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AN ARCHMAGE’S DESTINY
The Order of the Black Oak – Warlocks Book 4
BY MARIE-CLAUDE BOURQUE
A daredevil archmage. A steadfast attorney.
The dire consequences of their face-off.
Book four in The Order of the Black Oak Series…
You can’t escape AN ARCHMAGE’S DESTINY…
THE ATTORNEY: Bryce Jackson is a steadfast attorney who stands by nothing but a job well done. Her reputation on the line, she must convince Knightley Morgan to return to the folds of his powerful New England family or apply the devastating consequences herself. But when the daredevil archmage refuses to comply, she must choose between her stellar reputation and her heart’s deepest desire.
THE ARCHMAGE: Knightley has cut ties with the stifling Order of the Dark Oak when he left them all behind to hunt evil in Seattle on his own terms. He will not give up his freedom, no matter how dire the cost. But is he really ready to lose the magic forever? Especially when he’s fallen hard in love with the executioner carrying out his sentence?
November, Present Day
Bryce Jackson slid her damp palms on the wool fabric of her pantsuit and hoisted herself from her stool in the Singing Kraken Tavern.
Pushing her drink away with resolve, she eyed him again.
That’s it. No more waiting.
She was here to do one job. Better get it done fast.
For half an hour already, she’d been observing him while aimlessly twirling the straw in the lowball glass of her diet soda. Not once did she break her focus.
She had watched him order his beer. Then, she’d studied his reflection in the faded mirror behind the bar while he exchanged casual banter with the dreadlocked bartender serving him.
He had flirted with at least three women dropping on him. First, she saw the whisper in the blonde’s ear. The girl, a tall beauty covered in swirling tattoos, had laughed before kissing him on the mouth.
Minutes after, he’d swapped phone numbers with a gorgeous black woman in regal yellow silk. Then, there was the small purple-haired girl, who had playfully tousled the dark curls from his forehead, before jumping to straddle his lap as he’d let his fingers trail lazily on her naked thigh.
Without question, he was hot.
The bar was full of millennials. Seattle hipsters with beards, expensive tattoos, upscale hiking garbs, glittery dresses matched with combat boots, and the occasional 12th man football paraphernalia.
Despite the diversity bordering on outrageous, he managed to stand out from the crowd.
Not at all trendy but bad boy classic.
Basic jeans, black-t-shirt, and motorcycle leather jacket. The hair, which he raked back a few times, a little too long. Lips curled with both amusement and lust at the gaggle of women crowding him.
No doubt sex radiated from him.
People didn’t know about the power.
But Bryce did.
She knew about the daggers hidden within his jacket. She knew about the leather bracelet oozing with sorcery at his wrist. She knew about the magic legacy scouring through his blood.
It was all in the file. She’d studied everything about his background and habits in the portfolio Mr. Cones had sent her the day before. Doggedly casting to memory every detail after she’d loaded and listened to the documents on her tablet to help with her dyslexia.
Knightley Theodore Morgan, Warlock of the Order of the Black Oak.
She knew all about his history.
She sighed and moistened her bottom lip as a stream of warmth travelled to her navel. She just hadn’t been prepared to have to fight her attraction.
He was sexy as hell. Her task would not be easy.
Yet, she’d never wavered from challenging jobs. She’d work too hard to get where she was. The Morgan family would get full satisfaction. No matter how hot she found him, Knightley Morgan would be served.
And, as always, her reputation, as one of the most dependable young attorneys in Seaport, would soar.
He was alone at last. After snatching her crisp leather tote from the bar, she hiked it on her shoulder while crossing the distance between her and the deadly sorcerer.
“Mr. Morgan.” Her spine ramrod straight, her expression blank, she presented her hand to shake. “I’m Ms. Jackson. From Burke and Cones. I need to talk to you.”
He looked at her hand and then caught her eyes. Tingles settled at the center of her chest as a smile etched on his lips. He leaned back on his chair, his arms wide against the bar railing behind him.
“Hello, beautiful,” he drawled.
He let his gaze trail along the length of her body, his sea-green eyes contemplating every limb, and she found herself shifting at the appraisal.
“I came here from Seaport.” She kept her voice dispassionate as she coolly lowered her hand.
His expression altered at her words. He leisurely reached back for his beer on the bar behind him while keeping her under his gaze, an eyebrow cocked. “Why am I not surprised.”
The ambient noise intensified, and she edged closer, catching his scent. The enticing mix of clean laundry spiced with a hint of masculinity impeded her ability to focus on her task.
“Mr. Morgan.” She kept down her rising lust and gathered her professionalism. “This will only take a minute.”
“Knight.” He took a slug from his drink and settled it down on the counter. Then he leveled with her. “Call me Knight. Mr. Morgan is my twin brother.”
“I have been sent here from the East Coast, ” she told him, tightening her grip on her tote bag.
The amused look returned to his eyes. “I can tell. Your fancy outfit really stands out in this place.” He nodded at her understated professional attire.
“Mr. Morgan. Knight,” she corrected herself, “I just need a few minutes of your time and I can be on my way.”
“You came from my father,” he said, his voice flat.
“The Morgans in Seaport hired my firm.” She kept her tone steady.
“Are you a sorceress? A witch maybe?”
“I am not in the Order, if this is what you ask,” she said. “Can we sit somewhere?”
She did not want to dwell much longer in this tedious conversation. The place was too hot, too noisy. The sweet perfume and scent of alcohol permeating the air hung too thick above her.
And Knightley Morgan’s powerful body was annoyingly attractive.
She wanted to be done and back on a plane to Rhode Island.
“You’re right.” He ignored her request to sit with her and shrugged. “Definitely not one of them. There’s not an ounce of power in you. I’d have felt it.”
She flinched at the dismissive tone. The strong attraction she’d felt for him replaced with irritation. She gritted her teeth. Her whole life she’d been told she wasn’t smart enough to be successful.
Dammit! She would not let this runaway sorcerer make her feel inferior. “There are different kinds of power, Mr. Morgan,” she told him, her tone icy.
“Knight,” he corrected her again before letting out an exasperated sigh. “Fine, let’s sit over there. It’s quieter.” He motioned her to a booth at the back of the tavern.
As they made their way between crowded, rickety tables piled high with beers on tap and bar food, Knight stopped to slide an arm around a girl’s waist. He whispered something in her ear, and she laughed loudly, her head thrown back with glee. He then nodded at two older bikers, who took turns to shake his hand somberly before giving him a grim pat on the shoulder followed by a heavy hug filled with meaning.
“Let’s get this over with.” He finally showed Bryce to an empty red leatherette bench at an isolated corner booth.
She found a crumbled pile of paper napkins and wiped the table before taking her seat. Then she waited for him to sit across from her while silently digging through her leather tote for the artifact.
“Has anyone told you,” he drawled, his rich tone stopped her mid-motion. “You’re way too pretty for a lawyer.”
She shook her head to ignore the small flutter at her heart from the compliment. No time for that kind of thing. Without a word, she placed the mystical object on the table in front of him.
The intricate dagger shone bright in the glow of the frosty tavern lamp above them.
“What’s this?” He went from flirty to grim in less than a second.
“It’s yours,” she said evenly. “If you want it.”
“Another of Dad’s tricks?”
“I’m only here to deliver a message.”
“Which is…?” He leaned in closer.
“The dagger for your loyalty.”
Marie-Claude Bourque is a Seattle-based author of gothic paranormal romance and the winner of the American Title V award with her first novel ANCIENT WHISPERS.
Her writing features modern-day fantasy skillfully weaved into infinitely romantic supernatural stories between smart strong women and complex passionate heroes.
Happily Ever After always absolutely guaranteed!
Links to Marie-Claude’s website, blog, books, etc.
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