Good Morning! Do you want to be swept away? Join me on this glorious Valentine's Day and fall in love a little more. Let me know what your plans are for today (if any??) and your comment will be entered -- along with any other comments during the course of this Swept Away Valentines Day Blog Hop -- to win a $15 Gift Certificate to your choice of Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com!! Just remember to leave me an email addy so I can notify you if you win. The blog hop and contest begins today and runs through February 17. I'll announce a winner no later than Tuesday, Feb. 19th.
Today, I'm going to introduce you to some demon love. This past week saw the release of my short Christmas tale, Zarakion's Tip, at some of your favorite booksellers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and All Romance eBooks. The theme may sound like Christmas, but the sexy hot love Zarakion and Taryn (the elf) discover will melt even the coldest heart.
Santa's Helpers: Zarakion's Tipby Ayla Ruse
A paranormal/fantasy erotic romance; novella
Delivery tips come in all shapes and sizes...
Chrissy from Romance Junkies gives Zarakion's Tip 4.5 Blue Ribbons!
"ZARAKION’S TIP is unexpectedly delightful just because the characters and the setting are so unique. The sexual interactions are deliciously hot and imaginative."
Taryn is a new delivery elf this year, and she draws the short straw -- having to deliver packages to Hell.
Zarakion, a Cha'horz demon -- the guardians of the dividing line between Earth and Hell -- has to work the unstable drop point. He has to play at receiving; not his favorite job.
When Taryn steps through the Gate, she's intimidated at first by the huge demon, but Zarakion gives her a delivery tip that'll have her scrambling to return to the drop point again and again.
Taryn studied the number carved into the door, for no other reason than to gain focus. "You can do this," she murmured.
With bolstered resolve, she lifted her chin, set her five-foot height as straight and tall as she could, and reached up on tiptoe to lift the heavy knocker centered on the metal door. The loud bang made her jump, and when the door immediately swung open, some of that pep talk she'd given herself disappeared like Santa going up a chimney. Light from the passageway spilled a few feet into a dark and seemingly empty space.
"Enter. State your business and leave," growled a voice from within the darkened depths.
Taryn gulped, her palms grown sweaty on the handlebar grips.
"The Hall Monitors will snack on you if you don't get your ass in here."
Feeling like she'd been whipped for a naughtiness she hadn't understood, she hurried to push her monstrous bike through the portal. She stopped right at the light's edge inside the... room? Station? Area? Heck, she couldn't see past the line of that darkness.
Her bravado failed, however, when a loud clanking sound indicated the gates were shutting, with her inside. And her precious light was going with it.
"Wait," she stammered. "I'm here to drop off packages. I'm from Santa's Package Delivery System. Don't shut me in. I won't be two minutes. Promise. Can't we leave the gate open?"
"And have any do-gooder wander in here? Or the Hall Monitors? Come to think of it, that might be fun. They truly are monitors -- of the reptilian kind." Then its playful tone vanished like a bad version of Jekyll and Hyde. "Enough. I don't want to be here, and I know you don't want to be here, so do your business and be --"
Whatever the voice was going to say was cut off. Taryn shifted but wouldn't let go of her bike. She swung her leg over the seat, ready to high tail it somewhere if her comfort level didn't increase, and fast.
The door shut completely and blackness surrounded her like a heavy cloak. A gust of wind blew by her, ruffling her silky hair. It smelled sweet and spicy all at once. Odd kind of wind. Come to think of it, she'd never figured Hell to have wind. The air changed direction and she tossed her head, frustrated because the wind was blowing her hair into her eyes and she couldn't see a damn thing.
"What do we have here?" The voice sounded close, and Taryn's body clenched. Strangely, it wasn't all fear. Some parts of her responded to that deep, gravelly voice, as if it stroked her inside.
"Snowflake. That's what you make me think of. I've never seen a snowflake, but I've heard many passers-by tell of the delicate, fragile, frozen liquid."
The praise from the demon had her squirming on her seat. Despite her nervousness, she liked his voice. She could feel herself bend toward him, ready to listen to whatever he had to say.
"I wonder," the demon continued, "what you would feel like if I touched you."
That snapped her straight. She set her lips into a firm line. She knew he couldn't touch her. Mebon had assured her. No, she could not let herself be intimidated by this creature. "No time. I'm here to do my job. I'm going to get your packages, but I need some light."
A dim pool of light washed over her, like a center-stage gel surrounding her and her bike. She hopped off and opened her saddlebags. "Thank you. Where should I put them?"
A crackling, groaning sound met her ears right before a flat trolley rolled into view. She gasped. The trolley appeared to be made of bones.
The mysterious demon didn't speak, so Taryn shook off her shock and started pulling out little cubes from her bags. As she gingerly set each one on the trolley, it shimmered and grew in size until the cart was stacked with gaily wrapped packages. She wanted so badly to ask who would be getting such packages in Hell, but she bit her lip. Questions would only cause her to stay longer, and she wasn't sure she'd like the answers given.
"There you go, demon." She held out the clipboard. "Sign where I've marked, and I'll be gone."
She never saw the demon, but a sparkling glow and pressure hit her clipboard, almost knocking it from her hand. When she pulled it back to her, a dark red signature lit up next to each mark.
"All right. If you'll open the gate, I'll be on my way. Thanks."
She replaced her clipboard as she spoke, then decided what the hell, why not, and stuck out her hand, hoping to get a tip.
You can find out if she gets her tip from Zarakion, and exactly what kind of tips demons dole out, by picking up your own copy today.
All Romance eBooks
Barnes and Noble
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I'll see you tomorrow!!