Moonlight and Magic
Releases February 27th!
An evil ghost. A mystical warrior. Either way, her heart's in trouble.
Lorelei is searching for the truth. A witch, part Erysi, she needs to discover who the ghost terrorizing the city is, even if it is her grandmother, and stop that spirit before anyone else gets hurt. The treachery she uncovers goes deeper than she ever imagined and leads her to a gorgeous, arrogant, muscled, Erysi warrior who makes her burn with desire.
Quintus needs to get back to his mission after being encased in a spell for years. Helping sexy witch, Lorelei, might help him get that back on track, because her grandmother was probably deeply involved in every part of it. Every time they're together, it's hard to keep his mind on the hunt and off her sweet body. The attraction between them burns out of control.
Lorelei and Quintus' hunt leads them to a plot that could rip apart the lives of innocents. They must work together if they hope to stop the dangerous scheme. Even as she fights at his side, she falls for him. With so much danger around them, she can't risk love or weakness. Maybe after they finish the fight, they can claim the love building between them
Moonlight and Magic Excerpt
Everything’s falling apart. Lorelei’s chest tightened and her eyes burned as tears threatened again. Mémère. How could that stubborn, old lady be gone?
Crack! A shutter slapped against the side of the old, white house, silencing the twittering birds. It hung from one hinge, swaying back and forth, before smacking the peeling paint again.
“Do you think she’s the one causing problems in the city?” Charisse braced a hand on the full curve of her hip as she edged up next to her.
Problems in the city. That was definitely one way of putting it.
“I don’t know.” Lorelei’s throat constricted. “She has the stubbornness to stick around, but, if she’s here to haunt people, we’re the ones who she believed wronged her. If it is, how did she get strong so fast? We buried her two weeks ago.”
She climbed the first step. Her fingers grazed over the handrail. White paint flaked away, drifting to the ground and landing among other faded chips. She lifted her hand and shook the bits off her fingers. Damn, this place needs major work.
Magic brushed over her skin, caressing. The ambient energy from years of her grandmother’s spells hung in the humid afternoon air around the house. So strong, as if Mémère had been here yesterday.
“She taught me magic there.” Lorelei pointed to the top step. Her stomach rolled and she hesitated. I’m such a fucking coward.
“She taught us all magic there on our tenth birthday, right after cake.” Daniela smiled and brushed a strand of purple hair behind her ear.
“Child, look within you.” Charisse climbed the steps.
A shiver crawled down Lorelei’s spine. Charisse nailed their grandmother’s drawling lilt. Creepy as fuck.
“She was so proud when I managed to pull it out.” Daniela lowered her head. “But I’d been watching and listening to all of you for years, so I wasn’t exactly unprepared.”
“Yeah, but when Mom pointed out that in a few years I’d come into my Erysi powers, Mémère Sylvie stormed inside and locked herself in her office.” Lorelei’s shoulders slumped. Grandma held a mean grudge if she thought she’d been slighted. “Mom didn’t even imply that Erysi abilities were greater or better.”
“That didn’t even come up in front of Mémère Sylvie at my birthday. Not that it helped much. Mom being there pissed off Mémère.” Charisse shook her head.
“Are we ready to head inside or are we going to stroll down memory lane, ignoring grandmother’s jealousy over mother’s immortality?” Savannah mounted the first two steps. “And ours.”
“Let’s go, but I’m not sure about anything here.” Lorelei trudged up the final treads to the porch. Savannah had a point. Damn it.
“Me, too, but she lived out here alone, refusing to see us. Visited only with her friends. No neighbors even close enough to hear a yell. And look at this place. What repairs did she have done? It sure wasn’t the outside. I chipped in money and Mom and Dad did, too. The last of the contractors left two months ago.” Bethany swept her hand wide.
Vines clung to the weathered, gray wood near a cracked window. The boards on the porch creaked and dipped with each step. Lorelei bit her lip. It wasn’t this bad the last time I stopped by.
“I did, too.” Savannah shook her head. “She told me she was going to get this whole house painted and the small outside projects done. The inside of the house was fine. Dad had that done two years ago so she wouldn’t have to worry or be in any danger moving around in there.”
“I guess we all gave her some.” Lorelei’s shoulder’s sagged. What had she done with that money? Mysteries and secrets. Was anything I believed true?
“So why did you come?” Savannah strode toward the front door.
“I can’t get in contact with any of Mémère’s friends. They weren’t at the funeral. Everyone else in the Louis City magic community was. I went by to talk with them. No answer. I called. The same. No one has seen them.” A fly buzzed across her face. Lorelei swiped at the huge insect. Annoying fucking thing.
“Well, if anyone knew what she was involved in, it would be them, but the fact that they’re all missing is suspicious. Those women stuck together more than overcooked rice.” Bethany leaned a shoulder against the wall near the double doors.
Lorelei dug in her pocket for her keys. “We should have come here more often. I know I came once or twice a month to check for messages from the Erysi and to see if there was anything we needed to do for her.”
“Yeah, I tried a week before…” Savannah exhaled heavily. “Before she died. She barely let me get in the door. She yelled at me that I didn’t care anyway so I should leave. Same old diatribe. I lasted fifteen minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore. But I’d swear the outside looked way better than it does now.”
Daniela waited just beside Bethany. “I stopped by a week before you. It looked way better than it does now. The only logical for the difference is that she’s not here to hold a glamour.”
“After I learned about the incidents with the ghost touching someone and causing dizziness, confusion, and weakness that lasted, I had to come back.” Savannah folded her arms across her chest. “That’s too close to the Nox abilities. The only thing not mentioned was a black mist surrounding them.”
Metal dug into her skin as she tugged the keys free. Time to ferret out the truth. She unlocked the door and turned the knob. The door creaked as it swung inward.
As she stepped into the house, heat hit her. She recoiled. A musty, dry current teased her nose, drifting by slowly as if teasing her. Dust puffed into the air with each step. Whatever Mémère Sylvie had been doing before she died, it hadn’t been sweeping. An itch tickled the back of Lorelei’s nose and throat. Ah, crap.
She reached for her purse and scrambled for the small packet of tissue inside. The scratchy tingle grew. She drew in a shuddering breath. The plastic clung to the thin paper. Come on, damn it! She ripped a sheet free and brought it up to her face.
A sneeze erupted. She trembled and gasped for breath. Immortal, part Erysi, but somehow she still had allergies.
“Bless you. All right now?” Daniela put a hand on her shoulder.
“Yeah.” Lorelei swallowed and winced. A scratchy ache burned in her throat “We need to find out if she’s the ghost causing that sickness.”
“Something’s been off with her for a while. She had something to do with Mom and Dad going to Erys and not coming back.” Bethany eased around Lorelei and Daniela.
Lorelei glanced at Bethany. Mom and Dad going… Bethany swiped at the long bangs that fell over one of her eyes as if she hadn’t dropped a bomb. What the hell does Bethany know?
“Mémère loved Dad.” Lorelei took a few steps forward to get out of the way.
“But she didn’t love Mom. And the one way she could get at Mom was to go through Dad. He’s her weakness. There has to be a reason for the extended stay in Erys. Dad can’t be enjoying himself there.” Bethany ran her finger over the top of the antique chair. She rubbed them together. “This isn’t only dust. There’s some sawdust here.”
“Ugh, those elitist snobs for months on end.” Charisse gagged and stuck her tongue out. “Some of the realm might be close to paradise, but with their attitude, it’s hell.”
Lorelei led the way out of the foyer into the dining room. A fine powder coated the rich mahogany surface of the table and collected on top of the damask chair cushions. More evidence of neglect, but what kept Mémère busy?
“Where do we start?” Savannah walked over to the curio cabinet. She trailed her fingers across one of the glass panes.
Lorelei flinched. Her muscles tightened. Silence filled the room. She drew in a deep breath and rolled her shoulders. No screeching shouts or even worse, swinging fists. For an older woman, Grandma had a wicked right.
“Kinda weird not to hear her yelling for everyone to keep their nasty fingers off her things, isn’t it?” Savannah’s mouth widened into a full smile as she continued to touch the cabinet.
“Yeah, it’s weird. As to the search, maybe her study?” Charisse pointed to the thick wooden door to the right. “It’s one of the places worked consistently. We wouldn’t have to go looking in drawers and various little cupboards for her current hiding place.”
Yeah, like searching one room would settle this. Mémère squirrelled away books, notes, and folders everywhere. Lorelei sighed. They could dig through grandmother’s things for the next two months and still not finish.
“Let’s go. It will take us a while to go through that room. Last time I saw it, it had stacks of books and such everywhere. I’m sure it became worse since then.” Savannah walked over and grabbed the knob.
The handle turned, but stopped before the latch clicked open. Savannah tried again. Nothing.
Of course, it didn’t swing wide. Mémère didn’t leave her doors unsecured. At least, not in the last few years. Lorelei blew out a breath and rubbed at her right temple. A low, persistent throb pulsed and pressure built.
“Fuck! Where do you think the key is?” Charisse smacked her hand against the door.
“If I know Mémère, they buried it with her.” Lorelei clenched her fist. Now what? They had to get into the room.
“Maybe try a spell?” Bethany stopped in front of the door.
“No.” Lorelei fixed her gaze on that lock. Her stomach churned. Magic was faster, but also riskier, given their suspicions. They shouldn’t take chances. “She’d expect us to use magic and set a trap. We’ll open it physically and check for a spell.”
“Any ideas on how to do it?” Bethany glanced over at her.
Lorelei fished in her purse. Where is that nail kit? Oh, yeah, I never put it back after I flew to Dallas. “These knobs haven’t been changed in decades. Dad used a nail file to unlock these doors when he was a teenager and hunting liquor. If none of us have a nail file, we can use a thin screwdriver.”
“I think have a nail file in my purse. We can try it.” Charisse opened her yellow and green satchel.
Lorelei sighed and tapped her foot. This could take forever. Charisse had more than a wallet and lipstick in there. With a beaming smile, she pulled her arm free of the garish bag. She held up a green nail kit, waving it in the air.
“Here, see what you can do with it.” Charisse handed over the nail file.
Lorelei clutched the cool metal in her fingers as she knelt. “You four be ready.”
She wiggled the file. Her pulse pounded in her ears and her hand shook. Please, don’t let there be a spell on the lock.
The tool scraped. That catch had to be there. She twisted the file and the end caught something. She pushed. A light click sounded. She turned the knob and nudged the door. It moved an inch inward and stopped. Her shoulders slumped. At least, I didn’t get blown across the room. She straightened and stepped back.
“Let’s see if she put a spell on the doorway.” Daniela put her hand on the door jam. Her body shook. “We have a nasty one here. You were right. She did set a trap.”
“I thought she might if she wanted to hide something.” Lorelei sighed. Another red flag. Did the heavy ambient magic obscure more traps?
“I’ll unravel this spell. Give me a moment.” Daniela squared up in front of the door.
Daniela’s hand rose, palm facing outward. A flash of magic pulsed from her palm. It hit something in the doorway, lighting it. A pastel, gold, and silver whirlpool filled the entrance. Black streaks pulsed through it.
The energy swirled right and then left before the whirling colors burst apart, scattered, and faded. Daniela shoved the door wide.
Lorelei nodded. Good, that’s done. She crept into the room. Stacks of paper. Fucking understatement of the year. Mountains of paper covered the two lion’s head chairs in front of the desk.
Two mounds of books and loose sheets spilled across the huge, oak desk. A small pile had collected near the left leg. What happened to the woman who didn’t want a book left lying around?
“This is bad. Where did she get all of this? I know I haven’t brought her any packages in over a year, even though I checked every chance I got.” Bethany stalked into the room and shook her head.
Lorelei cleared her throat and rubbed her hands on her jeans. “How about we each pick a pile and start looking?”
Lorelei ambled over to the desk and picked up a pile of papers. She stacked them on top of another mound. Moats of dust swirled as she cleared a space to work. An itch built at the back of her throat. She moved back and took a deep breath.
“Any idea what we’re looking for here?” Charisse settled on the dust-covered, wood floor next to the chair closest to the overstuffed, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. She took a handful of papers from the chair and began leafing through them.
“Well, anything out of the ordinary, anything about power, and definitely anything about a way she could be here.” Lorelei shrugged. How the hell should she know the specifics?
“Maybe something about acquiring a body. I don’t think she’d find a way to stay here only to remain in spirit form.” Savannah plucked pages from the top of the massive pile on the other chair.
Pages rustled and dust motes drifted through the air. Lorelei rubbed her nose with a tissue. She slapped another page into the discard pile. What the hell did love potions and illusions have to do with anything?