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Flashback: Shattered Souls (Contest)
Saturday, January 10th, 2015

UPDATE: The winner, chosen by a random number generator, is…ilona!

* * * * *

I’ve written a lot of books and every one of them is special to me, but there are a few that are my favorite babies. Shattered Souls is one of those. From the moment I dreamed the pivotal scene in the first act, I was driven to write this story. I knew Cait inside and out from day one. I didn’t know exactly what she was capable of, but she led me through her story, bitching all the way. The words came fast, just as though they were being fed through a funnel. Like they weren’t coming from me at all. The sequel was almost as fun to write, although there was one particular scene that just about killed me. Those of you who read Lost Souls will know which one I mean… Enjoy the excerpt.

If you post a comment today, you’ll be entered
to win a free audiobook of the story below!

Shattered Souls

ShatteredSouls_FrontCvr_600

“SHATTERED SOULS shocked me with its exhilarating story line and its magical world of Witches, Wraiths and Demons. Ms. Devlin wrote an intriguing urban fantasy with just the right balance of romance, nail-biting scenes and well-developed characters. She really got me hooked from the beginning until the end.”  5 Feathers and Top Pick, Under The Covers

“An intriguing paranormal tale that combines romantic suspense with a mesmerizing tale of otherworldly beings.”  Top Pick, Night Owl Reviews

“Delilah Devlin has created a fascinating world of magic and the mundane in SHATTERED SOULS… A terrific book, SHATTERED SOULS will leave you breathless for more.”  4.5 Blue Ribbons, Romance Junkies

When her mentor is brutally murdered by a supernatural force, an alcoholic former cop turns to her past lovers—her ex-partner and a powerful sorcerer—to help her hunt down a demon terrorizing Memphis.

Caitlyn O’Connell had it all: a career with the Memphis PD, a passionate marriage, and the satisfaction that her work made a difference in the world. But she also had a secret, a supernatural “gift” that cost her everything. Now she scrapes by as a private investigator, taking cases the cops won’t touch and counting down the minutes until happy hour. But when Sam Pierce, her former partner and estranged ex-husband, comes to her for help with a bizarre murder case, Cait can’t say no. And not just because Sam is still as irresistibly sexy as he was on the day they met. Something sinister—and demonic—is terrorizing Memphis, leaving a bloody trail of bodies and clues only Cait can read. Together she and Sam will venture into a dark world of magic and unholy terror, hunting a killer who will lead them to the brink of reality as they know it—and back into the thrall of their stormy past. Steamy and suspenseful, Shattered Souls is the pulse-quickening new offering from romance author Delilah Devlin.

“You don’t remember calling him here last night, do you?” Sam said evenly.

Cait closed her eyes. Bad move. The floor shifted beneath her feet. “No.” She didn’t remember making the call, didn’t remember if she’d come. She didn’t remember a damn thing past her fourth Scotch at O’Malley’s. Par for the course. And why she didn’t work past midnight these days.

The ever-present whispers softened, almost extinguished, and she swallowed, really needing that shot of Scotch now. She opened her eyes and met Sam’s flinty gaze.

Disappointment shone in his face. Anger she could have shrugged off, but this was the same look he’d worn through the last days of their marriage. It still cut her to the bone.

“This was Henry’s room?” She lifted her chin because she didn’t want him guessing that shame heated her cheeks.

“He registered yesterday. And we found his wallet on the nightstand.”

“What was he doing here?” Her head pounded, and she fought to pull together her thoughts. “The last time we talked he was in Florida, enjoying his retirement.”

“I hoped you’d be able to answer that.” He drew in a deep breath and ruffled the top of his head with a hand—a clear indication of his frustration. “Have a look around the room. Tell me what you see.”

“Your team’s been all over it. What can I add?”

“Humor me.”

She shrugged casually while a bad, bad feeling crept along her spine. When his expression settled into stubborn lines, she knew he’d just wait her out. So she stood in the center of the floor and visually scanned the room, looking for clues about what had gone down while she fought emotions she didn’t want to acknowledge. Read the rest of this entry »

Snippet Saturday: Big City
Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Update! Saturday’s winner is Jen B!

* * * * *

Today’s theme is life in a big city. Memphis is the closest big city to me. I can’t count Little Rock, because it’s more of a sprawling big town than city, at least to me. You get a glimpse of Memphis, the seedier side, in the first chapter of Lost Souls. I posted a couple of the first reviews right at the top. If you’ve been wavering, wondering if the story was for you, see what other folks are saying. It’s a good, emotional, exciting read, even if I do say so myself! :mrgreen:

If you post a comment today, you’ll be entered to win
a $5 Amazon gift certificate!

Lost Souls

“A sexy, fast-paced story of love, redemption, and one scary-as-hell demon. Lost Souls dares you to put it down (you’ll lose) as it nimbly walks the line between heart-pounding romance and paranormal thriller. Cait has fast become one of my favorite heroines as she learns to use her powers, fights her all-too-human weaknesses, and learns the gut-wrenching truth that sometimes, to save someone you love, the cost doesn’t matter.” —Susannah Sandlin, author of the Penton Vampire Legacy trilogy

“Ms. Devlin yet again, delivered a good balance of romance, nail-biting scenes and an exhilarating story line. But what had me captivated was the emotional aspects of this novel…Shattered Souls was exhilarating in its storyline, Lost Souls’ strength was in its gut-wrenching and heart piercing events…Nothing but praises for this book, simply a job well done.”Under The Covers, 5 Feathers/Top Pick

Fan favorite Delilah Devlin delivers her second paranormal romantic thriller featuring unforgettable heroine, Caitlyn O’Connell. This time, the psychic PI joins her police detective ex-husband to find a demon pulling women into the past to commit their murders in a seedy Memphis hotel.

Private Investigator Caitlyn O’Connell is tapped by Memphis PD to discover who has been using a Memphis hotel as his killing ground. Women are going missing, and their bodies are found inside the walls of the hotel. But the bodies themselves? They appear to have been murdered in the distant past. With ghosthunters and cops crawling all over the crime scene, Cait and her detective ex-husband Sam Pierce race to find the demon responsible before he kills again.

Darkness sank as murky as the sultry summer air, as heavy as a blanket pulled over a child’s head to hide the monsters lurking in a shadowy closet. Street lamps popped and sizzled, darkening then lightening, but failing to flare bright enough or long enough to chase away deep pockets of inky black. Cait was creeped out, since all she had were glimpses of silvery light from a full moon rimming buildings and casting deeper shadows to cloak alleyways and doorway stoops.

Another full moon. An event she was acutely aware encouraged monsters, both human and supernatural, to come out and play. Edgy and beyond bored, she almost wished for something out of the ordinary to happen, but then quickly changed her mind. The last time her job had given her a real challenge she’d battled a demon in an attic while a wraith latched its freezing fingertips around the man sitting beside her, slapping him around like a rag doll.

For just a second, she relished that last memory. At least Jason had been awake.

For the umpteen thousandth time that night, Caitlyn O’Connell sighed. This time exaggerating the sound. Loudly. Actually, more of a groan than a sigh. A sound that invited Jason Crawford, lying back in the seat beside hers, to wake up and keep her company. She was bored as freaking shit. Surveillance was the one part of her job she truly hated. In fact, she thought she might like having her ingrown toenails cut better than sitting in a dark alley waiting for something to happen.

The weather irritated her even more. Although she’d stripped down to a tank top and jeans, the insides of her boots were damp from the oppressive summer heat. Not a trace of a breeze stirred, and they’d shut off the sedan’s engine to be able to hear vehicles approaching, so the AC sat silent.

What good was having magic if she couldn’t even muster up a spell to start a breeze? She’d tried waving, punching, wiggling her nose, but nada. Worse, she’d tried to come up with a poem to appease The Powers That Be, but hadn’t found a line that sounded even remotely elegant with “wheeze” tacked on the end.

She supposed she’d used up her last favor asking for intervention with Worthen’s monstrosity, the Civil War–era demon resurrected in his tomb, for which she’d had to beg The Powers and a certain sorcerer for help defeating. Or perhaps they didn’t like how she’d ignored Morin since she’d fought the demon and won. Whatever. She was a PI, not a witch. And right now, she had a job to do.

So why couldn’t she and Jason be watching the Peabody Hotel? Or any of the nicer hotels in the downtown area? The Deluxe Hotel was anything but deluxe. The marquee above the entrance was missing a few letters and read, DELUXE HO, which on second thought appeared apropos for the sleazy dive.

The whole area had an aura of neglect. Trash overfilled bins and cluttered the gutters. Worse, a small tattered sign was taped to the hotel’s glass door: AA MEETING, 9 PM SATURDAY.

Mocking her. The very thing her ex-husband, and now sometimes boyfriend, had been nagging her to locate. Read the rest of this entry »

The Magic in Lost Souls
Monday, June 24th, 2013

Lost SoulsThe winner of Saturday’s contest is Chris Bails! Chris, congrats! Email me about your prize! ~DD

* * * * *

So you know Lost Souls has plenty of action and sexy goin’s on, but you probably want to know a little about the magic.

About that… I study a bit. Not sayin’ how much because that’s between me and the moon and trees, but I know some things. What I don’t do very well is create wonderful spells. Cait has the same shortcoming (how convenient is that, right?). Her partner even notes how long it takes her to write a not very good piece of poetry to accompany a very important spell in the book.

But for spells that have a history, that maybe belonged to her mother or Morin, sometimes, I have to pull in the big guns. In book one, I had help from Virginia E with “Mama’s Spell” in the opening scene. In the scene you’re about to read, I fashioned the broom spell, but author Lacey Thorn helped me with cleansing/casting the circle. She’s really very good, and if I get much farther along in the series, I’m gonna tap her again (that somehow didn’t sound quite right but might be interesting too! :mrgreen: ).

Enjoy another glimpse into Lost Souls—which releases tomorrow, folks!

* * * * *

Cait opened her belt and unzipped her jeans. “Why does magic always require someone gettin’ naked?”

“Not always. Sometimes, da spirits like a little pomp. Den you wear a witch’s robes. But right now, gal, you have ta humble yourself.”

“I’m plenty humble.”

“You’re plenty mouthy. Strip! You da one wit’ da favor ta ask.”

Cait stripped off her tank top, toed off her boots, and shoved her pants down her legs.

Celeste gave her body a look, her gaze pointedly lingering on her bra and panties. “Ain’t got not’ing I ain’t seen before. Or dat Morin ain’t touched.”

With her cheeks burning, Cait removed her underwear, shivering a little in the air wafting from a small fan set atop the psychic’s counter.

“Stand in da circle.”

“Which way’s north?”

Celeste pointed, and Cait aligned her body to face that direction.

Celeste gathered short black candles from a shelf and placed one in each point of the pentagram. Then she placed the other items Cait would need in the north corner. She handed Cait a handmade broom made from the stiff silk of broomcorn and stepped back into a shadowy corner.

Remembering another time she’d prepared a magic circle with her mama while standing in their kitchen along with a child’s spell she’d written, Cait held the broom.

Sweep, sweep,” she whispered, brushing from the center of the circle.

“Sweep away the dark. Brush away the bad.
With whisk and wish, I command thee.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Sexy Side of Lost Souls
Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Lost SoulsJust two days to go until Lost Souls releases. You know it’s spooky. I proved that yesterday. Betcha wanna know I deliver on the sexy too, right?

Here’s a little snippet. Something to tide you over. Once upon a time, Cait and Sam were married. They know each other well. So you’re wondering, will there be any surprises left? Huh. You have no faith! It only gets better!

Enjoy this little glimpse inside Lost Souls. It releases Tuesday!

* * * * *

Inside, the foyer was empty and dark. A step deeper into the apartment, he noted the kitchen and tiny living room were empty. He eyed the bedroom but sensed he wouldn’t find her there either. These days, she couldn’t sneak up behind him because he’d developed a sixth sense. Or maybe he was just reverting to a more primal version of himself, and he could scent her without realizing he did.

Right now, her soft, feminine musk was absent. Another familiar smell missing from the apartment was the sour odor of booze. Something he didn’t take for granted, because Cait’s sobriety was still so fragile.

Pulling his iPhone from his pocket, he tapped the screen, found her number, and tapped again.

She picked up on the first ring. “Hey.”

“You still on stakeout?” he asked.

“Finished a little while ago,” she said, an edgy energy in her voice. “Just went by your apartment, but you weren’t there.”

His eyebrows shot up. Cait never came by his place. He thought maybe she didn’t want proof he’d managed to move on after their divorce. Which suited him fine. Last thing he wanted her to see was evidence he hadn’t. “How many times do I have to tell you it’s not a good idea to leave your key on the door frame?”

“Only one ever used it was you.”

He grunted. “So you always say.”

“If you’re so worried about it, why not put it on your key ring?”

Sam paused. Not the grumpy response he’d expected. And her voice held a breathless note, like the question meant more than she wanted to let on.

He decided to ignore her suggestion, because the act would be another step toward a commitment he wasn’t ready to make again. But he didn’t tell her that. He didn’t want to hurt her. “How far away are you?” Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Snippet: Warm Weather
Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

We have a winner! The random number generator chose #8…BookLady!
BookLady, congratulations! We need to hook up via email to talk
about delivery of your prize! ~DD

* * * * *

It’s Saturday! Which means authors are sharing snippets, enticing you to read their books! Be sure to read my excerpt and then follow the links at the bottom of this post to find sexier bits to read. The theme is Circles in the Sand (warm weather), but since I have a new book coming out on Tuesday, rather than a hot beach scene, I’m showing you the opening of Lost Souls, Book 2 in the Caitlyn O’Connell novels. It’s set in Memphis in the hot, sticky summertime. It doesn’t start with a sexy beach scene. Instead, it begins with a spooky mystery to unravel. Enjoy!

If you post a comment today, you’ll be entered to win
a $5 Amazon gift certificate!

Lost Souls

What people said about Book 1,  Shattered Souls:

“SHATTERED SOULS shocked me with its exhilarating story line and its magical world of Witches, Wraiths and Demons. Ms. Devlin wrote an intriguing urban fantasy with just the right balance of romance, nail-biting scenes and well-developed characters. She really got me hooked from the beginning until the end.” ~
5 Feathers and Top Pick, Under The Covers

“An intriguing paranormal tale that combines romantic suspense with a mesmerizing tale of otherworldly beings.” ~ Top Pick, Night Owl Reviews

“Delilah Devlin has created a fascinating world of magic and the mundane in SHATTERED SOULS… A terrific book, SHATTERED SOULS will leave you breathless for more.” ~ 4.5 Blue Ribbons, Romance Junkies

Fan favorite Delilah Devlin delivers her second paranormal romantic thriller featuring unforgettable heroine, Caitlyn O’Connell. This time, the psychic PI joins her police detective ex-husband to find a demon pulling women into the past to commit their murders in a seedy Memphis hotel.

Private Investigator Caitlyn O’Connell is tapped by Memphis PD to discover who has been using a Memphis hotel as his killing ground. Women are going missing, and their bodies are found inside the walls of the hotel. But the bodies themselves? They appear to have been murdered in the distant past. With ghosthunters and cops crawling all over the crime scene, Cait and her detective ex-husband Sam Pierce race to find the demon responsible before he kills again.

Darkness sank as murky as the sultry summer air, as heavy as a blanket pulled over a child’s head to hide the monsters lurking in a shadowy closet. Street lamps popped and sizzled, darkening then lightening, but failing to flare bright enough or long enough to chase away deep pockets of inky black. Cait was creeped out, since all she had were glimpses of silvery light from a full moon rimming buildings and casting deeper shadows to cloak alleyways and doorway stoops.

Another full moon. An event she was acutely aware encouraged monsters, both human and supernatural, to come out and play. Edgy and beyond bored, she almost wished for something out of the ordinary to happen, but then quickly changed her mind. The last time her job had given her a real challenge she’d battled a demon in an attic while a wraith latched its freezing fingertips around the man sitting beside her, slapping him around like a rag doll.

For just a second, she relished that last memory. At least Jason had been awake.

For the umpteen thousandth time that night, Caitlyn O’Connell sighed. This time exaggerating the sound. Loudly. Actually, more of a groan than a sigh. A sound that invited Jason Crawford, lying back in the seat beside hers, to wake up and keep her company. She was bored as freaking shit. Surveillance was the one part of her job she truly hated. In fact, she thought she might like having her ingrown toenails cut better than sitting in a dark alley waiting for something to happen.

The weather irritated her even more. Although she’d stripped down to a tank top and jeans, the insides of her boots were damp from the oppressive summer heat. Not a trace of a breeze stirred, and they’d shut off the sedan’s engine to be able to hear vehicles approaching, so the AC sat silent.

What good was having magic if she couldn’t even muster up a spell to start a breeze? She’d tried waving, punching, wiggling her nose, but nada. Worse, she’d tried to come up with a poem to appease The Powers That Be, but hadn’t found a line that sounded even remotely elegant with “wheeze” tacked on the end.

She supposed she’d used up her last favor asking for intervention with Worthen’s monstrosity, the Civil War–era demon resurrected in his tomb, for which she’d had to beg The Powers and a certain sorcerer for help defeating. Or perhaps they didn’t like how she’d ignored Morin since she’d fought the demon and won. Whatever. She was a PI, not a witch. And right now, she had a job to do. Read the rest of this entry »

SHATTERED SOULS releases today!
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Caitlyn’s story starts today! I’m excited, nervous, giddy. I better hide in my office cave or I’ll scare people today!

I received a nice bit of news yesterday. Night Owl Reviews named Shattered Souls a Top Pick! “An intriguing paranormal tale that combines romantic suspense with a mesmerizing tale of otherworldly beings.” Squee!

Here’s hoping you enjoy entering Cait’s world…

ShatteredSouls_FrontCvr_600

When her mentor is brutally murdered by a supernatural force, an alcoholic former cop turns to her past lovers—her ex-partner and a powerful sorcerer—to help her hunt down a demon terrorizing Memphis.

Caitlyn O’Connell had it all: a career with the Memphis PD, a passionate marriage, and the satisfaction that her work made a difference in the world. But she also had a secret, a supernatural “gift” that cost her everything. Now she scrapes by as a private investigator, taking cases the cops won’t touch and counting down the minutes until happy hour. But when Sam Pierce, her former partner and estranged ex-husband, comes to her for help with a bizarre murder case, Cait can’t say no. And not just because Sam is still as irresistibly sexy as he was on the day they met. Something sinister—and demonic—is terrorizing Memphis, leaving a bloody trail of bodies and clues only Cait can read. Together she and Sam will venture into a dark world of magic and unholy terror, hunting a killer who will lead them to the brink of reality as they know it—and back into the thrall of their stormy past. Steamy and suspenseful, Shattered Souls is the pulse-quickening new offering from romance author Delilah Devlin.

Buy it in Print
Buy it in the Kindle Store
Buy the MP3 Version
Buy it at Audible.com

* * * * *

If you love this book, let another reader know it. And if you have time, click “like” on the Amazon page, and if you really want to help an author, leave a review! Thanks, all! DD

One Day to Shattered Souls — Ssssupernatural!
Monday, January 28th, 2013

Shattered SoulsMy webmistress did some updates on my site yesterday, and provided me a lovely surprise! The sequel to this book, entitled Lost Souls, is already up for pre-order on Amazon! And it’s set to release sooner than I’d expected—June 4, 2013! Read a description of the story when you click the link.

But back to Shattered Souls (which right now is priced at only $2.99!!)…

You want to know if I deliver on the spooky elements of the story. Judge for yourselves. Here’s just a tease.

Cait and Jason, her PI partner, are following a lead that takes them to a cemetery. Although Cait would like to turn her back on her heritage, and deny her inner witch, she finds herself pushed into a corner…

The Excerpt

Cait didn’t like graveyards. They were too damn noisy.

The staticky hum began even before she’d parked the car inside Edgemont Cemetery’s gates. Spirits clamored, eager to connect. But her creaky “Spidey sense” tingled, telling her the ghosts of the departed weren’t the only phantoms there. From the moment she’d stepped out of the car, she’d felt an eerie, heavy presence.

Maybe she was uneasy because the sky had darkened with heavy, gray clouds where moments ago there’d been wispy streaks of white sliding across a blue sky. She’d shrugged it off as coincidence, unwilling to give in to the urge to slide her hand into her pocket and clasp the familiar flannel bag she’d stuffed there before she’d left her apartment.

Maybe it was the section of the cemetery she approached. Here the graves were older and many studded with ostentatious statues—lambs adorning children’s graves, their features blurred by erosion, and angels grown grubby with soot and dirt—hovering over sad little plots where rain and time had sunk the mounds. Water from the previous night’s storm settled in the hollows.

The prickle of goose bumps lifted the fine hairs on her arms and the back of her neck. Electricity crackled in the air.

And the whispers, usually so many that their individual messages were lost in the noise, coalesced into a single thrumming chant.

Beware, beware, beware…

Cait grew rigid, a heavy knot of dread settling in her belly. If she’d been alone, she might have heeded the warning.

“Hey, I found them,” Jason called from a small, manicured square enclosed inside a wrought iron fence. “Constance, Hope, Charity, all sisters. Here’s mom,” he said, pausing in front of the grave marked with a modest headstone. “Margaret Worthen. Damn, they all died on the same day.” He turned to aim a questioning glance her way.

Like she should know why they were here looking at the headstones of a family who’d died a century and a half ago? The list they’d found in the girl’s apartment had led them on this wild goose chase.

Despite the ominous signs, she shrugged, pretending indifference. So far, she’d managed to keep Jason in the dark about the details of the woo-woo side of their investigation. How the hell would she ever make it sound anything but crazy? “Maybe our missing girl was researching someone’s family tree?”

Jason grunted and knelt in front of the father’s more elaborate headstone. “Jonas Worthen. Same day. October 14, 1864. They had a family crest—a shield with a lion’s head and tree branches surrounding it. Guess it impressed someone if they put it on his headstone.”

A tendril of ice-cold air teased along her cheek, and she recognized the chill for what it was. Then something moved at the corner of her eye.

Expecting the caretaker who’d led them to the family plot and hovered nearby in case they needed further help, she turned, only to find a tall marble statue beside her—Blessed Mary dressed in robes, a finger lifted to her lips, which might have looked a little less sinister if her face weren’t blackened with grime.

Cait grimaced, thinking she’d let her imagination get away from her because the place creeped her out, but she couldn’t drag her gaze away. Some inner instinct held her immobile.

Jason leaned toward Jonas Worthen’s headstone. “There’s an inscription.”

 

“Ever near us though unseen,

Thy dear immortal spirit treads…”

 

The statue shifted. Almost imperceptibly. Her head lowering toward Cait.

Chest tight, Cait jumped back. “Jason, stop!” she tried to shout, but her throat constricted.

 

“For all the boundless universe

Is life—there is no death.”

 

The chill wind stiffened, grasping like invisible fingers at her hair and clothes. “Jason,” she repeated faintly. How would she explain this?

Frozen, she reached into her pocket and crushed the red flannel bag in her fingers, grateful as never before for her mother’s intervention.

Jason straightened and stepped backward, but his foot fell into a deep puddle at the edge of the mother’s grave. Cursing, he tugged his boot, but the suctioning mud held it.

The statue behind him was an angel whose even features slid into a narrow-eyed glare and whose lips pulled away from its teeth in a feral snarl. It reached out.

Inside her head came voices shouting, Run…run…run…

Advice she didn’t need. Her skin prickled into gooseflesh. Her heart skittered. “Hey!” Cait lurched forward and grabbed Jason’s arm. His foot slipped from the boot. He turned to retrieve it, but she shoved him forward. “Forget it—move!”

The caretaker stood at the bottom of the hill, his dark face tightening, eyes widening as he stared at the statue Jason had yet to see.

“Cait—my boot. What the hell’s gotten into you?”

The temperature was dropping fast. Didn’t he feel it? “No time. Run!”

She grabbed his hand and pulled him down the rise, falling in beside the caretaker, who didn’t need convincing.

“Holy Mary, mother of God…” he whispered under his breath.

“Consecrated ground,” she blurted, racing along, pulling still on Jason’s sleeve.

“It’s all consecrated ground. It’s a damn cemetery,” Jason muttered. Then his jaw dropped. “What the fuck?”

An angel with its serene face tilted toward the sky opened its eyes and peered down at them, the sockets hollow and black.

Another waft of cold air buffeted Cait’s back. “A crypt!” she bit out. “We need something covered.”

“Follow me,” the caretaker said, his burly body surprisingly nimble as he cut across a row of graves and headed to the east side of the graveyard.

The cold tendrils grew stronger, clawing at their backs. The trio’s labored breaths puffed in frozen clouds.

“Here,” whispered the caretaker, stopping at a stucco-and-concrete crypt and pulling out a ring of keys. His fingers shook as he flipped through them, found the one he needed, and unlocked the door.

The three of them lunged inside and slammed the door behind them.

Cait set her back to the door, digging in her heels. The door shuddered against her.

“What’s goin’ on, Cait?” Jason asked, his voice tightening, his gaze jumping from her to the worker.

The caretaker’s dark face was ashen. “Some bad mojo goin’ on here.”

“Did I mention that Henry’s killer isn’t human?” she said, her breaths ragged.

“No, you didn’t,” Jason replied with a nasty snarl. “What is it with you? Can’t you trust anyone?”

“I’m sorry, Jason. I never expected a freaking wraith to follow us here.” The door continued to rattle, and Cait began to worry about the stained glass panels at the far side of the crypt. Although she’d given up on God a long time ago, she made the sign of the cross over her chest.

“Why are you doing that?” Jason said, his expression growing pinched. “This is hallowed ground, right? Aren’t we’re safe?”

Cait grimaced while saying a silent prayer that was true. “Reflex. The bastards scare the bejesus out of me.”

Jason gave her a grim smile. “Paddy O’Connell’s daughter to the end.”

The caretaker lifted a shaky hand like a child requesting permission to speak.

“What?” Cait bit out as the door rattled harder.

“’Pears we’re safe in here, but how the heck to do we git out? We gonna die here?”

She wouldn’t admit to the two men who were looking to her for all the answers that she hadn’t strategized beyond finding shelter.

Cait slid down the door, letting the wind ravage outside unchecked. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the ratty, red flannel bag. For a long moment, she stared. Then, drawing her courage around her like a cloak, she crushed it in her fist.

It was just fabric, filled with desiccated flowers soaked in dragon tree oil. Not a precious gift her mother had given her. She had to try something.

Setting her face in harsh lines, she aimed a glare their way. “Either one of you have a lighter?”



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