Looking for a quick and sexy story? A wham, bam, thank you ma'am kind of story? Well, look no further than The Mask by Anya Winter. Courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours and Anya herself you can get a taste of this short story today and the chance to win the previous book in this series with a giveaway. So make sure to read this entire post to find out how to enter. First up is Anya talking about masks and how they affect people.....
There’s something about a mask that captures the imagination.
Think about it. When you wear a mask, you become someone new. Usually, its that person deep down inside that you’ve always wanted to be that comes out. Or maybe its a new persona you want to test. Maybe there’s a secret longing or a hidden desire that needs a mask?
There’s something so sinfully delicious about wearing a mask. The thought excites me. The possibilities are endless about who I can become, or rather - what aspects of ‘me’ can come out. There’s a false sense of security, anonymity when you wear a mask. Which can also be its downfall.
That’s what happens to my characters in book 2 of the Masquerade Series. Eve Manor is a pastry chef with hidden passions. She thinks the anonymity behind her mask has kept her safe while trying to combine her passion for food with her more ‘inner’ passions. But fortunately, Christian Grier sees past the facade and falls in love. Except, he’s wearing a mask as well and the consequences are a tad bit higher if his secret gets out. As the editor-in-chief of a foodie magazine, it wouldn’t be favorable if work go out that he was also part owner of a ‘fetish’ club.
I enjoyed exploring the aspect of wearing a facade and how the protection we seek isn’t always there. The reality is - the mask only does one thing - shows our true character. It’s how we embrace those aspects of ourselves that really matter.
You can find out more about Eve and Christian and The Mask here.
I would love to know your thoughts on wearing masks. Visit me at www.anyawinter.com and share your thoughts.
THE MASK by Anya Winter
Book Two in the Masquerade series
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Eve Manor is a pastry chef with a passion for chocolate and romance. During the annual masked Black & Lace ball, Eve has a plan. She created a signature chocolate dish that was sure to knock the socks off every famous chef and food critic attending the ball. Everything hinges on the night’s success.
Christian Grier is a man with a secret. In the foodie world, he's known as the Editor-in-Chief of the famous magazine, Sizzle. When his old college roommate, Josh, asks him to attend the ball his company is catering, Christian intended to turn him down. But when Josh reveals Eve's secret plan, he knew he needed to do everything he could to help. Will hiding behind his mask help in his quest to seduce Eve or will she decide he’s not what she wants after all?
Eve wore a slinky black dress that highlighted her luscious curves. She gazed in awe at the masked dancers as they teased one another with their sexy corsets and tight leather outfits.
The Black Lace Masquerade Ball. A dream come true.
“Is it what you expected, kiddo?” Josh Brown, Eve’s boss, cozied up to her and placed his arm around her waist.
“I’m amazed. It’s better than I imagined. I just wish I was on the other side of the table.” Eve sighed as she gazed around the crowded ballroom. Full of her idols, top-notch chefs from around the country, she dreamed to someday apprentice with one of them.
Despite the sequined masks they all wore, Eve could pinpoint each and every chef she admired. Through Twitter statuses, Facebook updates and magazine articles, she felt like she knew almost every person on the floor.
Jillian Thomas, pastry chef for the Banff Springs Hotel, wore a gorgeous black pinstriped corset with a lace edge that did nothing to hide her voluptuous chest. Lacey Sullivan, Executive Editor for French Cuisine magazine, looked fabulous in a black leather corset dress with a slit up the side and showed the red lining of the leather underskirt. God, she was beautiful.
“You will, one day.” Josh pulled her close and brushed a kiss against her forehead. “That will be you out there, wearing a fuck-me corset and come-hither mask.”
“Josh!” Eve’s eyes widened as she checked to make sure no one heard his words.
Josh leaned down and whispered into her ear. “I saw you coming out of Ganache last night.”
Eve’s body stiffened as her cheeks flushed. Oh no. Without turning to look him in the eye, she tried to step away but his hold tightened.
“Something you want to tell me?”
Eve shook her head as she bit her lip.
“Nothing at all? ‘Cause I thought for sure you’d have something to say about that skimpy little number you wore, or the guy who escorted you to your car.”
What the hell was he doing in that part of the city?
“What would Harold have to say if he knew his little sugar plum was into BDSM?”
Eve dug her elbow into Josh’s side before she turned and glared at him. “I’m not.”
“Really? ‘Cause I know it may be called Ganache, but there’s nothing sweet about the club at all.” He smirked and winked at her.
Damn it all. There was no way she was going to admit anything to him. Not here. Especially not with her grandfather hovering over her every time she turned around.
“Can you forget what you thought you saw and just focus on our plan?” She stepped over to the table where she rearranged platters of petite éclairs, mini cheesecakes and mousse-filled martini glasses.
“It’s going to work.”
“I hope so.” Eve glanced over her shoulder at him and gave what she hoped was an innocent smile.
“Don’t bother sweet’ums. This isn’t my first ball, but it is yours. So let me give you the advice a dear soul gave me oh so long ago—the coach turns back into a pumpkin, the horses into mice and yes, as much as I hate to admit it, the prince does revert back to the Beast.” Josh laid his hand over his heart and sighed.
Eve struggled not to roll her eyes. He couldn’t even get his fairy tales right.
“That dear soul knew what she was talking about, didn’t she?” Madison Pearce, owner of Choco Chic Events, stood behind them, notebook in hand.
Josh stood there, eyes closed as he slowly nodded his head. Eve struggled for composure but lost it when Josh winked at her.
“Eve, your desserts are fantastic. I’ve already had several requests for quotes. You’ve outdone yourself.” Madison smiled before she turned to Josh and gave him a stern look.
Eve breathed a sigh of relief before she took a small step away from the two but still within hearing distance.
There was a strong undercurrent filled with tension between them. Whatever was going on didn’t include her.
So much was riding on tonight. More than Madison knew. These little desserts were nothing. Not even Madison knew of the plan Josh concocted to help her tonight.
“You promised to behave, Josh. Harold catching you in the broom closet with your new boy toy is not behaving. Honestly. I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately.”
Eve knew she should walk away. “Harold shouldn’t be poking around where he’s not wanted,” Josh crossed his arms and glared at Madison.
Uh oh. She really needed to walk away.
“He was getting a mop to clean up spilled wine. Where else was he to go? Seriously, I need you to step up. If you want a partnership, than show me you deserve it,” Madison hissed between clenched teeth.
Eve spied her grandfather across the room. Now was a good time as any to face him. Josh could handle Madison’s tongue lashing on his own.
She wove her way through the maze of guests and stood beside the man she adored more than life.
“The mask has always mystified me.” He nodded his head at a couple dancing close to them. Eve loved the masks they wore. The female’s face was half-clad in white satin with ribbons tailing down from a large pale pink flower. The man’s mask was a light green with an overlay of black strips.
“Do they not realize that they reveal more of the secrets they wish to hide?” Harold clasped his hands behind him as he surveyed the room.
Eve snaked her arm through his. She would have rested her head on his shoulder but PDAs were highly frowned upon. He believed public displays of affections were for the lower class. She tried to see it from his point-of-view, but for the life of her, she couldn’t. She craved to be out there on that floor wearing a mask that would bring out the girl she kept buried. She thought about the hatbox hidden beneath her bed, containing the beautiful silver mask she’d found in Venice, and a black wig.
“Oh, I don’t know. I find them mysterious, enticing. Seductive in a sense.” Eve tilted her head up and waited for her grandfather’s frown.
“Your generation knows nothing about seduction. Wearing undergarments to a social gathering cheapens the art.” Harold’s lips thinned.
Eve pulled away and studied the man who had moved continents to raise her. She would never have imagined he understood the term seduction let alone have thoughts about it.
“Don’t look at me like that, child. I may be English, but I’m not dead.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Once upon a time … is how the stories used to start.
Not anymore. Now they start with chocolate (and maybe a little bit of passion).
At least in Anya’s world where passionate pleasures are explored …
One Story at a Time!
Don’t miss out on The Master - Book One of the Masquerade Series.
This giveaway is for a pdf copy of The Master - Book One in the Masquerade series.
-Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE.
-To be entered, just answer Anya's question at the end of her post in the comments below (PLEASE include your email addy).
-I will use random.org to select a winner, and send a winner's confirmation email to that winner, who will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 2/18.