Rovena reached out again, hoping more contact would provide more insight. It didn’t happen often, but sometimes she got another glimpse into the victim’s life when she prodded further. It was the only tool she could make good use of now, and she was desperate enough for answers to try again. Even if reliving his death was the last thing she wanted to do. Or see.
She extended her fingers, dreading touching the cold skin but determined to do it just the same.
A cool breeze behind her ceased her progress. She froze with her fingers midway to their destination as goosebumps broke across her skin. She whirled around, expecting to find someone or something standing there.
The space behind her was empty.
Tiny tremors pulsated across her palms. Not the usual response when a demon was nearby but an alarm that warned her something otherworldly was at work.
Something otherworldly that she couldn’t envision.
Thank the heavens for her built-in danger detector. Not many in her field were blessed with the same, and hers always came in handy, even if she couldn't always find what hunted in the shadows.
The inability to see what had momentarily entered the room suggested it wasn’t a demon. But whatever it was had moved on as quickly as it appeared.
She turned back to the corpse in front of her and nearly jumped out of her skin.
His eyes were wide open and staring right at her.
What the actual fuck.
Rovena had seen some crazy shit in her life, but this was bizarre even for her.
Fast as a cobra, he struck, aiming for her throat. She had no time to react before his hand closed around her windpipe. Glowing red eyes glared up at her while long, lean fingers tightened dangerously around her neck. The man forced her back as he sat up and slid off the gurney. The blanket covering the lower half of his body fluttered to the floor and pooled at his feet. He stepped over it as he pushed her toward the wall behind her, his grip narrowing as he moved.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Character Confession - Lakyn from Tale of a Body Thief by Kristy Centeno
Monday, January 30, 2023
Inside Scoop on the Main Character in Pirate Lover’s Curse by Sheri Queen
Here’s the inside scoop on how I came up with my main character in the Sleepy Hollow Hunter series.
The origin of Janda Gray as a lykoi shifter came about when I participated in the Hotel Paranormal shared-world series. Each author had to pick a paranormal being as our main character and it had to be different from those chosen by the other authors. The choices went fast!
The usual shifters, vampires, sirens, and ghosts were gone before I could type in my response. Yikes!
I wanted something unusual but intriguing. Thus, the lykoi.
Lykoi are real cats that have been dubbed werewolf cats due to their appearance. They really have that wolfy face! They also have a dog-like personality. The name Lykoi is derived from the Greek word lycos, which is loosely translated as wolf.
Once I found this breed, I knew I had my character. So, Janda is a lykoi who is part wolf and part were-cat. Her inner animal is a combination of the two. She is a hybrid shifter whose parents had a forbidden love. Her mother was a wolf-shifter and her father was a were-cat.
Janda has insecurities about being a hybrid and faced lots of taunting growing up from other members of her pack. She kept to the fringes of the pack. Yet, she always managed to find herself in some sort of trouble.
As with the real lykoi cat, Janda is loyal. Throughout the series, we see her slowly come into her own and develop a close circle of friends who are loyal to her as much as she is loyal to them.
I hope readers enjoy Janda and her friends as much as I do. Signing up for my newsletter (https://sheriqueen.com/subscribe) is the best way for anyone wishing to stay updated on the spin-off stories I have in the works.
Pirate Lover’s Curse is out now! https://books2read.com/pirateloverscurse
Excerpt:“Why does anything pertaining to you have to come with extra baggage?” Uncle Damon said. His dominant pack power surged, affecting the others nearby and making them restless.The air crackled with his energy. I held my ground. His words stung, but he’d never hear me say it. I’d had lots of practice over the years keeping my hurt from showing, but at this moment, I lashed out with a barb of my own.“I’m just lucky that way. Kind of like you.” I tapped the desk with my fingertips, knowing he hated it and narrowed my eyes at him.He sure as hell had his own baggage when it came to relationships and pack bonds, especially when it came to anything with my mother.“If the two of you are done poking at one another, I’d like to move on to the pertinent issue of the cursed map,” Sebastian said. He stood a good foot away from his desk and peered down at the map as if it might explode.Everyone had a hands-off approach to the map after I’d blurted out that it was cursed.“It won’t curse you just by touching it,” I said. “At least, not from what Gwenn or I could tell. It has a hidden layer that will attack you if you try to force it out in the open.”“That’s just great,” Mutther said. “I suppose you found out firsthand?”“Not me. Gwenn did. I was the innocent bystander.”“Right. How innocent?” Nick said. He moved to Mutther’s side and viewed the map from farther away. Neither of them was taking any chances.Not that I blamed them. They had suffered from being too near me in the past. Mutther was still rebuilding his bar.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Maria DeVivo Talks About Her Research Into Real Events for the Dawn of the Blood Witch Series
Three moon tides had passed, and Runa remained in our care. A subject? A prisoner? I could not truly tell the difference. Sten had returned to the cave that first night with the supplies Aizel told him to procure—supplies that were just a diversion so that she could make her final judgment on what was to be done with the girl. Aizel told Sten to set up camp in our village and wait for us to call for him. He knew she was well respected and that our people would take care of him if need be, so he left our cave to go into town and patiently waited until his child was delivered from the evil that took hold of her hugr and fylgja—in essence, her soul.
Sten was obedient and did as he was told—partly because he was a doting father who wanted to see his daughter healed, and partly, because at his core, he was a weak man who fell easily under Aizel’s spell. She promised him she would do whatever she could to help Runa, and if that meant Sten had to run into a pack of snarling wolves, he would have complied. But I knew the truth. There was no intention of expelling the draugr from the girl. Aizel was stalling for time as the demon inside Runa slowly festered and consumed her bit by bit.
And as the days passed, I purposefully and consciously locked my mind like a steel cage against Aizel so she couldn’t go digging around. I hadn’t told her what I had heard Runa say—how she had called out the sacred nickname my sister had bestowed upon me, for I knew she would have forbidden me to even go near the girl after that. Nevertheless, I was intrigued. How would she have known that name unless by some divine intervention? I was certainly convinced that this was more than just the average possession we were used to dealing with, and I was determined to find out more. What was this demon, and why had it made itself known to me the night of the full moon, and more specifically during a time of my great despondency?
So, without Aizel’s knowledge of my actions, I stole away into the storage alcove where Runa had been tied up for the last three nights in hopes of getting as much information from the creature as I could. I brought my canteen of water under the assumption that maybe a drink would satisfy it and give it reason to open up. When I reached the room, the air was thick with an unnatural heat and a steamy sheen blanketed the space around us, much like the steam from the hot springs a bit south of us.
I stood in the opening and watched as Runa’s slumped body breathed in and out with those frenzied pants. Her head tilted to one side as if the weight of her long, silky black hair was pulling her down in her slumber. She looked peaceful, even with her chest heaving up and down as frantically as it was. I wondered what type of frenetic dream she must be having. Was she running in a field? Were the wolves chasing her? Was a hoard of marauders ravaging her fragile body?
I dipped my foot gingerly across the imaginary threshold of the room, and suddenly she stopped, shot up, and opened her eyes wide. “All three,” she cooed with a smirk.
I froze for a moment, surprised by her abrupt actions, then continued my way inside.
Runa smiled wide, and the evidence of the draugr’s hold on her was blatantly clear. The soft pink tissue of her gums was coated with a dark black substance giving her mouth the appearance of a gaping void.
A void to swallow me whole and transport me to another dimension…
“You would like that, wouldn’t you?” she blurted.
“You know I’m not afraid of you, right?” I said. “I’ve seen the likes of you before.”
She giggled. “Oh, have you?” she responded. Her voice was low and gravelly, and it echoed in the cave as if there were more than one being speaking simultaneously. I couldn’t tell if it was the acoustics or if she actually represented the power of the many. And the voice, that guttural, grinding tone was so familiar to me, yet I could not place where I’d heard it before.
I approached her in the chair and held my canteen to her face. She eyed me coolly. “No,” she said. “It would just prolong the process.”
“Oh? And what process is this you speak of?”
“I know your plans. The girl is gone. There’s no use in saving her now.”
I pursed my lips together and nodded. “True. True.” I agreed. “But that doesn’t mean you still can’t serve a purpose for us.”
The draugr laughed aloud. Its voice pierced the inside of my eardrums so sharply that I winced.
“Untie me, and I’ll show you what purpose I can serve,” she said with a sly hint of seduction.
I looked down upon her and scoffed. Up close I could see the demon had begun to transform her. Runa’s visage had begun to crack. The pale skin of her once soft face had turned gray, and the dark green veins from beneath her skin pressed up close to the surface and pulsated as if they were their own living, breathing entities. Her cheeks had further sunken in, giving the sharp angles of her face an even more inhuman appearance. She grazed her thick black tongue across the surface of her dry lips. “I won’t bite,” she cooed.
I huffed and took a step back. “Do you think that’s what it would take to tempt me? I told you, I’ve done this before. You’re not the first draugr to grace this cavern. Do you even know how old I am?”
“Do you even know how old I am?” she shot back.
I knelt next to her and decided to seize the opportunity. Demons are all-knowing, or at least they think they are. And they like to talk, mainly about themselves and their powers. And it’s often their narcissism that contributes to their downfall. I remembered that from Blodwyn’s teachings. Long ago, she had guided me through my first expulsion of a draugr. I had watched her perform the ritual flawlessly on many occasions, and when it came time for me to go out on my own, it was less than a stellar effort. “Don’t worry,” Blodwyn had said, “your strengths lie elsewhere. We each have our own gifts and talents. Don’t let this one failure discourage you. And I wouldn’t even call it a failure…”
“The boy would have died anyway,” the draugr said, finishing my memory.
I pulled back a bit. “Oh. So, you’re in here?” I said, pointing to my temple.
“Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. It comes and goes like flashes of light, like a gust of icy wind, like the paper-thin cry of the locust swelling to a crescendo then leveling off.”
My face twisted in confusion for a second. “How did you know that name?”
She closed her eyes and bowed her head forward. “I know not of what you speak,” she said with an agitated tone.
I placed my hand on her knee, and she quickly opened her eyes again. “Yes, you do. You said a name the first night you were here. You called out to me.”
She laughed again. A low and menacing rumble from her chest. “Pink Silver,” she grimaced, and her chest heaved up giving way to a wretched cough. She turned her head to the opposite side of where I knelt, spit out a gob of inky black substance, cleared her throat, and looked back at me.
“Tell me your name,” I commanded.
The draugr ‘tsked’ her thick black tongue against the back of her teeth.
“You told Aizel! Why won’t you tell me? You know my name, Trond. And you know my secret name, Ruz. It’s only fair if we’re going to continue this relationship, don’t you think?”
The draugr’s voice lowered, “I told that witch nothing!” it spat. “She stole that from me.
The girl was fighting hard, and there was a moment of weakness. I’m better now.” It smiled again, and for a split second. There were maggots weaving in and out of its teeth. I blinked rapidly, hoping it would go away. The draugr laughed.
Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/mariadevivo
Monday, January 23, 2023
How to Get Away with Murder (Or Not) with Mystery Author A.N. Sage #ParanormalCozyMystery #Mystery #MurderMystery
We started for the front door when my attention caught on something on the floor of the hall. Close to the bedroom lay a small carpet with two silver dishes, one filled with water and the other empty. I bent down and picked up the empty dish, reading the inscription etched into the metal. “Margaret the Third.”
“Who?” Stella asked.
I put the dish down. “Daniel’s dog. Did you see a dog around here?”
The ghost shook her head and looked around.
“Me either. Very odd.”
“Maybe someone else has it? Or the police took it or something?”
My thoughts ran a mile a minute, and I steadied my breathing, continuing the trek to the front. “Maybe.” Before leaving, I went back into the kitchen and opened all the cupboards.
Motioning for Stella to get closer, I nodded toward the big bag of dog food in one cupboard. “Don’t you think if they took the dog, they’d take her food?”
“I don’t know,” Stella said. She opened her mouth with a fake yawn. “Well, this was about as fun as a trip to the dollar store, so good luck with the rest and I’ll see you at home.”
With that, she disappeared, leaving me alone in the apartment once more. I stared at the dog food for another few minutes, trying to figure out why someone would take Daniel’s dog, but not anything to feed her with. If Daniel had a dog sitter, I was sure they’d take care of the animal, considering how important she was to the warlock. And if it was the police who took her… I shook the thought away. Why did the police need a spoiled brat of a dog? If anything, they’d ship her off to a shelter.
I made a mental note to check the animal shelter in the morning to ease my spinning mind and walked to the front. Before I left, I cast a glance at the stack of papers on the console table where Cilia’s threatening email hid in the pile.
“Why was she so angry with you?” I asked the empty room.
The next question I kept to myself, refusing to give it power. Was Cilia angry enough to kill? If it was her that hurt the warlock, it still didn’t explain the envelope I received or the talisman. Unless the talisman was Cilia’s and Daniel stole it?
It seemed the visit to the warlock’s apartment only sparked more questions, and I still found nothing that could help clear my name in the eyes of the police. “What if—No, don’t even think about it!”
I reached for the door handle.
“Don’t think about what?” Stella asked behind me.
My mind must have been spinning furiously because this time, I didn’t have a mini heart attack when she snuck up on me. “I thought you went home.”
“I did. Turns out it’s quite a bore there as well,” she explained. “So, what is it you shouldn’t think about?”
Lips in a thin line, I looked at the console table again. “Just wondering about the dog,” I told her. “And the hex pouch. And Cilia.”
“One of Nancy’s coven mates. Looks like she was pretty ticked off with Daniel for some promotion he got. I was wondering if she could have been mad enough to do something about it.”
Stella’s face paled, or as pale as it could get for a ghost. “Witches will be witches, darling.” She turned around and started to vanish again, but before she did, she said something absolutely crazy. “If you’re that worried about it, why not ask her yourself?”
As my wild familiar disappeared, her words lingered in the air where she once stood, and for the first time, I didn’t think her insane. I hated to admit it, but Stella had a point. There was one clear way to answer all my questions and find out how I got roped into this gruesome situation.
I had to question Cilia, and I had to do it before the police. If I was right and she had something to do with Daniel’s death, I knew the witch would pin the entire thing on me, if only for the chance to gain favor with Nancy.
This, friends, was exactly why I didn’t have a coven.
You couldn’t trust a witch, not in Orchard Hollow.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
The Lives of Lilly Parris by Daniel Sugar #Paranormal #AltHistory
The Lives of Lilly Parris by Daniel Sugar
Thursday, January 12, 2023
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