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How about a sneak peek at what's coming in The Before to whet your appetite? Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Bram Kelly:
The bells. I could hear the bells of St. Louis Cathedral in the distance, chiming the hour. Calling me home. My feet would not carry me fast enough, and I stumbled repeatedly as I raced through the darkened streets of New Orleans. Heart hammering in my chest, finally the cathedral loomed before me, rising up like a beacon. An oasis. A saving grace. I prayed silently I was right on all counts.
Breathless, I counted the tolls as I forced my legs on, chest burning for oxygen. Eight… nine… I launched myself against the side door of the cathedral, fingers wrapped around the cold, iron handle. Locked.
Ten… Desperate, I lurched back into the alley. Stumbling across the gutter that ran down the center of the narrow lane, my stomach lurched involuntarily from the stench of raw sewage.
Eleven… I propelled forward, skidding around the side of the church, eyes cast up toward the steeple, disappearing into the blackness. With my last reserves of strength, I threw myself up the granite steps, hands stretched toward the doors. They seemed miles away from my grasp.
Twelve. Midnight. The witching hour. With a hard yank, I threw open the doors and rushed across the threshold. Hands shaking, I closed them behind me, shutting out the night and the terror that lurked there, somewhere in the shadows.
The sights and sounds of Kye Lily appeared around me again, almost as quickly as they had faded away. Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I glanced around. Rayne hadn't noticed, thank God, but this terrifying vision had crept out of my dreams, and into my waking conscious. I needed to figure out if this was a premonition, a warning, or the remnants of a past life. The problem was, the vision always ended with the closing of the doors.
As promised, here's another peek at what you'll find between the pages of The Before. Meet Naomi...
The college boys were delicious. My skin was still tingling from the thrill of their young, powerful life force when midnight came, so I set out in search of Bianca, the Quarter’s resident dame blanche.
Lafitte’s was still packed with tourists, each one holding a drink and searching for something as they spilled out onto the darkened streets of New Orleans. Lust was thick in the air, and I inhaled deeply. This darkened corner of Bourbon Street might be a good place to find a playmate, so long as I steered clear of Bianca. Right now, however, I needed her.
Slipping down the alley, I ignored the catcalls coming from a group of drunk guys. A man was sitting in the alley, slumped against the side of the building, drink still in hand. To any other passerby, he would appear to simply be passed out drunk, but I knew better. Bianca had asked him for a favor, and he had refused. She had to be close by. Walking through her alley was a dangerous affair. This was her turf. I couldn’t be loose with my usual sarcasm.
“Naomi Fragonard. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
I looked up to find Bianca standing in the middle of the alley, the dim lamplight behind her casting her in an eerie glow. Knee-length white hair streaked black flowed over her shoulders, accentuating her pale, haunting face. The long, tattered sheath she wore could barely be differentiated from her almost translucent skin. Only the yellowing of age showed where the dress began and ended.
“I need information,” I told her.
“Everyone needs something,” she replied. “Including me.”
The corners of her mouth tilted into a wicked grin as she walked slowly closer. I knew what she meant. Thank goodness for those boys at Kye Lily.
“I know,” I said simply. The less you said with a dame blanche, the better.
“You seldom ever visit me. There must be great urgency for the infamous Naomi to enter my territory.” She closed the distance between us. “In order for me to set my price, I must know what information you seek.”
Bianca stood just a few feet away from me, her black eyes staring into mine hungrily.
“Fille de feu has arrived,” I told her. “I need to know if I can make her… go away. Or will I be upsetting the balance? Will I be destroying my… feeding ground?”
Bianca stared at me for a long moment, and I knew she was reading my mind. “Such a selfish, selfish wench,” she grinned. “Always feeding on powerful magic instead of the mortal life force you were intended for.”
“I fought a long time for the territory I occupy. I don’t want it disrupted. I want-”
“You want Bram,” she said, cutting me off. “You think this fille a threat.”
My cheeks burned, hating her for digging around in my skull and mocking me with my own thoughts.
— with Dona Amelia.
Take a peek at the inner turmoil torturing our heroine, Sunni:
"My heart was broken. I didn’t ask for this life. I didn’t ask for any of it. And faced with the reality that my own mother wished me dead, well… it felt like I was shattering from the inside out. I couldn’t help but wonder where she was. Was she sorry? Could I ever forgive her? Should I ever forgive her?
"I got up and stepped out onto the balcony, the cool night air chilling my tear-soaked cheeks. She was out there somewhere, waiting to face whatever punishment she had coming. Maybe she already had. All I knew for sure was that, even though my mother had never been a praying woman, she needed to start. Her selfish, hateful ways had brought us to this moment, this place, and there were no more excuses. She couldn’t blame me. It was all on her. As much as I wanted to hold on to the hate and the hurt, it was breaking me. So, I took a deep breath, and prayed God to help me let it go, and give it back to her."
excerpt from The Before, coming soon. copyright 2018
Are you excited about The Conjuror Chronicles? Are you ready to meet another character?
Without further ado, meet Josey, our artistic, passionate soul. Here is a taste of what's between the pages of book one, The Before. Want to see this face on the cover? 😉
"Ah, the green-eyed monster of jealousy. It sucked. I loved Sunni, and I was afraid that somebody else would turn her head before she had the chance to see what she meant to me and love me back. What a helluva time to have a reality check. But it wasn’t like she and Bram had run off to the movies together. They’d gone to look danger in the face and help our friends. I just had to keep reminding myself of that."
excerpt, The Before, coming soon. Copyright 2018