In celebration of my latest release, I thought I'd share a little bit about the world of the Magiste. Magiste means magical and I contrived it from a few different sources from an etymology site I use quite often, sometimes to create a word, sometimes to find an existing one that works better. Like a supercharged thesaurus.
There are different levels of magical skills, and the people possessing them are titled accordingly. Generally, while they can all be called witches and wizards, Magiste prefer to use the terms Enchanter or Enchantress, which can also be used as a general term used to encompass all Magiste. Typically, Enchanters and Enchantresses are what you might consider "average." Most of the Magiste fall into this category. Magic is part of their everyday lives, but to travel magically, they require assistance from physical magical objects, such as Portals. Portals are arches built into buildings, and are invisible until activated. Once they are, the piece of the wall they are built into vanishes, and with their destination firmly in mind, an Enchanter or Enchantress can step through and arrive there in moments. Long distances require multiple Portals, much like a connecting flight.
The next higher level of skill in the world of the Magiste is that of Charmers and Conjurers. These are simply stronger Enchanters and Enchantresses, their spell-casting can be quite a bit more extensive, and they are also known to be partial to nature – that is, they can communicate with animals, and command foliage to do their bidding. Next, there are Sorcerer or Sorceress, and here is where the skill level really starts to differentiate from the "average" folk. These are Magiste who can travel fairly easily over most distances via teleporting (no Portal needed), can use their powers to control others and can syphon magic from other Magiste as well. Top of the heap is the Mage. Mages are extremely powerful, can travel around the world on a thought. They can fly, they can manipulate weather, other people, and just about anything around them. The full strength of their magic doesn't mature until they are (usually) in their twenties, and the unleashing of such power can be a very painful process. That process is explored in greater detail in Claimed by the Mage (formerly Healing the Mage), which will be out again soon.
Anyway, the Magiste go back several thousand years. They've evolved as the world has around them, and share similarities with other ancient mystical cultures, such as the Druids. The main core of the current Magiste populace settled in France shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire.
They faced many challenges. As society changed from a culture of multi-theism to monotheism, the Magiste, like any other society that didn't conform to the ways of the masses, or more likely, the government of the time and area, suffered with prejudice and racism. The Spanish Inquisition as it moved across Europe drove them from their homeland. Having magic at their disposal made their flight a little easier – they could procure sailing vessels and manipulate the seas and weather as they traveled around the globe. They eventually settled in Louisiana, before the Acadians migrated in the 16th century.
The Magiste were, and in many ways still are, reasonable and mostly peaceful people. They coexisted peacefully with the native people in the area, and formed solid relationships. Unlike the other Europeans who would settle in the New World a little later on, they were accepting of the differences between the natives and their own culture.
Having magic at their disposal made their settling in the bayou country easier, though they certainly faced many challenges. But there is a mysticism in that area that blends perfectly with the settling of a magical society. The Magiste are hardy, and many can live to be nearly 200 years old, making it possible for them to survive and thrive in that harsh environment.
Now, Magiste in the US tend to settle in areas like New Orleans, Salem, and other places reputed to possess magical powers or be cursed, or some other such claims. Mortals (non-magical folk) tend to be wary and sometimes outright terrified of the Magiste. While my modern characters in the Bayou Magiste Chronicles have accepted this as part of normal life, the Founders, the first Magiste to settle here, have had to deal with the typical prejudices. I'm going to explore that in a little more detail in the next couple of books planned for this series. There are various elements in the Claimed trilogy that refer to old-time rituals and the Founders, so I want to go back and explore that in a bit more detail. I have a ton of notes from creating the Magiste world, and there are a lot of story ideas that keep arising every time I skim through them.
For now, though, the Marchands are the focus of the Claimed books. For those of you who may not be aware, Books 1 and 2 are re-releases of In the Devil's Arms and Healing the Mage. Both books have been extensively re-edited, revised, and retitled. They also contain new content. Claimed by the Enchanter is available now, and the first two will be back out again very very soon. I'll be sharing that info as soon as I have it, of course. In the meantime, here's another peak at the cover for Claimed by Enchanter, and a sexy snippet as well. Share your thoughts and you could win a copy – I'm giving one away to a random commenter.
Warning: Explicit adult content ahead!
Regine Marchand adjusted her leather corset, smoothed the leather skirt and fidgeted uneasily on her over-the-knee stiletto boots. With a deep breath, she knocked on the door. When it opened, she showed her invitation to the bouncer, who scanned it, gave her a respectful nod and motioned her into the foyer.
The sound of a heavy bass thumping through the expansive penthouse beat in time with her anxious heart. She neared the closed doors, behind which lay a raucous, erotic party and hesitated. She'd only ever done this publicly once before and that hadn't been very successful. David had better be waiting for her inside; she wasn't prepared to deal with this party alone. A deep steadying breath, followed by the determined lifting of her shoulders and chin, and she felt ready. Still, her fingers trembled when she pulled open the door.
With careful movements and for the moment trying to avoid being noticed by too many people, she made her way to a spot against the wall where she could peruse the attendees. Everyone here appeared to be mortal, and she didn't detect any magic, concealed or otherwise. Good. She was not in the mood to tangle with any Magiste tonight, especially while on unfamiliar turf.
Thankfully, this trip to Chicago was finally almost over. Tomorrow, she'd be on her way to New Orleans. Despite the successful purchase of two horses, she wanted to be home and prepping for the next event in Dallas. The invitation left at the hotel's front desk had intrigued her enough to find some time to attend, though she still didn't know who sent it. Very few people knew of her sexual preferences. She worked hard to keep it a separate part of her life.
She didn't see David and a moment's annoyance flared. Eyes narrowed behind the ornate mask covering her face, she scanned the room once more. Bad enough he'd texted at the last minute to tell her he'd meet her here, but he should have arrived by now. When she found him, she would be sure to give him a good thrashing for his tardiness and then force him to pleasure her. Her body tingled at the thought.
She pushed away from the wall, her hungry gaze seeking out every instance of play in the room. A female sub, blindfolded and tied to a bench, cried and moaned when her dom struck with a leather flogger, encouraging her through the scene. For several moments, Reggie stood transfixed, as the dom alternated between slapping the sub's flesh with the tails and teasing her pussy.
The need in the woman's cries said so much and Reggie sucked in a breath. Her nipples ached and she found herself wondering what it would be like to be touched like that. How could she get her sub to touch her in such a way she'd wear that same rapturous expression? She glanced at the dom, and the intensity lined into his face beneath his own mask sent another odd jolt to her gut. He worked his sub expertly and despite the harlequin covering half his face, she clearly saw the glowing glint in his eyes. The bulge at his crotch revealed his own arousal.
Reggie longed to participate in a scene such as this, where both participants were so wrapped up in each other the world melted away, The sub's surrender, her willingness to accept whatever her dom wanted her to endure and feel, was something Reggie had never successfully drawn out from the few men she'd topped. She'd gotten close with David, but she still knew something had been missing from their scenes. Though she'd been hesitant to attend this party, she now realized she'd learn quite a bit just from observing.
The woman's moan, filled with heat and pleasure, floated over the murmurs of the watching patrons. The slightest twinge of envy poked at Reggie before she ruthlessly pushed it away. She was not a sub. She preferred being in control, making her lover perform for her needs. She enjoyed hearing his grunts and groans when she paddled or whipped him with her crop or teased him into a long-delayed orgasm. That she found herself longing to trade places with this female sub being put through a scene, was merely a passing curiosity. Nothing more.
Reggie's stare moved around the room. Another young female sub, on her knees, a strip of silk covering her eyes, hands behind her back and sucking hard on her master's cock, held a look of rapture as she worked at her task. A male sub, made to kneel on all fours, while his domme rested her booted heels on his back. Every now and then she would flick his hard dick, a cock ring snug at the base, with a soft flogger. He winced with every blow and Reggie's blood ran hot at the thought of doing that to David. If she ever found him ….
All around her, people in various outfits of leather and latex, or completely naked, moved about the room. One girl, acting as a waitress, had her wrists cuffed to the tray that sat below her breasts, holding them up alongside several drinks. She stopped at a group of men, who each took their beer or wine or cocktail, before returning to their conversation. The sub then went to another group and took more orders.
Where the hell was David? Her annoyance grew, but was it because she was already excited by what she'd seen so far? Or maybe because standing alone in the middle of this controlled and erotic chaos was far more unnerving than she expected. At least, with everyone masked in some fashion, she didn't worry too much about being recognized.
She found herself drawn once more to the woman being flogged. The dom expertly teased his sub, making her moan and sigh in pleasure, before resuming slapping her reddened flesh with the leather, drawing squeals of pain and surprise. Reggie's tongue felt like sandpaper in her mouth and she swallowed, trying to work up some moisture. Her crop tapped nervously against her leg, and her pussy throbbed, her clit already hard.
Finally, the dom picked up a thick vibrator and plunged it deep into the woman's pussy, at the same time he leaned over and murmured something in her ear. The shrieks that filled the room attested to the force of her climax, her body writhing within the confining bonds. Long, drawn-out, minutes seemed to pass before she finally quieted and fell limply across the bench.
"Enjoying the view?" The deep voice came from behind Reggie and she turned.
The tall powerful man, his face, except for his square jaw and sensuous lips, covered by a burgundy mask with ornate gold designs, towered over her. Hard to do, since she stood at almost six feet herself. She rarely had to tip her head back to look at a man. Something vaguely intriguing teased the edges of her thoughts.
"Actually, I was looking for my sub," she kept her voice low and hushed.
She had the sense he seemed startled by her words, and even with the mask she saw his eyes narrow. Dark eyes, glittering eyes. Eyes that seemed to mock her. A frisson of anger crept along her spine. Who was he to question her?
"I didn't take you to be a domme."
"And why not?" Her annoyance escalated, but she held it in check. She had no idea who this man was and she didn't dare risk insulting another dom, possibly an esteemed invited guest to this private party.
"Call it a gut feeling."
"And my attire, along with my crop, didn't clue you in?"
"Like I said, gut feeling. The way you looked at her as she was forced to come, I saw in your eyes you longed for what she had." He nodded toward the sub who now knelt before the dom, preparing to pleasure him orally. The girl looked up at the man with adoration, obvious even through the simple leather mask covering her upper face.
Reggie gave a sharp, brittle laugh, alarmed by the sudden awareness that this forceful stranger's words held some truth. "You can tell that just from seeing my eyes behind a mask? I think not."
She turned to walk away, but he caught her arm.
"We're not finished yet, Mistress."
The mocking emphasis on the last word bristled along Reggie's spine. She jerked her arm free. "How dare you!"
"I'll dare a lot more later, when we're alone."
"You'll never be that lucky." She snapped her head and walked away, his low chuckle reaching her even through the buzz of the party. She fought the urge to clench her trembling hands into fists, at least until she moved safely away from him.
Only now did she notice the way her heart raced, the way his gaze, obscured by the mask, seemed to pierce through her soul. What had he meant when he said he'd dare a lot more? Why did she want to know?
"Ma'am, please forgive me."
David's voice cut through her thoughts. She closed her eyes briefly, thankful to have someone take her mind off the foreboding path they rambled down. She fixed a stern glare on her face and turned to her sub.
David knelt before her, dressed only in leather pants and wrist cuffs. She couldn't see his ankles from this angle, but assumed he wore cuffs there as well. Good. She had some steam to blow off and his timing couldn't be more perfect.
"You're late," she spat. She took a deep breath. Her agitation had nothing to do with him, and while she'd take advantage of his submission to ease that tension, she had no business directing her anger at him. That belonged squarely on an arrogant know-it-all dom.
"I am sorry." He kept his hands properly clasped behind his back, his head lowered.
She grabbed a handful of his sandy hair and forced him to look at her. The eagerness in his eyes lifted the corners of her mouth. She managed to keep her cool, knowing she was being watched.
"You will be," she whispered.
His Adam's apple bobbed, but he made no protest. His eyes practically glowed with his growing excitement. Containing her responding grin took a rather large effort. "Go prepare yourself. The spanking bench in the corner is empty."
She pointed her crop toward the bench and observed David carefully, when he rose and walked in the direction she indicated. Anything to keep from looking elsewhere, to see who might be looking back. Her gaze moved over her trainer's well-muscled torso, the tight ass encased in leather. He padded, bare footed, across the lush carpet and she spotted the cuffs, as she'd suspected. This time, she let the pleased smile curl her lips.
Again, her thoughts drifted to the people buzzing around the penthouse. The sound of heat-filled cries, sobs and pleas, leather striking flesh, the scents of sex and sweat and incense, the pounding of the bass line of the music; suddenly seemed too intense. She'd rarely done this publicly, and thought coming here tonight, to this private, invitation-only party, might be easier than venturing into some of the clubs closer to home. The last time had been a disaster and she had no desire to repeat that. She didn't know anyone here, though someone apparently knew her. Who? She had the sense of being watched again, but resisted the urge to look around.
Did he still linger nearby? Part of her hoped so. Doing a scene with David, knowing the mysterious dom observed, sent a thrill along her spine. David was going to be very busy tonight. And she'd show that arrogant stranger exactly how much of domme she was.
* * * *
Cameron couldn't take his eyes from her. From the moment she'd entered the party, his gaze had been locked on her, the mass of dark blonde curls tied up in a long saucy ponytail, the stiletto heels that made her already long legs look like they stretched on forever. He found himself imagining what it would be like to have them wrapped around his waist while he pounded deep into her. The intense reaction shook him. Years had passed since he'd had a reaction like that to any woman. He knew in that moment, she was different.
She stood tall, almost evenly eye level with him. He liked that, he wasn't much for tiny women, fragile as birds, like the ones he usually found in clubs and parties. He always worried he would break them during a scene, the agitated concern leaving him detached and unfulfilled. But this woman, she could take what he gave her.
She played at being a domme, or had she only begun participating in the BDSM world? Something about her hinted at innocence, or a naiveté, that she covered with her steely attitude. He couldn't say for sure why he became convinced. Just a gut feeling as he'd told her, and his gut was rarely wrong. He'd seen, rather than heard, the sharp intake of her breath when she'd watched the flogging and when the other sub had been forced to suck her master's cock, hands locked behind her back, at the mercy of the man who then laid a paddle across her ass. This mystery domme had clearly gotten highly aroused at what she'd seen, and none of it had to do with watching the other doms. Her gaze had been squarely focused on the women being tormented. No matter what denials she'd tried to make, the role of sub intrigued her. He'd been at this game for a long time and knew how to read people.
He watched her speak to her sub, the man sliding out of his leather pants to lie across the bench. She fastened his cuffs. Cameron absorbed every movement she made, the way her breasts pushed against her corset as she bent, the light catching the lines of her muscular calves. Her lips moving as she spoke to the young man. He nodded, responding in the affirmative to her every question and Cameron admired her for taking the care that the man would be comfortable. Well, as much as one could be, strapped down over a spanking bench, arse high while a woman laid leather across it.
Cameron wanted to tie her across that bench and redden her with a paddle, before he plunged into her welcoming heat. He shifted, his swelling dick constrained by his own leather garments.
She stood back, her crop tapping against her leg. He hung in the shadows, and couldn't help smiling when she glanced around. Was she looking for him? He suspected so. Something about the way she hesitated before she leaned over and spoke one last time to the man tied down before her. Cameron suspected she gave instructions to put on a good show. Because she wanted him to be watching?
The man gave another nod and she responded with a pleased smile, but a tremor swept over her. She took a position beside the man, facing Cameron. Her eyes remained focused on the sub's ass.
His gaze raked over her lean, tall form. She might be an athlete of some sort; strong defined muscles revealed by her short skirt and corset, blended with luscious curves he'd love to run his hands over. He wanted her tied to his bed, open and helpless before him, surrendering her will to his. His cock pressed against leather, reminding him again how long it had been since he'd reacted so strongly to a woman. In the years since losing Ciara, he'd taken his pleasures, but no woman had inspired this sort of response.
Below her mask, her plump red lips caught his attention. They bore the same shade as a mouthwatering glass of exotic wine, one he wanted to sip slowly and savor. God, he could make a meal just nibbling on those lips.
Over the murmurs of the audience, Cameron clearly heard her say, "Count."
She raised her arm and brought the crop down across both cheeks of the man's ass. He barely moved and distinctly said, "One."
Cameron folded his arms, watching her technique. She did know how to wield the crop, bringing it down again and again, each strike landing directly beside the previous one, leaving a precise pattern of stripes. The sub counted precisely, though by the tenth stroke, a harsh groan escaped him when she swung the leather a bit harder. Cameron couldn't take his eyes from the domme. Her cheeks flushed, shoulders swaying with each breath, lips parted, she looked like a decadent, wild creature. One he wanted to tame.
He stood silently, absorbing every detail of her interaction with the sub. She crouched before his head and they spoke and for a moment, a smile curved her mouth. A surge of jealousy that she hadn't smiled like that at him surprised him. He wanted that warmth, wanted her touch. He had to fight to keep from stalking over there and pulling her long fingers away from the man's face.
All too soon, she uncuffed her sub from the bench and let him pull her close for a hug. Cameron's vision went red and his hands clenched. His teeth ground together as she turned away. He couldn't watch anymore. Need pounded in his head, his cock painfully hard. He needed this seen to. All around him, willing subs mingled, any one of them could take care of him. But he didn't want any of them. He made his way to the bar and growled out a request for a double Scotch. He tossed it back, and requested another. Finally the haze in his thoughts cleared and he knew exactly what he had to do.