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A Game of Hearts (Knight Games Book 5) - Paperback

A Game of Hearts (Knight Games Book 5) - Paperback

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Magic can be deadly in the wrong hands, but love can be even deadlier in the right ones.

Book 5 in the bestselling Knight Games series!


Magic can be deadly in the wrong hands, but love can be even deadlier in the right ones.

Logan Valentine has had enough of the supernatural. The sexy human chef wants nothing to do with witches after the one he thought he loved used magic to manipulate him. Too bad he can't get enigmatic witch, Polina, out of his head. She's starring in his hottest dreams, and showing up in places she's impossible to ignore. Although the attraction between them is electric, he vows to keep his focus on running his restaurant where it belongs.

For centuries, immortal witch Polina has considered cross-species romances doomed from the start and for good reason. The most painful event of her past was due to a human. She hates herself for fantasizing about Logan, but can't shake the human's hold over her. As her thoughts border on obsession, she becomes desperate to cure herself of her rogue desires using any means possible, including magic.

But when a werewolf is murdered behind Logan's restaurant, Polina is caught in the crosshairs of two rival werewolf packs. Only Logan can save her--if he's willing to risk his heart again.

Read sample

“Crazy-ass witches.” Logan Valentine leaned his elbows against the bar, swirling the ice and lime in his almost-empty cocktail. The vodka and tonic was doing its dirty work. His nose tingled with the numbing effect, and his mind teetered on the edge of a good solid buzz. He needed it. It wasn’t every day you attended a witch’s wedding, let alone one who had effectively saved your soul.

On the dance floor, said witch, Grateful Knight, was getting cozy with her new husband, Rick, the white lace of her wedding dress pressed against his black tux, her forehead tucked into the side of his neck. Logan couldn’t look away. Entranced, he barely registered his friend Silas Flynn hopping onto the barstool next to him.

“Attractive couple,” Silas said, his bushy hair and eyebrows giving his face a decidedly wolfish appearance. Fitting for someone who sprouted a snout and tail every full moon.

“Yup.” Logan sipped his drink.

“Can I ask you something?”


“How are you handling all this?”

“What do you mean?”

Silas glanced down into his bourbon, scratching behind his ear with suspiciously long fingernails. “I heard you and Grateful have a history.”

Logan shook his head. “Not really. I was in a car accident over a year ago. My soul was knocked out of my body. Grateful put me back in. While I was, shall we say, corporeally challenged, we had something, but it wasn’t real. She sorts lost souls; I was a lost soul. Our attraction was misdirected magic.”

“So that look on your face isn’t jealousy?” 

Draining the rest of his cocktail, Logan contemplated the question. He wasn’t jealous exactly. He loved Grateful as a friend and nothing more. Although, there was a time when he’d thought he loved her in the romantic sense. Maybe that was the problem. He was another year older and no closer to having what she had, what he truly wanted. Not for lack of trying.

“It’s not her specifically,” he tried to explain. “I want this, Silas.”


“The whole thing. A wife, children, the house with the yard. To be in love with a flesh-and-blood human woman who can love me back.” He frowned into his empty drink. “I guess weddings make me sentimental.”

“I get it, man. I’d marry Soleil in a minute if she’d have me.” 

With a snort, Logan turned toward his friend. “Are you saying she won’t have you? Have you asked her?”

He tipped his head from side to side. “Not in so many words. She’s fae and I’m a werewolf. There’s still a lot of prejudice in the supernatural community.” He chuckled. “To her kind, I’m one step up from hu—”

“Human,” Logan finished. “Like me.”

“Sorry, buddy. I didn’t mean it like that.”

Logan shrugged. He was used to it. As one of the few humans who were aware of the supernatural community living among them, he’d discovered quickly that humans were not respected as equals. He supposed he should be happy for relative benevolence considering any one of them could make his life a living hell if they were so inclined. 

“Can I buy you another?” Silas asked, obviously wanting to make up for his earlier faux pas.  

“Naw. I better get my human ass back to the restaurant. I’m training new kitchen staff. My assistant manager can hold down the fort, but he can’t cook worth a damn.”

“Aww, come on, Logan. Don’t go on my account. It was a slip of the tongue. You’re my best friend. I forget you’re human sometimes, you know?”

“I know. I’m just feeling a little… out of place.”

Silas slung an arm over his shoulder. “You belong here as much as I do. Plus, I’m sorry, but you can’t leave. As a member of the Carlton City police force, I can’t let you drive in your current inebriated state.”

Logan groaned. He had been drinking. Silas was right; he shouldn’t drive. He set his glass on the bar and shook his head when the bartender offered another. 

“They just cut the cake. Have a slice and a cup of coffee with me. You should be good to go in an hour or two.”

“I don’t want a slice of ca…” Logan trailed off as Silas turned him toward the cake table. What had he been saying? His mind blinked like a cursor on a blank screen. A vision in gold had officially wiped his mental hard drive. Long waves of intensely red hair. Creamy skin. Full breasts that mounded over a beaded gold corset. Long, muscular legs. High heels. And sapphire blue eyes that drifted absently over the small group of wedding guests.

“Who’s the warrior princess?” Silas whispered into his ear.

Logan snapped out of it. He blinked a few times before answering his friend. “You’ve never met Polina?”

“That’s the Smuggler’s Notch witch? Soleil told me about her, but I’ve never seen her in person. She looks like a badass.”

“She’s got a personality to match.”

“I’m not looking at her personality.”

Logan punched him in the side. “What would Soleil say?”

Silas smirked. “She’s the madam of a fae bordello, Logan. She’d be looking with me, perhaps asking Polina to join us later.” He jostled Logan’s shoulders roughly. “Besides, I’m not interested for me. I’m only thinking of you. Come on.”

“Oh no.” Logan struggled, shaking his head, as Silas forced him toward the cake table. “Silas, she’s… we… witch.” It was no use. Although Silas was slightly shorter than Logan and no more muscular, his werewolf constitution gave him superhuman strength. Tripping forward, Logan fought against the man’s viselike grip until Polina’s gaze flicked from her slice of chocolate cake to him. The moment those sapphire blues locked on, Logan stopped struggling and floated toward her. It wasn’t magic but attraction that drew him in. 

He should leave. A smart man would turn and run, sober up at a safe distance, maybe locked inside his car. 

“Hello.” Her voice was confident but somehow sweet, as youthful as the straight-toothed smile that spread her lips. That smile cut through his sternum, her stare seeming to weigh his soul.

“Polina.” Why did his heart have to race when he looked at her? From the first time Grateful had introduced them, she’d seemed familiar, like her face was a long-forgotten memory. Part of him was sure that if he could stare at her long enough, he would figure it out. Maybe she held a resemblance to a celebrity or distant family member. 

She fidgeted with the side of her plate. Awkward. He’d stared too long. Now, she knew he was staring. Fuck. Polina never let him forget he was a mere human. She probably thought he worshiped her. He turned to Silas to break the tension. 

“Polina, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Silas,” Logan announced formally.

“A pleasure,” Silas said, extending his hand. “Any friend of Logan’s is a friend of mine. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” Silas released her hand and with a nod of his head, disappeared into the crowd of wedding guests.

“Silas!” Logan called, sending death rays in his general direction.

“Was it something I said?” Polina asked.

“How could it be something you said? You said, ‘Hello.’ That couldn’t have possibly been offensive.”

“Why would he leave so abruptly?” She motioned in the direction of Silas’s disappearance with her delicate hand.

Truth was, Logan suspected that Silas wanted to play matchmaker and had abandoned the two of them on purpose. He couldn’t say that. For one, Logan understood something Silas did not: Polina hated humans, and Logan was more than slightly wary of witches.

“Who knows?” He shrugged. Oddly nervous, he reached for a piece of cake, trying not to notice how close his arm came to her hip. A circle of heat formed on the inside of his elbow where it brushed past her. What was wrong with him? 

“Werewolves,” she said with a weak laugh. “Cheeky bastards.”

“How did you know he was a werewolf? You just met him.”

“I can taste it on his aura. It’s unmistakable. Along with the hint of wet dog he leaves in his wake.”

Logan poked his cake with his fork. The chocolate was a wretched orangish brown and it crumbled like sand under the pressure of the tines. Along with the oil separating from the frosting, Logan deemed the dessert an inedible disaster. 

“Do you hate werewolves, too?” he asked.


“Like you hate humans?”

She leaned a hip against the table and cocked an eyebrow at him. “I never said I hated humans or werewolves. I don’t hate anyone.”

“Oh, that’s right. You said my kind was inferior. That’s different than hate.”

Her face screwed up. “Are you baiting me?” The hand holding her fork turned palm up in question. “It is a simple fact that witches are the more durable species. Humans can’t do any sort of magic and are physically fragile. But I appreciate your race’s many accomplishments, all things considered. I’m not a human-phobe or anything. I’ve had plenty of human friends over the years.” She pointed a finger at his face. “Franklin…Benjamin Franklin. We spent time together once. Good times.” 

Logan’s chin dropped as his jaw popped open. After a moment, his spine straightened with offense.

“Don’t look at me like that,” she said. “I’m not trying to be arrogant or elitist. I saved your life, after all.”

It was true. She’d saved him from drowning a few weeks earlier when he’d gone on the road to help Grateful with her mission. A water witch almost turned him into fish food. If Polina hadn’t intervened on his behalf, he’d probably be dead. 

“I guess I owe you one,” he said flatly. Why was he letting her do this to him? The longer he talked to her, the more he felt inferior. It was always the same with witches. He seriously needed to start hanging out with his own kind. “Nice seeing you, Polina,” he mumbled, turning to leave.

Her perfectly manicured fingers landed on his upper arm. “Wait. Stay. I wasn’t trying to be unkind. I simply—”

“You needed me to know the truth.” Logan’s eyes fixated on the cake and something snapped. His mind pictured another witch, another pastry. No way would he allow her or any other witch to tell him what to do. Never again. Acting on a deep instinct, he stepped into her so that his chest was almost touching hers. In this position, her petite stature made it impossible for her to look him in the eye without wrenching her neck back. He wrapped his hands around her upper arms. 

“You think you’re out of my league, don’t you? That pretty little head of yours is so big under that beauty queen hairdo that you know without a doubt you could never stoop to associate with a guy like me.” He shook her slightly.

She didn’t try to pull away, but focused on his mouth, her forehead furrowing. 

Logan continued, “Well, I need to tell you the truth. I’ve been with your kind and it was a major head fuck. I’ve been fed potions and had thoughts thrust into my brain to manipulate me. I’ve been forced to do things I didn’t want to do. I may be the more fragile species, sweetheart, but I’m also the more trustworthy. You don’t have to worry about making sure I know how superior you are. I couldn’t care less.”

He released her with a little push. With only a small space between them, he expected her to back away. A human woman would storm off after a tirade like that. Not Polina. She stared at him like a bug under a microscope. Even leaned forward, narrowing her eyes in scrutiny. “Are you finished?”

“Yeah,” Logan drawled.

“Good.” She loaded her fork with the nasty brown cake on her plate. “I know Salem’s witch, Tabetha, misused you before Grateful and I killed her. I can understand why you are traumatized. But don’t take your human tantrum out on me. I’ve been quite generous with my abilities when it comes to you. The least you can do is show your gratitude.” The dry crumbles coasted toward her luscious mouth. Despite his anger, he couldn’t watch her full, red lips wrap around that disaster of a baked good. 

“Gratitu—” He slapped her fork away. “Don’t eat that.”

“Why ever not?”

Grunting with frustration, he broke off a chunk and ground it to dust between his fingers. “I’m a chef, okay? Chocolate cake should be moist. It should be sweet perfection nestled in whipped heaven. This is a travesty.”

“A travesty? Why?”

“It’s under emulsified.”

She shook her head.

“An emulsifier distributes and stabilizes fats with liquids. Not only does this chocolate cake not have enough fat, it’s been overcooked and over processed.” He stepped in closer, lowered his voice to a sultry whisper. “Chocolate cake should melt in your mouth. When you eat a slice of Valentine’s chocolate cake, the cocoa hits your tongue first, followed by a burst of subtle sweetness. The consistency is loose but almost fudgy. It comes apart and permeates every corner of your mouth. And when you swallow…”

“Yes?” Her eyes darted between his. One thing he’d learned about witches was that they couldn’t cook. It was the curse of their species and left them persistently obsessed with epicurean delights.

“When you swallow well-made chocolate cake, there should be a buttery finish. Savory to balance the sweet. It leaves you longing for the next bite.” She leaned forward, lips parting. He could feel her breath on his chin.

“Sounds delicious.” Her hand pressed into her stomach. All at once, she seemed to realize how close they were and she took a step back.

“It is. You should come into Valentine’s sometime and try a slice.”

“Do you make it yourself?”

He nodded slowly. “Along with a positively wicked buttercream frosting.”

He watched her throat contract with a swallow and her beautiful pink tongue dart along her bottom lip. He had her. She was practically drooling. 

The corner of his mouth quirked, and he backed away from her. “Oh, wait, you can conjure your own damn chocolate cake, can’t you? Being that you’re the superior species and all.”

Her face twisted and her mouth gaped like a fish out of water.

Logan turned on his heel and headed for the exit, giving a small wave over his shoulder. “Have a nice immortal existence, Polina.”

Her mouth was still hanging open when the door closed behind him.

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Immortal witch
  • Human chef
  • Soulmates
  • Werewolf/ shifter politics
  • Witches & magic
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