Trick Me Once
Magical Matchmaker, #3
by Sharon Clare
Date of Publication: December 28th 2016
Publisher: Apatite Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover Artist: Book Nook Designs
Magic pushes them together. Reality pulls them apart.
From The Book Junkie Reads . . . Trick Me Once (Magical Matchmaker, #3) . . .
Amazed at how rich, enchanting, alluring, and intriguing that I found this one to be. Mischief elf, modern day heroine, hunky, rugged hero, time-travel, cross-country trek, Scotland, chaos, magic, and some fun. It takes a bit for Jessica and Aiden to get in to the swing of things but they work it out. The chaos that ensues upon their meeting for the first time is just priceless. I found lots of rich characters in both the elven and human world. The adventure shared by Jessica and Aiden was just that an adventure in romance, comedy and redemption.
My first book with this author and believe that I will read more in this series. Just to see what other mischief Finn had been up to.
Magical Matchmaker series:
Love of Her Lives – Magical Matchmaker, #1
Rhapsody – Magical matchmaker, #2
Trick Me Once – Magical Matchmaker, #3
Humiliated radio show host Jessica Stirling is a survivor, yet nothing prepares her for the stage trick that transports her across the country to a man suspiciously like the nineteenth-century folk hero idolized by Hollywood. About to lose her job, her life savings, and the home that matters to her more than love, she can’t stay stranded in the mountains with a dangerously appealing man who believes in elves.
Trapped in an Elvin world for a century, Scottish artist Aiden MacAuley is finally free and back on Earth. But he’s not home. He’s not safe. And he’s not alone. To prevent the destruction of his bloodline, he must get back to Scotland immediately. He can’t be distracted by the exasperating woman sent to him by a match-making elf, even if she does stir his lust like no woman has.
When she tries to heal the sins of his past, he can’t open his heart. There’s too much to lose and as the new guardian of the gate between the human and Elvin worlds, he isn’t free to fall in love.
If she didn’t know better, she’d think she was in a log cabin in the mountains. This set design was fabulous. The scene out the window looked so real, she couldn’t help feeling a little respect for the Alfar family of illusionists.
She felt him come up behind her. Why was he standing so close? Without turning, she asked, “Please direct me to the manager’s office. I’d like to speak to someone about Finn’s disappearing lady trick.”
His soft snort sounded in her ears. “You’ll not be finding a manager’s office here. Where do you think you are?”
She was about to say she must be under the stage, but her throat clamped down on the words. Two squirrels skittered around the trunk of a tree. She’d assumed it was some kind of video screen, but if that were the case, she’d not be hearing the faint chitter of the grey squirrel on the defensive.
But it couldn’t be. It was impossible for her to be anywhere other than the Empire Theatre in Mesa, Arizona. “Where do you think we are?” she countered, gaze fixed on the squirrels.
“It was my hope to be in the Highlands, but the air’s not got the smell of peat, nor whiskey, nor sweet heather honey.”
She spun around then, and would have bumped into him if he’d not taken a quick step back. “As in Scotland? Very funny.”
“’Tis no jest.”
“No? Well then, you woke up on the wrong continent, buddy.” His pupils were slightly dilated, but his gaze was clear and steady. He obviously had quick reflexes, and he didn’t look delusional, but what did she know about psychotic episodes? His clothes looked like he’d been sleeping in them for longer than a quick nap. Perhaps he’d wandered into the theatre off the street. She took another step backward.
His sharp gaze flicked to that remarkably real backdrop. “How can you be sure?”
Because I’m sane. But she didn’t say that, of course. She was unsettled enough to not feel perfectly grounded herself. “If you can’t direct me to the manager, then I’ll find him myself, but this show is over.” She marched across the room, threw open the door to the pseudo living room, and stood dead still in the open doorway as a very alive, damp outdoor breeze blew in the scent of bug-infested woods, fish-filled lakes, and decomposing fungus.
She slammed the door shut, moved back to the bedroom and opened what looked like a closet door. Damn, a closet. She crossed the hall and whipped open another door—bathroom. Where were the stairs leading up to the theatre?
Perhaps she’d just thought she’d seen mountains when she’d opened the door in the living room—a mind warp from the stress of landing in a stranger’s bed. She headed back across the room, spared a quick glance at the stagehand who looked vaguely amused, and opened the door cautiously.
She stumbled across the threshold to stand on the wooden deck and face an illusion much too large to be contained to one theatre. Her lungs constricted. Tree-covered mountains stacked atop each other all the way to the overcast horizon. A liver-colored lake roiled in a pocket thirty feet below. Dark, dense woods pressed in on her like a surly crowd.
But they couldn’t be in the mountains. That was impossible. Arizona was desert. There was no such thing as magic, no disappearing lady.
She felt the blood drain from her face as reality struck.
She was losing her mind. This must be exactly what had happened to her nana. Every day, sitting in the Sunshine Acres Nursing Home, Nana thought she was living on her childhood farm in Saskatchewan, talking as though she were on the prairie, seeing the farm house, her mommy and daddy. Thinking it was all real.
Jessica had sudden early-onset dementia. Sinking to the deck, she wrapped herself up in her arms. She felt the vibrations of the stagehand walking around her, heard the smooth gait of his boots on the wood, and she would have chuckled if her voice worked—she’d thought he was crazy. If ever there was a kettle calling the pot black, she was that kettle.
“I’m not sure what Finn told you,” he said, “but you seem ill-prepared to be here, and that’s not good.”
An insect buzzed by her ear. Bugs! She swatted at it. “Yes, I’m quite ill-prepared—quite ill, period. I see mountains and a lake. How’s that for ill?”
“I see. And there were no mountains or lakes where you came from?”
She peered up at him. “Not mountains like these. I live in the desert.” She massaged her temple—maybe that would bring much needed blood to her head. “I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, and…my brain must have tried to compensate, but now it snapped. I’m seeing things that can’t possibly be there.”
He crouched down in front of her. “Your mind is sound, woman. You see mountains because we’re in the mountains. Finn sent you here because he likes to play games.” He slipped his hand over hers and pulled. “Come, stand up.”
At least he saw the mountains, too—a tiny acknowledgment. She tugged her hand away. She may be losing her mind, but she could still stand on her own two feet. One deep breath sent a good supply of oxygen to her head as she stood up. “Just so you know, your explanation does not make me feel better. People can’t go from the desert to the mountains in the blink of an eye. It’s impossible.”
His grin didn’t hold much humor. “Not impossible. People can’t. But elves can.”
He’d just re-established he was, indeed, crazier than she. “You see elves. Oh my, that’s good news. Maybe we can get adjoining rooms at the funny farm.”
MY INTERVIEW WITH SHARON CLARE
How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
First, I want to thank The Book Junkie Reads for hosting me today.
I write paranormal romances with a little magic, suspense and humor. The promise of a romance is to leave the reader in a happy place, and I strive to give the reader many happy places throughout the story. Although my books do have a villain or two, the tone is light and sexy, and I close the door on violence.
One reviewer said Trick Me Once makes you think. This was thrilling to hear. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received.
What mindset or routine do you feel the need to set when preparing to write (in general whether you are working on a project or just free writing)?
I do something a little different. I belong to a virtual world called Second Life where I have a virtual writing studio on a lake in the woods. It’s become a bit of a muse for me. The nature sounds and movement of birds and water put me in a creative place. It feels like my real-life office expands into a much greater space. Sometimes I teleport over to a fabulous Virtual Writers group for prompts and 30 minute writing stints. I can be with other writers without leaving the house.
Do you take your character prep to heart? Do you nurture the growth of each character all the way through to the page? Do you people watch to help with development? Or do you build upon your character during story creation?
The biggest part of my story prep is character. Developing characters is what I love the most and where I can draw on my degree in psychology. I give my characters limiting beliefs and defensive behaviors that come from their back stories. Throughout the story, they must learn to overcome these to find love and happiness.
Yes, I have watched people for character ideas, especially for things like gestures and how people hold themselves.
Have you found yourself bonding with any particular character? If so which one(s)?
In Trick Me Once, the heroine Jessica is a woman who survived a childhood crisis that shaped her life. The decisions she makes as an adult still come from that terrified place, but she doesn’t see this as dysfunctional and detrimental to her love life. She doesn’t recognize she’s making decisions from that place because she’s still stuck in survival mode.
Many of us are affected by our pasts. For many years, I struggled to overcome beliefs I adopted from my younger self in dysfunctional relationships. I see things in a healthier light now, and I loved writing Jessica’s character journey.
Do you have a character that you have been working on that you can't wait to put to paper?
I’d like to write a character who’s an advocate of endangered species. I used to teach science workshops in schools and brought a life-sized blue whale into gymnasiums to educate kids about these incredible mammals.
I think it would be fun to set the story in virtual reality.
Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced?
Interesting question. Yes, sometimes my thoughts race, especially at night. I live a lot in my head, as I imagine most writers do. I like to reason things out and I have a tendency to over-analyze. I’ve been told I need to get out of my head and more into my body—that there are healthy reasons to do this. I’m still working on it. It’s taking time to understand how this feels, and ‘feels’ is the whole point.
What a great line: “spurs you to reach for the unexperienced.” I think authors for the unexperienced to fill our creative wells. It’s one of my goals in 2017 to get out every week and experience something new.
Thanks again to The Book Junkie Reads and thank you kindly for reading!
Sharon Clare writes light, paranormal romance with a little magic, a little suspense and a little humor.
She’s always been fascinated by the idea there’s more to the world than we perceive. That’s why she created Finn, a mischievous, match-making elf, from a world just a wee bit off Earth who believes every time love is experienced, energy empowers our worlds.
Life has enough difficult times, so it’s important to Sharon to write novels where happiness ultimately triumphs. She helps her characters overcome their demons, open their hearts, and find the love everyone deserves. When you reach the end, she strives to leave you in a happy place.
If you’d like a free book in the Magical Matcher series, please come visit