I’ve been very busy the last few months writing my newest novel, Arcane Deception. This is the fifth book in the Arcane Talents series I’m doing, set in an alternate universe where people use art, music and dance to work magic. What’s more,U.S. servicemen have psychic links to magical lions, tigers and bears,who help them to form bulletproof magical shells of the animals they wear like Iron Man’s armor.
My heroine, Kate Marshall, is an Arcanist – an artist who uses a combination of art and magic to work powerful spells. My hero, Mark Delaney, has a psychic link with a magical polar bear that gives him the power of the world’s largest land predator.
But their enemies are even more powerful than they are…
When her grandfather wanders off, witch Kate Marshall enlists a handsome neighbor to help find Eli, who suffers from dementia. She doesn’t know Mark Delaney is a magic-using undercover agent trying to bring down a gang of drug dealers with deadly spirit animals.
Soon Mark and Kate find themselves falling in love, even as he wrestles with lying to the woman he’s fallen for. Unfortunately, the drug lord who is the gang’s leader is having them watched, so Mark can’t come clean.
When the gang kidnaps Eli and Kate to force her to collude in their crimes, she must turn to Mark despite his lies, the risk to her heart and the threat to her beloved grandfather’s life.
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Dammit, where is he?
Kate stopped in her tracks, closed her eyes, and scanned again, but nothing glowed behind her closed eyes. No sign of Eli Riley’s Talent shining through the trees. Except…
Wait. Not a glow, but something. She concentrated, focusing until the sense of power grew more acute. It seemed to be emanating from the lake.
Her eyes flew open, and she took off in long strides just short of a run. “Granddad? Granddad, where are you? You’re scaring me!”
Some days, Eli seemed just like the man who’d raised her during those idyllic childhood summers, endlessly wise, skilled in art and magic and the intersection where the two met. On bad days, he became a six-foot tall three-year-old, prone toward tantrums and violent outbursts. Even worse was the lethal combination of his raw magical ability and his failing memory, which could easily kill him if he made an error with a spell. Which was why she’d panicked when she’d woke up this morning to find him gone.
Eli hadn’t been in the studio crafting something fatal, though his backpack of magical gear was missing. She’d searched the rest of the old Victorian house and its extravagant garden, but no luck.
What worried her most was the lake. Her childhood summer haunt was less than a mile away from the house. Way too close for comfort.
He can swim. Hell, he taught me. But what if…
Flickering light flashed through the trees ahead -- sunlight glinting off the water. The sense of power was stronger now. Splashes sounded, suggesting someone swimming.
Or drowning. Her heart shot into her throat.
“Granddad, dammit!” Kate broke into a sprint, ignoring the thin branches that whipped across her face. “Granddad!” I can’t lose him too. She burst from the trees. “Granddad!”
But when she spotted the swimmer, it was not her grandfather. Not with the long blond hair slicked around broad, bare shoulders that gleamed in the morning sunlight. The man stopped swimming and turned, treading water, wiping a big hand down his dripping face. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Have you seen an old man?”
“No, nothing but couple of deer and about a dozen squirrels.” He started back to the shore, muscular arms stroking the water, sending droplets flying through the arc of a rainbow. “What’s the problem?”
“My grandfather… He’s got dementia. I woke up this morning to find him gone. He comes out here to paint.” Kate raked both hands through her brunette hair, absently plucking out leaves and twigs from her heedless run. “Oh God, he could be anywhere. The road -- he could have been hit by a car. Sometimes he doesn’t remember to check before he crosses…” She started to turn away.
“Hang on, let me get dressed and I’ll help you look.” He waded out of the lake, water streaming down a body like a gladiator’s, all hard, carved muscle. He wore only a pair of black swim trunks and a glowing golden tattoo in the center of his chest, a circle surrounded by sigils. Looked like some kind of protective spell. And he was big, easily six-one. On any other day in any other situation, she’d have drooled.
Click for the Excerpt.
Have a great summer!