Nights Arose

In a time and place where women are bred to be lambs, Arose has the soul of a tigress.

It is 1693 on the isle of Jamaica, twenty-one-year-old Arose Du Mouchelle is the mixed-race heir to a sprawling sugar plantation. From an old gypsy, she receives a matriarchal heirloom: the Gem of the Red Spirit. She spends years in exile, learning its secrets and mysteries, the most important of which is the ability to enter the Astral Plane. In exchange for her powers, Arose must act as the sentry between this dimension and her world, forcing back the creatures held captive there.

Morel, a voodoo Priestess, covets the Gem. Taking hostage Arose’s family and the port town, she attempts to force Arose to give up the powerful amulet. Morel’s plan is to rule over the evil creatures imprisoned in the Astral Plane, unleashing them upon the rest of humanity.

While evading Morel’s henchmen, Arose collides with Captain St. James a notorious pirate, whom she has already met in a vision. Leary of him at first, he gains her trust after he aids in her escape. She is knocked unconscious and wakes to find she has been had—both he and the opal are gone. However, even if she recovers the opal, she’ll have a bigger decision to make: keep the opal and doom her family, or give it to Morel and let the world fall into a demonic wasteland.

Check out this quick snippet:

She crouched on the ledge of a dune. The dying sun’s embers lit the sky just before the night arose. The previous hours of her day were difficult and tiresome. She wasn’t sure if her queasy stomach came from her boiling blood or the fact she hadn’t eaten since morning. The day’s close did give her some relief from the evil Voodoo and treachery, which followed her since that afternoon. Still her troubles would not simply end because the day did. In the guise of her alter ego, Evan, she could fool anyone. She had perfected a manly swagger. But, no matter how drunk she got in the pub, her troubles would remain. “He” would be on the hunt for her, ready to pounce, like a feral animal on his prey.

Arose held a polished dagger up to the sunlight, to inspect the blade’s oily sheen. A jewel-encrusted fleur-de-lis adorned the pommel, glinted in the late evening sun. The same symbol of French royal heraldry decorated her family’s coat of arms.

With a flick of her wrist, the perfectly balanced blade spun from her hand, flipped once, and pierced the sand between her feet. She retrieved the dagger and pursed her lips. Specks of sand flew from the swirling calligraphy of the monogram engraved on the shaft: NDM – Nessarose Du Mouchelle. The “N” made her shake her head. She preferred instead the name “Arose,” as her father called her, or even “Rosie” reserved for those who knew her well enough. Her youth had consisted of tussles with those who played on her name, giving her cruel nicknames like “Nessy” or “Pesty.” She’d grown to hate it.

She traced the monogram with the tip of her finger and clucked her tongue when she saw the smudges left behind. Her breath came out as a steamy puff on the cold steel. Arose wiped off the droplets with her sleeve and checked the razor-fine edge for nicks.

With a gentle whoosh, she slipped the blade back into its sheath built into her thigh-high leather boot. Swollen eyes from earlier tears prickled, tempting her fingers to rub them until their yearning was happily satisfied. She would be much happier staying in her room with a cool cloth rinsed in lavender water, but the entity invading her home made it impossible.

She had to search for the man who could help her save her family and the dragon who taught her everything. Never having met the man, seeing him only in a vision, she would know him by his aura and his scent, consisting of iron, cedar and citrus fruit and she knew his name: St. James, Captain St. James.

Disguised in her father’s old black breeches and oversized shirt, she played the role of a man as best she could. Her fingers raked her slicked back hair. A wayward curl escaped the tie that held her sun kissed locks; she straightened the hairs and tucked it behind her right ear. Linen wraps flattened her breasts, wrapped so tight; taking a full breath was a challenge. She tugged at them until she was more comfortable, and passed her hand over the cloth to see whether any bulge remained. The linen cut into her flesh; she could imagine the reddened imprints of the cloth on her skin. How relieved she would be when she could take a deep breath and rub her breasts until blood ran freely in them again.

She gazed out at the white capped sea. At the shoreline waves crashed into the golden beach. They tumbled into themselves with an unforgivable wrath, and withdrew, deserting white foam on the soggy sand. The ships anchored in Montego Bay’s harbor bobbed up and down while the ocean heaved.

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Nights Arose is available on Amazon now!

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Second Package Raises the Dead

Following the death of her great-grandparents, Daisy starts learning how to manage the family antique business. Her grandfather teaches her many tasks, including how to handle the special deliveries. Besides her grandparents, only Daisy knows about the secret artifacts passing through the warehouse. When one arrives, she’s eager to process it to show she’s the right gal for the job. After she examines the special package, she sends it on, per the instructions. Running Warren Antiques doesn’t seem difficult. But when an unexpected visitor shows up at her front door, she realizes the danger involved in the family trade and fears she won’t be able to keep the secret hidden much longer.

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Second Package Raises the Dead is volume 2 in the Warren Antiques series. You can grab a copy on Amazon now!

Also in the series: First Package Causes Grief.

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Taken: Book One in The Rune Witch Mysteries

There’s always a price to pay with magic. The question is, who pays?

I’m Summer Daniels. Friend. Foe. Witch.

It was never going to be a simple day: visiting my childhood home and finding the murderer of a house fairy. Whose master happens to be a heartless goblin… Yet, as it turns out, the goblin is the least of my problems.

A lover endangered. A friend betrayed. A memory taken.

The cards are stacked against me but hell hath no fury like an angry Witch.

I’m Summer Daniels and my life is about to change.

Check out the prologue:

Dammit!

An alarm sounded in my head. I froze, although every instinct screamed at me to run. I glanced around.

No one.

The desolate streets rested in the silence of the night. Clouds seeped around the moon like black ink swirling in water. No-one was around, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. For a second, I felt a little foolish, walking alone through the dark streets at four in the morning. Everyone knows, the worst crimes in a city happen at night, and Cardiff was no exception.

The wind cut through my clothes, sent a shiver down my spine, and whipped my hair around my head. The gwyllgi’s baleful breath carried from the east. I called the magic in my Coll tattoo, sending forth its seeking power to be sure the creature followed and not some human up to mischief. The faint pulse of the supernatural greeted me, malevolent and dangerous.

For hours, I’d walked the streets. My feet hurt, my legs were tired, and, despite the magical wards giving me energy, I was long overdue for a sleep. Not quite the way I planned to welcome my twenty-fifth birthday.

I stepped from the pavement and crossed the road, struggling to keep my speed down. Legend told that the gwyllgi followed lone travellers at night, stalking them; slowly, silently. I didn’t want to run and give him cause to attack. Although, it was only a matter of time before he would.

I paced along the main road. My footsteps echoing in the empty space. A dog barked. The light from a nearby house flickered on. I cursed.

For a time, I carried on through the shadowed streets, measured and paced, despite the cold fingers of dread that inched along my spine. The gwyllgi’s stealthy approach continued at the edge of my senses. I turned off the main road and into Roath Pleasure Gardens.

Despite their name, the gardens were a dark place, and tonight, dark things moved within them. My pupils gathered in the light that seeped between the trees. I strained to see in the darkness. The wind hissed through the leaves, and sent those already turned autumnal orange to the ground.

A thump to the left.

The rustle of leaves.

A bloodcurdling howl pierced the air, too close for comfort.

My heart thundered in my chest.

The howl of the gwyllgi is said to paralyse people with fear, and I admit, my heart nearly exploded at the sound. But paralysed? Not me. Not now.

I gathered the magic of the birch trees, allowed it to refresh my mind and bless my adventure. The strength and power of the oaks soaked into my soul. I smiled. The Dog of Darkness might have thought he was hunting me, but in truth, it was the other way around.

A low growl built behind me. At last! I turned to face the beast. Blazing eyes shone through the darkness; so fiery and red in their intensity, they looked as though they could set the trees ablaze.

The monstrous creature emerged. At first, beyond the eyes, I saw little more than a silhouette. Then, as he grew nearer, his true form became clear: a large shaggy dog, with the bulk of a mastiff and the fierceness of a wolf. He padded towards me on his long limbs. Slather seeped from his powerful jaws, and dripped from his dagger like teeth.

“Nice doggy,” I said, as I edged backwards. The gwyllgi stopped. His ears cocked up, intent and listening.

“You’re a long way from home. Wouldn’t you like to go back? Feel the grass beneath your paws?”

The creature lifted its head and howled. The sound ripped through me, as his menace rose higher and higher.

He charged.

I breathed out, cleared my mind, and called the full force of my magic. The runic tattoos on my arms flared to life. Power flooded into me, and filled me with energy.

I thrust both hands forwards, and blasted the gwyllgi with the controlling power of the Blackthorn tree. He flew backwards, landing on his haunches, and then rose to his paws and snarled. I blasted him again, but this time, he pounced sideways, avoiding the blow. I tried again, volley after volley of power, but each time he was too fast and agile for me to strike him.

After a few moments, I stopped and stared at the beast. He stared at me, curious. He tilted his head to the side, as though assessing me for the first time. I wasn’t like the other humans he’d met, running and screaming in terror. I didn’t look like much, but his nose twitched. No doubt, he tasted my magic in the air.

The Dog of Darkness, the Black Hound of Destiny, the gwyllgi, whatever name you wished to call him by, at heart, he was a predator, and the one thing I know about predators, if you run, they chase.

I looked down and smiled at my foresight to wear running shoes, even though I hated the way they felt on my feet. After one last glance at the gwyllgi, I spun on my heels and ran.

The creature gave chase. I zigzagged between the trees. On instinct, I dodged to the left, and rolled out the way as the gwyllgi leapt through the air, narrowly missing my head. It landed with a skid. Its great paws tore up the grass and created deep furrows in the soft mud.

For a second, cold fear gripped my heart, and my head throbbed with worry, but there was no use thinking like that. Sure, I was in the city, away from the forest and cut off from the deepest well of my power, but in the park, I was surrounded by trees, and as long as I had their magic to call on, the gwglli wouldn’t best me.

I ran to the tennis courts as fast as I could. The creature followed only a pace or two behind.

“Now,” I yelled, as soon as I set foot past the centre mark.

Thomas emerged from his hiding place in the small hut next to the courts.

The gwyllgi turned towards him as he slammed the gate shut. With a new potential target to attack, he ground to a halt. The creature’s red eyes flashed from me to Thomas, and despite the fence between the two of them, the gwyllgi must have considered Thomas an easier target than me. He leapt forwards, snarling, but instead of passing through the chain link fence, as he’d expected to, he was hit by a pulse of energy and flung to the centre of the courts.

“Warded,” I said, although the creature may not have understood the words. “There’s no point making a trap that you can escape.”

The gwyllgi circled the court, before turning his attention back to me. A wolfish smile split his face and exposed his teeth. Then, a gurgling growl built in its chest, and I became sure he was laughing.

“You got this?” Thomas asked, a note of concern in his voice.

“I’d better have.”

I lifted my hands and created a massive ball of energy between them. I filled it will the power of Beithe, Luis, Nion, and Straif, and focused the spell in my mind. When it was as big as the beast, I released its power. An indigo brilliance illuminated the court and encompassed the gwyllgi. The hound growled and strained against the spell, but he was trapped and powerless. Within the ball of light his presence faded, before disappearing completely. As the last vestige of him winked out, and his grumbles no longer sounded in the air, Thomas opened the gate and ran to my side.

“You okay?” he asked, taking me in his arms.

I smiled and rested my head on his chest. “I am now.”

“Let’s go home. I’ll make you a big birthday breakfast, and we can get some rest.”

I sighed. “Sounds great.”

*

I staggered out of the shower and into the bedroom.

“Breakfast’s ready,” Thomas called from downstairs, “I hope you’re hungry.”

“Starving,” I called back.

I quickly towel dried my hair, and was throwing on some comfy clothes when someone knocked. Thomas answered the front door, and muttered a few words, before closing it again.

“Who was that,” I asked when I entered the kitchen a few moments later.

“That was a package for you.” Thomas handed me a big box. “It looks like it’s from the states. Must be a birthday present from your mum.”

“I doubt that,” I said, remembering the cheques I’d received for every other birthday.

Thomas shrugged and placed a big plate of fry-up in front of me. My mouth watered and my tummy rumbled, at the delicious smell of sausages, but my curiosity got the better of me and I opened the parcel.

Inside was a folder of papers. I ignored the card on top, addressed to me in Mam’s handwriting, and instead opened the folder.

I squeezed my eyes shut, unable to believe what I saw in front of me. Tears came unbidden to my eyes. I couldn’t breathe.

“Summer.” Thomas rushed to my side. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

A sudden dizziness swam in my head. “It’s the cottage,” I said. “Nana’s cottage.”

Thomas took the papers from my shaky hand. “I thought you said it was—”

“Sold. That’s what I thought.”

Thomas smiled and clasped my hands in his. “This is good news, right? The cottage is yours. You can go home now.”

Home. I could go home. A place I only dreamed I could visit again. So, why was every fibre of my being terrified at the thought?

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If you like Buffy the Vampire  Slayer or Charmed, Summer Daniels may be the witch for you! Grab this new series featuring a modern take on witchcraft and Welsh mythology on AMAZON now.

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