It’s a happy, happy Friday the 13th because A Scent of Longing, my vampire romance released by Decadent Publishing debuts today! A Scent of Longing is my fifth published work and my first paranormal. It’s part of Decadent’s 1Night Stand series, short novellas centering around characters who go out on a blind dates arranged by a matchmaking agency.
Can a man who has nothing and a woman who’s lost everything find love together?
Lily Dansen refuses to date vampires. The last time she trusted a one, he turned her. She agrees to a date arranged by 1 Night Stand, believing that a quick tryst is all that’s left for her. A 376-year-old half-vampire, half human Luc Fortier can’t continue to satisfy the vampire fantasies of young ladies while his dreams go unfulfilled. He vows to bedazzle one last date before he calls it quits. Neither Luc nor Lily expect more than an evening of passion, but they haven’t counted on Madame Eve’s superior matchmaking skills.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Someone named Madame Evangeline emailed me to confirm my appointment.” Lily Dansen nailed her best friend with an accusing stare. “What did you get me into?”
Her feet curled under her on Lily’s sofa, Roxie Fairchild braved her scowl without a flinch. “It’s for your own good. You’ve moped around long enough. You need to live again.”
“Date, you mean.”
“Date. Have sex. Get wild and crazy. Anything!”
“No man will go out with me once he’s finds out what I am. What happens if I do to someone else what Phillip did to me? I couldn’t live with myself.” Bitterness etched Lily’s voice.
“You’re nothing like Phillip.” Her expression gentle, Roxie squeezed Lily’s hand. Her touch felt feverish, but Lily knew Roxie was fine; she was the afflicted one. “You have a long future, and you can’t spend it alone.”
Lily’s brunette curls bounced with the shake of her head. “I can’t date. I’m a vampire now.” The corners of her mouth drooped. “I’m also a terrible judge of character.”
“You’ve made some bad choices,” Roxie agreed.
“Married. Wanted for armed robbery. Vampire….” Lily ticked off the losers she’d had the misfortune of dating.
“That’s why Madame Evangeline’s 1Night Stand service—”
“—is a bad idea.”
“—is a good idea,” Roxie continued. “You can get your feet wet before you dive into the dating pool. An evening of hot sex with no strings attached will help you get your mojo back.”
Lily scrunched her nose up with distaste. “I don’t see how sleeping with a stranger will help me regain my confidence. And what if he has some horrible disease?”
Roxie chuckled. “A, that’s what condoms prevent. B, Madame Eve screens her candidates carefully. And, C, you’re a vampire now! You’re immune to everything, right?”
“That’s the only positive thing.” Lily hugged herself. The golden color she’d acquired basking on Santa Monica Beach had faded to pasty white, and she would never be able to tan again. If she so much as stepped into sunlight, she’d sizzle like a potato dropped into a deep fryer. And speaking of which, she couldn’t eat french fries anymore either. Or pizza. Or chocolate. But none of those things mattered.
Her throat constricted, and she swallowed. “I’ll never have children.” By turning her, Phillip, the rat vampire bastard, had stolen her chance of motherhood.
“I know, sweetie.” Roxie’s voice brimmed with sympathy. “And damn Phillip for that. But maybe, when you’re ready, you could adopt?”
“Who’d give a baby to a vampire?”
“How would they know?”
“There’d be home visits from a social worker or daytime meetings with an agency, which you know I can’t do!” She raised her hand to halt further painful discussion. “Please, can we talk about something else?”
“All right.” Roxie blinked and smothered a tiny yawn. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s not your fault.” She was out of sync with the world. The clock had struck midnight and her friend could hardly keep her eyes open, but Lily was wide awake. That pointed to another reason she couldn’t date—how could she explain her unavailability during the day?
“There’s no way Madame Evangeline could find a guy who would suit me.”
“She has a gift for connecting people. Besides, I know you. I filled out your online application with your likes, dislikes, and character traits.”
Annoyance warred with curiosity. Curiosity won. “What did you say about me?”
“I said you’re twenty-eight, brown-eyed, brunette, curvy, five-foot-five, a hundred and twenty pounds—”
“Actually, I’m a hundred and thirty,” Lily admitted.
“I figured you’d want me to shave off a little.”
Despite her misgivings, she laughed. “You do know me.” Her best friend since the second grade, Roxie was the only person with whom she had trusted her horrible secret—even her parents didn’t know. “What else did you say?” She fingered her good luck charm, an aquamarine pendant. She’d fallen in love with the stone, drawn by its ethereal, calming color.
“I mentioned you are a graphic artist who works from home, likes children and dogs, are a night person, and you need a man with an open mind.”
A frightening possibility crystallized. “Did you mention that vamps need not apply?”
“And have Madame Eve delete the application as a hoax? No. Besides, if you hooked up with another vampire, wouldn’t that be perfect?”
“Absolutely not.” Lily shuddered. “After what Phillip did, I could never trust another vamp.”
The odds of meeting a vampire through a dating service probably ranged between slim and none. Not that it mattered, because she wasn’t going. “I’ll email Madame Evangeline and tell her thanks, but no thanks.”