Death and Dating: A Zyan Star Series
“This is a great series of books. Started with the Zyan Star books, then on to these. Hard to stop!”Goodreads Reviewer
“Absolutely loved reading this book…You can’t help but to fall in love with the characters and laugh and cry right along with them.”Goodreads Reviewer
“An amazingly fun first book in this paranormal series.”Goodreads Reviewer
Quinn Devereux is back from the dead, thanks to a deal with Death. It only requires eternal servitude and all. Plus a few pesky issues with semi-corporealness.
As if things aren't complicated enough, someone casts a deadly spell on the high priestess of her former coven, and Quinn's called in to find the killer. It's been decades since she left the coven, and her departure doesn't exactly evoke fond memories.
She's got to come to terms with her past while also starting her training to escort souls for Death, and unfortunately there's not a charm in her grimoire for that kind of thing. Add in a government group that hunts supernaturals and a reunion with the warlock who broke her heart, and you've got a whole cauldron of chaos on your hands.
And she thought dating was hard before.
Book One of The Quinn Chronicles, a spin-off of the bestselling Zyan Star Series.
Release date: November 24, 2019
Print pages: 200
Content advisory: sex, violence, adult language
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Death and Dating: A Zyan Star Series
Dating is hard enough without being non-corporeal.
Holding hands. Kissing. Other stuff. In fact, there hasn’t been any other stuff in, oh, six months? And for me, that’s reaching a drought of epic proportions. Like, world-ending crisis.
But tonight, fingers and toes and everything else crossed, my suffering will be over. That’s the plan at least. Rain, baby, rain.
“Riley!” I growl. Okay, more of a yell.
My BFF/roomie pokes his head out of the bathroom. His hair is damp and he’s got a bottle of mousse in one hand. “Almost done! Promise.” He shuts the door again.
“Two minutes! I’m serious!”
Now for the other roomie. “Scorch!”
I hear a low grumble from the other end of the apartment. Temper flaring, I raise my hand and fling his door open with a flare of magic. Thank goddess my recent loss of a body didn’t dampen my ability to do magic. No sex and no magic? Unbearable.
“Are you ready?”
“I’ve been ready. Riley’s the one taking forever.” I can’t see him, but a curl of smoke drifts out of his doorway. Apparently I’d startled the little phoenix shifter.
I look up at the clock. My date is going to be here in ten minutes. Heart racing, blood pumping. Except I don’t technically have those things anymore. How exactly can I still have bodily reactions without a true body? Another of the many questions that comprise my so-called life these days.
This calls for a cocktail.
I stride to the bar and pull out two martini glasses. As I do, I think of Noir, our bar back in Seattle. Well, technically Zyan’s bar, but just as much mine and Riley’s in soul and spirit. A place we’d unfortunately never go back to since the angels busted it up and society started going to hell.
Vodka. Vermouth. Mermaid tears or pixie dust? I debate for a moment and then add both. I’m too jittery to decide. Which is another new ridiculousness in my life. I’m Quinn Devereux. And that means all the boys are wrapped around my finger. Or it did mean that. Before.
I’ve got to get my mojo back. Body or no body. I can do this.
Pulling together my focus, I down my martini in one messy gulp.
“Riley! Scorch!” I shriek.
The bathroom door finally opens and Riley comes out, hair spiked, wearing a leather vest that shows off his muscles and his beautiful cocoa skin.
“Ouch. Someone’s getting their heart broken tonight,” I say.
He leans up against the door, shooting me a sultry look for a moment before sauntering into the living room. “Ooh, martinis.”
“Touch them and die, werewolf.”
Ri shoots me an injured look. “Fine.”
Scorch shuffles out of his room, wearing his usual sagging denim, vintage rock band shirt, and faded flannel. His piercings glitter beneath the pin lights of the kitchen.
“You going to the club with Ri?” I ask him.
He shoots me a look that says he won’t justify that question with a response.
“Nah, dropping him at the arcade,” Riley says. He walks over to me. “Have a fab time. You’ve got this.” He winks at me.
Across the room, Scorch rolls his eyes and sighs. Every teen’s dream: hearing his guardians make veiled references to their sex lives.
Ri squeezes my arm and straightens up, hand on hip. “Alright! Miami, you better be ready for these two fine ass beasts to hit the town.” He loops his arm through Scorch’s and sweeps him from the room, waving as the door closes behind them.
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.
With trembling hands, I grab the bottle of vodka to make a replacement for the cocktail I’d downed. Or try to. My hands slides right through it. Shit. I take a deep breath (out of habit purely), focus, and try again. My fingers touch the cool glass. Okay—
The doorbell rings.
What the holy hell?! Who shows up three minutes early?
I’ve blinked out completely in my panic. Invisible girlfriend? Not so much the average guy’s cup of tea. “Just a sec!” I channel all my focus and my body pops back into view. My dress and necklace have fallen to the floor, so I yank them back on. Sometimes I spell my clothes so this doesn’t happen, but I can’t really do a nice strip tease if my clothes won’t come off, now can I?
A couple quick pours and a stir and the second martini sits on the bar. I run to the mirror over the sofa and check my reflection. I do look pretty stunning, if I can keep from blinking out. I’ve got my blonde curls up in a bun with several long strands down around my face, and I’m wearing the perfect little black dress. A chunky silver beaded necklace completes things nicely.
Deep breath. In. Out.
I walk to the door and open it.
“Hi, gorgeous!” says my date, leaning in for a kiss.
Rule number one of kissing when you’re non-corporeal: you absolutely cannot swoon. Swooning means vanishing and vanishing means an abrupt end to your make-out session.
Unfortunately, Veric, my date, is this Idris Elba-lookalike tiger shifter that pretty much defines swoonworthy.
It requires a TON of focus not to blink out when lips that luscious are touching yours. Lips and hands and all the yummy parts. Everything in my head is drifting away on a sea of bliss and OMFG he’s nibbling my earlobe…
I’m saved by the slam of a neighbor’s door which yanks me back before I start vanishing.
“Well,” I say breathlessly, “Hello to you, too.” I step back and gesture for Veric to come inside. He shoots me a smoldering look as he passes.
I get our martinis and we sit down on the couch, knees touching. Even that simple contact sends a spike of warmth from my collarbone to my…you get the point.
“Anything new with the pack?” I ask.
As Veric starts to talk, I feel a pang of guilt. We’ve been dating a few weeks. I’ve told him that I sort of died (totally died) and came back as a not-entirely-corporeal being using my witch magic. Which is a half-truth at best. But it’s not like I can run around telling everyone that I made a deal with Death and owe her a life of servitude. It hadn’t been expressly mentioned, but I didn’t think she wanted her employees to talk about what happens after you die. Did Death have a human resources department? If so, I’d get written up for sure.
Veric has paused and I realize I’ve missed something. I make a quick judgement call based on the look on his face and say, “That’s cool! Let me refill our drinks.”
I hastily grab his glass and head back to the bar. When I return, he has a question on his face.
He waves a hand dismissively. “You probably don’t want to talk about it.”
“It’s okay. Ask away.”
“Well, can you, like, do you feel buzzed at all drinking a cocktail?” He fidgets just the tiniest bit, which is pretty adorable on such a muscular man.
“A little. It’s mostly like I still have a normal body. Except for the blinking out part.” I laugh to lighten the mood. I don’t mention that my body was literally cremated when I died, before Zy and Riley came to rescue me from the realm of Death. Whatever it is exactly that I am now, it’s not what I was before.
“I wouldn’t say a normal body,” Veric says, his fingers trailing up my thigh. “It’s pretty phenomenal.”
He leans in for a kiss, and then those sultry lips are on mine again. I slide onto his lap, straddling him. It occurs to me that the more places our bodies touch, the more grounded in physicality I am. Why didn’t I think of this before? Such a simple solution to my problem.
Veric makes sort of a moan/growl deep in his throat, and his eyes turn golden-green as his inner tiger surges beneath the surface. His shifter energy tinges the air around us, and my witch magic joins with it, a tangle of color and energy. I tug off his shirt, revealing the splendor of his dark skin and rock-hard abs. Dear goddess.
He’s at my earlobe again, hot breath on my neck. It’s my turn to moan, and I almost blink out but somehow manage to maintain my focus. I can do this. I mean, it’s kind of my thing. Maybe we just need to speed things along.
I flip open the buckle of Veric’s belt and slide it off slowly, eyes locked on his. He growls again and runs his hand all the way up my thigh. He smiles when he realizes I’m not wearing underwear. A couple yanks and his pants are off. Boxer-briefs, naturally. And oh my. I’m biting my lip.
With a not-so-gentle shove (this ain’t my first shifter rodeo), Veric is lying back on the couch. I hover over him, kissing his jawline, his collarbone, his dark nipples… everything is perfectly solid on my end, no blinking out. And things are more than solid on his end. Extremely solid.
My drought is finally over.
I slide a finger under the waistband of his briefs.
Someone knocks on the door.
I freeze for only a moment. Because of course I’m not answering the goddamn door right now. My dress comes off over my head in the blink of an eye and Veric is looking at me like he’s going to devour me and yes, yes, yes I hope he does…
Three crimson-cloaked figures blink into sight directly to my left.
“Jesus fuck!” I scream, and Veric jumps back with a dexterity only a shifter can pull off.
It takes me a moment to realize who’s invaded my home. Another moment before I realize that my drought is not ending tonight. Because these are guests I cannot turn away.
Death has decided to pay a house call.
Well, not Death herself. She’s decidedly more fashionable than these creepy cloak-wearing dudes (or ladies?). Regardless, they are her servants, the Red Twelve, the escorts of souls to the beyond. And my new coworkers.
“What the hell?” Veric growls.
He’s standing next to me in nothing but his boxer-briefs. I, of course, am buck-ass naked. I’m not sure there’s any point in being modest in front of the Red, being as how they’re immortal beings or some-such and have seen literally everything. And it doesn’t really matter since I’ve blinked out entirely.
But I decide to pull my dress back on before I take form again. Even I have standards of decency.
“Um, so yes,” I say, coming back into solid form. “Veric, I’m afraid our date needs to be rescheduled.”
He looks at me incredulously. “Who are these guys? Were you expecting them?”
“They are—er—business associates. And no, I was not expecting them.” I shoot the cloaked creepies a pointed glare.
“We knocked,” they say in unison. As if the speaking-as-one thing weren’t unsettling enough, their voices sound like winter wind over bones.
“An appointment would have been nice,” I snap.
I can’t see their faces beneath their cloaks (if they have them at all), but I can sense they are on the verge of speaking. And whatever they have to say is probably not something I want my man-friend to know about this early in our relationship. Pacts with Death, eternal servitude, all that.
“So sorry, Veric. Rain check?” I shoot him my most endearing look. I can be pretty damn endearing.
“Sure, uh, yeah.”
He pulls on his pants and shirt. I try not to bite my lip as I watch all that deliciousness vanish. It was so close to being mine.
I walk him to the door. The eyes of the Red are on us, heavy and cold. “This is the worst. I really hope you’ll let me make it up to you.”
Veric nods stiffly. “Yeah, of course. You sure you’re gonna be fine if I leave?” He shoots a look past me into the apartment.
“Yes, but thanks.”
He looks relieved. “See you, Quinn.”
He doesn’t kiss me goodnight before heading down the hallway.
I feel like I could curl into a ball and die, but been there, done that. I spin to face my “business associates.”
“So, it’s time, then, huh?”
I could swear they’re smiling, though again, no faces. “Yes, Quinn Devereux. Your training begins when the moon is next full in the sky.”
The next full moon is two days from now. I nod. “And what exactly will my training entail?”
“We’ll discuss that when you begin.”
I feel a flare of irritation. “Well, how long will the training take?”
“So eager to become the Thirteenth?” they ask, sending a shiver of ice up my spine.
I had almost forgotten. Once I join their ranks, we will be the Red Thirteen. Not ominous in the slightest.
“No,” I say, “I just like to know what I’m getting into is all.”
“Your training will depend on how quickly you learn. There will be multiple lessons, that much you can be assured of.” They pause. “Quality assurance, of course.”
Do the creepy cloaked things actually have a sense of humor?
This is like pulling teeth. “Do I need to prepare in any way?”
“That is what your training is for.”
“Okay, then. Anything else?”
A pause. “Perhaps it would be best if you didn’t have company on the night of the full moon,” they say wryly. Smug little jerks.
“I’ll do my best,” I say with a perky smile.
And then I’m standing alone in my apartment.
Alone. Ugh. If I can get Veric to see me again it’ll be a miracle. As if being non-corporeal weren’t enough of a challenge, now my uber-disturbing coworkers are popping up uninvited when I’m trying to get busy?
But the alternative is, well, death.
I had died and was brought back. So, it came with a few complications. Okay, a lot of complications. Dating today is a real bitch, but I didn’t think Zy would much appreciate my grumbling. She and Riley had confronted Death to get me back. It was kind of a big deal.
Thinking of Zyan makes my heart squeeze. I really hope she’s doing okay. Everything had gotten sort of crazy while she was trying to rescue me. The angels were persecuting the rest of the supernatural races, causing worldwide chaos. And whatever had gone down between her and Donovan and Eli... She hadn’t talked much about it, but I could tell they’d left things a bit rocky.
And now our little group is all off saving the world in our own way. Donovan and Eli are leading resistance forces, trying to restore some order to things. Riley and I are taking care of Scorch and holding down the fort for South Florida. And Zy is off…well, I’m not sure exactly what she’s doing. Something epic, undoubtedly. She needs her space, that much is clear.
I sigh. Another cocktail is most certainly in order.
One cocktail turns into three as I decide to test the limits of my sobriety. I mean, being as how I don’t truly have a body, how drunk can I really get? And I’m horny as hell which isn’t any fun at all.
That’s when the alarm on my wrist goes off.
The supernatural alarm, to be specific. It’s sort of like the bat signal. If a supe in the area is in trouble, they can trigger the alarm, and it alerts everyone on the network. A message begins to scroll across the display on my wrist.
NHTF raid. Ocean and Collins. GPS coordinates appear, too.
The NHTF is the government’s non-human task force. It was originally formed to keep naughty supes in line, but since the angelic forces had decided to persecute anyone supernatural who wasn’t from heaven, the two had joined forces and were now pretty much one giant police brutality squad. They were locking up supes left and right, no crime committed. Other than existing, that is.
From failed dates, to the Red Twelve, to rebelling against the government, all in the same night. Some witches have all the fun.
Dashing to my room, I pull out a pair of boots and yank them on. My dress stays—easier to fight in anyhow. This time I cast a spell to make sure everything sticks with me. I also grab my new toy, a cross bow with tranquilizer darts. Fighting for the resistance has its perks.
The really cool toy, however, is my teleportation device. Eli developed it a few months ago based on how the angels travel from one point to another, and sometimes even one dimension to another. I don’t know how it works—some odd mix of magic and science—but it makes travel a breeze. I type the coordinates into the device on my wrist. One moment I’m standing in our apartment in Wynwood, and the next I’m in South Beach.
I can tell instantly that I’m in a vampire den. They sort of have a distinct style. Black velvet drapes in front of all the windows. Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Lots of candles in ornate silver holders dotting every available surface. Chains embedded in the wall (vamps love their kink). Victorian furniture with luxe fabric in shades of night: gray, purple, deepest crimson.
Riley appears next to me a moment later. He’d apparently seen the alert, too.
“Oh, Quinn,” he says with a frown. “Your date.”
I roll my eyes. “Oh, it was ruined before this even happened. Don’t get me started.”
He raises an eyebrow but zips his lips. We dash over to the nearest vamp, who is crouched by a grand piano. Two dozen others are scattered about the room.
“We’re here to help,” I say. “What’s the status here?”
“The NHTF have the building surrounded,” the vamp says, tossing her black curls over one shoulder.
“Why didn’t they raid during the day when you’re all asleep?” Riley asks.
“They did,” the vamp says. “But we were able to escape via a system of tunnels we use. This is our evacuation den. I have no idea how they tracked us here.”
“And this one doesn’t have tunnels?” I ask.
“It does, but they’re on the first floor and we’re on the fifth, and the NHTF are in between. We could get out the windows if they didn’t have us surrounded.” The vamp’s eyes are glowing red in anger. Her eyes dart down to the devices on our wrists. “Wish we had those. Then we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
I feel a wave of guilt. “Yeah, these aren’t easy to come by. They’re trying to make more.”
“Sounds like what you guys need is a distraction,” Riley says.
The vamp looks doubtful. “There are so many of them…”
“A really, really big distraction,” I say.
“If you think it could help,” the vamp says. “We’re just about out of options here.”
Riley looks over at me and grins.
“Let’s just say we might be near the top of the NHTF’s most-wanted list,” I say to the vamp. “We have the potential to turn a few heads.”
“Be ready to get out these windows,” Riley says.
The vamp’s eyes widen as Riley and I calculate new coordinates and punch them into our devices. Moments later, we reappear on the street half a block away.
The NHTF have the vamps’ building flanked by a dozen Humvees, a tank, and a hundred soldiers at least. The troops are loaded with weapons, and the trucks are mounted with rocket launchers and flame throwers. A rhythmic booming from inside the building tells me they’re trying to break through a steel door.
Standing atop a tank in the center of the melee, holding an enormous gun, is a familiar figure.
“Hunter,” Riley snarls.
Hunter is Eli’s ex, a power-hungry supe-hater. She’d once kidnapped Scorch, and she’d gone along with all the awful things Archangel Michael had done before Zyan turned him over to Death. And in the chaos that had ensued with Michael’s disappearance, it seemed Hunter had only risen higher up the chain.
“Why is that bitch in Miami?” I growl.
“Who knows,” Riley says. “But this just got personal.”
“Well, we wanted a big distraction,” I say. “It doesn’t get much bigger than this.”
I raise my hands, call on my magic, and create a giant ball of green flame, which I then hurl over the heads of the NHTF battalion.
A hundred soldiers, armed to the teeth, turn in our direction. From her perch on top of the tank, I see Hunter freeze as her eyes land on us. I can almost feel her hatred even from half a block away.
Bullets fill the night as everyone fires on us. Unlike my darts, which only tranquilize, the NHTF use bullets that erase a supe’s powers. Sometimes only for a few hours, but sometimes for good. I don’t care to find out which they’re using tonight.
Riley scoops me up and moves in a blur of werewolf super speed as I wrap us in a shield of magic. I can feel bullets pinging off it as we zoom through the night. Riley moves straight for the NHTF. I launch another ball of magic, this time speaking a sleeping incantation as I do. It bursts like fireworks over the soldiers and sprinkles down like rain. Bodies begin to fall as my spell dusts over them. Asleep on the job, quite literally.
Right before we reach the wall of soldiers, Riley darts us off into an alley, and we use our teleportation devices to reappear on the other side of the building. We repeat our routine: distracting ball of light, dash away, spell to disable the troops. This time I use a laughter spell, which doubles them over in fits of mirth. A girl has to mix things up from time to time.
With mass chaos on two sides of the building and everyone looking for us, Riley loops the building and we take out the gunners watching the windows. Me with magic, him with claws and teeth. He doesn’t go full wolf, but enough to get the job done. I lob a few balls of magic off in the distance to throw everyone off our exact location.
We use our wrist devices to pop back upstairs and check on the evacuation. There are only a handful of vamps left, and as I watch another jumps out the window (five stories being nothing for a vamp), and speeds off into the darkness.
Down below, we hear an enormous boom and the building shakes. The NHTF are through the security door blocking off the entrance to the vamp den. The sound of dozens of booted feet and yells of the ubiquitous “Go, go, go!” come from the floor below us.
I run to the remaining few vamps and throw a quick invisibility spell over them, just in case anyone has realized we took out the gunners, then practically push them out the window. Three new vamps come running through the door across the room, the last defenses for the floor below. NHTF soldiers are right on their heels. One is quick enough and zips out the window almost too fast for my eyes to follow. The other two fall as bullets hit them, and instantly begin convulsing on the floor.
I lunge forward but Riley grabs my hand. “We can’t help them.”
In my moment’s hesitation, a hail of bullets moves across the room toward us. Riley and I press our teleportation devices and vanish.
“Shit,” I say as we land back in our apartment. The sudden quiet is jarring. Tears sting the corners of my eyes.
Riley pulls me into a hug. His eyes are shiny, too. “We did the best we could.”
“Those vamps are as good as dead.”
“Imagine if it had been the whole vamp coven.”
I sniff and nod. “It could have been worse. That’s true. But it still sucks.”
“That it does.”
We stand together for a couple minutes, grieving for our lost supernatural comrades. Things had gotten so bad since Dublin. It wasn’t safe to be a supe anymore, not unless you worked for the angels. You could get arrested just for walking down the street. Why did such hatred exist?
“I need to go get Scorch,” Riley says. “Will you file our report?”
“Oh, sure, leave me with the paperwork.” I make a playful jab at his ribs, which he easily ducks. Damn werewolf reflexes.
“And I still need to hear about your date!” Riley says as he heads out the door.
I file a quick report in the online database for the resistance. I’ve been assured it’s un-hackable. I certainly hope so. It helps resistance fighters around the world keep up to date on news, as well as any new methods of attack the angels and NHTF are using. Without it we’d be an uncoordinated mess.
When I’m done, I feel utterly depleted. What with the triple whammy of losing my hook up, getting called into training for the Red, and fighting off the NHTF, I don’t have the energy for anything else right now.
That’s when my cell phone rings.
I don’t recognize the number, but the holographic display shows a familiar face. The face of one of my former coven members who I haven’t seen in thirty years.
“Hello?” I answer tentatively.
“Quinn?” says the woman. Her name is Alicia.
“I hate to bother you so late, but I have news… it’s not good I’m afraid.” Alicia pauses just long enough for my heart to begin hammering through my chest cavity. “It’s Merilee.”
Merilee. The high priestess of the coven. My former mentor. Practically a mother to me. And also the person who shattered my trust and forced me to leave the coven.
“Yes?” I ask when she doesn’t continue.
“Merilee is dying,” Alicia says. “And she’s asked to see you.”
I’m fidgeting with my hair, wrapping long strands of it around my finger and releasing it, when Riley and Scorch walk back in an hour later. Riley sees my suitcase and his eyebrows go up.
I can fight demons. I can face down a hundred soldiers. I can cast an endless array of wickedly complex spells. All a piece of cake.
What isn’t a piece of cake is facing my old coven.
I haven’t been back home in decades (I may look twenty-five but witches have a long shelf-life). Not since Merilee turned on me. A woman I’d long respected, hero-worshipped even. But sometimes our heroes turn out to be not so super after all.
I nod. “I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet.”
Riley flops down on the sofa and pats the spot next to him. I fold in next to him and spill everything. As I talk his eyes get wider and wider.
“Wow,” he says when I’m finally finished.
“Yeah, that blows,” Scorch adds.
“No joke.” I sigh. “So yeah, now I have to decide if I’m going to head off to the backwoods of South Carolina to pay my final respects.”
Riley says, “Sometimes toxic people just need to be cut out of your life. If you go, do it for you, not for her.”
“I am,” I say after a moment’s pause. “Or, I will. If I go. Be doing it for me.”
My memories of the coven are so distant they’re like another lifetime. There was my childhood and my years with the coven. And then there was everything since then. Two completely different Quinns.
I can’t escape the irony of the timing. Because here I am, once again on the precipice of a new Quinn. I had died and come back. I wasn’t the same. And once my training with the Red begins, I’ll change even more. I won’t be just a witch anymore.
I think back to casting my first spell under Merilee’s guidance, a simple color charm to change a flower from yellow to purple. Dancing in my first full moon ritual. Finding the perfect dew-covered cobwebs in the fields at dawn. Summoning spirits on All Hallow’s Eve. So many good memories. And one really horrible one.
“I told myself that I wasn’t running away all those years ago,” I say. Riley and Scorch watch me attentively. “That it was an act of power to leave. And it was.” I pause, twirling my hair around my finger again while I stare at my toes. “But I need closure. I never said what needs to be said to those who wronged me.”
“Well then, go kick ass and take names.” Riley pats me on the back. My werewolf therapist. “But in the morning, hmm? It’s like 1 AM.”
“Good point,” I say, staring numbly at my suitcase.
“When are you coming back?” Scorch asks. He’s well practiced, as is any teen, in acting like he couldn’t care less. But there’s a slight crinkle of worry around his eyes that melts my heart.
“As soon as I can, kiddo,” I say.
He rolls his eye at my pet name and slumps off to his room.
“We’ll be alright,” Riley says softly. “Take all the time you need.”
I stand and take a deep breath. “Okay. I can do this.”
“You will own this.” He gets up and heads for the kitchen. “Hot cocoa first?”
I sigh. “You’re the best roomie ever.”
In the dream I know I’m about to die. Unlike how it happened in real life.
Dublin. The rooftop. Me and Zyan, our magic tied together, working the spell to stop everyone in the city from being turned into Hell spawn. Eli outnumbered by demons, trying to keep them away from us. A battle raging in the streets below. Smoke and sulfur and screams color the night. It sings with inevitability.
And then there’s the blade.
Blade. Agony. Silence. Blood.
In my dreams it happens so slowly, so I can feel each separately. The thrust of the knife, the coolness of it. A burst of pain as it tears me. Tears a hole right through my heart. Everything else falls away and the only thing I’m aware of is my body, jagged blade protruding out of it. It feels like a spotlight is shining on me. And finally, a blossom of red across my chest. So much red. It’s the last thing I think before I’m gone.
The dream doesn’t make me sit bolt upright anymore like it did the first few months. I wake up, but not quite as violently as those early days. The tears, however, still dampen my pillow.
The next morning I spend a lot of time procrastinating by unpacking and repacking my suitcase several times. And changing outfits another few times. I finally settle on a yellow sundress paired with a beaded sandalwood necklace. Finally, the inevitable is upon me. It’s time to face my past.
I adjust the coordinates on my teleporter and step through realms.
And land, naturally, right in a pile of cow manure. Hundreds of acres of rolling green hills surround me, and I have to step in a mess with my brand new sandals.
“It is, at that,” says a voice to my left, dripping with every bit of molasses and moonshine the South has to offer.
I spin, startled, and come face to face with a tall, dark, and handsome warlock. A warlock I know quite well. The first man I ever loved. The first man I ever left.
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...