StarMyst: Sorcerer by Mary Winter
erotic paranormal/magick romance
(approx. 55,000 words)
Cover Art by Christine Griffin
An orphan from the Sorcerer Wars, Kade Montano knows power is the only thing that counts. Power comes from pure blood lines and strong Conclaves. With power his parents could have survived. With power, he could have led StarMyst Conclave to be one of the strongest. Instead, he ended up at Sonora Rising, and in need of revenge. Edie Kruger-Sandoval, the daughter of Sonora Rising’s leader, provides the only bright spot in his life, and she treats him as if he doesn’t exist. Power. With it, he could have the woman who leaves him aching for her touch.
Edie is sick and tired of the power being the first daughter of Sonora Rising Conclave gives her. She refuses to take another lover drawn to the Sonora Rising name and what they thinks it brings. So every time Kade propositions her, she tells him only one thing, “when you see me as I truly am.” Because although her father leads Sonora Rising, her blood is far from pure, and her magick is just as mixed as Kade’s. A visit from an old family friend from a Conclave known for wanting more equal standings between the Sorcerers provides the opening she needs. She just has to convince Kade there’s more to being a Sorcerer than power, and together, they have to forge a new alliance that will reshape the Conclaves and their world.
Squinting his eyes against the late afternoon Arizona sun, Kade Montano stared at the blonde beauty rising from the pool like some kind of oceanic goddess. Droplets of water glistened on her tanned, toned arms. And although it wasn’t the most revealing swimsuit she owned, the white one-piece fit her like a glove. Andreina Edith Kruger-Sandoval could be a tough-as-nails bitch when she wanted, but Kade knew most of that came from being the daughter of Andrew Kruger-Sandoval, the head of one of the most powerful Conclaves in the southwest. In unguarded moments, he saw the passion lurking beneath the surface.
Lussor flared, quickly banked. He wouldn’t be feeding the power that made him a Sorcerer with her. As far as Edie was concerned—not that he’d earned the right to call her Edie—he was just one of many who worked with her father.
Boots scuffed against the concrete behind him. Kade didn’t bother to look. The greasy smell announced the arrival as Franco, one of Andrew’s security goons. “Damn, I’d like a piece of that.”
Kade turned and snarled. Lussor crackled, the energy sparking around him, coiling like a viper ready to strike. “Watch what you say about her. She’s the boss’ daughter.”
She’s also a damn fine woman and far too good for Franco. He bit back a growl, trying not to press the issue too hard. In a fist fight, Franco would flatten his ass, and he’d be no good to his boss in a body cast. Besides, as newer hired help, he ranked below Franco on the food chain.
The guard crossed his arms over his chest, flexing his muscled biceps. From beneath the cuff his black T-shirt, the tattoo of a cactus with a rattlesnake coiled at its base showed. Franco arched his eyebrow.
“You two boys can quit staring any time now,” Edie said from the pool deck. She tied the robe around her and stepped into the private glass doors leading to the family’s wing.
Franco waited for the doors to snick closed. “You just want what you can’t have.” He stepped forward, moving into Kade’s personal space. The bodyguard’s power flared slightly, a metaphysical shove Kade did not return.
Let him tromp around like a bull elephant scenting a female. Something tells me Edie prefers a more subtle man.
“Our employer wouldn’t like you sniffing around her either.” Kade’s cool tones barely carried far enough to reach the man standing beside him. “I believe Mr. Kruger-Sandoval has far bigger plans for his only daughter than the likes of us.” A smile quirked the corners of Kade’s mouth.
This was where he belonged. Here among the heat and the sand, the power and the true majesty of what it meant to be a Sorcerer. The sprawling farm in Illinois might breed some top Quarter Horses, but StarMyst was small potatoes compared to Sonora Rising, and its neighbor to the east, Brazos Conclave. Brazos’ first daughter, Laura Ingress, had jumped from the wide ocean where she could have had anything she’d wanted into a very tiny wading pool. She’d done the unthinkable and had fallen for Reid Montano, a mongrel Sorcerer from StarMyst—and Kade’s brother. The ripples from her plunge still reverberated through the higher echelons of Sorcerer Conclaves. If one high placed daughter could choose a mongrel over the lineaged Sorcerers, then others could too. Which left men like Andrew keeping an even closer watch on their wayward, and beautiful, female offspring.
“The lussor needs feeing. And when it does…” Franco let the words trail off. “Some of us don’t have to employ the discipline exercised by lesser Sorcerers.” A wolfish grin revealed the guard thought he had one over on Kade.
“Discipline and exercise makes the power grow stronger.” He gave a slight sting with his own lussor. “You were in the Conclave meeting the same as I, and you didn’t feel the Sorcerers flailing around their power like kids playing with light sabers.”
To his credit, Franco didn’t flinch. “You want what you can’t have. You’re a mongrel. You’re not good enough for Edie.” Franco spat on the concrete next to Kade’s new designer shoes. “You can dress an orphan in fancy clothing, but that doesn’t make him a rich kid.” He laughed at his own joke.
Franco has no idea what StarMyst is worth.
Pride filled Kade, surprising him with its intensity. Since being kicked out of his boyhood home for merely stating the truth, he hadn’t given StarMyst much thought. Except to see the way Te was running the Conclave with an even lighter hand than Edwin had. A brief frown twisted his lips before he quickly smoothed the expression away. Staring at the glass doors through which Edie had gone made Kade long to be inside, and not just for the air conditioning. Sweat trickled down the back of his neck, quickly whisked away by the dry air.
Kade refused to give ground. “You can stick a bull in a china shop, but that doesn’t mean he won’t smash everything around him. Be careful what you step on Franco. You might find yourself surrounded by broken glass.” He remained standing, staring out over the now-empty pool. The still day kept the water unbroken, a crystal blue view all the way to the bottom where the Sonora Rising crest had been tiled in a very expensive mosaic. Everything around him screamed opulence, the kind of power Sorcerers should wield and display to the world. Nothing like the farm house and fields of StarMyst.
Damn it! Even now, with more than a year between him and that fateful day when he’d been out of his mind with jealousy and rage and had attacked Jacy, he still thought of them. And he still cared. The only chink in his armor of stone, and he’d be damned before he showed that to anyone.