Stranger to Blackwood: House Blackwood Book Two
Ryver is the only telepath in living memory. Whether he wants to or not, he can hear the thoughts of everyone around him--their desires, their fears, and their darkest secrets. As a Vampire and Guardian of the Order, his skill is an asset. As a man, it's a burden he wishes he didn't have to carry. That is until he meets Ria. She's beautiful, shy...and human. More than that, she hears him.
A chance meeting brings them together, but the truth could rip them apart. Ria isn't what she seems. As her heritage is revealed, can they find the light? If they do, it will enrage an old enemy and threaten everything they hold dear. If they don't, one of them will be lost forever.
Best Book Bit:
“Will you sit still!” Jessie shrieked as she held the mascara wand millimeters away from Ria’s eye.
Ria blinked at her friend. “I am still.”
“Are not. Every time I go near your eye you go into some sort of blinking fit.” She jammed the brush back in the bottle and pulled it out again. “Now, stay still!”
Ria tried her hardest not to blink as Jessie applied yet another layer of the black goop.
Once her friend finished torturing her with cosmetics, she returned the mascara to the world’s largest vanity case with a flourish. “Take a look!” She smiled as she handed Ria a mirror.
Ria stared at a reflection she didn’t know. She’d made Jessie promise not to make her look like some kind of die-hard KISS fan, but she hadn’t hoped for much. She certainly didn’t expect such a transformation. Jess had accentuated her usually boring, brown eyes with beautiful, shimmering purples and, despite Ria’s blinking fits, had managed to expertly line her lashes with liquid eye-liner. Somehow her face looked contoured in a way she never thought possible. She had cheekbones and a delicate, rosy flush. The lipstick was darker than she’d ever dare wear herself, but didn’t detract from her spectacular eyes. It was nothing short of amazing.
“Well?” Jessie asked.
“I… I…” Ria stammered.
Ria could only nod.
Jessie clapped her hands in excitement. “Told you I wouldn’t make you look stupid.”
“I know, I know,” Ria gulped, tears threatening to fall.
“Oh no! Don’t cry,” Jessie shrieked as she handed Ria a wad of tissue.
Ria did her best to blink back the tears. “Sorry, it’s just that…”
“You don’t think you’re beautiful,” Jessie finished for her.
Ria sniffed and feigned a smile. “I thought I was supposed to be the mind-reader.”
Jessie frowned back at her. “I don’t need to read your mind to know what you’re thinking, honey.”
This time, Ria’s smile was genuine.
Jessie jumped out of her chair, mischief sparkling in her eyes. “Right, enough maudlin. Time for hair and wardrobe.”
Ria rolled her eyes. Lord only knew what Jessie had in store for her. As tempting as it was, she’d promised Jessie she wouldn’t listen in so the outfit would be a surprise. Now, she wished she could take it back.
She sat still as Jessie took the rollers out of her hair and then went mad with pins and hairspray. She’d recovered the mirror so Ria had no idea what was going on.
Jessie grinned like a Cheshire cat when she finished. “Perfect,” she announced. “Now, sit tight whilst I grab your outfit.” She skipped off to the bedroom, leaving Ria in the dilapidated office chair, staring at a tea-towel draped over the vanity mirror. Her hand itched to whip the cloth away.
Jessie pre-empted her with a warning of, “No peeking,” shouted from the other room.
Ria twiddled her thumbs while her friend rummaged around in the bedroom. It seemed to take forever before Jessie came bounding back, laden with a ton of bags from shops and designers Ria had never even heard of.
“That can’t possibly all be for me!” Ria said as her friend dumped all the bags in front of her.
Jessie flashed an impish grin. “Of course it is. A girl’s got to have options, you know.”
“Bloody hell, Jess. I told you not to go mad. You’ve bought half a shop!”
Jessie stuck her tongue out. “Stop moaning and start dressing.”
Ria shot a wary glance at the shopping bags. Where was she supposed to start?
“C’mon.” Jessie clapped her hands. “Chop, chop!”
Ria pulled herself out of the chair and grabbed the closest bag. Feeling like she was taking part in some sort of bush-tucker-trial, she edged her hand in slowly. To her amazement, instead of the monster she feared might be hiding in there, her hand landed on soft leather. Frowning, she pulled the garment from the bag.
Before she unfolded the soft fabric, she’d convinced herself it was going to be a nice, safe, leather jacket.
Her eyes widened as she took in the buckles and straps. She shot a look at Jessie, who just grinned back at her. Thanks, mate.
She turned the garment over, noting the boning at the sides and the lace ties on the back. She looked back at her friend. “Is this a corset?”
Jessie giggled. “It might be.”
She shook the corset at her friend. “There’s no bloody way I’m wearing this!”
“Look at it, Jess.”
“I know what it looks like. It’s beautiful. And what’s more, it’ll look beautiful on you.”
She’d lost her mind. That was the only explanation. Nobody in their right mind would think Ria would look anything but hideous in that. She was nothing like Jessie; there was no way she could pull it off. It was too small and she was too big—a size eighteen-to-twenty on a good day. Leather corsets were just too far out of her comfort zone.