Welcome to the first installment of my new paranormal erotic romance Karma In Blue Jeans (Immortal Siblings). As you know, this is the first book in this cross over series and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. Each week I’ll post a new chapter so you can follow along as the Goddess Karma gives humans their just rewards…good or bad. Since this is updated each week, I want you to enjoy the story as it unfolds. No blurbs. No teasers. Just a chapter at a time.
For those of you who’ve read my Now and Forever series (three books are out now) and the first in my Kayne Legacy series will be familiar with three of the Immortal Siblings already. Yeshua is the Eldest and Master Creator. Fate is the Goddess in charge of Destiny, and Lucius is the God of Trials and Tribulations. Together they make up The Three. They have many more siblings each in charge of various tasks when it comes to overseeing their mortal creations. In this book you’ll meet Rhiannon, the Goddess of Second Chances and the heroine, Karma. You all know of Karma as in what goes around comes around. What you may not know is she takes her job seriously. She doesn’t come by her punishments lightly and she doesn’t reward on a whim. Her gifts can be a blessing depending upon how you benefit from them either as the direct recipient, or those who’ve asked for her to intervene.
She hears your pleas and knows all. You can’t hide or lie your way out of it when Karma comes to call.
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Karma isn’t always sweet, nor is she always kind. She is however just and fair. That too depends upon your perspective.
Enough of the small talk. Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for…
Karma In Blue Jeans
“Tell me why you’ve summoned me, Rhiannon? Lucius assured me you would handle this one yourself.”
The Goddess of Second Chances sighed. “This human has pushed me well beyond my breaking point. I gave her every opportunity to prove to me she was worthy of the second chances.”
“Peace and love no longer working?” Karma raised one eyebrow and tilted her head. She knew damn well it would be enough to set her sister off on one of her lectures explaining why every mortal deserved a second chance. This one they observed now had been a special project. Their Elder Siblings had ruled she was to allow Rhiannon to continue to work her charms.
She’d fought with them for hours that it was now her job to dole out the punishment to fit the crimes this author had committed. She’d been right from the start and it took all her strength not to gloat.
“Save the ‘I told you so’ speech. I wasn’t wrong to help this one overcome her cancer scares—twice mind you.”
“No, you weren’t. The deal was she’d change her life around in exchange for those new leases on life.”
Rhiannon rolled her violet eyes and tossed her wild man of multi-colored hair. “She did, but not for the better. Instead of enjoying life, she’s become a vile creature. She terrorizes her competition and has been manipulating her fans behind the scenes to get them to do her dirty work.”
“Not to mention destroying her liver guzzling the vino every day.”
Her older sister nodded. “I helped her find a second chance at love, get pregnant after doctors thought the chemo had rendered her infertile, and finally gave her the courage to pitch her first novel to an internationally best-selling author. She won a publishing contract because of that pitch and here she is squandering all of it away.”
“Aye. I’ve kept close tabs on her too. You felt so strongly about her I’d thought perhaps my initial judgment had been too harsh—“
Rhiannon laughed. “Never have you been wrong before, but I had hoped maybe this time would be different.”
She shook her head. “This was a test for both of us. Yeshua wanted to be sure we’ll be able to take over if Lucius decides to follow his heart.”
“I told The Three I cannot do what needs to be done. I’m too trusting Their creations will prove they deserve all the blessings we have to offer. You on the other hand…”
“Enjoy punishing too much?”
“That’s not what I was going to say.”
“I do take my job seriously. There are consequences for our actions, both good and bad. I reward as often as I punish.”
“That’s why I asked you to join me here. It’s time to punish this one. She needs to see and experience the harm she’s done to her colleagues and those who have supported her unconditionally.”
Karma nodded. “She will.”
“Threefold for every infraction. The list is long and she will suffer before it’s over.”
“Let’s hope she sees the truth and can finally change her ways.”
“She’ll end up one miserable creature if she doesn’t. Those she’s harmed will no longer have to worry about what she can and cannot do. Her humiliation will be epic.”
Rhiannon raised her eyebrow this time. “You’ve picked up some more of their language I see. Courtesy of your lover?”
Karma stifled a giggled. Her sister’s expression mirrored the one she’d given her on many occasions. In fact, both had learned it from their eldest brother. With just that look, Yeshua had been able to get them to confess anything. If only the mortals could experience the look from him. Our jobs would be so much easier! “Justice has blended in with them for centuries by adapting to their ways. He has been a great asset in my dealings with them. Frankly, I don’t understand half of what he says when it comes to all the electronics. I can see the fascination Lucius has for all of it, but it frustrates me. I feel it hinders me from carrying out my duties.”
“Will They allow you more time living with them as you’ve asked?”
“Fate doesn’t think it’s wise. She’s afraid I’ll join Lucius and give up my Immortality for a lowly human.”
“You never know what your heart will decide, little sister.”
She shook her head. “I’m quite content with my position and with Justice.”
“A demigod is nothing more than a glorified mortal. He may have the gift of long life, but he will not live forever, darling. He’ll grow old while you stay forever young and vibrant.” Rhiannon combed her fingers through Karma’s long tresses. “I do love your blonde look. You’d fit right in with those you have to put through the Tests.”
“Lucius suggested I go back to my raven hair, cut it short and let it go wild. His idea is if I looked more like him, Fate would cave in. She has a soft spot for him even though they bicker all the time.”
“You’ve changed your appearance to go with your moods. We all know when you show up with the fiery red curls piled high on your head, Karma the Banshee is on the prowl!”
The goddesses’ laughter rang out. Only the pets in the room heard the tinkling. They swished their tails and twitched their ears in response.
“How will you begin with this one?”
She smiled. “It’s already started…”
* * * *
“Evangeline? What’s happened to all your books on your publisher’s website? Every single one has a message that they’re unavailable and under review.”
She scowled. Her husband had a way of turning every little thing into a major catastrophe. Nine times out of ten he’s either misread or misunderstood something. “What the fuck are you talking about now? I was on there this morning to check sales and nothing was wrong. You must be looking at someone else’s author page.”
“No, I’m not. Pull it up for yourself if you don’t believe me. They’re listed as unavailable on Amazon too.”
Her stomach dropped. Her worst nightmare had actually come true. Last year, she’d pretended someone had hindered her ability to promote her books. She’d used her daughter’s computer to report a few of her posts as offensive. Facebook did the rest. No one could post links to her books on the site for three days. Evangeline had a blast watching her uber fans go on a witch hunt. Guzzling glass after glass of Pinot Grigio and watching the top authors in her genre slip down the rankings had provided her a rush like no other she’s ever experienced.
The thrill had been such a high that she ignored the warnings she’d secured her spot on the authors behaving badly lists among her colleagues, bloggers and readers. She didn’t care. All of them suspected her of being the master mind behind the turmoil, but none had any proof.
Her cell rang. By the ring tone she knew it was her publisher before she caught a glimpse of the caller ID. She cleared her throat and smiled. She hoped it would help bring a carefree tone to her voice when she answered.
“Hey, Jess! What can I do for you?”
“Evie, I wanted you to hear this from me before we make a press release. We’ve been hit with a cease and desist order and had to pull all of your books.”
“I don’t understand. Why?” No no no! This is not happening.
“Angela Worthington has come forward and claims you’ve plagiarized her work.”
Her heart stopped. Her throat constricted and she struggled to pull air into her lungs. That bitch! She’d promised to keep her yap shut.
“Did you hear what I said? She has proof—page after page of rough drafts, emails between the two of you, screen shots of everything.”
“No. She’s lying. We worked together, yes. I bounced ideas off of her. Nothing more.”
“Cut the bullshit. I went through all of this myself. It’s tight. She’s filed lawsuits against Bliss and you for copyright infringement and theft of livelihood.”
“Are you kidding me? Theft of her livelihood? She’s never published a word other than putting it up on Wattpad. She doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”
The doorbell rang just as she walked out of her office. “This is the first I’ve heard of any lawsuit. Seems to me there is something else going on. She wants to ruin me.” She ripped open the door to find a hot stud muffin standing on her porch.
“Yes?” She stood taller and pushed out her chest. “Can I help you?”
He handed her a large manila envelope. “You’ve been served.”
She recoiled and dropped the package to the ground. “Is this a fucking joke?”
“No Ma’am. I don’t know what’s in there but it came straight from the courthouse downtown. If I were you, I’d take it seriously.”
“Get back here! I won’t accept this.”
He shrugged. “Suit yourself. Doesn’t bother me in the least what you do with it. I’ve delivered it to you after you confirmed your identity.” He turned away from her and walked to his car parked two houses down from hers.
Well at least he had the decency to not pull into my driveway.
She’d been so rattled by the kid, she’d forgotten about Jess and the phone still at her ear.
“Evie? Evie? What’s going on?”
She marched back in the house and slammed the door behind her. She slid down the polished handcrafted cherry wood to the floor. “It was a punk ass process server.”
A sigh on the other end of the phone told her Jess was fed up. “I hope you have a good lawyer. Bliss will not be representing you in this. As far as we’re concerned, you broke contract with us. Your books have all been removed and we will be asking the courts to force you to cover all legal fees.”
“Wait a goddamn minute! After all I’ve done for you and for Bliss, you’re going to treat me like gutter trash?”
“All you’ve done for us? We took a chance on you because Liberty Valour vouched for you. Your debut novel with one of our competitors was a success. We awarded you the contract and hefty advances because you promised you could deliver.”
“I gave you a whole new series and the start of another one. Each of them has hundreds of reviews—“
“ALL NOT YOURS! You stole every single one of them from Angela and then promised her money in return for her silence.”
“No! She was paid as my assistant and crit partner.”
“Spin it any way you want. I have copies of your emails. I’ll be damned if I’ll sit back and let you drag Bliss through the mud because you broke the law. Ain’t happening, sweetheart.”
Her mind raced. Everything she’d worked so hard to achieve was slipping through her fingers. Time to play the pity card. “So you’re going to abandon me now when I need you the most? My health can’t take this kind of stress.”
“Enough! I’m sick and tired of hearing about your latest illness. Unless you can provide medical records to prove any of it, I’m not falling for another of your sob stories. Save it for the judge.”
The heat rose from her chest to the top of her head. “Don’t think for one minute I’m going down alone in this. Bliss owes me three months of royalties.”
“Subtract it from the amount you owe us. We’ve advanced you money for your last round in the hospital against your future royalties. Your sales have slumped. According to my records, you owe Bliss another ten grand.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it. Last quarter I was all caught up.”
“I guess that’s one more thing you’ll have to prove in court.”
“Fine! You want a long, drawn out legal battle? You got it! My fans will turn on Bliss when they find out what you’ve done to me.”
“You better check out Twitter. The lawsuit has been made public. Your ‘fans’ are demanding an explanation. If I were you, I’d think long and hard about what you say in public or in that private group of yours from now on.”
“Is that a threat?” Her voice rose three octaves and she prepared to launch into another volley of profanities.
Her husband ripped the phone from her fingers. “Thank you for the call, Jess. From now on I think it’s best we only have contact through our lawyers.” He pushed the disconnect button and tossed the phone across the room.
“What did you do that for? The bitch accused me of stealing and lying to her. I won’t take that shit from anyone.”
“Stop it, Evangeline. You’ve told the lies so often now you’ve got yourself believing they’re true. The only book you wrote on your own was the first one. It’s high time you admitted that fact to yourself.”
“What do you know? You don’t read romance.”
“No, but I’ve been in this business long enough to know when someone can’t keep up with all the lies they’ve been telling. You thought you’d never get caught. I warned you this would all come back to bite you in the ass.”
“I didn’t hear you complaining when we went to Hawaii three months ago.”
“With the money you got under false pretenses from Bliss. We didn’t need the money to go to Hawaii. You spent it on the trip and those fancy gift baskets you hand out to people to review your books—books you never wrote yourself. It’s all been a lie.”
Her eyes filled with tears and she collapsed against him. “You’re my husband. You’re supposed to stick by me through richer or poorer.”
“I love you and always will but I can’t stand by and let you keep up this charade. You have to come clean about all of it.”
She shoved him away from her. “What the hell are you going to do if I don’t?”
He dropped his hands and then shook his head. “I nearly lost you twice to cancer. I’d been blinded by having you alive and well that I missed all the warning signs. If you go on with these lies, you’ll lose everything. It doesn’t matter to me now because I lost you, my whole world, the moment you sent the first book to Bliss.”
She stood frozen to the floor as he turned and left her alone. Great! I don’t need him to get through this. I’ll show him. I’ll show everyone.
* * * *
Come back next week for Chapter 2
Evangeline spirals out of control!