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Authors: Angela Knight

Wicked Games

BOOK: Wicked Games
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Praise for Angela Knight and her novels

“If you like alpha heroes, wild rides, and pages that sizzle in your hand, you're going to love [Angela Knight]!”

—J. R. Ward, #1
New York Times
bestselling author

“Chills, thrills, and a super hero and heroine will have readers racing through this sexy tale. Take note, time-travel fans, the future belongs to Knight!”

—Emma Holly,
USA Today
bestselling author

“Sexy and unique.”

—
Romance Reader at Heart

“A wonderful science fiction romantic suspense.”

—
Genre Go Round Reviews

“The character chemistry is gorgeous; the sex is searing hot; the world fascinating and a joy to explore. All in all, a great book!”

—
Errant Dreams Reviews

“Solid writing . . . sexy love scenes, and likable characters. I look forward to [Knight's] next book.”

—
All About Romance

“Nicely written, quickly paced, and definitely on the erotic side.”

—
Library Journal

“The sex scenes were explosive and should have come with a warning for the reader to have a fire extinguisher handy during reading.”

—
Euro-Reviews

“Delicious . . . Wonderfully crafted . . . Angela Knight brings such life to her characters.”

—
Romance Reviews Today

Titles by Angela Knight

Mageverse Series

MASTER OF THE NIGHT

MASTER OF THE MOON

MASTER OF WOLVES

MASTER OF SWORDS

MASTER OF DRAGONS

MASTER OF FIRE

MASTER OF SMOKE

MASTER OF SHADOWS

MASTER OF DARKNESS

 

The Time Hunters Series

JANE'S WARLORD

WARRIOR

GUARDIAN

 

CAPTIVE DREAMS

(with Diane Whiteside)

MERCENARIES

WICKED GAMES

Specials

MOON DANCE

Anthologies

HOT BLOODED

(with Christine Feehan, Maggie Shayne, and Emma Holly)

BITE

(with Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, and Vickie Taylor)

KICK ASS

(with Maggie Shayne, MaryJanice Davidson, and Jacey Ford)

OVER THE MOON

(with MaryJanice Davidson, Virginia Kantra, and Sunny)

BEYOND THE DARK

(with Emma Holly, Lora Leigh, and Diane Whiteside)

SHIFTER

(with Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day, and Virginia Kantra)

HOT FOR THE HOLIDAYS

(with Lora Leigh, Anya Bast, and Allyson James)

BURNING UP

(with Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, and Meljean Brook)

WICKED GAMES

Angela Knight

 

 

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China

penguin.com

A Penguin Random House Company

This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2014 by Angela Knight.

Excerpt from “Oath of Service” by Angela Knight copyright © 2014 by Angela Knight.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

Berkley Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

BERKLEY® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

eBook ISBN 978-0-698-14649-5

 

Knight, Angela.

[Short stories. Selections]

Wicked games / Angela Knight.

pages cm

ISBN 978-0-425-21565-4 (pbk.)

I. Title.

PS3611.N557A6 2014

813'.6–dc23 2013047662

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley trade paperback edition / April 2014

 

Cover photo of Muscular Man Embracing Woman in Bra and Garter Belt © Ocean / Corbis.

Cover design by Rita Frangie.

Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Version_1

Contents

Praise

Titles by Angela Knight

Title page

Copyright page

Acknowledgments

Foreword

 

THE ONCE AND FUTURE LOVER

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

AFTERWORD

 

BONDAGE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

 

A QUESTION OF PLEASURE

 

Excerpt from
OATH OF SERVICE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book is dedicated to the ladies who helped me make sure it doesn't suck. Or if it does, it's certainly not their fault.

One of those is my new writing goddess, Joey W. Hill, who writes the best erotic romance I have ever read—and I've read a lot of good erotic romance. Joey gave me a wonderful, detailed critique, analyzing everything from logic to sentence structure, and she made a lot of great suggestions about how to resolve the problems she saw.

Then, of course, the happy gang of writers and beta readers who have been helping me with my books for years now: Shelby Morgen, Kate Douglas, Diane Whiteside, Camille Anthony, and Marteeka Karland.

Last but not least is my Bookdragon, Virginia Ettel, who, with Diane, also moderates my Yahoo loop. They're all dear friends.

And as always, I want to thank my editor, Cindy Hwang, her assistant, Kristine Swartz, and Berkley's production team.

FOREWORD

C
onsider yourself warned: if you're one of those people who thinks my Mageverse books are too sexy, put
Wicked Games
down and back slowly away.

It's
nasty
.

Spankings. Bondage. Assorted sex toys, magical and otherwise. Blow jobs, cunnilingus, anal sex. And then they get down to bid'ness.

Like I said, nasty.

Before you think, “Okay, AK's ripping off Fifty Shades of Pervy Billionaire,” nope. I wrote two of the stories in 1990, both to learn how to write and for my own kinky enjoyment. This was five years before I was published in erotic romance. (And possibly before some of you were born. If so, and you run into me somewhere, don't tell me as much. Seriously. Just don't.) I published them in 2001 as part of an e-book called
Bodice Rippers
, under the name Anastasia Day. The problem was, the two stories together weren't long enough, so I needed a novel-length story.

That ended up being the prequel of my Mageverse series, which, for those who don't know, deals with the Knights of the Round Table. Only in my version, Arthur and his knights are vampires, while Queen Guinevere and her ladies are witches.

“The Once and Future Lover” is Gwen and Arthur's book, the story of how Merlin gave them their powers. It also answers the question of what
did
happen with Lancelot anyway.

For those who aren't familiar with my books but are familiar with Arthurian legend, I deviate considerably from the usual accounts. In my universe, Arthur didn't become king by pulling the sword from the stone, and he wasn't raised by Merlin. He was raised by his father, Uther Pendragon, until he became king when his father was assassinated. However, as was the custom during the Middle Ages, he spent several years during his childhood being fostered by Kay's family. Merlin doesn't appear until the events here.

I did this because historians believe most Arthurian legends are inventions by poets and troubadours. Little is known of the period, so I decided to model much of the setting in terms of architecture, armor, and clothing on ancient Rome. My reasoning was that though Arthur and his people were Celts, Rome occupied southern England for almost four hundred years, from the initial invasion in 43 CE to 409 CE. This story is set around 500 CE or so, so I felt that though there would have been changes, you'd still be able to see the Roman influences.

You'll also note I never use the word “vampire” in this story. That's because it's not a word they'd be using in this period. Also note these folks don't really speak English at this point; they'd be speaking Celtic British, which would have sounded a bit like Welsh. But since you probably don't speak Welsh—and God knows I don't—I provided us all with a translation.

Now, when I started work on “The Once and Future Lover,” I thought I knew those characters. After all, Arthur and Gwen have been in every one of the thirteen Mageverse novels and novellas.

I didn't know jack.

I've always written Arthur as, well, a little bit goofy. Yeah, he's an immortal vampire king who wields Excalibur, but he also loves Elvis and
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
. He may be gorgeous and heroic, but he's still the kind of borderline nerd who'll recite the Dead Parrot Sketch at the drop of a long sword.

Jack? Didn't know it. Or him. Or whatever.

This book has taught me that Arthur is the scariest bastard I have ever written.

Still with me?

As I said, the other two stories, “Bondage, Beauty and the Beast” and “A Question of Pleasure” were first published as part of an e-book anthology,
Bodice Ripper
s. At the end of the book, you'll also find an excerpt from Morgana's book, “Oath of Service.” You'll find it in
Love Bites
, a forthcoming anthology of my vampire erotic romance fiction.

First, a little background. I started reading the genre with eighties romances, which were called bodice rippers because at some point during the story, the hero ripped the heroine's bodice open and seduced her, not always with her consent.

Why the hell we thought rape was acceptable behavior in a hero is a good question. For years, the usual explanation has been that this was the early days of the sexual revolution. Back then, the only reason a Good Girl would have premarital sex was if somebody made her. And since the only other somebody around was the hero, well . . .

There's an element of truth to that.

It's also very true that rape is not heroic behavior. Any bastard who'd take a woman against her will needs to have a bullet put tenderly into his brain stem. I spent ten years as a reporter, and two-thirds of the murders I covered were committed by some creep who'd told his victim he loved her.

So why did so many of us adore bodice rippers?

I'd been thinking about that while writing “The Once and Future Lover
.

I suspect there was an unconscious element of domination and submission going on, but of course, in real-life BDSM, nobody plays any game until everybody consents to whatever happens. I just know I found those books hot, even though I should have known better.

Another factor is something millions of readers already know: Alpha Males are sexy.

But
why
?

Well, before iPhones, before Fifth Avenue penthouses, before indoor plumbing—hell, before agriculture—men were men and women were women.

And women didn't move real damned fast when nine months pregnant.

A girl needed somebody quick, strong, and ferociously protective to make sure she and the kiddies had enough for lunch without
becoming
lunch for some saber-toothed kitty cat. If you survived, there was a good chance it was because you were sleeping with an aggressive son of a bitch who was handy with a club.

A couple of hundred thousand years later, we're still looking for aggressive—if loving—SOBs.

Sometimes this bites us on the ass. One can easily mistake
mean as hell
for heroic and dominant, especially in a bar. (Which is why the “loving” part is just as important as the dominant-SOB part.)

But still.

For some of us (
Oooh! Me, me!
), there's something about being tied up and banged like a kettle drum by a guy who looks like The Rock. It makes our inner cave girl sit up and say, “Oi, what's this, then?”

So if I haven't managed to scare you off, I hope you enjoy my
Wicked Games
.

BOOK: Wicked Games
13.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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