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How to Conjure a Man
By Nancy Lindquist
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2006 Nancy Lindquist
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Crap." Becky Blake wiggled her ass to the right. Nope, that didn't help either. The annoying, cactus-like object remained firmly wedged between her calves, prodding at her butt. Shoving her hand beneath her bottom, she raked the dry sand and grit of the desert floor in a blind search for the offending pokey-thing. Sightless fingers encountered what felt like a stick, there. In triumph she closed her fist around the object, yanked it free, and held it up to the moonlight. Ah, relief.
Huh, that definitely doesn't look like a stick.
Holding it to the light of what amounted to be ten pounds of candles, she struggled to put a name to the twisted stick-thing. She turned the warped, flattish item over in her hands, seeking any identifying hints. Finally, two empty eye sockets on one end clued her in. The nasty thing trying to poke her in the general area of her hind end was a dead dried-up snake. Slapping a hand over her mouth to suppress a scream, she tossed the nasty deceased reptile into the void of night.
Yuck, yuck, yuck. I want a shower.
Why on earth had she ever thought it would be a good idea to sit buck-ass naked out in the freezing cold desert? And for what? A man? She questioned her sanity for what felt like the millionth time. A quick glance at her watch only heightened the frustration that inched through her veins, eleven forty-three p.m. Exactly three minutes since the last time she'd checked it. Absently she rubbed her arms. The cold blue of the candles shifted to warm yellow and flickered off her goose-fleshed limbs. Midnight would never come.
Yep, she was having some fun now, oh boy.
She definitely needed a sanity check. Any minute now men in sterile white coats sporting nets would pop up from the austere desert floor and cart her off.
The muscles of her thighs burned from kneeling in the same position for the last twenty minutes on the chilly ground. She placed the instructions under her knee and wiped her sweaty, sand covered hands on the threadbare beach towel she'd found stashed in the trunk of her car.
Next time I've got to remember to bring a blanket. Ha! Like there's gonna be a next time.
Once more she looked down at her friend's neat handwriting, barely visible in the wobbly light, "How to Conjure a Man". That title had to be the lamest thing she'd ever read. She felt another poke in the rear and shifted uncomfortably. "Good Lord, what now? Isn't one dead snake enough?" Voice to the sky, she was not surprised when no answer was forthcoming.
Who the hell drives thirty miles out into the empty desert on a Thursday night to cast a spell for sex?
This was the damned dumbest idea in the history of damned dumb ideas. She'd spent an hour lighting the ninety-nine candles, placing them just so in the shape of a circle. Absently, she scratched at the itchy welts on her hands that marked the spots where melted wax had dripped on tender flesh. This whole experiment felt like a leap in logic equivalent to jumping the Grand Canyon on a tricycle.
As instructed, she'd tried to memorize the words her friend had so carefully crafted, yet they felt strange, almost like another language. They refused to flow out of her mouth in anything that sounded like human speech. Oh sure, they looked normal enough on paper, but when she tried to give voice to the ancient sounding poetry her tongue twisted over itself. Becoming frustrated time and again, she'd finally given up. Far better to just drag the paper along and read it as she cast.
Her best friend, Vivian, her partner in crime and resident strip mall witch, had sternly lectured that the flow of the words meant the difference between success and failure. Becky was going to screw this up, she just knew it. She always seemed to make a muck of anything that had to do with men. "In order for this spell to work it must be cast just after midnight on the day of the full moon." Vivian had repeated those instructions about thirty times. She'd claimed it had something to do with birth energy, and while Becky had assured her friend she was not interested in birth of any kind for a few years, at least, she was going to follow those instructions to the letter. Yep, she was pretty desperate.
She was seriously in need of a man. Her vibrator just did not cut it anymore. Not one little bit. In fact, the stupid thing had actually stopped working the other night mid-fantasy. She should have brought it with her to bury along with the list of requirements for the perfect male specimen she'd carefully written in the special ink. It would serve it right for pooping out just when she needed the purple monster the most.
That's loyalty for you.
She'd shown it years of devotion and love. How dare it die in her time of need?
She'd almost bought a new one she'd seen in a catalog. Labeled as a massager, there was only thing you could massage with a device that small. It was flexible, had various attachments and the price had been right. Instead, she'd poured her heart out in a long session of tea and sympathy to her friend, Vivian. Now Becky lived the end result of that conversation.
Somewhere in the distance a coyote howled.
Cripes, that was scary.
Excerpted from How to Conjure a Man by Nancy Lindquist Copyright © 2006 by Nancy Lindquist. Excerpted by permission.
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