If this is your first visit to ReganBlack.com you’ve chosen an excellent time to visit the online headquarters of my characters and adventures. For April only new subscribers to the Join the Adventure newsletter are automatically entered in the Spring Fling contest!
Newsletter subscribers get a monthly update from me with everything from upcoming events, new book previews, bonus content, and recipes.
If you like being a part of the adventure here, you can recommend a friend too and get a bonus entry for this April-only contest. Check out the prize package below and enjoy an excerpt of The Matchmaker’s Curse.
Well, first off there’s the lovely set of earrings with a matching locket bracelet – perfect to keep a picture of your special someone close by.
There’s also a box of American Classics tea – the only tea plantation in America is right here in Charleston! I’ve found some lovely Charleston postcards (maybe you’ll be inspired to add a visit to your summer plans) And no spring fling would be complete without some flowers to grow in your own garden, wherever it might be.
In honor of Lily’s ever-changing ‘tattoo’ in The Matchmaker’s Mark, I’m including some fun temporary tattoos as well! (here’s just one example)
And of course, we’ll tuck it all this (and a few more edible goodies) into a handy tote bag sporting the cover art from The Matchmaker’s Mark!
Best of luck to everyone!
As a special treat, here’s a taste from Chapter One of The Matchmaker’s Curse:
Shapeshifters are notorious tricksters. Obviously they can be deceptive in form, but beyond that, they are often cunning and particular and tend to twist a phrase to their advantage whenever possible. A matchmaker must be on guard at all times when working with a shapeshifter and unless under duress, all meetings should be held in neutral territory. The challenge is often knowing precisely where that territory is…
–notes from the Matchmaker’s Book
Grant Barclay peered out of his shelter, taking in the desolate view that was incongruently brightened by the current rain shower. As if that wasn’t odd enough, he felt an inexplicable sense of gratitude washing over him.
A few days ago he’d done something stupid and poorly planned. Something completely against his nature, but desperate times and all that. He wasn’t too surprised when his lame plan resulted in failure, but if someone had told him he’d one day be grateful for getting his ass handed to him by a couple of wood elves…
Well, he would’ve done more than just tell them to go straight to hell.
Now, here he was slumming in Hell Hole Swamp, feeling grateful. Ridiculous but true.
He couldn’t sufficiently ‘recuperate’ with room service in his hotel suite down in Charleston, South Carolina. While it sounded ideal, it was far from safe. For him, or the general population.
A werewolf who wanted to stay alive – and he reminded himself he needed to stay alive – couldn’t risk the urge to hunt an unsuspecting public. He felt the kick of instinct at the thought of a blooding spree, but that wasn’t his goal.
Having the authorities searching for a brutal attacker, or killer, should he not control his darker urges, wasn’t going to help his cause.
Hell Hole Swamp was his safety net. Far enough from humans, aside from the stray Park Ranger, and full of oddities that fueled rumors. Riding out the change during the full moon was best handled out here where no one would hear or see anything they wouldn’t be happy to pin on those rumors.
Once he regained control, he could return to the city and pick up where he left off: in search of the Matchmaker who’d put this damned inconvenient and supremely irritating mating mark on him.
* * *
Maeve King sighed over her coffee cup and picked at a flaky chocolate croissant. Neither the strong brew nor the delicate pastry diminished this new, general sense of discontent. Her office was roomier since the extra furniture had been moved out after the January interim session. But reclaiming the space only served to remind her that her best friend, Amy Campbell, had gone on to pursue a new career. One in which they wouldn’t be able to collaborate.
One in which Maeve too readily believed.
Practically overnight Amy had become the Matchmaker, a legendary figure in a hidden world most people happily labeled as imagination or fantasy.
Not Maeve. Proud of her Louisiana ancestry, she’d been raised on grand accounts of family legends and impossible deeds that were quite real. When she’d learned Amy was the descendent of a Scottish witch who had the ability to assist and affect matches between creatures of myth, well she’d heard stranger stories. Like Amy, her primary concern had been the fate of Camille, Amy’s aunt who’d apparently vacated the Matchmaker role unexpectedly.
She’d met Camille when the woman visited Amy during their college days. Maeve didn’t want to think she might never see Camille again and she definitely didn’t want to think about the dangers facing Amy. The idea that her best friend might simply disappear without a trace, like Camille had apparently done, bothered her terribly.
Maeve glanced up as the words accompanied preceded the rap of knuckles on her open office door.
“Please come in, Dr. Wright,” she said, hoping her smile looked friendly, if not enthusiastic.
“Ben,” he corrected. “Since we’re alone.” He strolled to her desk with a measured stride, and paused, pulling off his glasses in a move he surely practiced for maximum effect.
She’d once found it charming, but not anymore. They’d gone out a couple times, always with friends from their respective departments. Her feminine intuition told her he wanted to start something more exclusive, but since Amy’s visit, the idea had lost its appeal.
Unfortunately, they still had plans for a Valentine’s dinner this evening.
“Maeve, I must say I’m disappointed,” he said, leaning a hip on the edge of her desk.
She caught his teasing tone and found it a challenge to answer in kind, but she managed. “We certainly can’t let that continue. What’s the trouble?”
He tapped his glasses near her croissant. “You’re letting the best breakfast in town go to waste.”
She nudged it closer to him. “Help yourself.”
He winked and leaned forward, as if he expected her to pop a bite into his mouth. She smothered the reflexive uck as she tore off the end she’d been picking at and handed him the rest.
“Thanks,” he said with a small frown, before he indulged in a bite. “Don’t you have class today?”
“I gave it to my grad student. It’s a film they have to analyze for the language of romance.” Usually a presentation she enjoyed, this time she couldn’t get herself in the mood for flowery missives and seductive double entendres.
Dr. Wright – Ben – didn’t quite stifle his dismissive snort. Not that she expected him to. He wore the extensive degrees and ensuing authority of his psychiatry professor role with a great deal of pride and pomp.
Why had that never bothered her before? “Well, you know how those English majors are.”
He raised a brow, clearly another practiced expression. “I can only assume.”
Speaking of double entendres. Maeve decided on a hasty exit. “You know I should probably just peek in on the class. This particular assistant can be a bit controlling.” A lie, but Ben had no way of knowing the truth.
With his prep school manners, he came to his feet as she did, pocketing the glasses so his hand were free to reach for hers.
She dodged, gathering her computer bag, purse, and coffee cup, and avoided his touch with graceful excuses.
But the elegant Dr. Wright persevered, blocking the door with his shoulders and a charming smile. He really was a handsome man and on a purely analytical level she understood why so many of his female students crushed on him.
She’d felt a significant attraction herself until Amy’s visit. Now, thinking of him beyond their association as colleagues did nothing for her.
Just as she was about to tell him she couldn’t make it tonight, he mentioned the reservation.
“I’ll pick you up at seven?”
“Oh, that’s –”
“Thoughtful, polite, the right thing to do,” he finished for her.
Not how she’d planned to finish the statement, but his sincerity got to her. For the entirety of her dating life, Valentine’s Days had been full of romance from the light and friendly to the passionate. It wasn’t his fault she was in a mood.
“Seven sounds perfect, Ben. But why don’t I meet you there?”
“Not a chance.” He winked. “I want our destination to be a surprise.”
She should’ve known he’d go all out. Usually such an effort made her feel appreciated and suitably flattered. Usually she knew just how to handle this sort of situation to her advantage. This time the right words and gentle phrases weren’t coming to mind.
She nodded and let him brush his lips across her cheek before they left her office. He seemed reluctant to leave her. How odd. While she occasionally found his charming side overdone, he wasn’t often clingy.
Was it a full moon or something?