Cover image

Cover image

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#ReleaseDay #KindleGiveaway #NaughtyBeasts #Vampire & #Shifter #Gargoyles

Welcome to the release day for...

Naughty Beasts: Shifters, Vamps, and Gargoyles, Oh My!

Includes fifteen Shapeshifter, Vampire, and Gargoyle romance stories from bestselling authors writing as The Naughty Literati!


Copyright © Belle Scarlett, 2017


“I know you’re a vampire.”

Caden Chase blinked. It was rare for anyone or anything to surprise him, but the slim woman in the yellow blouse and tailored slacks sitting in the chair on the other side of his office desk had managed to do just that. If nothing else, the past three months should have taught him to expect the unexpected where Serena Bliss was concerned.

“Do you mind repeating that?” Caden drawled his words, playing for time to assess the seriousness of this sudden crisis. He kept his tone low and controlled, striving for a cross between puzzlement and amusement, neither of which he felt at the moment.

His gaze ran over Serena’s form, searching the telltale pulse points at her throat and wrists with his heightened senses, trying to detect whether or not she was telling the truth or merely making a wild guess. As usual his attraction for this human female was distracting him. His jaw clenched. Damn, she looked good. Like a joyful drop of sunlight splashed on the coarse fabric of his dark world too full of midnight blacks and blood reds. But she was the last human he should be thinking of for a casual fling. And the more he got to know her, the more he wanted her for more than that.

Serena arched an eyebrow in blatant challenge. The action showed admirable bravado for one who believed she was at that moment in the presence of a bloodthirsty monster. One who could drain her in less time than it took for her next heartbeat to sound.

“I’m pretty sure you heard me, Mr. Chase. I understand that a vampire’s hearing is quite keen.”

It was true. Her throaty, melodic voice, for example, could arrest his attention from three floors away even in the middle of a busy workday.

“I think you’ve been reading too much Twilight, Ms. Bliss.” He didn’t like this new formality she was imposing like a barrier between them. Last week they had called one another by their first names, sometimes even with flirty smiles that made him look forward to each workday with her all the more. He was determined to find out the cause of her distinctly guarded shift in tone with him.

She tossed her caramel colored hair over her shoulders in clear impatience. Hellfire. She had sexy hair. Thick, shiny, and long enough to wrap around his knuckles while he held her still for his kiss…or his penetration. Or a love bite on her elegant neck. Hey, a vampire could dream, right?

“Don’t patronize me, Mr. Chase.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Ms. Bliss. So tell me. ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’?”

She bit the corner of her soft lower lip in chagrin. Damnation. Don’t get him started on her pink, bow-shaped mouth that always looked as though it had just been thoroughly kissed. Ever since she’d started working for him, he couldn’t stop fantasizing that he was the lucky male who made her lips look so tender and lush.

Until she had called him out as a vampire just now he’d hoped finally to get the opportunity to taste those lips. At some point, anyway, after inviting her out to dinner on her last day of her independent contract with Chase Industries, Inc. Which was today, in fact. So much for that brilliant plan. She’d probably run screaming from the building if he suggested the two of them go out for a bite now. He would have to find another way to get close enough to sample that mouth.

“I don’t enjoy being toyed with, Mr. Chase.” She frowned at him severely.

He bit back a smile. Bambi trying to stare down Godzilla. Adorable.

He yanked his thoughts back to the more pressing matter at hand. What did she know, and when did she know it?

“Sorry. I can be a real pain in the neck sometimes, I know,” he quipped with a grin, deliberately showing far too many teeth. She shot him a wary glance. He felt her pulse throb in the air between them a bit harder in mild alarm. Good. She should be a little worried at this point. That showed at least a modicum of common sense. But he didn’t want to scare her away completely.

“I should warn you that if anything happens to me, I’ve taken steps that will automatically release the information I have about you to the proper authorities.”

“If you believe you’re threatening a vampire, I should certainly hope you took some common sense precautions,” he muttered. “But under the new Vampire Immersion Act, a citizen can’t go around accusing another of being a vampire without evidence of some kind. It would be like yelling ‘vampire!’ in a crowded blood blank. You could start a serious public panic. So tell me, why would you imagine I’m one?”

“Not just you. Your whole staff is chock full of vampires. As you well know.” She lifted her chin, daring him to contradict her.

“Oh, really? What tipped you off? Our black capes, red eyes, penchant for bats, and widow’s peaks?” He kept a scoffing tone but the utter certainty in her assertion gave him pause for real concern. He hoped she hadn’t voiced her accusations to anyone else. It would be a lot safer for Serena Bliss if she didn’t mention her suspicions to anyone but him.

In answer to his questions, she gestured to the glass wall partition that separated his office from the room beyond, where various Chase Industry, Inc. employees worked in cubicles.

“Gee. I wonder,” she mused in a mocking tone he didn’t like one bit. “For one thing, Henrick types about a thousand words per minute more than he claims on his resume.” Caden’s gaze followed the direction of her strawberry-polished fingernail and saw Henrick, one of his administrative assistants, typing on his computer with preternatural speed. His long fingers were a blur on the keyboard.

Serena didn’t wait for Caden to think of a rational explanation. Not that there was one.

“And by the way, have you ever noticed that Bryan always seems to have something other than java in his coffee mug?” She pointed at another pale man sitting at a cube desk. He took a sip from his mug that read, “Accountants Do It By The Numbers” and lowered it to reveal a thick, blood mustache on his upper lip.

“And then there is Vanessa.”

Caden wearily glanced over to where an impossibly beautiful brunette in a figure-hugging black tank top, pencil skirt, and stilettos was standing by the office water cooler. She applied deep red lipstick while looking into a compact mirror.

He gave a silent sigh of relief. “She’s looking into a mirror. Hardly something a vampire could do, right?”

Serena smiled sweetly in a way that was decidedly not. “Wait for it.”

They watched as Vanessa smacked her ruby lips together and then grinned into the compact to check her teeth. There was a smudge of red gloss on one of her incisors. Suddenly, the tooth elongated, pointy and sharp. She used her thumb to wipe off the excess lipstick from her fang.

Caden winced. His team had gotten sloppy with a nice, sweet human like Serena around the office for the past three months. They had grown to like and trust her enough so as to accept her into their midst. But they had clearly gotten too comfortable in her presence, letting their guard down to a dangerous degree. He’d have to have a serious talk with them about that.

He eyed Serena, reaching out with his extrasensory awareness to assess her feelings about what she had just shown him. She wasn’t as calm as she tried to appear according to her raised pulse rate, but she didn’t seem terrified. Yet. He stole what small comfort he could from that.

“And me? What makes you think I’m a vampire?” He sounded more nonchalant than he felt.

“You’re kidding, right?” She waved airily at the floor to ceiling window of his office.

Caden glanced out the window where dusk was falling on a panoramic view of the Los Angeles skyline. In the glow of his desk lamp he saw everything in his office reflected in the glass, including Serena’s lovely body in the chair across from him. Where his reflection ought to have been, however, there was only an empty chair.

“Kind of an undead giveaway right there. Wouldn’t you say so, Vlad?”

Savor an excerpt from my sexy shifter romance THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE  also inside Naughty Beasts!

Copyright © Belle Scarlett, 2017

“MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. Miami Tower this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 3, a Cessna 152 with total engine failure attempting emergency water landing. Repeat, we are going to ditch. Last known position nine hundred and thirty-two miles northeast of Miami from Bermuda. Latitude 25.48North, 80.18West. Fifteen hundred feet heading two hundred degrees…no, wait. My magnetic compass just went tits up. It’s spinning like a top. Last stated known position is…incorrect. We are off course and broadcasting in the blind. Do you read, Tower? Repeat, do you read? My altimeter is going haywire. I’ve lost all navigational systems. I’m losing airspeed. Tower, please advise…”

Trista stared in shock at the back of the pilot’s head of thick brown hair. His rugged frame filled the small cockpit directly in front of her. As he barked terse intel into his headset mic, the small aircraft jolted and lurched through the choppy air over the Atlantic. Meanwhile, her heart felt like it was pounding somewhere in the vicinity of her throat.

Her fingers dug into her passenger seat armrests. She automatically looked for reassurance at the dark-haired, broad-shouldered man folded into the spare passenger seat to her right, also sandwiched behind the cockpit. As if feeling her panicked gaze upon his skin, his sharp, dark-green eyes swerved to hers in silent reply.

This was bad. Shitty bad. And they both knew it.

“Well, I suppose they don’t call it ‘The Devil’s Triangle’ for nothing,” she quipped weakly. Neither man in the small plane laughed.

Up front, the pilot’s deep, resonant voice tenaciously repeated the distress call on his headset, apparently still getting no reply from Miami. “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. Miami Tower this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 3…”

The small plane’s nose dipped sharply. Then came a giant bang. The passenger-side door popped open followed by turbulent air rushing in with the force of a giant’s warm breath.

Trista’s stomach lurched at the turbulence. Had her seatbelt not been clipped snugly across her lap, she no doubt would have been tossed to the low ceiling of the small plane like a piece of hollow straw and sucked right out of that open door to free fall a couple of thousand feet into the sea.

The pilot struggled expertly with the plane’s yoke to control the craft’s wild descent.

“All things considered, I have to say this has been one hell of a vacation I’ll never forget,” she whispered to no one in particular.

Outside the small circle of glass to her left, the vast, dark-blue Atlantic was getting far too big in her window.

“Don’t look. Hold on to me,” the other passenger by her side commanded over the din of rushing air. She loved his voice—strong as oak and calm as a summer night. She clung to it like a beacon in a maelstrom.

“Whatever happens, don’t let go of me. Do you hear?” His firm, confident tone acted like smooth, aged whiskey to dull her jumpy nerves. She nodded dumbly and found her hand engulfed in the warm grip of the large man seated next to her. Her fingers curled trustingly around his. If he said everything would be okay, it would be.

They were falling into the sea with alarming speed now. Yet his touch had the ability to make her feel as safe as if she were in a peaceful meadow.

The plane rattled uncontrollably as it glided just above the waves. She squeezed her eyes shut.

The Cessna skipped off the ocean’s surface. And broke apart.


She sank into the liquid darkness that enveloped her. A sudden reverse current of warm seawater sucked her away from strong, grasping hands that had somehow held her fast during the final moments of the crash. Those capable fingers had managed to unbuckle her seatbelt as the ocean rushed into the open passenger door, filling the small craft’s submerged passenger compartment and cockpit with seawater and a plethora of furious bubbles.

Now she was free of the plane, drifting under the ocean surface. It was like bathwater, really. She was quite content—relaxed even. Except that her head throbbed. And she couldn’t open her eyes. Where was she? What had happened? All of a sudden, answers to those questions were cloudy.

There was a more immediate problem. Her burning lungs were now trying to breathe in saltwater. That wasn’t exactly going well.

She felt a relentless grip on her arm. Someone pulled her upward, toward the surface. The air hit her face. A sharp blow landed between her shoulder blades. She choked and sputtered, the seawater spewing from her lungs and out of her mouth. All at once she could breathe again, but still her eyes did not open.

She was spent, draped limply against a muscled torso, her nose and lips buried in the curve of his neck. The sensation of bobbing buoyantly in the swells assailed her as he treaded water for them both with powerful sweeps of his legs. By now, she’d know his touch in the dark. But who was he? It seemed important that she remember that detail.

“Do you have her?” he shouted from somewhere over the waves.

“Over here,” the same male voice growled a reply somewhere in the vicinity of her right ear.

Her mind slipped into blankness after that. She didn’t know for how long.

Then the two voices that were one and the same echoed again in her ears from opposite directions mingled with the sloshing of waves. The words were fuzzy and made little impression on her, except that the voice in her ear and the one a short distance away sounded like the same man. How strange that he should be talking to himself. Whoever he was.

“I’ve got it inflated…”

“…her into the raft. Hurry.”

“I’m trying, Thane. Damn it…”

“Hold her steady, this is…”

“…damn the sharks.”

“…careful with her, Alec!”

She yearned to open her eyes. She wanted to see the owner of that intoxicating whiskey voice and thank him. But her eyelids felt like lead. If she tried to force them open she just knew the pain in her head would split her skull in two.

She felt a firm but gentle touch all over her body, checking her limbs and the sensitive area at the top of her ribcage, just underneath her breasts. Even in her slumbering state that light, probing touch created a primal sense of warmth and well-being deep within her.

“No broken bones.”

Her mind tried to focus on his soothing, deep tones as an anchor to keep her floating near the surface of consciousness. It was no use. She drifted down again, in and out of partial consciousness, only overhearing occasional snippets of urgently spoken words here and there like a radio station broadcasting with a weak signal.

“ something about that cut on her head…”

“Over there. Do you see it? It’s…”

“…current’s pulling us away from the shoreline.”

“…keep paddling, Alec.”

Her mind eased back into full, blessed unconsciousness. She knew no more for some time.

Find it here:

And finally...

ENTER TO WIN a KindleFire loaded with Naughty Literati books!

No comments: