WHAT A GODDESS WANTS is finally available. It seems like it's taken forever but you can finally read Tessa and Cal's story.
The story has its roots in the first Etruscan story I wrote, Seduced by Magic, book one in the Magical Seduction series from Ellora's Cave. In that book, the hero is the son of Selvans, Etruscan God of the Forest. Since the Romans usurped much of the Etruscan culture, I started thinking about what happened to the Etruscan deities after the Romans took over.What happens when many if not most of your worshippers switch their allegiance?
Tessa is the Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn. She still has some followers and though she no longer leads the sun across the sky, she maintains her duties as a Goddess of Childbirth.
But lately she's been having nightmares and soon realizes that Charun, Etruscan God of the Underworld, is hunting her, wanting to consume her powers so he can break free from the underworld. Tessa needs a hero.
Enter Caligo the Cimmerian. He's a legendary warrior who feels no pain, no heat, no cold. And no emotion. Until he meets Tessa. And he realizes just how much he's been missing in his life.
Author's Note: What A Goddess Wants is an erotic romance. The language in this excerpt reflects that.
Cal was congratulating himself for getting rid of Tessa with a minimum of hysterics when her scream rang clear into the house.
Adrenaline dropped into his system and he raced for the door, wrenching it open before he even realized he’d moved.
Then the sound cut off as abruptly as it’d started and he tore off down the rutted dirt path that led to his house.
Fuck, this was his fault. He shouldn’t have let her go.
Before he got to the blind bend about a quarter mile from the house, he slid into the trees, heading in the direction from which he’d heard her scream. Through the breaks between trunks, he caught glimpses of a small blue car.
He slowed, stopping behind a huge old oak and then peered around the side.
What he saw inside the car made him freeze.
A blue-skinned demon with long black hair held Tessa’s pure strawberry-gold waves in one hand and a knife at her throat with the other. Tessa’s hands gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles white with strain. Her face was just as pale, and those same damn tears he’d cursed her for earlier ran down her cheeks.
Shit. Shit, shit and double shit.
If he rushed the car, the demon, probably one of Charun's
minions that Tessa had mentioned, would have enough time to hurt her, even though Tessa had said Charun wanted to consume her. That meant the demented god probably wanted her alive and the demon couldn’t kill her.
But it could injure her. And that would seriously piss him off--which was fucking stupid logic, considering he’d just kicked her out.
Pushing those thoughts out of his head, he dropped to the ground and crawled through the underbrush toward the car. Since Cal was really good at what he did, the demon never made any indication that it heard or saw him
Would have been awfully fucking offended if it had. Still, he wasn’t inside the car yet.
Ignoring the scratching of fallen branches against his bare chest and stomach, he reached the back end of the car and then carefully dragged himself around to the driver’s side. Luckily, Tessa had parked close to the side of the road so he didn’t have to crawl into the open.
Getting to the door only took seconds but it felt like forever because he could hear snatches of conversation from the open car window. The demon wanted Tessa to drive but she was arguing that she couldn’t drive with a knife at her throat.
Her voice sounded slow and sure, but it held a tremor of fear that infuriated him. He wanted to reach inside the car and pound the demon into oblivion for putting that tone in Tessa’s voice. But that wasn’t the best course of action. So he waited.
And, after a few more seconds, he got the opening he needed.
The demon must have moved the knife because the car started. Before Tessa could drive away, Calreached up, opened the door and grabbed the demon’s arm.
In that split second of surprise, he managed to drag the demon out of the car and onto the ground before it started to fight. Dirty. And like a girl.
It pulled his hair and grabbed his ears. It used long black fingernails to scratch at his face and brought its feet up to gouge its toenails into his legs.
Cal fought back, punching the demon in the head and kneeing it in the side. Ignoring the blood running down his face and legs, he heard Tessa gasp but couldn’t take the time to see if she was okay. The demon was stronger than it had any right to be for its size but Cal knew that wasn’t unusual for lower-plane creatures.
To subdue it, he tried to roll and trap it under his body but the demon rolled the other way and punched its fist toward his face. Cal dodged at the last second but the demon brought its knee up and caught him in the balls. Good thing Cal didn’t feel pain because that one might have really hurt. He’d have to check later to make sure the kick hadn’t done any lasting damage.
Right now, he was losing his grip on the thing. Its skin grew slippery with sweat. At least, he hoped it was sweat. The damn
thing could be poisoning him and he wouldn’t know until it was too late. Still, he couldn’t let it get away.
With a burst of strength, Cal wrapped his hands around the demon's thin, wattled throat and tried to cut off its air supply. It just smiled, showing off four rows of razor-sharp teeth and rolled him like he was a kid.
Cal found himself on his back, staring up at the demon.
Shit, this was bad news. He’d underestimated the thing’s strength.
But Cal still had a few tricks up his sleeve. He began to throw deadly hard punches, aiming for the thing’s head. Only a few of them connected because the demon was fast and limber. And each time it moved, its teeth got closer. Cal lifted his arm, hoping the demon would bite that before taking a chunk out of his face.
The demon opened its mouth and hissed—
And suddenly it wasn’t there.
Tessa stood over him with a tree limb shaking in her trembling hand, panting, eyes wide. Then they both turned to look at the demon, which Tessa had managed to smack a good ten feet away. On all fours, it shook its body like a dog after a bath. Then it stood, a wiry mass of naked flesh with no sex organs to indicate male or female. It hissed again, showing off those pointed teeth then smiled and loped into the forest away from the house.
Cal pushed himself off the ground, watching the tree limb bob and weave in Tessa’s hands.
Actually, Tessa’s whole body trembled, making that limb extremely dangerous to Cal. Eyes wide, she stared in the direction the demon had run.
Her breath rasped hard and rough out of her body and her knuckles had turned white.
“Tessa, it’s okay. It’s gone. Put that down before you hurt me with it.”
There, that got her attention. Her gaze swung around to his and he was almost startled to see
real fear in her eyes. Apparently deities were afraid of some things which meant the demon was probably not something he wanted to run into again.
“Are you okay?” Tessa asked as she stepped closer, dropping the limb at the last moment before it batted him in the side. “It didn’t bite you, did it?”
He shook his head. “I’m fine. What about you? You okay?”
She took a deep breath and then another. With a visible effort, she forced her body to stop trembling. Then she nodded. “Yes, I’m fine. It didn’t hurt me.”
“You wanna tell me what the fuck that was?”
She shivered, her entire body getting in on the action. “Tukhulkha demon. Charun’s bringing out the big guns.”
And that scared the shit out of her. He saw it in her wide eyes and the paleness of her skin.
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s get back to the house. Then we’ll figure out what to do next.”
She blinked. “We?”
He sighed. “Yeah, we.” Although he was probably going to regret this. “I don’t like to be attacked on my own ground. Pisses me off.”
Her eyes widened even more. “So you’ll help me?”
Putting his hand on her arm, he let the warmth he shouldn’t be able to feel seep into his skin. Obviously, something about this woman, this goddess, brought out a part of him he’d thought lost.
“Yeah, I will. Let’s go.”