Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Forbidden Fruit

Have you ever wanted something so badly you ached? When I was pregnant, I craved kosher dill pickles. The only place you could get them was at a deli downtown, a good twenty-minute drive from where we lived at the time. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and couldn’t get comfortable. Those pickles loomed large in my mind. I could imagine the taste and texture. Finally, because he knew he’d get no peace, my husband went out and got me a jar. I wanted those pickles so badly and when he got home, I couldn’t wait to have one.

And one is all I had. Why? Because I didn’t want them anymore. They gave me heartburn. Everybody wants what they can’t have. Children ask Santa for tons of toys each year and parents go into debt to get them for them, but half the time, those toys they had to have end up in the bottom of the toy box. 

Cleo James is a kindergarten teacher. For those of you who are teachers, you’ll understand that, when it comes to the proverbial double standard, teachers are caught each time. There have been documented cases all over the U.S. of teachers losing their jobs for participating in perfectly legitimate activities that someone decided violated some moral code or another. Imagine losing your job because you posted a picture on Facebook of yourself touring a winery—you encouraged drinking. Or what if someone took a picture of you wearing a skimpy bikini, having a drink with a man at a fancy resort? How about attending a shower where the main event was a male stripper and you accidently got caught in the background of the picture—inciting lewd behavior. What if you wrote an erotic novel ten years before you even became a teacher? Too bad. It can still cost you your job. 

I did a lot or research and I was amazed to find documented cases of those very incidents all having taken place within the last three years. The clause that enables people to enjoy their holier than thou attitude is called Moral Turpitude, and it can even get you denied admission to the country. So, how does this fit with my new novel?

When Cleo graves some grown-up fun, she faces a problem she didn’t expect: forbidden fruit—a gorgeous man, attracted to her, who happens to be a Chippendale, one of Vegas’ premier male entertainers. If sitting in a swimsuit can get you fired, what can dating a stripper do to you?


Sometimes, you have to step out of the box. 

Kindergarten teacher, Cleo James, needs a break. For the past three years, she’s put her life on hold to help her father deal with grief, but now she’s ready to move on. A weekend in Vegas at a sci-fi convention may be just the place to start. She’ll be costumed as an alien and no one will recognize her. What could go wrong? Things get complicated when she’s attracted to a conventioneer whom she believes is a gorgeous Chippendale dancer.  Can Cleo set her strict moral code aside and enjoy what promises to be a once upon a time weekend? 

Multimillionaire real estate developer, Sam Mason has sworn off serious relationships. In Vegas to visit family and friends, he’s talked into attending a sci-fi convention for the night. Dressed as an alien, he’s confident he can elude the usual gold diggers looking to star in the role of Mrs. Sam Mason. When he spots a beautiful woman dressed as a green-skinned slave girl, he’s captivated by her and changes his plans to leave Vegas in the morning. The more time he spends with her, the more he realizes she’s unlike any woman he’s known. Fantastic sex and too much alcohol find him married to his alien siren, but before he can tell her the truth about himself and see if they can make their marriage work, the bride vanishes.  Finding her is going to be a challenge.

“I look like a mutant leprechaun belly dancer.” She took a sip of her wine. “It’s a damn good thing you didn’t show me this when you asked me to come. I’d have said no.” 

 “For the record, you’re not a mutant leprechaun; you’re an Orion slave girl. Men are powerless before you. Too bad that cutie from the bar last night can’t see you. You’re worth a dozen of the brunette he was with. Come here so I can spray the glitter on you.” 

Two glasses of wine in quick succession were easing her embarrassment, but as she allowed Mitch to spray the liquid shimmer on her hair and body, she couldn’t resist one final complaint. 

“Well, I’d rather wear what you’re wearing. If the air-conditioning is turned up as high as it was this morning, I’ll be an Orion slave icicle!”

“Seriously, Cleo, relax. Don’t be a prude. No one’s going to recognize you. I know you’re not used to showing so much skin, but you look fantastic, and the men will be drooling all around you. Every woman in the room is going to envy you. You’ll be the most sought-after slave girl here. ” 

“God, I hope not. That’s the last thing I want. I feel like a chunk of meat on display for a starving man. You’re the extrovert, the one who wants to be the center of attraction. I’m not. I think that’s why we’re friends—because we’re so different.” Horror filled her eyes as she thought of something else. “Crap, I hope no one takes my picture. The last thing I need is to have someone see us on the Internet and recognize me. I’ll wear this tonight because it’s too late to find anything else, but we’re going costume shopping tomorrow. I’m sure we can find something a little less revealing.” 

“Whatever you say, but I don’t think anyone’s going to recognize you.”

Cleo turned around and stood in front of the mirror. Her mouth dropped open in shock. Good grief. It’s even worse than I imagined. Thanks to the glitter, her skin reflected the light and looked alive, shimmering as she moved. Her hair shone the same way, and she looked alluring and mysterious. Her large, hazel eyes seemed more golden than ever. Mitch was right about one thing: she didn’t look like a kindergarten teacher from Gordon’s Grove. She looked like a sexy, alien siren. Just the look I want around a bunch of half-drunk Neanderthals. She remembered how decent guys had turned into absolute jerks at university costume parties. 

“If it makes you feel better, you can stand behind the table replenishing the books as I sign them and handing out the bookmarks and the other swag the publisher provided. Come on, let’s go.”

Cleo followed her best friend out of the room. She shook her head. Why do I let myself get talked into these things? 
Cleo followed Mitch into the convention hall packed with hundreds of people in various alien costumes, and allowed some of the excitement in the air to calm her fears. She recognized outfits from various sci-fi movies and television shows. There were several Orion slave girls in a variety of shapes, shades, and sizes, and Cleo saw the not-so-friendly glares she got from them—especially when one of their male friends stared admiringly at her. She nodded in return and chuckled when one girl gave the guy she was with a jab in the ribs. 

She tried to keep up with Mitch, who barreled across the room as if she were in a speed-walking race. Barefoot as she was, conscious of the icky, sticky carpet, Cleo moved slowly to avoid stomping boots and heels. She’d almost made it to the promised land of booth security when a giant, in snake-like makeup and the dark gray leather and chain mail associated with the Cardassians, grabbed her arm. He spun her around quickly. 

“Hey, let go of my …” Her angry words died on her lips.

“What have we here?” He eyed her hungrily. “Are you lost, my pretty little slave girl?”

Familiar chocolate eyes pierced hers, and she couldn’t think straight. His whiskey-smooth voice caressed her; his touch ignited a fire along her spine. Realizing what he’d said, she searched for an answer.

“Lost? No, I got separated from my Klingon friend. She’s over there.” 

She pointed to the publishers’ autograph area where Mitch stood.

“Then allow me to escort you safely to her.” 

Holding her close to him, he ushered her across the congested convention floor. He bowed to Mitch and gave the Cardassian salute. 

“I believe she’s yours, but I’m entitled to a reward for coming to her assistance.”

He smiled wickedly before pulling Cleo into his arms and capturing her mouth with his.
Cleo held herself rigid, but the kiss poured liquid fire through her. Of their own volition, her arms wrapped around his neck both to hold her upright and to encourage the incredible sensations to continue. His mouth devoured hers as if she was his last meal. She’d been kissed before, but never like this. When he slowly pulled away, she was breathless. She read desire in his eyes. 

“Later, my Orion beauty.” He turned and walked away, disappearing into the crowd. 

 “Who the hell is that?” 

“I have no idea.” Cleo reached for Mitch’s blue-tinted Romulan ale and drained the glass.

About Susanne Matthews:
Susanne Matthews lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She is a retired educator who enjoys writing romance novels and reading them too. In the summer, she gardens and goes camping—in a tent. In the winter, she hibernates in front of her computer or watches her favorite television shows while sipping a glass of red wine. 


You can follow Susanne or buy her other books by checking out her website:
Website: http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca
Like and follow Susanne at:
My blog: http://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @jandsmatt
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/SLMauthor?fref=ts
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Susanne-Matthews/e/B00DJCKRP4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0


  1. Hi Susanne! This book caught my eye when I saw it in the Crimson Romance newsletter last week. It just sounded like so much fun! I'm not that into sci-fi and have never attended a convention, but I picked up this book. :)

    Marcy Shuler

  2. Thanks Marcy. I hope you enjoy it. Maureen, thanks for having me here again. I enjoy connecting with your followers.

  3. Sounds very interesting! Congrats on your release!


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