MARRIAGE CLAWS by Paige Cuccaro
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
ISBN: 9781250129239; Price: $3.99
A sassy, sexy debut about a young woman who agrees to marry her billionaire playboy nemesis to save her business, only to find out he’s also a werewolf and that her problems are just getting started.
There are two things Kate Affetto will do anything to protect: the younger brother she’s raised ever since their father walked out, and the small diner she’s managed to start from nothing in New York City. Things might not always be easy, but at least she gets to call all the shots and follow her own heart. That is until Jack Pensione, irritatingly gorgeous billionaire playboy and CEO/heir to the family empire shows up at her diner with an ultimatum: find $3 million to purchase the space, or vacate so it can be turned into condos.
But Kate isn’t going down without a fight. So when Jack offers a third option—marry him, and he’ll gift her the space—she agrees, knowing it’ll save the life she’s built for herself and her brother, and that the marriage will be over practically before it’s begun. After all, it’s not as if she actually likes Jack, or as if he’s actually attracted her at all… Little does she know he’s also a werewolf, that he’s vying to be the alpha of his pack, and that her problems are just getting started.
Paige Cuccaro lives in Ohio, with her husband, and three daughters. When she’s not writing, she can be found doing the mom thing with a book in one hand and a notepad and pen in the other. Ideas come without warning and the best way to stimulate your imagination is to enjoy the imagination of someone else. Paige is the author of the Hellsbane series, including Heaven and Hellsbane.
Excerpt: Marriage Claws by Paige Cuccaro
He dumped his supplies on the prep table, and set the skillet to warm on the griddle. As he chopped and measured and mixed he looked at me sideways, his smile soft and real. He laughed under his breath and looked back to his vegetables.
“What?” I asked.
“Nothing.” He shook his head still smiling. “Y’know, inhaling someone’s scent is kind of a big deal to my kind.”
I stole a slice of bell pepper, nervously nibbling. “Really? That’s interesting.” Busted. Admit nothing.
“You sniff me . . . a lot,” he said.
“No I don’t.” Liar! “I mean, yes I sometimes take a breath when I pass by you, but it’s not to smell you. It’s a coincidence. I’m just, y’know, breathing. I’m a mammal. I require oxygen. Don’t be so full of yourself.”
“My mistake,” he said with another soft sexy chuckle. He scraped the chopped veggies to the side and began working on the eggs, expertly cracking the shells with one hand and adding milk. “I was just going to say that I’ve done the same to you.”
I froze, muscles stiff. “Really?”
He picked up the bowl, leaning a hip against the prep table and began whisking the eggs into a frothy cream. “You wear too much perfume.”
Ouch. “Wow. Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”
“No. I mean, you have a natural scent that’s far more . . . enticing than anything you could buy from a store,” he said. “It’s weird.”
“You’re not really good at the compliment thing.”
“Not tonight, it seems.” He laughed, turning to pour the eggs into the pan. They popped and sizzled, the yummy aroma already making my stomach growl. “Sorry. I’m usually much better at expressing my thoughts but when I’m around you . . .”
He trailed off, shaking his head. He added the mix of veggies and diced bits of ham and pre-cooked bacon. He looked sideways at me again, the expression on his face more thoughtful.
“I meant that most humans smell too much like . . . well, like humans. But you . . . underneath your perfume—which is perfectly nice—you have a natural scent that’s much more . . . distracting than any human I’ve ever met.”
“You can smell my skin underneath the perfume?” I asked trying not to overthink the fact that my scent distracted him.
He nodded, using the spatula to spread the veggies and meats evenly through the eggs. “All the time. I can smell it now. It’s . . . a little intoxicating. Very strange.”
“Okay, here’s a suggestion. Try not to use the words ‘strange’ and ‘weird’ when describing your thoughts about a woman.”
He laughed again and the rich baritone sound rolled through my chest, melting my insides. I inhaled, trying to calm the needs awakening inside me.
“Right. Good tip. Sorry.” He shook his head again, sprinkling shredded cheese and folding the eggs in half. “I told you, I can’t seem to speak intelligently around you. You have an odd effect on me. And I don’t mean odd in a bad way. I mean, unlike anyone I know.”
“Don’t be,” he said glancing from the pan to me and back again. He sprinkled more cheese and my stomach rumbled, but the need growing inside me had little to do with hunger. “I’ve never had a woman actually rob me of speech and thought before. I kinda like it.”