Tour Hosted by Bewitching Book Tours
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing
Number of pages: 224
Word Count: 86,737
‘I’ve been waiting for you,’ the stunning redhead purred, turning from the bar to face him. She had not told him her name, but he felt as if he’d known her all his life. Her pale beauty gave her an ethereal softness, and her catlike eyes glowed with subtle power that drew him to her. She wanted him...
Grabbing the worn metal handle on the heavy wooden door of Bitters Tavern, Joseph O’Reily rolled his eyes toward the dusky fall sky and snorted at his lame fantasy. Yeah, right. Like that’s really going to happen to me, here in a pub in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
He had replayed that familiar scene in his mind almost every time he came to Bitters, and in the last five years while attending Memorial University, he’d come here a lot. His little fantasy hadn’t come true yet – not even close – and he was quite sure it never would. But that didn’t stop him from enjoying some innocent role-playing, where he starred opposite a beautiful redheaded woman enamored of him. He had pretty much accepted this was the only way he was likely to get lucky – in his dreams.
He walked into Bitters and eased the door closed behind him. The warm dark wood reminded him of a cabin deep in the forest, and the familiar smell of beer and French fries gave him the cozy feeling of being at home. Bitters wasn’t the typical hook-up spot that played annoying loud music. Instead, the proprietor offered activities like movie night that Joseph actually enjoyed. In fact, movie night was the reason he’d come in after finishing classes and assignments this afternoon, and making a quick trip to check on his parents’ house and take care of the cat while they were vacationing in Florida. Now he had the rest of the evening to himself. He sucked in a deep, satisfying breath and turned, surveying the bar. Then he saw her.
His cozy feeling disappeared, replaced by a jolt of excitement stabbing his chest. He’d been coming to Bitters at least once a week since he’d started school, but had never seen her before.
There she sat, alone at the bar, stirring her drink with her index finger, her fabulous flowing red hair haloed in the bar lights like a crown of fire. He considered just walking up to her and saying hello, but quickly dismissed the idea. While he had become more outgoing in the past few years, he was still shy, and previous experiences approaching strange women in bars had consistently resulted in dismal failure. He just wasn’t smooth enough like some other guys. Despite the allure of this woman, he wasn’t in the mood for another rejection.
* * * * *
Even before the door opened, she sensed his feelings rolling off him in waves – loneliness, boredom, rejection, and inadequacy. His quaint little fantasy of meeting a ravishing redhead at the bar was endearing ... and perhaps prophetic.
As he entered the bar and looked around, she dipped her finger in her drink, absently stirring it. Without looking directly at him, she saw him clearly with her superior vision. She felt that instant when he noticed her, and she suppressed a smile.
In the last ten years that she’d been keeping tabs on him, he’d improved tremendously, growing to be a handsome man – tall with dark hair and dark brown eyes. But at twenty-three, he still lacked the confidence to forge meaningful relationships with others, especially women. He always felt different, isolated. She could certainly relate to that.
Still, she’d known for some time there was something special about him, something that drew her to him. He had the connection to her that the others did not, a connection to her blood and her past. He possessed strength of character, and his behavior consistently revealed a genteel kindness to all living things. She knew he would fall desperately in love with her and defend her with his very life, if need be. And it could come to that, sooner than she suspected. After nearly two hundred years of running, she couldn’t stay safely hidden for very long before that controlling bastard would find her again. She pressed her lips together, dismissing thoughts of him.
Casually she sipped her drink as Joseph walked by, pretending he didn’t see her. She smiled. Watching him for a decade had required careful planning and effort. She didn’t want to rush things – this was too important to be left to chance or whim – but she was running out of time. He was the right one, and he was ready. Tonight she would give him the incredible gift he deserved. And she would finally have the mate she deserved.
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