Excerpt for Midnight Hour:
Max Grayson was ready to go home. Nothing bored him as much as schmoozing. He hated people who kissed up because of his name or the money he earned. The novelty of the tux had worn off four hours and fifteen minutes ago. He had done his job. He had bid a ridiculous amount of money on a couple of paintings in the silent auction because it was expected of him, not because he had an undying need to have another oil painting of the Rocky Mountains or a watercolor of the prairies during harvest. Sipping his bourbon, Max wandered around the hotel ballroom. When was it appropriate for the host to go home? He paused at the paintings on display and saw someone had outbid him on the prairie painting. Thank God. Now if someone would bid on the mountains he could go home deliriously happy.
An elegant, bare back caught his attention. He allowed himself a moment to admire delicate shoulders draped in midnight blue silk. The material formed a tempting gathering at the small of her back before cascading to the floor. There was something about a back, with all its smooth skin bared, that turned him into a slavering dog wanting to lick from bottom to top. Light brown hair was pulled up into some feminine twist that made a guy want to unravel it to see where the length reached. Head tilted slightly to the side, she eyed some modern monstrosity that was a lot of colors and slashes.
“You like that kind of shit?” he asked. His mother would be traumatized. One didn’t attend a charity function with Calgary’s elite society and call art ‘shit.’ Even if he owned the hotel. The woman glanced at him and a dark eyebrow arched upwards in regal acknowledgment.
“And if I was the artist?”
She had the heart-shaped face of a cheetah, all angles and planes. The tilt of her grey-blue eyes reminded him of a cat. Sleek and sensual. He wondered what it would take to talk her out of the blue gown. With a flick of his wrists the dress would be a puddle of silk on the floor. “Then I’d apologize by taking you out to dinner.”
Her tongue touched the left peak of her upper lip. “Does that line usually work?”
He tilted his hand from side to side. “What would work for you?”
She flicked a finger at the painting. “You could buy that for me.”
What? Really? Disbelief surged through his blood along with a healthy dose of lust. Max gave the painting another look. Primary colors swooped and coiled in a hideous rainbow tornado. Titled ‘Turbulence,’ Max wondered if it had been painted during a woman’s period and represented PMS, what with the red blob in the center of the storm. He was smart enough to keep that opinion to himself. “You like this? Really?”
“Hmm,” she purred as she traced the neckline that duplicated the back view of her gown, only higher up. His gaze followed her touch. Damn. “I do.”
“What do I get in return? ”
She leaned towards him, her lashes lowering over her stormy blue eyes. “My utter devotion. ” She winked and walked away. He glanced at the bid written on the paper and felt his lip curl. Someone was willing to spend five hundred bucks on this juvenile depiction of art? Exhaling sharply, Max wrote his name, upping the bid by a hundred and fifty dollars.
“Wow, that must have hurt.”
Rubbing his eyebrow with his finger, Max stared at the woman who had returned with a glass of wine. Damn it, he had missed her. He hadn’t wanted to. Nothing serious they had promised each other when they had started their mild flirtation months ago at his friend Jeff Tamber’s barbecue. Now Mattie was in his blood, haunting him when she was away and making him crave her when she was near. “You have no idea. Now, about your utter devotion bit. Your place or mine?”
Reviews for Midnight Hour:
Just Erotic Romance Reviews says: Midnight Hour is a delightful and intriguing short story that is sure to appeal to a lot of readers and makes a wonderful addition to the Zodiac series collection. Ms. Howard is a talent to watch out for. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on buying this great book. (4/5 stars)
Novelspot says: Jenna Howard has shown her writer’s winning potential with the suspenseful Midnight Hour. It is a story I will recommend to others and not forget for some time.
The Romance Studio says: Midnight Hour is an exciting mystery suspense with surprising twists. THE ZODIAC SERIES: SCORPIO is an enjoyable book with sexy love stories and just the right amount of mystery and suspense.
Fallen Angel Reviews says: Midnight Hour took a completely unexpected turn that involves a socially sensitive issue, which fit in with the overall story and enabled the author to give the reader a glimpse into Mattie’s psyche, how her past has made her the vulnerable, insecure assassin that she is. There are sex scenes in these tales, which are not glossed over but are described in relative detail, but contain nothing objectionable. I have enjoyed this anthology very much; at times I was completely gripped and on the edge of my seat.