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Patti O'Shea - Paranormal Action Romance Author

 

Excerpt from Shadow's Caress

Cass glanced at her watch—another half an hour until she escaped. Tonight, the store was nearly empty. She didn't get how an 80s boutique stayed in business, but hey, it was Los Angeles. The appeal of the clothing was lost on her, but she didn't have to like it, just sell it.

The Twisted Sister video on the flat screens gave way to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and Cass winced. It was the third time since her shift started that she'd heard that song. She might need to look for a new job. Again.

Immediately, she rejected the idea. She'd have to live with the music. She could already claim a dozen former positions and she needed to remain somewhere longer than a few months or weeks.

The only job she'd managed to stay with for more than a year was the one she'd held right out of high school—vampire hunter. Her lips curved as she imagined the reaction if she added it to her résumé, but the amusement faded quickly. Right, like she could ever admit to that.

Cass looked around, but Genevieve, her coworker, was helping their lone customer. It was going to be a long half hour.

She bent over, tugged her black capri pants below her knees and pulled up the slouch socks…which promptly fell back down. Cass huffed out an impatient breath. Did she really have to dress like it was 1985?

Before she could work up a good mad, the hair on the nape of her neck stood on end. She jerked upright, but it took another moment for her to feel it. The presence.

He was back. This was the first time, though, that he'd shown up while she was working. She'd never believed in ghosts. Really. But the last four days had changed her mind.

Before she could decide how to handle his unexpected arrival, he trailed a finger over her bare shoulder where her oversized red sweatshirt fell to expose the strap of the tank top she had on under it. A shiver went through her that had nothing to do with fear.

Why did she have to like his caresses?

And how lame was it that she got heated up by a ghost anyway? When he'd first made his existence known, she'd been disconcerted. That had changed to rattled—he shouldn't be able to arouse her, damn it. Now, she could mostly take him in stride. At least until he touched her and made her cells short circuit.

Stepping away, she turned her back on him and fussed with the T-shirts on the rack she faced. Cass felt his heat as he moved behind her and then he kissed her nape. Her nipples tightened and she almost melted as his lips moved along her skin.

She clasped the metal bar, the hangers biting into her palms, and closed her eyes to savor every tingle. The man knew how to use his mouth.

Blood roared in her ears, and while she didn't exactly forget she was at the store, the knowledge didn't stop her from enjoying this. His warmth surrounded her and she wished she could lean back into his body. Okay, she wished he had a body.

He kissed his way over to where her neck met her shoulder, licked farther forward and then nipped at her pulse point. Cass gasped and her knees buckled.

"Are you okay?" Genevieve called.

"Fine." Cass's voice came out thick and she could feel her face burning. She sidled away from him, and trying to appear nonchalant, headed for the registers.

She was an idiot. Not only was she at work, but he was also a phantom, a wraith. How pathetic was she?

Her sort-of-imaginary boyfriend followed on her heels and she was aware of him with every step she took. Awesome, now he didn't even need to touch her to get her warm. "Back off," she warned, keeping her voice soft.

The gap between them widened a few steps, and perversely, Cass felt immediate disappointment. She had to start dating again. This was her body's way of telling her that it wasn't normal for a twenty-one-year-old woman to live like a nun. But the idea of her ghost tagging along while she was out with some other guy... Well, talk about weird.

When she was behind the counter, the presence safely on the other side, she looked around. Genevieve was over by the dressing rooms talking with the customer and Cass turned her back to them. "Listen," she whispered, "you have to go away." Inspiration struck. "Go to the light. That's what you should do, okay?"

He didn't leave and she sighed. How long would he stick around? It wasn't like a ghost had any reason to haunt her, so eventually he'd drift out of her life.

A memory of vivid blue eyes staring up at her made Cass flinch. Vampires didn't become ghosts. Did they?

 

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