Secrets Of The Knight
by Nina Jade Singer
Several years ago life forced Thomas (Bo) Bowden to give up everything, including the woman he loves, and take refuge on a Caribbean island. Little did he know, he was taking the first step to fulfilling his mystical destiny.
Nicole Balian has come to the small island of Trenado to find a missing teenager. She's shocked to the core to find her former lover instead. And the attraction between her and Bo is as strong as ever.
Working together to solve the unexplained disappearances plaguing the island, they find themselves in a frightening world of voodoo and magic. Trenado's history is shrouded in supernatural mystery. The danger they face serves to reignite their love. But as Bo fights an ancient evil that haunts the island, will Nicole be able to save the man she loves? Or will she lose him once again, this time forever?
Copyright © Nina Jade Singer
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication
Bo was clearly unhappy with her. "I asked you to leave this island, Nicole. But you didn't. So now I need you to stay by my side. Or I can't keep you safe."
Relief flooded through Nicole's chest. She'd managed to buy some more time. They would be together again for at least a few more days. He'd acted angry at her return, though not convincingly enough. But she didn't have long. Hopefully, it would be enough time to figure out what was going on with him.
"Fine," she answered. "Now what?"
"I have to go find someone." He reached for her hand and she let him pull her down the beach towards the green canvas tent, one of many set out near the water. The thrumming music pounded in her ears. Bo wanted her here. Regardless of how he'd acted and all he'd said, he hadn't seemed terribly upset that she was back. She'd expected there to be hell to pay. Instead, his reprimand was barely a slap on the wrist.
She simply had to get her mind around the stay by my side demand.
A throng of party-goers shoved past them and Bo gripped her hand tighter, making sure they didn't get separated.
Moist, silky sand sifted through her sandals and tickled her toes as she tried to keep up with him.
"Tell me why we have to go see the Zee person," she shouted above the music and the noise of the crashing waves.
"Xiannara Montez. She's a gypsy, a Caribbean Indian who can trace her maternal ancestry back to Trenado's first inhabitants."
"Right," she nodded, as if any of that explained anything. "And we need the services of a native gypsy because?"
Continuing to pull her along, he didn't answer. She wasn't going to argue. Not yet. For now she'd honor this truce or whatever it was they had just agreed to. Bo stopped abruptly about a foot away from the tent and she slammed firmly into his solid, expansive back. She stumbled and he turned swiftly to catch her before she fell. Nicole stifled a giggle. Okay, that part may have been the cocktail.
Bo's arms remained tight around her, steadying her feet on the sand. Her palms rested against his chest, the scent of him filling her nostrils and rekindling buried memories she had no business thinking about right now. She didn't dare look up, didn't dare look into his eyes.
"Can you try to pay attention, Nic?" she heard him ask above her head, his voice strained though not angry.
"Sorry," she mumbled. "Is this it, then? Zee's tent?"
He loosened his grip and she had to force herself to step back from him. When she did finally look up, there was no mistaking the desire in his eyes. She wanted to reach for him, her fingers itching to trace the worry lines along his mouth. A laughing child ran into the waves behind them and pulled her out of her thoughts.
"This is where Zee sets up shop during Carnival," Bo told her, looking behind him to the canvas flap that served as the tent's entrance.
"What exactly does she do?"
"Officially or unofficially?"
Nicole bit back on a gasp. He couldn't possibly mean what she was thinking.
"It's nothing like that," Bo spoke as if he'd read her mind.
"Then what is it? And why are we here to see her?"
"Zee makes her living by telling people their future," he explained, his voice full of warning.
"Right. A fortune teller."
"So to speak."
"Is that the official or unofficial part?" Despite the balmy tropical breeze, Nicole felt a chill brushing over her skin.
"That's on the up and up."
"And the rest?" Nicole asked, not at all certain she really wanted to know. A faint scent of spicy incense floated out of the tent. Citrus, perhaps mixed with sandalwood. And a hint of something she couldn't place.
"Zee's a witch."
Nicole searched Bo's face. There was no hint of humor or jest in his features. "You can't be serious. You mean she's a practicing Wiccan or something?"
Bo smirked and looked away to a distant point on the ocean. When he turned back, his features had hardened enough to send real alarm through her. "No, Nic. I don't mean she's a practicing Wiccan. This isn't Chicago, sweetheart."
"I know that."
He laughed. "You think you know. Xiannara Montez is a real witch with real gifts and the power of darkness at her disposal."
Nicole swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat at hearing his words. She had to consider the possibility that the man she had once been deeply in love with was indeed losing his mind.
Or she had to decide to trust him.
She thought back to that first afternoon she'd arrived on the island—Bo leading her through the alley to the hospital, the image of the lethal-looking dagger at his waist. He'd implored her to trust him. But could she, given all the unexplainable things happening?
As crazy as it sounded, she knew she wanted to try. Perhaps she was the one losing her mind. She shook her head. "I don't understand."
"If you did, you wouldn't have come back."
"So you keep telling me. But what does that really mean, Bo?"
"It means you have to be ready before you enter that tent. You have to be prepared for anything she might say. Or do."
She let out a nervous giggle. "Are you trying to scare me? If this is your attempt to try and prove some kind of point..."
"I know you don't scare that easy. And I know better than anyone how much that can cost you."
That stung. She knew he'd meant it to. Nicole lifted her chin, resisted the urge to poke him in the chest. "You're right. I don't scare easy. So tell me why we're here."
Before he had a chance to respond, the entrance to the tent flapped open. A caramel-skinned, heavily-painted woman stood before them. Rows of dark, thick braids sat piled up high on her head. An equal number spilled out around her bare shoulders. The woman was breathtaking, strikingly beautiful in a somehow frightening way. Her feline-shaped eyes sparkled as green as emeralds, appearing almost illuminated.
Her smile sent a shiver down Nicole's spine.
"Well, well. What a treat." The woman spoke in a thick Creole accent. She placed a heavily jeweled hand on her hip and looked Bo over from head to toe. "If it isn't a knight." Those unnerving green eyes found Nicole. "With his woman." A charge of electricity seemed to crackle the air around them. Nicole found herself stepping closer to Bo, away from the tent. Away from her.
Whatever she saw in Nicole's face made her laugh out loud, an eerie sound that reminded Nicole of hiding under her covers as a child whenever the closet door had been left open.
"Come on in then," the woman added before stepping back inside. "Let us all have some fun."
Nicole grasped at Bo's arm, still staring after her. "Was that—"
"That was Zee," Bo answered her unfinished question.
"Why did she call you a knight?"
He pursed his lips tight, but remained silent. "Come on," he finally said, and disappeared behind the flap after her.
4 STARS! "Singer turns the tropics into a nightmare location with this tale of deception, mysticism and second chances. Be prepared for the unexpected as the plot unfolds in this paranormal where danger and drama reside..".... RT Reviews