Shadow of the Witch
For decades, the people of the small southern town of Jefferson have unknowingly lived on the precipice of hell. Their salvation relied on the protective spells of the soul tracker Melinda Devaroe Bronson.
When Melinda Devaroe Bronson is found dead among her purple asters, their fate falls into the hands of her granddaughter Celeste. But Celeste swore she’d never set foot in Jefferson again. Or use her magic after what happened. Or speak to the man it happened with.
But fate has made the choice for her.
Detective Kennon Jeffries favors the rule of law, and the alpha werewolf certainly doesn’t condone Celeste’s recent choices. But if Melinda really was cursed, he’ll be damned if he’s going to let the monster get away with it.
Even if it means confronting Celeste after all these years.
Celeste knows an assassin’s’ bullet when she sees one, and her grandmother’s death and her own conviction are riddled with them.
But to help Kennon uncover the curse wielder, she’ll have to take on her grandmother’s mantel and the magic she fears more than the evil hiding in the shadows of her hometown.
Read an excerpt
“Are you going to read the cards?”
I tapped the deck with my index and middle fingers. “She said she couldn’t see everything when it came to me.” I wanted answers to my questions and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t care how I got them.
“Hmm.” Nina walked into the storage room.
“Hmmm what? What does that mean?” I called after her. “Nina?”
The back door chimed.
I turned back to the cards, took a few deep breaths to clear my head. I focused on my heart, on my breath, on the cool, smooth feel of the cards in my hands trying to calm myself. I reassured myself that reading Tarot wasn’t technically witchcraft. Well, you didn’t need any magic to use them. At least that’s what I told myself.
I laid out seven cards in a row and stared down at the resulting spread in shock. Dear God, what I had just drawn?
Death. Okay, well, that could be change, transformation but something in the core of my being knew damn well it wasn’t on some esoteric level. Something real, inevitable and inescapable was on its way.
Seven of Swords. A man sneaking away with five swords in his hands. He carried them by the blade, not the hilts. Stealing that would have a price. We never get away with the things we think we do.
The Five of Cups. A man in a black cloak brooded over spilled goblets. Two stood behind him. Regret, resentment, dark feelings that blind us from what we really need to pay attention to.
Three of Swords. Three swords piercing a heart in a thunderstorm. Heart break and sorrow. The questions always remains: is it of our own making?
Oh, it just kept getting better and better.
The Ten of swords—a man lying on the bank of a river at sunset or sunrise depending on your point of view, with ten swords sticking out of his back. Painful, final endings.
The betrayal and deceit of the Seven of Swords made the message very clear.
I touched a shaking finger to the Tower. Sudden and complete destruction.
And finally, the Devil. I touched the two horns on his head with two fingers.
I abruptly stood and walked toward the front of the shop, not seeing, not hearing anything.
What had Nana said in her letter? Someone had loosed a curse on the town. Good God, I hadn’t had such a negative reading in my life! I tripped over something and glanced down. A black power cord stretched across the wooden floor.
The Devil spoke of obsession. Possessiveness. Addiction.
My stomach tightened in degrees until I thought I was going to be sick. My vision tunneled down to a dark, square hole. Something shifted, as if the room itself had tilted. Cold, damp air caressed my cheeks as I peered down into the pitch black, only there was a gleam of something metal catching the light. The floor tilted another degree under my feet.
“Celeste?” Nina called from the back of the shop.
A red demon with cloven hooves and a two twisted black horns roared as it threw itself up the dark shaft, it’s clawed hands reaching for me. I screamed and the sound of my own voice snapped me out of the vision. I stumbled to my feet. My heart thudded painfully against my ribs. Blood rushed in my ears.
A vision. I’d had a vision.
That was all it was.
I staggered toward the front of the shop, blinked at the last rays of sunset drifting in the plate glass window, the one with Southern Charms etched in big, beautiful, swirled Serif font. Quil opened the front door from the outside and stepped in, the shopkeeper’s bell jingled merrily.
I blinked at the tall, handsome man in his white thermal shirt and blue jeans, his long black hair still tied partially back from his face.
Cold shot through my limbs.
My hands went clammy.
Sweat trickled down my back.
Something wicked this way comes.
Quil gave me a quizzical look, and then in slow motion the front window exploded in a million shards of glass. I screamed, throwing up my arms to cover my face just as something slammed into my shoulder. I went down in a pile of glass and searing pain. A sick, slick of bad magic slid over my skin.
“Celeste! Quil!” I heard Nina yelling, but it sounded far off and far away. I struggled to sit upright through a haze of pain and a black cloud of dark magic.