Title: Jewel of the Naga
Author: Olivia Fields
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 5
A reluctant incubus with a traumatic past must consume sexual pleasure to live. Can the woman of his dreams survive his love?
Fredric is a reluctant incubus with a traumatic past: the accidental death of his first lover as he fed earned him a powerful enemy among the shapeshifting naga.
Forced to consume sexual pleasure in order to survive, Fred has spent centuries preying on women’s dreams from hiding, until he finally fell in love.
Now the ancient vendetta resurfaces in the form of a curse, forcing Fredric out of the shadows. He must fight to save his beloved from the fatal consequences of his own admiration. Can he find a way for the woman of his dreams to survive their love?
Fred's face looked unfamiliar, his expression hard, almost fierce. He gazed out at the bidders, his eyes narrowed in the eagle-eyed, sharp gaze of a predator. He held himself haughtily, unmoving, leaning on a gold-handled cane with one leg slightly advanced. A low murmur of appreciation, almost a moan, rustled through the house. Michelle felt her own belly dip, fluttering with an undeniable erotic thrill. The glamour was in full force, enhancing his appearance to an unbearable, tantalizing degree.
"Ladies and gentlemen." A low, resonant voice—a recording of Fred himself, his accent more pronounced than usual—silenced the murmur, commanding attention. "Superlatives Auction House is proud to present this limited specialty item for the true connoisseur. A demon of the underworld has come forth to offer himself for your delectation, and for his own." His voice deepened, taking on a smoky rasp, seductive. "Be certain your heart is bold, should you venture to bid. Rest assured, as the demon sates your appetite for pleasure, you will certainly satisfy his."
Onstage, Fred licked his lips, turning his head so his level gaze swept across the bidders. Again the ghost of a moan rippled through the crowd. He shrugged lazily out of his coat, then a snap of his wrists spun it in a circle, the black fabric flowing around him like the beating wings of a bird of prey. He let the garment swoop to crumple at the edge of the stage in a puddle of inky darkness. He was slim as a blade underneath, wearing a close-tailored dark waistcoat. It caught the lean lines of his body and displayed them to devastating effect. Even his shoes gleamed, reflecting the floor in their perfectly polished surface.
Several uniformed stewards entered the bowl from the back. They spread out among the bidders, offering clipboards loaded with stiff sheets of paper and shiny black fountain pens. Michelle accepted hers, scanning the words. The document combined a contract with a liability waiver, specifying winning bidders were obligated to pay as they bid, on pain of lawsuit and seizure of assets. Michelle swallowed hard. Her assets would not even begin to cover her debt, should Robin prove false.
The second half, requiring a separate signature, stated the buyer would hold Superlatives blameless of all negative outcomes resulting from the purchase, then explicitly stated the risks the buyer assumed upon successful purchase of the commodity. To the winner, Superlatives promised one night, not to exceed twelve hours, of mutually consenting sexual congress with an incubus, the consequences of which were deemed likely to include severe bodily injury, permanent physical or mental incapacitation, and a strong potential for fatality.
Michelle signed on both dotted lines, her functional handwriting crabbed in comparison to the graceful, archaic font. The steward made a note of her bidder number on the contract, then produced a seal, notarizing the paper. He swiped the raised imprint with a sheet of carbon for legibility and tucked the document into a gleaming leather folder, then vanished.
On stage, Fred picked up the snifter of brandy and sipped, the bell of the glass cradled gracefully in his palm. He gave every appearance of bored ease, waiting for tiresome formalities to be finished so the real business of the evening could begin.
Michelle swallowed hard. The butterflies in her stomach had grown to the size of starlings. She thought they might be turning cartwheels. She had to pray whatever mischief Robin had up her sleeve wouldn't prove catastrophic.