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Master of Shadows [Mass Market Paperback]

Angela Knight

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Book Description

Aug. 2 2011 Berkley Sensation
Court seducer La Belle Coeur has met her match in Tristan, a Knight of the Round Table unafraid of blood-or lust. Joining together to combat a werewolf wizard and sworn enemy of Arthur, they must put their lives on the line-while coming to grips with the rising heat between them.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (Aug. 2 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425243672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425243671
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #277,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Angela Knight is the USA Today bestselling author of the Mageverse series and the Warlord series for Berkley Books. She has also written for Red Sage, Changeling Press, Loose Id and Ellora's Cave. Besides her novels, Angela’s publishing career includes a stint as a comic book writer and ten years as a newspaper reporter. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name. Angela lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a polygraph examiner and hostage negotiator for the county's Sheriff's Office.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

“What do you do when they order you to kill?”

The conversation instantly died as every witch and vampire in the room turned to stare at Davon Fredericks. Davon did not flinch under the weight of those incredulous stares. He’d been a trauma surgeon before becoming a vampire, and he’d never lacked balls. He just gazed at Belle, his chocolate eyes level and troubled. He was a big man in his jeans and dark blue oxford shirt, broad shoulders stretching the fabric as he leaned forward, elbows on knees. His curling black hair was cut close to his scalp, emphasizing the strong, handsome lines of his face—the full lips, the broad cheekbones, the wide swoop of his nose. His skin was precisely the color of milk chocolate, smooth and clear, with a faint, creamy gleam.

Belle looked up at him from the plates of hors d’oeuvres on the coffee table, a stuffed mushroom halfway to her mouth. “Why do you ask?”

A muscle flexed in his chiseled jaw, and he looked up at the CONGRATULATIONS, DAVON AND CHERISE! banner hanging across the back of the den.

Belle had designed the room especially for the dinner parties she loved to throw, with two big white leather L-shaped sectionals arranged around a low, square coffee table. Davon’s brooding gaze dropped to the table, flicking among the trays and bottles that crowded it. He chose a beer and opened it with a violent twist of one strong hand. “I was just wondering.”

Now all twenty of her guests looked uneasy. Ten vampires and ten witches, Asian, black, Caucasian, Latino, all of them wet behind the ears. Though they were either in their early thirties, like Davon, or late twenties, none of them had been Magekind for longer than a few months. Well, except for Cherise Myers.

And Belle herself, who had been around one hell of a lot longer than that. She sighed and decided she’d better scotch this concern before they all started obsessing about it. “First off, none of you is going to be ordered to kill anybody.” She dropped the mushroom on her plate and used a toothpick to skewer a couple of cheese cubes from a tray. “If someone needs killing, Arthur will send one of the Knights of the Round Table.”

Like Tristan, who had been avoiding her for the past month. She curled a lip and stabbed a cheddar cube through its cold, imaginary heart.

“But . . .” Cherise began, only to fall silent with a glance at Davon, who sat beside her on the sectional. Each promptly looked away from the other, as if they’d synchronized their chins. Cherise looked delicate as a fairy next to big, broad Davon. She had a heart-shaped face, enormous blue eyes, and a tumble of blond hair that made her look like she’d just stepped off the cover of a romance novel. Yet a solid buzz of power radiated from her, and intelligence lit those blue eyes.

So what was with the grimness that thinned the line of her full mouth?

Frowning, Belle eyed the couple. They’d returned from their first mission a few days before, which was the whole point of this get-together. Belle always threw her boys a party to celebrate that first-mission milestone. You’re a real Magus now, kid.

There was more to being a Magekind vampire—a Magus—than having a set of fangs. You had to save the world, too.

Whether the world liked it or not.

But Cherise Myers was no green recruit; she’d been a Maja for several years now. A steady, intelligent young witch, she had just enough power to handle most jobs without getting dangerously cocky about it. Belle had been pleased Davon had been assigned to her.

So why were they acting so twitchy now, when neither was the twitchy sort? “Look, Arthur doesn’t make the decision to kill humans lightly. You’ve got to be a career asshole along the lines of Osama bin Laden to make him decide to take you out.”

Richard Spotted Horse looked up from pouring himself a glass from one of the bottles of donated blood each of the witches had brought. He cocked a dark eyebrow. “But why not just cast a spell on Osama to make him give up the terrorist business?”

“Wouldn’t work,” she said, and noticed that Davon was now pointedly avoiding her gaze. She’d have to pull him aside after the party and make him spill whatever was bothering him. Nobody had appointed Belle den mother to the men she’d recruited; she just couldn’t help herself. “Once a murderous attitude becomes deeply engrained, you can’t wipe it out of a subject’s mind no matter how much magic you use.”

“So why is he still alive?” Davon picked up a chocolate-covered strawberry, then dropped it back on the tray as if remembering he didn’t eat anymore.

Belle laughed. “Oh, chéri, the fights the council had over that subject. We finally decided killing him would just make him a martyr, which is the last thing we need right now. There are enough psychos in the Islamist movement that the loss of one wouldn’t even put a dent in it. I . . .”

“Belle, we’ve got a mission.” The familiar male voice rang across the room, cutting her off as a shaft of helpless longing stabbed through her. Which instantly pissed her off. Tristan.

The knight filled the doorway with his height and swordsman’s solid brawn. He was dressed all in black. He would be, she thought. A black knit shirt tucked into black jeans over soft black boots, the darkness broken only by the glint of the silver belt-buckle at his narrow waist. His hair fell around his shoulders in thick, blond strands that gleamed like expensive silk.

Tristan had the face of a Renaissance warrior, long and square-jawed, his cheekbones precise juts, with sculpted hollows and a determined chin. His mouth was wide and far too sensual for her peace of mind. His eyes glittered vividly green under his thick blond brows demanding and more than a little arrogant. .“Sorry to interrupt your party, but I’ve got a nasty situation on my hands.”

Belle gave him a smile sweet enough to rot the fangs right out of his head. The kids, of course, were staring at him in hero-worshipping awe. “Come on in, Tristan.” Since you already let yourself in my house without knocking. “We’re celebrating Davon’s first mission.”

“Congratulations.” Tristan didn’t even glance over at him. “Look, Belle, I’ve got a pissed-off werewolf waiting for me. It’s kind of urgent.”

She bared her teeth. They weren’t fangs, but they apparently got the message across; he flinched. “I’ll be happy to open a gate for you to go meet your fuzzy friend, but I’m a little too busy to accompany you just now. I’ll join you once the party’s over.” Damned if he was going to stroll into her house and start ordering her around. Not when he’d been treating her like a Black Plague victim for weeks.

“Belle, if you need to go on a job, we can clean up,” Cherise said earnestly.

“I think we can all be trusted not to get drunk and trash the place.” Richard gave her a lazy grin, shameless flirt that he was.

Tristan glowered at him before turning the glare on her. “Look, I realize I’m interrupting fun and games with your . . . boys, but the Direkind needs us to investigate a murder. And they’re convinced magic was involved.”

Belle stared, making the instant leap. “Warlock.”

“That’s my thought.”

“A murder?” one of the kids asked. “Who?”

“What happened?” Davon looked uneasy.

Tristan didn’t reply, his gaze hard and demanding on Belle’s.

Dammit, there was no choice in this one. She had to give him what he wanted. Again. Warlock and his daughter were the only Direkind werewolves who could work magic, and he was both immortal and incredibly powerful. He was also murderous, ambitious and insane.. Belle and Tristan had locked horns with him the month before, and had damn near died doing it. If he’d surfaced again . . .

Belle stood and looked around at the Majae. Unlike the vampires, they did eat, which is why she’d spent the day cooking for them. “There’s more hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen, girls. Please finish them off. Stay as long as you want.”

As Tristan stepped aside, she stalked past him through a chorus of good-byes. “All right, where am I opening this gate?” she said after he’d closed the door behind her. “And what the hell’s going on?” And why have you been avoiding me?

Tristan shook his head. “Actually, I don’t know many of the details myself. William Justice is my contact. He’s the Wolf sheriff—the top werewolf cop, appointed by the Direkind Council of Clans. He’s a good guy . . .”

“As opposed to the aristocratic nutjobs we dealt with last month,” Belle muttered.

“Right. This guy fought for us during the Dragon War.” He was referring to the battle the Magekind had fought a few months ago, when they’d been ass-deep in alien demons and calling in every ally they could find. The Sidhe, Dragonkind and assorted werewolves had joined the battle against the Dark Ones, and a lot of them had died doing it. “He’s been contacting me for help on cases ever since, usually when he needs me to bring in magical firepower.”

Like vampires, werewolves couldn’t use magic beyond the limits of their own b...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical and seductive this is already one of my favorites in the Mageverse series. Aug. 3 2011
By Bookaholics Reviewer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Master of Shadows by Angela Knight
Paranormal Romance - Aug. 2nd, 2011
4  stars

Werewolves and Magekind battle in this powerful new installment of the Mageverse series. This story was straightforward and can be easily read by itself.

La Belle is known as the official court seducer. She awakens men to their magical heritage by sleeping with them which releases their potential. However, her job is dangerous because if the men cannot handle the influx of power, they go insane at which point she must kill them swiftly. When one of her new recruits named Davon is accused of murdering an innocent werewolf, she knows that Davon cannot be guilty because she would have sensed madness in him. She finds herself investigating with the handsome if very stuck up and famous knight, Tristan. They soon discover that Davon was spelled into killing the poor young werewolf by an evil werewolf named Warlock. But will they be able prove that Davon is innocent before the revenged minded werewolves start a war?

To add to their troubles, Belle and Tristan have never gotten along well together. Tristan understands the need for Belle's position at court, but he disapproves and secretly wants her for himself. As they race to prove Davon's innocence, they also find themselves trying to defend themselves against a Warlock who is building his own evil army while trying to rescue a powerful werewolf witch named Miranda who happens to be Warlock's daughter. Can they defeat Warlock and save Davon and Marianda in time?

This was a quick and sensual read. I really liked Belle. She is independent and doesn't let Tristan push her around! I also liked how comfortable Belle is with her sensuality! In contrast, Tristan seems aloof but he hides his deep passion. When the two main characters finally `get together' it is scorching. I liked how the author explores Davon's point of view. Davon is a doctor and a healer but not a destroyer. He is tortured by the knowledge that he has killed an innocent even if he was manipulated magically. I also liked reading about Miranda. She is on the run. A good person/werewolf, that happens to have an evil and blood thirsty father but fights against being a victim. This book also explores how Belle and Tristan each have their own backgrounds and how each of their friends try to warn or prevent their relationship from progressing because they fear the other person will hurt them. Both characters have issues and are lonely souls that actually have a lot in common. I enjoyed their developing relationship. The storyline is very involving and easy to read. As the characters grow and familiar ones return, the depth of the Mageverse keeps expanding. I also liked that this book wraps up tightly and I hope to read more about Davon and the intriguing witch Miranda!

Magical and seductive this is already one of my favorites in the Mageverse series.

Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super romantic fantasy Aug. 2 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For centuries La Belle Coeur understands her role is to help new vampire magekind to convert to their new lives by seducing them. Knight of the Round Table Tristan distrusts all females ever since his wife Isolde betrayed him (and his peers) ages ago.

A newly transformed vampire Davon Fredericks kills seventeen year old Jimmy Sheridan a Direkind werewolf, which ignites tension between the paranormal species to a point where a war seems likely. Davon claims King Arthur assigned him the sacred duty of executing the teen. Belle and Tristan team up on an investigation; as each suspects the sworn enemy of Arthur the evil werewolf wizard Warlock caused the lethal incident to provoke bloody combat that also would expose the magekind to humanity. While fighting their attraction to one another, Belle and Tristan try to prevent a war like none ever before.

The latest Mageverse romantic fantasy (see Master of Smoke and Master of Fire) is a terrific entry as Angela Knight provides a strong tale of a world on the brink. Warlock is at his diabolical best heating the growing rage of the Dire wolves who have had twelve dead at last count while Ms. Knight's knights struggle to prevent the combat by seeking evidence to prove they are not the serial killers of werewolves. With a touching romance between a misanthrope and a whore, fans will relish Master of Shadows while also looking forward to what the warlock conjures next.

Harriet Klausner
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, with some spectacular twists Aug. 8 2011
By Gwen G - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book picks up where the last one ended, but if you've never read a Mageverse novel before you can still easily follow along and not feel lost. Several astounding twists follow in rapid order and make this book outstanding all on it's own. Belle and Tristan's romance is full of obtacles and twists and turns but all of the usual sexual exploits are there and as sensational as any Angela Knight story. Well worth reading weither or not you've ever read a Mageverse novel.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best in the Mageverse series Aug. 15 2011
By K. Hutchens - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have always really loved the Mageverse series by Angela Knight. Her story telling and world building make a subject matter that would normally be hard to picture very real and obtainable.

We start the book with court seducer La Belle Coure, who is having a party for her newest vampires. The story progress quickly from there, bringing in an angry uber masculine knight of the round table, Tristan.

This book has it all, we learn more about Warlock, a werewolf who can use magic. More about his master plan involving Arthur (yes, King Arthur, just don't call him that to his face!) and Warlock's daughter. I truly believe that you should read these books in order. You could technically read this as a stand alone, but you would miss out on an amazing cast of characters. Also, the author does a great job on setting up for the next book in the series, Master of Darkness, publication date TBA.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Aug. 28 2011
By Ruby Howell - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book if you like them steamy. It had A lot of fabulous characters and a lot of good action

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