Not long after I published the Soul of the Witch trilogy, I received several emails asking about Jason and Amy, the married couple from Boston who went West to help his uncle manage the Harris Highland’s Ranch.
How did such diverse personalities meet? Their passion for each other was evident, but what was their story?
Then, while crafting Jason and Amy’s story in Pyromancer, two more characters made it abundantly clear they had a past to air as well.
Hence, two prequel novels for the Soul of the Witch trilogy (Prodigy and Pyromancer) and a third novel (Patriarch) to wrap up the six-book series is coming soon. But numbering two prequels became an issue. 0.25 and 0.5 were not an option, so I gave these tales an entirely new series name. Coven Moon.
Prodigy, Coven Moon, Book 1
Ayden saw Margaret’s face in his very first fire-vision. They came to believe their love to be inevitable, their destiny and passion as enduring as his visions, able to overcome any obstacle.
Or so they thought.
Excerpt from “Prodigy”
The sky darkened. The heavy, threatening clouds that had lined the western horizon on their way to the farm rolled across the sky, bringing with them the scent of rain. Dry cornrows rustled in the brisk breeze and made it impossible to hear piglets running in the field.
Or Ayden. I’d best turn back or chance a soaking.
Ahead of Margaret, two figures crossed her path. The first, a black sow, followed immediately by a pale woman in a flowing white gown. The woman paused, her gaze directed beyond Margaret, and slowly raised her hand to point down the row.
Margaret spun on her heel, chilled to the bone by the apparition, and bounced off the chest of a strange man. She struck him with such force she stumbled back, fell to the ground, and rubbed her nose.
The stranger laughed. His gaping mouth displayed missing and rotted teeth. The breeze lifted white hair and tossed it about his head like a crazed ghoul. “Look what I found.”
Not a ghoul.
Margaret scrambled backward, rolled to rise to her feet, but was knocked back down by a boot to her backside.
“And they said there weren’t no women here.”
She twisted to watch him and kicked his hand when he reached for the hem of her skirt. “Don’t touch me.”
“Mighty prissy.” He leaned forward and grabbed her boot when she kicked. “That ain’t nice. You must like it rough. I know I sure do.”
His chuckle turned into a surprised grunt as he was knocked back by a man who burst from the adjacent row.
“Ayden?” Margaret scrambled to her feet, eyeing the two men who wrestled on the ground.
“Go,” Ayden yelled at her. “Run.” The ghoulish man’s fist knocked Ayden’s head back.
She ran past where they fought, then stopped in the row to watch.
There must be something I can do.
Ayden fell back across the row.
Her assailant thrashed to his feet and picked up the long rifle Ayden had knocked from his hands. “This won’t be pretty, but I’m sure gonna like it.” He lifted the rifle butt to his shoulder and squinted down the barrel at Ayden.
Ayden gained his feet and lifted his hand toward the rifle barrel. “Don’t shoot,” he warned.
With a grin, the white-haired man squeezed the trigger. As the firing pin struck the cap, the gunpowder exploded backward, sending the breech plug and blast of the weapon into the attacker’s face. Smoke and fire followed the dead man to the ground.
Ayden closed his fingers into a fist, and the fire ceased. His gaze turned from the man on the ground to Margaret, and his eyes widened with astonished recognition.
“Run back to the farm.” He closed the distance between them. “There are two more of these men in the field.”
“What? How do you know?”
“They came to the farm after the moon gathering.” He gripped her upper arm and pushed her ahead of him. “Run, Margaret.”
She lifted her skirt and dashed through the corn. Freezing rain, driven by the wind, pelted her head. The row curved, limiting her vision, her heart thundered in her ears, then she was out of the corn. She stumbled to a stop and gazed around the empty yard.
The members at the Samhain celebration had retreated inside to escape the storm. No one would have heard her cry for help.
“Let’s get inside.” Ayden took her hand and led her toward the house. “Leader Brown needs to be told what’s happened.”
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Pyromancer, Coven Moon, Book 2
Indentured for twenty years, a hostage of magic in a foreign land, Ayden MacKenna returns home seeking more than vengeance and searches the flames for an inkling of what he may have lost.
Excerpt from “Pyromancer”
The flames in his stove burned brightly, and the chill in the room lessened. The tingling sensation of foretelling tightened his scalp. “Show me Margaret’s child.”
The shadows between the flames whirled and dipped as they flickered across the coals in time with a silent rhythm.
Then she stood before him in the fire, on a grand staircase.
Ayden groaned, and his soul chipped a tiny bit more. She looked like the memory of Margaret he had carried in his mind—in his heart—for so long.
The young woman’s fingers played nervously with the string ties of a beaded mask.
A blond-haired man stepped into the vision. He took her hand and bent to whisper in her hair.
Ayden slammed the door to the stove shut and covered his face as his shoulders shook.
Loss filled his heart, and he battled with hatred and resentment. They’d taken so damned much from him. For so long he had begged to see visions of home, tidings of the ones he’d been forced to leave behind, and now that he had—now that a face had formed in the fire, showing him the child that could have been his had he been allowed to stay, he could hardly bear it.
He pushed the tears from his lashes and shook his head.
The fire had given him two faces tonight. One he recognized—the blond lad that came in regularly to bed Molly. He rolled his eyes and lay back on his bed.
What had been the boy’s name?
Ah yes, Jason Harris.
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