Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blind Date After Dark: Mr. Right by Lara Santiago

Good morning!
My latest short book, Mr. Right, will be released later on today. It's available for pre-order at the BookStrand website. Yea!

Mr. Right is the first story in a series I call Blind Date After
Dark. And it takes place at a Halloween party. A little spooky and a lot sexy, Mr. Right is here just in time to be a Halloween treat. ;)

Following is a blurb and an excerpt.
I hope you enjoy my foray into the intriguing world of blind dates.

Blind Date After Dark 1
Mr. Right

Lonely Melisa agrees to meet a blind date at a Halloween party.

An unexpectedly delicious, masked vampire greets her at the door. Once into the party, David whisks her upstairs after she trips and tends to her skinned knee.

Has she finally met Mr. Right?

David hasn't made time for the "right" kind of woman in his life until an unwanted blind date falls into his arms on All Hallows Eve.

Is she the one he's been waiting for to share his life?

Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Length: 12,000 words

"Have you ever been on a blind date? Chicken that I am, I never once chanced dating anyone unfamiliar who was “chosen for me” by friends or family. Therefore, I now explore the concept of blind dates and their infinite possibilities in my writing. I hope you all enjoy my very vivid imagination in the Blind Date After Dark series." ~ Lara ~


Melisa Berrand brushed imaginary lint off of her costume, took a breath for courage, but paused before pressing the doorbell. The spooky party house, decorated elaborately for Halloween, awaited her. She wasn’t trick or treating tonight, unless of course trolling for a man counted.

A shiver of apprehension raced down her spine as she faced the ornately carved gothic door. Was someone watching her? Was there some spook or ghoul also attending the party tonight hot on her trail?

She glanced over one shoulder at the dark sidewalk behind her. The dimmed streetlight didn’t even cast enough of a glow to reach the road below.

She patted a hand over her loose curls. Nothing was out of place, except the hair bristling on the back of her neck. The well-manicured yard looked empty. She pushed out a long breath. Get a grip. No one is even out there, let alone paying any attention to you.

Glancing down at her medieval wench costume, she wondered if her attire said, “Sexy party outfit,” or “Desperate single female on the make.” Did she really need a date that badly? Perhaps not a date, but she wanted a man in her life, even if only temporarily.

The mere suggestion of going home alone to hand out candy to the few kids in her apartment building made the decision for her. Blind date nerves trumped loneliness every time.

She was sick of being solo during holidays. Did Halloween even count as a holiday? It didn’t matter. Thanksgiving, followed closely by Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day loomed closer and if she didn’t find a steady date soon, Melisa fearfully imagined she was headed for permanent spinsterhood.

Lonely libido kicking her in the core, she resolved to make tonight’s blind date work, no matter what it took. Thinking back to the past couple of abhorrent men she’d gone out with, she hoped tonight’s blind date was at least tolerable in the short term.

She sighed and rang the doorbell. The eerie creaking sound registered seconds before the huge door opened all by itself.

A self opening door? Really?

Head tilted to one side, she leaned forward to peek into the entryway. The lemon scent of well-conditioned hard wood and the waxy smell of burning candles greeted her. The sliver of space she could see was empty.

The door continued to open slowly. A sinister laugh pealed when it reached halfway. Another riotous tingle swept down her spine. Not for the first time, Melisa wondered if meeting a complete stranger at a Halloween party was the best idea.

An acquaintance, or rather Bill, the boyfriend of the new girl in the office, had set up this auspicious blind date. He insisted that the “vampire” she would meet tonight would change her life.

Melisa wasn’t looking for a life change so much as a steady boyfriend to keep from sitting home alone during the coming aforementioned romantic holidays. Although, if he were a vampire, she would miss out on so many cool daytime activities.

Given the beastly behavior of her last boyfriend, foregoing the daylight seemed a small price to pay if this guy would simply not be a bastard. Chiding herself for even the momentary belief in vampires, Melisa gathered her strength. There was no such thing as blood-sucking dead people roaming the earth.

“Enter if you dare!” the sinister voice from within the house bellowed. The entry challenge was followed by maniacal laughter.

Taking a deep breath for courage, she lifted her long wench skirt and stepped across the threshold. A tall man in a mask and a long black cape appeared out of nowhere, startling her. Melisa promptly tripped over her feet. Arms flailing, she landed hard against the man’s body grabbing onto his outstretched arms to keep from falling to the floor.

The caped man slid his hands beneath her arms, clutched her torso gently and steadied her on her feet. The movement brought her face first into his chest. Cheek resting against a firm unmovable body, Melisa looked up and found she embraced a fabulously luscious man.

Her palms slid from his muscular biceps to his solid forearms. His hands remained firmly attached to her torso, which was not a hardship. Having a man’s hands gracing her body after so long without intimate contact made her long for more touching.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She sucked in a breath to answer and with it came his delectable male scent. Wrapped in his strong arms, she inhaled another lungful of delicious man before responding.

“I’m fine. Thanks for catching me.”

“No problem. Sorry you tripped. The wires for the sound effects run under the step. I told my bone-headed friends not to put them there.”

“It’s all right. I don’t think it was the wires. My serving wench shoes are hard to walk in. I’m not sure why Dutch clogs belong with medieval serving wench’s attire, but they came with the costume.”

Melisa took a reluctant half step away from him without releasing his arms and lifted her foot to show him her clog. He didn’t let her go, either. As he glanced at her foot, she snagged a better look at the man holding her.

Dark, glossy hair framed a tanned, square-jawed face beneath the black mask hiding everything from eyebrows to cheekbones. A lock of straight, dark hair graced his forehead and rested above one eyebrow. His eyes, currently focused on her foot, were a sharp vivid blue and she decided he was incredibly easy to look at even with the mask. In fact, he was gorgeous. He lifted his gaze and studied her face intently with his vibrant sapphire eyes. When he grinned, she saw fangs.

Was this man her date? Oh, please.

“If you’re Count Dracula and looking for a blind date, I’m it.”

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