November 1, 2011
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Dawn has suffered centuries of loneliness cooped up in a brass bottle. Now she has fallen in love with her new master, Luke, a stupid thing for a genie to do.
Luke still loves his ex-fiancee and realizes the beautiful
genie he frees from an ancient bottle may be the key to winning
Evelyn back. How can Dawn reconcile what her heart desires
with what duty demands of her?
This book was also sold under the title "I Dream of
"... a magical tale. I was captivated right from the beginning
and couldn't stop reading until I got to the end. If you want to
be charmed, titillated, and entertained get a copy of Magical Dawn."
Stephanie B., Fallen Angel Reviews
Luke Jacobs tugged at the stopper of the ancient brass bottle, but it wouldnt budge. Perched on the edge of the couch, he pulled and twisted, to no avail. Frustrated, but not defeated, he clamped the bottle between his knees and yanked as hard as he could. With a satisfactory pop, the stopper jerked free.
Victorious, he smiled and peered into the opening. A few tendrils of green smoke curled up out of the bottle like unsteady fingers testing the air in the room.
What the hell? Startled, he plunked the bottle down on the coffee table and dropped backwards into the plush fabric of the couch. He watched as the smoke flickered one way and then the other, rising slowly, tentatively upwards. More smoky plumes followed until a tall, narrow cloud hung over the bottle, then moved en masse to the floor and hovered there momentarily.
The wispy mass compressed into a tight plume, then coalesced into a discernible shape, a shape that captured his attention as no other could. Before him stood the most exotic, breathtaking woman he had ever seen. He rubbed his eyes and blinked several times, but she still stood there staring at him.
in a harem costume.
She stood quietly for a moment or two, as though assessing the situation, then pressed her hands together as if in prayer and inclined her head forward.
Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. Her words, spoken in a deep, melodious alto, intrigued him. I am most appreciative.
Her speech seemed a bit stilted, with a slightly foreign flavor. Thank you for freeing me from the bottle? Was this some kind of joke?
Good Lord, hed had a few drinks at the company celebration this afternoon, but not enough to conjure a hallucination like this.
Bemused, Lukes curious gaze followed the curves of her body. Her bodice, made of a dark green velvet, was cut quite low, revealing the swell of her breasts. Though she seemed quite composed, her breasts rose and fell slowly, as though she was taking deep, calming breaths. He forced his lingering gaze onward, past her bare midriff to her hips, encased in the same material as her top. A full skirt of sheer fabric, in varying shades of green, billowed to the floor.
He swung his gaze back to her face and focused on her eyes, which were a striking, almost unnatural shade of emerald green.
Who are you?
My name is Dawn. That is, of course, a translation into your language.
Of course, he answered, as if he understood what the heck she was talking about. He didnt know how the hell shed done that trick with the smoke, but he figured the best thing to do would be to go along with her until he found out what she was up to. How did you get in here? This is a secure building.
I told you, I was in the bottle. When you carried it here, you brought me as well. She flicked her long, dark hair--captured into a ponytail which flowed from a little velvet pill-box cap on the top of her head--back over her shoulder.
Youre joking, right? He smiled at her, wondering how shed arranged to get into his apartment and why. He would have to talk to security about this. Later.
No, Im quite serious. Her eyes glittered, as though angry that he would challenge her claim.
So, youre a genie and youre going to grant me three wishes. Isnt that the way it goes?
Actually, you are not limited to three. I am bound to stay with you and grant as many wishes as you please. She said the words as though she didnt care, but hed conducted enough high-level negotiations in his business dealings in the computer software industry to detect the slight strain in her voice. He ignored that for now, more concerned with why she was here.
Really? How interesting. He stood up and strolled around her, scrutinizing her from every angle, his index finger tapping his lips as he considered the possibilities. Someone had put her up to this hoax. The question was, who?
The obvious answer, of course, was George, Lukes best friend and partner. Remembering how Grant, the foreman of the construction crew working on Lukes new corporate headquarters, had given him the bottle earlier today at the ground-breaking ceremony, he realized it could easily have been a set up orchestrated by George. He had been pushing Luke to start dating again for the past three months--ever since Evelyn, Lukes fiancée, had broken their engagement.
But Luke hadnt wanted to date anyone else. Hed found himself comparing every woman to Evelyn. The memory of their breakup still sent pain lancing through his heart. Was it because he still loved her or because, as George insisted, he simply couldnt stand the thought of losing his dream of happily-ever-after?
Luke mentally shrugged. George knew Luke better than anyone, but he had never liked Evelyn, a fact that had disturbed Luke immensely. Not that George had ever said anything against Evelyn or tried to convince Luke not to marry her. Luke had just known.
Over the past few months, George kept offering to introduce him to one woman or another. He had turned him down each time. Seeing this lovely woman, he now wondered if hed been a fool. In fact, it surprised him that George hadnt kept her a secret, dating her himself. Luke didnt think he would be so generous if the situation was reversed.
She stood very still under his scrutiny. He stopped circling and stood in front of her. Suddenly, she exhaled sharply and blurted, You dont believe me, do you?
He laughed, trying to decide whether to go along with her or toss her out. Seeing the flush of pink on her cheeks and the rapid rise and fall of her breasts as she drew indignant breaths, he decided that he definitely would not throw her out. This could be a lot of fun--and he hadnt had fun in ages.
I do. Youre a genie.
She pursed her lips. Dont lie to me.
He held his hands up as though to fend her off. Hey, Im willing to go along with this. Dont get huffy.
She planted her hands firmly on her hips, which had the effect of thrusting her breasts forward. This is serious. Dont you understand that?
He put his hands on her shoulders in an attempt to calm her down. Of course, I do. Relax.
Once his skin came into contact with hers, he realized that touching her had not been the wisest move. Their gazes met and locked. He could feel his chest expanding and contracting, each breath an effort. His hands slipped over the silky skin of her shoulders and down her arms, pulling her closer. He could see tiny grains of gold in the depths of her emerald eyes, like sparks of electricity. Her pupils dilated as she gazed up at him, widening to swallow the glittering green of her irises. Her skin pebbled under his fingers and he felt her shiver.
He released her and stepped back, breaking the spell.
During that moment of indulgence, he had come dangerously close to kissing her. Shock cascaded through him. At how easy it had been to forget Evelyn and his pain at having lost her. At how easy it would have been to pull Dawn into his arms and lose himself in her lush curves. At how easy it would be to forget himself entirely.
He realized he still wanted to kiss this woman, yet he knew nothing about her. In fact, she had probably been paid to have a date with him.
A sordid thought jolted into his brain. His eyes narrowed. Are you a hooker?
She raised an eyebrow. A hooker? What is that?
He smiled, despite himself. She really was into this genie role. You know ... a lady of the evening, a ... concubine?
Her eyes darkened, turning a beautiful shade of moss green with the golden sparks blazing hotly in their depths. She drew her shoulders back and raised her chin defiantly.
I am not a hooker! she said regally, glaring at him.
Relief washed through him and he couldnt help smiling at her look of indignation. He raised his hands in a loose shrug. All right, just making sure. Tell me, what is the point of your little visit? What wishes will you fulfill?
Her shoulders drooped a little as she answered. Whatever you command.
He smiled again, confused but willing to play along. If she had been a hooker he would have sent her on her way. Gazing at her beautiful face, at the gentle curve of her cheek, and the fringe of black lashes, impossibly long, that flickered across her eyes when she blinked, he decided there was no way she could be a hooker. Despite her brave stance, somehow she looked vulnerable and--innocent. But, of course, in this day and age that didnt make any sense. A woman as beautiful as this would not still be innocent,
especially if she made a habit of going around in a skimpy little outfit like this one. The mere sight of it made his pulse pound.
Look, I know you dont believe I am what I say I am, so why dont you wish for something to prove it? she suggested.
Maybe the drinks at the celebration party had affected him more than he thought, because he found the desire to touch her almost irresistible.
All right. I wish you would kiss me, he said, his mouth forming the words before his mind could stop them.
What the hell had come over him?
Curiosity, he reasoned. He desperately wanted to know why this woman--above all others--affected him this way. Surely she wouldnt begrudge him one little kiss. And if she did, she could simply refuse.
Her eyes flashed wide, and she gasped, but immediately stepped toward him. Her scent intoxicated him, a heady perfume of exotic wildflowers and spices. Her face flushed a deep rose color as she brought her lips to his in a light kiss. His arms slid around her automatically, and he pulled her body against his, capturing her lips again. She struggled to push away from him.
I wish youd be a little more co-operative, he muttered. At his words, she melted against him, her lips moving under his in such a sweet response that he groaned and tightened his embrace.
When he finally released her lips, she exhaled roughly. Please, I dont think you understand what youre doing. She enunciated each word carefully, as she tried to push some distance between them. Wish for something that a mere mortal woman couldnt give you.
He found that suggestion particularly intriguing. Exactly what do you have in mind? he asked, eyebrows raised.
She wriggled a little in his arms, and he reluctantly released her from his embrace. She scurried away, placing herself out of reach.
I mean like asking for something to appear out of thin air or to be transported somewhere. Something that would prove to you that I have magical powers.
he said. You are persistent with this story, arent you?
What did she want from him? It would be easy to prove that she wasnt
a genie with the right wishes, yet she seemed to want to challenge
him. I warn you, I love games, and I play to win. Im
afraid Ill wind up forcing you to admit that this is just
She planted her hands on her hips. No, you will not.
He admired her gumption. She looked ready to take on the world. He cracked his knuckles and wiggled his fingers, dramatically preparing to meet her challenge. Okay, lets see just how good you are at improvisation. He rubbed his hands together. Now, then ... a wish ... a wish... He stroked his chin as he thought carefully. A question skittered into his mind. If he proved she was not a genie, would her mission be over? Would she leave? He realized he didnt want this to end so soon.
All right. How about dinner? he suggested.
This was definitely the right approach. With this wish, she would cook a nice meal they could linger over while he watched her in that incredible costume. He had some microwaveable gourmet meals in the freezer and a fully-stocked wine refrigerator so, if she was resourceful--and somehow he was sure she was--she could pretend to whip something up in a few minutes.
Whenever you want something, you must state your wish. You can start with I wish or I want, but you dont have to, as long as you state clearly what it is you want, she explained.
I want dinner.
For how many?
Oh, just the two of us. He smiled. Now, why dont I just go freshen up? he suggested, wanting to give her the opportunity to prepare the meal and make it appear as though by magic, but as he turned around, a rich aroma teased his nostrils. His gaze flew to the dining room table where a huge feast lay waiting.
I dont know what you like, and Im not sure of your modern foods, so I hope my selections please you.
Stunned, he approached the table and lifted lids off silver platters, amazed at the variety of dishes before him. One platter was heaped with cubed lamb mixed with a thick grain and a variety of vegetables. Another contained chicken with lemon and orange slices, and yet another had large chunks of vegetables spiced with some exotic herbs he couldnt identify. Baskets of bread in various shapes and sizes sat alongside a delicious-looking dessert of a light pastry that smelled of cinnamon. His mouth watered at the delicate aromas.
How had she done this? Summoning his common sense, he realized that a meal would be a predictable part of a date. George would have anticipated it. How shed gotten it in here, he wasnt sure, but then again, his back had been to the dining room. George, or some other accomplice, might be hiding in the kitchen, ready to help fulfill his wishes. For a little while, anyway.
It looks great, Dawn.
Thank you. I only wish to please you, she said as she inclined her head.
Really? Luke asked, raising his eyebrows.
She backed away and added hastily, I know youre still not convinced. Please, try another wish.
Okay. I wish for a beautiful woman to share this meal with. He turned back to the table, expecting Dawn to sit with him, but as he pulled a chair out for her, a sultry voice startled him. Turning, he saw a sexy woman in a slinky black dress approach him. She had auburn hair, cropped short and wispy around her face, and enormous, chocolate-brown eyes. Her seductive smile sent his blood pressure skyrocketing.
What was George up to? Two women? Had this one been hiding in the kitchen? Where had George found two such incredibly beautiful women? He turned back to Dawn and glared at her. This might be the nineties, but he wouldnt have a date with two women. George should know him better than that. Dawn watched him, her green eyes cool and aloof.
Dawn, I only want one woman here, and I want it to be you. He tried to keep the edge of anger out of his voice. After all, she wasnt responsible for Georges bad judgment.
As you wish, she replied.
Turning to the other woman, he started to apologize, but she disappeared right before his eyes. He blinked in confusion. She was simply there one second and gone the next. Luke could feel the color drain from his face. He turned back to Dawn and stared at her. Could she really be...?
No. His logical mind rejected the thought. Then the answer came to him. Dawn must be a magician. Or maybe George had hired an illusionist to help with this little scam. Whatever the explanation, Luke was very impressed.
Dawn joined him at the table as he had requested. Luke sampled the various dishes, enjoying the meal immensely. Most of the selections hed never tried before, and he loved exotic foods. And exotic women, he thought, as he watched Dawn at the other end of the table. Once they had eaten their fill, he guided Dawn to the living room, handing her a glass of wine. He went to start a fire in the fireplace.
me do that, Dawn offered.
All right, go ahead, he said, amused.
You must command it. I cannot perform magic of my own now that I am yours.
Oh, right. I forgot. She was a good actress, he thought. Okay, make a fire for us. Suddenly, a nice fire blazed in the fireplace. She was a good magician, too.
Would you like me to clean up the meal?
Can you do that as quickly as you made it appear?
Okay, go ahead. Clean up. He waved vaguely at the table, pleased that he was getting the hang of this little act. He sank onto the sofa, his wine glass in his hand and waited. She continued to stand expectantly before him.
Whats the matter? Do you want me to help?
No, its all done.
He swung his head around and saw that the dining room table had been completely cleared. How the hell had she done that? He swallowed hard to ease his tightening throat. He glanced back at her uncertainly.
Uh, come over here and sit down, Dawn. Luke patted the sofa cushion beside him. Do you think we could get rid of whoevers hiding in the kitchen?
There is no one hiding, she said as she sat beside him. Look, I know you still dont believe me, but theres no one helping me. These arent just illusions.
He heard the frustration in her voice--and something else. He watched as she wrung her hands together and stared at him intently. He sensed she didnt want to be here. So why had she taken a job like this? Spending the evening in a strange mans apartment wasnt the safest thing to do, especially in such a revealing costume.
Was she in need of money?
He didnt like the thought of her doing something potentially dangerous because of money problems. Maybe he could find her a job at Jacobs Industries.
Good Lord, he didnt even know this woman and he was thinking about offering her a job. What was it about her?
He scrubbed his hand across his face. Or maybe, the problem was with him. Over the past few weeks, the pressures of making preparations for the new building and closing an important deal with a new software distributor had been weighing heavily on him. Tonight those cares had slipped away.
And for the first time since his breakup with Evelyn, he didnt feel lonely.
All because of Dawn.
Before this was through, he would find out more about her. He did not want her doing this sort of thing with other strange men.
There must be something you could wish for that would prove to you that I am a genie, Dawn said.
Her persistence in trying to convince him spoke highly of her potential to do well in his company. Okay, what would you suggest?
Well, I could transport you somewhere.
You mean fly somewhere on a magic carpet?
Never mind. Luke stared past her into the depths of the fire behind the brass screen, sipping his wine.
I could make a huge chest of riches appear.
Her obsession to convince him she was a genie, although commendable, started to stretch his patience. That wouldnt prove anything. It could be done in the same way as the meal.
What if I make something very large materialize in the room, something that could not have been hidden in another room or even brought through a doorway?
He laid his wine glass on the coffee table. You mean like an elephant or something? No, thanks.
Her hands clenched at her sides, and she stared at him with large eyes filled with distress. I must find some way to convince you.
She appeared so anxious and vulnerable. Why was it so important to her to convince him of this hoax? Had George promised her some kind of bonus if she succeeded in convincing Luke of the impossible?
From the look of her, she desperately wanted that extra cash. Just how much did she need money? And why?
A surge of protectiveness raced through him. Succumbing to an irresistible urge to touch her again, he took her hands in his own. She quivered under his touch.
Dawn, do you need money?
She shook her head. No, I have no need of such things.
She didnt need money? But then, she might just be staying in character. He stared at her face, but her gaze avoided his. On the other hand, maybe hed been reading her wrong all along, and she was simply uncomfortable around him.
Dawn, do I make you nervous?
She glanced up at him, hesitating before she spoke. A little.
He released her hands, and she immediately crossed her arms over her chest as though she were trying to hide herself. Luke got the distinct impression that she would prefer to be wearing something other than this skimpy costume. If she was so uncomfortable in the outfit, why in heavens name had she taken this role?
did you bring something else to change into?
She cast her gaze down again, shaking her head.
Could it be that she was uncomfortable because her attire contrasted so sharply from the dark grey suit he still wore after a day at the office? Pulling away from her slightly, he said, I know. Why dont I change into something more comfortable?
She glanced up at him. Like what?
I was thinking of my ... robe and slippers, he offered. He had meant to say jeans and a sweatshirt, but fantasies of sitting with this deliciously sexy woman in front of the fire and slowly stripping off his robe and making love with her--actually of her stripping off his robe and making love to him--had forced his tongue around a different set of words than hed intended.
The drinks hed had at the party, along with the wine at dinner, had loosened him up more than hed realized. This gorgeous woman affected him more than any woman ever had. Even Evelyn. His gaze skimmed Dawns curves again. In fact, for the first time since his breakup with his Evelyn, he started to think maybe it was time to move on.
But not with this woman. He sighed as she glanced at him nervously. Damn it, he could tell she wasnt the kind of woman to want a brief affair, despite her choice of job. Why she had chosen to be here tonight, he didnt know, but it was clear she didnt do this kind of thing often.
He expected Dawn to politely set him straight as to the boundaries of this evening, but she shocked him by saying, Why not let me change you?
What? His eyes widened, and his pulse started to race at the thought. Maybe he was wrong about her. Would the fantasy that had been stirring his hormones into a swirling turmoil since hed first seen this woman come true after all? She had been so shocked at his suspicion that she might be a hooker, and yet, now she made this outrageous suggestion.
He couldnt help testing the theory. That ... could be fun. Theyre in the bedroom. Ill go get them, he said, as he started to get up.
No, you dont have to. Just say change me.
Thoughts of her fingers skimming his chest as she undid the buttons down the front of his shirt sent his breathing into an accelerated rate. He could imagine her pushing his shirt from his shoulders, then her hand sliding down his chest to his waist. His skin tingled in anticipation. Next, she would open his belt, then slip the top button of his pants free. The thought of her fingers sliding down the zipper of his fly caused his lower anatomy to swell, pressing uncomfortably against the fabric of his suit pants.
Change me. His words came out low and husky.
He watched her expectantly, then realized with a start that something had changed. The texture of fabric against his skin seemed different. The discomfort hed felt a moment ago had disappeared as though the barrier of cloth itself had gone. Glancing down at himself, he saw that he now had on the robe and slippers in question--and nothing, he realized, underneath.
He could feel his face drain of color, and he stared at Dawn in utter amazement. No one could remove and replace the clothes from his body without him being aware of it.
There was only one answer.
He must be drunk!
Luke promptly passed out.
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