Rhapsodic, Teaser #2

A while ago, I promised I'd share a teaser for my paranormal romance, Rhapsodic. This poor book had been patiently waited in the wings while I finished my other series, but next year it will finally get published.

Before then, however, I thought I'd share an excerpt!

Rhapsodic, Teaser #2

Ten years ago ...
The air wavers, like I’m staring at a mirage, then suddenly, he’s here, filling the room like he owns it.
The Bargainer.
Holy shit, it worked.
All I can see of him is a good six feet of man and a whole lot of raven dark hair tied together in a leather thong. The Bargainer’s back is to me.
A whistle breaks the silence. “That is one dead man,” he says, staring at my handiwork. His heavy boots clink as he approaches the body.
The toe of his boot nudges the corpse. “Hmm, I stand corrected. Mostly dead.”
What?” He can’t be alive. The fear that thrums through my veins is a living, breathing thing.
“It will cost you probably more than you’re willing to offer, but I can still revive him.”
Revive him? What is this dude smoking?
“I don’t want him alive,” I say.
The Bargainer turns, and for the first time ever I get a good look at him.
I just stare and stare. I’d imagined a thug, and I was ready to hate him even as I accepted his help. But wicked though the man in front of me might be, he is no thug.
Far too pretty for prison.
The Bargainer is gorgeous in a way that only a few rare men are. He’s not rugged, despite the strong jaw and hard gleam in his eyes. There’s a symmetry to his face, a lushness in each one of his features that I expect in beautiful women, not men. Despite this, he’s not feminine in the least. But it’s hard to look at him and not be reeled in.
Had it been any other night, my heart might’ve actually skipped a beat or two and my knees might’ve gone weak. Now, however, I simply hug my arms tightly to my chest. One bad man to follow another, and both appear deceptively nice.
He sizes me up. “No.”
I stare at him quizzically. “No what?”
“I don’t do business with minors.”
The air shimmers and ohmygod he’s leaving.
“Wait—wait!” I reach out. Now it’s not just the air that shimmers. It’s my skin. It’s been doing that a lot lately.
He pauses to stare at my arm. “What are you?” His eyes narrow as he reassess me. “And what kind of mess have you gotten yourself in?”
My hand drops. “I didn’t get myself into this mess.” I just had to clean it up. “I really need to make a deal.”
The Bargainer sighs, sounding all sorts of put out. “Listen, I don’t make deals with minors. Go to the police.”
“I can’t. Please, help me.”
The Bargainer gnashes his teeth together, scowling like he smells something bad. “Fine,” he says. “I’ll help you at”—more teeth gnashing—“no cost. Just this once. Consider this my pro bono for the century.”
I open my mouth to thank him, but he raises his hand, his eyes pinching shut. “Don’t.”
When he opens his eyes, they pass over the room. I feel the magic pulse out of him. I know about this side of our world—the supernatural side. However, I’ve never seen this kind of magic in action, and I gasp as the blood dissolves from the floor, and then the countertop, and then my clothes.
The broken bottle follows. One moment it’s there, the next, it vanishes.
“How did you do that?” Whatever enchantment this is, it licks against my skin, and it’s warm, which makes no sense to me. I’d think expending energy would cool a room, not heat it up. But there appears to be no orderly logic to the Bargainer’s powers.
Once he’s done with the crime scene, the Bargainer heads towards the body.
He pauses when he gets there, peering curiously down at the dead man. Then he stills. “Is that who I think it is?”
Now is probably not a good time to tell the Bargainer that I off’ed the most powerful stock market analyst out there. He might not have been the world’s best seer, but he was one of the richest. Not that it saved him from death.
Oh the irony.
The Bargainer lets loose a string of curses. Again, any other night I might’ve laughed or felt fortunate for getting a good deal out of such a corrupt man. Instead, all I feel is a cold deadness. It takes root low in my belly, numbing me from the inside out.
“Fucking cursed sirens,” he mutters. “Your bad luck’s rubbing off on me.”
I flinch, well acquainted with my line’s predisposition for misfortune. It’s what landed my mother an unwanted pregnancy and an early death.
“How old are you?”
“I’ll be sixteen in two weeks.”
“Finally some good news. Pack your bags. Tomorrow you’re moving to the Isle of Man, where you’ll be attending school in the fall.”
“What? Wait—tomorrow?” I’d be moving? And so soon? My head spins at the thought.
“Unless you’d prefer I go. I’d be happy to leave you here with this mess.”
“No—please stay!”
Another long-suffering sigh. “I’ll deal with the body and the authorities. If anyone asks, he had a heart attack.”
The Bargainer eyes me curiously before remembering that he’s annoyed with me. He snaps his fingers, and the body levitates. It takes several seconds to process the fact that a corpse is floating in my kitchen.
The Bargainer looks unfazed.
“There’s something you should know,” he says.
“Uh-huh?” My gaze slides back to the floating body. So creepy.
“Eyes on me,” the Bargainer snaps.
My attention moves to him.
“There’s a chance my magic will wear off over time. I might be powerful, but a curse as deeply embedded as yours tends to override these things.”
The siren’s curse.
“What happens if that’s the case?” I ask.
The Bargainer smirks. Huge asshole. I’ve already got him profiled. “Then you best start utilizing your womanly wiles, cherub. You’ll be needing them.”
With that parting line, the Bargainer disappears, along with the man I killed.


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