Yes, that's right: it's new release time. And yes, I realize this isn't a Harper book, or a new rom com. It's something infinitely weirder than that. But hang in there with me, folks. If you like Harper, you'll love Lucy, a woman who just happens to fall for a reanimated dead guy at a monster speed dating event. You can preorder right HERE and it'll show up on your Kindle like magic on 11/18. Or, if you're a little unsure about the concept, here's a sneak peek:
Monster Match sample:
The Chupacabra and the Chimera thought she was un-marriable.
Lucy West let that fact sink in for a moment.
The real irony here was that she didn’t even want to get married. She was only here because she’d had a weak moment personally, and she’d always wanted to see the old Spellman mansion close-up. A Monster Match speed dating event seemed like a great idea at the time.
And there was free food and drinks. It was a win-win.
So, the fact that a blood drinker and a lion/goat/snake person didn’t want to marry her shouldn’t bother her. It kinda did, though.
Maybe it was because she’d just dumped Jonathan and her emotions were still a little raw. While she was calling him a cheating bastard and grabbing everything she could carry to walk out on him, he was telling her she wouldn’t ever find another man who was willing to tolerate her.
Jonathan hadn’t ever been right about much. But the idea that he might’ve been right about that, of all things, really chapped her ass.
It hurt her pride, too, damn it. Breaking up with her live-in boyfriend (when his name was the only one on the lease) in the same week she was laid off from her job didn’t help her foster a sunny can-do attitude about, well, anything. She was homeless, jobless, thirty bucks away from sleeping in her car, and now she couldn’t even convince monsters who were desperately seeking human brides that she was a viable option.
If that wasn’t the cherry on this shit sundae of a week, she didn’t know what was.
Finding the flyer for the Monster Match had felt serendipitous at the time. The wind-swept thing had smacked her in the face when she was walking out on Jonathan.
Since the male monster population in the United States outnumbered the female monster population ten to one, many marriage-minded monsters set out specifically looking for human brides. That’s why matchmaker Truvy Trudeau’s monster speed dating events here in Sanity Falls were always such a huge success.
It hadn’t escaped Lucy’s attention that a rich, monster sugar daddy would solve many—if not all—of her current problems. Sure, her inner feminist prickled a little at the notion. Not enough that she didn’t attend the event, obviously, because here she was in her one fancy dress (a classy, knee-length, black, vintage Chanel she’d picked up at a consignment shop for her uncle Morty’s funeral five years ago), entirely unsensible (and uncomfortable) stilettos, and her last pair of clean underwear.
Still, the idea that a rich man could solve all her problems bothered her enough that her conversations with the prospective monster husbands were awkward at best, deeply embarrassing at worst.
Hopefully, the Orc she’d had her last speed date with would forget the story she told him about the time she’d gone to middle school wearing the same jeans two days in a row, and the previous day’s underwear fell out of her pant leg on the bus in front of Jimmy Jorgenson, the love of her young life.
She sighed. Her relationship with Jimmy hadn’t survived. Of course, it hadn’t been any great loss since the relationship had existed only in her head.
That wasn’t the point, though. The point was that when she was nervous, she was prone to bouts of verbal diarrhea nothing short of death could stop.
Her nerves had nothing to do with being anti-monster, either. She totally wasn’t. She was pretty open-minded. Tails and tentacles and horns didn’t bother her. But marriage…that was way scarier than any monster she’d ever seen. Except for maybe that vampire with the combover in the orange leisure suit she’d passed on the way to the bathroom. She shuddered.
So, that’s why she was currently hiding in a dark alcove, listening to all the humans and monsters mingling, laughing, drinking, and enjoying themselves. It would’ve been fun if she hadn’t overheard them talking about her.
Lucy frowned. Maybe she’d just rescue a bunch of dogs, cats, and feral goats and give up on dating—humans and monsters—forever. Her Aunt Fanny had done just that, and she always seemed happy. The rest of the family felt sorry for her, but honestly, she was Lucy’s hero.
Well, at least the Spellman mansion isn’t a letdown, she thought. It was every bit as majestic as it looked from the outside.
The mansion was a Victorian gothic revival home on steroids. It was huge, dramatic, and unspeakably elegant. She was almost afraid to touch anything for fear of messing the place up with her grubby, unworthy paws.
Lucy had only seen three rooms so far—one being the most beautiful, ornately-decorated powder room in existence, the other being a parlor designed for receiving guests, and the third a ballroom where the speed dating event was held. But from her perspective, it was a decadent collection of satin drama drapes, dark, rich wood panels and floors, antique tapestries, wrought-iron chandeliers, thick crown molding, vaulted ceilings, and jewel-toned, patterned wallpaper.
In other words, it was Lucy’s dream home. Teenaged Goth Lucy would’ve killed to live here.
And if someone didn’t stop her, she couldn’t promise she wouldn’t soon be sliding down the giant curved railing on the grand staircase that spiraled from the corner of the ballroom up to the mansion’s second and third floors. How could anyone who lived with that staircase not slide down it every morning?
“Are you hiding from someone—or some thing –in particular?”
Lucy startled at the deep voice behind her in the alcove she’d thought empty.
The owner of said voice was leaning negligently against the wall, most of him cast in shadows.
All she could see were a pair of long, trouser-clad legs, one crossed over the other at the ankles. Human-looking legs, she thought. Which meant he was probably one of the waiters or bartenders.
She raised a brow at him. Well, in his direction, at least. “I could ask you the same.”
He chuckled. It was an intensely pleasing sound that vibrated along her nerve endings, making her wonder if she’d had too much champagne and too few shrimp puffs. “I would say I’m hiding from…a bit of both,” he admitted.
He had a really great voice. Cool accent, too. Croatian, if she hadn’t missed her guess. And she was fairly sure she hadn’t because she’d always loved the Croatian actor who took over when George Clooney left ER, and this guy sounded exactly like that actor.
Note to self: find out where I can stream ER again. Time for a rewatch, methinks.
She wondered idly if she could convince this guy to narrate audiobooks for her. Hearing some of her favorite romance novels read in that voice would be orgasmic.
But then she remembered it was her turn to talk, and hey, if he could be honest, she supposed she could do the same. “I’m eavesdropping,” she admitted.
“Really?” he asked, sounding interested instead of disappointed by her bad manners, which made her like him even more. “Heard anything interesting?”
Her shoulders slumped a little. “Well, apparently I have a great rack and a decent face, but my personality is shit.”
A sound emanated from his chest that could only be described as a growl. It should’ve scared her.
“Who said that about you?”
He sounded outraged on her behalf and it was nice. She couldn’t remember a time when someone championed her. “It’s OK. I’m a lot to take. I get that.”
He grumbled again. Clearly it wasn’t OK with him. And that was most likely why she felt comfortable telling this man—this stranger—her secret.
“I’m glad they don’t like me,” she said quietly.
She felt lighter the moment the words were out of her mouth. Unburdened.
There was a long pause on his end that made her heart beat a bit faster, but she heard no judgment in his voice when he eventually asked, “Why would you be glad that someone doesn’t like you?”
“I don’t really want to marry any of them. I just got out of a relationship with a guy who I barely even tolerated most days. I think I was only with him because it was easier than being alone, you know?”
“I do know,” he murmured.
Here came the dark part that didn’t paint her in a very flattering light. “I saw the flyer for this event and thought, for just a split second, that marrying a monster would be an easy solution to all my problems. But it turns out I can’t do it. I can’t use someone like that. For that split second, though…I thought I could. I just wanted things to be—I don’t know--easier.” She blinked back the stupid tears that were bubbling up behind her eyelids. “Look, I’m strong and smart and resourceful, so I’ll figure all this out. But it was nice to imagine, if only for a little while, that someone else could just swoop in like a knight on a white horse and rescue me from my problems.”
And she felt like such a weak-ass feminist for even thinking all that crap, let alone saying it to a stranger. For shit’s sake, what was wrong with her tonight? Why was she spilling her guts to a stranger in a dark alcove?
He remained quiet for so long she thought maybe she’d scared him off for good before he said, “I admire that.”
She snorted. “What? My lack of options and grayish morals?”
“Your unwillingness to use someone to get what you want and need.”
Lucy frowned thoughtfully. “That’s, like, the lowest bar for humanity ever.”
There was that dead-sexy chuckle again. “Indeed. And yet I spoke with so many people tonight—human and monster—who have no problem using someone to get what they want.”
She thought about all the women she’d talked to tonight who seemed willing to do or say anything to get the rich husbands they wanted. And all the monsters who were willing to be used in that way for their own reasons. It was kind of awful now that she really thought about it.
“What would you do if you had a nice place to live and plenty of money?” he asked.
“You mean like if I hit the lottery?”
Oh, she liked this game. Lucy used to dream of what she’d do if money wasn’t an issue. “It’ll sound weird.”
“Try me,” he said dryly.
Well, at this point, she imagined she’d already let him see the worst in her. Why hold back now? “I know most people say they’d like to travel the world. And maybe I would one day. But if I had money, I’d stay home. I’d make my home as comfortable as possible without being too extravagant. I’m not saying I’d hoard my wealth, because I’d definitely set up some big charity donations. But all I’d really want is to get a dog and build a big-ass library—you know, the kind where the shelves go floor-to-ceiling and you have rolling ladders to reach everything? Hell, I might even write my own book one day. I’d just…live a quiet life, not answering to anyone. I’d be an eccentric weirdo hermit, I guess.”
She thought her last statement would at least get her a chuckle, but it didn’t. “You’d do all that alone?” he asked.
Lucy bit her lip. “Ideally, I’d have someone who just wanted to be alone with me. If that makes sense. Two people who just love to be alone together sounds like the perfect relationship to me.”
“It does indeed.”
That’s when he stepped out of the shadows, and…whoa, she was not in any way ready for the sight that greeted her...
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