Bride of Fire

Hades, Lord of the Underworld, rules the realm of darkness below the realm of light. But his kingdom has no queen and he burns for one who lives in the world above. Persephone is forbidden to him and out of his reach…until he uses an opening between worlds to seize her.

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By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.

copyright 2009 Charlene Teglia – All rights reserved

She was light. He was darkness. She could never be his. Hades, Lord of the Underworld, curled his hands into fists as he watched her.

Persephone, daughter of Demeter. Hair as golden as the sun he never felt the heat of, eyes as blue as the sky he could not stand beneath, body as ripe as the fields she ran across. She was everything forbidden to him. She belonged to the world above, the realm of light. The realm of life. He’d never coveted that realm. He had his own, and he ruled it absolutely. But he coveted her.

His kingdom offered him everything. Power, companions, riches. Any pleasure he desired. If he wished for a thing, it was his. He was lord here, his word inviolable. But his kingdom had no queen.

He had everything…except her.

She had everything…except a lover. As days became months, he watched and he wanted and he waited for her to reveal her choice with bitter jealousy eating at his heart, but Persephone remained alone. She came to this field in Enna to gather flowers to please herself, not to wind in her long hair to prepare herself for a man she desired.

She was alone, as he was alone. She was too closely guarded to be anything else. Guarded everywhere but here, where the landscape itself guarded her.

And so, at last, he had prepared a flower for her. A special blossom, so rare she’d never have seen its like; she could not have. No other existed. Like him, it was alone of its kind.

It would bloom only for her. It would tempt her, as she tempted him. She would not be able to resist it. She would pluck it from the earth.

Then he would take her.

Mad Stone

Award-winning author Charlene Teglia returns to the world of the Neuri, as three lovers race the clock to save the life of the one man who poses another complication to their love triangle.

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“Mad Stone” is a fast-paced sensuously enchanting story. As I read the first couple of pages I find myself wishing I had read the story of how these three charming characters fell in love. “Mad Stone” is part of Charlene Teglia’s Neuri Chronicles. It is not necessary to have read the first story in the series to follow along. I look forward to reading the first installment because I thoroughly enjoyed this story. “Mad Stone” is a sizzling read!

– Miranda, Joyfully Reviewed

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.

“This is a bad idea,” David said, his tone as flat as the gunmetal grey his eyes had gone. We were both in the back seat of Zach’s car, now parked at our destination. A limo would’ve been too out of place at biker bar.

“I don’t like it much myself, but we’re short on time and options,” I pointed out. I adjusted the zipper on my black leather jacket and flexed my feet in the steel-toed boots I wore. I’d already tested the give in my jeans by doing a couple of high kicks before getting in the car; pants that were too restrictive to fight in no longer belonged in my wardrobe.

“She said she’d talk to Chandra if she came in alone,” Zach said from the driver’s seat. “If one of us goes with her, we might not only lose a shot at the stone, we could find ourselves with a new set of enemies. We don’t want to provoke them by seeming aggressive on their home turf.”

“What you said,” I nodded at Zach, and tried to project confidence at David. “Besides, compared to psychotic rogue shapeshifters, how bad can a few hairy guys with leather fetishes be?”

“Bad,” David stated.

“I have a black belt in Kenpo,” I said, as much to make myself feel better as to reassure David. I sent a silent thanks to my adoptive father for enrolling me in martial arts at age five.

“Which will not help you against bullets.”

“No, but unless they’re packing silver, I’ll live.” I twisted to peer at Zach. “Do you think they’re packing silver?”

Zach was silent for a beat longer than I expected. “Probably not.”

I ran my fingers through my hair and bit back curses. “How does a biker gang know about us, anyway?” Angelica had known exactly who I was when she returned my call, and our first conversation hadn’t led me to expect the beginning of a beautiful friendship when I showed up to meet her at the bar.

“She is a witch,” Zach reminded me.

“I thought she was probably a fake.”

“Look on the bright side. Since she’s the real thing, she’s much more likely to have a powerful stone.”

“Yes, but will she give it to us?” That was the big question, and we weren’t going to get an answer until I got out of the car and went inside.

“I guess that depends on you.” Zach’s eyes met mine, and I knew he hated that every bit as much as David did. Maybe more, since it went against his alpha nature to sit and wait while his mate went into danger. When this was all over, I was going to have some major beast-soothing to do.

Night Music

Meghan Davies has been living a dream as the bass player for the all-female hit rock band, The Sirens. But the dream becomes a nightmare with the discovery that cancer, undetected and now too far gone, heralds the end of everything.

Romney Kearns has been watching the sharp-tongued, flame haired woman from afar, wanting, but never approaching because he can offer her nothing but death.

When he discovers that death already has her marked, he sets out on All Hallow’s Eve to seduce her, claim her, and make her willing to accept his dark offer. An alternative. Not life as she’s known it, but a kind of rebirth. Eternity with him and immortality for her to make night music.

  • Romance Junkies 5 Blue Ribbon Award
  • Just Erotic Romance Reviews, 4 Stars
  • Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 Angels

“Night Music is a continuation of The Sirens’ story that was begun in The Gripping Beast. This does not disappoint. Meghan is a fantastic character that refuses to let life beat her down. Romney is the perfect sensual match for her.”

– Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 Angels

“Although Night Music is part of The Sirens series, this short story can stand on its own. The characters are surprisingly well developed for the length of the story…This fast paced story is a quick and easy read that also satisfies. The steaming hot sex is just right.”

– Joyfully Reviewed

“A smooth and well-written paranormal romance makes NIGHT MUSIC a welcome addition to the Beginnings Anthology. Meghan is a heroine with heart, grit and spirit. Good characterization and clever pacing makes NIGHT MUSIC a wicked pleasure.”

– Wantz Upon a Time, 4 Books

“Charlene Teglia created a wonderful story in Night Music. It is a short story packed with emotion. Charlene Teglia combines incredible characters, out of the world passion, and superb writing into a book not to be missed.”

– TwoLips Reviews, 4 Kisses

“Charlene Teglia’s Night Music is the second story in The Sirens series that she started with the full length novel, Gripping Beast. The love scenes are explosive…Ms. Teglia is a gifted story teller.”

– Just Erotic Romance Reviews, 4 Stars

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.

Copyright 2006 Charlene Teglia
Samhain Publishing
All rights reserved

Meghan wasn’t surprised to see the orchids waiting for her when the band finished for the night. They were signed with nothing more than the initials R.K., but she knew they came from her mysterious Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. He never spoke to her, although she often saw him at their concerts, no matter where in the world they performed.

This was their last live performance of the year, so she would have been amazed if he hadn’t sent her flowers, even if she hadn’t seen him in the audience.

She was going to miss the flowers. Meghan wondered briefly if he’d send them to her funeral, then dismissed the thought as ghoulish. It might be Halloween tonight, but that was no reason to dwell on the dark future. The present mattered, and in the present she could enjoy the shape and scent of orchids and be happy that somebody had thought of her.

In spite of the increasing incidence of violence from stalkers, Meghan’s mystery man didn’t worry her. Not just because she was a dead woman anyway, but because Lorelei wasn’t worried. And because he fascinated Meghan. She was always a little disappointed when he vanished after a performance.

“He sent you flowers again,” Lorelei said, appearing beside her as if conjured by the thought of her name.

“You didn’t think he’d forget tonight, did you?” Meghan asked.

“No.” Lorelei touched one blossom with a fingertip. “Invite him home with you.”

“I’d have to talk to him to do that,” Meghan pointed out.

Lorelei smiled at her. “He has a backstage pass.”

“And you know this because you’re psychic?”

“I know this because I gave it to him. I checked him out. Erik checked him out. Erik says he can afford you, by the way.”

Erik had high standards when it came to finances. Mystery Man had serious net worth. That might be nice to know if she was contemplating anything long-term, but long-term was not an option.

“I’m not exactly in the market for a relationship,” Meghan said. “And you know why.” It was unfair and it pissed her off, and anger gave her voice a serrated edge.

Lorelei shrugged. “So don’t have a relationship. Have sex. He looks like he’d make it worth your while.”

Meghan felt her mouth twitch. “Go out with a bang.”

“Well, you can limit yourself to hands if you want to, but I think you’ll be missing out.” Lorelei gave her a wicked look, then went to join her husband across the room, as if the conversation had given her ideas. Or maybe she just wanted to work off the charge built up from performing. The Sirens played sexually charged music rumored to have a very enjoyable impact on the audience’s libido.

It affected Meghan’s libido, enough to make her seriously consider taking Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome home with her.

Go out with a bang. That would be some trick or treat. Well, why not? She wasn’t too tired. She’d rested all day and the performance hadn’t drained her. At least, if it had she wasn’t feeling it yet. This was likely to be her last opportunity, and Lorelei was right, he did look like he’d make it worth her while. He looked predatory and dangerous and not at all gentle.

That suited her mood. Meghan didn’t want gentle. She wanted release from the unbearable tension inside her, the anger and want and need abrading her nerves. Angry because she wasn’t finished, wasn’t ready. She wanted more, needed more, and couldn’t find it in herself to accept her fate.

Fate could kiss her ass.

She was going to miss out on plenty. She didn’t have to miss out on tonight. If he came backstage. If he gave her an opportunity, Meghan was going to take it.

And then he was there, in front of her. He seemed even more dangerous up close. Good.

Meghan gave him a long look. “You didn’t disappear this time.”

Rom smiled at her, liking her attitude, her straightforward manner. She didn’t flirt. She simply stood there and looked at him, an attitude of sexual challenge in the line of her body and her posture and her eyes that said come and get me if you dare.

He dared.

“No. I didn’t disappear this time.”

She smiled then, her red-lipsticked mouth curving in that shape that made him want to take a bite. “I should ask you your name. I should ask you what you do.”

“My name is Romney Kearns. I do software.”

“Oh.” Her soft smoky gaze moved over him in unhurried, lingering exploration. The way her eyes turned darker told him she liked what she saw. “You don’t look like a geek. Not skinny enough.”

“Too much pizza,” Rom explained.

She nodded. “The staple of software wizards. I guess you’re safe to leave with, then.”

“Not safe,” he corrected softly. He smiled into her eyes and gave in to the desire to taste her. One taste, in a room full of people. He could take that much and be certain it wouldn’t go too far. His hands spread over her shoulders, drew her close. His head lowered to hers.

Her mouth was soft, sweet, filled with dark mystery and living heat. Hunger grew and licked at them both with fiery tongues. The kiss deepened, turned savage. Rom tasted the bright copper flavor of blood and gentled, kissing it away, savoring each drop and the essence of her.

Hunger thrummed in his veins, and it was an effort not to scrape his teeth over her lower lip and spill more. He wanted to sink his teeth deep into her flesh and drink until his thirst was quenched.

Rom knew his eyes burned when he loosened his hold and set her from him. “I’m not safe at all. You should run away.”

She touched the tip of her tongue to the graze in her lower lip. “I’m not much for aerobics. Not much for playing it safe, either.”

“No,” Rom agreed, still tasting the sweet, reckless flavor of her. She tasted wild, hot, as if the life that was slipping away wanted to use itself up.

He didn’t want to take her home with him, to the suite of offices and living space he shared with Val. He didn’t want to share her or this night with Val, and not because he wanted to spare the man’s feelings. Rom wanted to mark her, to possess her, claim her, and instinct told him to take her far from any potential rivals. He had never wanted another woman the way he wanted this one. He wanted her alone and aware of only him.

“We’ll go to your place. Invite me.”

Her brows arched at his wording. “You’re invited.”

“I accept.” Rom picked up a blossom in one hand and placed the other on the warm curve of her waist. He tucked the flower behind her ear, in the long fall of her hair.

The flower’s exotic perfume mingled with the scent of aroused woman. The change heightened all senses, allowing him to note minute differences in respiration, the rush of blood beneath the skin heralding a blush—the thousand tiny physical signs of human reaction were his to read. Fear, deception, lust, they all marked the body in various ways.

Meghan wasn’t hiding anything from him and she didn’t fear him. She wanted him. That might change, but for now the pulse beating at her throat meant desire. The musky scent of her heat made the hunger sharpen. He pictured her naked, limbs open and sprawled in invitation, allowing him to taste her everywhere.

The thought alone strained his control. It may have been a mistake to go to her without feeding elsewhere first, but he hadn’t wanted to wait. He’d waited long enough already.

The Gripping Beast

Sirens Book 1

The wild magic that brought them together is nothing compared to what they find in each other’s arms.

Lorelei Michaels, flamboyant lead vocalist of the all-female rock band The Sirens, has a passion for myths and legends. She just never expected to find herself actually living one.

While touring with the band, a Viking armband with an interesting history and a design known as the gripping beast throws her into a time warp full of Norsemen, macho attitudes and a lamentable lack of modern amenities.

Upon seeing the strange, beautiful woman being auctioned off, Erik Thorolfsson was mesmerized. Until the slave trader put his hands on her. With a roar of rage and sword drawn, he charged forward to take that which he wanted for his own. But he discovers owning her isn’t enough. He has to make her his – for all time.

print ISBN: 1-59998-055-X

  • 2006 Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominee, Best Erotic Romance
  • Romantic Times 4 1/2 Star Top Pick
  • Love Romances Reviewer’s Choice Golden Rose Award

“This book is more than an erotic bedtime story — it’s an entrancing tale of romantic love, with sensual scenes and characters that will live in readers’ minds for a long time.” – Romantic Times 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK

“I very much enjoyed The Gripping Beast! It’s a well-written romantic tale that captivated me from the beginning. The Gripping Beast is a book I intend to read again and again!” – Joyfully Reviewed

“Ms. Teglia has created the ideal time travel story. By the end of this novel, I had no doubt these two were in love and felt their connection in every passage.” – Just Erotic Romance Reviews, 4.5 Stars

“THE GRIPPING BEAST is time travel fantasy at its best. Charlene Teglia is quickly working her way onto my automatic buy list. She’s truly a talented and promising author.” – Romance Reviews Today

“The Gripping Beast is one of the best time travel romances I have ever read. Keep an eye on this author and publisher.” – Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 Angels

“If you haven’t heard of Charlene Teglia, you will soon. I loved this story! Not only are the characters original, the story is unusual, the humor catching.” – Romance Divas, 4 1/2 Stars

“The author describes Viking times so well that you can almost picture yourself on the longboat. Lorelei and Erik are never boring, always challenging each other. Lorelei helps Erik find his sense of humor as well as love. I picked this one up and did not put it down until the last page.” – The Romance Studio, 4 Hearts

“THE GRIPPING BEAST is a great book full of action and adventure that readers will dive into and stay until the very end. Charlene Teglia has a knack for creating wonderful stories with interesting characters that will keep readers coming back for more.” – Romance Junkies, 4 Blue Ribbons

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.

Copyright 2006 Charlene Teglia
Samhain Publishing
All rights reserved

“You would do well to look for an advantage in trade, not battle,” Erik lectured as he kept a firm grip on Harold’s broad shoulder and drew him along. Harold would do even better to learn to think before acting, he continued silently.

Harold responded with the crooked smile that never failed to charm a woman and was indirectly responsible for the fact that Erik was stuck with him for the summer.

“Brother, where is the fun in that? Four long weeks I’ve spent, watching you haggle in the marketplace. It lacks excitement. If that is all you come to Hedeby for, you may continue alone. I for one must have some sport before I find myself at sea with you once more.”

His intent was clear in the longing gaze he fixed on a curvaceous wench.

Erik sighed inwardly. A woman was the reason for Harold’s banishment from home for the summer. Apparently, he had failed to learn a lesson from the beating Gudred’s brother had given him for stealing a kiss.

The reminder that Harold was not alone in his needs irked him further. But duty must come first, Erik reminded himself. While he had nearly completed his trading, he thought he might still find some small and profitable items to add to the goods already loaded onto his longboat in exchange for its former cargo of rich Northern furs, amber and falcons.

“There will be time for that when the ice keeps us home.” Erik delivered the firm reminder with a stern look.

Then he cursed his choice of words inwardly. If Harold did not learn to behave himself at home, his penchant for indiscriminate wenching and brawling would soon have him outlawed and banished permanently. Their father, Thorolf, might be jarl, but he could ill afford failure to enforce the laws on his own family.

The northern summers didn’t last long, and it was only once a year that they could venture out on the long trading voyages so vital to the prosperity of the Norse settlements. Cloth they couldn’t weave themselves like the fine brocades from the Byzantine, patterned silks from China and the blue wools dyed with woad from Frisia were much in demand, as were the spices, metals and leather goods to be found in the large trade centers.

“You are well acquainted with ice,” Harold muttered under his breath in reply.

But he followed Erik’s wide strides along the wooden planking that covered the muddy streets.

Then he brightened, seeing the direction Erik was taking, a direct route to a slaver displaying his wares. “Ah, I take it back,” he teased. “I see we think alike after all.”

Erik paused to shoot a mistrustful glance at Harold. “You have an interest in trade now?”

“Of a certainty,” his brother vowed.

Erik shook his head. He did not believe for the time it took to take one step that Harold shared his interest in the Egyptian glass works in the temporary tent set up between the town’s permanent traders and the outer ramparts. The flattened glass oblongs were used to press pleats into linen skirts. The opportunity to supply such a fashionable novelty struck him as a good choice to round out his return cargo, likely to prove highly lucrative.

“Oh, by Thor, what a fine idea,” Harold continued. He gave Erik an affectionate clout which that recipient longed to return in force. “I like the look of that one.” Harold waved a cheerful hand towards a group of girls that stood between the two men and their goal.

Erik sighed inwardly again. He might have known. The day Harold grew interested in serious matters, Loki would be running loose and Ragnarok would begin. He doubted that Harold had even noticed the Egyptian’s tent the previous day.

“So does the crowd,” Harold went on. “He is offering her up first. What an odd dress she has on,” he added in surprise. “Perhaps she comes from the far east.”

Distracted from his purpose, Erik stared first at his brother, then at the object of his attention.

The foreign woman was indeed dressed oddly. And very beautifully. The flowing green gauze hid little and the upper part of the dress, if it was a dress, revealed even more. Erik felt his heart slam against the wall of his chest and stop.

Beautiful. She was a vision of loveliness. Erik had never seen a woman with the look she had, not in any part of the world he had visited. Sleek black hair fell in a glossy swath to her narrow waist and light green eyes sparkled like emeralds above exotic high cheekbones.

He didn’t realize he had come to a complete halt and was gaping at the dark woman like a man ensorcelled. He knew only that she was beauty come warmly to life, and at that moment he wanted nothing more than to simply look at her for the rest of his days. That was his only thought, until he realized that every other man, save a blind beggar, was looking at her, also. And that the slaver, probably thinking to get a higher price for her, had ordered her to strip.

He wasn’t quite certain what happened next, and perhaps it all happened simultaneously. The man put his hands on her. She started to shriek and fight like a berserker. And Erik drew his sword.

He didn’t notice when his brother and the crew, trailing behind them, followed suit. He didn’t know they took up his roar of rage and charged into the fight at his lead.

He only knew he would kill every man standing who saw what he wanted for himself alone.

The hapless slave trader might never know what provoked the Vikings to charge down on him, but he demonstrated an instinct for self-protection as he thrust the woman between his own body and the crazed Norse giant ready to cleave him with a sword.

Through a red haze of fury, Erik caught the woman around her waist and yanked her against his side as he thrust the point of his sword against the coward’s throat. Then a thread of sanity returned and stayed his arm.

He could not start a bloodbath in the trade port.

He could not set such a terrible example for Harold. As it was, he cursed inwardly at the sight of his delighted sibling exchanging blows with a burly Moor. And his men. They lived in adjoining farmsteads. They looked to his father for leadership, and expected him to prove himself a worthy leader.

He would not lead them into lawlessness. The days of going Viking were in the past. With the establishment of the Danelaw and the treaty with Alfred of Wessex, as well as the settlement in Normandy by conquering raiders, peaceful trade replaced plundering as a means for gaining wealth.

Decided, Erik flipped a silver coin in the air and slashed sideways with his sword.

The halved coin fell at the slaver’s feet. He felt at his throat as if checking to be certain it was intact before he reached down for the coin.

“Half,” Erik grated out in rough Arabic.

“All,” the man returned slyly, glancing around. “I’ll need to replace the girl. Do you think I can make an honest living in this way?”

It was the wrong tactic. A flash of the ornate sword hacked the coin again and left one quarter lying in the dirt. The rest he handed to Harold. “The bargain is done,” he stated, holding the cowardly little man’s eyes.

Defeated, the man nodded.

Erik scanned the crowd gathered around the fighters with equal directness. There were no challenges. They’d witnessed the bargain struck.

Satisfied, he turned and strode to the tent displaying the flat glass oblongs and pointed at them. “I want some of these,” he informed Harold, speaking Norse once more. “Take care of it and deliver them to the ship.”

Then he left the Egyptian merchant facing the band of Vikings and made for his longboat with the woman under his arm like an unwieldy package.