Everyone in Mason’s Circus understands and respects the powers of the resident gypsies—the Romani tribe—and most steer clear of any involvement. But when Susie gets caught in a web of prophecy and magic that brings danger to the troupe, her non-Rom interpretation turns out to be flawed. She pushes aside the man of her dreams to date alphabetically, in the hopes of saving her circus family.
Sam has had his eye on Susie since she joined the company. He’s puzzled by her actions, but not blind to the way she responds to him. A patient man by nature, he battles his need to claim her immediately or allow her game to continue. When disaster strikes, they join forces with their Romani friends to stop the curse before it destroys the circus.
About the Author:
If you discovered a sealed box with “Katie’s memories” scribbled on the side, you’d find a lifetime of partially completed stories, plays and musicals. A retired music teacher and curriculum writer, Katie Stephens has opened that box and switched her need to create from music to literature. She writes both non-fiction and fiction, where she happily experiments with all genres.
When her muse takes a break, Katie is a staff reader for freeze frame fiction and a grant writer for the Empire & Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation. Although her grown children are scattered east and west across the country, she lives solidly in mid-America with three kitties and a husband who keeps asking when she’s really going to retire.
“… an inspiring, involving story.” –Lisa Shea (owner/editor, Mused, the Bella Online Literary Review)
“Well written—poignant without being pitiful.” –Brian Lewis (owner/editor, The Empire and Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation)
Mused, the Bella Online Literary Review (Summer 2012, Spring 2014—includes featured author interview)
How Do I Do That? Series (Spring 2015)
She’d known Sam for years, thought about him, dreamed about him. Why had he never asked her out on a date?
She probably wasn’t his type.
Susie faced forward again. She couldn’t date Sam anyway. She wasn’t to S yet. She needed to find someone whose name began with … what was the next letter? Oh, yeah, J. Better yet, someone with a name using all the letters between J and R. Maybe there was someone out there with the name Quapolkman, Jr. Then she could skip all the way to S without breaking the rules. But that would defeat her purpose, wouldn’t it?
“Um, Sam, do you know anyone—a man—whose name begins with J?”
“J.” A small frown creased his forehead. “Well, there’s Jason, over in the clown troupe. Then there’s Jonathan in the arcade. And Jarod—”
“Crap. I’m sorry, Sam.” Susie put her hand on his arm, turning him to face her. “I still can’t believe he’s dead. I mean, I know he was your friend, and—” She broke off, at a loss for words.
Sam looked away without speaking, but not before she saw grief and pain clouding his blue eyes from the recent suicide of the troupe’s Elephant Man. A muscle twitched as he clenched his jaw. She wanted to hug him.
So she did.
She put her arms around that handsome, perfect man and just held him. A moment later, his arms slid around her waist. They stood there for a few minutes, for an eternity, holding each other. His one hand slowly rubbed up and down her back. The other pulled her closer into his warmth. She lifted her head from his chest, and the next thing she knew, he kissed her.
Soft, sweet. A whisper of lips moving together, stroking over and over. Not one of those desperate kisses, with tongues and teeth clashing. Susie had never felt a kiss like Sam’s before. That feeling, brought on by the tenderness of his touch, fulfilled a yearning deep inside. She didn’t know if he noticed it or not. She became lost in the moment. Lost in him.
She lifted herself on her tiptoes, moved her arms up to surround his neck, caress his shoulders, pressing closer, wanting more. He never paused, just kept on melting her with those amazing kisses. Butterfly kisses. Angel kisses.
Minutes or hours later, Sam ended the kiss. Susie sighed as she opened her eyes and he smiled, his hands gliding down her arms, raising goose bumps.
“What were you saying about the letter J, love?”
A small explosion inside her brain, like the magical poof as the rabbit disappeared, brought her back to reality. “Crap. I have to go.” She pulled back and headed for the stables, annoyed for breaking the rules.
Disappointment winged through her, and she wished again that she fully understood what the prophecy and cards had told her. Then maybe she could give up this half-assed alphabetical curse and concentrate on the man she wanted.