Djinn and Tonic by Stephanie Cage

(about this author)

  • As fashion photographer Sally Purdew sets up her studio for a special shoot, she wishes for the perfect male model, and he appears. Sal just wants to win at the Alternative Fashion Awards, but her model, Ashtad, is a djinn with the power to grant her wishes and turn her into anything she wants to be. From the pretty English town of Whitby to a tropical beach, Ash whisks Sal away on a magical trip neither of them can forget. When Sal finds herself falling for Ash, she has to decide: do they have a future together, or will his magic always come between them?


    Sal let out a gentle whistle. Her hands twitched around the shiny new digital SLR camera she had on loan from her friend Simon, who owned the camera shop. Normally this was the only sort of equipment she’d be caught drooling over, but she had a feeling the guy who’d just walked through the door would have the same effect on her.

    He had straight dark hair that swung past his shoulders, and piercing eyes that shimmered somewhere between blue and violet. His deep damson-colored lips were so sharply outlined against his pale skin that she’d have sworn the make-up artist had already got to work on him. That alone would have been enough to set an alternative fashion photographer’s fingers twitching on the shutter button, but then there was the leather. Sal had always been a sucker for Goths, and she saw a lot of them around town as well as in the course of her work, but this model was something else. Lean legs encased in smooth black gleamed under the lights, and the tight trousers gave her a good idea what else there was worth drooling over.

    You don’t fall for models, she scolded herself.

    The midnight eyes turned in her direction and a warm glow spread across her cheeks.

    “I am Ashtad Parisa, and I never walk away from a challenge.” His voice was accented, but clear and beautiful. He strolled toward Sal and offered her his hand.

    Great. A weird, gorgeous foreign guy who could read minds. That was all she needed.

    “Sally Purdew. Sal for short.”

    As she stood up and put out her hand to him, she realized he hadn’t needed to be a mind reader. Her nondescript clothing and businesslike body language had probably told him that she made a point of keeping her distance from her models.

    He had black hair and fair skin, and so did she, but that was where the similarity ended. Where his black leather trousers and lace-trimmed shirt screamed “exhibitionist”, her dark jeans and faded black T-shirt whispered of invisibility. He was styled to live in front of the camera, where she was sensibly dressed to scramble around getting the best angle on a scene. Forget chalk and cheese. This was more like custard and cyanide. No wonder he’d taken her telltale blush as a challenge to break through her barriers, even though he couldn’t possibly know yet what there was to find behind them.

    That was why she never fell for models: with them, image was everything, while for her, it was the person beneath who mattered.


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Djinn and Tonic

Djinn and Tonic

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