Faith Latham has a secret.
She and her sister are witches, and letting anyone know could be fatal.
Faith is shoved firmly between a rock and a hard place when her sister disappears. She's left alone to care for her young niece while searching for her missing sister and being hunted herself. Can she trust the vampire who came to their rescue, or the pack of wolf shifters he lives with? Can she keep her niece safe while honing her magic? Will she ever find and rescue her sister, or stop the madman who took her to start a war?
All three books will be available in one omnibus set, coming soon!
She pushed her power through her arm, strengthening her shield where it glimmered faintly in front of them. Her mother's words flitted through her mind, warning her to never, ever use her magic in public where anyone could possibly see her. "They'll find you and they'll kill you, baby. So make sure you only ever use your power when you know you are alone and safe, and that nobody can see you.”
Well, Mom. Sorry to break that rule, but I think this would be considered a special circumstance. Not that I know if these things can talk or tell anyone or... god what the hell are these things?
The monster growled, low and angry, and the sound went straight to her monkey brain and activated just about every flight instinct she had. If she and Kaylee weren't backed into a corner, literally, she might have tried it. Although, weren't you supposed to never run from a predator?
Whatever, her shield would only last so long. The second of the monsters flung itself at her and snarled when it bounced off her shield. The impact reverberated up her arm again making her flinch slightly, and she realized that she had less time than she had thought. The first monster noticed her reaction and it growled a bit louder before lowering its head and charging her.
Damn, that hurts! She bit her lip to stop a sob. This wasn't anything like her practice sessions or her childhood tousles with Crissy. She didn't remember the pebbles or paper airplanes that they used in those easy moments ever hurting her. This was neither easy nor painless as the impacts reverberated through her magic and into her body.
Small hands curled into her shirt and held tight, and she clenched her jaw and dug deep to send a little more power into the shield. She didn't have much more left to give.
There was a bang in the backyard and one of the monsters glanced toward the sound but the other one– the leader, she thought– leaped up, slashing its claws down the shield. A trail of sparks showered from the impact and skittered over the floor to fade away quickly.
She cried out, startled as welts formed on the arm she held up in front of her, supporting the shield. What the hell?
"I want to go home. I want to go home," Kaylee was whispering into her hip. Me too, sweetheart.
The monster shook itself and turned back, getting ready for another lunge, but before it could leap, the last remnant of the door crashed open, ripped from the hinge, and a blur slammed into the creature's side with a loud crack. When they skidded into the far wall and stopped, she saw it was a man– well, probably a man? A man-shaped creature at least, but no human was that strong or that fast.
The man– for lack of a better word– stood, and after a glance to make sure the creature was down, spun to face the second monster who had stepped back momentarily in surprise. That moment didn't last long before it leaped at the man, claws out and its teeth bared in an angry yowl.
The man dodged to the side and brought his hand up, and the creature made a burbling, choking sound before slamming into the wall about where the man's chest had been before sliding down to land on the first one. The man jerked and she saw that he was pulling a long knife out of the creature's body.
Was this a good thing or a worse thing, now?
The man pulled a cloth out and cleaned the monster's blood off his blade and contemplated the bodies on the floor at his feet, then as he slid the knife back into the sheath on his thigh, he turned, obviously getting ready to leave.
And stopped dead, staring at her with wide, shocked eyes.
She stared back, frozen, but determined to keep Kaylee safe at all costs. She tried to find more power to send to her shield but could tell that she didn't have much left to use.
The man walked over to her slowly, hands clearly visible and palms out, as if he was approaching a stray animal. Heavy biker boots didn't make a sound on the scuffed wood floor of the cabin, and considering how big the man was, that was impressive as hell. Every move was careful and deliberate like he didn't have any movement to waste.
She suddenly knew what a mouse felt like when staring at a housecat. It was both scarier and, weirdly, more comforting than the brute force attack the monster dog things had thrown at her.
He moved like a predator. It was a phrase she read all the time in the romance novels Crissy kept giving her, and she had always thought it was a sort of ridiculous way to describe someone's walk. "Moved like a dancer would be better," she had always teased her sister, who scoffed and said, "That's only because you've never seen it!" The familiar, friendly argument played through her mind in fast forward and all she could think was that Crissy was right.
The man was tall, with dark brown hair and bright green eyes, and while he had muscles to spare he wasn't bulky like he spent too much time in a gym. Dressed in loose black pants with pockets everywhere, a black t-shirt, and a leather jacket, he could be any dangerous biker she had ever seen in the movies. It was something in his dark eyes that said clearly that he was not just dangerous. This man was lethal. And those eyes were aimed right at her.
"It got quiet, Aunt Faith, are they gone? Can we go home now?" Kaylee asked her hip, not looking up at all.
The man's eyes flicked down to take in the small body, and she moved to try to block Kaylee from his sight.
"Magaestra," he said, his voice pitched low and gentle and deliberately non-aggressive. A shiver slid down Faith's spine.
Damn, even his voice is dangerous. like steel wrapped in silk and chocolate and hot bubble baths on cold nights.
"I will not harm you or the girl, Magaestra. I swear it," he said. The man sounded slightly awestruck, not that Faith could understand why. He stopped right in front of her and held his hands out, showing that they were empty. It seemed like he was trying to be non-threatening, but she had seen what he did to those monsters. There was no way he wasn't extremely dangerous.
She flicked her eyes over to the pile of monster bodies and gasped.
"Look out!" Faith didn't think, just reached out with her free hand and yanked the man to them, throwing the shield back up just before the beast slammed into it, pushing her back a step from the impact on her magic.
It landed on three legs, visibly favoring a serious injury, and before she even knew what was happening, the man was standing over the creature again, his knife in his hand and buried in the thing's neck, up to the hilt. Now there was no question that both the monsters that had come inside were dead.
"Holy fuck," she said. "What are you?"
The man turned and blinked at her, his own shock clear. "You... you protected me."
It was her turn to blink. Huh, she had, hadn't she? She glanced at where her magic shield glimmered faintly in the air between them once more. How did he get through it? He was going the other way, not the way I was stopping. I guess that makes sense. I wasn’t trying to keep us from getting out. And now I’m rambling in my own head. Focus, Faith!
"I can't imagine anyone deserves to be attacked by..." she wasn’t entirely sure how to finish that sentence. She eyed the man warily. “Not even whatever it is that you are, yourself.”
Kaylee stirred behind her and tried to peek around at the mystery man, but Faith held tight. Her niece did not need to see any more of those monsters than she already had.
"You have my thanks," he stopped in front of her again, his hands again held loose at his sides. "Even before you did that, I was going to tell you that you are safe with me. Now, I offer my protection. I swear to you that I will keep you and the girl safe. You risked your safety for mine. I will protect you with my own life, if necessary."
She blinked at him. She was so damn tired. She knew that she couldn't keep the shield up for much longer, and her choice seemed to be: trust this stranger, or... trust this stranger.