I'm delighted to welcome the inimitable Sotia Lazu here today. I'm more familiar with her paranormal works, but today she has a brand new contemporary romance from Taliesin Publishing to show off. Since she's a much better blogger than I, I'll let her take over.
Sotia is giving away an ecopy of her new book and some other cool swag, so don't forget to leave a comment here (with your email) AND enter your info. into the Rafflecopter widget at the very bottom of this post.
Men Who Cook
Hi Tara! Thank you for having me.
I love a man who cooks, do you? (As it so happens, I married one...)
I love the thought of a guy taking the time to prepare a meal for the woman he loves, lusts after, or just wants to impress. I don’t know if it’s seeing his nurturing side that gets me, if it’s his creativity, or if it’s purely esthetical. I believe a sexy man looks even sexier when he’s wearing nothing but an apron. Can you blame me? (Nope, I really can't...though one who cooks in the nude might give that image a run for its money).)
I tend to sneak a food preparation scene into most of my books, but with The Tenant, I took things a step further. Derek is half Italian and a former restaurant owner. His father is a restaurant owner, and Derek was brought up with the love of good food ingrained in him. When he makes pasta Bolognese, Amanda drools. I want the reader to drool with her, almost as much as they would when Derek struts his half naked body around the apartment.
Like Amanda tries hard not to, when she first meets him.
The Tenant by Sotia Lazu
In hopes of getting her fiancé to consummate their relationship before the wedding, Amanda convinces him they should check out the apartment her father gave her as a gift for their upcoming nuptials. Darkness and privacy are supposed to work in her favor, but there is one parameter she doesn’t know about: the apartment is not empty yet, and the current tenant has no plans of moving.
Derek has had a hell of a few months. His girlfriend turned out to be a cheater and then stole his restaurant. He's not about to also give up the place he's called home for three years—even if his hot but infuriating landlady threatens to move in by the end of the week.
When her own lease is up, Amanda is forced to make good on her threat. As if life isn't already hard enough, her tenant-turned-roommate is as sexy as he is annoying, and her fiancé is caught with a half-naked woman.
Now she and Derek need to find a way to survive their forced cohabitation. They soon discover sleeping with the enemy can be fun.
Hushed voices. There were people whispering inside his home, and—
It might have been fury at whoever dared vandalize his home that drove his feet from bathroom to bedroom, naked as the day he was born. It could have been hope he’d finally get out some of his frustration that curled his fingers around the baseball bat lying beneath his bed and led him the rest of the distance to his living room in the pitch black.
Weighing the bat in one hand, he pressed the fingers of the other to the light switch he knew to be at his left, and took in the lit room.
A couple was making out on his floor. By his overturned table and his smashed lamp.
He scowled so hard his forehead hurt, but it was all he could do not to charge them and bash their heads in.
“What the fuck are you doing in my place?” he asked the kneeling hulk. He’d heard about people making out in parks, playgrounds, even cemeteries, but breaking into someone’s home to get some was unbelievable.
The small blonde lying on the floor sat upright, eyes blazing. “Your place? My father gave me this apartment!”
Her boyfriend simply blinked at him.
Was it Derek’s imagination, or was the blonde having a hard time looking him in the eye? He was tempted to mention his face was an entire torso—and then some—higher than what she was staring at, but his ego needed some stroking, so he let her take all of him in, while his mind caught up to what she’d just said.
“You’re Kenneth’s daughter?” he finally asked, the bat only slightly lowered. Alice’s sister. This one was shorter, and Alice dyed her hair dark brown these days, but Derek could see the resemblance.
She finally lifted her gaze to meet his, and her eyes were the same bright green as her sister’s. “You’re the guy who’s supposed to be gone?”
He could apologize and say he’d forgotten because of the rain of utter shit falling on him lately.
He could ask for a bit more time until he’d found a new place.
Or he could be an ass. Nobody else seemed to think twice about being an ass to him. “Hardly,” he said with a snort. “I’m supposed to be right where I am. You, on the other hand, are trespassing. Or is it breaking and entering?”
The young woman scrunched her nose, which was adorable in a snooty, bratty way. “No breaking. I’ve got a key.” She narrowed her eyes. “When Mason and I were first engaged, Dad said he asked you to move. That was three months ago.”
Mason. That was the silent brute’s name. “I remember no such thing, and” —he looked pointedly at the remains of his favorite lamp— “there has definitely been some breaking.”
Blondie bounced up and glared. Funny, but she was intimidating despite her small stature. Maybe that was why Mason stood back and let her handle things. “Dad bought the place for me, to begin with,” she said. “You knew when you first moved in that I was eventually going to be needing it.”
That was true. Derek had heard all about how this was one day going to be a wedding present for Kenneth’s oldest daughter—and what was her name, again?—though said daughter hadn’t even been dating back then. Kenneth said his daughter was picky and needed a man with serious backbone before she settled down.
Things had apparently changed.
Derek considered waving the bat to see if the big guy would flinch, but decided to be the bigger man—and wasn’t that ironic, when Mason had at least four inches on him? “Kenneth mentioned something, but he didn’t give me the sixty days notice he was supposed to.” Blondie opened her mouth, probably to repeat her father let him know three months ago. Now was time for the coup de grace, and Derek somehow knew he’d love watching her squirm. “As you know, the notice is supposed to be in writing or it doesn’t count,” he said.
Mason grabbed Blondie’s shoulder, flexing his arm in the process. The look on his face indicated that Derek’s nudity might have offended him more than Derek’s intention to not vacate the premises for at least two more months. “Let’s go, Mandi.” Ah, that was her name. “We’ll talk to your father. He’ll know what to do.”
Her gaze said she knew what to do too, and it involved the painful insertion of the baseball bat in Derek’s most private orifice.
Derek’s smirk widened into a grin. “And now get out of here, before I have to call the police and report you for harassment on top of everything else.”
Mandi stared him down for a split second, but when Derek swung his bat in the air, her overly inflated toy boy all but dragged her out the door.
Derek propped his weapon on his shoulder, grabbed a bottle of scotch, and went to bed. He sensed his swagger had returned. Maybe that was because he’d actually felt he had balls, for the first time in days.
Odd way for his day to improve, but it had. He would give anything for another opportunity to bait Mandi Murphy. If he couldn’t torture the woman who’d hurt him, he’d torture the one who wanted to evict him. He had to be subtle about it, though. He didn’t want to make Kenneth mad at him.
About Sotia Lazu
Sotia’s making do with Greek reality, while writing and mostly thinking in English.
She loves romances with a twist and urban fantasy novels, always with vivid erotic elements. Her favorite characters to write are not conventional hero-material at first glance, and she enjoys making them fight for their happiness.
Sotia shares her life and living quarters with her husband, their son, and two rescue dogs, one of which may be part-pony. Sappy movies make her bawl like a baby, and she wishes she could take in all the stray dogs in the world.
Also, she hates mornings!
So would you take the free pass for a sweaty, steamy night with an incredibly sexy jerk you seriously dislike—but turns you on immensely—or wouldn’t you? Tell me in a comment (don’t forget your e-mail address), and make sure to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway at the very bottom of this post for a chance to win an e-copy of The Tenant or some Author Swag!
NOTE: The giveaway is for Adults Only. Please do not enter if you’re below your country’s legal age.
AND THAT’S NOT ALL!
Until the 11th of the month, you have the chance for several more entries. Just stop by the following blogs, and leave me a comment: