[Siren Classic: Erotic Paranormal Romance]
4.5 STARS: Mama's Charm is a captivating story that will seize your attention from start to finish. This was my first experience reading anything written by Luxie Ryder, but it definitely won't be my last. This is a great book that caters to everyone. It has mystery, suspense, a murder plot and don't forget the romance. It's written from both Martine and Wade's perspectives. After a little bit you get used to this writing style, and I ended up really liking it. You are able to get to know what each character is thinking or experiencing. The love scenes are hot, hot, hot! Once Martine and Wade give into temptation, they can't seem to keep their hands off each other. This book caught my eye because it's set in New Orleans, LA. I'm from the area and can tell that Ms. Ryder really did her homework. The references to New Orleans and the surrounding areas are very accurate. Delve into Mama's Charm today, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.--Reviewed by Victoria Lyn, Manic Readers Reviews
4.25 RATING: "I enjoy a story that is not the run-of-the-mill romance, and that is exactly what Mama's Charm delivers. The chemistry between Wade and Martine is hotter than hot, and left me looking for a fan to cool me down. Martine's strength and willingness to do what she must to protect Wade is a wonderful quality. The darker side of the book just adds to the appeal of this book. The style of writing is a bit different; it is written from both Wade and Martine's view, and I found this to enhance the story. It worked very well for this reader. Ms. Ryder has done a fine job of telling a story that will appeal to everyone." -- Teagan S. Boyd, Bookwenches
Did he know me? I squirmed a little under his intense scrutiny, sure he had never been a client. I wouldn’t have forgotten him—if only for his looks if not his strange mannerisms. Still, something lurked behind his gaze that unnerved me. If I didn’t know better, I would swear he didn’t like me much. I’d be happier when the session was over. Going through my usual routine, I gave my name.
He repeated it, making it sound dirty somehow. ‘Martine. Is that Creole?’
I nodded, uncomfortable with the slant he put on the words. Deciding to ignore it, I continued. ‘Usually, people tell me what they want to know, and we see where the cards take us, ok?’
He shuffled in his seat before fixing me with a look. Again, I knew he wouldn’t be entirely truthful, but it was his money, and if he wanted to waste it, it made no difference to me. ‘I think my wife is seeing someone.’ His voice had trailed off as he finished speaking, sounding rougher, tinged with something that sounded like sadness, but could have been anger.
I got up and lit some candles—a blue one for him, to bring peace and happiness and a black one for me, to absorb the negative energy I could feel coming from him. I wasn’t exactly nervous but couldn’t shake the edgy feeling I had about the guy.
Flicking a quick glance over my shoulder, I found his eyes on my ass. Turning back to him as I cleared my throat, his perusal continued, inching slowly up my body, finally reaching my face. Any hope I had of seeing contrition or embarrassment at his being caught mentally undressing me was chased away by the slight smirk he gave before dropping his gaze.
His story wasn’t ringing true but the natural intuition I always relied on failed me. All I knew for sure was that a man, concerned about a cheating wife, didn’t come to a tarot card reader and look at her in the way he had just looked at me.
I settled in my seat, determined to get the reading over with as quickly as possible. Lifting the damp hair from my neck once again, I felt the fabric of my dress strain across my breasts and knew without needing to check that he would have noticed. Appallingly, my nipples hardened at the thought and I abruptly dropped my arms, cursing my own stupidity. Eyes averted, I spent a few moments shuffling the deck while telling him to concentrate on what he wanted to know. Offering him the cards, I told him to split them as he asked the question out loud. Nothing happened.
Having no choice but to look at him again, my breath caught at the change in his expression. The cold, dark eyes that had first greeted me now seemed larger and much warmer. The hard line of his mouth had relaxed and he looked slightly flushed. His delay in answering had been intentional. He’d wanted me to look at him.
I could feel myself blushing under his stare, feeling totally out of my depth. I didn’t know what he wanted or why he affected me this way. And he knew he affected me. His posture had relaxed and the hands that had been rigid on the table now smoothed down over his thighs as he kept his eyes on me all the while.
I felt a trickle of sweat start to roll down the side of my neck. Needing to wipe it away, I didn’t move, afraid again of making him look at my body but more afraid of how I would react when, not if, he did. I felt it slip slowly downwards onto my collarbone, pooling there for a second before it continued, as I knew it would, down my chest and under the neckline of my dress.
His voice made me jump. ‘It’s sure hot in here. Do you mind if I take off my over-shirt?’
His gaze riveted to the spot where the trail of sweat had disappeared inside my clothing, making it clear he had been following its path. I shook my head at his question, trying without success to refocus my attention on the cards.
My eyes were drawn back to him as the grubby v-neck t-shirt stretched taut across his chest. He shrugged off the shirt to reveal sweaty, heavily muscled arms that rippled as he moved, causing my breath to catch in my throat. His musky scent reached my nostrils and wasn’t entirely unpleasant, but it was entirely male. An ache began between my legs and I willed myself to ignore it. Sure, he was one hell of a man but that didn’t explain my reaction to him. Maybe the sexual drought of the past year caused me to squirm in my seat at the nearness of a good-looking guy? Whatever it was, I wished it would stop.
‘Should I cut them now?’ I only realized that I had been staring at him dumbly when his voice broke through my trance. I nodded, grateful for the distraction of the cards as I held them out to him. Placing a large hand under mine to steady it, he cut the deck. My skin burned where he touched me but I refused to analyze it, concentrating instead on the small amount of cards he had chosen. Men were quite anal about such things and often struggled to cut them exactly in half, like it mattered.
I found my voice. ‘You didn’t ask the question.’
‘This is powerful magic, Wade. You need to be really careful.’
‘Of what?’ His tone made it clear he thought I was crazy. Still, he came closer, lifting the charm high to dangle from his finger, inches from my face. His voice was low, barely more than a whisper. ‘What do I need to be careful of, Martine?’
‘I’ve seen stuff happen, in the past I mean.’ I didn’t dare look at him as he took another step towards me. Torn between playing down my fear and a need to warn him not to mess with things he didn’t understand, I couldn’t tell him the real reason I was so nervous. A glimmer of light bounced off the trinket in his hand, drawing my gaze back to it. I watched it spin slowly at the end of its chain, almost mesmerizing me with the movement. A vision flashed into my mind of Wade with his head between my thighs, his glossy black hair all I could see as his tongue buried itself inside me. I shook the image away and forced myself to look at him when he spoke.
‘Maybe that explains why I couldn’t sleep last night.’
‘What do you mean?’
He shook his head, as if rejecting a thought. ‘I had the weirdest dreams, so many I lost count.’ My heart began to pound again as he continued. ‘You were in a couple of them.’
I couldn’t speak and had no intention of telling him of my own experience. A distant part of my brain wondered if his reaction to the dreams had been the same as mine. My treacherous imagination instantly rewarded me with an image of him, sweaty and writhing, cock grasped firmly in his fist as he masturbated at the thought of me. The pulse between my legs intensified and I could feel my panties begin to cling to my skin as I got wetter. I tried to hide my reaction to him and took a deep breath before looking at him again.
Wade seemed shaken by what he saw in my face. The look of surprise quickly changed to one of knowing, then to one of invitation. I fought the seductive pull of his eyes as they pinned me to the spot, promising everything I wanted if I would just reach out and take it.
‘Don’t you want to know what happened in my dreams, Martine?’ I shook my head as I closed my eyes, not wanting to hear what I already knew. He continued regardless. ‘We were fucking…over and over again.’
‘Please don’t say any more,’ I begged, scared and excited by what he said. His voice turned to pure syrup and it trickled over me, seeping down into my loins, smoothing the rough edges from his words.
‘I was crazy with it all night long. Every time I closed my eyes, awake or asleep, you were there.’
He looked through me, remembering rather than seeing me. I began to turn away. I needed time to think, to understand what it all meant. He had other ideas.
‘You felt it too, didn’t you?’ he asked in a quiet voice, shrewd eyes piercing my defenses. He raised a hand to stop me as I began to shake my head. ‘Don’t bother lying. I can see it in your face.’
Suddenly, he strode away to lock the door to the store before returning to grab my hand and drag me behind the bead curtain at the back of the room. I held him away as he moved to kiss me, bracing my hands against his chest.