Thursday, February 16, 2017

Here's an excerpt from Arcane Kiss, my latest novel.

Alone, veteran Kurt Briggs is no match for the Arcane terrorists who threaten the nation's leadership. He needs Arcanist Genevieve Reyes by his side. But when shared danger leads to shared desires, the consequences could be deadly for them both.

Kurt Briggs has a spirit link to a tiger Familiar that gives him superhuman abilities, but when his father is murdered, the military veteran becomes a target for terrorist sorcerers. Alone, Kurt finds he's no match for the witch and her shape-shifting polar bear. He turns to Arcanist Genevieve Reyes for help in fighting the killers' spells.

As Genevieve and Kurt hunt the terrorists, shared danger leads to shared desire. But they soon realize Kurt's passion for Gen weakens his control over his cat. The consequences could be deadly for them both. Genevieve is attracted to Kurt's animal sensuality, but she knows she may be in as much danger from his tiger as she is from the terrorists.

Then they learn the terrorists plan to sacrifice Kurt to power a horrific spell designed to decimate the U.S. government. Even if Kurt and Gen manage to stop the terrorists, their evil sorcery may trigger a witch hunt that could mean the destruction of everyone with magical Talent -- including Kurt and Genevieve. In the following scene, Kurt meets his best friend, an old military buddy, in a bar.

He wound his way across the room to order an Arcane Ale at the bar. Accepting the icy bottle the bartender handed over, Kurt turned to find Jake Nolan watching him from one of the booths. When the other man tilted his own bottle in salute, he headed over.

The Feral cop wasn’t a tall man, but he was built like a bull, with broad shoulders and powerful biceps. Jake wore his hair in a blond brush cut that made his broad features look even tougher and more uncompromising. His eyes glowed in the bar’s dim lighting, shining with his link to his lion Familiar, Clarence.

“Yo.” Jake’s Mellow Microbrew was evidently doing its job -- he looked relaxed. Being off-duty, he’d changed out of his black uniform in favor of his usual geek gear: worn black jeans and a Deadpool T-shirt. It wasn’t at all surprising that Jake’s favorite superhero was basically a cross between Rambo and Bugs Bunny.

So was Jake.

Kurt slid into the booth. “So how was today’s fight for truth, justice and chimichangas?”

“The usual. Encounters with assholes and idiots and idiotic assholes, and one or two hapless innocent bystanders.” Jake studied him shrewdly. “You ain’t happy.”

“I did notice that.”

“You want to tell me about it, or just glower?”

Kurt shrugged, only to discover that he did indeed want to vent. “Oh, you know, the usual. I showed an interest in a woman who wasn’t a Feral…”

“And your Dad lost his shit.”

“Nah, just booked me a flight on Guilt Air.”

“Travelocity’s got nothing on Fred. Who inspired this particular round trip?”

“You know that Arc who volunteered to help Parvati?”

At that, Jake straightened. “Wait, you’re interested in a witch? Shit, I’ll bet Fred did yark up a hairball.”

“Actually, it was only about the size of a ping pong ball.”

“As opposed to the Great Watermelon of 2015.”

“He just warned me about ruining a good thing with somebody who could heal our cats.”

Jake considered that, sipping his beer. “You do have a lot of old, sick kitties at BFS. What you don’t have is a great track record when it comes to women.”

Kurt eyed his very single friend. “So why aren’t you home with your wife and kids?”

Jake flipped him off. “About this witch Juliet of yours…”


“Whatever. What’s she like?”

“Well, she heals sick children and dying cats pro bono…”

“Which is cool and all, but is she hot?”

“She’s…” Kurt broke off, struggling to put his reaction into words.

Jake sat back, impressed. “Sizzling, huh?”

“Yeah, and I’m not even sure why.”

“Nice rack maybe?”

“Even you’re not that shallow.”

“I certainly am -- I have a dick. And since you do too, you ain’t exactly a deep-sea diver yourself.”

“You have a point.”

“So? Give.”

“Hell, I don’t know. Big blue eyes and an incredible amount of red hair all…” He made a gesture around his shoulders. “Curly.”

“You’ve got my attention.”

“And yeah, nice rack. But what got me…” He fell silent for a moment, trying to puzzle it out. “While she was drawing Parvati, her magic… I never felt anything like it. It was intense.”

Jake studied him. “We’ve worked with a lot of Arcs, but I don’t remember you reacting like this to any of them.”

Kurt turned his beer bottle between his fingers, listening to it scrape over the tabletop. “The Arcs in the service -- their magic was about death, about booby traps and demolition spells. Her magic feels like life. Something about it just made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Even Stoli felt it. He was almost purring.”

“Tigers don’t purr.”

“Neither do people, but I was doing it too.” He paused, considering. “I’m going to ask her out.”

“I see a watermelon in your future.”

“Dad needs to remember he’s not me. And every woman I meet is definitely not Mom.”

“Big talk, but I haven’t noticed you rushing to the altar.”

Kurt shrugged. “None of them have been right.”

“That why you haven’t even tried in the last six months?”

“And when did you last get laid?”

“Wednesday. Brunette. Great tits. Likes to be tied up and spanked. I’m planning to introduce her to nipple clamps next.”


“You’re one to talk.” Jake grinned, slow and nasty, a sure indicator he was about to give Kurt hell. “If you decide not to grow a pair, I think I’ll go make introductions with Witchy Woman myself. I don’t have anything against Arcs. Maybe I’ll even give her a spanking.”

A surge of possessive anger took Kurt by surprise. As he wrestled it, a distinct scritch sounded over the laughter and chatter of the clientele. His fingertips vibrated. He looked down and saw glowing claws tipping his fingers, digging into the table. Startled, Kurt jerked his hand back and willed the claws away.

When he looked up, Jake was sitting back in the booth, giving him a long, considering look. “She did get under your skin didn’t she? No wonder your dad freaked. How’d she get Stoli going so fast? It’s not as if she’s his type.”

“That wasn’t him, Jake. That was me.” He tapped his now clawless fingertips on his beer bottle, frowning. “Maybe I should keep my distance. If she’s already making me pop claws when I haven’t even asked her out yet…”

“Jesus, don’t give up before you even try.”

“It can get ugly when Ferals lose control.”

“Yeah.” Jake’s mouth took on a bitter twist. “Just look what happened to my brother.”

“I wasn’t talking about that.”

“It’s what you were thinking.”

“You read minds now?”

“No, but I do know there’s a difference between being careful and being in suspended animation. Risk the watermelon and ask the girl out.” Jake gave him a long, serious stare. “Otherwise, the only pussy you’re ever going to get is Stoli.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

A scene from Arcane Kiss

Here's another excerpt from Arcane Kiss.

Alone, veteran Kurt Briggs is no match for the Arcane terrorists who threaten the nation's leadership. He needs Arcanist Genevieve Reyes by his side. But when shared danger leads to shared desires, the consequences could be deadly for them both.
 In this scene, Kurt and Genevieve make love for the first time. Kurt has just melded with the spirit of a tiger, which is eroding his normal self-control. He's worried he could endanger Gen, who has just had a nightmare about his losing control.

She sighed. “It was just a nightmare, Kurt. It didn’t mean anything.”
“There’s fear in your scent.”
“It was just a bad dream.”
He sank back on the couch and rubbed his eyes with one hand. In his own dream, he’d been the one to trip the Arc’s booby trap in that cave. He’d been the one to go mad when someone bumped him from behind, reacting in blind animal rage. Except it hadn’t been Dave he’d killed.
It had been Genevieve.
I’ve got to get out of here before I do something really stupid. Like kiss her again. Kurt dropped his hand, shoulders slumping. “I don’t blame you for being afraid, especially after the way I acted tonight. Look, I’m going back to…”
Gen touched him, shutting him up in mid-word. Her silken fingers curled along his cheek. “I’m not afraid.” Her blue eyes gazed into his, vivid and steady. “You didn’t lose control, Kurt. Your father was just murdered, but you still held on. You didn’t hurt anybody. I’m not sure I could have said the same if somebody’d killed my dad.”
He inhaled sharply. Her scent flooded his head, and he realized she meant it. The acridity was gone, leaving only her personal scent, all magical ozone and Genevieve.
But if the fear had faded, the need had not. It still rolled from her, smoky and tempting as incense. “I’m not afraid,” she repeated softly.
“You were.”
“I had a bad dream. It’s been that kind of night. But if you were really going to lose control, you’d have done it in the arena when your dad died. If you didn’t then, I don’t think you’re going to.”
Kurt closed his eyes, fighting temptation, and saw her magic glowing behind his lids. It wasn’t just gold like his, but a hundred other shades, colors chasing each other across her aura like the aurora borealis.
The glowing woman leaned toward him. His eyes flew wide as Genevieve kissed him. It might have been their third kiss of the night, but it didn’t feel like either of the others. Those had been kisses of desperation, of grief, of pain and sympathy. This was a gentle exploration of a kiss, slow and soft.
Her tongue slipped into his mouth in a teasing lick that burned smoky with bourbon. Kurt closed his lips and suckled her gently, tasting her with senses both feline and human. Her lips brushed back and forth across his in slow seduction. He returned the swirling stroke of her tongue, sliding his own into her mouth, tilting his head as he explored her.
At last she eased back from him. Kurt stared at her, fighting the need that burned hot in his groin, his and Stoli’s desire flaring like gasoline teased with a torch.
Cool little fingers touched his hand and took the glass away. Leaning forward, she put both their empty glasses on the coffee table with a clink. His eyes caught on the sinuous curve of her back, leading down to the swell of her ass.
Genevieve turned back to him, and he took her in his arms. She felt perfect, skin soft and smooth and lush.
That image flashed through his mind: Gen on her hands and knees. Stoli wanted her to pull her under him, but he refused. Not after the fear I saw in her eyes. I am not going to scare this woman again. He was going to make love to her. Despite common sense, despite his better judgment, he wanted her. Needed her.
Craved her.
But he wasn’t an animal. He eased back and looked deep in those cornflower eyes. “You trust me. But do you want me?”
She caught his shoulders in both hands and pushed him back against the couch, then slung a leg astride his lap. “Yes.”
Kurt stiffened… in more than one sense of the word. His cock leaped as her soft weight came down on his thighs. She felt so delicious, he groaned. Gen covered his mouth with hers and drank the sound, kissing him harder this time, demanding, tongue swirling around his.
Closing his eyes, he watched her glow as the heat in his veins blazed.
She stroked him as she kissed him, tracing the cords of his throat, the thick muscle of biceps and shoulders.
He cupped the rise of her hips, slid one palm up to the dip of her narrow waist. Pushing up the hem of her shirt, he found bare skin, warm and smooth and soft under his fingertips.
Stoli rumbled, and Kurt had to suppress a magical echo. He had no intention of killing this mood with a growl, even a growl of hunger. Especially a growl of hunger. “Are you sure this is what you want? Because I’ll go if you’re not.”
She pulled back just enough to glare. “Don’t you dare.” Sharp little nails dug into his chest.
“All right, all right!” Laughing, he reached up to cup her breast. Soft. God, she was so incredibly soft. The smooth, warm curve filled his hand with pure erotic delight. He groaned.
So did she.
He caressed her gently, squeezed, stroked. Found the stiff little nipples that had been driving him crazy since she’d walked into the room. Made them even stiffer with gentle tugs between thumb and forefinger.
Genevieve pulled away from his mouth and let her head tilt back, eyes slipping closed. “I do love a man with talent.”
“Thank you.” He pulled the top up, revealing both lovely breasts. With pleasure, he saw her nipples were a luscious candy pink, furled tight in arousal. “See what you think of this…”
Leaning forward, he closed his mouth around one delightful bud. The taste of her was more intoxicating than the bourbon, sending fire roaring along his veins like a flame following a trail of gasoline.
A cool low voice that sounded like his father said, This is a really bad idea.
He ignored it.

Angela Knight