Funny how getting something good in your email can brighten up a dreary day. This morning I received the cover art for my story, The Duende and the Muse, to be released by The Wild Rose Press.
Another outstanding cover art work by Nicola Martinez! Thanks so much, Nicola!
This story's one of my favorites, since it's about a frustrated writer. But the main characters are Melinda the Muse, who's also frustrated with the writer, and Devon, a duende, or demon muse.
Here is the story blurb:
Melinda the Muse's student isn't writing much these days. When Devon the duende shows up, is he there to steal her student, or her heart?
And here is a sneak preview:
Melinda is startled when she notices a dark figure leaning against a booth across the aisle. He stands out like a charcoal etching against the background of clouds – harsh outlines, jagged features. Menacing yet compelling. He smiles, and lightning flashes from his dazzling white teeth, zinging through her.
She’s never seen a muse like him, but he must be one – otherwise he wouldn’t be here. He wouldn’t be stepping toward her with the intensity of a jaguar, a laserlight in his eye, teeth bared in a hungry smile.
This guy looks like a Vanity Fair ad – layered hair mussed just so, sandals with a jacket and jeans that fit really well. She runs her hand across her belly to quell the tiny pinpricks. She’s been so busy with work lately, she hasn’t met anyone new.
“Who’s that?” Her wings can’t beat fast enough to cool the heat rising from deep inside her.
Calliope turns to Euterpe. “Oh my. How did he get in here?”
Euterpe squints in his direction, then furrows her brow. “A duende. They’ll let anyone in these days.”
That explains it. Melinda’s heard of them -- said to be a combination of charm, magic, inspiration, fire, magnetism – and demon. Muses were warned at an early age not to take up with duendes. Tales of muse-duende liaisons were fraught with disaster and downfall – for the muse. Duendes managed to carry on unscathed, though their methods of inspiration could be deadly for their students.
The thought vanishes quicker than a flicker of sunlight on water as he moves toward her and says hello in a voice whose timbre resounds within her.
“Hi.” She stares, entranced by his dark beauty.
His smile envelops her. “I’m Devon.”
She extends her hand. “I’m Melinda. So nice to meet you.” Fire sparks in her fingers as he takes her hand in his, then leans to kiss it.
A tingling crawls up her arms and neck and into her head, where it scrambles her thoughts.
His gaze lingers on her lips, and they quiver open like a rosebud blooming in sunlight.
His voice is like a hot wind in the desert. “The pleasure’s all mine.”
Oh, she doubts it. “Are you here for the entire weekend?”
His glittering black eyes wander across her body, sending a shiver of molten heat to her core.
Oh, she’s in trouble. Deep trouble.
A smile flickers on his lips. “Now I wish I were. I have other business, unfortunately.”
Her voice wilts like a thirsty flower. “I’m sorry to hear that.” She clears her throat. “You know, because the sessions look so enticing this year.”
“Yes, enticing.” He leans closer, close enough to kiss her. The center of his eyes swirl like a gathering storm.
“Melinda,” Euterpe croaks. “The first session is beginning. You should get a good seat.”
Melinda’s more stern than she intends. “I’ll be right there.”
Devon backs away, one bare foot at a time. “Enjoy MuseFest. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Yes, yes, please, Zeus.
“Maybe.” She follows Calliope and Euterpe to the tented area where signs blink the schedule and announcements.
He’s still watching her. She can tell by the heat traveling up her thighs.
When it fades, she glances back. He’s gone.
The cloud feels so much emptier, though muses teem through the air.