A chilling prophecy. A child in danger.
the defeat of the vampire elders, Guardian fire witch Arianna Calin and vampire
prince Andreas De Luca are considering moving to his estates in Italy to raise
their daughter in its idyllic setting. As if being descended from two powerful
witch bloodlines wasn’t challenging enough, Rayne was born with a mysterious
star tattoo on her shoulder. Her parents suspect she is the Chosen, the focus
of the Star of Esielen prophecy. But that’s something to worry about in the
distant future. Isn’t it? After all, their child may be precocious, but she is
the murders begin. The stench of demonic activity hangs over Olde Town, and a
symbol carved in blood indicates Rayne may be the next victim. Suspicion points
in several directions: a rival vampire prince, a mysterious stranger, and a
werehyena leader attempting to break the bank at Andreas’s new casino.
Abandoning plans for a quiet life, Ari and Andreas hunt
for the killers. While Rayne may someday have to face her destiny alone, it’s
up to them to make sure she’s ready…and to keep her alive.
A crisp breeze caught
the last of the early morning fog and swirled it over the gravestones. The Olde
Town cemetery slowly emerged from the mist, its silent memorial to the dead
marred by an unusual amount of activity. A uniformed Riverdale cop completed a
final loop of bright yellow tape around several stone vaults and two small
crabapple trees. CS techs snapped photos and set out evidence markers as they
processed the crime scene.
With a hot Styrofoam
coffee cup in each hand, Arianna Calin bumped her jeans-clad hip against the
iron entrance gate, knocking it open, and slipped inside, her footsteps
crunching the brittle September leaves. When an eerie chill nudged her senses,
she swept the scene with a sharp glance.
Nothing she hadn’t
expected. Not yet. Nothing bad enough to trigger her witch alarms. But then, it
was a graveyard. The remnants of so many dead souls could mask a great deal.
She ducked under a high
section of the bright tape and focused on the blond man in jeans and a dark
gray sweatshirt crouched beside a still form. “ME’s not here yet?” she asked.
Lt. Ryan Foster, her
partner from the all-human Riverdale Police Department, looked up and stood,
his blue eyes lighting on the cups in her hands. “On his way. One of those for
A smile touched her
lips, and she handed him one, withholding further comment until he’d taken his
first jolt of caffeine. “Dispatch said it was a stabbing. Human female victim.
Is the suspect one of mine?” As a supernatural cop and guardian for Riverdale’s
Olde Town district, Ari wouldn’t be notified of an RDPD case unless the
Otherworld was involved. Usually that meant vampires or werewolves—the
predominant species in town—had run amok
“I’m not sure….” Ryan
rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Sorry to drag you out so early on a hunch, but
I have a weird feeling about this one.”
Ari nearly choked on
her coffee. “Oh, no you don’t. That’s my line. There’s only room for one of us
with spidey senses in this partnership.”
“Cop instincts,” he
corrected. His early-morning face was grumpy, displaying his constant annoyance
with things he didn’t understand. “It works for us mere mortals.”
“OK. Show me. What have
you got?” She stepped around him, the humor slipping from her lips at first
sight of the victim.
“Judge for yourself if
something doesn’t feel off.”
Vivid red blood stood
in stark contrast to the middle-aged woman’s light lemon sweater. Not a typical
stabbing…her throat had been slashed, leaving a spray pattern of arterial blood
on the fading grass around her and a glistening trail down the sides of a
gaping wound. It had soaked her neckline.
Ari’s nostrils flared,
taking in the sharp, metallic scent and seeking something more, whatever had
triggered Ryan’s reaction. All kidding aside, working with him for eight years
meant she trusted his gut feelings almost as much as her magic.
Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself “a river rat,” and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has thirteen published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields enjoys chatting with readers through her website/social media and can frequently be found on Twitter.
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