Tuesday, November 21, 2023

An Except from my new book, Arcane Betrayal

Dear Reader –

I spent this summer working on the latest novel in my Arcane Talents series. Now here it is, just in time for Christmas (and my birthday)!

Here’s a taste:


Targeted by terrorists, a woman inhabited by a tiger spirit turns to the lover she left behind.

Margay Whitfield has a mystical bond to a tiger spirit which allows her to call on the animal’s power – until a terrorist bombing leaves her with PTSD and shaky control over her inner big cat.


Now she’s come home to Ashburg, S.C., where her mother owns a restaurant. Margay hopes that a simple, boring job will give her the time and peace to heal her psychic wounds and rebuild her control over Razia, her tiger. 


But when the terrorists who attacked her in Ukraine use Raz to turn the town against her and her mother, she has to call a cop.


Though Ashburg Police Chief Grant Sawyer has no magical abilities at all, he and Margay were childhood best friends – and high school sweethearts. But ten years of tragedy has left Margay with deep psychological wounds and a fear she could hurt – even kill – the man she loves.


Can Margay and Grant defeat the terrorists despite the odds, and rediscover their lost love?





Grant Sawyer stared down into Margay’s lovely oval face. As always, those big, Feral gold eyes fascinated him. They seemed to glow against the warm brown of her skin in the illumination from the SUV’s dash lights. She wore no lipstick on her wide, full mouth, and her white teeth flashed as she spoke. Her long black hair was woven into countless thin braids, with other strands left curling loose. He’d Googled it, and the style was called goddess braids. 


Which, as far as he was concerned, was an entirely appropriate ‘do for Margay Whitfield. All that hair was tied in a swinging tail that hung to her pert, perfect ass. Since she wore only leggings and a United States Arcane Corps long-sleeved tee, he could tell she was as fit as she’d been in high school. Curves everywhere curves should be, and lean muscle everywhere else.


God, he wanted her. Her wide nostrils flared, and he had the uncomfortable feeling she could see the hunger in his eyes, smell it in his scent.


She was even more beautiful than back when he’d dreamed of a future with her. Before the Arcane Corps -- and something seriously nasty -- had put that look in her Feral gold eyes.

Grant had been sitting in his vehicle working on a report when some instinct made him glance up to see a dark figure darting by. Running so fast his jaw dropped.


Then she’d shot in front of his headlights, and he’d recognized Margay. Her braids flew behind her as she ran, long legs flashing as her arms pumped. She’d been running full out, nothing held back, and her face gleamed with sweat even in the cold. She’d worn an expression of such desperation and pain, his heart clenched in his chest.


So he’d started his vehicle and pulled out after her. When she’d turned back to him, he’d instantly read the fear behind her wide, tight smile.


He couldn’t stand the thought of scaring Margay Whitfield. Yet even after he’d identified himself – even after he’d gotten out of the SUV -- the unease remained.


Why the hell would she look at him like that? Why had she been ducking him? They’d grown up best friends – caught frogs as nine-year-olds, watched anime in middle school, geeked out together about SF novels, comics and films as teens. Gone to Dragon Con in Atlanta every year, collecting selfies and cosplaying as superheroes or anime or gaming characters. Shared their first kiss. Gone to prom. Made love.




And yeah, Brandy had been right – Grant had loved Margay more than he’d ever loved his wife.


He’d understood why Margay had walked away from him after high school. She’d wanted to join the Arcane Corps ever since they’d been kids. After all, her father had been a Corps vet with a magical tiger of his own. So Grant hadn’t resented it – much -- when she’d left to join the Corps. He’d wanted to be a cop just as bad.


She’d succeeded in her goal, just as he had, only to leave the Corps and come home. With rumored wounds that didn’t show.


Grant had tried more than once to talk to her -- even showing up at her mother's restaurant -- but she’d just shaken her head and said she was busy.


Jocelyn had told him she'd come back injured to the soul. Not physically -- that long, smooth body was whole. She still moved with the same fluid strength and confidence. But there were scars in those golden eyes.


Before Grant could think of a way to reach her now, the radio handset on his shoulder gave a demanding crackle. "Ashburg I-1, you've got a 10-80 at 156 Jones St.”


He cursed silently and triggered the handset clipped to his shoulder as he turned back to his SUV. "Ashburg I-1, en route.” He released the transmit button and told her, “I’ve got to take this.”


Margay frowned, worry in her eyes, and half started after him. “What’s a 10-80?”


“Domestic violence call.” He curled his lip in disgust. “Sounds like Sam Jenkins beat the hell out of his girlfriend again.”


"You need backup? I could go with you.”


Because of course she would. Everything else might be gone to shit, but Margay would always have his back. “Thanks, but I’ve got it.”


She frowned, visibly worrying. “But what if this asshole has a gun? I'm bulletproof and you're not."


"And if you were a cop, I'd love to have you. But you're not, and if something happened, the liability would eat the town alive."


At that she deflated. "Yeah, it wouldn’t be a good idea to put Raz in that situation anyway. It'd be too likely to set her off." With a sigh, Margay waved him on. “Better go answer your call."


She watched as he slid into his vehicle. When he glanced into his rearview mirror as he drove away, she was still staring after him.


As if, despite her cat, despite whatever the hell had happened to her, she still cared.


Christ knew he did.


Buy links: Changeling Press             Amazon            Barnes and Noble           Apple        Vivlio                            Smashwords


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