I knew what the cards said, and she was right. Something was coming. I just didn’t know what.
Then almost as if on cue, thunder pierced through the square. Out of nowhere, Marceline came racing towards us with Nanette trailing behind her. “Hurry! Pack it up! We’ve got to get out of here!” she shouted, her face withered with worry.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, jumping up from the table.
“There’s been an attack on the witches.” Marceline’s chest heaved as she tried to force the words from her lips.
“An attack! What? Where?” Cora asked.
“Up on Royal,” said a breathless Nanette. Her once warm caramel complexion paled as though she’d seen a ghost.
Cora’s posture was rigid. “How do you know?”
Still gasping for air, Marceline, said, “We were on our way down here with Edith when her mom showed up in a panic. She just kept saying something about a younger witch from her coven being attacked.”
My eyes shifted from Nanette to Cora, then back to Nanette. “You don’t think it’s him, do you?” I asked even though I was pretty sure of the answer. Though there had been none in my lifetime, Oliver’s attacks against the witches of New Orleans had been legendary.
“Who else would attack the witches?” said Cora, then her eyes fell to the Tarot deck on the table. She tugged on my arm, returning my attention to the cards. “Delphine…”
There sitting on top of the deck – face up – was the Ten of Swords.
“Because I am a spirit walker, like you. I walk the shadows we both know.”
“I’m not a witch. You’ve made a mistake. I don’t know what that even means. Please, just go. You are scaring me. This isn’t funny.” She swallowed hard. He was definitely powerful, more powerful than she was, than any of her family. Oh god, what would they think when she didn’t show up tonight? Would they even come looking for her or chalk it up to Andie is always late, probably at home with a book. Surely they’d look for her.
“My family is waiting for me. They know I’m coming.” She hoped she spoke with more conviction than she felt.
He ignored her, waving his hand as if literally brushing the idea away. “You are one like me. Like us. Different, maybe, but the same.”
There was that word again. Different. “I don’t know what you think you saw or whatever else you think happened, I am not a, a, a spirit walker. I’m a . . .”
An excerpt from Emerald Dodge’s Excalibur found exclusively in Souls & Shadows.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲?
Pure energy coursed through my arm and out of my palm, forming a glowing white sword that pulsed with the beat of my heart. Tendrils of light and sparkles soared in gentle arcs around my hand and arm like vines, slowly snaking back and forth.
Experience had taught me that the blade could cut through steel, stone, flesh, and earth. It had even deflected a bullet once. And best of all, I could alter its appearance at will.
I turned the hilt to show off the engraved blade that bore the word EXCALIBUR.
The drifters swarmed in past the trees, moving toward them. They swayed in tandem, still wailing. To his surprise, nobody was in their general vicinity, although it was a beautiful day. They were in a grassy area punctuated by trees, but nearby on the paths there should have been joggers or tourists. Instead, the area was deserted.
Nyssa walked toward the mob until she was about ten feet away. “Leave us,” she said, her voice booming.
The homeless moaned louder, their voices also echoing. They stared at her for a long moment, an odd face-off. Nyssa did not move, her hair rippling in a faint breeze. Once again, he could picture her as if she were wearing a sort of medieval body armor with a sword and shield, facing her enemies.
As one, the crowd went for Nyssa. Each of them reached for her, their hands turning to claws as they tried to rake and bite her. Nyssa flung out her hands in a warding motion, and the front line staggered back. The rest were not affected and began again, their coming as inexorable as the tide.
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“Fear isn’t in my nature.” His lips lifted in a smirk while his green eyes challenged her.
She placed her hand on the table palm up. One touch, and she’d know if this man was her mate.
“Don’t you want my name first?” he asked.
“Aribelle, and if we imprint, then you can tell me yours. If not, then we can go in my truck, have our fun anyways, and never bother looking back.” Her wolf growled at the idea of letting him go, but if they weren’t mates, she couldn’t keep him close.
“Which one do you want more? A hot one-night stand where I ruin you for everyone else or a mate?” His eyes twinkled with delight as he finished his beer. He set the bottle down next to Aribelle’s hand.
“My wolf is saying one thing, but I know mates change everything.” Her mind hummed with the buzz of alcohol.
“You didn’t exactly answer the question.” He leaned in toward her but still kept his hands to himself.
“Stop stalling.” She moved her hand closer to him but didn’t grab his arm like she wanted to.
A low growl vibrated through his lungs seconds before his hand grabbed hers. A current of electricity zipped up her arm, signaling the imprint. They had three days to complete the bond by mating or lose their wolves.
Those were the magical rules, and no one had ever found a way to break the magic.
An excerpt from S.A. McClure’s Spell Breaker available exclusively in Souls and Shadows.
The sound of a paw clawing at the icy ground rustled just beyond the tree Emma was leaning against. The faint smell of carrion clung to the air. Her chest tightened as she swallowed. Every pulse of her heart thrummed in ears.
This was it.
She breathed in deeply, letting the cool air calm her mind. She focused on the way the air filled her chest. She forced it down, down, down until it was pressurized in her abdomen. She held it there. She envisioned the attack.
She released the breath in a cloud of mist.
The beast’s shadow stretched over her. She gave herself one more moment to pause. To consider. To see the way the spear would punch into the beast’s hide. She needed to protect Iris. It wasn’t just for herself or for her sister; it was for all the animals she’d found dead in the corridors of Balkeen’s mountain lair. It was for the way the beast had tracked her. Relentlessly pursued her, like a dog on the hunt for the fox.
She was no one’s prey.
She was the huntress.
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