A Festivus Miracle, a Tempting Jo Prequel

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I sit at my desk, glaring at the door, waiting on my morning newspaper and daring someone to interrupt my foul mood. Why did the Boss have to choose that do-good fucker, Raphael, to interfere with my plans for the lovely Jolene? Why not Remiel? At least he has a sense of humor.

As expected, the timid knock sounds. I envision fire erupting from my mouth, as I command, “Enter.”

Jolene pokes her head through the door. “Uh, Mr. DeVille, sir, I, uh–” Her unintelligible speech is interrupted by an infuriated feline screech.

“Why is there a cat in my office?” I narrow my eyes at the squirming white beast in Jolene’s arms. The impertinent feline glares back and hisses.

“M-my cat, Atticus escaped, and I uh, have to take him home.”

Her eyes are wide and the pulse in her neck pounds. I eye the white fur on her black sweater with distaste. Jolene inches toward me trying to control the growling, hissing, fractious feline. She places my morning paper on my desk.

“Get that disgusting animal out of here,” I snap. I’ve never been a cat person.

Apparently, the feelings are mutual. For at that moment, the animal leaps from Jolene’s arms on to my desk and proceeds to hack up a fur ball the size of a golf ball on my pristine paper.

Jolene’s face pales and her hands shake as she picks up the puker, cooing at him as if he was the one just wronged. “I-I’m sorry, sir. I’ll clean it up, just let me take him home first.”

“You expect me to sit here with the stench of cat puke permeating my office while you take your cat home? I’m not cleaning this, you are. Now.” I roar.

“I’m sorry, he didn’t mean it, sir. I would’ve taken him home first but you insist on having your paper on your desk precisely at 8:01.” The smug cat appears to be grinning at me as he purrs in Jolene’s arms.

“Get out.” I keep my voice level, face impassive. I don’t want her to know how much pleasure I get watching her squirm.

She lifts that stubborn chin. “Make up your mind, sir. Clean the mess first or take Atticus home?”

I love her gumption, it’s part of her appeal. I fold the vomit-soaked paper and shove it in my garbage. “Take that animal home and then you and I are going to have a nice little chat.” I smile, but my displeasure colors my tone of voice. I turn my chair and in the reflection of the window, I see my assistant bob a smart-ass curtsy. I bite my lip to keep from laughing. She never fails to intrigue me. Her cat flicks his tail with feline disdain, as if to say fuck you.

***********

Good grief, of all days for this to happen. The day of the stupid office Christmas party. I’m both relieved my cat’s okay and furious with him for putting me in this predicament.

Atticus had shot out of my basement apartment as I was leaving for work this morning. No amount of coaxing had drawn him back to me. I’d been sitting at my desk folding Mr. DeVille’s paper and crying, thinking my beloved, mean old cat was gone for good. I heard him meowing and looked up to find him in a co-worker’s arms.

“Lose something?” He’d teased. I didn’t take the time to ask how he knew it was my cat.

Everything would have been fine if I’d just given my friend the key to my apartment and asked him to take my cat home. I need to learn to think! I unlock the door to my apartment and Atticus marches in as if he hasn’t just cost me my job. I run to the corner newspaper box, but of course, with my luck, the box is empty.

No! I stomp my foot and look around, wondering where I could find another paper. I see a business man at the bus stop scanning the last page of the paper. I approach him.

“Sir? If you’re done with your paper, may I buy it from you?”

He looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Which I probably have. Giving Mr. DeVille a used paper? I truly am going to be fired… I turn to walk back to the office, mentally packing my desk.

“Miss? You can have it, but I have to keep the coupons for my wife.”

I spin on my heels and shake his hand, thanking him profusely. Coupons aren’t a problem, Mr. DeVille makes me remove them, anyway. Maybe this will at least buy me some time before I’m fired. Folding the paper the way my finicky boss likes it; I scurry back to the office.

I knock, but there’s no answer. Cautiously, I open his door and peek in. He’s gone. The office smells of Clorox. I tiptoe in and place the paper on his desk. I glance at his notepad and giggle. He’s drawn a pretty good likeness of Atticus, even if it is mean-spirited.

atticus

I pick up the folded note with “Friday” written on it. Mr. DeVille isn’t listing things for today. It’s what he calls me because he doesn’t remember my name.

Reschedule my barber appointment. I’ve been called to an emergency board meeting. I expect the files for the upcoming merger on my desk when I return. Make sure all plans for tonight’s mandatory Christmas party are in place. No mishaps will be tolerated.

I smile. I’m not fired. It’s a Festivus Miracle! And I didn’t even have to hear the airing of his grievances!

© Nancee Cain 23 Dec 2016

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Forbidden love is hell…

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God’s gift to women–and she couldn’t be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms–and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman’s dead body…

Rafe, Jo’s best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he’s always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo’s caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo’s going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

AMAZON US http://amzn.to/2bGubal 

AMAZON UK http://amzn.to/2bmGwFF 

BARNES & NOBLE bit.ly/2c3Ytri

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TEMPTING JO, Cover Reveal!

TemptingJoCover

Forbidden love is hell…

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God’s gift to women–and she couldn’t be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms–and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman’s dead body…

Rafe, Jo’s best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he’s always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo’s caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo’s going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

*********************************************************************

EXCERPT:

“Honey, this is all about you, and I’m worried. This guy is out of your league.”

“I knew it. You don’t think I’m good enough for him!” She grabs several outfits and marches to the dressing room.

I run in after her, causing a pandemonium of outraged screeching. This must be how dogs feel with those high-pitched whistles. One woman smacks me with a hanger as I run past her.

“You’re wrong, Jo. Like I told you, I think you’re much too good for him.”

Jo turns and her mouth drops open. “Get out! You can’t be in here.”

I push her into one of the dressing rooms and bolt the door behind us. She holds the clothes to her chest.

“He doesn’t deserve you.”

She swallows. “Th-Thank you. But again, I can handle this.”

Someone pounds on the door. “Sir, you need to leave,” an authoritative female voice commands.

Madge said I needed to break the rules. I’m off to a good start. Might as well finish with a bang. I grab Jo and stare into her eyes. I want to kiss some sense into her. Not that I have much sense to impart at the moment. My thoughts scramble as I gaze at her tempting mouth.

“Rafe—”

The pounding on the door intensifies. “Sir, security is on the way!”

Finally, I dig deep and find enough will power to take a step back. Or maybe I just wimp out. At this point I have no idea of the right thing to do.

“You’re incongruous,” Jo whispers breathlessly.

“Incongruous?”

She nods. “You know, bad beyond correction.”

I chuckle. “I think you mean incorrigible.” Though I feel a little incongruous as well…

********************************************************************

Enter the GIVEAWAY!

Tempting Jo will be available 9/15/16. This beautiful cover was designed by Coreen Montagna. You can add it to your To Be Read List on Goodreads.

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Saving Evangeline Released TODAY! How about an excerpt?

SE FinalToday is the day! I woke up to find a friend had posted a picture of my book on her kindle. MY BOOK. My baby! Yep. I did an awkward little dance (think Elaine from Seinfeld, this girl hasn’t got any rhythm).

Here’s a tiny excerpt from Saving Evangeline.

Remi stops short and turns around. My body slams into his and of its own accord molds into it as if made to be there. He cups my face with his hands. “Just for tonight, let’s pretend I’m not a priest and you’re not crazy. We’re just two normal human beings having a good time. Just a man and a woman at a rip-off carnival, living in the moment.” Laced with forbidden promises, his voice seduces me. I grip his biceps so hard I’m sure I’ve left imprints of my nails.
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“But—”
“Don’t over-think this, Evangeline. Carpe diem. It’s the only way to live. We’re all on a fast track to death, born to die, so to speak…” He taps my nose with his index finger and smiles. “Some faster than others. Don’t rush it, just breathe and enjoy each precious moment. The good and the bad.” He leans in and whispers, “And this is definitely the good.”
I thought it only fitting to share a scene at the carnival. This journey to publishing has been a roller-coaster ride, but in the end, I’m amazed, breathless and ready to do it again!
XOXOXOX Nancee