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Archive for 'Montlake Romance'



CRESCENT MOON, in Print Today! (Contest)
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

ankhPost a comment and you’ll be entered to win a pair of pretty handmade (by me!) ankh earrings I’ll gift to one person tomorrow! If you posted a comment on every day of my release countdown blogs, you’ll have several chances to win them!

If you’ve pre-ordered your print copy of Crescent Moon, it will ship today! I hope you enjoy it! I’m sharing a sexy scene from the book with you. There’s so much packed into this story, I wish I could snippet every little thing. There’s magic and monsters, gods and possessions, cop drama and sexiness… The kind of story I love to read. That’s exactly what I wrote. Oh, and there are mummies! :mrgreen:

CrescentMoon_600

From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction…

Justin Henry Boucher stayed in the shower so long Khepri knew he was avoiding her. The thought was disappointing. With so little experience deciphering sensual clues, she’d obviously read him wrong. He considered her a responsibility. Someone to keep safe. Perhaps someone he wanted to keep close because he didn’t trust her. That was all.

So when the water ceased trickling behind the closed bathroom door, she turned on her side, giving him her back to make the situation easier, and to keep her disappointment hidden should he glimpse her before extinguishing the light. She held her breath as he entered the room.

Not looking fed her imagination and made her heart race. Would he be naked? Or would he be wearing sleeping clothes, like the pajamas Denise had given her? Although sleeveless and short and made of an airy, stretchy cotton, the garment was still restrictive. She preferred sleeping in the nude. Something she didn’t think her grumpy protector would approve.

The bathroom light went out. Footsteps padded nearer…and then paused beside the bed.

She breathed deeply, letting the sound fill the silence and hoped he was fooled. Would he choose the bed as he had reluctantly promised? Or would he leave her for the uncomfortable couch too short to accommodate his tall frame?

The bed dipped and she smiled, relief making her feel lighter. Even if he was here under duress, she needed him close by. Someone solid and real, warm and breathing. Someone who tethered her to this place and this time. As he settled, shifting this way and that, she almost resented the wide, soft mattress because they could both sleep comfortably and never touch, which was his apparent goal since he never scooted nearer.

Truth be told, she should be grateful he didn’t want to press his attentions. Her willpower was at low ebb. However, she craved contact—just the warmth of his chest beneath her cheek would do. That would be enough to make her feel safe, enough to let her relax and rest, if not sleep. No, she wasn’t ready to close her eyes. Her heartbeat trembled and raced again at the thought of the last time she’d lost herself to darkness.

After a drawn-out moment, she turned, carefully rolling to her back and then her other side, her gaze finding the outline of his large torso in the darkness.

“Go to sleep,” he growled.

At his testiness, a smile tugged at her mouth. The texture of his voice was rasping, almost physical in the way it caused goose bumps to rise on her arms. “I can’t.” She bit her bottom lip, then gave into the impulse. She edged closer. Read the rest of this entry »

CRESCENT MOON (in print!) in one day… (Contest & Winners!)
Monday, December 9th, 2013

I finished unpacking from my trip. Laundry’s done–that’s the worst, right? All the work you have to do after a trip. I shouldn’t complain. I had a vacation. :)

I promised prizes from last week’s Texas Surrender countdown, and I have winners to announce! All the winners may choose one download from among my Triple Horn Brand stories. And here are the names:

Michelle Willms (Nov. 30)
Enikö (Dec. 1)
Sarah DeShields-Bass (Dec. 2)
Jamie L (Dec. 3)

So back to Crescent Moon…The book releases in print on Tuesday. Yesterday, you briefly met Khepri, The God’s Wife. The opening chapters describe her frightening journey that lands her wrapped as a mummy in Ancient Egypt. In today’s excerpt, you will see the scene where Juste and Khepri first meet. I promise, I’ll get to the sexy tomorrow.

In the meantime, you get a taste of Juste’s bad attitude, but hints of his true, heroic nature shining through. Juste has suffered a demotion, lost a close personal friend, and he’s just going through the motions with a new partner he doesn’t trust or like. And he’s no longer working homicide and resents the hell out of the museum robbery investigation. He’s hunting missing mummies? He really could give a rat’s ass less, until something happens that piques his interest. Enjoy! 

Post a comment and you’ll be entered to win a pair of pretty ankh earrings I’ll gift to one person after Tuesday’s release. If you post a comment on every day, including Tuesday, you’ll have several chances to win them!

CrescentMoon_600

From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction.

Khepri still isn’t used to being The God’s Wife. The daughter of a common farmer, she’s more comfortable being friends with servants than employing a whole team of them. Being the wife of Amun affords her luxuries she only dreamed of, but her dreams are not always a haven…they are also filled with demons. Lately she’s had doubts about the role she’s been thrust into. She’s had yearnings for another sort of life, one where she’s loved intimately, rather than only adored from afar.

When a powerful man lures her away from her temple, she’s thrilled at the chance for an adventure. Her adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when the handsome vizier mummifies her alive. Pure of heart and body, she’s the warrior he foresees will battle a demonic pharaoh if ever he awakens. Khepri’s sure he’s insane, until she awakens in a distant future. Alone and needing a guide in this strange and garish new world, she turns to the troubled man who set her free…

When New Orleans police detective Justin Henry Boucher is called to the Garden Museum to investigate stolen Egyptian artifacts, it’s not exactly the adrenaline rush he used to get working a homicide. But with a reprimand on his record and a sorrow he can’t shake, he will take what he can get – as long as he can keep his badge. What he doesn’t count on is having to keep his cool when he finds one of the priceless artifacts—a golden-skinned goddess wrapped in fabric like a mummy, left to die and needing his help. She’s a mystery he’s determined to unravel. She might also be the cure for his lonely heart.

When Juste returned to the museum, the sky was darkening with clouds. It looked like rain would soon fall, and from the forecast, the storm might produce some flooding. He hoped like hell they could wrap up soon so he wouldn’t spend the night there.

Inside the door, he donned latex gloves. The crime techs were still in the warehouse. One was on a ladder dusting the camera in the corner for prints. Good idea. He looked around for his partner.

Mikey stood beside a crate with a clipboard while museum workers carefully swept away straw before pulling out bubble-wrapped artifacts. His partner gave him a nod. “With the storm comin’ in, I told the two guards we’d see ’em here in the mornin’.”

Juste grunted, irritated he’d made that call. The sooner they wrapped this one up, the better.

Mikey lifted his shoulders. “It’s mummies, not shooters,” he muttered under his breath.

Not liking the reminder he wasn’t in homicide anymore and that robbery investigations didn’t proceed with the same urgency, Juste smothered a curse. “I’m gonna take a look around the back.”

Mikey gave him another nod and then returned his attention to the items. By the look of all the empty crates, they were nearing the end of the inventory anyway.

Juste felt a moment’s guilt for leaving Mikey with the bulk of the tedious work, but only a moment’s. He scanned the room, found Dorman and Haddara sitting beside the white table, talking quietly.

Because he wasn’t ready to make nice with either man, Juste strode deeper into the storage area, away from the activity, through crates and metal racks where less important items, or perhaps ones that were rotated in and out of the museum’s displays, were stored. The lighting was poor and so far from the faded daylight spilling through the cargo bay door that he withdrew a small flashlight from his jacket pocket and flicked it on.

Toward the very back, he found rolled-up rugs and emptied boxes. And a crate nearly buried in refuse. A crate that didn’t look to be nearly as dusty as everything else around it. By the painted arrows on the plywood, the box sat on its side, the lid facing him.

Juste glanced around, but no one was watching. He gently knocked on the box and listened to the sound. By the dull, muffled rap, he knew the crate wasn’t empty. Curious, his belly knotting in the way it always did when he had a hunch, he gripped the nailed face of the crate and tugged.

There weren’t enough nails to keep the crate closed. The lid gave slightly beneath the second tug. And then he heard a sound. A soft mewling cry. His heart stopped, and then thudded dully against his chest.

He leaned close pressing his ear against the lid and listened again.

The noise came from inside the box. Read the rest of this entry »

CRESCENT MOON (in print!) in two days… (Contest)
Sunday, December 8th, 2013

For those of you who love your full-length novels in a version you can hold in your hands and fan those pages, Crescent Moon releases in its print version on December 10th—this Tuesday!

And for those of you who gave it a skip because it was originally a serialized (delivered by installment) book, now you can read it as it was intended to be read—as one big, fast-paced book, full of energy, mysticism, and smoldering sensuality. Yes, it’s a strange book. Who writes about mummies and ancient Egypt? Who writes about the Land of the Dead? I do. I have a fascination with the underworld, something I visited in the last Dark Realm story, Darkness Captured. Yes, that one was based more on Sumerian lore, but Sumerian and Egyptian, as well as Christian lore, is inextricably linked. I studied Coffin Texts to learn about Egypt’s mythology and braided it in with a lot of what ifs.

What if a woman from the past is mummified, and then resurrected in present time? Is she human? Is she a goddess? And then I discovered the story about the oracle at Karnak, The God’s Wife, and my story wrote itself. And where better for her to awaken than in New Orleans where a local detective who is going through his own crisis of faith finds her…

Here’s a snippet. Hope you enjoy. I’d love to hear your thoughts when you’ve read the story. This book was one of those “stories of the heart” writers love to share. 

ankhPost a comment and you’ll be entered to win a pair of pretty ankh earrings I’ll gift to one person on Tuesday. If you post a comment on every day, including Tuesday’s release, you’ll have several chances to win them!

CRESCENT MOON

CrescentMoon_600

From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction.

Khepri still isn’t used to being The God’s Wife. The daughter of a common farmer, she’s more comfortable being friends with servants than employing a whole team of them. Being the wife of Amun affords her luxuries she only dreamed of, but her dreams are not always a haven…they are also filled with demons. Lately she’s had doubts about the role she’s been thrust into. She’s had yearnings for another sort of life, one where she’s loved intimately, rather than only adored from afar.

When a powerful man lures her away from her temple, she’s thrilled at the chance for an adventure. Her adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when the handsome vizier mummifies her alive. Pure of heart and body, she’s the warrior he foresees will battle a demonic pharaoh if ever he awakens. Khepri’s sure he’s insane, until she awakens in a distant future. Alone and needing a guide in this strange and garish new world, she turns to the troubled man who set her free…

When New Orleans police detective Justin Henry Boucher is called to the Garden Museum to investigate stolen Egyptian artifacts, it’s not exactly the adrenaline rush he used to get working a homicide. But with a reprimand on his record and a sorrow he can’t shake, he will take what he can get – as long as he can keep his badge. What he doesn’t count on is having to keep his cool when he finds one of the priceless artifacts—a golden-skinned goddess wrapped in fabric like a mummy, left to die and needing his help. She’s a mystery he’s determined to unravel. She might also be the cure for his lonely heart.

One last time, her mind drifted, peacefully content…no shadows or disquiet to disturb her…allowing her to separate the parts of herself, first body from spirit…and then the mournful, dying part of her soul to dwell forever in the pit, while what remained, the part that would be born again, floated upward on golden wings.

Her sprit ba left her mortal shell and spread its wings, flying through the small bright hole in the ceiling, leaving behind her swaddled human form, which lay on a bare wooden bench. One, two, three strong surges of her fluttering wings and she flew toward the sun, free at last and feeling grateful to her husband for his generous gift. Her wings caught an updraft and she held them still, floating on the wind, the glorious waning sun warming her back.

Her spirit flew above white limestone cliffs and past a deep quarry littered with enormous blocks of carved stone. A sudden gust riffled through her feathers, forcing her to fly west, high above a barren valley.

But at last, her ba tired, circling downward, searching for the great river to lead her home. But no familiar white-washed city dwellings, no temple walls lay below. No fields of cotton and wheat.

Confused, she made her way back to the dismal pit. Not wanting to enter, she flitted around the opening, feeling weary and afraid.

Something dark awaited her. Some horror in the shadows.

And then she spotted the man with the dark, watchful gaze standing beneath the opening, his arms outspread to catch her… Read the rest of this entry »

Snippet Saturday: Farewell…
Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Update: The winner of the free ebook is Yolaine Clark!

* * * * *

This is our last Snippet Saturday. :( I’ve enjoyed being a part of this Saturday tradition. Be sure to click on the links at the bottom of this blog to find the other snippeteers.

I’ve chosen a snippet from my most recent releaser, Crescent Moon—a book I loved writing, and maybe you can see why! Enjoy!

If you post a comment today, you’ll be entered to win
a free download of any of my downloadable backlist books!

CrescentMoon_600

From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction.

Khepri still isn’t used to being The God’s Wife. The daughter of a common farmer, she’s more comfortable being friends with servants than employing a whole team of them. Being the wife of Amun affords her luxuries she only dreamed of, but her dreams are not always a haven…they are also filled with demons. Lately she’s had doubts about the role she’s been thrust into. She’s had yearnings for another sort of life, one where she’s loved intimately, rather than only adored from afar.

When a powerful man lures her away from her temple, she’s thrilled at the chance for an adventure. Her adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when the handsome vizier mummifies her alive. Pure of heart and body, she’s the warrior he foresees will battle a demonic pharaoh if ever he awakens. Khepri’s sure he’s insane, until she awakens in a distant future. Alone and needing a guide in this strange and garish new world, she turns to the troubled man who set her free…

When New Orleans police detective Justin Henry Boucher is called to the Garden Museum to investigate stolen Egyptian artifacts, it’s not exactly the adrenaline rush he used to get working a homicide. But with a reprimand on his record and a sorrow he can’t shake, he will take what he can get – as long as he can keep his badge. What he doesn’t count on is having to keep his cool when he finds one of the priceless artifacts—a golden-skinned goddess wrapped in fabric like a mummy, left to die and needing his help. She’s a mystery he’s determined to unravel. She might also be the cure for his lonely heart.

After she’d soaked in a warm bath, Khepri couldn’t fight the weight of her fatigue. As she’d feared, the moment her eyes closed, her world tilted again.

With no time to cry out, no time to worry whether she’d ever see Justin again, Khepri felt as though she was being pulled by her feet, tumbling through an undulating tunnel, until she stopped so suddenly her head jerked back. Once her mind stopped whirling, she glanced around to find out where she’d landed this time.

Torchlight shimmered against gilt-painted walls. The dais beneath her was encrusted with a jeweled mosaic of a radiant sun resting in the bottom of a shallow barge as it floated across the sky. Her stomach lurched. Her heart thudded dully against her chest. She knew this place.

A hand reached down to pat her hair, and she noted quickly that she was seated on the floor, her legs folded and to the side. She wore no clothing beyond a slave’s crudely woven, white kilt, her breasts bared. Her hand was curled around the back of a man’s calf, and she knew that if she looked upward, whose face she’d see.

But she wasn’t ready to confront him. Not with the commotion surrounding them. Her companion sat on a throne-like chair, in a row of such chairs. All gleaming with more gilt paint and tiny, intricate inlaid mosaics, jewels sparkling. Before them stretched a long hall filled with frightening, half-human creatures lined up to watch a procession of humans as they were dragged in chains up the carpeted steps to where Anubis stood beside the Scale of Truth, the plates of his scale glinting gold where not covered in fresh blood.

Khepri’s stomach lurched. Her fingers tightened on her master’s calf. She didn’t want to be here. Didn’t want to watch. Read the rest of this entry »

Snippet Saturday: Crescent Moon
Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Crescent Moon was something different for me in more ways than one. It was the first time I’d sold a book to an editor by describing the opening in a few sentences over the phone. It was my first mummy book and my first using Egyptian mythology.

It’s also a unique experience because it’s being issued in installments–eight of them. I just turned in installment 7, so now, I’m nearing the end of the story. Once it’s complete, it will be assembled into a single novel and printed, making it more accessible to folks, especially those not in the U.S.

CM is different. And I hope you enjoy the differences. I’ve certainly had fun spreading my wings to try something new. :)

 If you post a comment today, you’ll be entered
to win an Amazon.com gift card worth $5!

Crescent Moon Trading Card (front)

From ancient Egypt to present-day New Orleans, a woman of exceptional strength is called to protect against an unspeakable evil…and to experience an unforgettable seduction.

Khepri still isn’t used to being The God’s Wife. The daughter of a common farmer, she’s more comfortable being friends with servants than employing a whole team of them. Being the wife of Amun affords her luxuries she only dreamed of, but her dreams are not always a haven…they are also filled with demons. Lately she’s had doubts about the role she’s been thrust into. She’s had yearnings for another sort of life, one where she’s loved intimately, rather than only adored from afar.

When a powerful man lures her away from her temple, she’s thrilled at the chance for an adventure. Her adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when the handsome vizier mummifies her alive. Pure of heart and body, she’s the warrior he foresees will battle a demonic pharaoh if ever he awakens. Khepri’s sure he’s insane, until she awakens in a distant future. Alone and needing a guide in this strange and garish new world, she turns to the troubled man who set her free…

When New Orleans police detective Justin Henry Boucher is called to the Garden Museum to investigate stolen Egyptian artifacts, it’s not exactly the adrenaline rush he used to get working a homicide. But with a reprimand on his record and a sorrow he can’t shake, he will take what he can get – as long as he can keep his badge. What he doesn’t count on is having to keep his cool when he finds one of the priceless artifacts—a golden-skinned goddess wrapped in fabric like a mummy, left to die and needing his help. She’s a mystery he’s determined to unravel. She might also be the cure for his lonely heart.

One last time, her mind drifted, peacefully content . . . no shadows or disquiet to disturb her . . . allowing her to separate the parts of herself, first body from spirit . . . and then the mournful, dying part of her soul to dwell forever in the pit, while what remained, the part that would be born again, floated upward on golden wings.

Her sprit ba left her mortal shell and spread its wings, flying through the small bright hole in the ceiling, leaving behind her swaddled human form, which lay on a bare wooden bench.

One, two, three strong surges of her fluttering wings and she flew toward the sun, free at last and feeling grateful to her husband for his generous gift. Her wings caught an updraft and she held them still, floating on the wind, the glorious waning sun warming her back.

Her spirit flew above white limestone cliffs and past a deep quarry littered with enormous blocks of carved stone. A sudden gust riffled through her feathers, forcing her to fly west, high above a barren valley.

But at last, her ba tired, circling downward, searching for the great river to lead her home. But no familiar white-washed city dwellings, no temple walls lay below. No fields of cotton and wheat.

Confused, she made her way back to the dismal pit. Not wanting to enter, she flitted around the opening, feeling weary and afraid. Something dark awaited her. Some horror in the shadows.

And then she spotted the man with the dark, watchful gaze standing beneath the opening, his arms outspread to catch her . . .

 

Her heart pounded against her chest, the sound intruding on the vision. Khepri’s eyes slammed open.

Freedom was only a dream, a memory. How long had she been sleeping?

Slowly, Khepri grew more aware of her surroundings. Pressure enveloped her from head to toes. Frayed edges of linen strips surrounded her eyes. An ache centered in her head made her want to gasp, but when she tried to draw a deep breath, the constriction around her chest made the movement impossible. She couldn’t feel her fingers or toes. Her body, other than her head and chest, was numb.

Something was terribly wrong. Short, panicked breaths huffed in the silence.

She blinked, bright sunlight streaming through a hole in the rock ceiling above, blinding her, making her eyes tear. Unable to turn her head, she peered beneath the fringe of her dark lashes, through the openings left in the fabric, gazing upward. Her sight cleared slowly, but was filtered as though looking through the gauzy curtains that surrounded her bed in her tiny house inside the temple walls. But the haze obstructing her sight wasn’t merely physical. It was a thin curtain pulled over her mind. One placed there, purposely, to confuse.

Her head reeled, not understanding, not recognizing where she lay. The sickly sweet scent of frankincense tickled her nose. Read the rest of this entry »

Catching up with CRESCENT MOON…
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

I’ve been neglectful. Granted, I’ve had a bucketload of releases lately, so I can understand how you missed this one. Good thing is, this is a story that keeps fresh thanks to a lovely new innovation by Amazon. Crescent Moon is a Kindle Serial. What is that, you might ask? Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, with future episodes delivered at no additional cost. Four episodes of my serial have already released, and another will be ready in a day or two. New episodes are delivered every two weeks.

Something to look forward to every two weeks. How fun is that? And as for the book… You know it’s going to be sexy, right? Add mummies coming back to life, Nile crocodiles inhabiting the canals of New Orleans, and an Egyptian god or two lurking in the darkness, and you have to know what happens, right? Khepri has been resurrected to fight an ancient evil. Armed with knowledge of the modern world that she can access like an encyclopedia, she still has difficulty relating everything she knows to what she experiences. Her attraction to one particular man is most concerning.

Here’s a mockup of the print cover. When all the installments are published, the book will be issued in its entirety in print for those of you who must have paper. Pretty, isn’t it? CM_Full Cover_600

I hope you’ll give my story a good look. I love Khepri and Justin Henry Boucher, her exasperated New Orleans detective/protector. Here’s a little taste of the sexy…

Excerpt from Crescent Moon

“You should wait for someone special, cher. I’m too rough around the edges. Too old for you.”

“How old are you?”

“Thirty-five.”

Her mouth curved. Age was not an issue. She’d been born millennia ago. “I will defer to greater wisdom, and let you choose how we do this, Justin Henry Boucher.”

His hand curved around hers, which lightly gripped him. For a second, she thought he would push her away again, but the hesitation was followed by his fingers squeezing around hers, firming her grip to ride the long column up and down. The soft cotton separating her fingers from the evidence of his desire was no barrier at all.

As they glided together, their breaths deepened. “I want to see you,” he said, his gravely tone deepening.

“A light,” she said. “Something soft.”

He withdrew and she sat up on the mattress as he strode away. The bathroom light ignited. He disappeared inside for a long moment, the sound of a drawer opening then sliding closed. Silence followed, and then he pulled the door partway closed after he reentered the bedroom. Just enough light remained to see the grim set of his jaw, the wildness in his eyes. 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 »