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Violet Among The Roses

Three thousand years ago Narcissus was too self-absorbed to love anyone but himself. Trapped in a statue in a public park, he never expected this to change...but then a little girl named Violet stared into his face and called him "Nick". Now a grown woman whose boyfriend dumped her after she lost her job, Violet is in serious need of a friend—and lover—and Nick wants to be both to her.

The goddess Aphrodite has made him human for two nights and a day. Will that be long enough for Nick to learn the true meaning of love, so he can earn his freedom and a place by Violet's side?

This book is available in the collection Mythical Seductions.

Winner of the 2004 Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal PRISM award for best Erotic Romance

Inaudible to human ears, a quiet chant began, a male voice, deep and sweet, reciting in a language from long ago:

“Oh mighty Aphrodite, Goddess of Beauty,

Thou art love,

Thou art fire,

Thou art all a man might desire.

Aphrodite, fairest of goddesses,

Bringer of passion,

Splendid and sweet,

Goddess of Beauty, hear my plea.”

Next to the fountain a whirlwind formed, picking up dirt and fallen leaves, collecting petals from the surrounding flowers. It turned, twisted, rising high into the form of a human being, and settled back to earth. When the dust cleared, a woman stood.

She was beautiful. The most beautiful woman imaginable, hair like a silver and gold curtain down her back, eyes the color of the purest sapphires. Her skin was like alabaster, tinged with rosy pinks that put the fairest peach to shame. The Goddess of Beauty indeed—Aphrodite, fairest of the ancients.

The goddess leaned against the basin of the fountain and spoke to the statue, witness to the sobbing figure with his frozen stare.

“Pretty words, Narcissus, very pretty indeed. And so sincere…” Her laugh rippled like the water trickling into the basin. She glanced over at the despondent form on the bench and folded her arms, one delicately arched eyebrow displaying her amusement.

“Such a flattering speech. I wonder what prompts you to make it?”

“Beautiful Lady. I…I merely wanted to see you, of course.”

“You merely wanted me to see this, you mean.” The goddess’s eyes ran over the still-crying figure and their ironic amusement developed into true sympathy. “She does seem rather upset.”

“Her name is Violet Smith. Her family is gone, her cat dead, her boyfriend dumped her, and last week she lost her job. Yes…she’s upset.”

The goddess glanced back at the figure on the pedestal. “How do you know all this? It was just a day ago that I granted your wish to move your head to spy on that bench.”

“I know this because the bastard she’s been living with broke up with her last week on that bench—after she told him about losing her job. It seems that the only reason he was with her in the first place was because she had a good income and could support him.”

“That’s a shame, Narcissus, but what would you have me do about it?” Aphrodite tapped her slender finger on the side of her cheek. “I could turn the selfish brute into a statue, I suppose, but that would hardly help her.”

“Well, I was thinking.” Narcissus’s voice grew tentative. “You remember that offer you made? To give me the opportunity to learn about love?”

The goddess clapped her hands together in delight. “You wish to take me up on that after so many centuries?” She looked thoughtful for a moment. “There is this one nymph I’ve been training. She’d be an excellent instructor…”

Carefully, Narcissus cleared his throat. “Blessed goddess, lovely as I’m sure your fair one is…I had someone else in mind.”

Again the goddess’s attention was diverted to the sobbing figure among the roses, her expression this time of disbelief. She pointed one long elegant finger. “You would prefer that to one of my special protégés?”

“Well…yes.”

“Why?”

“Mighty Aphrodite, you know the kind of learning I want. While I want to understand the physical, I want more than that…I want to know about the emotional as well.”

A glint of a smile graced the perfect lips. “This from the man who drove away my favorite nymph when all she wanted was a taste of your gorgeous body?”

His voice turned desperate. “Please, great lady. You know I was very young and didn’t understand what your fair one offered me. I wish to learn about that now, but I want the other as well. I want to know about love.”

The great goddess turned to the unfortunate young woman on the bench and considered her with more interest. A speculative gleam filled her eyes. “A woman who inspires love in the man who could only love himself. Fascinating. I find this warrants further study.”

Four Stars from Romantic Times! Susan Mobley of Romantic Times Book Club ...In VIOLET AMONG THE ROSES much of the tale focuses on Narcissus's sexual awakening; his exploration of love, both the physical and emotional, is enlightening...the characters' development is on point, and the small amount of secondary characters add flavor.

Five Hearts from The Romance Studio! Lisa Wine for The Romance Studio ...This is a beautifully written new take on some very old Greek myths. The love and sex between Violet and Nick is beautiful intense and so yummy that you will be panting for more. I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story and highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good love story.

Five Hearts from Love Romances! Melinda of Love Romances ...Ms. Starr’s writing brings out the interactions between these two so realistically that one can actually see Nick become human again. This is definitely one book that is necessary to read for its beautiful scenes and of course seeing a mythological god come to life and explore his wild erotic side.

Denise Powers of Sensual Romance "Has Narcissus learned to love someone other than himself?" ...I really enjoyed the sweet love story at the heart of VIOLET AMONG THE ROSES. Nick has much to learn about, yet he manages to teach Violet so much as well. There will be more stories involving secondary characters, so readers will have those to eagerly anticipate. Fans of modern-day updating of mythological tales should snap up this intriguing series by Ms. Starr. I think you'll fall a little bit in love with Nick, as I did.

Mireya of A Romance Review - 4.5 Roses ...Cricket Starr`s Violet Among The Roses is a beautifully engaging tale. Ms. Starr successfully weaves the myth of Narcissus into this romantic story. The plot is moving and poignant, but it is also sprinkled with a charming sense of humor.

Sinclair Reid of Romance Review Today ...Ms. Starr's VIOLET AMONG THE ROSES definitely deserves the S-ensual rating that it incurs. But it also contains strong emotions and an intriguing storyline.

Alane of Romance Junkies ...There are plenty of steamy scenes between two people who are falling in love.  It’s a sweet love story, following Nick as he stumbles through the confusing 21st century, hoping to find a way to share his life with the woman he loves.  Violet has had so many bad breaks in her life that it’s wonderful to see someone who just wants to make her happy and show her that she is worthy of love.  I highly recommend this book to fans of mythology and paranormal romance, and people who love beautiful, romantic stories.

Amanda Taylor of Just Erotic Romance Reviews ...Ms. Starr has done a magnificent job telling us this erotic tale with tenderness and passion. If you are looking for a great erotic romance that will let you escape from reality for just a little while, then this book is for you. I look forward to more romances from this talented author.

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