Today we celebrate the release of Knight of Pentacles, book three in Nina Mason’s Knights of the Tarot series. Unlike the first two books in the series, which Nina revised and re-released on May 24, Knight of Pentacles has never been released before.
Knight of Pentacles, an erotic PNR/UF set primarily on Scotland’s Black Isle, tells of the romance between Sir Axel Lochlann, who guards the portal into Avalon, and Jenna Cameron, the daughter of a witch who hasn’t yet discovered her powers. Their love story is based on the old Scottish ballad of Tam Lin, which plays an important role in the book.
Here’s the blurb:
The future looks bleak for Jenna Cameron when, after a five-year engagement, her fiancé breaks it off the night before the wedding. Hoping to regroup, Jenna decides to drive alone to the cottage on Scotland’s mysterious Black Isle where they were supposed to spend their honeymoon. When her car breaks down, Jenna wonders if her troubles can get any worse. Then, while cutting through a secluded glen, she sees a handsome man bathing in a waterfall. The next day, she learns the man she saw is the faery knight who guards the portal into Avalon, the otherworld island ruled by Morgan Le Fay.
Jenna, ready to be rid of the virginity she’s saved in vain, offers herself to Sir Axel Lochlann, the shaman knight of Faery Glen. From that moment on, she finds herself inside a faery tale complete with druids, goblins, runic magic, and vampire owls. She also discovers powers she didn’t know she had—powers she can use to break Sir Axel’s bonds to Queen Morgan.
First, however, she must persuade Axel to put his desire to be free ahead of his duty to the queen he’s sworn to serve and obey.
Here’s a little more about the Knights of the Tarot series:
Knights of the Tarot, a four-part series, was born of a relatively simple concept. Nina wanted to write a paranormal/fantasy series incorporating different forms of divination. Tarot cards, astrology, runes, numerology, and the like. From that kernel grew the overarching storyline. The heroes of this contemporary paranormal series are Scottish noblemen of times past who were taken by the faeries into Avalon to serve as breeding drones to the queen, the legendary Morgan le Fay. Each of the books tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.
Each hero grapples with a different relationship with their cruel and selfish queen. Callum Lyon, the knight of book one (Knight of Wands), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped Avalon after faking his death. Leith MacQuill, the knight of book two (Knight of Cups), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his affair with one of the ladies of her court. To punish Leith, Morgan cursed him so any women he should fall in love with in the future would die.
In Knight of Pentacles, Axel Lochlann is still enslaved to the queen, who he serves as a guardian of the portal between the mortal and immortal realms.
The Knight of Swords (book four) is Finn MacKnight does not yet know he is destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a natural-born drone.
The knights are blood-drinking shape-shifters who can assume the form of any creature, real or mythical, but generally take the form of their alter ego. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat, Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s is a jaguar.
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Haven’t read the first two books in the Knights of the Tarot series?
No worries. Both are on sale this week for only 99 cents!
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Axel Lochlann, the hero of Knight of Pentacles is a Highlander of Viking descent who uses runes for divination and magic. For those who don’t know what runes are, they’re the letters of an alphabet called the Futhark, the first system of writing developed and used by the Germanic peoples.
More than just letters to make words, each rune is an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological principle or power. When written together in various sequences, the powers can be invoked to cast protective spells. Individual runes carved into stones, bone, or wood are used to seek the guidance and wisdom of the Old Norse gods, especially Odin, who discovered the runes after hanging upside down for nine days from Yggdrasil, the Old Norse tree of life .
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Order Knight of Pentacles today for a chance to win the beautiful blue-onyx runes pictured above. To enter, simply email your proof of purchase to NinaMasonAuthor@gmail.com.
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Here’s an excerpt from Knight of Pentacles:
As the sputtering engine gasped its last, Jenna Cameron set her forehead against the steering wheel and groaned. Could this day get any worse? As if it weren’t enough her world had turned upside down, now her car decided to quit in the dead of night on a desolate stretch of road with no bloody cellular signal.
If not for the dream she’d had last night, she’d be Mrs. William Comstock right now, on her way to the honeymoon cottage she’d rented with the man she’d waited five long and frustrating years to marry.
The thought of William sent a chill through Jenna. In the dream, she’d seen herself driving off the edge of a cliff. She was married to William and utterly miserable. As her car soared over the edge of the precipice, she heard her mother’s voice. “The right man is out there, waiting for you to find him. But it will never be if you bind yourself to a man you don’t love.”
As soon as she awoke, she rang William. When she told him about the dream, he said, as she’d secretly hoped he would, “I was willing to overlook that your mother was a witch because I believed your father had safely guided you away from the path of darkness, but now I see that, like her, you have been led astray. I pray someday you will embrace the Light of God, Jenna. I truly do. But, for now, I cannot risk my own immortal soul by marrying someone so susceptible to the darkness.”
William, a Presbyterian pastor like her father, blamed everything he did not understand on the devil.
As relieved as Jenna was to have escaped, the sudden change of course had thrown her life into chaos. Expecting to be married, she’d given up her job and flat in Edinburgh and, consequently, was left with no source of income and nowhere to live.
So, she was on her way to the rented cottage in Rosemarkie, a small seaside town on Scotland’s Black Isle. Since she couldn’t get her deposit back, it seemed like a good idea to use the cottage to reflect and regroup.
Coming all this way alone had suddenly lost its appeal, but here she was—and wallowing in self-pity was not going to solve anything. According to the Google map she’d printed out, she wasn’t far from her destination. She might as well suck it up and walk the rest of the way. When she got there, she could ring a garage about her car.
Grabbing her purse, her forest-green wool cloak, and the battery-powered torch she kept in the glove box, she climbed out of the car and set off along the rural tree-lined road, which was dark and a little spooky. No cars passed her in either direction. Crickets chirped all around and small rustlings from the surrounding woods startled her sporadically. Senses alert, she stopped repeatedly to check her mobile for a signal.
Her heart pounded and, despite the chill in the air, she was sweating under her cloak and sweater. The only good thing she could say about her present predicament was that her fear of being torn to pieces by wild animals had temporarily eclipsed her other worries.
She didn’t know how long she’d been walking when she came to an old stone bridge. Just beyond was a sign. She shone the beam of her torch at the words carved into the wooden plaque.
Jenna took heart. She’d read something about the glen on the website for the cottage, so she shouldn’t have much farther to go. Unfortunately, she needed to pee rather urgently. Might there be somewhere to go in the glen?
Venturing into a forest in the middle of the night might not be the smartest thing she’d ever done, but her bladder was bursting and she wasn’t about to tinkle by the side of the road. Just because no cars had gone by since she’d started walking, didn’t mean one wouldn’t appear the moment she dropped her knickers. Besides, there was a carpark abutting the glen, so there might be a public lavatory there as well.
Up above, the sky was an indigo canvas splattered with specks of white, some larger than others. She crossed the small asphalt lot. Finding no bathroom, she squatted in the bushes. When she’d finished her business, she shone the torch into the glen. Everything outside the beam was pitch black. Water ran somewhere nearby. Thirst drew her down the footpath. All that crying had made her as parched as a dry sponge.
I’ll only go a little ways, find the stream, and take a wee sip.
The hollow clomp of her footsteps disturbed the silence as she crossed a wooden bridge. On the other side, the path curved sharply. In a clearing just beyond the turn were the falls. In the silver light of the full moon, the cascading water reminded her of the bridal veil she might never get a chance to wear.
Then, she saw him. A man in the pool below the falls. He was stark naked, soaking wet, and had his back to her.
Alarm electrifying every nerve ending, she stepped back into the shadows. Her first thought was that he might be a homeless man who’d taken refuge in the woods. He had a beard and long hair, so it seemed the most logical explanation. Her next thought was that he might be performing some sort of ritual. She was on the Black Isle, after all, in a place called Faery Glen on the night of a full moon, so his being a New Age warlock or druid didn’t seem all that infeasible. A long shot, perhaps, but not meters outside the realm of possibility.
When curiosity overrode her apprehension, she stepped closer to get a better look at him. The moonlight bathing his glistening physique revealed a tall, slender frame with broad shoulders, narrow hips, and a shapely bum. Wetness and poor lighting made telling the color of his hair impossible. Light brown, maybe, or dark blond. She started a little when he bent over and shook his head like a dog. As he threw it back, he raised his muscular white arms to push the clinging wet hair off his face.
Despite her long engagement and having achieved the ripe age of twenty-five, she’d never seen a naked man before. Not in the flesh, anyway, and watching this one bathing in the wild was making her feel things she shouldn’t. The prospect of being caught spying on him was even more unsettling.
Ducking behind the thick trunk of the nearest tree, she watched as he continued his bath. Drunk on a tart cocktail of shame and lust, she took in the graceful slope of his shoulders, the long muscles supporting his serrated spine, and the alluring dimples just below the small of his back. His beautiful form and the way the moonlight sparkled on the droplets clinging to his skin made her pulse race and her knees weaken.
A strong urge to touch him welled up inside her. How badly she wanted to run her hands over every glistening curve and indentation of his manly form—both for prurient reasons and to absorb some of his confidence the way plants absorbed sunlight. As exposed as he was to the elements, he seemed admirably comfortable in his skin.
She’d never felt that at ease with herself, even when alone. All her life, she’d been made to feel inferior. As much as she didn’t want to believe that she was, part of her did.
Mesmerized by the man in the pool, she went on watching. Something told her he was like her mother. Esoteric rather than religious. Open-minded instead of rigid. Accepting, not judging. She couldn’t say how or why she sensed this about him. She only knew she felt it deep down in some instinctive part of her psyche.
Hope fluttered in her heart. Could he be the one her mother spoke of in the dream? Scoffing at her romantic delusions, she smashed the thought with the rock of reason and headed back to the footpath.
About the author:
Nina Mason is an incurable romantic who strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. In addition to the Knights of the Tarot series, she is the author of Royal Pains, an erotic historical series following a Scottish duke and duchess through the hedonism and intrigues of the Restoration period, and Sins Against the Sea, a paranormal romance steeped in the myth and magic of the Scottish Isles.
Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason currently lives with her family in Woodstock, Georgia. When she isn’t writing, she makes art dolls and works as a consultant for Pure Romance, a line of relationship-enhancement products.
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