I’m so ridiculously excited to share an excerpt of my newest upcoming release, Shadow of the Witch. This book has been TWO years in the making.
Part of that was my struggle early on about how to tell this story. Did it need to be a series? Or was it a one-book wonder? Turns out, it’s a trilogy. The Soul Tracker Trilogy. Book 1 releases December 26, 2020.
And in the meantime, here’s something to wet your appetite:
I crossed my legs, eyeing my probation officer across his pristine, white modular desk. The new carpet fumes and fresh blue-grey paint on the walls were out of place in the turn-of-the-century police department. You’d never know we were inside the same building I’d grown up running down the hardwood floors late at night, my footsteps echoing, Nana and Cole Yowell’s muffled voices drifting from his office.
Detective Cole Yowell retired years ago, long before brand-spanking-new Officer Jeremy Tobias hired on. My left eyelid twitched. Hard to believe he was the same trouble-making pup I’d babysat ten years ago. My pink pencil skirt inched up my thigh. I tugged it back down, adjusting my nude stockings. Jeremy laid yet another paper on top of the growing stack of invasive, humiliating forms I was required to fill out.
Leaning forward, I scanned the document. “Really, Jeremy? ‘Frequent Visitors’? You know I don’t have a friend left in this town, right?”
His deep-set eyes peered at me through wire-framed glasses without a speck of discomfort. Too much solemn for my liking or our history.
“Well, whose fault is that?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
I tried to swallow past the tightness in my throat. Crossing my arms over my cleavage, I lifted my chin, studied the poster framed above his head. “18 Things Mentally Strong People Do. Number 1: They move on. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves”.
I allowed the uncomfortable silence to stretch out. Did I need to say anything? No. And I wasn’t about to.
Jeremy cleared his throat, shifted back in his chair. “Sorry, Cellie. That was uncalled for.”
Maybe. Maybe not. I stared past him, pretending I was irritated when really, I was waiting for my throat to ease up enough to talk.
He tapped his pencil on his desk, his gaze flicking away, then back. “So. You know. The American Witches Association commuted your sentence from degaussing to probation with community service. After Melinda . . . ah, your grandmother . . .um, our department had a request in for a witchcraft consultant—”
Someone knocked on his office door. It swung open before Jeremy could respond, and a loose end from my past strode in. His all-black police uniform with gold embellishments only added to the commanding, alpha male aura he gave off. To my shock and dismay, a familiar heat filled my chest, crept up my throat, and burned my cheeks.
“Kennon.” Jeremy stood, offering his hand. “You’re early.”
Kennon shook it briskly, but with a firm grasp. “Something’s just come up. A case. A very unnerving one I need Celeste’s help with. ASAP.”
Determined not to show the confusing concoction of attraction and mortification, I plastered the brightest, sweetest smile on my face and rose from my chair.
“Kennon Thomas Jeffries, as I live and breathe.” Where the hell did that come from? I’d seriously thought I’d wrung out every last ounce of southern from my being.
The media didn’t take southern accents seriously, my former boss had advised. And they weren’t very kind about one, either, as I’d recently learned.
“Celeste.” Kennon tilted his black cowboy hat at me before lowering it into both hands.
His handsome, broad-jawed face remained frustratingly unreadable. “I’m very sorry about Melinda and my delayed condolences. I was at the funeral last February but had to slip out for police business before the service ended.”
I remembered. I tossed my unruly strawberry blonde hair over a shoulder. “Thank you, but there’s no need to apologize. I was so distracted by the circumstances I didn’t really notice. I appreciated the asters.” I fidgeted with my garnet ring.
A flicker of emotion passed through his eyes and just as quickly disappeared. His gaze dropped to his hat in his hands.
“I know the Matsumoto ones were her favorite.”
I was taken aback by the touch of melancholy in Kennon’s voice. It hadn’t occurred to me Kennon would have been so affected by her passing.
When I didn’t respond, he added, “Melinda was always good to me. And to the department.”
The air was so thick with tension, you could have buttered it on bread. I said loose end, but Kennon was far more than that. And the way we’d left things. Well, let’s just say it was brutal.