Raven’s Song (Arcane Talents 4)
An Arcane Talents Prequel
Raven Garland is a rock star with a voice that is literally magical. She’s also got a serious problem: she’s being stalked by her ex. Ewan Bradley’s magical abilities and powerful father make him a deadly threat, forcing her to hire a seductive bodyguard with powers of his own. Nate Carter can use his Primo magic to increase his physical strength to superhuman levels — and he needs every bit of that power to keep Raven alive. Besides her nasty ex, there’s the lethal costar with anger issues and a mystical link to a bulletproof tiger.
To make matters worse, Nate is slowly falling in love with his client. The passion seems mutual, but Raven’s love affairs have a notoriously short shelf life. For all his strength, Nate doesn’t think he can take becoming her latest fling. Raven wants her handsome bodyguard as far more than a temporary lover, but how can she convince him to trust her when he knows her magical voice can make him believe whatever she wants? Nate knows in real life, the good guy doesn’t always get the girl.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Angela Knight
Los Angeles, January 3, 1994
Nathan Carter watched the woman he loved kiss another man.
Raven Garland lay sprawled among sheets of crimson silk, eyes closed, full lips parted on a gasp as the muscular blond braced above her. Her lover pressed biting kisses to the angle of her delicate jaw, and she gripped his bare shoulders, scarlet nails digging into his skin. Her sweat-sheened body seemed to glow in the light from dozens of candles that surrounded the brass bed, clustered on the floor, or arranged on the nightstand among drifts of white rose petals.
All the while, her voice — that amazing three-octave, Grammy-winning voice — poured from hidden speakers in a sensual purr. “Deep in my Feral heart, where all my passions start, I feel your magic’s call…”
Nate could certainly feel her magic call as he stood in the shadows of the huge room. A call he desperately wanted to answer, even as his common sense told him to stay the fuck away.
Unfortunately, his instincts also told him her lover was going to be a problem. A big, powerfully muscled bastard, Gary Handle was the kind of guy women like Raven would be drawn to.
He wore his dishwater blond hair cropped in a military brush cut that accentuated his square jaw and hawkish nose. He had the gold irises that marked him as a Feral, though his eyes were a bit too small to balance that wide mouth. Good-looking enough, but there was something about Gary that made Nate’s combat-honed instincts howl.
Raven didn’t seem to sense the danger as she stared up at him, entranced, her lush body relaxed and yearning in his arms.
Nate wanted to touch her like that. Wanted to feel the weight of those full breasts, her long dancer’s legs gripping his hips. Just like that.
He also wanted to haul Gary the hell off her and drive his fist into the bastard’s nose. The crunch of cartilage would be intensely satisfying.
Breathing in hard, Nate fought the absurd jealousy. She’s a client. What kind of idiot bodyguard gets jealous of a client? She doesn’t see me as anything but hired muscle. And she’s right.
His inner Neanderthal didn’t give a shit. Nate closed his eyes, trying to control the waves of irrational emotion…
And stiffened. In the darkness behind his closed eyelids, Raven glowed like a torch, the aura of her Bard magic bright to Nate’s Talent senses.
But above her, where Gary Handle should be, a glowing tiger crouched, ears laid back, tail lashing as it stared down at her with vicious intensity.
The spirit of Gary’s dead cat wanted to take a bite out of Raven. Fuck, fuck, fuck!
“Cut!” Roger Timmons called from his place beside the studio camera, his voice taut with frustration. Around him, the rest of the video crew — the two camera operators, the sound engineer, the lighting crew — even the hair and makeup girl — looked just as impatient. “Gary, you flashed her suit top again. We’re trying to create the illusion Raven’s naked, and we can’t do that if fabric shows.” He glowered, eyes narrowing as he bit off every word. “Keep one hand over the top, damn it.”
Handle gave Raven a glittering glare in the blazing lights of the soundstage. “Why don’t you just take it off? Then we wouldn’t have to worry about showing it.”
“No, just my nipples,” Raven said, irritation edging her tone. Even so, her voice sounded rich and seductive, silken as the sheets. And she wasn’t even drawing on the Bard magic that had made her one of the hottest rock stars of the decade.
Gary opened his mouth on a snarl that sounded as if he were on the edge of manifesting his tiger. “You…”
Nate tensed, his bodyguard instincts howling. Too far away. I’m too damn far away if he goes for her… He jolted forward a step.
“Fuck it, take ten,” Timmons said in disgust. “I don’t like this angle anyway. Jack, maybe we should try positioning the camera a little lower…” He turned to the cinematographer, a grizzled older man who was staring at Gary with a troubled frown. Apparently, Jack didn’t like the looks of the Feral either.
“Whatever, man.” Gary rolled from the bed. Giving Raven a glare, he stalked off the bedroom set platform, wearing only a Speedo and a layer of baby oil.
“Jerk,” Raven muttered, and sat up, the sheet falling to her lap, revealing her strapless red bikini. She hunched forward, raking her hands through her hair, her expression tight. The position showed too much gorgeous cleavage for Nate’s peace of mind, and he dragged his gaze away.
He’d done that a lot over the year he’d been Raven’s bodyguard. She fascinated him with that disciplined dancer’s body, quick mind, and the Bard magic that pulsed around her when she performed.
None of which made it easy to stay focused on his job: protecting her from Ewan Bradley, the psycho ex who’d been terrorizing her.
Now, watching Gary pace like a literal tiger in a cage, Nate had the nasty feeling her stalker might be a lot less dangerous than her costar.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times best-selling author Angela Knight has written and published more than sixty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Merlin’s Legacy series. With a career spanning more than two decades, Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine has awarded her their Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for Best Erotic Romance and Best Werewolf Romance.
Angela is currently a writer, editor, and cover artist for Changeling Press LLC. She also teaches online writing courses. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s writing career includes a decade as an award-winning South Carolina newspaper reporter. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a thirty-year police veteran and detective with a local police department.
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