Wedding Photographer Chloe Hart has just been dumped when she receives a mysterious gift — a painting of a handsome knight in a heavy gold frame worked with what appear to be magical sigils. She promptly hangs the painting up in place of her cheating ex-boyfriend’s portrait.
That night, she has the most delicious dream of Lord Radolf of Varik, the medieval conqueror who has just seized her castle. He seduces her in a red-hot encounter that makes her forget all about ol’ what’s his name. The next night, Radolf is back, this time as the captain of a pirate ship. Night after night, Radolf and Chloe act out some deliciously erotic scene from her favorite guilty-pleasure romance novels. And every single dream seems utterly real, down to the last scent and taste.
What Chloe doesn’t realize is that what’s all fun and games for her is desperately serious for Radolf. He’s been a prisoner for eight hundred years in the castle of a witch, and he can’t escape until he can find a woman who cares enough to free him. Is Chloe that woman?
Even as the two begin to fall in love, a new and horrible fear grips Radolf: what will the witch do to Chloe?
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Copyright ©2021 Angela Knight
Chloe Hart eyed the newspaper with all the enthusiasm of a woman surveying a dentist’s chair before a root canal. “Don’t be a wuss, Chlo’,” she muttered to herself, and picked up the paper.
Gripping it like a club, she marched back into the house to the kitchen table, where a bracing cup of coffee and a Danish waited to fortify her for the coming ordeal. She tossed the paper on the table, plopped down in her chair, and picked up the mug. An incautious sip scalded the tip of her tongue.
At Chloe’s lisped obscenity, Rhett Butler looked up from his Tender Vittles with an inquiring “Meow?”
“Ignore me, Rhett,” she managed around her boiled tongue tip as she unfolded the newspaper with a series of grim snaps. “Just having a bad morning.”
Happy to comply, the muscular black tom settled back down over his bowl. Like his namesake, he frankly didn’t give a damn. But as she’d told her dog-loving buddy, Amanda Rice, there was something to be said for blunt feline honesty.
Chloe paged past a murder, a house fire, and a really spectacular pileup on I-26 to reach the account of her personal Waterloo. She found it on page four in section C.
The bride smiled her familiar grin from a dozen yards of tulle and seed pearls, clutching a bouquet of white roses that cascaded to her silk-covered knees. Chloe could almost hear her mother sniff that a woman with three kids had no business in that much white. From a professional standpoint, she herself thought the composition was a little off; the tilt of the bride’s veiled head and the position of her flowers didn’t quite lead the eye in the proper flow.
“That’s what you get for using a cheap photographer, you backstabbing bitch,” she muttered at the photo. “Then again, if I’d shot you, I wouldn’t have used a camera.”
Without bothering to read the description of the wedding — she wasn’t that big a masochist, thank you — she closed the newspaper and looked at Rhett. “As God is my witness,” she drawled in her best mock-Scarlett O’Hara growl, “I’ll never be a sucker again.”
Knuckles rattled the storm door. Chloe looked up in surprise. Amanda wouldn’t bother to knock, and she wasn’t expecting anybody else. “If that’s Debbie and Chris, stopping by to beg for forgiveness on the way to the honeymoon,” she told the cat as she got up to answer it, “You have my permission to attack.”
Rhett yawned and twisted around to lick his furry backside.
She looked back at him. “Or you can do that. Does express the general sentiment pretty well.”
Chloe opened the door to find a man in a familiar brown uniform, a huge box tucked awkwardly under one arm. “Delivery,” he said, and juggled his electronic clipboard into her hands.
She took it and signed her name in the window, eying the package. “Wonder who that’s from?”
He shrugged, supremely indifferent. “Looks like a picture to me.”
It did have the right dimensions — four feet across and more than a yard wide, but only three or four inches thick. Curiosity piqued, Chloe accepted the heavy parcel and hauled it inside as the delivery truck roared off. She tossed it down on the kitchen table and went in search of a pair of scissors to attack the packing tape. “If it’s a portrait of the bride and groom,” she told Rhett as she dug through the kitchen drawer, “your litter box is gonna get filled with little bits of photo paper.”
Ripping off a strip of the heavy brown cardboard, Chloe lifted her brows at the intriguing sight of bare, tanned chest and a tight male nipple. “I take it back, Rhett,” she murmured. “Somehow I don’t think this is going in the litter box.”
Ten minutes later, the box lay ruthlessly demolished on the floor, and the oil painting it had contained stood propped on the kitchen table.
Chloe stared reverently.
The knight sprawled in sleep across a tumble of rich sable fur, one hand resting on the jeweled hilt of a sword. It looked as if he’d stripped and fallen asleep after a battle.
He was a big, blond Viking of a man, his hair cropped short, a neat beard framing his lush sinner’s mouth. His starkly handsome face looked as though it had been carved by God’s own chisel, but if so, He’d been in a hurry. There was something a bit crude and brutal in the angles of the knight’s cheekbones and big, square chin. Luckily, those features were balanced out by a regal Roman nose and thick blond brows. The whole effect was intensely masculine — and just a little intimidating.
So was the rest of him. He had the build of a man who’d spent his entire life swinging a blade in an era when losing could cost you your life. He’d cut it close a time or two; his brawny body was slashed here and there with scars that reminded Chloe of a tiger’s stripes.
“Really big hands, too,” she purred under her breath, eying his long fingers and broad palms. Unfortunately, one of the pelts lay across his hips in a pool of sable, preventing her from determining if the interesting bits lived up to those hands.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Knight’s romance writing career began in 1996, when she realized her dream of romance publication with Red Sage’s Secrets anthology. She is a New York Times best-selling author of more than fifty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Time Hunters series. Her career spans twenty plus years. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine gave her a 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. She also teaches online writing courses with SavvyAuthors.com. 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.