Thursday, October 25, 2007

LOVE UNLEASHED, continued:

Since next week is Halloween, a good time for witchcraft: Here's a later scene from my forthcoming erotic paranormal romance, LOVE UNLEASHED. The hero, Stefan, having received his just deserts by getting changed into a dog, collides with a car in which the heroine, Vicki, is riding. After her boss, a veterinarian, checks over the dog, she takes him home to keep an eye on him until she can find his owner. When the sun sets, Stefan, who's been shut in the garage, turns back (temporarily) into a man. Note: This is the unedited version, not the final:

Stefan dropped the quilt and dashed into the woods, burning with humiliation. Waking up naked on a garage floor had given him a severe shock. At first he hadn't known where he was or why. Then all the memories of the past few hours had come flooding back. His attempt to bend Diana's spell to his own purposes must have worked at least partly, since he'd become human again. But for how long? No matter how fervently he hoped for a permanent cure, he knew he couldn't count on escaping the curse that easily. The confrontation with the woman, Vicki, had jolted him with sickening disappointment. When he tried to cast a veil of invisibility over himself and she had no trouble seeing him, he felt as if he'd fallen over a cliff. Diana must have bound his powers.

He ran until his ribs ached. When he collapsed, gulping air, onto the ground, he noticed he'd scraped his feet on twigs and pebbles. His stomach roiled. Hunger had driven him to sample the dry dog food, which felt like a hard lump in his gut. He swallowed, determined not to add vomiting to the rest of his misery.

If he could retrieve his amulet, he felt confident his magic would come back with it, now that he'd had some time to recover from the onslaught of Diana's spell. But Vicki had taken off the necklace, and he had no way of knowing exactly where she had stashed it. The easy solution, that she'd kept it in her purse where he could steal it back with minimal effort, seemed the least likely. She'd struck him as too conscientious for that.

Huddled under the trees with his arms wrapped around his bent legs, he mulled over every detail of the evening. His clear memories started with barreling into the side of Vicki's brother's car. Before that, all he could recall were blurred images of fleeing from Diana's basement and racing along the road, dodging cars and panting in the heat, his chest painfully heaving. From glimpses of his surroundings in the parking lot and through the car window on the way to Vicki's, he figured out he had run from Diana's house on the Annapolis Neck peninsula a couple of miles to Bay Ridge near Forest Drive. To reach his own home, a waterfront townhouse on the Eastport side of Annapolis across the creek from the historic downtown, would be an easy walk of less than an hour. Except that he couldn't go home, even if he had clothes and keys. That would be the first place Diana would search for him, and until he got his powers back, he had to stay out of her clutches.

Shifting his legs to relieve the itchy sensations of pine needles and dry leaves under his buttocks, he sorted through his memories of the conditions he'd tried to attach to the spell. He'd begged to retain some humanity. He had that, for what it was worth. He'd raised a shield against hostile magic. That had apparently worked, because the bolt of energy Diana had cast at him had bounced off. He remembered asking to be sent to a place of refuge, and obviously Vicki's house was it. No, not so much her home as the woman herself. His impromptu spell had created a magnetic attraction between them. Furthermore, she had been the first person to touch him after his transformation, and and he'd imprinted on her. He shivered at the memory of her soothing touch, her strong yet soft hands running over his canine body. And then the brief but intense dream they'd shared when he'd dozed off—only residual magic could have generated that. If he reverted to dog form, he knew he would have to return to her place for shelter, but that prospect was more than a matter of necessity. He *wanted* to go back to Vicki. When he'd heard her calling in the distance a few minutes ago, he had yearned to answer, to throw himself at her feet and beg for sanctuary. That had to be a side effect of the spell. He would certainly never feel drawn to a woman that way in normal circumstances.

Heaving himself off the ground, he limped to the nearest hiking trail, where the smoother earth wouldn't hurt his feet so much. He crept to the edge of the woods and stalked parallel to the mostly fenced yards that bounded the undeveloped area. Not that he had any clear idea of where he was headed. He certainly couldn't return to the woman, not like this. She'd have him arrested. Yet his mind couldn't stop gnawing on the memory of her face and voice. Why had the magic fixated on her?

-end of excerpt-

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