by Lex Valentine
futuristic erotic romance novella, Spellbound Treasure
Two magic wielding warriors (M/F) are torn apart by betrayal,
imprisonment, and torture. When a magical heart that formerly belonged
to them comes up on the auction block, both fight to win it. Major
Marcus (Ren) Renniger was betrayed on a mission and became a POW. All
fingers point to the woman he loved. Captain Tait Boland was told Ren
had died. Unable to believe it, she set out to find the truth and exact
revenge on the man who stole Ren from her. Her revenge comes at the
cost of her freedom and her spirit.
Six years later, Ren and Tait have both escaped imprisonment. When they
meet at Spellbound Treasure because of the heart, their passions
explode. For Tait, knowing that her lover is alive fills her with
bittersweet elation. Broken in body and spirit, she knows she has
nothing left to give him. Seeing Tait so changed strikes fear in Ren’s
heart. He sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding his capture and
Tait’s imprisonment. To give her back her future and regain their life
together, Ren must figure out how to unbreak Tait’s heart, soul, and
“Open up!” Marcus hissed as he tapped on Tait’s door.
After a few moments, she opened it a crack and he pushed it wider as he
slipped in. She locked the door and signed a protective ward on it
before pulling her thin flannel robe tighter around her too slender
“Why are you here?” she grumbled as she walked over to the stove.
“People are going to start noticing you coming round. I can’t have
Marcus shrugged off his duster and draped it over the back of an
upright chair. “If anyone noticed me, all they saw was a beggar looking
for a handout,” he replied gruffly. “I wouldn’t do anything to put you
at risk, Tait.”
She huffed out a sigh and put water in a kettle then placed it on the
stove. With a wave of her hand, she turned on the burner. Marcus tried
not to smile. She used her magic to turn on the stove, but not to just
heat water in her cup. He’d never understood her logic about the way
she used her magic. And he especially didn’t understand it now when
using her magic was a huge risk.
Magic came from a person’s soul and as such it held a footprint that
could be traced back to the person who created it. Anyone with the
knowledge and power could identify Tait’s magic as belonging to Captain
Tait Boland, a Pythian Elite assassin who was supposed to be dead.
She pulled two stoneware mugs from a cabinet and placed them on the
table. Opening a metal canister, she spooned tea leaves into each cup.
The kettle began to whistle, and she snapped her fingers, extinguishing
the flame beneath it. The kettle stopped whistling. Pouring boiling
water into each cup, she replaced the kettle on the stove and sat down
at the table across from him. She wrapped her hands around the mug and
hunched her shoulders in the faded robe, staring down into the swirling
“It’s still not wise for you to come here, Marcus. You don’t belong
here. You have a future.” Her voice shook slightly, but he heard the
resolution. “You’re a tactician. You know the odds. You know what I
have to look forward to. I can face it a lot more easily knowing you’re
okay, that you’ll have a good life.”
Pain wrenched his heart when he heard the stoicism in her shaking
words. Before he could say anything she held her hands out to him,
palms down. He stared at her long slender fingers, their scarred
surface meaning much less to him than the steady tremor that racked
them. That tremor foretold her death. His mouth tightened grimly.
“Not without you,” he said roughly. “I’ve no life without you and you
She shook her head, the white strands of her lank hair catching on the
worn material of her robe. “That’s no longer true. You only have a life
without me. I’ve no future. That tremor proves it. I’m a marked woman
in more ways than one.”
Fury and helplessness ripped through Marcus. He pushed to his feet and
rounded the corner of the table, gripping her elbow and pulling her up
into his arms. “You are marked,” he growled. “You are mine. You have
been and always shall be mine. I marked you years ago. You belong to
She tried to squirm free of his grip, but he held her with relentless
“Marcus, please!” she whispered, her eyes agonized.
“No. Listen to me, Tait. I promised to always take care of you. I
promised that we would always be together. I promised you would always
be mine.” He stared down at her, his determination rising as every word
he spoke made her flinch. “I do not break promises. Not the ones my
heart makes. Without you, I have no future. You need to get that clear
in your head. This vision you have of me with some other woman, having
kids and getting on with my life after you’re killed on some assassin
job…it’s wrong. It’s not what would happen. Instead, I would die a
lonely, bitter old man, longing to be released from this life so my
soul could be with the only woman I could ever love. You. Only you.”
Tears spilled from her eyes, her expression tortured. “What’s going to
happen to us, Marcus? There’s no happy ending.”
He gathered her close, his heart overjoyed to have her near. He held
her tightly but with reverent hands, intent on showing her how much he
loved her. Nuzzling her neck and ear, he brushed aside her hair and
whispered, “There is. We just have to make it.”
She melted into him. He could feel her let go of her control and place
herself in his hands. Her face burrowed into his t-shirt as she rubbed
her head against his chest, just over his heart.
“I miss this. I miss you. I miss my father. I miss…” She broke off on a
sob. “I miss being a woman. I’ve been a shell for so long. I’m tired. I
don’t want my old job back. I don’t want to kill. I just want peace and
love and contentment.”
Her strangled words revealed just how badly she’d been abused. Marcus
had the sense that if she could crawl into his skin and just curl up
there, holding him and never budging, she would. For a woman of action
to seek peace seemed horrific.
“That is what I’m aiming for, sweetheart. Branson and I are determined
to get your life back for you.”
She shifted, lifting her head, her mouth opening to protest. He placed
a finger over her lips.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to go back to it. We just want it
reinstated. We want the truth to come out so you can go home to your
father’s house and live a life free of deception, danger and fear,” he
told her. “If you choose to leave his house to come to me then it will
be your choice, not something thrust on you because of circumstances. I
want our future back.”
After a moment of silence, Tait went limp in his arms again. She rubbed
her head against him, her arms going around his waist. “You have your
work cut out for you. What I know is only the tip of the iceberg. This
was not the work of a single man, Marcus. This was a conspiracy. A
conspiracy of high-ranking officials.”
He sighed heavily. Her words confirmed what he and Branson already
suspected. “We need to talk, sweetheart. And you’re going to have to
tell me things you don’t want to remember. I’m going to have to hear
things I don’t want to know. But it must be done. I need every tiny
little clue to nail these guys,” he said softly.
Her arms tightened around him. “Then you need to make love to me first.
Make me yours again. Make me believe it once more,” she whispered.
“Then it won’t be so hard.”