and I can’t wait to share their stories.
A Bewitching Christmas is about a woman, Annalette, who has come home for the holidays. She planned on introducing her fiancé to her family but, after catching him in bed with someone else, that isn’t going to happen. With the wedding called off, she heads to the local bar to drown her sorrows. There she meets Cole, a sexy vampire that can certainly show her a good time and then some.
What inspires your writing?
I draw inspiration from music. I spend hours commuting and listen to Pandora. I love being able to create stations to match my characters. I listen to a lot of Tech N9ne and Strange Music artists as well as various types of rock, oldies, and – for days that I’m stressing out – Dean Martin.
Where do you write?
Honestly, I write everywhere. If a scene while I’m in the car, I’ll use the voice recording app on my phone to take down my thoughts and ideas. I’ve written chapters in class, when I should have been taking notes. If I’m out at a store and imagination strikes, I’ll pull out my phone and start typing it up in an email to myself…I may have an addiction…
What are you working on now?
I’m juggling a few projects right now, but my main focus is on Caressed by the Edge of Darkness (Rulers of Darkness #5). I can’t wait to share Gabriel’s story with my readers. He is one of my favorite characters. I’m also working on Passion’s Prey – haven’t decided if it will be a standalone or a trilogy – and the next book within the Under Realm Assassins series. So many characters, so many worlds and so little time!
Are you a full-time or part-time writer?
Sadly, I’m a part time writer. I work full time as a financial adviser as well as attend school. I’d LOVE to focus all of my energy on my books, but I’ve got to finish my degree. I’m so close; I can feel the diploma in my hand! So, yep, I work, go to school, write, do reviews for the Book Nympho blog, and spend as much time with fam-bam as possible.
What do you like to read?
I love reading paranormal and historical romances. Lately, I’ve been on a Highlander/Scottish historical romance kick. I’ve been devouring the Highland Guard series by Monica McCarty. I enjoy J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Felicity Heaton, and Johanna Lindsey – just to name a few of my top favorite authors. My too read stack is ridiculous! And I’ve been waiting for my husband to build a sturdy bookshelf to support my massive collection.
About the Author:
Amanda J. Greene creates paranormal romance for ravenous readers. She lives in Southern California, where she enjoys escaping the rewarding but hectic world of writing by spending time in the sun and sand with her husband and their two dogs.
Amanda is also an associate reviewer on The Book Nympho.
Website and/or blog links: http://www.amandajgreene.blogspot.com
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