ARC Reviews of Beyond the Veil, Book One of Shadow Company

 

Have I got your attention?  Who would like to post a review of my latest paranormal romance – Beyond the Veil?  I have a #FREE copy of the book for readers willing to place an honest review on Goodreads/Amazon, B&N within the next month.

An update on the series includes book two coming this summer – Deliberate Intent is the continuing story of Aubrie, the seer, and Logan, the ex-SEAL/warlock. Their fight against evil in the netherworld threatens to destroy their love.  Lurking in the shadows, the demons use the couple’s own minds against them.  With help from Duke Taylor, fellow ex-SEAL and Katie Thibideau, Aubrie’s best friend, the war wages against the dark forces.  Discover their story soon!

 

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Duke and Katie

 

Email me at catherinewolffe@gmail.com with your name and email address, and I will jet you a copy! (Amazon or Nook)  It’s that simple.
Also, if you’ve already read Beyond the Veil and will share a review link by email, I’ll put you on a list for a free copy od Deliberate Intent.
Thanks for dropping by.  As always, you can find more great romance in paranormal by Catherine Wolffe at Amazon and B&N.
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Wolffe/e/B006ICE8SO
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/catherine+wolffe?
_requestid=397322
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The Interview with Morgan Latimar from Desire’s Embrace

Desire's Embrace - Where passion and secrets collide.
Desire’s Embrace – Where passion and secrets collide.

I’m thrilled to share the release of Desire’s Embrace with all my readers. I’ve invited the hero from the book to be with us today.  Please help me welcome Morgan Latimar.

“Thank you, Catherine.  It’s a pleasure to be with you and your readers.”

“Tell me, Morgan.  You’re a shifter, correct?”

“Yes, Catherine.  That is correct.”

“How did you become a shifter?”

“Well, that’s a difficult one to explain.  Let me see how to begin.  I came back to New Orleans from the war of northern aggression unable to walk.  I’d taken a shot to the leg, and the injury left me a cripple. The doctors said I’d never walk again.  After countless examinations, I feared they were right.  My foreman, Sampson is very talented and fashioned a hydraulic brace for my injured leg.  It allows me more mobility.  Still, if I could find relief from the pain, it would be a miracle.  I was told to seek the help of the high priestess of Voodoo, Madam Marie Laveau.

“Wait.  I’m sorry to interrupt, but…  “You don’t mean, the Mambo of Voodoo that’s said to eat the hearts of young children, do you?”

“Yes, I’m ashamed to say, the woman I sought was she.”

“Well, our readers are going to want to hear this.  Continue.”

“I was desperate and knew the chances of any of her spells being more than superstition was slim.  Still, I suppose I was at my wits end.”

“She cast a spell on me and assured me I would be free of pain. It’s just that…

“Yes, Morgan, go on.”

“I didn’t understand the ramifications when she said I’d know great power and prowess with the spell.”

“I’m not sure what you are saying, Morgan.  Was Marie responsible for you becoming a shifter?  Is that what she meant?”

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“Yes.  The spell, when cast, had side effects.  I can shift into a wolf and run free without pain.  Before now, no one outside of my immediate family has known about this.  Sometimes it feels like such a gift and other times it is a curse.  I find myself shut off from the rest of the world.  Others wouldn’t understand.  In the tumultuous times we find ourselves living in with the Federals still governing the city, I can’t take the chance of anything leaking about my condition.

“Yes, I can see what you mean.  But, haven’t you recently hired a nanny for your children?  How will you manage to hide the truth from her.”

Morgan chuckles without humor.  “It hasn’t been easy.  I tell myself, the children need her, and, therefore, I must curb my thoughts and actions as they pertain to Miss Sinclair.”

“How is that working for you, Morgan?”

“I’m finding it more difficult than I imagined.  Still, the children and my family are my number one priority, so I must maintain a steadfast persona in the face of Miss Sinclair.  She can never know the truth.  I hope you and your readers understand the importance of secrecy as it pertains to my situation.  I must be going now.  So many things to do today.  You know, being a sugar cane broker is difficult work.

“Yes, we understand you have business to attend.  Morgan, I must say how happy we are to have had you drop by.  Please return soon, won’t you?”

“Of course, Catherine.  Anything for you, ma petite.  Good day.”

“Good day, Morgan.  I want to thank the readers for visiting.  Next time, we’ll have a very special woman with us.  You won’t want to miss our visit with the high priestess of Voodoo, Marie Laveau.  Until then, may your dreams always be, my darlings.”

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Click on the book cover for your direct link to Amazon and Desire’s Embrace

Also available at all major outlets including Barnes & Noble, I-Tunes and Smashwords

Blood Born

So, it’s Wednesday, and I’m in the writing cave today.  I have a new WIP I’m dealing with at present.  One of those fly by the seat of your pants kind of stories.  A new adult romance spinoff venture from Shadow Company.  Vampires, shifters, magic, and danger all congeal in this thriller about a small town girl falling for the bad boy bounty hunter.

Meagan Christiana turns twenty-one soon and among all the well-wishers are a few dangers she did not expect.  Since she is all grown up and ready to start her own life, Meagan figures she can handle what comes next.

 Dorran O’Hare, an Irish born ex-SEAL is on the hunt.   He has to save Cheniere Station from the Sultan’s diabolical schemes.  Having tracked the evil one across the Veil to the sleepy little town in Louisiana, he fears for the woman the Sultan seeks.  Her gifts are still a mystery to her, and he is the one chosen to show her the way.

Here’s a sample of what’s in the works.

***

Dorran’s breath on her neck had Meagan jumping back.  “What the hell?”  One look into his eyes and she could see he had been in her thoughts.  How else did he know she wanted him to kiss her?  A burning pressure radiated along nerve endings in her arms as he pulled her to her toes with those rough hands of his.  Leather met cotton in that second.

He breathed her in and narrowed his examination of her face.  “You smell like a woman, Stretch.  All simmer and sauce.”

She blinked.  What did he call her?  It took her mind a full four seconds for the comment’s meaning to register.  Was she a dish now?  Meagan wondered what came next.

I want to kiss you.  This is the only warning you’ll get.  Better let me know whether you can handle it.  Okay?”  His wicked grin was back.

Give me your best shot, ace.”   Her chin firmed under his keen eye.  “I may be just a woman, but I’m no kitten.”

The low growl sounded in his throat as he leaned into the kiss.  With a slant of teeth and tongue, he explored the corners of her mouth without hesitation.  When he eased back, his eyes stayed on hers.  “Just so you know, I’m a take charge kinda guy.”

***

Hope you liked the snippet.  These two still have a long way to go.  As the story unfolds, I’ll share more.  Now, let’s see who read to this point.  Drop me a line with your email address and let me know what you think.  I’m keeping a tally and giving away copies once the book is released.

Available at Amazon

 

New Book Trailer for Blood & Magic

J.T. Leighton, ex-SEAL and vampire is the newest member of Shadow Company. When Jessie Colter, his former lover shows up out of the blue needing their brand of assistance, he can’t resist her. Keeping his true identity a secret from her proves harder than he imagined. The Sultan kidnapped Jesse’s parents, and J.T. risks his dead life to help her get them back.

His life is over – literally.  J.T. is a vampire, and while he will live forever, he will never again know the affection of Jessie Colter.  Her appearance in Cheniere Station is all the more difficult for J.T. because of the danger she is in and his inability to help.  Finding the demon who stalks her will throw them together in a most agonizing position.

What future can these two have?  Will they find solace in the fight to rid the world of the Sultan or will the attraction between them become too much to face?

 

 

75% Off For A Limited Time

For a super short time, bestselling author Victoria Knight is having a 75% off flash sale on her steamy vampire romance “Monsters Within” and you can get a copy for only $.99!

Check it out here:
http://www.author57–twd.thrivecart.com/monsters-within/

Red Creek, Massachusetts is a quiet town. Nothing ever happens, and nothing ever changes – a feature Saul Benton, local recluse and member of the Benton Vampire Clan, appreciates deeply.
Unfortunately for Saul, his peaceful existence is soon to be mercilessly destroyed. Evil is closing in on the Benton family and Red Creek, seeking to obliterate all Saul holds dear. Which makes Saul’s attraction to Nikki Galimore, a mortal woman, and brat extraordinaire, all the more inconvenient.
Too bad his heart did not seem to have received the memo.
Click here to grab your copy for only $.99 (75% off!)

https://www.author57–twd.thrivecart.com/monsters-within/

I hope you love it!
Catherine Wolffe

 

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Victoria Knight at 75% Off

I am sharing and would encourage my readers to check out the latest offer from Victoria Knight!   Love Paranormal Romance? Grab It 75% Off!

For a super short time, bestselling author Victoria Knight is having a 75% off flash sale on her steamy vampire romance “Monsters Within” and you can get a copy for only $.99!
Check it out here:
Here’s what the book is about:       https://www.author57-twd.thrivecart.com/monsters-within/

Red Creek, Massachusetts is a quiet town. Nothing ever happens, and nothing ever changes – a feature Saul Benton, local recluse and member of the Benton Vampire Clan, appreciates deeply.

Unfortunately for Saul, his peaceful existence is soon to be mercilessly destroyed. Evil is closing in on the Benton family and Red Creek, seeking to obliterate all Saul holds dear.

Which makes Saul’s attraction to Nikki Galimore, a mortal woman, and brat extraordinaire, all the more inconvenient.

Too bad his heart did not seem to have received the memo.

Click here to grab your copy for only $.99 (75% off!)  https://www.author57–twd.thrivecart.com/monsters-within/

I hope you love it!
Catherine Wolffe

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Blood & Magic, Book 3 of Shadow Company – A Vampire’s HEA

Can a vampire have an HEA, a happy-ever-after in his life?  Well, the answer is complicated.  Certain factors have to be in place, the planets have to aline just so, and the world must tilt on its axis.  Yes, the fact a vampire has to rely on the fates for his romantic future is a puzzle.  Many have tried to work out the ending, many have failed.  Such a proclamation is not without its flaws or so the nay-sayers preach.

J.T. Leighton was a good soldier.  He was a good Navy SEAL.  He ran into a situation which altered his nature for all eternity.  He’s come to grips with the idea, or so he thinks.  Then, someone from his past shows up out of the blue.  She’s a long drink of water with a talent for dance.  No one had come close to stirring J.T. to wish for something more than a one-night-stand until Jessie Coulter came into his life.  They’d share passion and a tender connection.  Then she disappeared, literally in front of J.T.’s eyes.

Now, his days are filled with loneliness and his nights with murder at his own hands.  J.T.’s a vampire killer with a hard-on for bad guys.  Don’t blink or you might miss the rest of the tale.  Blood & Magic releases on Valentine’s Day.

Oh, if you don’t mind, wish J.T. a Happy Valentine’s Day.  It may be the only one he gets.  Pre-order your copy today.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078W2HYX2

Excerpt from Blood & Magic, Book 3 of Shadow Company

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She danced across the stage in a flutter of white netting over spandex.  Her hair, pulled back in a severe bun held the blues of an inky night.  Long and slender, she flowed with the music, each movement beginning and ending in the next.  A leap into the air reminded J.T. of a gazelle.  If only he could capture the moment, holding her so forever.  In the dream, J.T. saw Jessie as she’d been almost two years before.  She had been a beauty of exceptional poise and statue.  The grace of her movements were compliments of her tall, lean curves.  A ballerina – his ballerina.

J.T. sat up in the bed.  Nerves rippled along his arms.  Glancing at the clock, he snarled at the readout – three in the afternoon.  Damn!  Rubbing the tension in his neck, he flung his legs over the side of the bed.  Too early to go out.  He padded downstairs for a drink.

Trapped!  He was a fucking prisoner in his own house when the past came calling.  Snarling at the fact, he switched gears, shoving at the memories from years before.  Her laughter caught him off guard.  Glancing around just in case, he stilled.  Her image flitted through his mind.  J.T.’s maker, the damn Sultan, was up to his old tricks.  J.T. would wager money on that idea.  With the bag of chips under his arm, he headed back.  Thank the gods he was allowed some small favors such as something other than pig’s blood to enjoy.  With the glass of warmed blood in his hand, he wandered back up the stairs.  He wanted to wallow in his memories of her, his Jessie.

No, he did not forget how he had come to meet her.  A suspect in a crime of murder.  No, he did not see her as a murderer or a psychopath.  His job as a private investigator meant he sought the truth.  In her case, the truth held his heart in the palm of her hand.  She convinced him of two things in their short time together.  Number one – that she was not the perpetrator.  Number two – that despite being a vampire, he would move heaven and hell to keep her safe.  The trouble with safe was he had no control over the realm in which the woman resided.  In fact, he had no control over any realm or any condition.  Only his existence in death.  Glancing down at the glass, he realized he had finished the blood.

“Have you seen anyone who looked suspicious hanging around today, Zodiac?”

The cat rolled from sitting on his hind legs to resting on his side, before leaning into J.T.’s side.  “Meow.”

“I’ll take that as a ‘no,’ Zodiac.”  Getting back up, he prowled the room.  Agitation, an old friend, appeared in not being unable to remain still for more than two minutes.  “Blast it all to hell and back,” he groaned.

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***

Thanks for reading and thanks for dropping by.  I look forward to seeing you again real soon.

 

 

 

DIY for Unwanted Animals

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The month of February sees so many pets abandoned by their new owners who received these fur babies as Christmas presents.  Whether it’s a lack of space or puppy/dog behavior issues, many fur babies find themselves at a high-kill shelter.   Perhaps it’s a matter of the animal maturing into a young adult, and they aren’t as ‘cute’ as they were under the Christmas tree.

Whatever the reason, the season changes and the situation persists.  Please take time to consider the lives that are lost due to neglect and abandonment.  If you can contribute to your local shelter, please do so.  So many lives come in the front door and leave by the back door of a high-kill shelter.  This is the hard truth.

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Did you know, anyone can volunteer.  There are few requirements to become a volunteer.  A love for animals and a desire to help make a difference are all the qualifications necessary.  Something as simple as walking a dog at the local pound helps so much.  Imagine if you lost your dignity through no fault of your own.  The small things matter too.

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If you can’t adopt, foster.  If you can’t foster, contribute with your money and/or your time.  Donations are always welcome and the small time you spend at a shelter provides so much to the animals as well as your own sense of worth.

You don’t have to run a 501c rescue or be a part of an association to make a difference.  Something like sharing on social media can save the life of a pup or kitten before disease and death visit.

Finally, please remember to adopt, don’t shop.  Thank you for helping these creatures who depend on us for their survival.

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Blood & Magic – Preorder Today

Vampires do exist in Cheniere Station.  Magic is alive and well in this small town.  All is not as it seems.  For J.T. Leighton to survive, he must work with what he has been given – a life eternal with no hope of parole.

Jessie Colter seeks J.T.’s help in finding her parents.  Her secret will destroy the only family she has left if she can’t convince J.T., private investigator, she’s not the person responsible for their disappearance.

Their past comes back to haunt them in a surprising turn of events.  Can there be a future for them or is their fate written in the Sultan’s evil deeds?

In this sexy paranormal romance novel set in the world of Shadow Company, award-winning author Catherine Wolffe tells the story of a couple fighting to rekindle love in the midst of a war with the Sultan of the Netherworld.  Preorder today on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078W2HYX2

book 3

Here is an excerpt from Blood & Magic, book three of Shadow Company.  In this scene, J.T. has a talk with Aubrie Sinclair about things regarding her plans to marry Logan Latimar, warlock, and ex-Navy SEAL.  J.T. realizes he has a ways to go before Aubrie sees him as a true friend of Shadow Company.  He hopes he can gain her trust.

***

“It’s a little late to be working, isn’t it?”  J.T. stood in the doorway to Aubrie’s office off the bedroom.

Aubrie jerked.

“Easy.”  J.T. had expected her reaction.  His return smile curved in sympathy.  “I’m sorry.  Don’t make a sound these days.  The vampire gig, you know.”

Shaking her head, Aubrie arched a brow.  “You’re forgiven, I suppose.  Maybe you need a keeper or herald or something.”  Aubrie rubbed the back of her neck.  “I’m sorry.  That was uncalled for.  I’m in a pisser of a mood it seems.”  She tossed down the pen onto her desk before slumping in the chair.

J.T. flicked a glance in her direction.  “I grateful you allowed me the watch tonight.  Seeing what comes and goes through the veil is helpful.”  He let the statement linger in the silence.  “I figured you’d be in bed after all that cooking tonight.  The spaghetti was the best I’ve had.”  Still no reply.  “Hey, are you feeling all right?”

Aubrie shook her head before giving her neck a crack to either side.  “You know you have writer’s block when your mind is a million miles away, and nothing comes together on the page.”

J.T. had to admit the change of subject caught him off guard.  Her mind was bouncing from fear to fear.  He heard the frustrated agitation in her statement.  “Or maybe you’re simply distracted.”

“No argument there.”  She glanced at the calendar on the wall and grimaced.  “In ten days,” she mused aloud.  Tapping her fingers in nervous frustration, Aubrie shoved back from her desk.  “I can think of nothing else except the fact I’m marrying the sexiest warlock whoever spun a spell in only ten days.”

Her stilted laugh reminded him of a school girl.

“Sorry, again, TMI, right?”

J.T.’s grin surfaced automatically.  “Perhaps.” Stuffing his hands in his front pockets, J.T. examined the floor at his feet.  He sensed things, always had.  Even before becoming a vampire, he had possessed a small sensory talent.  Like now, J.T. knew, her heart thrummed with the thought of Logan’s touch.  The way the warlock looked at her made Aubrie’s knees weak.  Even the way he walked stirred her in a very private way.  He glanced up at her face in time to witness the blush creeping up her neck.  Point proved.

Straightening the papers on her desk for the thousandth time merely succeeded in aggravating Aubrie further.  She huffed out a shaky laugh before shoving at her hair.  “I’m sorry for going there.  The desk chair creaked as she rolled back to the computer screen.  “I know I’m supposed to sit my butt in the chair and write, but I can’t think of a thing.”  Exasperation rimmed the words as she frowned at the desk.

Again, the change of subject.  Aubrie desperately needed her control J.T. supposed.  “No need to apologize.”  He took another step inside. That was far enough, he mused.  It’s the truth.  Hell, even I can see the way you two look at each other.  What woman wouldn’t be distracted?”  He knelt on one knee, gaining her attention at eye level.  “Besides, there’s magic between you two.”  He waved a hand when she tried to disagree.  “I’m not talking about Logan’s talents.  There’s love there.  I’m happy for you.”

Turning, Aubrie smiled at J.T.  Gently, she reached out, her fingers grazed his cheek.  “You’re a good man, J.T.

He was going to come back with “for a vampire,” but her face held a kindness he hadn’t seen before.  She was being sincere.  Something softened in his chest.

In the blink of an eye, Aubrie froze in place.  She was staring at something behind him.

J.T. turned to see what had caused her reaction.  The mirror behind him held only one image, Aubrie’s.  A vampire cast no reflection.  He turned back to see her staring at nothing but the solo reflection.  Stray hairs, the color of mink, waved in wisps about her oval face.  The chocolate strands gathered in a ponytail held a rich weight in the desk light.  Her skin had gone pale.  “It’s okay, Aubrie.”

Her eyes darted to him before returning to the mirror once more.  She had a hard time meeting his gaze.  Instead, she grew fidgety in the seat.  As if flicking on a switch, she splayed her hands flat on the desk, sliding them back and forth.  The laugh came out breathless as well as strained.  “Thank the gods, I write independently, or my deadline would be in grave danger at this point.”  She coughed nervously before continuing, “How am I supposed to manage a wedding rehearsal, a final fitting and a bachelorette party all in less than a week?”  Her eyes settled on him as she paused.  “I’m sorry, I’m babbling.”

He had spooked her.  One step forward, two steps back.  “No worries.”  The vampire made her nervous, he decided.  Nothing to do about that.

Quieter now, Aubrie looked him square in the eye.  The laugh came out in a huff of breath.  A form of cleansing, he mused.  As if nothing else had transpired, she picked up the previous topic of what to do with trouble.  “I’ll manage the same way I handled a covert operation into the Netherworld in search of my warlock, and his nemesis, I suppose.”  Her face took on a faraway look.  “I can still see Nybbas the last time we left the Netherworld.” Grinning, she cut a glance at J.T.

“I know what you mean.”  J.T. stood up before shifting to lean on the doorframe.  “I suppose they made the supremely odd couple, what with Nybbas, the wrinkled, green-skinned demon-has-been standing alongside Logan, the warlock, and kick-ass ex-SEAL.”

Aubrie snorted at the mental image.  “You know, I’ve wondered since how we managed to escape unscathed.  The grin disappeared.  “Then again, I remember why we went back, to begin with.”

There was no need to explain their decision.  J.T. was aware, well aware, of the reason those gathering that evening had crossed the veil.  Logan had gone in search of Nybbas, a mid-level demon with a talent for mind manipulation.  The whole thing started when Logan believed he had been unfaithful to Aubrie.  The dreams about his ex-girlfriend, Connie Calder were so real, they shook his confidence.  Fearing mind manipulation, he crossed over the veil in search of his old adversary, Nybbas.   If anyone could manipulate a mind, it had to be Nybbas.  Instead, Logan found the Sultan, an evil shadow walker turned warlord, in control.  The Nybbas they had known was nothing more than a shell of his former self.

Aubrie’s gaze centered on the darkness outside the French door.  “You know, it’s funny, J.T., but I never expected to find Nybbas, much less, find him in such an altered state of being.  He resembles an elderly grandfatherly type rather than a demon warrior.”  Her eyes filled with tears before she shoved them away.

J.T. remembered what the bastard had done to Aubrie.  The only thing that had changed was who was responsible.  As if on cue, Aubrie rubbed a hand over her belly where Nybbas’ brand remained, a constant reminder of what she had been through.

“If Logan hadn’t found me in time, I would have become a sinister pawn in the Sultan’s unholy game.  Nothing stopped the bastard from altering my mind forever.  For some, that’s what has happened, and there is no going back.  The Sultan’s magic is too strong.”  Her lips thinned into a line.  “To find Nybbas alive and with no memory of his cruel domination over me was hard for Logan to accept.  He wanted retribution.”  Her eyebrows winged up.  “Hard for me as well.  Straightening, she eyed J.T.  It’s a new day.  It’s all changed.  Somehow, The Sultan controlled everything.”  One solitary tear glided down her cheek.

“You know I’m in awe of you.”

Her eyebrows knit.  “Me, why?”

“Well, you went back after the Logan and Duke solo.  Since Logan told me what happened to you the first time, I can’t blame you for never wanting to go back, but you did.  Then to find Nybbas was less than the monster you hated took the wind out of your sails.  You sucked it up though and took him in rather than toss him aside as the Sultan had.  Katie’s right, you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for.”

“He’s just an old, wrinkled, green man.  I have to admit, finding him like that did throw me for a loop.”  She shivered.  “The sheriff in Cheniere Station charging Logan with Connie’s murder was the last straw.  I knew the answers were over there.  I had no choice.  I had to go back.”  Aubrie sniffed before wiping her eyes.

Figuring she needed a change of subject, he broached a topic he had been hesitant to as Logan about.  “Did the Sultan return with Logan from Afghanistan?

The tears trailed down Aubrie’s cheeks.  “Yes, he did.  Logan said he saw him in his dreams for months following his return stateside.  Then the visions started.

J.T. was no good with tears, especially a woman’s tears.  He rubbed the bridge of his nose.  “That’s all in the past now, Aubrie.”  His voice, carefully modulated, held what he hoped passed for concern.  He couldn’t reach out like he wanted to do, for he dared not touch her.  Her empath skills would rocket her right out of his reach with what she found inside him.  “He has hurt us all, Aubrie.”  Turning to stare out at her view of the pines’ silhouetted against a night sky, J.T. spoke softly.  “The monster came close to killing one of our own, too.”  He referred, of course, to Duke Taylor, the ex-SEAL and J.T.’s Team Six bud.

Aubrie sniffed before answering. “The doctor said he may limp.”  She shook her head slowly.  “He’s lucky to be alive.  A millimeter one way or the other and Duke would have died from the Sultan’s attack.”  Aubrie watched out the window.  “Damn bastard.  I guess that’s what the Sultan wanted.  Another soul collected.”

“He’s after all our souls,” J.T. murmured.

Aubrie stood because she could sit no longer.  “The trouble with writing is you have to focus.”  The laugh was shaky.  Throwing her hands into the air, she strode out the French doors to the deck stretching the length of her house.  “I’m done here.”  Wiping her nose, she walked to the rail.

The laugh trailing after her proved mirthless.  J.T. could feel the pain emanating from her.

A killer view lay before her.  “This always helps,” she murmured.  Wrapping her arms around her chilled chest, she closed her eyes and breathed in the clean, cold air of early December.  “Christmas is coming,” she mumbled into the icy air.  “My wedding too.”  I won’t let him get in the way of my wedding again.”

J.T. remembered, Logan and she had postponed everything when Duke had come back in critical condition.

“The gods save us from ever having to set foot in that place again,” she whispered.  A shudder slipped past her guard.  “I won’t go back, ever.”  The vow sounded solid.

J.T. knew how much faith to put in such a statement.  None.  “If the Sultan has his way, one of us or all will have to go after his sorry ass.  Then we’ll face my former master with all the magic and firepower we can muster.”  His words hung between them.  J.T. saw the fear in her eyes.

Glancing down, Aubrie watched her hands clench into fists atop the rail of the deck.

J.T. saw the same mental image she did.  One of a young girl, her dark eyes huge in her young face flashed in his mind’s eye.

“Don’t worry, Meagan.  We’ll save your family.  Logan’s working on a spell now.  It won’t be long, I promise.”  Aubrie dropped her eyes to her hands on the rail as she finished the statement.

Aubrie’s words, barely audible, pushed at J.T. resolve to remain detached.  His years as a Navy SEAL gave him training ingrained into his DNA to compartmentalize his life.  Surprise filtered through his dead system as a pain. One as real as the prick of a knife’s blade caught him in the chest.  Rubbing the sensation away, J.T. cursed low at the affront.

Aubrie smiled weakly.  “It’s okay.  I understand my wish is fleeting.  Reality can be a bitch sometimes, that’s all.”

***

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