From Joy Nash's June release: A Little Light Magic
Nick stared at the utter chaos that was Tori’s shop.
She’d been busy today. Open boxes and packing peanuts littered the floor, interspersed with some of the world’s most bizarre merchandise. Oils, incense, bowls, and cauldrons. Statues of dragons and fairies. Jewelry featuring stars, moons, and spirals. A jeweled, blunt-bladed dagger. Books and CDs—but probably nothing he’d ever want to read or listen to. Bright gauzy dresses were piled on the floor like heaps of wildflowers.
And then there were the attitude T-shirts. Worship me like the goddess I am. Surrender, Dorothy. Don’t mess with PMS.
He grinned. Tori was a trip. One he was definitely enjoying. He’d never met anyone quite like her. She was tough and funny and sassy, but there was a softness about her, too. A shadow of vulnerability that appeared in her sea green eyes, a remnant, he guessed, from her rotten childhood. When he saw that sadness there, all he wanted to do was soothe it away. He wanted to make sure no one ever hurt her again.
Christ. He hadn’t felt this way since Cindy, and that was a long time ago. Was it about time for him to feel something again? Not exactly love, at least not yet, but something that might grow into it if he nurtured the feeling? Maybe Nonna was right. Maybe he was the kind of guy who needed to share his life with someone. He wasn’t talking marriage, not this early in the game, but maybe in a year or two, if things worked out …
He imagined taking Tori home to dinner. Introducing her to everyone. They’d be surprised, to say the least. Tori wasn’t his usual type. But then again, Nick didn’t bring his usual type home.
He was falling, no doubt about it. Was it real? Or just an intense case of lust? Maybe he’d stick around long enough to find out. There’d be no rush this time, not like seventeen years ago, when Cindy had exploded the pregnancy bomb and shattered Nick’s carefully laid career plans. No, this time he’d do things right. Take things slow.
He picked his way between the shelves he and Tori had assembled. Man, it had been tough getting that job done without jumping her bones. But he’d kept his head down and his hands busy, because he knew she had her heart set on opening before the first official day of summer.
He could hear her now, rustling around in one of the bedrooms, humming some New Age thing that didn’t really lend itself to singing along. He was about to call out to her, let her know he’d arrived, when he nearly tripped over a stack of books she’d left on the floor.
The one on top was called Fingerpainting on Mars.
Bemused, he picked it up. He couldn’t believe some of the nonsense she was into. The one underneath wasn’t much better. Ghosts from Coast to Coast. Right. Abacomancy Made Easy came next. He opened that one. What the hell? Now, this had to be a joke. No one could possibly be wacky enough to believe you could read the future in random dust patterns.
One last book. He picked it up and nearly choked.
Sacred Sex: The Path to Spiritual Ecstasy.
Okay, now. Finally, something New Age he could get into. The title curled in gold across the crimson leather cover, where a sepia drawing showed a nude man and woman engaged in a carnal act. All the interesting spots on their bodies were artfully blurred. A ghostly image of the Taj Mahal floated behind them.
The subtitle under the illustration read: Secrets of the Kama Sutra and Other Ancient Texts.
Curiosity raging, Nick cradled the spine in one hand and flipped the book open. The drawing on the flyleaf was so graphic it made the one on the cover look like it had been lifted from a church bulletin. The artwork, he noted, was very good. His eye appreciated the delicacy of the inked lines, even as another body part stirred in response to the subject matter.
He sent a glance toward the bedroom and turned the page.
Another drawing, more explicit than the last. These new lovers were standing, the woman’s legs wrapped around the man’s hips. As if the visual weren’t graphic enough, a paragraph at the bottom gave a name to the position—Suspended Congress—and some “how to” instructions.
Not necessary, as far as Nick was concerned. He needed no advice at all on how to “suspend” Tori.
The object of his flaming fantasies chose that exact instant to glide into the front room. She was all retro sixties today, decked out in a tie-dyed T-shirt and cutoff jeans shorts. A tantalizing slice of midriff showed off a green crystal belly-button stud.
And no bra today, either. He supposed that was a sixties thing, too.
“Oh!” she said, stopping short when she saw him. “You’re early. I didn’t hear you come in.” She glanced at the book. “What are you read— Oh!”
Her cheeks went blotchy.
He lifted the book and gave her a slow smile.
P.S. from Jennifer. I read this and laughed my butt off.
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