ARC REVIEW – The Wolf’s Lover, by Samantha MacLeod

#urbanfantasy #Norsemyths #mythology #eroticromance

Adult/18+ read

 

Blurb

Karen McDonald buried her past.

Five years after her divorce, Karen is a wildlife biologist studying wolves in Yellowstone National Park. But when the wolf she tranquilizes turns into a man – a man she recognizes from the recurring dreams which have haunted her for years – her rational, scientific world gives way to something stranger and more dangerous.

The man is Vali, son of the Norse god Loki. He was imprisoned thousands of years ago, cursed to live inside a wolf’s body. Now Vali tells Karen he’s being hunted…and he’s hunting as well.

Because something has awoken beneath the volcanic caldera of Yellowstone, an ancient power that could spell the end of everything, unless Karen is willing to risk her life, and unearth the secrets of her past, to save her world.

My Review

Sexy and Spellbinding ~ 5 stars    TOP READ

LOVED it! The Wolf’s Lover is another sexy and spellbinding foray into the world created by Samantha Macleod which blends characters from Norse mythology with reality as we know it. Although can be read as a standalone, if you have read some of the author’s other books you will no doubt be as delighted as I to once again be reunited with some of the characters and places that were included in them.

Karen and Vali (serious hottie alert!) are a wonderful couple and I just loved how their relationship develops. Vali, the mysterious and unknown lover who invades her dreams, becomes a powerful lone wolf and then morphs into a man of flesh and blood, destined to change her life forever. As the son of the Norse god Loki, Vali is far from ordinary and his destiny is entwined with that of Karen’s in ways neither he nor she could have imagined.

Karen is a strong woman with a painful past and has a lot in common with Vali. Indeed, they are just what the other needs, yet fate has other ideas and their love will be sorely tested as the plot progresses. The secondary characters are well developed and I particularly enjoyed meeting Loki and Caroline from the Trickster’s Lover (click on book title for review). They not only have their own role to play in this story but we also get to find out more about Loki’s past and how their relationship is progressing. I won’t say anymore about the storyline, except that it is a real doozy and once again this author is to be congratulated for such a unique and impressive plot.

The novel is beautifully written in terms of both language and form and the storyline is strong, entwining romance, mythology, tension and suspense. It questions whether even our free will is free or whether is it out of our control and subject to the machinations of others. Indeed, the themes the book deals with – the cycle of life and death, love, family are deep. The strength of the story and the characterisations are matched by the quality and depth of the erotic lovemaking scenes between Vali and Karen and the myriad of emotions they evoke – you may need to ensure you have access to unlimited iced drinks and before reading…

Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and myths and legends who enjoy sizzling lovemaking scenes with strong characters and plot and excellent world-building.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

https://sammacleod.wordpress.com/about-me/
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012016893561

 

 

 

**Release Day Blitz** ~ Knight of Pentacles by Nina Mason (includes #excerpts, super #sale and #giveaway)

Knights of the Tarot Series

Erotic Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance

Today we celebrate the release of Knight of Pentacles, book three in Nina Mason’s Knights of the Tarot series. Unlike the first two books in the series, which Nina revised and re-released on May 24, Knight of Pentacles has never been released before.

Knight of Pentacles, an erotic PNR/UF set primarily on Scotland’s Black Isle, tells of the romance between Sir Axel Lochlann, who guards the portal into Avalon, and Jenna Cameron, the daughter of a witch who hasn’t yet discovered her powers. Their love story is based on the old Scottish ballad of Tam Lin, which plays an important role in the book.

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Here’s the blurb:

The future looks bleak for Jenna Cameron when, after a five-year engagement, her fiancé breaks it off the night before the wedding. Hoping to regroup, Jenna decides to drive alone to the cottage on Scotland’s mysterious Black Isle where they were supposed to spend their honeymoon. When her car breaks down, Jenna wonders if her troubles can get any worse. Then, while cutting through a secluded glen, she sees a handsome man bathing in a waterfall. The next day, she learns the man she saw is the faery knight who guards the portal into Avalon, the otherworld island ruled by Morgan Le Fay. Jenna, ready to be rid of the virginity she’s saved in vain, offers herself to Sir Axel Lochlann, the shaman knight of Faery Glen. From that moment on, she finds herself inside a faery tale complete with druids, goblins, runic magic, and vampire owls. She also discovers powers she didn’t know she had—powers she can use to break Sir Axel’s bonds to Queen Morgan. First, however, she must persuade Axel to put his desire to be free ahead of his duty to the queen he’s sworn to serve and obey.

Here’s a little more about the Knights of the Tarot series:

Knights of the Tarot, a four-part series, was born of a relatively simple concept. Nina wanted to write a paranormal/fantasy series incorporating different forms of divination. Tarot cards, astrology, runes, numerology, and the like. From that kernel grew the overarching storyline. The heroes of this contemporary paranormal series are Scottish noblemen of times past who were taken by the faeries into Avalon to serve as breeding drones to the queen, the legendary Morgan le Fay. Each of the books tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.

Each hero grapples with a different relationship with their cruel and selfish queen. Callum Lyon, the knight of book one (Knight of Wands), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped Avalon after faking his death. Leith MacQuill, the knight of book two (Knight of Cups), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his affair with one of the ladies of her court. To punish Leith, Morgan cursed him so any women he should fall in love with in the future would die.

In Knight of Pentacles, Axel Lochlann is still enslaved to the queen, who he serves as a guardian of the portal between the mortal and immortal realms.

The Knight of Swords (book four) is Finn MacKnight does not yet know he is destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a natural-born drone.

The knights are blood-drinking shape-shifters who can assume the form of any creature, real or mythical, but generally take the form of their alter ego. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat, Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s is a jaguar.

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Haven’t read the first two books in the Knights of the Tarot series?

No worries. Both are on sale this week for only 99 cents!

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Knight of Wands

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Knight of Cups

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Axel Lochlann, the hero of Knight of Pentacles is a Highlander of Viking descent who uses runes for divination and magic. For those who don’t know what runes are, they’re the letters of an alphabet called the Futhark, the first system of writing developed and used by the Germanic peoples.

More than just letters to make words, each rune is an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological principle or power. When written together in various sequences, the powers can be invoked to cast protective spells. Individual runes carved into stones, bone, or wood are used to seek the guidance and wisdom of the Old Norse gods, especially Odin, who discovered the runes after hanging upside down for nine days from Yggdrasil, the Old Norse tree of life .

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GIVEAWAY!

Order Knight of Pentacles today for a chance to win the beautiful blue-onyx runes pictured above. To enter, simply email your proof of purchase to NinaMasonAuthor@gmail.com.

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Here’s an excerpt from Knight of Pentacles: 

As the sputtering engine gasped its last, Jenna Cameron set her forehead against the steering wheel and groaned. Could this day get any worse? As if it weren’t enough her world had turned upside down, now her car decided to quit in the dead of night on a desolate stretch of road with no bloody cellular signal.

If not for the dream she’d had last night, she’d be Mrs. William Comstock right now, on her way to the honeymoon cottage she’d rented with the man she’d waited five long and frustrating years to marry.

The thought of William sent a chill through Jenna. In the dream, she’d seen herself driving off the edge of a cliff. She was married to William and utterly miserable. As her car soared over the edge of the precipice, she heard her mother’s voice. “The right man is out there, waiting for you to find him. But it will never be if you bind yourself to a man you don’t love.”

As soon as she awoke, she rang William. When she told him about the dream, he said, as she’d secretly hoped he would, “I was willing to overlook that your mother was a witch because I believed your father had safely guided you away from the path of darkness, but now I see that, like her, you have been led astray. I pray someday you will embrace the Light of God, Jenna. I truly do. But, for now, I cannot risk my own immortal soul by marrying someone so susceptible to the darkness.”

William, a Presbyterian pastor like her father, blamed everything he did not understand on the devil.

As relieved as Jenna was to have escaped, the sudden change of course had thrown her life into chaos. Expecting to be married, she’d given up her job and flat in Edinburgh and, consequently, was left with no source of income and nowhere to live.

So, she was on her way to the rented cottage in Rosemarkie, a small seaside town on Scotland’s Black Isle. Since she couldn’t get her deposit back, it seemed like a good idea to use the cottage to reflect and regroup.

Coming all this way alone had suddenly lost its appeal, but here she was—and wallowing in self-pity was not going to solve anything. According to the Google map she’d printed out, she wasn’t far from her destination. She might as well suck it up and walk the rest of the way. When she got there, she could ring a garage about her car.

Grabbing her purse, her forest-green wool cloak, and the battery-powered torch she kept in the glove box, she climbed out of the car and set off along the rural tree-lined road, which was dark and a little spooky. No cars passed her in either direction. Crickets chirped all around and small rustlings from the surrounding woods startled her sporadically. Senses alert, she stopped repeatedly to check her mobile for a signal.

Her heart pounded and, despite the chill in the air, she was sweating under her cloak and sweater. The only good thing she could say about her present predicament was that her fear of being torn to pieces by wild animals had temporarily eclipsed her other worries.

She didn’t know how long she’d been walking when she came to an old stone bridge. Just beyond was a sign. She shone the beam of her torch at the words carved into the wooden plaque.

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Faery Glen.

Jenna took heart. She’d read something about the glen on the website for the cottage, so she shouldn’t have much farther to go. Unfortunately, she needed to pee rather urgently. Might there be somewhere to go in the glen?

Venturing into a forest in the middle of the night might not be the smartest thing she’d ever done, but her bladder was bursting and she wasn’t about to tinkle by the side of the road. Just because no cars had gone by since she’d started walking, didn’t mean one wouldn’t appear the moment she dropped her knickers. Besides, there was a carpark abutting the glen, so there might be a public lavatory there as well.

Up above, the sky was an indigo canvas splattered with specks of white, some larger than others. She crossed the small asphalt lot. Finding no bathroom, she squatted in the bushes. When she’d finished her business, she shone the torch into the glen. Everything outside the beam was pitch black. Water ran somewhere nearby. Thirst drew her down the footpath. All that crying had made her as parched as a dry sponge.

I’ll only go a little ways, find the stream, and take a wee sip.

The hollow clomp of her footsteps disturbed the silence as she crossed a wooden bridge. On the other side, the path curved sharply. In a clearing just beyond the turn were the falls. In the silver light of the full moon, the cascading water reminded her of the bridal veil she might never get a chance to wear.

Then, she saw him. A man in the pool below the falls. He was stark naked, soaking wet, and had his back to her.

Alarm electrifying every nerve ending, she stepped back into the shadows. Her first thought was that he might be a homeless man who’d taken refuge in the woods. He had a beard and long hair, so it seemed the most logical explanation. Her next thought was that he might be performing some sort of ritual. She was on the Black Isle, after all, in a place called Faery Glen on the night of a full moon, so his being a New Age warlock or druid didn’t seem all that infeasible. A long shot, perhaps, but not meters outside the realm of possibility.

When curiosity overrode her apprehension, she stepped closer to get a better look at him. The moonlight bathing his glistening physique revealed a tall, slender frame with broad shoulders, narrow hips, and a shapely bum. Wetness and poor lighting made telling the color of his hair impossible. Light brown, maybe, or dark blond. She started a little when he bent over and shook his head like a dog. As he threw it back, he raised his muscular white arms to push the clinging wet hair off his face.

Despite her long engagement and having achieved the ripe age of twenty-five, she’d never seen a naked man before. Not in the flesh, anyway, and watching this one bathing in the wild was making her feel things she shouldn’t. The prospect of being caught spying on him was even more unsettling.

Ducking behind the thick trunk of the nearest tree, she watched as he continued his bath. Drunk on a tart cocktail of shame and lust, she took in the graceful slope of his shoulders, the long muscles supporting his serrated spine, and the alluring dimples just below the small of his back. His beautiful form and the way the moonlight sparkled on the droplets clinging to his skin made her pulse race and her knees weaken.

A strong urge to touch him welled up inside her. How badly she wanted to run her hands over every glistening curve and indentation of his manly form—both for prurient reasons and to absorb some of his confidence the way plants absorbed sunlight. As exposed as he was to the elements, he seemed admirably comfortable in his skin.

She’d never felt that at ease with herself, even when alone. All her life, she’d been made to feel inferior. As much as she didn’t want to believe that she was, part of her did.

Mesmerized by the man in the pool, she went on watching. Something told her he was like her mother. Esoteric rather than religious. Open-minded instead of rigid. Accepting, not judging. She couldn’t say how or why she sensed this about him. She only knew she felt it deep down in some instinctive part of her psyche.

Hope fluttered in her heart. Could he be the one her mother spoke of in the dream? Scoffing at her romantic delusions, she smashed the thought with the rock of reason and headed back to the footpath.

About the author:

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Nina Mason is an incurable romantic who strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. In addition to the Knights of the Tarot series, she is the author of Royal Pains, an erotic historical series following a Scottish duke and duchess through the hedonism and intrigues of the Restoration period, and Sins Against the Sea, a paranormal romance steeped in the myth and magic of the Scottish Isles.

Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason currently lives with her family in Woodstock, Georgia. When she isn’t writing, she makes art dolls and works as a consultant for Pure Romance, a line of relationship-enhancement products.

Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Follow Nina on Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Follow Nina on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor

Subscribe to Nina’s newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

 

 

**BLOG TOUR & REVIEW** ~ Dark and Stormy Knight (The Knights of Avalon, #2) by Nina Mason (includes giveaway)

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Erotic

Adult/18+ read

StormyKnight

Title: Dark and Stormy Knight

Author: Nina Mason

Series and Order: The Knights of Avalon, #2

Other books in the series: Starry Knight, #1 (released in August 2015), and Knight of Enchantment, #3 (releasing Aug. 30, 2016)

Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Erotic

Release Date: January 5, 2016

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Heat Level: Very steamy with light BDSM

Formats: E-book and paperback

Online Retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo & Google Play

Book Blurb

She’ll risk everything for their love—even her life.

Aspiring screenwriter Gwyn Morland is ready for her big break. That means securing the film rights to elusive author Lady Ruthven’s acclaimed novel—which means traveling to Scotland. It’s a trip timid Gwyn isn’t prepared for, and her fears seem justified when her tour bus careens over a cliff outside of Castle Glenarvon. But the plot thickens when Gwyn is rescued from the brink of death by a handsome and mysterious stranger…

Leith MacQuill is not only the writer behind Lady Ruthven’s novel, but a shape-shifting faery knight bearing a tragic curse: the woman he gives his heart to will die. Saving Gwyn proves to be a dangerous choice when he finds himself falling for her the longer she stays in the castle. Not even his usual BDSM role-playing games are enough to thwart the intense desire they feel for each other. But to stay together, Gwyn and Leith must embark on a dangerous mission into Avalon, the realm of the faeries. Will their love be strong enough to conquer the curse? Or will Gwyn’s new life be stolen from her before it’s even begun?

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Here’s a little bit about The Knights of Avalon series in Nina’s own words:

The Knights of Avalon, the four-part erotic PNR/UF series, was born of a simple idea: to write a series incorporating different forms of divination. From that kernel grew the far more complex world of the series. The “knights” of Avalon, the enchanted otherworld isle featured in Arthurian and Celtic legend, were Scottish noblemen who, after falling in battle, were taken by the fairies to serve as breeding drones to their queen. Each of the four books in the series tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.

Each knight in the series grapples with a different relationship with Morgan Le Fay, the cruel and selfish queen of Avalon. Callum Lyon, the hero of STARRY KNIGHT (book one), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped enslavement by faking his own death. Leith MacQuill, the hero of DARK AND STORMY KNIGHT (book two), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his affair with one of her scouts. In book three, KNIGHT OF ENCHANTMENT, Axel Lochlann, a Scottish runemaster of Viking descent, guards the portal between Hitherworld (our realm) and Thitherworld (the otherworldly realm). The fourth knight, Finn MacKnight, doesn’t know what he is or that he’s destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a “natural-born” drone. Because of this prophecy, Morgan kills all the male children she bears and punishes the knights who father them.

Avalonian knights are vampire-like, but not vampires per se. Members of the Unseelie Fae, they drink blood and can assume the form of any creature they choose, but generally take the form of a particular animal to hunt. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat (a cross between a wild cat and a domestic cat found only in Scotland), Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s will be a jaguar.

My Review ~Five Stars

Wickedly Sexy BDSM themed Erotic Paranormal Romance

This is the second book in the author’s The Knights of Avalon series and it is one wild and sexy ride as Nina Mason blends historical fact and ancient mythology to produce another deliciously erotic paranormal romance. The tale contains a sassy heroine who grows in strength as the novel progresses and a handsome but tortured hero, with a penchant for BDSM, a combination which ticked all of my boxes!

In Dark and Stormy Knight, Gwyn has travelled from the States to Scotland to secure the film rights to a novel written by the elusive author Lady Ruthven. Gwyn’s tour bus is involved in a terrible accident and Gwyn alone survives, thanks to the intervention of none other than Leith MacQuill. Gwyn is surprised when she discovers that Leith is in fact the real author hiding behind the pseudonym! This discovery is nothing compared to her realisation that Leith is in reality a shape-shifting faery Knight with a tragic curse that any woman he gives his heart to will die.

I loved the character of Gwyn. She starts off regarding herself as meek, but boy does she grow in strength of character as the book progresses! She not only steps up to the challenge of the deliciously naughty BDSM roleplaying games her saviour and host invites her to partake in, but also undertakes to enter the faery realm and do all in her power to break the curse. What a girl!

The handsome and tortured Leith also comes into his own once he meets Gwyn, after bearing the weight of his curse for centuries. Desperate to sell the film rights to secure funds for his beloved castle, he needs to keep Gwyn sweet whilst avoiding falling for her at all costs, to ensure that she does not succumb to his curse. I loved that however much he tries to resist her that it is a losing battle (they are just so right together!) and when he realises that she will risk all to break his curse, he becomes determined to free himself and secure a future with the woman he loves. All hell breaks loose once the couple descend into the Faery realm and the scenes which are set there are hugely entertaining. The love-making scenes between Gwyn and Leith are divinely done, combining sizzling eroticism with witty banter.

As I stated, I haven’t read the first book in the series, Starry Knight, (although the hero of this novel, Callum Lyon, does make a brief appearance in this one). Needless to say, Callum’s story and any future instalments are now on my reading list!

Recommended for fans of paranormal romance who like a sizzling read!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

About the author

Nina Mason, author_small

Nina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history, mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. When not writing, Nina works as a communications consultant, doll maker, and home stager. Born and raised in Southern California, she now lives in Woodstock, Georgia, with her husband, teenage daughter, two rescue cats, and a Westie named Robert.

In addition to Dark and Stormy Knight, she is the author of the following books: Starry Knight (Knights of Avalon #1), Devil in Duke’s Clothing (Royal Pains #1), The Duke’s Bedeviled Bride (Royal Pains #2), The Devil’s Masquerade (Royal Pains #3), The Queen of Swords, and The Tin Man.

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 Join Nina’s mailing list and be the first to hear about specials and releases:

https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

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Here are some of the places you can find Nina Mason online:

Author Website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/ninamasonauthor

YouTube: http://youtube.com/ninamasonauthor

Amazon Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nina-Mason/e/B00J5N2PX8

Kensington Author’s Page: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31680

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Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win an e-copy of Dark and Stormy Knight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3b1680a89/

Check out Starry Knight, Knights of Avalon #1

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**BLOG TOUR** – Starry Knight, by Nina Mason (includes excerpt, trailer and giveaway)

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Today, we are featuring Starry Knight by Nina Mason, the author of The Queen of Swords and Devil in Duke’s Clothing, among other books. Starry Knight is Ms. Mason’s fifth novel and the first in a new erotic paranormal/urban fantasy series titled The Knights of Avalon. The series–which combines paranormal and occult elements with Celtic and Arthurian legend–tells the story of four “knights” under the spell of the evil faery queen Morgan Le Fay.

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Buy it now!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PEOIYZ0

Can these star-crossed lovers bridge two worlds? 

British aristocrat Vanessa Bentley has beauty, fame, and fortune, but she gets no respect for her decision to become a paranormal investigator. Determined to prove the naysayers wrong, Vanessa ventures to the misty moors of Caithness, Scotland. There stands the immense Castle Barrogill, where a vampire is rumored to be stalking the dungeons—a vampire Vanessa is determined to find. She’ll just have to get past the resident shape-shifter…

Callum Lyon is the gorgeous reclusive astrologer and faery knight who guards the castle. For free-spirited Vanessa, seducing him proves to be easy. After all, he was once a breeding drone to a Queen. But astrologically, their differences are harder to overcome. Will Vanessa’s mission—and Callum’s secrets—be more than their burgeoning love can take? Or will flesh—and blood—win over the ghosts that haunt them both? ….

Here’s where you can find the trailer on Youtube:

 

Here’s an excerpt:

In this scene, the hero, a centuries-old faery knight whose life has been devoid of romance, is doing his best to woo Lady Vanessa, a free-spirited “poor little rich girl” and paranormal investigator who, unbeknownst to him, is using sex to gain access to his castle. He’s spent the day showing her around Caithness and, in the midst of a sunset stroll on the beach, has suggested they take shelter from the wind in a nearby cave.

Callum got to his feet, took Vanessa’s hand, and pulled her across the dunes toward the cliffs. She couldn’t see the entrance to the cave until he swept back a curtain of vines. She followed him through the narrow entrance, holding tightly to his hand. The interior was cool, dark, and smelled a bit fishy, but not offensively so.

Stepping in front of her, he put a hand on her chin and lifted her gaze to his. The spark between them was palpable and she longed for him to kiss her. She licked her lips invitingly, hoping he’d take the hint.

“You’re very bonny, mo dearbadan-de,” he said softly, seductively, as he brushed back a wayward strand of her hair.

“What did you just call me?”

“My butterfly,” he said, “in Gaelic.”

She put her arms around his neck and offered him her mouth. He accepted, nibbling and flicking his tongue against her lips. She pulled the band from his ponytail, freeing his windblown mane. As it tumbled around his shoulders, she wove her fingers among its silky strands, pressing his mouth harder against hers.

When he offered his tongue, she greeted it with her own. He moaned—a deep, needful sound that dumped accelerant on her desire. She thrust her hips against him, finding him as aroused as she was. He pushed back, grinding against her as he walked her backward toward the wall of the cave. As her back met rough rock, warm fingers came under her blouse, climbed her ribs, and pushed under her bra. As he teased her nipples, something deep in her core turned all soft and molten.

She was air, he fire, and right now, she wanted his light and heat, wanted him to consume her in a crackling blaze.

He broke out of the kiss, moved his mouth to her ear, and nibbled the lobe. She grew weak in the knees as his tongue traced the sensitive inner folds.

“Why do you run away from love, mo dearbadan-de?” he whispered huskily. “Do you see it as a trap?”

“More a fraud than a trap.”

“And sex isn’t?”

“With sex, you know what you’re getting.”

“And when it’s over, you’ve got nothing.”

“How is love different?”

“I don’t know,” he said, “having never felt it.”

“We’re alike in that,” she said, “but from what I’ve observed, it’s a mirage people only chase because they feel incomplete within themselves.”

Taking her face between his hands, he trained her in his riveting gaze. “Do you truly believe that?”

“Yes.”

He let her go, turned his back, and stepped away. For the longest time, he stood there, just out of reach, saying nothing. Then, as suddenly as he’d turned his back, he rounded on her with eyes like yellow coals. “Tell me, Madame Butterfly. Who made you feel so unlovable?”

The question impaled her like a red-hot spike. Damn him for asking it, for digging so deep, for skewering her with his probe. She suddenly felt ridiculous, like some poor little rich girl. She’d been born into wealth and privilege. What right did she have to be unhappy? So what if her parents didn’t love her or she had no true friends.

Boo-fucking-hoo. Get over yourself.

What right did she have to wallow in self-pity when children were starving, people were dying of Ebola, and the planet was being raped on a daily basis? She deserved no compassion, despite the searing wound she did her best to ignore.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said in a voice that sounded faint and faraway under the blood-thunder in her ears.

“No? Then why have you closed your heart?”

Defiance bubbled in her heart like hot tar. Damn him for trying to get past the battlements she’d spent years erecting hurt by hurt and brick by brick. If anything, she should build her walls higher where this bedeviling baron was concerned, not let him wear them down like rain.

“Did you bring me in here to psychoanalyze me?”

“No,” he whispered, the heat of his breath caressing, soothing. His hand glided purposefully down her body and pushed between her legs. As he stimulated her through her knickers, she threw back her head and expelled a soft sigh—of pleasure and relief. A rapacious lover, she was equal to. A probing one, not so much.

As he stroked her through the satin crotch of her knickers, desire fluttered in her abdomen like an injured bird. He’d struck too close to home. She’d didn’t feel loveable because she’d never felt loved. Not for one single, solitary moment of her entire privileged life. She’d had a chain of nannies who believed children should be seen but not heard before being packed off to boarding school where she was treated with equal detachment. Her parents, in short, had hired others to raise her—no, make that train her. In their eyes, she was a hunk of clay to be molded, not a human being to be nurtured. How disappointed they must have been when they got an outspoken nonconformist in place of the pretty marionette they’d paid for.

Callum’s finger came inside her knickers and began to circle her clitoris, smothering her bitterness in the syrup of pleasure. The orgasm charged and retreated, charged and retreated, and then finally exploded in a heavenly cascade.

Setting his hands on the wall on either side of her head, he docked his forehead against hers and said, “I’d rather chase the mirage than die alone without hope in the desert.”

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Here’s a little more about the series from the author:

The Knights of Avalon, the four-part erotic PNR/UF series Starry Knight launches, was born of a simple idea: to write a series incorporating different forms of divination. From that kernel grew the far more complex world of the series. The “knights” of Avalon, the enchanted otherworld isle featured in Arthurian and Celtic legend, were Scottish noblemen who, after falling in battle, were taken by the fairies to serve as breeding drones to their queen. Each of the four books in the series tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.

Each knight grapples with a different relationship with Morgan Le Fay, the cruel and selfish queen of Avalon. Callum Lyon, the hero of Starry Knight (book one), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped enslavement after faking his own death. Leith MacQuill, the hero of Dark and Stormy Knight (book two), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his amour with one of her scouts. In book three, which I’ve yet to write, Axel Lochlann, a rune-casting Scot of Viking descent, guards the portal between Hitherworld (our realm) and Thitherworld (the otherworldly realm). The fourth knight, Finn MacKnight, doesn’t know what he is or that he’s destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a “natural-born” drone. Because of this prophecy, Morgan kills all the male children she bears and punishes the knights who father them

Avalonian knights are vampire-like, but not vampires per se. Members of the Unseelie Fae, they drink blood and can assume the form of any creature they choose, but generally take the form of a particular animal to hunt. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat, Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s is a jaguar.

Astrology is the new-age element featured in Starry Knight (hence the name). Callum, the court astrologer to King James IV, fell in battle in 1513, after warning the king the stars did not favor the invasion of England. Ignoring Callum’s advice proved costly to the king and his astrologer.

In modern times, Callum lives in the northernmost county of Scotland as a reclusive political astrologer. The heroine, a free-spirited English aristocrat named Vanessa Bentley, comes to Caithness with the goal of getting inside Barrogill Castle. She’s just finished her training as a paranormal investigator and the London paparazzi have been giving her a hard time. Legend has it a vampire lives at Callum’s castle, so she decides to seduce the gorgeous, golden-haired baron to gain entry to his otherwise inaccessible abode. Needless to say, both get a lot more than hot sex (but also plenty of that!) from the bargain they strike.

Tarot cards, voodoo, ghosts, and the more traditional form of vampire also play roles in the plot. I hope readers enjoy Starry Knight and the rest of the series as much as I have enjoyed writing it! 

ghostsmeme

Here’s a little more about the author:

Nina Mason, author (2)

Nina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history, mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. She has four books out at present and three more on the way. Her current releases are, in order of publication: The Queen of Swords, a darkly erotic Scottish paranormal romance/urban fantasy; The Tin Man, a political thriller; and Devil in Duke’s Clothing and The Duke’s Bedeviled Bride, the first two installments in an erotic historical series titled Royal Pains. Book three of Royal Pains will be released in October. Starry Knight is the first book in a four-part paranormal romance series titled The Knights of Avalon. The series combines Arthurian legend, Celtic mythology, and Scottish history to tell the story of four mortals taken by the faeries after falling in battle. The Knights of Avalon are the breeding drones of the legendary sorceress Morgan Le Fay. Book Two, Dark and Stormy Knight, will be released in January 2016. The series is being published by Lyrical/Kensington.

Here are Ms. Mason’s social-media links:

Author website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Twitter handle: @NinaMasonAuthor

Goodreads page: http://goodreads.com/ninamasonauthor

Blog: http://ninamasonromance.blogspot.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ninamason165

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ninamasonauthor

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