Color Me Wicked
A Castle of Dark Dreams Novella
by Nina Bangs
Berkley Pub Group (eSpecial from Berkley Sensation)
January 3, 2012
Available in: e-Book
From USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bangs comes the tale of the very beginning of the Castle of Dark Dreams . . .
Amanda Harcourt had one scorching night of incredible sex with Conleth Maguire on a Galveston, Texas, beach ten years ago. Then she’d left Con for a career in New York City. She’s back in Galveston now as the interior designer for the weird and wacky Castle of Dark Dreams, a theme park attraction. Old memories surface when she finds out that Con has been hired to paint the castle. Because no matter what she tries to tell herself, she’s never forgotten him or the rose tattoo on his hip.
Con remembers everything about Mandy, including the blue butterfly tattoo on her round little behind. And now that she’s back, he’s determined to make her realize what she abandoned so many years ago. Namely, him.
He wants to paint the castle in darkly erotic colors. She’s into understated elegance. But they agree on one thing. Even grumpy wizards, telepathic cats, and voyeur plants won’t stop them from finishing what began on that beach.
My one regret in life? I wish I'd started writing sooner.
Talk about misspent youth. What did I do during those lazy summer days of childhood when I could've been honing my writing skills? Nothing. Okay, so I spent a lot of time dreaming I was a cowgirl with a trusty black stallion. Oh, and I read every Walter Farley horse novel. I was an only child so I relied on my imagination to supply the excitement in my life.
By high school, I'd decided to trade in my lariat for a trench coat. I was into dark and dangerous. As an intrepid foreign correspondent, I'd stalk the mean streets of the world. Did I actually write anything? No, but I did read all of Agatha Christie's mysteries.
I worked at a department store during college. My short stint in the accounting department taught me a lot about math. Three hundred-dollar shortages plus hysterical tears equaled instant move to gift-wrap. A career in math was not in my future. I didn't care because I'd discovered "real" literature. I plowed through James Joyce's Ulysses and Tolstoy's War and Peace. If it didn't make my eyes cross then it wasn't worth reading. Yes, I admit it, I was a literary snob.
But there's just so much "real" literature one person can take. I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English Literature and a determination to avoid books that induced eye crossing or had tragic endings. The only things I managed to write during those years were research papers.
I taught second grade for several years then spent two years in Dublin, Ireland. A friend and I supported ourselves by singing folk songs in Irish pubs. We weren't great, but we were young, enthusiastic, and wore short skirts. It was obviously my destiny to be the next Judy Collins. I spent a lot of time pouring through music books.
Returning to New Jersey and reality, I taught elementary school until I grew restless again. My cross-country odyssey included stays in Arizona, California, and Texas. Along the way, I indulged my love of horses. No black stallions, but I did have several beautiful Arabian mares. I read tons of books on breeding and showing.
Somewhere between California and Texas I grew addicted to romance novels and cats. The cat's independent attitude was exactly the quality I admired in my romance heroes. And once I decided to try writing my own romances, I made sure a cat crept into each story.
Texas is my permanent home. I've come full circle. Born in San Antonio, I spent most of my life in New Jersey. Maybe the Texas in my blood accounts for my attachment to strong men, fast horses, and wide-open spaces.
My love of cats? Haven't a clue.