Beauty is skin deep…but
the beast goes all the way.
Love Book 6
Reviews for Beauty Bites
"Hot vampire sex, hysterical humor, funny sassy heroines
(seriously, you cannot help but LOVE Synnove spouting off medical facts
randomly), and fast-paced fun plots.... ummmm... why aren't you already
reading this one?"
~Ellie for Love N. Books
what did I love most about “Beauty Bites”? Well, of course, there’s hot
vampire sex […
I adored how the whole story
was built around “Beauty and the Beast” and all the references to fairy
tales. And, then there’s Synnove – she was a hysterical. Whenever she
got nervous, she started sprouting “Grey’s Anatomy” lines [...] Ric
out to be one of the most loveable vampires ever. He never thought he
would find someone like Synnove and wanted nothing more than to love,
cherish and protect her in the end. So, Aiden, are you next? I hope
so! [...] I love the writing of Mary Hughes. I can always depend on her
lift my spirits, take away my worries and just make me laugh. […
funny, fast-paced, and so very easy to read. If you haven’t read the
whole series, I strongly suggest that you do." ~Kitty
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
you haven’t picked up a copy of Mary Hughes’
series, Biting Love
then you’re definitely missing out. The small town antics, fast-paced
action, quick wit, sarcastic humor, and explosive sexual chemistry
would make an awesome television series. I’d watch each week like an
addict trying to get her next fix chocolate because it’s that darn good
and I love, love, love me some chocolate.
So pick up a copy of Beauty Bites
today and discover what
you’ve been missing." ~AJ for
Hughes can write some the hottest snark in the business and it truly
shines in this book. Another thing is the affection that the hero
and heroine have for each other. They make each other better
people who makes for a stronger couple. Ms. Hughes does this in
every book that she writes and I love it. […] Run,
don’t even think
about it…buy this series! You will not be disappointed at
all. Just be prepared to laugh out loud, sigh, cry and feel
completely satisfied when the story is over." ~Harlie
for Harlie's Books
5 Kisses "Beauty
Bites (How beauty Saved Meiers Corners and Won the Hot Vampire)--I
spent much of this book clenching a tissue to stem the flow of tears
from the laughter, and fanning myself from the heat raised by Synnove
and Ric. This one is super hot, funny and delicious and I recommend it
to all who like their romance Type O with a side of hot and sexy."
G for My Odd Little World
"What is NOT to like with the
Biting Love series by Mary Hughes? I f**king love this series. […]
Hot vampire sex, hysterical humor, funny sassy heroines (seriously, you
cannot help but LOVE Synnove spouting off medical facts randomly), and
fast-paced fun plots…. ummmm… why aren’t you already reading this one?"
for Love N. Books
quirky and entertaining...there’s just something so appealing about the
people from this little town that every time a new book comes out I
have to read it. This time, it’s Ric and Synnove and their bantering
dialogue and sizzling sexual tension I can’t get enough of." ~Dragon
Minx for Literary Nymphs
"In the sixth book in the
Biting Love series, Mary Hughes pits a vampire ad man against a
sharp-witted human with a body made for sin. Another tale of biting
humor, this one is sure to make you grin." ~Joyce
Lamb, USA Today Happy Ever After
was pure fun and sass. Loved that Synnove was uber intelligent
and spouts off the most random medical facts. Ric is a sensual
character, he is magnetic and reluctant to get involved with Synnove
even though she is too tempting to resist. Excellent read."
for Musings From An Addicted Reader
me start off by saying I have not read the other books in this series
but plan on it after reading this one." ~Olivia
"I really enjoyed this latest
entry in the series although it did serve as a reminder that I missed a
short story and another full length one somehow. I’m going to
have to go back and grab it so I can make sure not to miss a second of
the craziness that is Meiers Corners." ~Steph
for Book-A-Holic Anon
"I'm eager to read the
succeeding books." ~Braine
"Hughes' Beauty Bites is a fun story populated by well-drawn, quirky
characters." ~Alexandra Kay, 4 Stars, RT Book
"...new Biting Love character Aiden (Ric’s best friend) stole a lot of
the scenes he was in and I can’t wait to read his story...a solid
installment to the Biting Love series and I finished it eager to read
the next book, Downbeat." ~
Shayna for Joyfully Reviewed
An excerpt from
Copyright © 2013 Mary
Hughes All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
shiver hit me at Ric Holiday’s hot, promising smile. Testosterone plays
a starring role in sexual arousal in males, but in women its purpose is
Argh. What was wrong with me? No lusting, especially after the
opposition. My cousin had charged me with a job, and while I wasn’t
against sex overlapping with work per se, I’d seen it cause aggravated
stupidity too often. Extended bathroom breaks and three-hour lunches,
sneaking around like nobody knows when in fact everybody does and
resents the extra work.
Holiday’s smile sharpened, a wicked glint of teeth edging it like a
knife. Pure lust shimmered through me. Oh yeah. Lubrication is followed
by vasocongestion of the vaginal walls…crap.
I had to escape that promising smile, stat.
But the path to the study was clogged with people. I was screwed, and
not in the good way.
Then Ric “Moses” Holiday extended one elegant hand toward his study.
The sea of black, gold and silver miraculously parted. “Off you go now.”
All that, with just the force of his personality. Ooh.
Before I got too girly over it, I paused to wonder if he had any real
character to back it up. I heard sizzle. Didn’t mean he had the steak.
His smile broadened. His eyes twinkled with an I have all the steak you
I gasped and escaped into Holiday’s study.
It was an upscale man cave—walnut wainscoting, leather couches and
recliners, a leather-and-oak wet bar, and a seventy-inch smart TV, the
ultimate in flickering fires. Its impressiveness was kicked
stratospheric by the 7.1 surround sound, eight speakers’ worth of
But an upscale man cave is still a man cave, and I’m not much into
sitting on skinned cow. I crossed the room to a set of French doors
cracked open to an evening breeze.
My breasts tightened. Not arousal but simple chill; I’d let go of the
suit coat. I pulled it closed. Maybe Holiday made a habit of loaning
articles of clothing to women. None of my business, but strangely, the
thought bothered me. As if, for some reason, I wanted to be special to
him. Had to be hormones making my brain mushier than normal. Stupid
norepinephrine. I shook it off.
Nudging the French doors wider, I inhaled. The air, lightly scented
with petunias, reminded me of home, back before my mother and father
sold the house to travel the world, currently in Turkey or Abu Dhabi or
something. Under the floral odor was a darker scent, mellow wood smoke
with the tang of something spicy, elusive but mouthwatering.
Unconsciously I turned my head to take the scent deeper—and buried my
nose in the shoulder of Holiday’s suit jacket.
My cheeks burned. The cooler outside air seemed less a treat and more a
necessity now—nothing to do with Mr. Flamingly Handsome Holiday. But of
course I was lying to myself.
Didn’t matter. Uncomfortable was uncomfortable. I slipped outside. And
stopped when my mandible hit the floor.
The terrace—it was too large and elegant to be a simple porch—was the
size of my whole student apartment. Its black basalt surface was swept
clean. An artful scattering of potted trees and graceful, discreet
statuary merely enhanced the terrace’s stark elegance.
I crossed to the far side.
The edge was safeguarded by a heavily lacquered oak railing supported
by worked iron spindles. I ran one hand along the rail’s silky smooth
surface. This wasn’t conspicuous consumption supported by a maxed-out
credit card. This was a sign of solid wealth. Advertising sizzle
apparently paid better than I knew.
The cooler air, combined with the railing’s smooth feel, soothed me.
Tensions I’d carried since even before the elevator incident drained
out of my muscles. What a mess my life had become, that even that
obnoxious incident seemed mostly an annoyance.
Leaning elbows on the railing, I looked out onto the Minneapolis-St.
Paul night. Holiday’s penthouse was high enough that the view was
rooftops and stars instead of the sides of buildings. Random fireworks
burst in the air. Below me, streetlights blazed. The lamps were so
distant they might have been stars.
What the heck was I doing here in Rich Man’s Canyon? Despite my runway
looks, I was a hometown girl, raised in the small
German-immigrant-settled city of Meiers Corners, Illinois. Ric
Holiday’s rich penthouse and vast terrace made my tummy shimmy. If I
hadn’t heard the desperation in Twyla’s voice, I’d have thought she’d
reverted to another of her endless childhood pranks on me.
But she had been desperate, and I loved her like a sister. Besides, she
invoked You Owe Me A Favor, calling due everything from when I’d
borrowed her best suit for my med school interviews to covering for me
the time I’d broken her Grandma Tafel’s reading glasses using them to
magnify bugs. Although I put my foot down when Twyla added twenty years
of interest. Favor interest, really. Everyone knows you have to call
“Bank” or it doesn’t count.
Twyla was actually my second cousin, our grandmothers being sisters,
although Meiers Corners was so insular I was related to half the
population. If my father had been a native too, that percentage would
have been higher.
But Twyla had a problem. Meiers Corners’s local economy was too local;
the city was in danger of going bankrupt. The solution? Tourism. The
single benefit of straitjacket insularity is that we’re steeped in
local flavor. We have Quaint Local Shoppes coming out Ye Olde Sphincter.
So tourism seemed a natural fit, and was indeed working great, except
for getting the word out. After all, tourism without tourists was, um…M.
Which was where Ric Holiday came in. Holiday Buzz International was the
Número Uno ad shop for innovative campaigns. Holiday thought so outside
the box that even circles were too square. Meiers Corners needed that
desperately. We’re hard workers but tend to think right angles are the
epitome of chic.
So Twyla, wearing her city admin hat, called Holiday. But he said no.
So the mayor called him. Holiday said no. Our chief of police called
him. Holiday said no. The mayor’s secretary Heidi called, cracking her
whip. Holiday said something unprintable that translated to no. Then
our top lawyer and prime negotiator Julian Emerson called.
Holiday wouldn’t even speak to him.
Twyla said enough. Time to meet Holiday face to face, to find out what
the sticking point was. Then she could apply either carrot (the mayor)
or stick (Heidi) as necessary.
Time, Twyla said, to confront the lion in his den.
If she’d met lithe, tawny, forceful Ric Holiday in person, she couldn’t
have gotten that any more right.
I fingered the expensive material of his suit coat. There was something
untamed about him, sinewy strength barely civilized by suit and tie.
A bolt of lust sheared through me, so long and hard that I shuddered.
Which was of course when the French doors behind me opened.
“Here you are. Escaping the heat? I knew you were beautiful, but now I
see you’re smart too.”
I spun to behold the owner of that deep voice. He’d changed into
another suit, this one a charcoal gray that contrasted sharply with his
azure eyes. In even those few moments I’d forgotten how handsome he
was—so gorgeous he made my eyes hurt, my only excuse for blurting, “Did
you know that seeing a good-looking person of the opposite sex makes
the brain release dopamine which triggers pupil dilation?”
I slammed my stupid dopamine-dilated eyes shut. This was my opponent. I
tugged his coat tighter, thought constricting thoughts, opened my eyes
and tried again. “If I were smart, I wouldn’t have gotten my blouse
He glided closer. “The smartest move of all. Not your fault and yet
effective, since you’re here to ask a favor. Visual aids are always
useful in negotiations.” His eyes, sparkling with sensual intent,
dipped to where his coat covered my cleavage. A smile, full of promise,
curved his lips.
That wicked smile was a pilot light to the broiler of my body, igniting
every cell, whoosh. I flushed hot, shivered with it.
But my brain wasn’t all that charmed. “Visual aids? Implying I should
use sex to negotiate? That was beneath you.”
His smile pursed. “The bra isn’t a Temptress Siren Special? Retail
$199. A thirty-six D unless I miss my guess, but a bit too small for
you.” His eyebrows rose. “It’s not yours, is it?”
“I find it disturbing that you observed all that in a glance.” I’d
thought his gaze had been on my face in the lobby.
“Good peripheral vision.” He quirked a grin. Devastatingly handsome
morphed to boyishly attractive, actually even more devastating.
I squashed a groan. “Then what were you suggesting with the ‘visual
“My dear Synnove, I wasn’t suggesting anything. Merely observing.” He
handed me a champagne flute. “Housekeeping is bringing you another
I clamped the coat with one hand to accept the cut crystal with the
“And in observing, I find myself curious.” He sipped his champagne. “A
beautiful woman from out of state attends my third annual
Christmas-in-July house party, bearing a gift no less, but not because
she wants something? I’m not sure I quite believe that.”
I sipped champagne too, ended up with my lips in my esophagus. The
stuff was dry. “You invited me.” The words rasped like sandpaper. I
coughed and tried again. “Do you always invite strangers to your house
“I’m in advertising. Even the people I know are strangers. But in this
case, my admin handled the invites.”
Which reminded me that, though we were strangers, he’d named me on
sight. I again opened my mouth to ask how the hell he knew, when he hit
me with those startlingly blue eyes and drilled both question and
oxygen from me.
He wedged his own question into the gap. “Why go to so much trouble to
It took a few quick breaths to pump up air for an incautious answer.
“You’re a hard man to see.” Hard. I clutched my champagne and dredged
my brain up from the gutter of my hormones. “You’re something of an
enigma, Mr. Holiday. We want to negotiate, so we want to get to know
“We? I’m disappointed. I was so hoping this was about you.” Lean
fingers slid under my chin, raising my face.
Our eyes collided. His sparkled with intelligence and confidence and a
sexuality so blistering I couldn’t breathe. My body flooded with
begging-for-sex estrogen. “M…me?”
“Yes. Your partners have sent the perfect leverage. The perfect
female.” His voice deepened, husky. “You.”
“I’m…I’m not…” I cleared my throat.
He bent closer until his mouth hovered over mine. “You’re not perfect?”
His breath heated my lips.
Desire arrowed straight through me, sudden and splashing and hot.