by Cate Masters
Publisher: Decadent Publishing (new TEASE line)
Release Date: April 21, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 30,000
Ten days of freedom. That’s all Fate had allotted me each year. In the streets of Venice, I could walk among them. Mingle. Belong.
During Carnevale, they had no idea who I was. What I was.
For ten days, it didn’t matter.
Until I met her.
Bruno diCesare lives alone by necessity, not choice. An experiment performed by Leonardo da Vinci, who believed having a dual DNA would grant a person immortality, used magic to render Bruno a chimera – the head of a lion, body of a dragon. The only time he can mingle with people is during Carnevale, ten glorious days of masked anonymity, frivolity and intimacy.
Melina Weaver learned fire dancing to enliven her dull existence. A scientist, her long hours at the lab leave no time for a social life. For ten days at Carnevale, she can pretend to be someone else. Someone sexy and daring, who lives on the edge.
Once she meets Bruno, her wish comes true, but everything goes terribly wrong. Beneath Bruno’s costume lurks an alpha male, but is he dangerous? Worse, can she return to an employer who sells her research to the military to make an army of efficient killers? Her only hope may lie with the man she’s just met and never seen.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Getting hooked on a story idea
Sometimes a story idea just won’t let go. When I first began writing Cursed, I didn’t have a series in mind. In fact, the title at first was The Vitruvian Man. But after I finished the novella, I kept thinking of more and more ideas. What happened to Bruno after the end of the book? What did Melina do? Who were the warlocks and witches in the Council?
I had to find out! So Cursed grew into Charmed. I was more than happy to return to this intriguing world-within-a-world, the world of magic that most people don’t see. I loved the way magic and science intersected so seamlessly, almost as if they were used to sharing the same space. 🙂
After writing Charmed, I still had many more questions. The rogue magick characters who made themselves known to me in Charmed endeared themselves to me, almost as much as Bruno and Melina had. So did Bruno’s old friend Marco. Yes, he’s a Council member, but I had a feeling about him. I knew before typing The End that I had to keep exploring this unique world and its inhabitants.
Claimed, the third book, will release from Decadent sometime this year. It answered many of my questions, but once in awhile a new one will pop into my head.
So, though I hadn’t planned it, a series was born – The Vitruvian Man series. Right now, a trilogy, but who knows – I may yet return to Venice. I think I’ve been enchanted. 🙂
Have you ever had a story take hold of you that didn’t let go?
Here’s a peek at Cursed:
….a cold and lonely existence….
Bruno diCesare lives in the shadows. Alone and hidden from the world, his only joy comes but once a year—at Carnevale. For ten days, he can blend in with the colorful, masked masses without revealing his true nature. But this time, he is faced with fiery temptation.
Carnevale allows Melina Weaver to be someone else–someone sexy, daring, enticing, someone who lives on the edge. It’s a far cry from her real life, with long and boring hours spent in a sterile lab. When her fire dancing arouses the curiosity of a dark and compelling stranger, she might have more excitement–and danger–than she ever imagined.
Can Bruno escape his cursed existence? Can he protect her, and can she trust him to save them both?
Ten days. The difference between bliss or desolation, redemption or remaining forever Cursed
Melina should have stayed in her room. Finding him had seemed like such incredible luck. Now she wondered whether luck had turned against her.
That sound—almost an animal sound—had that come from him? Had she imagined it? Strange things went on during Carnevale, her online friends had said, some so inexplicable no science could explain them. She’d laughed when they warned her she might get in over her head.
The sheer strength of his muscles, the raw power beneath his clothes, thrilled her. His pace conveyed the same urgency.
Pressed to his side, nerves jangling, her foot slipped on the stone step.
In one fluid motion, he scooped her into his arms and continued hurrying along. “Are you all right?”
“Unless embarrassment leaves a mortal wound. I’m normally not so clumsy.” She settled against his broad chest. Such incredible stamina. An image pierced her mind: his muscular, naked torso above her, his hips rocking against hers. His presence overwhelmed her, and she was acutely aware of every motion, every breath.
At the bottom of the stone stairs, he set her on her feet but maintained his firm hold. “Dampness has a habit of lingering here. You’d best allow me to assist you.”
“Please.” She fitted herself against him, acutely aware of the way his body moved against hers.
“In these calle of San Samuele,” he said, “Giacomo Casanova spent his youth.”
“Calle?” She should have brushed up on her Italian.
He dipped his head closer. “Narrow alleyways.”
“Narrow and dark. I wonder how many trysts Casanova had in these alleys?” And Casanova had nothing on Bruno. Women probably flocked around him constantly. Acid flashed through her at the thought.
“Too many to recount.” He paused, then added, “If one believes the writings in his diary. His mentor, the poet Giorgio Baffe, lived just down there.”
“Mentor?” She didn’t recall Casanova writing poetry. Did Bruno as well? Or was he not romantic that way?
“Of a sort. The man who introduced Casanova to worldly pleasures.”
The way the last two words rolled off his tongue, so enticing. She glanced at the dark steps that led to deeper shadows beside the canal.
She surprised herself by steering him down there, tugging him to an abrupt halt. “Do such mentors still exist?”
He whirled her against a wall. “Why? Would you be interested?”
She let her hands wander across the contours of his chest. “You did offer to introduce me to the delights of Venice.”
The same growl as earlier rumbled in his throat, unmistakable this time. “You do like to play with fire, don’t you?”
And he knew how to ignite one.
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About the Author:
Multi-published, award-winning author Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web. Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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