Title: Fairy in the Flesh
Author: Katalina Leon
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Length: 121 pgs
Sub-Genre: Erotic, romance, paranormal
Maya Rousseau’s fantasy vacation in Avignon France heats up when an eccentric enchantress tricks her into drinking mojo-laced absinthe.
An unexpected encounter with the green fairy causes Maya’s reality to have a serious melt down. She travels back in time and wakes up naked in the bed of her favorite bad boy Bohemian artist, the tall, dark and mysterious André Bosco. There’s nothing wrong with that except it’s 1903.
For André it’s love at first sight. He begs Maya to become his cherished model, muse and lover. The chemistry and shared passion between them is overwhelming. André’s a generous-hearted dream man but there’s a catch. Every hour they spend together bonds them tighter and time is running out. The same powers that flung Maya back to 1903 are preparing to snatch her back.
With a hundred and ten years separating these soul-bound lovers it’s uncertain if they can find a happy ending without the help of a little magic and La Fée Verte.
Note: Story contains super hot sex with an unattainable man, enchanted hallucinatory beverages, mischievous time-twisters and green fairies.
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Maya opened her eyes to a sunny, cluttered room that carried the distinct scents of male musk, linseed oil and turpentine. A warm breeze blew through an open window. She rolled onto her side, realizing she was lying on a rumpled bed—naked.
She gasped in shock, clutched the well-worn linen sheets close and darted a furtive glance around the room, wondering where the hell she was.
An ornate, painted Oriental screen blocked her view of all but the bed, which was surrounded by stacks of books, puddled candle stubs and bits of interesting things like iridescent peacock feathers, a scrimshaw pipe and a tortoiseshell comb.
“Miss, are you all right back there?” a deep male said with caution. “You’ve been lying down a long time. The morning light is nearly gone. I’d like to get some work accomplished. Will you be able to model today or not?”
She recognized the voice. It was the same voice that had coaxed her upstairs. It was André Bosco. She knew he spoke French but there was none of her usual struggle to comprehend and translate what was said. It was as if French were her first and only tongue. His words flowed with ease through her mind.
She leaped to her feet, wrapped the sheet around her and peeked over the screen. In the corner, a man who looked exactly like the sketch of André Bosco sat near an open window, furiously shoveling oil pigments from tiny jars with a blunt knife and daubing them onto a glass palette.
Her mouth gaped wide.
Bosco glanced toward her. The sunlight lit his eyes a brilliant shade of golden- green. He grinned. “At least you’re standing—that’s a good sign.” He returned his attention to the palette. “For a while I was convinced I’d wasted my money on you.”
“What?” she gasped.
“I paid you in the square. I don’t usually work with models. They’re a luxury I can seldom afford. You inspired me to try something different and insisted I give you a day’s pay upfront before coming here. I admired the unusual coppery glint of your hair so I willingly paid. I prepared a canvas, got my hopes up and then you simply fell down and passed out.”
“No I didn’t.” Maya dabbed her forehead with her palm, exploring for signs of injury. This had to be a delirious hallucination. A small amount of absinthe couldn’t possibly provoke an effect this strong. Her heartbeat was steady. The room felt solid and Bosco certainly felt real. What the hell was going on?
She peered out the window. A horse and buggy clattered past on the street below. The horse snorted. “The streets are full of buggies and carts—where are the cars?”
“The what?” Bosco looked puzzled.
“The cars, catering trucks, the hip-hop dancers grinding on the pavement with their boom-boxes. The streets were full of television crews, parked vans and people taking pictures with their cell phones at the summer arts festival. I could barely move down the street. Where is everyone?”
“What in God’s name is a hip-hop boom-box? I can’t make sense of such garbled nonsense.” Bosco stared at the colorful cone-shaped piles of paint heaped on his palette with a look of regret. “I’ve wasted my paint today, haven’t I?”
He appeared to be stewing in thought. The steep angle of Bosco’s dark brows lifted and grew stormier by the second. He suddenly bolted forward, snatched a scant handful of clothing from a tabletop and pressed the clothes into her arms. “This is why I never paint women from the square. I should have known better. You’re drunk, aren’t you? I won’t work with a model who passes out cold or talks nonsense all day. There’s no point. I thought you were something special but apparently you’re not. Please get dressed and leave. You can keep the money—just go.”
He looked at her with genuine hurt simmering in his eyes. “I wanted to paint you. I had several canvases already planned in my mind. This is a crushing disappointment.”
“I’m not drunk. I promise you. I was just...” How could she possibly talk herself out of this one? Her idol was cross with her and it stung. If this was her hallucination why couldn’t it be a happy one? This gorgeous man was looking at her with reservations, as if she were a drunken idiot. It was not exactly the stuff of fantasy. She felt her lip tremble. “Why are you so angry?”
“I have an important salon showing next week. I’m under a lot of pressure. I don’t have enough completed canvases and I can’t afford to waste time.” Bosco raked his fingers through his wavy mane of coffee-black hair. “I hoped for your cooperation. Instead you fell down and passed out behind the screen. When you awoke I couldn’t make sense of a single thing you said. I have to assume you’re drunk. This is quite unprofessional. You have modeled before, haven’t you?”
She shook her head. “No.”
“Why were you standing in models’ square? You agreed to come here. My paints are laid out, the light is perfect and I find your type of beauty inspiring.” He paced across the room in agitation. “What a shame to squander it all. I won’t detain you against your will. If you’re not prepared to work, please go!”
She had fantasized countless times about what André Bosco might be like but the man towering in front of her was much more formidable in the flesh. It surprised her that for a man of his size he possessed a sleek, feline quality when he moved. He did appear peeved, but she sensed it was because he genuinely wanted to paint her portrait. That alone was a heady thought. “Forgive me. I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do. If you’ll give me a second chance, I’d be honored to model for you.”
“Truly?” Bosco stopped pacing and studied her face. “Promise me you are not drunk. I refuse to paint a drunken woman.”
“I’m not drunk.”
“Are you sure? You were acting like a drunk a short time ago. I smelled a touch of anise on your breath right before you passed out behind the screen. Did you conceal a flask of absinthe in your boot?”
“No, I didn’t. I felt faint and had a moment of confusion. I assure you I’m sober and ready to work.”
“I’m sorry I snapped at you.” Bosco’s tone softened. “That was unkind. Perhaps we can start fresh?”
He reached for her hand and stroked her palm with the pad of his thumb. “You’re shaking. Is it simply nerves or something else? When did you last eat? Are you hungry—is that why you fainted?” He motioned to a side table set with a single loaf of bread and a round of cheese. “It’s not much but I’m happy to share. You don’t have to go without.”
She gazed into Bosco’s warm green eyes and thought of a slow-flowing river in summer. “A cup of water would be enough.”
He glanced around. “I have only one cup and I’ve been drinking wine from it.”
“I don’t mind.”
He picked up a ewer, poured water into a cup and swished it around with vigor before dashing the spent water out the open window.
A man passing below the window shouted, “Watch what you’re doing! I’m soaked. Rude souls be damned!”
“Walk under the awning you grouchy old goat!” Bosco shouted out the window and laughed. “You’re lucky I wasn’t pissing!” He looked at her and shrugged with a broad smile on face. “Sometimes it happens.”
Maya clutched the sheet closer, feeling completely disoriented. Was she really standing in front of the André Bosco or was this just a fevered hallucination? It didn’t feel dreamlike. André was far from perfect and there were too many gritty details, such as stains on the carpet, or a swath of beard stubble Bosco had missed while shaving, for this to be an idealized fantasy. Was it possible she’d been drawn into some sort of time vortex?
“When is it?” she said cautiously.
“That’s an odd question to ask. It’s late morning.” The smile faded from Bosco’s face. He poured water into the cup and handed it to her. “Maybe you should eat something.”
“I meant what year is it?”
“Oh dear.” The broad arch of Bosco’s elegant lips slipped downward. “You offered me false hope. For a moment I thought I might get at least one decent canvas from you and then you snatched it away by talking like a madwoman again. Today is July 16th 1903. Is there somewhere else you need to be?”
She shook her head.
“Now that we are clear about what year it is, before we begin...” André set a large canvas on an easel and secured it with a clamp. “Do you have any other questions?”
“I have a question. Your dialect is unfamiliar. Where are you from?”
“Louisiana, America?” His brows shot skyward. “Why are you so far from home? Do you have family in Avignon?”
“No, I just wanted to come here.”
André looked scandalized. “Alone?”
She took a sip of water and set the cup on a side table. “Yes.”
“I came to see the new art being made here.”
He laughed. “You are mad, but you’re very pretty. I can’t wait to paint you. What’s your name?”
“Maya.” Bosco’s eyes fanned at the edges as he smiled. “It’s a good name and it suits you. My name is André.” He pointed to a once lovely but now sun-faded Persian carpet in the center of the floor. “Maya, would you stop clutching that sheet against you and stretch out on that patch of sunlight on the carpet?”
( Maya and André begin a very eventful day that will bring them together as lovers and change theirs lives completely.)
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About the Author:
I’m an artist, an author, mother and wife. I write for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id Publishing and a couple new publishers to be announced soon. I try to bring a touch of the mystical and a big sense of adventure to everything I write because I believe there’s a bold, kick-ass heroine inside all of us who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.
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