Vodou princess Fanchon Marie, is determined to maintain her independence. That's not exactly going to happen. Two of the most powerful magical families, hers included, have demanded she marry Luca, prince of the Roma, in hopes of creating a new dynasty.
And that's just the frigging start to her awesome day.
Turns out the leader of the Morlena clan needs to prevent this wedding to maintain his stronghold over the region. He's determined - determined enough to both murder and raise the dead to do it.
While Fanchon Marie would rather be dead than marry Luca 'The World Revolves Around Me' Dobrogea, it might be a step up from the drooling undead fate the Morlena have planned for her. Maybe.
“Open the door!”
“Fanchon Marie Cosette Beltremieux, open this door right now!”
“Fine!” Luca pressed his hands against the metal locking mechanism over the latch. Within seconds, the steel twisted, cried then finally melted in a puddle at his feet. Right onto his custom Berluti shoes. Damn.
“Fanchon Marie, I am coming into this house. We will sit down and engage in a little conversation. Like adults.”
A stained shoe nudged the door open. It gave no resistance after his little attack. There, in front of him, stood his blushing bride-to-be, ready to pounce with arms stretched out wide in an offensive position. She wouldn’t. “What in the hell do you think you are doing?”
“Take one more step and I’ll make you regret it.”
“Listen, Fanchon, I understand my tactics have been a little high-handed, but—”
“High-handed? You just broke into my house!”
“Oh come on, Cara. I merely melted the metal.”
“That’s called breaking and entering. It’s a felony around here!”
“Do not judge me, Fanchon. This is what we alchemists do. I will take care to fix it on the way out.” Probably. Luca made his way over to her sofa and propped up both legs as if he owned it. Well why not? In a few weeks, he would.
“I didn’t give you permission to sit, and my name is Fanchon Marie, not Fanchon.”
“I chose not to point out your obvious rudeness, but since you insist no, you did not. And yes, I forgive you.” The look of shock on her faced morphed into a hideous snarl of anger. Kind of cute. “Now, come sit, we need to talk.”
The synapses in Fanchon Marie’s brain struggled to get the connections on the move again, but she stayed stuck in disbelief. This (mighty beautiful) idiot destroyed her door, walked into her house, flopped down on her couch, and this?
“We have been talking, Luca. Or do I need to show you the million text messages you’ve sent?”
“It is the only way you choose to respond for some reason and I—”
“For some reason?” Reason? “The reason, jerkface, is that I don’t want to marry you and—”
“You never have. Sit down. Do not cut me off again.”
Whoa. Did that really just happen? Fanchon Marie sat but not due to his direction. Time to rest up and plan out her strategy. This guy needed to go down.
Of course she’d known about the marriage and the reasons behind it. This was to be the union of two of the most powerful clans in the world. As for the arranged part? Eh, not good, but both of their families had done it for generations as far back as anyone could go. Even Fanchon Marie’s siblings had been in for it, though they all came to love their intendeds. Mostly.
And this was hers. She curled into the recliner across from him, not to listen, but to figure out what to do. In the looks department this man was a king, a god, and everything in between. Shoulder length brown hair and those powerful, mesmerizing eyes. She’d always loved that about him. Well, those and his pouty Roman lips. Damn! He’d claimed descent from the last Etruscan – those lusty early inhabitants of Rome – and if those lips were any indication, he’d done his forefathers proud.
“Are you listening to me?”
If he could only move those lips without words coming out.
Ohhhh yeah, lick those lips, boy.
“Fanchon Marie!” Then a softer, more playful recitation of her name. “Fanchon Marie, Cara, do you find yourself fascinated by my lips?
Totally busted. “No, I, do, not.” She punctuated each word.
“Are you sure?” She tried to answer, but then he licked his lips again. Luca rose from the sofa to cover the distance between the two of them. He moved fast. “I have been told that they taste as good as they look. I wonder, do yours?”
Millimeters separated their lips. With every other word, his mouth grazed hers, sending hot lines of magic and lust through her body. “You don’t have to love me, but can’t we at least have this?”
He didn’t give her time to think, let alone answer. In the next moment, his mouth covered hers and explored its depths with his tongue. Long live the freaking Etruscans!
Luca pinned her to the chair then boxed her in with his arms. If she had wanted to get up, she wouldn’t have been able to. Strong if.
Instead, she stayed trapped beneath his lips, dizzy while his hands laid hot tracks of lava up and down her spine. Possessive arms tightened around her waist, lifted her up off the velvety red cushion, and brought her closer to him.
“Things can be good between us. You only have to allow it to happen, honey.”
Why did words have to pass those lips? It snapped her back to reality faster than spilled salt and a cut line. “Stop. Just, get off.”
“Cara mia, that is exactly what I mean to accomplish here.”