Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blog Bites with Marianne Stephens

We’ve got our FANGS in
Marianne Stephen’s
Serena Xavier

Tell us about yourself.
I’m Serena Xavier, from Second Sight Dating by Marianne Stephens
Jasmine Jade (Cerridwen Press)
More about me
ebook and print versions available

What makes you special?
I’m psychic. I use my “second sight” to match couples. Opening a dating agency just seemed like the most logical and natural thing for me to do!

Wow. That sounds very interesting. Tell us about your most current adventure.
Dan Reese came into my agency and the moment he walked through the door, I knew I was in trouble. I was attracted to him, and there was something about him that seemed out of place. I match men and women using numbers and letters. Men get numbers and women get letters. When I touch a man’s hand, I “see” a letter for a woman. When I touch a woman’s hand, I “see” a number for a man.
 My system’s almost perfect…except that for Dan because I saw three letters. I knew something was confusing my system. Either he wasn’t telling me the truth, or his sex appeal was driving my “sight” crazy.
This book is available in both ebook and print versions. In “Second Sight Dating”, Serena Xavier runs a dating agency using her “second sight” to match couples. However, client Dan Reese challenges her system. Is it because he’s really undercover Detective Dan Carrington and investigating her agency? Or, is it because sparks of desire flare between them and she wants him for herself?


“So, explain exactly how this works. Do you gaze into a crystal ball and conjure up dead spirits?”
Ice water flooded her veins. It figured. In front of her sat the sexiest man she’d met in a long time. His strapping physique and wonderful aftershave had clouded her insight. A momentary loss of mind control had allowed her brain to maneuver a slight detour from sanity, but that was over.

Annoyed with his remark, she stiffened her spine and readied herself to dismiss him and his irritating attempt at humor. To hell if he was handsome. She wasn’t in the mood or business to tolerate skeptics.

“I’m sorry you came all this way in the hopes of finding entertainment. You’re no comedian and I don’t perform, either. I’ll be happy to refund the amount of your certificate.”

Serena rose quickly from her seat and stepped around her desk. She tripped over her blasted rug again as she approached the man in his chair, losing her balance. She reached out to steady herself but faster than she could imagine, he jumped up and caught her before she hit the floor.

His arms surrounded her in an effort to break her fall. Heat cascaded through her body the closer he tugged her to him. Letters popped into her head, over and over again.

That’s the pattern her “sight” followed. When she touched a man, she’d see a letter for a woman listed in her files. When she touched a woman, she’d see a number for a man who’d be a good match. But never before had three letters or numbers materialized for anyone. It had always been one letter or number per person.

This stud, and he definitely fit the category, filled her with conflicting thoughts of warmth, security and irritation as he squeezed her tighter into his embrace. Her heart beat in double-time rhythm.

Serena fought to regain control of her senses. He was a client. She ran a business. Professionalism and composure needed to be employed.

“Are you okay? Sorry about my lousy attempt at humor. Just trying to calm my nerves. I’m kinda having a hard time admitting I need help. Please, I want to do this.” His voice, barely above a whisper, tickled her ear, the one his lips lightly grazed as he spoke.

Do what? Lord, she could imagine lots of things two people locked in an embrace could do that weren’t remotely related to her job. Forcing herself to breathe normally, she focused her unnervingly wayward thoughts on a key word, job. She did have a job to do.

He needs help finding women? Was he some type of genius business geek who’d been locked away but now ready to test the waters of the dating pool? With her last shred of strength, she pulled away. Contact gone, the letters stopped their unending dance in her head.

“Apology accepted. I’m fine. Thank you.” While swearing under her breath to fix the damn rug, she straightened her clothes. A slight chill covered her body. Short of putting on a jacket or sweater, neither of which she had, not much could be done. Serena quickly crossed her arms in front of her, chiding herself for letting him affect her. No other client had come close to messing with her body chemistry.

“Let’s start over. I’m Dan Reese and I’d like to use this certificate.”

His smile undid her. The chilly sensation in the air disappeared and Serena relaxed her stance.

Dan sat again in his seat, a sensation of loss without her in his arms frustrating his body. I hope you’re on my list. She fit so perfectly next to him, her long, leggy body lined up against his. She had to be just a few inches shorter than his six-foot height. Her shape? Men would crave to touch that body.


Her auburn hair fell freely around her face, framing it with short, delicate curls. Those lips, full and painted some shade of dark pink, begged for attention. Light, chocolate-brown colored eyes sparkled with flecks of green and changed in intensity the more he stared at her.

She’d captured his attention all right, if the prickly hairs on the back of his neck were any indication of sparking his interest. A lower portion of his body hadn’t missed responding to the delightful sensation of having her pressed against him.

Sitting gave him the edge in getting his libido and all visible signs of it, under control. His undercover job required a cool head and level thinking. Any hormonal reaction would have to take a back burner.

“What do I do first?”

Serena nodded, accepting his willingness to start anew. She offered him a handful of papers. “Fill out these forms. If there’s anything you don’t want to answer, let me know. Some information is vital, other stuff is optional.”

Dan quickly scanned the forms and noticed they asked standard questions he’d come across on everything from car loan applications to job searches. He began writing, but stopped at the preference list.

Eyeing her, he decided to list her physical qualities as to what he wanted in a woman. Career and education requirements could vary, although he did hope to be paired with someone who could carry on an intelligent conversation.

For this case, gritting his teeth while posing as an insurance salesman needing help to find a love match got the detective through the door. He used his standard choice of names as a cover, that of Daniel Reese. Easy enough to remember as Dan was his first name and Reese, his middle name. To ensure his sanity remained intact, complications and headaches involving simpering, clingy, self-centered women had to be avoided at all costs.

“Here.” He handed her his form. “I guess I’ve done my part. Now what?”

“If you’ll stand over by the door, I’ll take your picture.”

“Be sure and get my best side,” he quipped as he grinned for the camera.

“And, that would be where?” Serena shot back, making a mental note that the man could display a sense of humor when he wasn’t challenging her. After taking two quick shots, one close-up and one full-length, both returned to their seats.

Her eyes roamed the questionnaire before she spoke. Silence, except for the ticking of a cuckoo clock, reigned in the small office.

“Now,” she voiced with a slight quiver, “I need to touch you.”

If you could offer your author advice, what would it be?
Go with your instincts. Your first idea or perception is usually correct.

Are you happy with the way people perceive you?
Most understand my gift and are happy when I match them. I get real angry with skeptics, though. I don’t force anyone to believe in my gift, so am wary or anyone making jokes at my expense. Dan annoyed me at first, but apologized and seemed really interested in how I could match him.

Is there a message you want to get across in this interview?
Go with what feels right. My second sight told me Dan wasn’t what I thought, and even after I suspected him of being a gigolo, I still couldn’t stop my heart from wanting him. Deep down inside, I trusted him and couldn’t escape his sex appeal!

If you could pull your author into your world, what do you do with her?
I’d like to test her to see if she’s psychic. She’s had a few instances in the past where she “saw” things that happened. I’m not talking about intuition, though. One time, she knew someone was in danger near a fire, and it turned out to be true. Stuff like that. Hmm. Maybe that’s why she decided to make me have psychic abilities.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
Wow. You know, I’d love to go back in time and meet Nostradamus. Now that guy seems like he was a real psychic, if you read his quatrains and believe how people interpret them. Did he truly have psychic abilities to see into the future?

Share a little bit of the ‘real’ you with our readers. Any Dark secrets?
This is crazy, but the one time I tried matching myself with someone, it didn’t work. Maybe it was because I ignored all the warning sounds buzzing in my head and let his charisma overwhelm me. He was a charmer, and I reacted like a lovesick fool. Damn. I can’t let my clients know about this. You won’t tell, will you?

What’s the kinkiest thing you’ve done? Stupidest? Craziest?
I tagged along on the dates I set up for Dan. Three dates, all disasters. I had dates for myself, although nothing special. But, Dan’s three dates were all wrong for him. Like, the woman who was more interested in my date than Dan. Then, there was the Doggie Dinner we went to, where people brought their dogs (like Dan’s date did). The howling and barking still echoes in my head. Date number three? We ended up participating in a murder mystery since Dan’s date was a cast member and gave us parts to play. Are these crazy enough for you?

Can you match me with someone?
’I’ll do it for free, since you’ve been so nice to interview me. But, you’ve got to come to my office, fill out paperwork, and let me touch your hand so I can “see” what male client “number” pops into my head as being right for you. Call and make an appointment.

I’ll certainly take that into consideration. I’d like to visit a true psychic. Thank you for stopping by and letting us pick your brains.

Character Bio: Serena Xavier, female psychic. Serena’s had psychic abilities all her life, and so has her brother, Michael. Her business, “Second Sight Dating”, has been fairly successful, and building her reputation and clientele is her goal. And, finding a wonderful man…like Dan…would complete her life.


  1. Thanks for having me and Serena here today!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!
    Marianne Stephens/April Ash

  2. I like this heroine, Marianne. Nice interview, Tamara.