With: Katherine Garbera
Congratulations to "Bn100", the winner in Katherine's giveaway. Please contact JUST CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE to claim your prize!
The world of illusion is one that has always fascinated me. I have to wonder what it’s like to live your life always putting on a show. I had the idea for the hero of Wild Nights first. Nicholas Pine was a mix between Criss Angel and Penn & Teller. Just really hot, doing tricks no one could figure out.
I knew that magic and illusion would play a part in the love story and since there would be the sexiness of a man who physically had to be able to escape from chains. I started building the story from Nicholas. If he was an illusionist and was always pretending then he had to be someone who always expected others to be lying to him. Not in a malicious way, but just his inherent belief is that everyone isn’t showing him who they really are.
So Zelda had to be completely guileless on the surface. He doubts that she really is everything she’s showing him he is and when a secret from her past surfaces, he struggles to remember the woman he fell in love and not feel betrayed.
Master illusionist Nicholas Pine has learned the hard way that nothing—and nobody—is what they seem. So when he runs into sexy antique shop owner, Zelda Quincy, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye. Still, what he sees is very, very intriguing…and he can’t get her out of his head.
Zelda has spent her whole adult life running away from her family’s reputation. She’s changed her name and tried to move on. The last thing she wants is to return to the world she left behind, even with someone as hot as Nicholas by her side.
But after one hot night––she’s addicted––and so is he.
Too bad the skeletons in Zelda’s closet won’t stay hidden for long...
Here’s a snippet from the book:
She figured he had to either be a thief, the competition, or a magician looking for something. And since her shop sold one-of-a-kind, antique magic props, she was betting on the latter.
She made sure the register was locked, then walked straight toward him. He glanced up at her, those pale blue eyes of his so light against his tanned skin and dark hair that she hesitated for a moment. But she wasn’t about to let him stand outside her shop again.
He was back. Again.
This was day three.
She should have put a stop to it yesterday, but he’d intrigued her. And doing the same thing twice could be a coincidence, right?
But three times... That was a pattern.
She opened the door and stepped out. Her shop was housed on the corner of a retail strip just outside Las Vegas. She got a lot of high-end customers—which was why she had opened her shop here. But she also got her fair share of oddballs, so it paid to be careful. Still, this guy didn’t look like a weirdo.
But her best friend, Molly, said that weird and sexy weren’t mutually exclusive.
She wondered what Molly would make of this guy.
She lifted her cell phone and snapped a picture of him. The image didn’t capture the magnetism he had in real life. Up close, his eyes were even brighter and bluer, his hair was longer on the top than at the sides, and she noticed that his shirt was unbuttoned, revealing a thick silver chain around his neck. He smelled like...well, not to be cheesy, he smelled crisp and clean, like the air after a rainstorm. And he was watching her carefully.
“I suggest you think twice about whatever it is you’re about to do here,” she said. “I have your photo, and I think... well, I think you should know I’m also a badass, so stealing from my shop isn’t going to be easy.”
“You think I’m a thief?” he asked.
His voice was low with a deep timbre like a bass guitar, surprising her. And though he hadn’t spoken loudly, there was a force to his words that made them echo in the back of her mind.
“Or a creeper.”
“Stalker... Dude, you’ve been standing in front of my shop for three days, and that’s straight-up odd.”
He gave a slight tip of his head, his mouth tightening. “Fair enough. I’m not here to harm you.”
“Then why are you here?” she asked, not dropping her guard for a second. There was an air of mystery about him, and he’d done nothing to dispel it. If anything, his voice had her even more intrigued.
“I was waiting for someone who stole something from me,” he said at last.
She crossed her arms over her chest. “What did they steal? And why would you be waiting outside my store?”
“Houdini’s water chamber. I read on your website that you would have one available this week,” he said.
The water chamber. She tried to ignore the shiver it sent down her spine. Houdini was big money in the antique magic business, which was why she’d purchased the item, among a number of other things. Normally, she listened to her gut and steered clear of anything involving water tricks. But she hadn’t been able to resist the lure of a big score.
“I will. I bought it on an auction site. I didn’t steal anything,” she said carefully.
“Who did you buy it from?” he asked.
“Elite Magic in London. I’m pretty sure they didn’t steal it from you, either,” she said.
He gave nothing away. She could tell he was very practiced at only showing her what he wanted her to see, and as much as she hated to admit it, she sort of admired that ability. She was an open book—anyone could tell what she was feeling. At one time, she’d known how to simply
smile and conceal her thoughts, but that girl had died on a hot July day.
“All I know is my cabinet is missing and you have one for sale. It sounds like more than a coincidence to me.”
“Sounds like you’re grasping at straws,” she said. “Seriously, if you’re not buying anything, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Would you at least let me look at the cabinet when it comes in?” he asked. “I’ll make it worth your while.”
“How?” she asked. Because she still wasn’t sure if he was shady or not. She’d never really liked men who gave nothing away. They reminded her too strongly of her father.
“Money,” he said. “Name your price.”
He snapped his fingers, and a business card appeared in them. He handed it to her.
A magician. She should have guessed it from his look, but she’d been away from that world for ages. The people who frequented her shop were hobbyists and amateurs. This guy was the real deal, and she hadn’t encountered someone like him in a very long time.
Both Zelda and Nicholas are surrounded by found family in this book. I’m blessed to have been born into a wonderful family and throughout my life have connected with many who I know consider found family. What about you? I’m giving away an e-book of Wild Nights to one lucky commenter.