Shadowed by Cari Z.
erotic paranormal gay romance novella (about 21000 words)
Cover Art by Winterheart Design
After a rocky start to their relationship, Daniel Hart and Rhys Daveth are looking forward to putting the past behind them and spending a private, romantic Christmas holiday together in Venice. Trouble follows their trail, however, and after only a few days together Rhys is drugged and kidnapped by agents of an espionage program that he fled from years ago. Daniel barely escapes being taken as well, and afterwards is found by another party interested in Rhys: his friends and coworkers, fellow thieves who tracked him down once they realized he was being hunted.
Time is flying and the thieves are having no success finding Rhys, despite their magical and technological expertise. In order to save his lover’s life, Daniel will have to trust a new magic that exists between him and Rhys, a connection he doesn’t understand and has never mentioned to anyone else. Daniel doesn’t know what he’s dealing with or what the consequences might be, but if he doesn’t use his strange new ability to find Rhys, the man he loves may be lost forever.
Reese Daveth could charm the scales off a snake. It was kind of disturbing to watch, actually.
I knew Reese was charming; I’d experienced the full weight his sparkling personality firsthand. When that much wicked charisma was suddenly leveled at you it could be hard to remember your own name, much less take the time to wonder who this gorgeous man actually was and how he had talked you into a date, or out of a speeding ticket, or in this case, into letting your only son spend his winter break traveling abroad with his significant other instead of spending it with his mother. Which was how my mom thought I should be spending it, obviously.
Mom and I lived a few hours apart, so it wasn’t really convenient for me to visit her as often as she thought I should. When the winter holidays rolled around she insisted, point blank, that I give her two weeks of my time, seeing as how she had given me nine months of undivided attention followed by eighteen years of loving care. I’d never understood why my mom insisted on bringing up her pregnancy every time we argued, but she wielded it like a verbal rapier. “I carried you for nine months, the least you can do for me is x.” Parry, riposte, point.
Usually I didn’t mind visiting my mom, even if it meant spending two weeks basically just watching television and eating bland food. I’d inherited all of my mother’s skill in the kitchen, which was precisely none, so together we made do on boxed mac and cheese and microwave dinners. This holiday, however, I had already made other plans. My…my what, boyfriend? Paramour? Shapeshifting doppelganger/unrepentant thief/occasional incredibly hot hookup? Reese was all of those things and I hoped a few others, and he had asked me to go to Venice with him over my winter break—his treat. I still wasn’t entirely sure why, but I wanted to go with him anyway.
Mom was understandably skeptical. I’d never even mentioned Reese to her, and all of a sudden I was going to Europe with him. This set off a scolding of epic proportions, finishing with an insistence that if I was going to abandon her during the holidays, the least I could do was introduce her to my oh-so-convenient man of mystery. I think she was half convinced that I’d made him up just to get out of coming to see her. Surprisingly, Reese had no problem with paying her a visit.
“I figured as much, Danny,” he told me over the phone. I didn’t have a number that worked consistently for Reese, but he called me about once a week. “She’s closer to New Orleans, right?”
“Then we’ll just fly out of there afterwards. Gotta keep the mum happy, otherwise life will be hell.”
“It sounds like you’ve met her.”
Reese laughed. It was a low, warm chuckle that sent a thrill of heat through me even though I’d heard it dozens of times. “I know the type, pet. Don’t worry. I’ll work it out so that she’s begging me to take you away.”
At the time, I wasn’t so sure he meant it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Reese was a talented guy, but my mom was implacable when she thought she was in the right, which was most of the time. I felt like we were headed towards the classic “unstoppable force versus immovable object” paradox.