Dear Reader,

I’ve always loved the idea of other worlds, other places. I’m not talking about space and distant planets, I mean the worlds that lay just beyond what we can see. What if there were hundreds of alternate dimensions, some very much like ours, others wildly different, some ruled by magic and some not ruled at all—and all of them were just a breath away? What if portals could open between our world and theirs and we could step through? What would we find?

BEDEVILED is really a ‘what if’ kind of story. What if you were a destined Queen? What if the world you were destined to rule existed just outside our dimension? And what if your guide to that destiny was the most gorgeous man you have ever seen?

Maggie Donovan is in no way ready to be a queen, for heaven’s sake. She’s far too busy trying to make sense of her own world to worry about saving another one.  But Culhane, ancient Fae Warrior, has waited centuries for the one woman who could bring change to Otherworld. Now that he’s found her, he’s not going to let Maggie get away.

This is just the beginning for Maggie and her friends. While you’re enjoying BEDEVILED, I’ll be polishing up BEGUILED, the second book in the Fae Chronicles.  The Fae Warriors are about to find out that centuries of battle training has in no way prepared them to deal with human women.

Write to me at maureenc@maureenchild.com and visit my website at www.maureenchild.com

And Happy Reading!

Maureen



Excerpt from BEDEVILED

© Maureen Child


With a little 20/20 hindsight, Maggie Donovan never would have gone to see her ex-almost-fiancée that morning. Unfortunately, just like everybody else in the world, Maggie didn’t know something hideous was going to happen until she was in the middle of the freaking nightmare.

Dressed for work in her faded blue jeans, paint spattered tennis shoes and a tee shirt that read Do it in paint, Maggie’s plan had seemed simple enough. Take a box of Joe Ericson’s left behind junk—including ABBA CD’s for God’s sake—to his office, drop it off and put him out of her life for good.

He wasn’t a bad guy, really. But she had finally had enough. She just hadn’t been able to spend one more night watching his DVD collection of the original Star Trek TV show and discussing over and over again how Kirk was a much better captain of the Enterprise than Picard.

So anyway, her plan was simple, until she walked into Joe’s office and found him being eaten. Not in a sexual way, either.

“Holy shit!” Maggie staggered back, eyes wide and locked on the icky scene in front of her.

The naked female sitting astride Joe wasn’t human—the long tail whipping around in the air was a dead giveaway, not to mention that she was currently devouring Joe. Wearing only a huge, round gold and crystal pendant that glittered and sparkled with a weird inner light, the naked creature was so busy gulping her food, she didn’t even hear Maggie’s shriek.

Eyes bugging out of her head, Maggie dropped Joe’s box o’ crap and with some delusional idea of somehow saving her ex-honey, grabbed hold of the tote bag slung across her shoulder with both hands. Her purse was always heavy. But today it carried an extra punch what with the five new jars of Tempera paint she’d just picked up at the art supply store.

What the hell was happening? Was that really a tail? She’d heard of man-eating women, but she hadn’t really thought they actually ate the man!

The creature still hadn’t even glanced at her and Maggie knew she should be turning around and running for her life. After all, once the beast finished off Joe, what was to stop her from having Maggie for dessert? But how could she leave Joe to be gulped down like a Hostess Ding Dong? Sure, she’d broken up with him, but only because he was boring. That didn’t mean she thought he qualified as Creature Chow.

She supposed she should have been more scared than she was, but freaked out and furious won the day. Racing toward the desk and what little was left of Joe, Maggie swung her purse in a wide arc, smacking it into the creature’s head hard enough to interrupt her ‘meal’.

Instantly, the naked diner turned on her with a snarl that displayed rows and rows of what looked like very sharp teeth. Her dark red eyes burned and the pendant hanging between her high, perky breasts seemed to glow even brighter.

The creature swung one arm out at Maggie, knocking her ass over teakettle, toppling the single chair drawn up in front of what had been Joe’s desk to fall on the floor. She landed on her butt though, which sadly, had plenty of padding. Still clutching the purse that contained her life, Maggie jolted to her feet in time to see the naked whatever push away from Joe and head toward her.

It only took a very quick look to let Maggie know that there was no saving Joe. By this time, he was barely more than a stain on his faux leather desk chair. The nondescript office seemed to shrink around her as the creature smiled—which was somehow even more terrifying—and leaped at her.

“Yow!” Maggie scrambled out of the way, still swinging her purse, but this time, the naked snacker avoided getting smacked and the momentum of the swinging bag pulled Maggie off balance until she stumbled right into the whatever-she-was.

“Isn’t this nice?” The thing crooned with its mouth full. “Someone ordered food delivered.”

Up close and personal, the female looked even scarier. Those red eyes were like uncovered manholes into Hell and when she grabbed hold of Maggie and threw her to the desk, Maggie knew she was in trouble. Not only did the thing have some serious chomping power, but she was strong, too.

“Back off,” Maggie shouted, knowing it was no use. No way was this thing going to quit.

“You have to die, you’ve seen too much.” She smiled, displaying those shiny, sharp teeth to excellent advantage.

“Don’t remember a thing,” Maggie assured her, struggling for all she was worth. “Honest. Can’t see without my glasses anyway.” She blinked furiously, pretending to need glasses, trying to convince the hideous female that she was one step up from Mr. Magoo.

“I don’t believe you,” she said, laughing as blood ran down her chin to her neck.

Oh, God. Maggie swallowed hard, and struggled to find something on the creature to grab. But she’d never been much of a hair puller and since the damn thing was naked, there weren’t a lot of other choices she was willing to make. Boobs or tail? No thank you. “You don’t have to kill me,” she argued frantically, “honestly, I won’t say a thing. Who would believe me if I did?”

“Idiot human.”

“No reason to be insulting,” Maggie said, mind racing in tandem with the rapid beat of her heart. How was she going to get out of this? That shining pendant the creature wore swung down close to her and Maggie curled her fingers around it and yanked. Took a couple of tries, while the female on top of her was screaming and howling and trying to pry herself loose, but Maggie hung on and finally wrenched the gold chain the pendant hung from strongly enough to snap one of the links.

“Nooo!” The howl coming from that ‘woman’ lifted every hair on Maggie’s body straight up and brought goose bumps to every square inch of her skin.

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Contest

To Celebrate the release of her January 2009 novel, Maureen is giving away a book from her backlist to 3 lucky winners! For a chance to win, please email us with your answer to the following question -

What is the title of Maureen's February 2009 novel?

Visit her website to find the answer and then drop us an email with the answer. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be notified on January 12th via email. Good luck!

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