Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Monday, May 04, 2009

A Little Light Magic - Excerpt 1

Days 'till Memorial Day: 21

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 22

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 48

Today and tomorrow's Countdown features a two-part excerpt of A Little Light Magic!

Note: Catch me tomorrow Tues May 5th LIVE! on Rowena Cherry's Crazy Tuesday Passionate Voices Internet Radio Show "Magic, Sex and Secrets" at 10 am ET. (If you can't make it at 10 am, - not to worry! The show will be added to the Crazy Tuesday archives.)

When a girl with no family meets a guy with too much…

For Tori Morgan, family’s a blessing the universe hasn’t sent her way. Her parents are long gone, her chance of having a baby is slipping away, and the only thing she can call her own is a neglected old house. What she wants more than anything is a place where she belongs…and a big, noisy clan to share her life.

For Nick Santangelo, family’s more like a curse. His nonna is a closet kleptomaniac, his mom’s a menopausal time bomb and his motherless daughter is headed for serious boy trouble. The last thing Nick needs is another crazy female making demands on his time.

But summer on the Jersey shore can be an enchanted season, and love can bring together the most unlikely prospects. A hard-headed contractor and a lonely reader of Tarot cards and crystal prisms? All it takes is…A LITTLE LIGHT MAGIC.

Chapter One

It’s tough being alone in the world, with no family to turn to.

Nick Santangelo double-checked the address. Yep, he was in the right place, but he could hardly believe it. The little pink house was a mess—and that assessment was generous. The only thing it had going for it was its location, location, and location. And that, as they said in the business, was everything.

The property was half a block from the Jersey shore’s quirkiest tourist attraction—a 128-year-old oversize wooden elephant affectionately known as Lucy. Luckily for the six-story pachyderm, she faced the ocean, not the neglected property tucked into the downscale alley behind her sizable derriere. His prospect was wedged between a dive bar and a tired summer rental that had surely seen its share of lost security deposits.

He paralleled his truck into a space a foot too short to be comfortable and got out to take a better look, leaving his keys in the ignition and the motor running. The place was twenty feet wide, tops, and maybe three times as deep. Peeling paint adorned the cracked stucco, and the sun shone through rips in a faded green awning. Some kind of formless music drifted through the open bay window. He peered through the dirty screen and made out the shape of a woman moving around inside.

According to Doris’s notes, the owner, a Victoria Morgan, didn’t want anything major. Just enough work to allow the front room to open as a retail shop. But she needed the job done ASAP, before the summer season got into full swing. Not much hope of that. Memorial Day had already come and gone.

He looked up, at shingles that were starting to curl. Now, a teardown and rebuild—that might interest him. But a code touch-up on a postage stamp? Why the hell was Doris wasting his time with this? His secretary knew better than that.

He scanned the prospect sheet attached to his clipboard and found his answer. The owner, Victoria Morgan, was the grandniece of Doris’s recently deceased friend Millie Whittaker. He vaguely remembered Doris taking a day off to attend the funeral. Apparently, this Ms. Morgan had inherited the old Whittaker place and was in dire need of a contractor.

Dire need. Doris had underlined the words in red felt-tip and added three exclamation points.

Nick snorted. What was he, a freaking doctor?

He tossed the clipboard back into the truck. Lord knew he’d do as much for Doris as he would for his own mother, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. He had three crews working overtime on the largest project Santangelo Construction had ever tackled—a job that had fallen behind schedule. No way could he fit this rehab in. Not even as a favor to the world’s best office manager.

He checked his watch as he climbed the cracked concrete steps. Five twenty-nine. Right on time, and he couldn’t wait long—there was a mountain of paper he had to move across his desk before tomorrow. Mentally, he plotted out his evening. Two minutes to explain he couldn’t do the job, five to drive home and grab a sandwich, fifteen to get back to his office in Atlantic City.

He rapped on the frame of a battered screen door. “Hello?”

No answer.

He pounded again, harder this time.

“What? Oh! Just a minute.”

The door opened. “Hi,” a breathless voice said. “Can I help you?”

Nick opened his mouth to answer, then took a good look at the woman standing in the doorway and shut it again.

She wasn’t at all what he’d expected.

Not that he’d been expecting anything. But if he had been expecting something, it wouldn’t have been a freckled pixie with wild black curls and streaks of silver paint smudged across her nose. Her eyes were green, her skin was flushed, and her full red lips drove every thought out of his head and straight to his groin.

Oh, man. This was not good.

Despite his best effort at nonchalance, his gaze flicked to her chest, and, Lord, that was a mistake, because she was wearing a stretchy scoop-necked tee with no bra. Her breasts were just the kind he liked—round and firm, not too big, not too small. Her highlighter-green knit top stretched from peak to peak, distorting the lettering on the front.

Dance as if no one is watching.

Funny, dancing wasn’t the activity that immediately sprang to mind.

Jesus. Why the hell had he left his clipboard in the truck? It would have come in handy right about now, positioned strategically in front of his belt buckle.

The object of his unexpected lust tilted her head to one side and touched the tip of her tongue to her bottom lip. He nearly groaned out loud. She blinked up at him, one hand on her hip, the other holding a paintbrush dipped in silver paint. She came up only to his chin, but something about her seemed taller.

He floundered around for his lost professionalism. “Ms. Morgan?”


“I’m Nick Santangelo. From Santangelo Construction. You were expecting me?”

“Oh. Yes! Yes, I was. But not until five thirty.”

He checked his watch. “It’s five thirty-two.”

“It is?” She looked genuinely shocked at the news. “I must’ve lost track of the time.” She kicked a remnant of Sunday’s Press of Atlantic City out of the path of the door. “Come in.”

He stepped into a minefield of paint paraphernalia and moving boxes. The screen door slammed behind him, making him start. Broken. Well, why the hell not? Everything else in the house seemed to be, from the dented aluminum stepladder to the beat-up folding table, which was flanked by equally decrepit folding chairs that didn’t match. A battered CD player—complete with duct-taped cord—was gurgling something that was probably supposed to be a clear mountain stream but sounded more like a running toilet.

Ms. Morgan circled her paintbrush at the walls. “What do you think of them?”

He guessed she meant the clouds. They covered all four walls of the twelve-by-twenty room, painted in billowing silver on a field of electric blue. Overhead, faceted crystals hung from the ceiling like stars.

What did he think of it? He looked at Ms. Morgan and entertained a few doubts about her sanity.


He cleared his throat. “It’s … bright.”

“Thanks. I thought so, too.”

“Look, Ms. Morgan—”

“Call me Tori.”

“Okay. Tori. I—”

She turned and started across the room, weaving between the boxes. “I don’t really need much work done. It’s just that the building inspector says I can’t open Destiny’s Gate in the front room while I live in the back without making a few fire code upgrades first.” She bent at the waist to dip her brush into a can of paint. The zigzag hem of her skirt rose, giving Nick a glimpse of smooth skin and a Celtic-knot anklet tattoo.

With an effort, he refocused on a cloud. “Destiny’s Gate?”

“That’s what I’m calling my shop.”

“Um … what do you plan to sell?”

She sidled back into his line of vision and started dabbing paint on the very cloud he’d been staring at. “Oh, tarot cards, crystals, runes, books.” She paused. “I’ll do divination, too. People need to know what the cosmos has in store for them.”

“Divination? You mean like fortune-telling?”

“Some people call it that. I like to call it future sight.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

This week's prizes! Comment on any post from Saturday May 2 to Friday May 8th and register for a chance to win one of three autographed books: Immortals: The Reckoning Anthology, featuring three paranormal novellas, by me, Jennifer Ashley, and Robin T. Popp, Pleasuring the Pirate by Emily Bryan, or Celtic Fire by Joy Nash! Winner chosen by random drawing on May 9.

Coming Tomorrow: Excerpt #2!

See ya!

Joy Nash

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Blogger Caffey said...

Hi Joy!! That thing on the Blog Radio, is it only sound? I wondered since I can't hear so I usually never went cuz I figured it meant it was through hearing it.

Just from reading that blurb first, I could feel both the fun and too the emotions this read will have! Is it considered a contemp or fantasy romance? I just wondered what it was put under.
Got a huge chapter for the excerpt, thanks Joy. Poor Nick and seeing a pink house! I'm falling for him already that he will be her handyman :) I love how Nick's mind is running on his reaction to her and more!
You're kidding you left me with that excerpt?!!? See you tomorrow!

5:14 PM  
Blogger LuAnn said...

What a wonderful book! It sounds like lots of fun to read.

5:29 PM  
Blogger kimmyl said...

I can't wait to read the book it sounds great.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Pam P said...

I can see this is going to be a lot of fun to read, Joy.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Joy, great excerpt, this book sound like a fantastic read. It sounds like a really fun read!

9:13 PM  
Blogger Estella said...

Sounds like a fun bookk to read!

10:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Read chapter 2 first. Not a problem. This sounds like an enjoyable read. Perfect for an afternoon on the porch swing. Look forward to it.

11:50 PM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

I love summer reading...all about getting lost in books...great books!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

12:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Loved the excerpt and can't wait for it to come out.

12:35 AM  
Blogger Carol L. said...

I loved the excerpt and look forward to reading the book. Thanks so much Joy. Love all your writing.
Carol L.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Joy Nash said...

Caffey - yes, the Passionate Voices Internet Radio is only audio. But don't worry, I'll probably manage to blog about everything I covered in the show. Since Rowena's show focuses mostly on the paranormal, we chatted for a time about Candle Magic.

Big highlight of the interview was probably my "equipment malfunction" when I dropped the phone. The headset unplugged, the back popped off, and the battery fell out. Sigh. I had to call back in.

Other than that, the hour went great. Rowena Cherry is a wonderful interviewer with a cool British accent and a love of everything paranormal. And also just about the wittiest romance author I've ever read.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love hte hero's voice in this. I will be adding to my TBR pile!


9:21 AM  

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