I haz coffee! AND — I’m getting organized. (Shocking, right?)
- The Changeling Insider
- July Roundup
Series Spotlights for August, with excerpts
- Intergalactic (Multi Series World) — Jessica Coulter Smith
- Terras Five — Anne Kane
- Wit & Wizardry — Multi Author
- Scorned Gods — Mychael Black
New in Print (With Excerpts)
- Aurora — Ashlynn Monroe
- Cardboard Hero with Wild Geese — Shelby Morgen
- Dragonfire — B.J. McCall
- Driven to the Limit — Print Edition
And an excerpt from my latest edit — I love my job.
Rachel dreams of becoming Magekind. First she must prove herself to the vampire sent to seduce her.
Master of Seduction (Merlin’s Legacy 1)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Angela Knight
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
Deputy Rachel Kent ran flat out, though her ribs ached with every stride, every breath. The bullet had left a bruise on her chest the size of a silver dollar.
Still better than being dead.
The sun had dipped below the horizon, but it wasn’t entirely dark yet as she pounded down the two-lane rural road. Shadows gathered in the thick woods on either side of the blacktop, and the sky overhead purpled as the last of the sunlight bled away.
Sweat slicked Rachel’s skin, gluing the T-shirt to her heaving ribs and rolling down her legs as her feet hit the pavement. Normally she liked to do her running at dawn this time of year, before the July sun made South Carolina’s humidity even more miserable. That wasn’t an option tonight. She needed to exhaust herself. Otherwise she’d lie awake for hours, looking for a way she could have avoided killing Don Gordon.
So far, Rachel hadn’t thought of one. Not if she hadn’t wanted to watch him murder his wife and daughters. Yet every time she closed her eyes, she heard Emily’s heartbroken scream, “Daddy, daddy, daddy!”
Daddy tried to blow your brains out, sweetheart.
The moment flashed through her head yet again: Don turning his gun on his wife as Eileen huddled against the wall, trying to shield their kids. Rachel had been too far from him or his victims to reach either, so she’d stepped between them. It was the first time she’d fired her Glock in the line of duty. The two guns boomed almost simultaneously.
The impact of Don’s bullet hitting her Kevlar vest felt like a baseball bat to the sternum. She’d fallen to one knee, fighting to breathe.
When she looked up, Don lay on his back a few feet away, staring up at the ceiling as the life drained from his eyes. The neat hole in the center of his chest barely had time to bleed before his heart stopped.
Daddy, daddy, daddy!
It wasn’t killing Don that bothered her. He was an abusive asshat she’d taken to jail three times in six months. Two of those times, his wife had ended up in the ER. His death had greatly improved his family’s collective life expectancy.
No, what bothered Rachel was giving four-year-old Emily a memory that would haunt her for life.
Cut it out. You’re wallowing.
Unfortunately, trying to repress her growing obsession only strengthened it. Rachel knew she had to get her mind on something else. Even the ache of her chest made a useful distraction. Which was why she was pushing so hard when bruised ribs made a three-mile run borderline stupid.
Rachel took a left into the apartment complex that had been home for the past three years. Four long buildings stood on either side of the street, sheathed in cream vinyl siding and surrounded by neat green hedges.
Breathing hard, she slowed to a walk as she turned into her unit’s parking lot. And stopped to mutter a curse. Two boxy trucks stood in front of the building, each topped by a satellite dish.
News vans. Great. Just great.
I am not in the mood for this. And not exactly camera ready either, given the sweat that glued her shorts and T-shirt to her skin. Bending over, Rachel braced her hands against her knees and fought to get her breathing under control. Her ponytail flopped against her cheek, damp from the run.
She’d be tempted to walk away, but she knew both crews would still be staking out her building when she returned. Besides, Gee would disown her. Kents don’t run from anything, kid.
When she thought she could speak without gasping, Rachel straightened and rolled her shoulders back. Ignoring her aching ribs, she headed for the red awning that shaded the building’s door.
The news crews stood in a little cluster, chatting in the bored way of people on a stakeout. Catching sight of her, the videographers pivoted to aim their cameras in her direction as the reporters went on point like bird dogs.
Until they got a good look. Judging by their disappointed expressions, she wasn’t who they were expecting. Probably didn’t recognize her from her Sheriff’s Office photo. Yeah, let’s see you look spit-and-polish after a run in this heat.
But just as she was hoping she could sneak past, the female reporter brightened and stepped into Rachel’s path. She looked like an ex-Miss South Carolina — blonde, toothy, and the proud owner of two miles of leg. “Deputy Kent? Debbie Rice, WTAY News. People are saying you’re a hero since Amy Gordon’s video went viral. What can you tell us about that night?” With a toothpaste-ad smile, she tilted her mic toward Rachel.
Why in the hell did Amy have to live-stream the whole thing on Facebook? But Rachel knew why. The kid had thought whipping out her phone would keep Don from beating her mother — again.
“I did what the taxpayers pay me to do. Excuse me, I need a shower.” She pushed past, amused as Rice recoiled from her sweaty, smelly self with a murmur of disgust.
Debbie’s big African-American rival wasn’t so easily put off. He shouldered in and stuck his mic in her face. “Darren Mayfield, WACN. Eileen Gordon said you deliberately stepped between them and her husband’s gun. Weren’t you afraid he’d kill you?”
“I was wearing Kevlar. They weren’t.”
“Which wouldn’t have saved you if he’d shot you in the head.”
“No.” She dodged around him and edged a few steps closer to the door.
Debbie flashed those teeth and hip-checked Mayfield out of the way. “Would you be willing to grant an interview?”
“You’ll need to take that up with the department’s Public Information Officer.” She fished in her shorts pocket for her keys.
“It was obviously a justified shooting. Does it bother you they put you on leave anyway?”
“Nope. It’s departmental policy.” The brass didn’t really question her actions, but they did think any cop involved in even a justified shooting needed a few sessions with a shrink before going back to work. Given her nightmares, it was probably a good idea. Not that she’d share that little tidbit with this flock of vultures.
Having sidled to the door while they were distracted, she quickly unlocked it, stepped in, and closed it in their collective faces. Leaning against the door, she breathed out in sheer relief.
Someone knocked. “Deputy! Deputy Kent, do you…”
Ignoring them, Rachel headed up the two flights of stairs to unlock her apartment door, slip inside…
And damn near jumped out of her skin.
“There you are! I was getting ready to send out a search party.” Grinning, the woman sprang up from the rust sectional couch. Tall and model-slim, she wore skinny taupe trousers with a pair of black stilettos. A sleeveless black blouse bared lean arms and an inch of flat belly. Honey blond curls tumbled around her shoulders, artfully streaked with paler gold, and her blue-gray eyes gleamed clever in a heart-shaped face.
She sure as hell didn’t look like anybody’s great-great-great-great grandmother.
“Hello, Gee.” Despite her exhaustion, Rachel’s smile was genuine. Like the rest of the Kent clan, she adored her witchy ancestor.
Ignoring her drying sweat, Oriana Kent swooped in for a hug that smelled of exotic flowers and the ozone tang of lightning. “You really made me proud, kiddo. That jerk would have killed his whole family if not for you.”
“Thanks.” Spotting something dark looming from the corner of one eye, Rachel turned.
The man leaned a muscular shoulder against the gas fireplace’s tiny mantle, one dark brow lifted in sardonic amusement. He towered over them both, broad shouldered in a black knit shirt that bared powerful biceps and corded forearms. Black jeans, faded in all the right places, drew the eye to muscular legs. His sable hair was barely long enough to curl, and a goatee framed his erotic mouth, lending a little scruff to the striking contours of his angular face. Somewhere a GQ cover is missing its model, Rachel thought.
Then she saw his eyes, and her amusement vanished like a popped soap bubble. Those blue irises were dark and cold as a polar sea, assessing and predatory.
Which was when it hit her he wasn’t Gee’s boy toy. Oh God, he’s a Magus.
An agent of the Magekind.