Daughters of Avalon Publishing


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Daughters of Avalon Publishing

 ISBN: 978-1-4660-5582-7
Copyright © 2011 by Tambra Kendall
Cover Art by Kath Urbahn
Available at Smashwords, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and Xinxii.


Wicked Temptations

Scotland, present day
The overhead doorbell jangled and Laria prayed it wasn't that prick Hamish Wallace harassing her. Again.

 She arranged the last batch of shortbread in the display case.

“Welcome to Wicked Temptations,” she called. Laria lifted her head and the bon-bon in her hand slipped through her fingers to splat on the plate when she spied Mr. Yummy making his way to the counter. Scooping up the ruined treat Laria turned and placed it on the saucer next to her empty mug of tea. Grabbing the end of the towel hanging at her waist, she wiped her hand.

As he strode toward her, appreciation rose. She’d seen him around the village, and bugger, he was even better looking up close. Thrice she’d dreamed of him and found the real man was definitely more delicious. Laria hadn't yet discovered the reason for the visions of him, but she hoped all would be revealed soon.

He stood at least six foot one, with sun-kissed blonde hair just past his collar, and his eyes were the brilliant blue of Loch Awe on a sunny day. He reminded her of a Norse god. A shiver of anticipation shimmied to her core at the thought of what she’d like to sample on this man. His aura and presence reached out and touched her--almost like a caress, soft as a kitten's fur. She took a deep breath to refocus, to still the attraction she felt for this stranger.

She closed the sliding window and wiped the crumbs from her hands on her apron. She resisted the urge to pluck her damp shirt away from her body. I’m probably a mucky mess. Just my luck.

“May I help you?” she asked as she kept watch on the village’s two gossipy crones, Agatha and Clara, at their favorite corner table.

“I’m looking for Laria MacCleod.” He pulled an envelope from the pocket of his jacket.

Prickles of unease danced a Highland reel up and down her spine. Something wasn’t right. “Aye, I’m Laria.”

“This is for you, lass.” The embossed crest in the upper left hand corner caught her attention. Brighid’s Fire! Hamish Wallace. Would the slug never leave her alone? Her creed, if it harm none, do what you will, she always obeyed. Hamish pushed her to her limit.

“I’ve been told this is a final offer from Wallace on your building and property.” The muscles in his jaw tightened but his eyes flashed with anger.

Her hand trembled, rattling the packet. Anger flared, heating her cheeks. “Would you give Hamish a message?”

The Viking Warrior crossed his arms and raised a tawny brow. “Aye, lass.”

“Tell that son-of-a-bitch cur he can go straight to bloody hell! I’m not selling. Ever.”

A devilish half-smile twitched at the corners of his mouth. “Hamish isn’t my client. I only have the misfortune of working with his solicitor for a few months. It would give me great pleasure to deliver your message.”

The man stepped back to review the contents in the display case.

His clean, woodsy scent made her think of sensual nights in the grove of trees beyond her shop. A ripple of excitement and expectation thrummed a primal beat. She’d heard of men who possessed strong magnetism, but she'd never experienced it until now. The intensity of her attraction to him shook Laria but she felt no fear.

“See anything tempting?” Laria wished it was her he found a wicked temptation instead of her pastries. She wondered if he tasted as good as her sweet treats. Mr. Yummy with chocolate drizzle? Aye, chocolate went with everything. She stepped to the side, restoring her focus on her customer and pushed her naughty thoughts aside for the time being, but by the moon, it was hard.

“I’ll take a baker's dozen of shortbread and three savoury scones. A man has to eat. If your wares as good as they smell, I’ll be returning often.” He paid for his purchases and gave her a roguish wink before striding out the door.

As he left, she discovered he had the finest arse she’d ever seen. A bloody shame the man worked in the same building as Hamish. How could she help herself and Mr. Yummy?

A lovely idea burst to life. She poured herself a cup of strong tea and grinned. Now, if only Mr. Yummy would accept her proposition. By the Goddess, she hoped the information she needed was in her hand.

Slipping her finger beneath the envelope flap, she tore open the note. In the upper left corner, she found the information--the phone number where the Viking Warrior worked. If she called Hamish’s solicitor, his dragon secretary would ring her call through to The Evil One and that would not do.

The buzzer on the oven’s timer cut into her thoughts. She grabbed the oven gloves, pulled out a tray of hearty ham and cheddar scones, and replaced it with a batch of delicate orange and hazelnut coffeecake. Tossing off the mitts, she reached for the telephone and dialed the number.

She described the luscious man to the assistant in the solicitor's office who told her his name. Cameron Logan. “Connect me with Cameron Logan, please.”

“Logan, here.”

“This is Laria MacCleod from Wicked Temptations. You were in my shop a short time ago. Mr. Logan, I have a proposition for you.” She choked back her laughter at his audible intake of breath. Stepping from behind the counter, she adjusted the lace curtains where Agatha and Clara had spied on shop patrons and villagers alike through the glass all morning.

“I’m very interested to hear your proposition, but I won’t be available until 6 p.m.”

Was he flirting? She hoped so. “That’s fine. Come to my shop and bring your appetite. I’m offering you dinner and something else.” He agreed and his rich laughter rumbled in her ear before he hung up the receiver.


Available at Smashwords and Amazon



Christmasville, Texas

Chapter One

“Stop, Daddy!” Hope Claus stood on tiptoe and pointed at the window of The Magic Café. “I want some hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows. Please.”

“Great idea, sweetheart.” Nick Claus’ stomach rumbled in agreement. He must have walked from one end of the mall to the other. My daughter is a professional shopper at five years old. I’m in deep trouble.

A chill wind gusted, pushing hard against his back. He rolled his shoulders and shifted his body to protect Hope. Nick shoved the shopping bags into one hand and opened the door.

Hope scampered inside.

A blast of heat redolent with the comforting scent of cinnamon wrapped him in its embrace. It hung like a sweet promise in the air. His favorite--peach cobbler. No one made it better than Marianne Tucker did and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top made it pure heaven.

He scanned the room for a place to sit. Plenty of seats available. They must have just missed the lunch crowd. Thank God, he couldn’t suffer another crowd right now.

Shopping at the end of the season was total chaos and Hope loved every minute of it. The lights, decorations and music delighted his little girl all the way down to her Claus soul. He missed feeling that way.

His wife, Victoria, had passed away five years ago. Maybe his family was right about him dating again. After all these years, the only female who stirred his interest was Hope’s teacher, Linnet MacDougal.

Beautiful inside and out, Linnet elicited feelings he’d thought died with Victoria.

He wanted to let go, but wasn’t sure how. Damn, he was tired of being alone but he had to consider Hope. Maybe he could date occasionally. Not let the relationship get out of control. When he got up the nerve, he’d ask Linnet out and then she’d be out of his system. Already the woman occupied his dreams, and recently, his days. Since, things had progressed to the point he needed to make a decision and soon. For his peace of mind.

The dulcet sounds of the Mediaeval Baebes’ CD Mistletoe and Wine played through the speakers. The soft sounds started to soothe his tense muscles. His stomach rumbled, again.

“Oooo, look at the tree!” Hope clapped her mitten-clad hands together and stomped her feet in excitement. She held out her hands. “I want these off, Daddy.”

Nick grinned at Hope’s enthusiasm. “Marianne did a good job, didn’t she?” With a sweeping glance, his inner vision burst into a kaleidoscope of color. Warm orange, reds and pinks whirled and pulsed with the gentle sounds of love and laughter.

His left brow shot up in surprise. Wards of protection glittered in an intricate weave of bronze, gold and silver around the room. His admiration for Marianne rose even more. It explained why the atmosphere kept the good inside and the riffraff to a minimum. Threaded through the subtle spell, he detected something familiar about the magickal signature entwined with Marianne’s. Uncle Nicholas? His uncle’s signature lay hidden among the weave and runes. By extending himself to do something so personal, it showed Nicholas’ deep attraction for the family’s good friend.

Incessant tugging brought his attention back to Hope. Nick pulled off her mittens and clipped them onto the elastic cord hanging from the sleeves of her coat.

“I wanna see the teddies.” She hopped from one foot to the other.

In the corner, a broad, stately Douglas fir sparkled with tiny colored lights. Covering the tree and nestled among the branches, small teddy bears with light or dark fur were dressed in shiny colorful Victorian clothing. A small, crisp, white tag hung from the neck of each stuffed animal.

Hope tugged out of his grasp.

copyright 2009/2011 Tambra N. Kendall