written content for Delilah and Dare ©2016 Mischief Ardmore All Rights Reserved
“Oh, shit,” Delilah hissed as she shifted from a bright-eyed doe into a round-bottomed naked girl with warm, golden-brown skin and lavender tinted hair.
Glowing amber eyes—a side effect of the curse she had so not asked for—stared through the gathering of trees, in disbelief, at the opposite side of the lake.
She’d been a deer for over a week this time and, judging by the mountain of crew cut and muscles relaxing on the dock of her once empty safe house, she now had a bigger problem.
There was no doubt in her mind about the guy’s identity; the tawny hair and square jaw were unmistakable. Sure as a deer hated hunters, she was staring at Connor O’Sullivan’s grandson.
What had the old man said his name was again? Oh, yeah; Dare, because the boy’s father, Connor’s son, had approached his mother based on one. Connor had been quite proud of his grandson, too, always going on about how he did something or other in the Army—Special Ops, Special Forces, or something like that.
While it was just fabulous that his grandpa was so proud of the younger man’s chosen profession, it wasn’t going to help Delilah out; nope, not in the slightest. The good-looking specimen, with his rippling arms and denim-clad tree trunk legs, was the real fighting Irish, not some one-hundred-and-forty-pound guy in a Notre Dame t-shirt painstakingly bleeding his dissertation out onto a laptop keyboard.
As far as Delilah was concerned, all Special anything did for Dare was ensure that he would be the furthest thing possible from a gentle, open-minded senior citizen. What were the odds anyone but Connor would accept her story—fleeing big city fallout from a little civil disobedience and getting cursed by a horny cashier in some podunk convenience store?
A snowball’s chance in hell: That’s what the odds were.
Delilah slapped a mosquito away from a pert cocoa-colored nipple and sighed. The sweet old man was dead, and an intimidating stranger had come to claim the only place she felt safe anymore. And, of course, there was still one person (jerk) who would say this current predicament was all her fault.
Okay, sure, she and her former friends—former due to death, not disagreement—probably should have known the business they were protesting so adamantly had been Mob owned. But what kind of idiot believed in warlocks?
Had Delilah known the pimple-faced twit with the nametag and raging hard-on was an actual warlock, she might not have … no; that was a lie. Had she actually believed in them, she still would have done it.
There hadn’t exactly been a sign at the edge of town where her POS Honda broke down warning her she was about to step in a great big, steaming pile of small-town weirdness. Definitely nothing about some moron taking one look at her lavender-dyed hair and piercings, and a second look at her tiny waist and all kinds of juiciness below it and deciding he’d found himself a freaky, nymphomaniac sparerib to gnaw on.
Even for what she had done to him, the “I curse you to randomly shift into a doe in a place where every pickup comes standard with a hunting rifle” was a bit freaking harsh.
Yes, she had laughed at the gangly idiot when he’d asked if she wanted to get it on in the empty bathroom. And, yes, despite possessing an actual “nympho” tattoo dangerously close to her sweet spot—it was not her fault there had been a tattoo parlor next to that bar back in Jacksonville—she hadn’t been interested.
Not only had she been disinterested, she had kicked the jerk in his roasted chestnuts with a worn peace symbol painted dollar store sneaker when he tried to press the issue. Bohemian love child or not, Delilah was still the master of her own fate, and nobody was forcing her butt into a bathroom stall for any reason.
How was she supposed to know that Billy the buck-toothed, small-dicked, harassment hound had some magical bloodline to back up his complete and total lack of couth, anyhow? He had sounded like a whack-job at the time.
Delilah froze in the trees as the giant man—holy hell, even his muscles had muscles—moved to the edge of the dock. He looked like he could win a match with a concrete light pole as he stared right at her from across the lake and asked, “Hello? Anybody out there?”
“Just a naked, cursed nymphomaniac waiting for you to come and stomp her with those giant boots of yours, Godzilla” she muttered, sinking farther back into the land of snakes, sticky tree sap, and mosquito-riddled foliage.
Dare appeared to be somewhere in his thirties—which gave him a good ten years more of life than her. It had probably all been spent bashing in faces and breaking bones—kind of made a girl wonder how angry he’d be, meeting a bona fide cabin-squatter. Hooray, more bad luck for Delilah.
Regardless of how pissed Mr. Special Ops was, she still needed to do something about the “him” situation. Soon. There was no other suitable habitat close-by and unless she lucked into another shift, the disease-ridden bloodsuckers were going to eat her soft human hide alive. What she wouldn’t give for a giant can of super bad for the environment, chemical-laden mosquito repellent.
Delilah slapped at her arm and shook a needle-nosed pest from loose spiral curls framing a heart-shaped face. As if taunting her, the giant retrieved a beer from a battered plastic cooler and stretched back comfortably on a wooden chair across the way.
It figured. Here she was, with twigs and pine needles under her feet, practically starving despite all the berries she’d eaten as a deer. The calories from a bottle of nice, thick stout would have gone a long way in filling her up.
Speaking of stout, she thought as her enhanced vision (thanks, Curse) honed in on him, was that a considerable bulge she spied running down the inside of his pant leg?
Sweet Mother of Lubricated Condoms, Dare was packing a serious Happy Meal in those sawdust-stained dungarees. And the man wasn’t even happy yet.
“Talk about sustenance,” Delilah muttered, toying with the idea of taking her chances and sneaking across the lake for a closer look.
Just when she thought the afternoon couldn’t get any better, a slight drizzle chased most of the mosquitos away. And the man sandwich on the dock flipped the switch on her CD player, took off his shirt, and started dancing.
Delilah licked her lips at rock hard pectorals and a stone-chiseled abdomen as she watched him trying to get into the music. No. Was he seriously doing country line dance moves to a Latin groove?
At first, it was completely stiff and awkward. Frankly, that was what she’d expected from the guy—plain old Wonder Bread with the crusts cut off, regulation style, big guy’s not so limber kind of dancing.
And, yes, she was biased because, frankly, she hadn’t been a fan of line dancing to start. Not to mention the fact that the band in question had put waaaaay too much heart and soul behind their tunes for Sgt. Man Sandwich to crank out a bunch of rusty moves and call it a day.
But, then, as she continued her peeping Tomasina routine from across the water—because he was still so damned pretty, no matter what he did—it was almost like he sensed her watching and loosened up.
She fought the urge to do whistles and catcalls as the big guy put some swing in his hips, made a commitment to the steps, and finally, just let his body ride the beat. His legs grew more limber and assertive as he progressed and then he dipped and turned, shaking his ass—and, oh, what an ass it was—in the direction of the lake. The guys face practically glowed when he finally turned back around, grinning and laughing at himself.
It occurred to Delilah that he seemed relieved to just let go of everything and cut loose. She knew how he felt—well, no, not yet, she didn’t. But, watching the man as he transitioned to dancing with a silent partner, she realized she was going to do an awful lot of feeling all over that body.
The giant on the dock was no monster; he was a living, breathing, hot-as-her-car-engine-when-it-blew-up, man with a Happy Meal stashed in his pants. And he was definitely alone—because any woman in even half of her right mind would have already been out there, making him take off those jeans.
It seemed pretty obvious now that he was baiting her.
How could she possibly be afraid of Dare after watching him shake his ass like that? Connor must have already told him about her situation; maybe he’d left a note somewhere? That sweet old man would do something like that to protect them both.
It was time for a swim.