His plan: hide in plain sight. Not planned: falling in love.
Liam Connell is tantalizingly close to the end of his required sojourn in humanspace. On one hand, he’s eager to return and repair the leprechaun’s dysfunctional governing body. On the other, it means leaving behind his mouthwatering neighbor, Sal.
Salvia Rose Winter is no ordinary woman. She possesses a gene that lights up when leprechauns come near, which would blow his cover—and ruin everything he’s worked for. Yet when he learns he’s being hunted by an old nemesis from the Realm, he has no choice but draw closer to her for safety.
Sal never believed her grandmother’s leprechaun tales or that Liam will ever want her for anything other than her computer skills. But when he unexpectedly asks her out on a date, she wonders if wishes really can come true. One smoking hot night later, she’s convinced the answer is yes, oh yes.
By the time Liam realizes his plan has backfired, it’s too late—he’s fallen in love. Which makes her the target of a maniac who’ll stop at nothing to destroy Liam’s future—including murder.
Tropes: This best friends to lovers paranormal romance includes elements of disguise, a fling, a playboy, and unrequited love.
Note: This novella was originally published by Samhain Publishing in 2008. This edition has been reedited, reformatted, and updated with a new cover but has not been substantially altered. It takes place after 1000 KISSES and before SEA CHANGE but absolutely stands alone.
***** An excerpt from LIAM’S GOLD *****
The doorbell buzzed while Liam was in the shower. It was barely audible over the rush of water, even to his sensitive ears. He slid the bar of Irish Spring, his favorite soap, back onto the wire rack, rinsed quickly, and cranked off the faucet.
The doorbell buzzed again.
“Hang on, hang on,” he muttered. It was probably Sal here to fix the computer he’d fried with another virus. She had terrible timing, but if she cooled her heels on the doorstep too long, she’d get pissed and he’d have to pay somebody to repair the demon box.
His cash flow was diverted to other things right now—more important things.
He wrapped himself in a concealing robe and padded, dripping, to the front door. It wasn’t that he was ashamed of his body. He just didn’t want Sal to notice his skin was as flaky as phyllo dough.
He checked the peephole. Sure enough, his next-door neighbor, Ms. Salvia Rose Winter, leaned against the porch column with a scowl on her pretty face and her computer repair kit balanced on her hip. As always, he felt himself lighten at the sight of her, at the funny way her mouth bowed when she frowned. Grabbing a pair of sunglasses, he slipped them on and opened the door with a flourish.
“Hey there, Sal my gal.” Liam flashed his most charming smile, the better to keep Sal’s attention on his face. He needed about a gallon of moisturizer, stat. “Long time, no see.”
Sal pushed up the brim of her cap. Her sky-blue eyes narrowed. “You’re not speaking to me, remember?”
“And here I thought you were the one mad at me.” He’d been avoiding her, but the reason she assumed was not the reason why. “Guess I was wrong. Well, here you are now. Bygones?”
She dug in her repair kit and handed him a Tupperware box. “Gram sent cookies. What’s up with the shades, Cory Hart?”
“Hangover,” he lied. He didn’t have his contacts in, so his shamrock-shaped irises would disclose to any human he wasn’t altogether normal.
“Are you alone? You’d better be alone.” She eyed his plaid robe and wet hair with a suspicious glare.
“Of course I’m alone.” He’d been “alone” more than she realized of late. He was too close to completion to risk much sex. Too close to completion to invite a Finder spawn into his house, but that was a risk he was willing to take since it was Sal.
His gal Sal.
She gave a decisive nod. Her blond ponytail, shoved through the back of her cap, bounced. “I can give you three hours. But don’t bitch me out about firewalls and filtering software this time. Everyone uses firewalls.”
He motioned her in and shut the door. “I couldn’t surf my favorite sites.”
“Porn sites.” Sal tightened her lips, but to him she still looked kissable.
“A guy’s gotta have hobbies.” As they walked through the house, Liam was careful to stay behind her. Not that Sal knew flaking skin was one of the signs, but she had the genetics to recognize him.
Her heritage was the main reason he’d bought the house beside her and her grandmother. Nobody, but nobody, would expect a leprechaun in the final phase of deuchainn to live next door to Finder humans. Nobody would expect a leprechaun in any phase of deuchainn to live next door to Finder humans.
“What stupid thing did you download this time? Lesbian three-ways?” Sal whisked into the master bedroom and wheeled out his office chair. She flexed her hands and fingers over the keyboard.
“Come on. Don’t you think I’ve learned my lesson? It was a greeting card. Probably from your grandmother.” He’d sent it to himself, actually, so he could hose his computer. Viruses concealed the electronic burps and glitches his presence caused in electronic equipment.
“You should get a Mac.” Her voice was gruff, but a tiny smile fluttered across her lips. She inserted a disk and booted up the system in safe mode.
He leaned over her shoulder, close to her ear. She smelled like roses—not her grandmother’s roses, but the whisper-sweet scent unique to Sal. “I appreciate your help, Sal. What would I do without you?”
She hesitated before she answered. Unless he mistook his hearing, which he didn’t, she caught her breath. In a slightly forced voice, she said, “You’re dripping on me.”
He glanced at her chest. A drop of water plopped onto her collarbone and rolled down her creamy skin, glistening like a diamond. Others had spattered her shirt. Her blue cotton tee was more low-cut than usual. Much more. From this angle he could clearly distinguish her firm tits and lacy bra. He’d always loved Sal’s chest, even if he’d never gotten his hands on it.
And he never would. It would be his biggest regret when he completed deuchainn and left humanspace forever.
“Nice shirt. Sexy.” Liam blew across her cleavage. “Is that for me?”
She jerked in shock, and her head clonked against his. “Ouch! What the hell, pervert? No, it’s not for you.” A flush pinkened her skin.
Liam laughed and straightened, rubbing his head. He knew it was for him. He’d known for years, and he was a bad, bad man to tease her.
“You look nice,” he said. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to finish my shower.”
Sal waved, already entranced by the quagmire of his computer issues. He needed to moisturize and put in his contacts before she noticed anything unusual.
© 2018 Jody Wallace