Snowbound Excerpt

Snowbound, #1 of the Secret Heart Ink series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeThis month, I’m launching a new spin-off series from Flatiron Five called Secret Heart Ink. You might remember Chynna setting up her tattoo shop at Flatiron Five in In the Midnight Hour, and that she plans to give away a tattoo every full moon. These tattoos, filled with the moon’s magic in Chynna’s view, bring true love to the recipient. There are skeptics at F5 and there are believers. Cassie gets the first of thes tattoos to test it out, but by the end of In the Midnight Hour, she hasn’t had results. (She’ll get her results in Some Guys Have All the Luck.) This new series follows the recipients of the tattoos.

On the opening night for Chynna’s shop, three friends are enjoying a girls’ weekend in New York. One of them, Olivia, wins the tattoo. Olivia doesn’t believe in magic or even true love, but she decides the tattoo is a sign that she should take a chance and seduce Spencer, the guy she can’t get out of her mind. He’s her friend Lexi’s brother, so the three friends conspire together.

Snowbound is coming March 20. It’s a fun, sexy read. These books are shorter than the F5 books. Pre-order is available! The books in this series will also be available as paperbacks.

There’s also a Pinterest board for Secret Heart Ink, right here.

Pre-order Snowbound:

An excerpt from Snowbound:

The plan was nuts.

It was also Lexi’s idea, which pretty much explained everything. Liv would never have concocted such a scheme, but that also meant she would never have done anything about seducing Spencer. The plan should ensure that he never knew it was her.

That was the important thing.

Would he play along?

Liv had major jitters but she wasn’t going to back down now. She really didn’t want to see Spencer be surprised by the news of her attraction to him. She wanted her fantasy but not any awkwardness. Now that her tattoo was healed and the plan was in motion, the only thing left to do was hope for success.

Blindfold. Sex. Getaway.

She had this.

It was new and different, but she’d think of it as an experiment. A test of her verve. A means of getting the desire for one gorgeous man out of her system.

Liv gripped the steering wheel. Would Spencer figure it out?

She was leaving for the UK the next night. She wouldn’t be back until the fall. If this went badly, she didn’t have to go back to the town of Honey Hill, Maine at all. Ever. Her mom was good with visiting her wherever she ended up.

But the plan was good. It would work.

Liv lowered the window and got a ticket for the parking garage.

There were clouds gathering overhead when she parked at the airport and headed for the terminal. The wind was up and she wondered whether it would rain or snow. Whatever kind of precipitation fell, she’d be back here in twenty-four hours, waiting for her flight to Heathrow.

Liv called Lexi. “I’m not sure I can do it,” she said when her oldest friend answered.

“Of course you can,” Lexi replied with her usual confidence. “It’ll be easy. We’ll take care of the tough bit.”

“He’ll think he’s been tricked.”

“He’ll think he’s in heaven.”

“I’m going to puke,” Liv confessed.

“Don’t!” Lexi replied. “It’ll ruin everything. Trust me: it’s hard to seduce a guy when you’ve got yack on your coat.”

Liv heard Gabriel chuckle in the background. “And you know this because you’ve tried it?”

“I’m going out on a limb,” Lexi admitted. “I’m guessing.”

Gabriel murmured something and Lexi laughed. “Okay. There was that incident at a Christmas party a few years back, but I didn’t really want him anyway.”

“I thought you wanted all the guys at least once,” Liv heard Gabriel tease.

“Everyone but you,” Lexi retorted. “You’re too much of a bad boy even for me.”

Liv rolled her eyes, doubting that was even possible.

There was a hoot, indicating that Gabriel had taken exception, and Liv would have bet good money that Lexi had taken Gabriel home at least once. She entered the terminal and checked the arrivals board. “You didn’t tell me what you had to do to convince Gabriel to go along with this.”

“And I’m not going to. Just trust me.”

Liv smiled. Got it in one. “Okay, I’m walking to the gate.”

“Good. You remember everything?”

“Yes, diabolical one.”

“And everything’s ready here. Look out, Spencer! The new moon has your name and number!”

“Does your brother know you should come with a warning label?”

“Probably.” Lexi was dismissive.

“Besides,” Reyna contributed suddenly. Liv hadn’t realized she was there, then wondered where else she would have been. “There will be cupcakes.”

Liv didn’t share Reyna’s conviction that cupcakes fixed everything, but she knew that kind of commentary would be unwelcome. “Thanks,” she said, because Reyna’s cupcakes were awesome. She wasn’t sure there’d be time for food. “I hope Lexi has a story to explain Reyna’s cupcakes in Spencer’s house.”

“I’ll think of something,” Lexi said. “Better yet, smear them around, eat them, and destroy the evidence before he can see it.”

Something else to do. Liv nodded, forgetting that Lexi couldn’t see her. “Okay.”

“Gabriel’s going to call him now,” Lexi said. “Get ready.”

Liv reached the gate where Spencer’s flight was arriving. The glass doors were tinted, but the sign displayed his flight number.

He was probably just on the other side, waiting for his bag, maybe fifty feet away.

And just in a couple of hours, he’d be at her mercy. She gripped her phone tighter.

“I am going to puke,” she said.

“Use it,” Lexi said, showing her typical lack of mercy. “If he thinks you’ve been inconvenienced, too, you’ll start with something in common.”

“Got it.” Liv ended the call and dropped her phone into her purse. She jammed her hands into her pockets and balled them into fists, reminding herself to stay calm. She was the queen of composure. She was impassive. She could do this. Her heart was skipping and her stomach was jittery, but Spencer didn’t need to know that. It seemed like her new tattoo was heating up, like she could feel Chynna’s tattoo gun burning its outline all over again.

But that was irrational.

As irrational as moon magic.

And true love lasting forevermore.

The doors slid open and three passengers emerged. Strangers.

Liv took a steadying breath.

The doors slid open again, and half a dozen passengers stepped into the terminal. Some were clearly expecting to be met, because they surveyed the crowd. Others trudged away to taxis or to the parking garage.

Six more.

Eight more.

What if Spencer had missed the flight? What if he’d guessed his sister’s plan or somehow sensed trouble and canceled his flight? What if he didn’t turn up at all? Liv wasn’t one to worry but her imagination was churning out possibilities when the doors opened and Spencer strode into the terminal.

He was on his phone, so she had a chance to ogle him.

She hadn’t seen him for a while, but he was still as gorgeous as ever. Dark hair, a little long, and little tousled. He was wearing a leather jacket and jeans, a hoodie under the jacket. He frowned as he talked into his phone. His lips tightened before he said something curt, then he glanced up, his gaze sweeping over the crowd.

Their gazes locked.

Her tattoo exploded in fire and Liv almost fell over at the sudden burst of heat. Was she going crazy? Or was this just stress? The sensation faded as abruptly as it had come on and she could dismiss it. She waved at Spencer and tried to look cool and composed.

It had to be better than looking like she was going to hurl.

She knew Spencer’s eyes were a sapphire blue with long dark lashes. She knew they had to be snapping with annoyance. She knew which tattoos he had where, that he worked out daily, that he was an amazing chef, that he was part owner of a successful restaurant and bar, that he seldom drank alcohol, that he had a wicked left hook and a killer smile. She could hear the rumble of his voice as he told Gabriel off, but could only stare back at him, her heart thumping as he strode directly toward her.

Perfection made flesh.

The only man she’d ever wanted.

It was just raw biology. He was the best male specimen she’d ever seen. That was all. Natural selection. Survival of the species. May the best genes win. Plain old biology getting things done.

It was too late to back out. This was going down. She was going to do it.

And as Liv watched Spencer approach her, she had to admit that she was really, really excited.

Excerpt from Snowbound Copyright ©2018 Deborah A. Cooke

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