Reserved and shy Jo Button is tired of being the talk of the town. Enough is enough. Time to put her plans in motion, but a mishap forces her to seek out veterinarian Ash Delaney—the one man she has always wanted.
Ex-Guardian Angel, Ashriel, isn't too happy when the reason for his de-haloed state shows up and requests his help. He has avoided Jo Button for ten years, and could quite happily go another ten without seeing her—until he realizes her battered reputation was his fault.
Can Ashriel save Jo, even if it means redemption is beyond his grasp? Or will he lose his halo permanently, along with the woman he's come to care for?
Genre: Paranormal romance, fantasy, contemporary, holiday romance
Heat level: 3
Cover art by Dara England
“Let go of my wrist.” Jo had trouble breathing properly with him so close. He made no move to release her, so she tugged her arm again. “Please, Delaney.”
He stared down at her, an odd expression on his face. The anger had given way to something softer, but also hotter. He studied her face as if he'd never seen her before, and Jo felt a tremor of panic shudder up her spine. Her breath stuttered in her chest, and she couldn't tear her gaze off him.
He released her, only to wrap his hands around her upper arms instead. “Don't call me Delaney. My name is Ash, or Ashriel.”
Jo's eyes almost popped from their sockets when he pressed her against the wall, dipped his head, and kissed her. She gasped against his mouth, the unexpected heat of his lips on hers throwing her emotions into turmoil. He drew back when she didn't respond, his hand cupped her cheek, his thumb stroking her face gently. Jo loved his touch, but it was all becoming too much. She stared at her feet.
“Don't,” she whispered. “I know people think I'd—”
“I'm not people.” He tipped her chin up, forcing her to meet his gaze. “And I know you're nothing like what they say.”
Jo looked away. “It won't matter.”
“It matters to me. I hate seeing you so sad.” He stepped back, studying her. “Have dinner with me.”
Silke Juppenlatz was born in Germany and grew up in an 18th Century, traditional wood frame house. She is used to things going bump at O'Dawn Thirty. Walls moving in a strong wind? Footsteps on floorboards in the middle of the night? Nothing unusual.
Having left her native Germany for the shores of England, these days the only thing going bump after midnight is her, attempting to navigate to the kitchen in near darkness to score another cup of coffee.
Spooky doesn't faze her unless it involves spiders.
Today Silke lives in leafy Surrey with her partner, no cats, no dogs and most definitely no spiders. (She wouldn't mind a lizard or a snake, though.) When she isn't writing, she can be found on the back of a black cob mare, getting hopelessly lost in the woods. (Apparently horses don't have GPS or homing devices.)
Although her books are predominantly about demons, angels, and vampires, aliens and elves have been known to make an appearance in her WIP folder.