Sparks fly when an occult expert and a disgraced archeologist become enemies-with-benefits in Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan, a new steamy romance.

Do Your Worst

Sparks fly when an occult expert and a disgraced archeologist become enemies-with-benefits in this steamy romance.

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Excerpt from Do Your Worst

While other women inherited a knack for singing or swearing from their grandmothers, Riley Rhodes received a faded leather journal, a few adolescent summers of field training, and the guarantee that she’d die alone.

Okay, fine, maybe that last thing was a slight exaggeration. But a unique talent for vanquishing the occult, passed down from one generation to the next like heirloom china, certainly didn’t make dating any easier. Her matrilineal line’s track record for lasting love was . . . bleak, to say the least.

Curse breaking-the Rhodes family talent-was a mysterious and often misunderstood practice, especially in the modern age. Lack of demand wasn’t the problem. If anything, the world was more cursed than ever. But as the presence of an angry mob in any good folktale will tell you, people fear what they don’t understand.

To be fair, Gran had warned Riley about the inherent hazards of curse breaking out of the gate. There was, of course, the whole physical danger aspect that came part and parcel with facing off against the supernatural. Riley had experienced everything from singed fingertips to the occasional accidental poisoning in the name of her calling.

As for the personal pitfalls? Well, those hurt in a different way.

She’d grown up practicing chants at recess and trying to trade homemade tonics for Twinkies at lunch. Was it any wonder that, through middle school, her only friend had been a kindly art teacher in her late fifties? It wasn’t until tenth grade when her tits came in that guys decided “freaky curse girl” was suddenly code for “performs pagan sex rituals.” Riley had been almost popular for a week-until that rumor withered on the vine.

It was like Gran always said: No one appreciates a curse breaker until they’re cursed.

Since she couldn’t be adored for her talents, Riley figured she could at least get paid. So, at thirty-one years old, she’d vowed to be the first to turn the family hobby into a legitimate business.

Still, no one would call her practical. She’d flown thousands of miles to a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands to risk life and limb facing down an ancient and unknowable power-but hey, at least she’d gotten fifty percent up front.

Hours after landing, strung out on jet lag and new-job nerves, Riley decided the village’s single pub was as good a place as any to start her investigation into the infamous curse on Arden Castle.

The Hare’s Heart had a decent crowd for a Sunday night, considering the total population of the village didn’t break two hundred. Dark wood-paneled walls and a low ceiling covered in crimson wallpaper gave the already small space an extra intimate feel. More like an elderly family member’s living room than the slick, open-concept spots filled with almost as many screens as people that Riley knew all too well back home.

Hopefully after this job put her services on the map she could stop picking up bartending shifts in Fishtown during lean months. For now, her business was still finding its feet. The meager income she managed to bring in from curse breaking remained firmly in the “side hustle” category-though it was still more than anyone else in her family had ever made from their highly specialized skills. Riley had always thought it was kind of funny, in a morbid way, that a family of curse breakers could help everyone but themselves.

Whether out of fear or a sense of self-preservation, Gran had never charged for her practice. In fact, she’d kept curse breaking a secret her whole life, serving only her tiny rural mountain community. As a consequence, she’d never had two nickels to rub together. She and Riley’s mom had weathered a few rough winters without heat, going to bed on lean nights-if not hungry, then certainly not full.

Riley had never faulted her mom for ditching Appalachia and the family mantle in favor of getting her nursing degree in scenic South Jersey. It was only because she’d never been good at anything practical that Riley found herself here in the Highlands, hoping this contract changed more than the number in her bank account.

If word got out that Riley had taken down the notorious curse on Arden Castle, she could go from serving small-time personal clients to big corporate or even government jobs. (She had it on good authority they’d been looking for someone to remove the curse on Area 51 since the seventies).

Perching herself on a faded leather stool at the mahogany bar that divided the pub into two sections, Riley had an excellent vantage point to observe the locals. Up front in the dining room, patrons ranging in age from two to eighty occupied various farm tables brimming with frothing pints and steaming plates.

Excerpted from Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan Copyright © 2023 by Rosie Danan. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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About Rosie Danan

Rosie Danan writes steamy, big-hearted books, articles, and tweets about the trials and triumphs of modern love.

Her debut novel, THE ROOMMATE (previously Never Have I Ever), won the 2019 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® for Best Contemporary Romance.

After participating in the writing mentorship program Pitch Wars as a 2018 mentee, she was thrilled to join the organization as a mentor starting in 2019.

When not writing, Rosie enjoys jogging slowly to fast music, petting other people’s dogs, and competing against herself in rounds of Chopped using the miscellaneous ingredients occupying her fridge.

About the Book

date published : November 14th, 2023

publisher : Berkley

pages : 339

audiobook narrators: Shane East, Saskia Maarleveld

audiobook length: 9 hours and 14 min

Do Your Worst by Rosie Danan-cover

Riley Rhodes finally has the chance to turn her family’s knack for the supernatural into a legitimate business when she’s hired to break the curse on an infamous Scottish castle. Used to working alone in her alienating occupation, she’s pleasantly surprised to meet a handsome stranger upon arrival—until he tries to get her fired.

Fresh off a professional scandal, Clark Edgeware can’t allow a self-proclaimed “curse breaker” to threaten his last chance for redemption. After he fails to get Riley kicked off his survey site, he vows to avoid her. Unfortunately for him, she vows to get even.

Riley expects the curse to do her dirty work by driving Clark away, but instead, they keep finding themselves in close proximity. Too close. Turns out, the only thing they do better than fight is fool around. If they’re not careful, by the end of all this, more than the castle will end up in ruins.

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