Story Excerpt Sunday: From Dancing With Cupid by Jennifer Stevenson

Dancing With CupidDancing With Cupid

Slacker Demons Book Three

by Jennifer Stevenson

I called the Lair on my break. Baz answered, my only roommate who’s been a sex demon longer than me. I told him about the new partner.

“Another feminist? Get her stats for the monthly report. We get paid extra for seducing those.”

“This will be snaps, yaiss,” I lilted, remembering my fresh-off-boat act and her superior smile when we were introduced.

“‘Snaps?’” Baz said incredulously.

I laid on the FOB accent. “I am loving these new jobs for certainty. Real success story. Head of firm one day, see if I am not right.”

I could picture Baz’s eyeroll. “Pick up somebody fun for a change.”

“Funs is my middle name.” Someone came to the counter. I amped up the accent. “This job is thee best one yett. I have itt sewn together by Thursday. End of week, thee latest.”

“Dude, pick women up in bars, not at work. You’re a four-hundred-dollar-a-week mail clerk, and she pulls down what, six figures?”

I heard a sniff from the doorway.

I raised my voice. “Oah yaiss, six figures this year, seven in next two years. Hard-asses get paid more. You should have more faith in me.”

“Hard-ass,” Baz said with scorn.

I turned to my visitor.

It was the new partner.

“I must to go now, love to Papaji, ’bye.” I pocketed the phone with an apologetic nod. “Moms.” I shrugged. “What can I do for you?” I gave her the dimples.

The new partner’s glare drilled eyeholes in me. She hissed, “You should be ashamed.”

An old alarm bell inside me clanged. I forgot to use the accent. “What?”

“For lying to your parents. What’s wrong with you? They spent thousands of dollars to pay for your education. You’re treating this like it’s a semester of backpacking through Europe. What do they do? Don’t tell me.” She sent her Indian girl’s glance over me, probably running my clothes through the cash register in her head.

I looked down and then gave her a What? look. I wore the latest Nikes, unlaced, ching, black khakis that hugged my gymnast-perfect rear end, ching, and a navy polo shirt so tight you couldn’t slip a dime between the cuff and my biceps, ching.

She got to the diamond stud in my ear and her eyes widened. Ka-ching. “They’re small-town small business owners, right?”

“They own a drug store in Bangalore.” 6,000 years ago. But she was darned good to get that close.

“What are you doing with their hard-earned money? Delivering pencils?”

“And mail. Important in a law firm, timely mail.”

She looked over her shoulder. It was uncool for a partner to be seen talking to the mailroom guy. She turned on me with both barrels.

“Shame on you! They put all their hopes into you. They want to be proud of their son. Now they’ll tell their friends back in Bangalore about your fancy six-figure promotion. when the truth is, you can’t afford to send them a dollar because you blow it all on bling—and the gym.”

I allowed myself another ka-ching.

I figured I might as well play this hand to the last card. I drooped my head. “Oah, I am wanting always to send them money. But this job does not pay many dollars.”

She snorted. “Forget the fake accent. This isn’t The Simpsons and you’re no Apu. I bet
you’ve been over here nearly your whole life.”

“Been back and forth,” I lied.

“Did you even go to college?”

I nodded, pouting.

She wore a ring. Huh. She didn’t come across married. Frankly, she came across like a stuck-up heifer.

“You could do better than this,” she said, her voice softening. “How were your grades?”

“Okay.” She smelled great. Very clean, but all girl.

She tapped the counter. “You should be able to do much better with okay grades.”

That ring—I frowned. It looked familiar.

“Kama.” She remembered my name, which means love. “Look at me.”

I let the puppy eyes do their stuff. A spark shot between us.

She snorted. “Cute, but you can do better.”

You have no idea, baby. I slumped. “Okay.” I dropped the accent. “I can do better. I just don’t know where to start. I kind of backslid after graduation. And I got this job, and it pays okay, and I’ve been having fun—okay!” I blurted, before she could scold more. “But what can I do? I don’t think I’m good for more than having fun.”

I looked away awkwardly.

The vibe ran between us like a freight train.

She put one finger under my chin, and wow, the zing. Her eyes softened.

“I think there’s a lot in you.” Our eyes met, and the zing became a deep humming that rocked my style. She pulled her finger away and I swear the connection twanged like a snapped guitar string. “Let me buy you coffee, and we’ll look into this more systematically. Bring your transcript.”

“I remember all my grades,” I said, letting hope into my voice.

“That’s a good sign.”

I widened my eyes, meeting hers, and the ka-ching hit an all-new high. “If I haven’t screwed myself forever.”

She patted my arm. “I’m sure you haven’t screwed yourself forever.” She gave a tiny smile. “Meet me tomorrow with your transcript after work.”

I swallowed. “Sure. Uh, thanks.”

She nodded briskly, then handed over her requisition.

“I’ll have this at your desk by this afternoon, Ms.—” I looked at the form “—Ms. Singh.” RathiRaani Singh. DesireQueen Warrior. Perfect. “Thank you, your majesty.” I risked the dimples.

“You can call me Rathi.” She lifted that forefinger and smiled, this time for real, and walked away.

RathiRaani. Desire queen. Kind of inappropriate for an obvious virgin.

Well, she wouldn’t be for long. I could make her a queen of desire.

That little bell chimed in me again.

Was it possible?

No way. She was too stuck-up, too bossy, too much of a lawyer.

But oh, she made me zing.

**********

Jennifer Stevenson finds new uses for old sex demons. She feeds crows, speed skates, eats bacon, and pretends she’s fixing up her house. She lives in Chicago with her stagehand husband and two cats. Find Jennifer on Facebook. Look for all her ebooks at her website. Sign up for her newsletter.

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