Tuesday, April 12, 2022

An excerpt from Arcane Heart

 Here's Book 2 in my Arcane Talents series. Hope you like it!

The wildest passion has claws.

When a pair of cops with magical abilities become the target of a hate group, they must unravel the plot against them before it costs them their lives -- and love.

Deputy Erica Harris is a witch who can see the magical auras of those around her, a talent which helps her determine when someone intends to commit a violent crime. Her partner, Deputy Jake Nolan, has a psychic link with an African lion that allows him to manifest the animal’s powers.

But it’s tough to serve and protect when demagogues stoke public fear of you. As the two cops fight to unravel a politically motivated web of hate and deceit, Erica and Jake are targeted by a magical assassin hired by the plotters.

While dodging murder attempts, they begin to fall in love. But as Jake’s desire makes his inner lion more possessive, his self-control erodes. Can they afford to take a chance on love when so many lives hang in the balance?

Amazon   Amazon Print    Apple Books   B&N   Kobo

He slid out of his car and looked down at her, a broad-shouldered silhouette. His eyes caught a beam of light from God knew where, reflecting gold. Heart pounding a crazed rhythm, she got out to join him. “If you think I’m necking in the back of the patrol car…”
“God, no. Way too many drunks have yarked in my cruiser. I keep my car clean, but there’s only so much you can do.”
She could only grin. “And Dave says there’s no romance in your soul.”
His teeth flashed. “Give me a try and see for yourself how romantic I am.”
Erica swallowed at the erotic challenge in his tone. This is not a good idea. She found herself moving closer anyway until they stood chest to chest.
Which would have felt much sexier without the two bulletproof vests they were wearing.
Jake’s big, broad hands came up and cupped her cheeks to cradle her head, tilting her chin up. His palms felt calloused, deliciously warm. His mouth felt just as seductive as he kissed her, his lips feathering a soft brush across hers.
Erica groaned and let herself lean into his chest. Though Jake wasn’t a tall man, his muscular breadth made her feel almost delicate. Feminine. The ASP baton hanging from his belt tapped her thigh, and the plastic buckles of their duty belts clicked as they eased together.
He slid a hand behind her back to grip her belt and pull her closer. Angling his head, he deepened the kiss, his tongue tracing the seam of her lips. She opened with a soft, yearning groan.
He tasted of the Cauldron’s maple syrup, smelled of something dark and wild that made her think of deep woods and cat musk. Arousal tightened her belly, kicking off a honeyed flare of heat through her blood. Behind the thick padding of her vest, her nipples hardened. God, she wanted to feel his hands on her bare breasts. Ached for it.
He rumbled, a delicious vibration. Thick, coarse fur brushed against the back of her thighs, a psychic impression of a leonine body.
“Go away, Clar,” he murmured against her lips.
The impression of fur disappeared.
Shivering in helpless arousal, Erica spread her hands over his chest. Felt only tough uniform fabric and the thickness of the Kevlar vest. God, I want him naked.
He drew back from her mouth, looking down at her with hooded eyes. “I want to touch you.”
Licking dry lips, she croaked, “God yes. But this isn’t the…”
Big hands stroked up over the rise of her breasts. She closed her eyes and swallowed, wishing it wasn’t so damn cold. Wishing she was naked, so she could feel his skin on hers.
Fingers brushed the bare skin of her collarbones as if her bullet-resistant vest had turned to mist. An electric jolt of pleasure zinged through her, so intense it almost stung.
Erica’s eyes sprang wide. Jake watched her hungrily, gold eyes glowing as his thumbs brushed back and forth over her uniformed chest. One hand slid down, and she rocked back, instinctively giving him room. Room to trace down her sternum, dance across the upper curves of one breast, then down the slope of it…
Fingers brushed nipples with a sensation so vivid, she looked down, half-expecting to find her clothes had disappeared.
Both uniforms were still there. He was using his feral magic to manipulate her aura. “Oh,” she breathed. “That’s… incredible. I didn’t know you could do that.”
“You’d be surprised what I can do.” Jake’s smile took on a darker cast as he magically toyed with her, fingers brushing over the vest.
His left hand paused, tracing the curve of her ribs, dancing over thin skin, gliding downward to find the jut of a hipbone. And across.
Between her legs.
A jolt of magic shot right into her clit. Erica inhaled and caught his shoulders to keep from falling on her ass.
“Like that?” Jake’s voice seemed to brush across her senses like velvet, rich and tempting. He went for her lips again, sipping at her tongue, as one hand played between her thighs and the other danced delicate spells over her breasts as though she was naked. Deliciously naked and aroused.
Well, part of that was true.
Jake purred against her mouth -- a sound that became a gasp as she slid a hand down and sent her own magic questing. To find the thick shaft of his erection pressing against his fly. Cupping her fingers over him, she danced a feather of magic the length of his cock from balls to head.
“You’re living dangerously.” His voice sounded rough.
She smiled wickedly and closed her teeth over his lower lip, tugging it as she intensified the magic whirling around his eager shaft. “Yes, well, so are you.”
His lips curled against hers. “Sometimes a little danger can be fun.”
Erica froze as the words triggered a dark association: Sometimes a little danger can be fun. That had been one of Bobby’s favorite sayings, used before missions, bar brawls, or jumping out of an airplane. He’d even said it the first time he’d taken her to bed.
And the morning she’d caught him cheating. “Sometimes a little danger can be fun.”
Jake’s eyes widened in dismay as he felt her recoil. “Erica, I…”
She stepped back out of range of his hands, his magic. Suddenly the spring breeze felt icy over her hot cheeks. “I’ll… see you later.”
Jake took a step toward her, one hand lifted, then aborted the gesture. His broad shoulders slumped. “What about BFS?”
Erica wanted to say no. Wanted to at least put him off. Instead she heard herself say, “I’ll meet you there.”
Relief brightened his gaze, and he tried out a tentative smile. “Why don’t I pick you up instead. Ten o’clock?”
She turned away and headed for her car. All she wanted was to get home. “Sure, whatever. Fine.”
But it wasn’t fine. Why the hell didn’t I tell him no?
She knew exactly why. I’ve never been smart when it came to any Nolan.

Except from Arcane Island

My new book is finally finished! It's up for pre-order, and will be out May 6, 2022. I've wanted to write Dave Frost's story for years now, but every time I tried to do it, it never worked. I finally figured it out a few months ago. I had a ball writing the resulting book, which is full of Dave's trademark snark -- and his big, generous heart. Here's a taste...