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A steamy romance about a fairy tale love, carnival magic, and revenge…
Serafine Moreau grew up on the grimy edges of cities that were never home, raised at the capricious whims of her bohemian, fortune teller mother. It wasn’t a perfect life but it was theirs – until a stranger appeared one unremarkable autumn morning to steal the fortune teller’s life and leave Sera with nothing but questions.
Now alone, Sera wanders lost. When an invitation addressed to her mother’s stage name arrives from an old carnival outfit looking to recruit the late fortune teller, Sera answers instead.
Bewitched by the carnival’s handsome magician and the dark whimsy of the Carnival Imaginaire, Sera finally feels like she’s home until the mystery of her mother’s death unravels with the secrets of the carnival’s past. At the center of the brewing storm hides Sera’s heart that can’t hope to survive another loss.
Standing behind him in nothing but a t-shirt barely covering my underwear reminded me of the night in my apartment before we had to run for our lives.
And when he turned to call me to his bed, he gasped, a strangled sound that played havoc with his expressions. His eyes widened, the pupils enlarged, then they narrowed, his brow knitted, lips parted to speak then shut automatically. His chest puffed and framed between the curtains that hid his bed, his slacks slung low on his lean hips, he looked beautiful and powerful and a little heathenish. The way his chest rose and fell with his deep, barely restrained breaths made me feel like I was dangerously close to being captured and carried to his bed and claimed.
A part of me badly hoped he would try.
Nervously, I tucked a bare ankle behind the other and waited.
“Come here. Sera.”
I went to him, balanced on the balls of my feet, hovering close to his bare chest. He caught my hand, rested another along the width of my hip. His fingertips dug into my skin through my shirt, hiked it dangerous where his thumb could brush along the hem of my underwear. It felt like he was encroaching on some unwritten violation.
Eli’s grip tightened, and just before I thought he’d lift me against him, he pushed me towards his bed. He released me and lifted the covers away while I settled in.
It was hard to squash my disappointment. He climbed over me, for one delicious second he hovered against my body, his eyes meeting mine, before finding a spot unnecessarily far away.
We lay quietly side by side, not touching, though I was irrationally aware of where our bodies almost met.
Without asking, I moved closer until we touched, until he groaned with the pleasure of contact, and opened his arm for me to slide beneath. We held on as if our life depended on not disengaging. I listened to him breath, his heartbeat, and wanted him to touch me in the worst way. When I ran my leg up against his, he shuddered, caught my hip, and pulled me almost on top of him.
We slept locked like this, his face buried in my curls, so close I could feel his breath on my neck.
What we were doing, I knew somehow, went against all the rules.
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