The Enchantress [The Song of the Sirens 2] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Morgan Ashbury
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
eBook Description: It's rumored that Twyla Harper is a thief. With a smile and a wink, she seems able to get most anyone to do anything. Then one day she meets Nicholas Coultrain, a charming Irish rogue. Used to keeping men at arm's length, she isn't prepared for the speed with which he gets under her skin and into her heart. There's only one problem: he's a security consultant whose company is about to be destroyed because of a heist Twyla pulled. Nicholas is out of his element, out of his area, and nearly out of time. When a good client is robbed, his only hope is to find the thief, and return the millions of dollars worth of gems. An anonymous tip points him at Twyla. But meeting 'the Enchantress' only makes things more complicated: it's hard to set a trap for the woman when he's falling in love with her. [Erotic Contemporary Romance: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Siren Classic, Published: 2008, 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2009
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1 Reader Ratings:
"4.5 Cherries: Ms. Ashbury writes a great suspenseful novel. The conflicts keep the reader entertained and on the edge of his or her seat. I liked that her characters were strong-willed, down to earth, and willing to bend to meet in the middle. That combination of traits made the characters, Twyla and Nicholas easy to relate to. I also liked Ms. Ashbury's use of contradictions. A thief shouldn't work with a securities specialist, but in her novel it works and works well. If you want a novel filled with red-hot love scenes, action, adventure, and precious jewels, then look no further than The Enchantress: Song of the Sirens 2."--Tiger Lily, Whipped Cream Reviews
"4 Stars: Morgan Ashbury's The Enchantress has a delightful plot. Twyla and Nick work well together. They add a bit of humor to the action packed drama. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy The Enchantress."--Anne, Review Your Book
We have made our case. Now we can only wait for the verdict. We are sisters, we three, not of the blood but of the heart and of the soul. I reach out my hands and find theirs. Ligeia, known for her clear-toned voice and beautiful face. Peisinoe, they say she can seduce with just a thought. Me, Thelxiope, they call an enchantress, but I don't know what that means. The goddess Demeter cursed us, and the gods of Olympus granted us a gift, a double-edged sword. Because of this curse and that gift, the lives of many men became forfeit. We are the Sirens, and we await our fate.
Our time in life is done. Here we stand, having made our case to the great weavers of Destiny, the Moerae--the Fates. Will we be condemned to an afterlife of suffering or be granted redemption?
A trumpet sounds and they appear, another group of three who are as sisters.
"It has been decided. The Sirens will abide here, to join their voices to ours to sing of mourning and loss, to be heard by mortals on the wind. But once every three hundred years, they will return to earthly life. There, to seek redemption and love from one as such as they have wronged. All three must succeed, or all three will simply cease to be."
My sisters turn to me, but I have no answers for them. We have been judged together.
Three women. Three destinies. One fate.
"Why don't the two of us go someplace more ... private?"
The just-this-side-of-sleep sexy voice ricocheted from her ears to her belly, stirring Twyla in a way she'd not been stirred in a very long time. The scent of musk and man circled her, and she inhaled deeply. The smell of him headed straight to her glands. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see him, tall, solid, with the kind of presence that could never be overlooked. She'd spotted the man the moment she'd entered the room.
Considering that partiers took up nearly every square inch of the comfortably spacious SoHo loft, that said a lot. Schooling her features in order to show this presumptuous stranger nothing more than amused half-interest, she slowly turned toward him.
Oh, my God. Twyla couldn't prevent the effect facing this ultimate specimen of manhood had on her body. It had been a long time since her female parts had reacted to a man. She secretly savored the sensations. Her nipples tightened into hard nuggets, her belly clenched, and moisture gathered between her legs. Still, she could see no reason to let him know of his power over her.
"Do I look like the sort of woman who would go someplace ... more private with a man I didn't know?"
"Sweetheart, if I told you what sort of woman you looked like, you'd slap me."
"Afraid of a little pain?"
"No. I just don't want the aftermath of the slap--you turning your back and walking away from me."
Twyla wished this guy didn't intrigue her. His smooth lines and sexy voice, that charmer's twinkle in compelling blue eyes, all combined to spell trouble. He brought to mind the image of an Irish Rogue, too much charm and good looks for his own good.
One thing Twyla didn't need in her life right now was trouble.
Temporarily between jobs, looking to simply relax and decompress for a couple of days, she had no interest in cagey Irish rogues.
Of course, if she really wanted nothing more than to relax, she should have stayed home with a bubble bath and a good book, but Alba had begged her to come to this party, and Twyla had never been able to deny her anything.
Alba Morel was one of the two people Twyla considered family, both her sisters in all but blood.
Turning her attention back to TD and H, she tilted her head to the right and gave him a mocking smile. "Oh, I don't need you to offend my sensibilities for me to do that. I can turn and walk away all on my own initiative."
"I know it, but I'm hoping you won't. I'm hoping you're as bored with Todd's idea of the perfect party-slash-networking crowd as I am. His girlfriend is nice, but the rest of them are too young and too full of themselves for my tastes. Besides, the music sucks."
"You don't like the Black-Eyed Peas?"
"Give me Melissa Ethridge or John Mayer any day."
Click, click, click. So far, everything about this man meshed with her. It seemed as if fate had brought them together on this night, two souls with something in common.
Twyla didn't believe in fate. Things happened, or they didn't, and along every step of the way, she made her own choices.
She could choose to walk away, or she could accept the most intriguing offer she'd received in years. She really had no choice. She liked living on the edge.
"Define 'someplace more private'."
The smile he gave her could have convinced a tight-fisted oil baron to release his wealth to tree huggers.
"There's a pub about four blocks from here called Mickey Finn's. The name might be a little cheesy, but they have smooth drinks and a more amenable atmosphere."
"More amenable to what?"
"Why, conversation, of course."
She didn't buy his innocent look for one moment. Very early in life she'd learned to recognize a man on the prowl when she saw one. Those weren't exactly the vibes she felt from mystery man. Yeah, he was interested in her sexually. Same went, truth be told.
"I'm really not the kind of woman to go someplace with a man I don't know."
"I figured, so let's take care of that first. Nicholas Coultrain from Ocala, Florida."
He held his hand out, one eyebrow raised as if daring her to take it all-his hand, his measure, and his invitation.
Irish. I should have known. Twyla could never resist a dare. She shook his hand and tried to ignore the zing of contact, tried not to be impressed that his hands were a man's hands, big and rough and strong. "Twyla Harper, from right here in beautiful New York. What brings you to my city, Ocala?"
"Business, mostly. Don't know if anyone's ever told you, Ms. Harper, but your town sees a lot of that sort of thing."
"And here I thought it just an ugly rumor created to justify all the huge skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan."
Something shimmered here. Twyla didn't know what exactly, but she did have a couple of days free. It couldn't hurt to have a nice, quiet drink and a nice, quiet conversation and see how this little drama played out.
"I should find Alba and tell her I'm leaving."
"Which one is Alba?" he asked even as he scanned the crowd.
"The one you thought a nice girl."
"Ah. That might not be a great idea right now. I just saw her and Todd disappear together ... upstairs."
She scanned the crowded room but could see no sign of Alba or the party's host. It had taken her foster sister so long to date again after having her heart broken two years before. Twyla really didn't want to barge in on a private moment--however ill timed that moment might be.
"I guess I can call her tomorrow."
"She'd likely appreciate that more. I know I would."
His hand felt warm and solid at the base of her spine. Weaving deftly, they headed toward the door. Late spring, the temperature in the city could have been a preview of summer, the air outside the building refreshing in that it lacked the heavy scent of cloying colognes that had contaminated the loft.
"Shall I get us a cab, or can you walk in those?"
She didn't have to look to know he referred to her shoes. She'd been walking in heels since she'd turned thirteen. She gave him what she liked to think of as her patented New Yorker stare.
"It's only four blocks."
* * * *
Nicholas couldn't believe how easy that had been. Glad to be out of the crowded, noisy loft, he let his senses take in the city at night. He'd grown up just across the river in Jersey, but he'd never felt at home here. Never felt at home anywhere, really. Florida suited for now, with its warm temperatures and slower pace. Of course, considering the events of the last three weeks, he'd likely have to relocate.
Hell, he'd probably be so completely bankrupt in the next month that he wouldn't even have a pot to piss in, let alone a window to throw it out of. Relocating wouldn't be a problem.
But first, he damn well intended to get some of his own back.
"Is something wrong?"
Nick swallowed his bitterness and took a deep breath. The very last thing he wanted to do was spew his nasty mood onto Twyla. Doing that would end things before they even got started, and he really wanted them to get started.
"Naw. Some of my business didn't go the way I'd hoped. I know better than to let it get to me, and it's no way important enough to disrupt our evening together."
Nick relaxed when they got to the pub. There weren't many people inside. A quick check of his watch showed him it was ten-thirty, early by New York standards. He reached for Twyla's hand and then led her over to a secluded booth in the back corner. Rather than crowd in next to her, he sat across from her and tried not to think what she'd taste like.
"What will you have, darlin'?" he asked the question easily, enough of a drawl on the last word that, as he hoped, she smiled.
"A Harp, please."
"The same," he told the waitress, then focused on the woman across from him. "You like British beer?"
"I do, on occasion. Coming to an Irish pub, it seems a shame not to indulge."
"I agree." He sat back while the waitress delivered their bottles of beer.
"So how many generations back would take you across the pond?" she asked.
"Two of my great-grand fathers were born in Ireland and emigrated. My grandfather had quite the brogue. My father, none at all. What about you?" He liked the way she so delicately poured her beer into the glass, though he bet she really preferred to swig right from the bottle.
"I've no idea of my roots, really. So I guess you could say I'm from everywhere and nowhere at the same time."
Something about her smile really got to him. When they'd shaken hands earlier, there'd been a nice little jolt of raw sexuality between them. That, he figured, had everything to do with her and nothing to do with him at all.
He could feel himself sliding, relaxing, and responding to Twyla's charm, and that would never do. He needed to remember his plan. Twyla seemed appealing and charming and could oh-so-easily slip under his skin. He understood now how she'd earned the nickname, The Enchantress. Enchanting people ranked as her greatest skill. Well, her second greatest. Twyla's greatest ability lay in an even more interesting venue, more to the point of his being there, of his having crashed a party just so he could meet her.
Twyla Harper might be a beautiful, desirable woman, but she was also something more.
She was a thief.