Good Morning CEWTNK!! Today I have a first-timer on to share with you her newest release, and it sounds completely awesome! So make Mari feel welcome and don't forget to say hi!! Take it away Mari!!
Good morning, Nikki!
Thanks so much for having me here as part of your First Kiss event. We all know first kisses are a huge moment in a romance, but in About to Blow, the first kiss kind of ruins everything by sending my hero and heroine into another world…literally.
Valkyrie’s Vow, Book One
For a thousand years, Mist has shepherded battle-slain warriors to their choice of Valhalla or Asgard. It’s the task she was charged with upon her own death, the mission she chose when becoming Valkyrie. Never before has she fallen for one of those warriors. But then, never has she felt emotions like those evoked by Kurt Stone.
As an undercover cop, Kurt expected a shortened life. He didn’t expect an afterlife spent jumping from realm to realm, screwing a tattooed hottie who makes his blood boil. He should be choosing his next destination, but he’d rather spend eternity indulging in Mist’s delectable body.
The vicious betrayal that led to her death has made Mist reluctant to trust, let alone love. If Kurt can help her face ancient demons, they both might find their idea of Heaven…together.
Say hello to Kurt and Mist….
Say hello to Kurt and Mist….
Kurt Stone’s head hurt. Bad. He tried to pry his crusty lids open, but couldn’t see even when he did manage a small slit. His body felt as if it’d been hit more times than a piñata stuffed with pills in a room full of junkies. He relaxed. Maybe if he went back to sleep, he’d feel better later.
“Sorry, big guy, but it’s time to wake up.” The voice was soothing, sexy. He wanted to see who it belonged to and just where he was. ’Cause at the moment, Kurt had no clue. Where had he been?
He tried his burning eyes once more. They peeled open. He blinked several times and things began to take form. Not that he could make out any of it, but there were at least shapes.
“That’s it, Gorgeous.”
He felt a hand on his chest. “Kurt,” he managed. The single word hurt to say. “Shot?”
“Shhh.” Now he felt a hand on his forehead. “Don’t talk yet. It’ll hurt like the devil. Give yourself a few minutes to adjust. Okay?”
Okay. She was right. It did hurt. Must be in the hospital. Working undercover had landed him there more than once. But he didn’t remember being on a bust. He was at Club 81, last he remembered. Looking for his snitch. Shit.
“Who blew my cover?” Words really did hurt. He tried to move but a searing pain took over everything. He let out a yell. That hurt too.
“Easy, Kurt. Death hurts, baby. Relax into it. Your body must adjust.”
He felt his cock getting hard from the sound of her voice. That hurt even worse. What the heck? He took several deep breaths, relaxed his burning muscles and, sure enough, the pain subsided and he started to feel normal. Well, not exactly normal. He wasn’t sure what he felt. Maybe he’d been given painkillers, because the screaming pain had suddenly eased.
“Very nice, Kurt.” She continued to run her fingers over his chest, repeating some design he couldn’t make out. “You’ll be in your new state soon.”
He blinked a few more times. His vision cleared a bit. “Where am I?”
A hot young woman leaned over him, but she was no nurse. Her black, cropped and torn t-shirt exposed her belly, at least seven different necklaces adorned her throat and her ears had more piercings than he could count. Her jet-black hair was cut short. A swirling tribal tattoo adorned her forehead over one eyebrow and trailed down beside her right eye. Not his type. But he was drawn to her round face and mesmerizing green eyes. “Between what?”
“This life and the next. Think of it as a layover.”
He looked around at the stone walls. “In a cave?”
She shrugged. “Not my…most creative transition. Sorry.”
He still didn’t really understand. “So, you’re no nurse.”
“Sorry. No such luck.” She smiled. “I’m Mist.” She traced the design on his chest once again. “You were shot down in a parking lot. I’m afraid you didn’t survive.”
“That sucks.” He would have chuckled if he didn’t know it would hurt.
“Yes. No. Maybe.”
One more of the designs danced over his skin. He felt all the pain drain out of his body, slipping away from his chest, ebbing out of his legs. It tingled in his toes as it flowed from his feet like water.
His vision finally sharpened—along with a memory. She was the one he’d been dancing with. The one the redhead had diddled on the dance floor. He’d been distracted by the sexy little show the two girls had been putting on and had let Herzog’s men get the drop on him. She could even be one of his gang. Maybe Kurt was still in trouble.
“I am a Valkyrie, Kurt,” she said, as if reading his mind. Her palm stilled on his chest. It was comforting, no matter the weirdness of the situation.
His knowledge of mythology didn’t come in handy very often. Strange to need it now. “Like the myth? You’re here to take me to Valhalla?”
Her smile was cynical. “You know your mythology. Not many twenty-first-century warriors do.” She sat back and he had to rise up on his elbows to see her. No problem. The pain was gone. He still felt alive.
“You have a choice. I’ll escort you to one of two places. You can attempt Valhalla—or Heaven, as your culture calls it—or you can choose a place that’s a little more…foreign to your circle of understanding. A different life in a different kind of place called Asgard. Kind of a dumpy city, if you ask me, but it’s better than the alternative if Heaven isn’t something you can achieve.”
She stood and paced away, toward the back of what seemed to be a very large, empty cave. Her hips had a unique sway. Kind of a swing with a bit of a limp. Her skirt was short, her legs clad in black socks that rolled over her knees, and she wore solid work boots. She looked like many of the party girls he’d busted.
“Not too excited by the term ‘attempt’ in that statement.”
“I’m sent to men who fight bravely and with honor. The warrior in you has earned the choice. I know nothing about you, your beliefs or who you might be off the battlefield. Choose Heaven, and we land at the Gates and you get your judgment day.” She turned back to him and shrugged. “If you’re an asshole who beats his wife, you may want door number two.”
“No wife,” he said, a bit more abruptly than he would have liked. He’d never married and had no other family who would mourn his departure. Undercover work for years tended to alienate a man from any kind of normal life. That should make him sad, but now he figured it was best. No one left behind to weep on his casket. “But I need to warn another cop. If my cover was blown, Nick’s was too. He does have a family.”
“When we get to Asgard, you can speak to someone there. I don’t make ghosts.” She shivered, as if the thought frightened her. “Now, you must answer.”
She paced back toward him. Her limp was a little more pronounced from this direction. She squatted down in front of him and, without thought, his eyes zeroed in on the junction of her thighs peeking from beneath the leather skirt. Her panties were still wet from her fun on the dance floor.
Despite his worry over his death and Nick, Kurt wanted this chick. Maybe the extra horny was normal for a dead guy. Maybe in death, one could have a hard-on as often and for as long as one wanted. Maybe Viagra angels flitted about flinging blue happy dust. Who knows?
“How about we stay here and finish what we started in the club?” She was hot. He was willing. Nothing wrong with that.
She shot him with a somewhat surprised expression then stood and attempted to pull her skirt down. “That shouldn’t have happened. Stay serious. Your soul to Heaven’s Gates or this body to Asgard?”
He sat up and squeezed his thighs. He wanted a little more time. “My body feels strange.”
She crossed her arms. “You died. That’s what all the pain and burning was about. This is a shell of your humanity. You can feel and such, but it is not like it was when you were alive.”
He chuckled. “I’m not like a vampire, am I?”
She gave him a little smile. “No. Not far off though.” She tilted her head. “So…is it Heaven or Asgard? Think carefully, it’s a forever decision. You can’t change your mind.”
He liked her smile. “Shit. Can we do it first and then I decide?” He smiled back and added, “Don’t I get a last request or a wish or something?” Kurt lay back, tucking his arms behind his head and crossing his legs.
“I’m not a freaking genie, dude.” She sounded angry but she was giving him a good looking over.
Kurt knew desire when he saw it. And desire was looking him straight in the crotch. He tightened his cock muscles a couple times to make it twitch under his jeans. Her eyes got bigger.
Yeah. She was desire wrapped in Heaven. He’d wanted women before, but not like this one. Yeah, buddy. He wanted her bad. He had when she was dancing with the redhead. That’s why he’d quit paying attention to what was going down around him in the dingy club and let those two pushers get the drop on him. Precisely how they’d fingered him as a cop, he didn’t know, but none of that meant shit now.
Mist put her hands on her hips and her brows drew in tight. She was clearly getting agitated. He was starting to like his little Valkyrie.
“Are you getting this? You are dead. D. E. A. D. You have to go somewhere.” She looked around as if something had suddenly caught her attention. Something Kurt couldn’t see. “And soon.”
“Or?” He stood. She wasn’t really giving a guy a chance to think things through. He’d never liked being rushed into decisions.
She huffed. “You won’t be able to go anywhere if you don’t pick soon. Oblivion. Get it? You are dead. Dead things have to be put someplace where their souls can exist. You can’t exist here. We’re in a temporary place.”
“You don’t have to get all serious on me. I’ll decide. Sorry.”
She huffed again. “I know this is all messed up and confusing, dude. You’re feeling all fucked up. But you have to decide.” She walked closer and grabbed his wrist. “Right now.”
Suddenly Kurt started to feel squiggy, as if he were dissolving. That couldn’t be good. “Fine. The other.”
“What?” Mist’s image was shimmering.
“Not Heaven…door number two!” he shouted.
And just before the whole of his body felt loose and watery, like his bones were disappearing and his skin was left holding Jell-O, he wrapped his arm around her, pulled her close and kissed her, plundering her sweet mouth, tasting her lips.
He had to at least kiss her. Kurt was afraid it might be his last chance. For all he knew, Mist could be the last woman he’d ever see.
Now being alone with her forever…that would be Heaven.
Mist knew they’d jumped to the wrong place before she even managed to wrench herself from his fabulous lips. She growled at him and thumped his chest with her fist, not really punching him so much as illustrating some of her frustration.
After taking a moment to breathe and another moment to look around them, she growled again, only this time it was a curse that left her lips, with a frightening, unnatural echo through the heavily wooded forest they’d landed in. She shoved Kurt back.
“Shut up for a minute, will ya? I need to think!” And kissing him again would not help. She felt for her magic. It was weak and Mist felt as if there was a layer of muck between her and the power that allowed her to move through the realms.
With a huff, she grabbed Kurt’s hand, closed her eyes and attempted to transport them to Asgard once again. For an instant, she thought it might work—but then reality shimmered back into place.
They were stranded. Her powers were far too depleted for the jump.
She poked Kurt in the chest. “You moron! Do you have the slightest clue what you just did?”
He shrugged. He didn’t. She wanted to walk away and leave him right where his ass stood. He’d screwed up their jump. Even though he had no real power—except to make her want what he’d been wanting in that moment. She spun back to him. “What the fuck were you thinking?”
“I wanted a kiss. Is that so awful? You kissed me back so it couldn’t have been, could it?” He tried to look smug. It didn’t work. Damn, he was cute, but…
“No. I mean literally. What were you thinking? At the moment you kissed me?”
He shrugged again. “Being alone with you forever would be like Heaven.”
With that lovely thought, she did turn away and stomp off. To where didn’t matter. She followed a narrow path through the trees. She’d been doing this job a thousand years, maybe more. She’d been medaled for her efficiency, her bravery. She’d led rulers and presidents to their place in eternity and now…now…
She looked around. Everything was alive, but it was off. There were no ambient noises, no other signs of life at all. The air tasted metallic. This was not the real Earth.
She was so screwed.
This book sounds absolutely yummy!! Thanks so much for sharing it with us today Mari!!
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