Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…
Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.
Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her. Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.
*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot series
of stirring at all was her heart, and it felt like it was trying to make up for
the rest. No ropes bound her. Nothing visible pressed her back and legs into
the coarse beige carpet of her new rental home. Yet even as she writhed and
twisted against unseen restraints, she knew she was trapped. Tied to the ground
in a way that made her feel like a virgin sacrifice atop an altar.
crystals, didn’t look like a powerful sorcerer. David McClellan had too weak a
chin and beady little eyes. Those eyes, brown as mud and just as compassionate,
told her without words that they would be the last thing she ever saw.
difference if she did. But she wasn’t anyone special. She wasn’t important. She
was just an elementary school music teacher – or would be after she finished a
semester of student teaching. This kind of thing didn’t happen to her. To her
friend, Cassie, scion of a powerful family of sorcerers, maybe. But Madison had
no family connections and almost no magic aside from her beautiful, subtly
enchanting voice. Why would anyone hurt her for a song?
countless others and doing exactly as much good. How long had she lain here,
helpless? Minutes? Hours? It might only have been seconds. The box of “Card and
Board Games” she had been carrying into the house lay on its side a foot or two
away, some of its contents now strewn across the bare living room floor. There
hadn’t been any warning. One second she was on the way to her new bedroom to
unpack her tenth or eleventh box, the next instant she was on the floor.
Immobile. Helpless. Confused. Terrified.
crystal David arranged into a pattern only he could see. Cold, deadly magic
that reinforced her every childhood fear. Her father had told her that magic
was from the devil. Was this what he’d meant? Was this her punishment for
brushing up against the world of sorcery, no matter how lightly?
silence felt ominous, like a lull before the storm, and when he moved away, out
of her sight, a fresh wave of panic seized her. She strained anew at her
bindings until the scent of incense filled the air. She had a sudden, vivid
memory of Palm Sunday Mass, and of Father Owen making the sign of the cross as
he wafted the same scent over his congregation. Father Owen didn’t believe
magic was evil; he had told her more than once not to listen to her father’s
helpless. She had a little magic of her own, even if the thought of using it
made her feel sick inside. God had not forsaken her. He had given her a tool,
if only she could rein in her stampeding heart rate long enough to search her
memory for what little knowledge she possessed.
deep, shuddering breath and started to close her eyes, when a glint of
something metallic caught her attention. She stared at the long, lethal dagger
in David’s hands, an ornate golden hilt largely hidden within his iron fist.
His eyes drifted up and down the length of her bound body before settling on
her midriff. He lowered the blade.
herself against the expected pain. Or worse.
Breathe in one … two … three … four … breathe out … five … six …
Her eyes popped open, her muscles strained once more against invisible bonds,
and she screamed.
like a fish being gutted, choking and spluttering as David returned to the work
of cutting into the soft, sensitive flesh of her belly. Yet even as tears
refilled her eyes and fear devoured her heart, some part of her recognized that
her guts remained intact. Whatever David was doing to her with the dagger
involved tracing shallow patterns across the surface of her skin.
was not in the empty living room of a house she had not quite moved into yet,
she was at church, singing in the choir. Above her, Jesus hung from a cross, a
crown of thorns atop his head, a soft glow surrounding him. She usually found
the magic within that glow. She reached for it…
hard across the face.
with blood – her blood. Had her feeble grab for magic actually made a
difference? David seemed to have noticed something, but what?
on yourself,” David said.
tried to ask. Her mouth moved, her lips forming the question, but no sound
heard the question, but to her surprise he only hesitated a moment before
saying, “Your soul.”
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Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.