In celebration of Hard as Stone taking second place for Best Erotica Novel of 2012 in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll — and to thank all of you for helping put it there! — I promised I’d give you a look at Deep Waters, Soulshares #3. If you haven’t been following me on Facebook (and why not, for heaven’s sake?), I’ve posted excerpts there from each chapter of Gale Force, Soulshares #2, which is in my editor’s loving hands even as we speak. That book introduced Josh LaFontaine, the owner of Raging Art-On, the tattoo parlor over Purgatory, and Conall Dary, the most powerful Fae mage since the Sundering. In Deep Waters, we meet Garrett Templar, an in-demand pole dancer at Purgatory, and Lochlann Doran, the first Fae to make the crossing from the Realm to the human world, over 2,300 years ago. Here’s a taste of Chapter Five:

He had just spotted the recessed doorway that would take him up to his own apartment, directly over Luigi’s Italian Ristorante with the missing “n” where a rock or a bullet had taken out the neon tubing two or three years ago, when he first heard the footsteps behind him. Not quite running, but coming up fast.

            Shit. His grip tightened on the strap of his bag, ready to swing it — or ditch it, if it looked like that would help him get away. And for one sick, sweaty, gut-wrenching moment, he was ten years old again, hearing the kids closing in behind him, knowing that there was no way in hell he was going to get away without another split lip, ruined shirt, blackened eye. Almost hearing his mother’s voice. Garrett Lee Templar, I swear, you find more trouble than any ten other boys ever dreamed of. Do you think I can just make new clothes appear out of thin air?

“Garrett?”

He recognized that voice from somewhere. Slowly, he turned. And stared up into eyes that gleamed blue even in the crappy light from the streetlight on the corner.

“Lochlann?” He hadn’t had to rent his ass out for a long time now, but the idea of a john following him home from the club still made his skin crawl. Yet there was something about those eyes, something different.

No. Fuck that shit. You get hurt the worst when you let yourself hope.

“Yes.” The guy looked almost as uncomfortable as Garrett felt, shifting from one foot to the other, hands plunged deep into the pockets of his heavy wool coat. “Look, I’m not stalking you, and I don’t mean to frighten you. I just wanted to see how you’re doing. And maybe talk to you for a few minutes.”

The john’s smile flashed briefly, transforming the beard-shadowed face above him into unexpected, breathtaking beauty. For a second, all Garrett could do was stare and hope his mouth wasn’t hanging open. Oh, Jesus. Ask me to do anything. Anything at all. Just smile when you do it.

Then the smile faded, and Garrett shook his head, trying to clear it. “I, uh, yeah. Sure.” He looked up, almost afraid to look in those eyes again. Way up. Guy had to be six-four at least, putting his five-nine at a decided disadvantage if things got rough. Here’s hoping they don’t. “You want to come in? It’s kind of cold out here.”

“Thanks, I’d like that.”

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