Cathy Yardley visits Fantastic Fables with an excerpt from Enslave: Beauty Tames the Beast. Enslave is a part of a trilogy which have all been reissued with new covers. Crave: The Seduction of Snow White and Ravish: The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty are available now with new covers. Enslave will be reissued on April 23, 2013.
Fairy Tales, Revisited
I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales… and even more fascinated by tweaking them, modernizing them, and creating new versions of classic stories. When Avon gave me the opportunity to re-tell some of my favorites, I jumped at the chance. The result was CRAVE: The Seduction of Snow White, RAVISH: The Awakening of Sleeping Beauty, and ENSLAVE: The Taming of the Beast.
Here’s an excerpt from ENSLAVE, where our new Beauty, Nadia, meets the “Beast” Dominic Luder for the first time…
He was enormous. Easily six foot five, the man seemed to take up the entire foyer with his broad, muscular frame. Even in his tailored suit, there was something almost feral about him: an aura of leashed violence, just waiting to be released.
Then there was his face.
Angry red scars crisscrossed from his forehead, across his right eye, down the right side of his face, punctuated by a deep gash down his cheek. His eyes were a light, piercing color that seemed to hover between gray, then sea foam green, then a pale, clear blue. He stared back at her.
“Hasn’t anyone told you staring isn’t polite?”
His voice sent a shiver down her spine. He sounded urbane, sophisticated, bored. But there was anger beneath his words, a muted fury that singed her. She took an instinctive step back.
Her father hurried out in his pajamas. “I didn’t know,” her father said quickly, practically gibbering. She’d never seen him scared, not even when the Russian police had taken him to prison. “I swear to God, Roddy never told me who the car belonged to. Not until it was too late…”
“Perhaps you should have done a little more research on your own. Besides, I’ve already had words with Roddy.” The sentence, casually spoken, silenced her father immediately. Nadia sensed that the man had had more than “words” with her father’s friend and fellow car thief, Roddy Templeton.
She wondered, abruptly, if Roddy was still alive.
The tension in the room nearly suffocated her. This man was danger embodied. He wasn’t here to chastise, or call the authorities. He was here to do some damage.
She couldn’t allow this to happen.
She felt the cold steel of the gun barrel, nestled against her spine. Slowly, she reached behind her.
“Unless you’re positive you can kill me before I can reach you,” the man said, his eyes glowing, “Think very carefully before you draw that gun.”
Nadia paused, her hand in mid-air. She was a decent shot, and a nine-millimeter round was nothing to sneer at. But he was possibly too large for it to actually stop him. There was also the possibility she might miss.
She waited a long second. Then, slowly, she put her hand back down at her side.
He continued staring at her, as if sizing her up. His eyes gleamed, and his scars twisted. He seemed to be smirking.
“What are you going to do?” Nadia asked. “Kill him? Kill all of us? Over a car?”
He seemed surprised. Her father, on the other hand, was appalled. “Nadia!” he barked.
The man took a step closer to her, his presence overwhelming her senses. He stared down at her. “Don’t I frighten you?”
“Does it matter?” she countered, not flinching, not even taking a step back, even though her neck craned painfully to look up into his eyes. “What do you want?”
“Nadia,” her father hissed, stepping in front of her sisters, his eyes wild. “This is Dominic Luder. If you knew who he was… what he’s capable of…”
“No, no,” the man interrupted, without breaking eye contact with her. “In the first place, it wasn’t simply a car. It was a 1958 Ferrari Testa Rosa, in its original red.”
Testa Rosa. “Your rose,” she whispered, stunned. That sort of a car was a collector’s wet dream.
“Indeed,” he admitted. “Do you know how much something like that costs?”
“Millions.” She shot a quick, accusing glance at her father, who hung his head in shame.
“In the second place, it held a lot of… personal meaning for me. It’s going to be murder to get it back,” the large man mused, and she wondered if he was being metaphorical. “You see why I’m so perturbed?”
“Perhaps I can steal it back,” her father offered in a shaky voice. “Please…I’m sure we can work something out…”
“I’m not in the habit of negotiating,” Dominic said, and slowly reached into his suit jacket. Impeccably tailored, the movement nevertheless revealed the tell-tale bulge of a gun. His eyes were a frozen, crystalline blue, like the sky in the Ukraine in December. He was going to do something terrible.
Unless she stopped him.
“What do you want?” she repeated, stepping between the giant and her father, her sisters. “If you kill him, or us, then you’ll just be causing yourself more problems… and you still won’t have your car. What would be the point?”
“Nadia!” This time, it was her sister, Jelena, who sounded horrified.
“Are you trying to get us killed?” Irina shrieked.
Nadia was waiting, trying to make sure he wasn’t about to pull his gun. If he didn’t kill her first shot, perhaps she could buy the others some time. Hopefully Deidre was out of the house. Should she try to shoot him? Or simply act as a shield? Her mind moved in the sped-up, hyper clear mode that she shifted into when threatened. Quickly, efficiently, she cycled through possible scenarios.
She didn’t have many options: what few choices she had were very, very bleak.
“You’re either incredibly courageous, or astoundingly stupid,” Dominic said, letting out a low, rumbling chuckle. “You really aren’t afraid of me, are you?”
Something had changed in his eyes. She couldn’t place it.
“I’m terrified of you,” she said.
“But that hasn’t stopped you.”
She shook her head. “I’m not going to let you hurt my family,” she said quietly. “Not without doing something. Anything.”
“Nadia…” her father implored.
“Well. Aren’t you the brave one,” the man said, with biting sarcasm. “What do you propose I do instead?”
Her mind whirred. She hadn’t considered that he might be open to negotiation. New options clicked and shifted.
Everyone else in the room fell silent, and she felt them staring at her. She wasn’t even sure where the idea came from.
Her mind flashed back, to a terrible afternoon in Cherniv.
Sex is a universally accepted currency. The old doctor’s horrible chuckle as he gave her an ultimatum: medicine in exchange for an hour on her back…
“You can keep me as collateral,” she offered. “Until my father can get the car back. You can do whatever you want to me until then.”
“Nadia, no,” her father said, trying to pull her away. “Not this time! You don’t understand…”
Dominic shot him a level stare, and her father’s words stopped abruptly.
“Whatever I want, hmm?” Dominic’s voice tickled over her nerve endings like a cloud. “Do you really know what that entails?”
She bit her lip as fear slashed at her heart.
“No,” she admitted.
“But you’ll still agree to it?” he asked. His voice sounded toneless, maybe casually curious. But the burning in his eyes suggested something else. “You’ll do whatever I say? You’ll keep your end of the bargain?”
She looked at her family – her horrified sisters, her parchment-pale father. Thought of her baby half-brother, still nestled in Deidre’s womb.
It’s temporary. You can survive it. For your family, you can do this.
She closed her eyes.
You always survive.
“Anything you want,” she repeated, staring at Dominic solemnly.
His smile was fierce, the action pulling the scars of his face cruelly.
“Then we have a deal.”
And without another word, he swept her up into his arms and carried her out of her father’s house, into the Las Vegas night.
After years in the corporate world, Cathy Yardley managed to tunnel her way out of her cubicle with a spoon she’d stolen from the break room. She now writes urban fantasy and romance, and celebrates her freedom from the cube farm in an undisclosed location somewhere near Seattle, WA. For excerpts and info about the novels she’s written, both sexy and fun, check out her website here.
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This contest is provided by Cathy Yardley
Available April 23, 2013 by Avon Red
About this Book:
A desperate beauty enslaved…
Nadia Bessonova’s career-criminal father has deadly enemies—and to save him, his devoted daughter is willing to make a bargain with the devil himself. She will surrender completely, body and spirit, to the dangerous Dominic Luder, and submit to his every whim.
A tormented beast enthralled…
Haunted by inner demons and hiding away in his dark, secluded manor, Dominic is mesmerized by his sensuous prisoner who inflames his bestial lust. But Nadia is no mere plaything. At once fearful, willing, and wildly passionate, she brings his most breathtaking erotic fantasies to life—and thaws his cold, wounded heart.
A perilous path to a happy ending…
But Nadia never dreamed she’d become slave to her own desires in a savage game of seduction and revenge. And now that he has tasted ecstasy, will a jealous, magnificent beast be able to relinquish his prize?
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