Berkley / September 2, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them…
Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.
But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.
Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…
Wickedly Dangerous, the first book in a new series by Deborah Blake, is a new paranormal series with a different flair, based on a Russian fairytale.
Russian tales state that Baba Yaga, a wicked witch with a curved-chin, beaky-nose, iron teeth, and giant chicken legs flies through the air on an enchanted mortar and pestle, to search out naughty children. And when she finds them she doesn’t discipline them, she eats them. That would keep me out of the forests and woods!
Now some of that might have been true in the past, not the eating of children, but maybe the flying mortar and pestle, and perhaps Baba Yaga wasn’t the most beautiful witch in the world but things are different in the twenty first century especially for Barbara Yager, one of three Baba Yagas based in the U.S. Like her mode of transportation:
A motorcycle came into view, its rider masked by head-to-toe black leather, a black helmet, and mirrored sunglasses that matched the ones Liam himself wore. The bike itself was a beautiful royal blue classic BMW that made Liam want to drool.
And the modern Baba Yaga is definitely not the crone of the past:
Gloved hands reached up and removed the helmet, and a cloud of long black hair came pouring out, tumbling waves of ebony silk. The faint aroma of orange blossom drifted across the meadow, although none grew there.
Liam started, aware that he’d been staring rudely. He told himself it was just the surprise of her gender, not the startling Amazonian beauty of the woman herself, all angles and curves and leather.
The Baba Yagas are neither moral nor immoral—only extremely powerful (and gorgeous). The world’s Baba Yagas watch over the doorway between the Otherworld and the mortal one and maintain the balance of the natural world. Not an easy task, but the Baba Yagas do have control over the elements. And in rare cases they answer request for help when someone knows to invoke them to do so. Still, even when answering a heartbreaking request to help find a missing child, the Babas—at least Barbara, doesn’t give away her services for free:
“Now, about that price,” She tapped one finger against her full lips as she thought. “I think we’ll go with the traditional three impossible tasks. I find that usually separates the men from the boys. Or the girls, in this case.”
Belinda’s eye widened. “You mean you won’t even try to find Mary Elizabeth until I do three impossible things? That’s…that’s...“
Okay well, she really not that cruel, although she puts up a good front:
Baba shrugged again. “You came to me. That’s the way this works. Even the Baba Yaga has to play by certain rules.” She didn’t mention that her favorite hobby was bending those rules until they resembled origami done by a drunken blind man.
Watching over a special doorway, protecting nature, and helping out a few worthy individuals sounds like a job that would keep you pretty busy. But Barbara, actually called Baba, even with all that responsibility, knows that there are some things you just can’t live without:
”So, are you going to go see a movie?” Chudo-Yudo asked. “With the handsome sheriff, before I eat him?
“He didn’t ask me,“ Baba said, feeling grumpy for no obvious reason. “And even if he had, he’s too young for me.”
Chudo-Yudo snorted, sounding more dragon than dog for a moment. “You’re eighty-two, Baba. Everyone is too young for you.”
”Not Koshei,” she argued.
“Koshei is a dragon. Even when he looks like a Human, he’s still a dragon,” the dog said. “Wouldn’t you like to spend time with one of your own kind occasionally?”
“Humans are hardly my own kind,” Baba said, flopping down on the couch. “Not anymore. Not since I came to live with the Baba Yaga, and grew up to be one. Besides, Koshei and I get along fine. He shows up, we have sex, he goes away. Why would I want anything more than that?”
Even the most powerful can’t always get it right, but Sheriff Liam McClellen is more than willing to show her the difference between sex, and SEX with the right person.
Wickedly Dangerous is a new, intriguing entry into paranormal romance.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake, available September 2, 2014: