A Void of Magic
They trusted her to keep the peace between the paranorms. They made a mistake.
Kennedy escaped the family business when she turned eighteen. Now, an ill-timed vacation pulls her back to The Rain Hotel, the only known null zone on the planet. It’s a place where vampires can see the sun rise and werewolves can avoid the lure of the full moon. And it would be the perfect place for a paranormal wedding…if the bride wasn’t the local alpha’s daughter and the groom the scion of a vicious master vampire.
With a sexy werewolf determined to sabotage the wedding and dark forces threatening The Rain, Kennedy’s life is thrown out of balance when she’s forced to confront a past she swore to avoid. Ultimately she must choose: will she maintain the stability of the supernatural world…or will she destroy it.
Release date: July 27, 2021
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A Void of Magic
For the first time ever, I wished I was sitting through one of Dr. Campbell’s lectures. Boring was good. Boring was safe. Boring meant I wouldn’t say the wrong thing and start an interspecies war.
Nora Lehr, the only daughter of Octavian Lehr, who was the alpha of the Appalachian Pack and quite possibly the strongest werewolf on the continent, turned away from the arched window. I met her gaze from behind my parents’ scuffed-up desk.
“Could you say that again, please?” I asked, polite as a neighbor asking for a cup of sugar.
Nora’s amber eyes narrowed. When I didn’t look away, she clenched her teeth in that oh-so-familiar way that took me straight back to high school. Spiders crawled up my spine, not because I was intimidated—her dominant-gene juju didn’t work on hotel property—but because I could practically hear the warning my mom had given me over and over again: Don’t antagonize the paranorms, Kennedy. They’ll eat you on the way to school.
They could eat me, but they wouldn’t. I’d learned that in 6th Grade P.E.
Nora slipped into her signature alpha-stance, chin lifted, shoulders straightened. Her posturing had always annoyed the hell out of me. Five years away from home hadn’t changed that.
“On May 16th,” Nora said, leaving a deliberate gap between each word. “The Rain will host my wedding in the hillside gardens. The reception will immediately follow in the Silver Ballroom. You will reserve half the rooms and five suites. I’m prepared to pay all costs now. In cash.”
I held her gaze for another three seconds then set my pen on the desk, taking the time to make sure the Hotel Rain logo was face up. In other words, stalling, because that wasn’t what I needed Nora to repeat. It was the earlier part, the part where she mentioned the name of the groom, that had almost made me snort coffee out of my nose.
I couldn’t let her see I was rattled though. Don’t show weakness in front of the paranorms, Kennedy. They’re always ready for an easy snack.
I took a few extra seconds to make sure the pen lined up precisely parallel to the edge of the desk.
I adjusted it half a millimeter.
Then half a millimeter more.
“You will do this, Kennedy Rain.”
If I’d been a wolf, my hackles would have risen. Nora expected obedience. The aggravating thing was, she usually got it. People—or rather, paranorms and the very tiny group of humans who were aware of their existence—knew her father was in charge of the strongest pack in the U.S. But even men and women who had no clue about the paranormal world went out of their way to follow her orders. Not only had she been born with the alpha-gene, she’d been born beautiful too.
“Would sign the contract.” Nora cut me off. “It doesn’t violate the treaty.”
Technically no, but good God. Her father would flip. Jared’s master would flip. The hotel, its workers, and my family would be caught in the middle, treaty or no treaty. This was not something I could authorize.
And it wasn’t something I should be discussing. I should be across town in Campbell’s class while my parents handled this lunacy.
My parents excelled at handling lunacy.
I tilted my head, studying Nora’s too-perfect posture. Was that why she was here? She thought I’d be easier to convince? That I was the weakest link in the family? She should know better.
I glanced at my cell phone. Mom still hadn’t answered my last text. I didn’t know where she and Dad had run off to, just that they were on a much needed vacation somewhere with very poor cell service. The only communications I’d received from them since they left were a handful of texts saying they were having a good time and staying busy.
The last time I’d received a handful of messages saying they were busy, they’d been on a second honeymoon.
Or a third or fourth one. I didn’t ask for details. I didn’t want the details I already had. The only reason they were permanently etched into my brain was due to a tragically timed pocket dial—one of them had apparently rolled over in bed.
My roommate, laughing, had told me I should be grateful they still loved each other. I’d thrown my phone at her head.
I wanted to throw it at Nora’s head now. She didn’t have her supernatural reflexes here. I bet I could hit her.
“Put the date on the schedule, Kennedy,” she said.
I rolled my eyes toward the computer screen. May 16th was, unfortunately, wide open.
“Can’t you just marry somebody else?”
Nora’s smooth expression finally cracked, making her look more human than stepping into the hotel’s Null-zone had.
“You are not serious.”
She couldn’t be serious. This had to be one of her stunts, a way to piss off Lehr and test just exactly how much he’d let his daughter get away with.
I stood. “Have you thought this through? Jared’s what? Three centuries old? You can’t have anything in common, and if you—”
“He’s two centuries old,” Nora snapped. “And we have everything in common. You don’t know him.”
“I know he’s a vampire.”
“He’s a person.”
“He’s Arcuro’s scion. His second in command. His freaking henchman. Your dad will kill both of you.”
“I’ll handle my father.”
“Really?” I crossed my arms. “I doubt that. I’ve met your dad. He’s kind of a hard ass, Nora.”
“You can’t have a wedding here.” I rolled the chair under the desk, intending to walk around it and show Nora the door. Before I took a step that direction, she grabbed the briefcase she’d brought with her and slammed it on the desk.
“Just put us on the damn schedule.” Her eyes punched the air with so much fury it felt like the Null had shattered. If I hadn’t been used to her flare-ups, I might have been intimidated.
She opened the briefcase, took something out then dropped it on the desk.
“Contract. Guest list. Payment,” she said.
Against my better judgment, I glanced down. My gaze went straight to the money.
“Um.” I cleared my throat. “I don’t think we accept cash deposits.”
I met her gaze. She met mine. The German clock on the wall—a gift from one of our overseas guests—ticked in the silence. If my parents had chosen that moment to come home, my mom would have ordered me out of the room. She would have told me I was provoking a paranorm and that my job as a Rain was to keep the wolves, the vampires, and the other supernatural beings who might walk through our doors calm and happy.
That wasn’t because the family business was supposedly in hospitality; it was because we weren’t supposed to rock the boat. Stability in the paranormal world was paramount, and this hotel—our hotel—would become a battleground if war broke out between the species.
The briefcase of money lay open between me and Nora. My credit cards were almost maxed out—I wanted to look at it again—but I’d stopped deferring to paranorms years ago. I might not live in The Rain anymore or be immersed in the world of vamps and wolves and all things other, but I wasn’t about to back down.
“Please.” It sounded like Nora was pulling out a tooth, but since I was fairly certain she’d never uttered that word before, I took it as a submission.
And as a sign of something else.
“You’re really in love with him, aren’t you?”
Her nostrils flared, and I swear to God her eyes turned glassy.
“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”
“And your father doesn’t know? Arcuro doesn’t know?”
“Not yet.” Fear flickered in her eyes.
Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. I’ve always been a sucker for tragic love stories. If she and Jared were serious about each other, it could turn out to be Romeo and Juliet to the extreme.
I sighed. “I’ll put you on the schedule, but my parents will take you off.”
“They won’t.” She lifted her chin, sounding one thousand percent confident. Welcome back, spoiled little rich Were.
I countered her chin-lift with a raise of an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you printed up save the date cards already.”
She gave me a smug smile. “You should check the hotel’s financial records.”
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