Heart of Temptation

by California Dawes

Heart of Temptation - California Dawes - Temptation Rock
Part of the Temptation Rock series:
  • Heart of Temptation
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99 USD
ISBN: 9781734641011
Paperback: $ 15.99 USD

Heart of Temptation is a gritty, sexy, glittering road trip to wild and dusty Temptation Rock, Nevada where three lifelong friends will reunite over mezcal and donuts to battle the forces of evil and find love.

It started with one little text: “Milkman’s come home.”

Skye Kincaid has ignored a lot of texts in her time, but that particular phrase isn’t one she can just leave on read. She has no choice but to leave her metaphysical supply shop in Los Angeles in the care of her assistant, pack a bag with all her best toys, hop on her motorcycle, and head back to Temptation Rock, Nevada.

Her hometown is pretty much the way she remembers it from her childhood in the 80s and 90s: too hot, too dusty, too slow, too many idiots showing off too much butt-crack at the bar. But Temptation Rock has two great things going for it: Skye’s sister, Daisy Kincaid, and her best friend, Sadie Pine.

Daisy is the one who sent the text, and she wouldn’t have done so if she hadn’t meant it. Twenty years ago, the three women stumbled upon a dark horror lurking in the shadows of Temptation Rock. The Milkman: a powerful demon wreaking unspeakable havoc in the small quiet town. They put him down, but not before he changed their lives forever, and not for the better.

Now, it seems the bloodthirsty demon from Temptation Rock’s past is not as dead as they thought. There are signs that he’s resurfaced, and this time he’s brought backup. But why is anyone’s guess.

On top of everything else, sexy FBI agent, Tempest McGuire, keeps showing up at just the wrong moment. Skye and Tempest can't keep their hands off each other, but Tempest has a dark secret that threatens not only Skye's heart, but their plan to thwart the Milkman entirely.

They say you can never go home again, and maybe that’s true. But for Skye Kincaid, it seems like home never stops coming for her.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Published:
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: F-F
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Tropes: Antihero, Badass Hero, Coming Home, Everyone is Queer, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Most Mindblowing Sex Ever, Villain to Hero
Word Count: 105000
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

The crowd gathered at Suzie’s Roadhouse wasn’t much for karaoke. The ragtag assortment of blue collar workers, leather-clad bikers, sad-eyed drunks, and tired highway drivers just passing through town had not clapped for one single song that Tempest McGuire had performed that night. Nor, for that matter, had anyone else signed up to sing.

“You about ready to wrap it up, darlin’?” The bar’s karaoke host asked Tempest after she finished a passionate rendition of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.”

“You’re not sick of me already, are you?” Tempest hopped off the rickety table she had been using as a makeshift stage, handed him back the microphone and began flipping through the tattered songbook for her next number. She had only been singing for two hours and was pretty certain that karaoke was supposed to last longer than that.

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“No, ma’am, you’ve got a great voice,” he stammered. Men tended to stammer a lot around Tempest. “Real good. It’s just, it’s just about midnight and the crowd’s not really into it tonight anyhow. Karaoke’s really more of a Friday and Saturday night kind of thing? And it being Tuesday and all… I’m only working for tips here. If no one’s tipping, well…”

The short, middle-aged man spread his hands and shrugged helplessly. Tempest set down the book and brushed a stray lock of her dark a-line bob back in place.

“Oh, shoot! You’re just sitting here at this rundown roadside dump night after night, waiting for drunk, loud assholes to put their soggy dollar bills in that pint glass?”

She gestured to the pint glass in question, which held about two dollars and seventy-five cents in change, give or take a few nickels. The man brightened with a sad kind of hope that Tempest usually only saw in the eyes of the damned when a shot at redemption was dangled in front of them. It was both fun and sad to watch.

“Er, yeah, exactly. You get my drift. And like I said it’s a slow night and I’ve got a day job to get to in the morning…”

“Man. Wow. That is really sad,” Tempest said. She gave the man a sympathetic pat on the back, then handed him a folded up karaoke slip. “Anyway, song nine-one-three-nine-two-eight, if you please!”

“Are you serious right now?”

Uh-oh. The little karaoke host looked like he was about to get uppity. One of his stubby hands had balled into a fist and everything.

Tempest hated it when mortals got all caught up in their feelings. It made them unpredictable and tedious. Right then she was uninterested in dealing with eiher. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere on a job she had no interest in was bad enough. Some demons enjoyed walking into a bar and walking out a couple hours later painted in the blood of drunks. Tempest thought that kind of thing was tasteless and, if she was honest, kind of a prior generation sort of thing. Only the Boomers of demonkind really seemed to enjoy mass slaughter for the sake of tradition. Humans could be a lot of fun without killing or even maiming them.

Tempest smiled in a way that she thought might look soothing, pulling back pillowy, dark red velvet lips to expose her perfect white teeth.

“Rick, was it?”

“My name’s Ryan…”

“Ryan, yeah. Ryan, listen, I know you’re tired. You’re probably hungry and sick of eating the deep-fried whatever coming out of the kitchen at this place. You want to go somewhere that doesn’t smell like the watery bottom of an ash tray. You want to lie down in the quiet dark and not have to listen to someone puking on car tires out in the parking lot. Am I right?”

Ryan nodded miserably and Tempest continued.

“I get it, man. I wish I was somewhere else, too. But unfortunately, my boss hand-picked me for this one stupid job. And so here I am, thumbs up my ass, waiting around for my next instructions, with nothing better to do with my time than sing karaoke. And you’re my guy. You’re my guy for that, Ryan. All I need you to do right now is punch in the number that I gave you on that little slip and let me sing a song. Okay sweetie? Because you know what?”

Tempest stared expectantly through bright topaz eyes and waited for Ryan the karaoke jockey to shake his head and stammer, “What?”

She leaned in closer until her lips brushed against his earlobe and whispered, “If you don’t fucking let me keep singing, I’m just about ready to burn this whole damn placed straight to the ground and you along with it. And I promise you, Ryan, I’ll be singing as I go. Alright?”

Ryan swallowed hard and nodded. Tempest straightened up, her smile growing wider. She fished out a thick wad of hundred dollar bills from her purse and stuffed them into the tip glass.

“Alright, then! Here we go, another song to sing you all home.”

She grabbed the mic as the opening chords of “Sunny Came Home” began to strum across an indifferent audience. At the bar, someone belched loudly.

“You again?” A man called from the back.

“You’re damn right me again. You’re welcome to join me up here, Johnny Cash,” Tempest shot back. Then the music picked up and she began to croon the lyrics perfectly, ignoring the lines on the monitor. Tempest knew this song in her bones. She knew a lot of songs there. Songs, so far as she could tell, were just about the greatest achievement in human history.

Tempest tried to imagine she was back home—or at least, as close to a home as she’d had in a long time. She tried to pretend that she wasn’t singing from the top of a sticky roadhouse table on a highway to nowhere, but rather that she was back in her favorite posh cocktail lounge in the VIP balcony, surrounded by high-fashion friends and gleaming sycophants.

She could practically taste the champagne fizzling over her lips, and it was so lush she had to close her eyes for a moment as she hit the song’s chorus.

The door to Suzie’s Roadhouse swung open wide, bringing with it a blast of cool desert night air, the smell of juniper bushes, and a goddess in a fringed leather jacket. The entrance caught Tempest’s attention and she stumbled over the song at the sight of the beautiful, dark and broody stranger. The woman seemed to radiate power with every step she took across the scuffed floor to the bar.

Well I’ll be thrice damned a lucky bitch.

Tempest recovered quickly. Whoever this woman was, she was about to have her sexy motorcycle boots charmed right off her. And with any luck, her jeans would follow soon after. Jumping off the table with catlike grace, Tempest sang her way across the room, making her way towards the bar. She kept her eyes on the woman and watched her order a beer and pay with cash. Not opening a tab, she thought. Probably doesn’t intend to stay long.

That was alright; Tempest didn’t need long. She just needed a fun distraction for the night.

As the song soared to its final lyrics, Tempest rolled her hips, snug in a pair of skintight black snakeskin pants, and ran one perfectly manicured hand up the sleek muscles of her exposed midriff to the black halter top and her small, athletic chest. Her legs brushed against the other woman’s, who had for her part turned to watch Tempest’s performance with an even, appraising eye as she sipped from a pint of dark beer.

Tempest set the mic on the bartop as the final chords of the song faded away into half-hearted and scattered applause. The woman set down her drink and clapped slowly. She had one thick eyebrow raised in a way that Tempest immediately took to be a playful challenge. Tempest caught the scent of the highway overlaid with sweat and cheap coffee. She guessed the woman had been driving for at least half the day. Somewhere in a hurry, then, and she couldn’t imagine anyone trying to get to Temptation Rock in a hurry.

“Well hello there, beautiful,” Tempest purred. She slid onto the barstool next to the other woman and poured as much of her considerable charm as she could into the fuck me look she gave her. “What’s your name?”

The other woman spared her the briefest glance before turning back to her glass.

“Skye Kincaid.”

“Ooh,” Tempest leaned over and sang softly, “Light the Skye and hold on tight.” She straightened up on her barstool again. “Don’t tell me my singing was so good I summoned a goddess?”

Skye looked momentarily flustered and covered it up by furrowing her brow into an annoyed frown and taking another long drink of her beer. “And you are…?”

“Tempest. Tempest McGuire.” Well, that’s what her ID said, anyway. The first name was true enough.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

California Dawes is a lover of romance, fantasy, mystery, and the allure of the open road. Her romances are always set in queernorm worlds where complex characters explore the depths of their desires, pursue the truth of their hearts, and sometimes fight some demons along the way.

She lives in the San Francisco area with two highly opinionated cats and the sweetest dog in the universe. When she's not writing swoon-worthy romances, California enjoys RPGs, running, road trips, and good coffee shops.

Join her mailing list here for news, cover reveals, free short stories, and more: https://tinyurl.com/calidawes


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