Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Review of The Rebel Mages by Laurie Forest

Rebel Mages encompasses the two novellas in The Black Witch Chronicles: Wandfasted and Light Mage.


Synopsis of Wandfasted




Twenty years before Elloren Gardner enrolled at the illustrious Verpax University, Erthia was rent asunder during the devastating Realm War. When Tessla Harrow is driven from her home by the fighting, she discovers a depth of power she never knew she had…and an irresistible draw toward Vale Gardner, the son of the most powerful mage her people have ever known—the Black Witch.

Review
I'm having a seriously bad fangirling case. Wandfasted is amazing! I enjoyed it as much as The Black Witch.

Wandfasted tells the story of how Tessla and Vale (Elloren's parents) knew each other. It also shows why Carnissa Gardner became a legend, and believe me you don't want to miss that. With a fast pace and beautiful world-building, this book is simply impossible to put down once you start.

I absolutely loved getting to know Tessla, she's a badass, the kind of MC that I can't get enough of: intelligent, brave, selfless, strong and mature. Vale I had to warm up to, but once you get to know him better he's easy to love. 

Is also quite the experience getting to know the parents of other characters from The Black Witch. You get a lot of: "now I get it".

I completely recommend this book for anyone who knows how to read, and if you don't, here's a good reason.

Synopsis of Light Mage



Before Elloren came to possess the White Wand of myth, the Wand was drawn to another bearer: Sagellyn Gaffney. Sage’s affinity for light magery, a rare skill among Gardnerians, makes her the perfect protector for the one tool that can combat the shadows spreading across Erthia. But in order to keep the Wand safe from the dark forces hunting for it, Sage must abandon everything she once knew and forge a new path for herself…a dangerous course that could lead to either triumph or utter ruin.

Review
Imagine living in a world where people are segregated based on their race. Where religion has been twisted and turned into a weapon, aimed against other's beliefs. Where fear of the unknown leads to hate and cruelty. Where little girls have no right over their own bodies and are forced into marriage. 

Not difficult to do, right?

Sage Gaffney comes from an extremely religious family, even for a Gardnerian. She has been taught that being obedient and following the teachings of the Ancient One will keep her safe. Safe from the demons that want to corrupt her people, safe from the vile men that hurt innocent girls like her. Her bubble shatters when she learns -in the worse way possible- that evil thrives within her own people; hidden behind mountains of lies.

She is thrust into the cruel reality of being shunned by her family, her kind, and all the other races the Gardnerians have hurt. But she is not alone, she finds allies from where she least expects, compassion from those who she thought were evil, patient teaching from the shunned; unconditional love from a man she “should” fear. There is a lot of pain and heartbreak for her, but also a lot of friendship and love. 

Sage is brave, compassionate, kind, and she learns fast. The kind of heroine I can root for easily; she makes mistakes, but learns from them and comes out stronger in the end. 

The love interest, Ciaran, is one of my fave male MCs. He is different from many others, and I loved that. There are a lot of lovable secondary characters, my absolute favorite is Rivyr, I need more of him and his antics. 

A must-read by an author that has quickly become one of my favorite. 

Tap on the image to grab your copy of The Rebel Mages right here: 



Thursday, February 28, 2019

The OCD Games by Kayla Krantz








My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Erica has OCD, and because of it, she has issues keeping jobs despite being a competent person, sometimes her compulsions get the best of her. She has a crazy best friend -Kara- that encourages her and pushes her to be a bit more adventurous. Her life is rather monotonous until she meets someone in her new job at a small store.
Blaine is mysterious, he's rather quiet but he's charming nevertheless, and...
Nah, you have to read this by yourself to find out.
I found myself feeling related to Erica more than once, and overall enjoyed The OCD games a lot.
A sweet, lovely novella. Totally recommend.

Grab the OCD Games here: https://amzn.to/2EDQT3E

Monday, January 28, 2019

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass

Throne of Glass



Synopsis:

"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

Rating: 5 Stars
Review

I'd stalled reading Throne of Glass. Whenever a book is over-hyped I always approach it with some foreboding. But it turned out my fears were unfounded. I had seen a lot of bad reviews hating on Celeana and the book in general. And I have to ask, what the hell? 

Celeana Sardothien is a refreshing female lead. She is cocky, she knows she is dangerous, strong and beautiful, a nice change from the I-don't-know-I'm-awesome-but-everyone-drools-for-me trope. The girl can fight, and she is not clumsy, I'm so done with clumsy MCs. 
Not a fan Chaol, his way of seeing Celeana for most of the book thoroughly annoyed me.
Not really a fan of Dorian either, he lacks nerve.
I LOVE Princess Nehemia! 
I wasn't surprised by most of the plot twists, but they were nicely delivered. 

Action, sass, mystery, I loved it.

Fave quote: “Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

Get it here: https://amzn.to/2EyunJp

Monday, January 21, 2019

Review of Everless by Sara Holland

Everless by Sara Holland


@SeleneKWriter


IN THE KINGDOM OF SEMPERA, TIME IS CURRENCY—EXTRACTED FROM BLOOD, BOUND TO IRON, AND CONSUMED TO ADD TIME TO ONE’S OWN LIFESPAN. THE RICH ARISTOCRACY TAX THE POOR TO THE HILT, EXTENDING THEIR OWN LIVES BY CENTURIES.

And no one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.


Rating: 4 stars
Review

So I'd been on a huge reading slump regarding YA fantasy, finding several books either boring or plain awful. Everless got me out of it. 
Jules is headstrong, but not on the maddening sense. She had a good reason to do all the crazy things she did. I like her, she feels real, I would've done exactly what she did on many occasions. 
The love interest didn't interest me at all, I could see through him long before Jules did. I can see why she was so infatuated, she was clinging to the past.
Now the mean and mysterious Lord, hell yeah. I was certain that there was more to him than met the eye and immediately liked him. Maybe I have a thing for grumpy characters who hide who they really are to protects others, and themselves.
I like Sara Holland's writing style, the descriptions are perfect for visualizing but don't drag on. And the mysteries actually had me thinking. That plot twist by the end... I loved it! A nice respite from books where I can see things coming from page 20.
Totally recommend.

Get Everless here: https://amzn.to/2EwQVKI

Monday, December 3, 2018

Demon Warden (The Cursed and the Fallen)

After having lots of fun with a writing prompt that spawned the short story: How not to Summon a Demon, I realized my characters had a bigger destiny. 
So a new saga was born!
Demon Warden will be the first book of The cursed and The Fallen series.
Here you have the first chapter.


DEMON WARDEN


CHAPTER 1

DINAH

I look at Lisa’s disaster of broken code and wonder how the hell she managed to mess it up so badly.

“Wow, this is terrible, I am impressed,” I say with a wry smile.

Lisa laughs, running a hand through her short black hair. A snake tattoo adorns her right forearm, her nose piercing glints under the lamplight.

“Happy to impress you,” she says with a wink.

I start typing, fixing the broken tags while she sits beside me, flicking a glance in my direction every now and then. I pause to drink a sip of lukewarm cocoa. The café is almost full, couples and students with their noses in books or laptops. I recognize a couple of them, they’re in the same major I am, Computer Science. Even after 4 years, the thought of being in such a great university with an almost full scholarship makes me giddy. The pleasant smell of baked goodies and hot beverages relaxes me.

Lisa scratches her neck. “So, uh, you can do it, right, fix my website before the Con?”

I smile. “No worries, it will be done in one hour.”

Lisa nods. She looks nervous, running her hands up and down her faux black leather-clad thighs and fidgeting with her many bracelets. That’s odd, I’ve never seen anything remotely disturb the vegan, gothic feminist.

“Want a refill?” she asks, standing up.

“Sure,” I mutter distractedly as I load one of my pre-made code patches to speed up the process.

She comes back quickly and continues to send nervous glances towards me, which makes it a bit hard to focus.

“So, I heard Wesley asked you out,” Lisa comments.

My fingers still for a moment. “He did, but I am not interested.”

“Oh.”

Wesley is the typical I-get-who-and-what-I-want type. His idea of asking me out had been stalking me in the library and invading my personal space.

Nope.

Been there, done that.

Lisa gets distracted by her phone as I work at full speed. Writing code is simple for me, anything to do with numbers and languages I can learn ridiculously fast. Basic skills like cooking or communicating with other human beings come a bit harder.

As promised, I finish a little over an hour later, a bit stiff on the shoulders and yearning for Netflix and copious amounts of pizza.

“Dude,” Lisa whistles. “It looks way cooler than before, thanks.”

“Just get some pro help the next time, ok? We don’t want you breaking the internet by mistake,” I joke.

Lisa chuckles.

“Will do, maybe you can be my code girl if you want,” she says.

I shrug. “Sure, why not?”

I do this sort of thing all the time, getting some quick money that pays the bills and gives me time to be what I was destined to be. A couch potato.

I turn to her and watch how a beautiful pink blush rises in her usually pale cheeks. Her arm slides from the backrest to fall gently on my shoulders as she crosses the small space between us and brings her soft lips to mine.

Surprise freezes me to the spot. Her lips are sweet and gentle instead of demanding, so I don’t push her away. I let my eyelids fall, feeling a faint thrill as her lips caress mine. Lisa sure knows how to kiss. She pulls back, looking at me with a shy smile.

“Sorry, just thought I’d make it clear since hints don’t seem to be your thing,” she murmurs, biting her lip.

“Hints are so not my thing,” I agree, swallowing hard. “I like you, I think you’re beautiful and cool, but I’m straight.”

She pulls back, disappointment plain on her face though she masks it with a smile.

“It’s okay, no fuss, I just had to try,” she says with a shrug.

I bite my lip, part of me fearing Lisa can be angry, that she lashes out at me. That coward part of me I’ve fought hard to bury for almost 4 years.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Hell, I wish there were a gay or bi bone in my body, ‘cause we’d look totally hot together.”

Lisa laughs, the distress erased from her expression. “Agreed.”

She looks at her phone. “Damn need to go, I’m supposed to go to finish this project. Thanks again, Dinah.”

I know she’s lying but I don’t mind, I’d want to run the hell away too.

“Anytime,” I reply with a smile.

She hands me an envelope with my pay and puts some money on the table before leaving.

I sigh, packing my PC in my bag and wait for a few minutes before getting up and leaving too.

As soon as I get outside my right thigh cramps with pain, I bite my lip to stifle a yelp. When I was 12, I broke my left leg. A platinum implant and screws were necessary to align the bone. It hurts even worse when it’s cold, and chilly March night air blasts me hard.

I huddle in my coat and walk slower than I’d like back home, it’s only a few blocks away. My spine tingles with awareness and I stop, looking around, examining the pedestrians and the dark corners. I feel watched even though I can’t see anyone.

Meh. Maybe I just need a drink.

I hurry and arrive a few minutes later to the house, running into my roommate, Spencer, as he gets his keys to leave. As always, he is wearing designer clothes and exquisite perfume. 6-foot-1, athletic, with perfectly mussed locks of brown hair and milky-chocolate eyes.

“What is it with that shocked face, babe?” he asks, cocking his head to examine me.

“Lisa kissed me,” I say. I rarely keep things from him, well, present things at least.

He laughs. “I knew it.”

I slap his arm and he flinches. “Dammit, why didn’t you tell me she had a thing for me?”

“Because I knew she couldn’t hold it for long and was dying to see your reaction,” his grin grows. “So, did you kiss her back?”

I flush. “Yes, no. Well, not really, I didn’t pull back though.”

Spence smiles wickedly. “So…”

I bite my lip. “So nothing, she is intriguing and stunning but she is a girl, and I don’t like girls that way.”

“100% sure about that?” he asks, eyes uncharacteristically serious.

I roll my eyes. “Yes.”

Are you now? Asks an annoying little voice in the back of my head.

Shut up.

Spence kisses my cheek, barely having to lean, I’m 5-foot-10 and something.

“Aw babe, you need to get out. What if you join Xander and me tonight, huh?”

Xander is Spencer’s boyfriend. Sexy as hell, but quieter than Spence.

“Nope, it’s couch potato time.”

He rolls his eyes. “Fine, I’ll give you a pass today, but soon I will take you out even if I have to drag you.”

I stick my tongue out to him and he passes beside me, swatting my bum before leaving too fast for me to retaliate.

I chuckle, plotting my revenge, and walk straight to the kitchen, hungrier than I thought. The granite counters and stainless steel appliances are elegant and the entire place is immaculate, courtesy of Spence’s hired maid. He was raised with all the comfort and money he could want. At 18, he received his trust and moved as far away from his family as possible. For some mysterious reason, we clicked and ended up living together. Something I am more than grateful for, I couldn’t afford to live in such a nice place by myself, and grandma would freak out if I weren’t safe.

I open the well-stocked fridge and consider trying to make an omelet when I see a box of cold rice noodles.

“Jackpot,” I murmur. The kitchen is safe tonight.

I’ve caused a couple of fires in the past trying to make soup.

Truth is, I’ve caused many fires and my lack of culinary skills is not always to blame.

“Hello, Dinah,” says a male voice behind me.

I whirl around, a hand reflexively flying to my neck.

My heart begins a mad race as I see the worst part of my past enter the kitchen.

“D-Daniel,” I stammer. “How in the hell did you get inside?”

He smiles, confident as always. His 6-foot-2 sturdy frame dwarfs my lean physique. My stomach cramps painfully as he takes a step closer.

“Stay away from me,” I say, voice weak.

My head spins. He is supposed to still be in jail, not in my house many miles away from our hometown.

“Haven’t you missed me, Dinah? I’ve missed you, I’ve thought about you every day for the last 3 years.”

His blue eyes are glowing with anger and lust. My chest constricts painfully as I remember what happened the last time he looked at me like that.

Enough, I order myself.

The phone is on the table behind the island. I dart as fast as I can towards it, but he beats me to it and tosses it towards the foyer.

“No, not so fast, you owe me at least a conversation,” he growls.

“I owe you nothing,” I say, my voice steadier with anger.

Why thank you for showing up, adrenaline.

“You tossed me into jail without reason!” he yells. “You left home to become a stuck-up bitch!”

I flinch back unwillingly.

His lips curl in an ugly snarl. “And look at you now, a whore that fucks other women!” he takes a step closer. “You are mine, only mine or dead, choose.”

“Neither,” I growl, hitting him with my knee where it counts. I try to run toward the foyer, to get the phone, but my stupid leg throbs and makes me fall. I pull myself up and manage only another step before he grabs my ankle and takes me down to the floor. I break the fall with my elbows and kick him with the good leg, coaxing a grunt of pain from him as I rise and run, quickly reaching the foyer, my fingers clumsy as I dial for help.

My hair is yanked and I lose hold of the phone, panicked that I’ve only managed to enter two numbers. He pulls me back toward the kitchen, one of his arms around my neck.

This is why you took self-defense classes, you idiot!

I stomp my foot against his toes, making him grunt. His grip mercifully loosens around my neck. Then, I turn in his grasp and free myself, twist his arm behind his back and push him forward. He sends his elbow back and catches my upper stomach; the pain makes me lose hold of him, all air gone from my lungs. He takes advantage and fast as lighting throws his fist to my face. His athlete reflexes are still sharp, unfortunately. My ears ring and stars dance in my vision, the searing pain on my left cheekbone makes me wince. I would’ve fallen to the floor if not for him taking me by the neck, pulling my face to his.

“Had enough?” he pants, looking demonic, his rank breath on my face. “Keep fighting and it will only get worse, you hear me?”

My hands flail madly until I feel something hard and metallic. I grip the iron skillet and swing it as hard as I can. It produces a dull thud as it crashes against his skull; he releases me at once, stumbling. Grabbing the skillet with both hands, I swing again and again, catching his forehead, the side of his head, his shoulder until he falls hard to the kitchen floor. But to my disgrace is still conscious.

The hell is his skull made of?

I consider hitting him again, but I can’t risk killing the idiot either. So I kick his crotch, he curls up and moans. Stumbling, I make my way to the foyer, pick up my bag, the phone and open the door.

I limp down the few steps, looking around for someone I can call out for help. A few pedestrians focused on their phones or their thoughts walk by; I decide to call the cops instead. My hands are shaking so badly I can barely use my phone.

An incoming call thwarts my efforts.

“Dammit!” I cry.

I am about to hang up when Daniel stalks out of the house; his eyes promise revenge I freeze waiting for round two, but like any good coward, he hurries in the opposite direction, not daring to do something in public.

My phone buzzes again and with trembling fingers, I answer it. “Y-yes?”

“Miss Dinah Marie Novak?” asks a male voice I don’t recognize.

“Yes,” I say warily.

He sighs. “I’m sorry Miss, but Magdalena Novak has passed away.”

Dark spots dance in my vision as I try to understand.

“What?” I ask.

“Magdalena Novak, your grandmother, has passed away,” he says.

“How?” I question.

“A heart attack, I am very sorry.”

I fall gracelessly on the last step, barely listening to what he says as memories flood me. Me and grandma baking my favorite cookies, reading together, her unwavering support and encouragement.

I listen to the instructions and reply to the questions the police officer asks as numbness spreads inside my chest, making it hard to breathe.

I look at the phone in my hand, wishing it was all a nightmare, wishing I could go back to that morning and have a long conversation with grandma. I would’ve if I’d known that was the last time I’d hear her voice.

“Hey, you okay?” asks the neighbor from his door.

I don’t answer him and simply go back inside, limping but feeling no pain.

©Selene Kallan 2020


So, did you like it? You can pre-order DEMON WARDEN here:






Wednesday, November 28, 2018

THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER by Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez

Do you like kickass female characters? Then I've got a great deal for you. 

THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER



THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER SERIES

by Camilla Ochlan and Bonita Gutierrez

Ferocious Werewolf Virus Hits L.A.
Werebeasts Rampage Through The Streets. 
The City's In Chaos.
Nobody's Safe.

Enter Lucy Lowell, The Werewolf Whisperer.

Some call her savior.

Some call her bitch.

Xochi Magaña just calls her, FRIEND.

Together they kick Werebutt.

They thought there’d be no stopping them.

They didn’t know the half of it.

Welcome to the werewolf apocalypse. Hope you’re locked and loaded. 

You’ll chew right through this urban fantasy like a hound through a milk bone. 

Grab the series today! 


The Werewolf Whisperer, Book One
Now available on Amazon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/werewolfwhisperer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@wwwhisperer 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Chronicles of Jaydür by L.F Oake

The Lost Voice


The Lost Voice (The Chronicles of Jaydür Book 1)

Synopsis

The Voices of Jaydür have been murdered. When an immortal bodyguard named Archai brings news of their deaths, Caia Foriei is summoned to leave everyone she loves behind and assume the heavy mantle of her divine ancestor. But it’s not so easy. The sinstarians want the young soon-to-be Voices dead, and they’ll murder anyone in their path to get their way. To protect her from the growing threat to the Voices, Caia’s memories are shielded and she is hurled into another realm. In short time, Jaydür’s godless land and people plunge into decay and despair as Caia tries to recall who she once was and who she was 

Review

A fun, action-packed read. 
Caia is one of the next voices of Jaydur, a keeper of balance. She and the other voices are being chased by Goblins and sinistarians, the enemies of the Elves. 
To ensure Caia's safety a guardian is sent, Archai. He's got a ticket to the book crush list faaast. There is humour, heartbreak, love and fun. 
A must read for those who love fantasy. 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Xxu6Ou


Rise of The Elders


Rise of the Elders (The Chronicles of Jaydür Book 2)


Synopsis

The Voices of Jaydür are alive and well, but the Elders have assumed power—and they aren’t willing to give it up just yet. For two years, Caia has been hidden away on Terra in an attempt to keep her safe from the ruthless sinstarians, who will stop at nothing to capture the next Voice of Apan. But when Caia’s protective Sapient, Archai, tries to return her to her world, the unexpected happens, and an unfamiliar Sapient ushers her back to Jaydür instead. Where is Archai, the ascribed bodyguard Caia has come to trust? Could those who call themselves friends actually be plotting against her? Now, as the Voices enter the next terrifying phase, Caia must learn to cope with her newfound power or lose her sanity—and Jaydür.

Review

I had missed Archai! Give me a cold bastard with sass that deep down cares too much and I am in love. 
Caia is an easily likable character, she is brave and learns from her mistakes. We see her turn into a more mature woman as the plot develops and it is beautiful.
But just right before that, there's a memorable episode I re-read and laughed out loud with. 
A new character makes an appearance, Tanis, another Sapient, and good gods I loved to hate him or hate to love him, not sure. All I know is I want more of him.
A fast-paced, action-packed fantasy with refreshing lore and a good dose of humour I most definitely recommend.

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2U8BRrY

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

HOW NOT TO SUMMON A DEMON.

So, what happens when I am stuck with a scene in my two WIPs? I write a short story. It usually is related to my series, but I ran into this awesome Writing Prompt, and Voila! Now I have another WIP! 
Um, I see a pattern here...


@Selenekwriter


HOW NOT TO SUMMON A DEMON.


“A cookbook!” I cry excitedly.

I stop on the page that has the title: the cure for colds.

That’s what grandma called chicken soup.

Maybe with grandma’s instructions, I can cook a semi-decent dinner without lighting the kitchen on fire.

I repeat the words, barely understanding myself. I must be drunker than I thought, and it doesn’t really sound like soup ingredients.

A flash of purple light coming from my left blinds me for a second.

“Ahh! What the Hell!” I shriek.

I blink, fighting to see again, and then immediately regret it.

There is a giant man with wings in my kitchen. Black, towering wings full of shiny onyx feathers.

Not a man, I realize. A demon.

A shiver blasts down my spine.

Grandma had told me long ago about demons, and I would’ve believed she was completely nuts if I wasn’t able to set things on fire and move things with my mind at times. Or if I had not seen her do magic.

“You are not my chicken soup, are you?” I ask.

His pale face is oddly emotionless, but his eyes flash with anger. “Do I look like a chicken to you?” he asks, voice arctic.

“Uh, well, in my defense, you are kinda feathery,” I mutter, gesturing to his wings, unable to quench the drunken humor despite knowing he can fry me, quite literally.

Damn it, I should not have gotten wasted. But why the Hell would grandma leave a grimoire in the kitchen?

Even weirder, how could I read the spell?

I can see the gibberish clearly now, but it had seemed like English before.

The demon’s purple eyes narrow with suspicion. His towering black wings graze the ceiling. The faint scent of smoke and ash makes my nose itch, and I have to tilt my neck to look up at him. He’s about six-foot-eight, and the leathers enhance his powerful and elegant frame. I usually feel tall and awkward, but right now I feel tiny. My eyes roam his body and my gut clenches painfully. No hooves, no tail, and no stench.

I’ve not just summoned a demon—I’ve summoned a high-ranking demon. Only the most powerful demons look like him, almost completely human, grandma had explained. There’s a black crystal sword strapped to his hip, and daggers to his thighs. Not to mention, somehow I can sense his unearthly contained power, like a massive chasm with no bottom, ancient and unending. I gulp.

Oh, gods. I’m so dead.

“And just why were you using magic to make chicken soup?” he asks, his tone mocking and disdainful.

“I wasn’t. I was trying to read a recipe for chicken soup.”

He cocks a brow and examines me as if to see if I’m lying, then he snorts. “Summoned by an inept half-human, shameful.”

“Hey!” I snap. “Watch your mouth!”

His face grows stony as he leans to my eye level. I keep my arms crossed in defiance even as my knees feel weak.

I’ve just shouted at a high-ranking demon.

That goes high on the stupid-shit-I’ve-done list.

He blinks and pulls back in surprise. “I’ve seen you before.”

“Uh, no you haven’t. I’m sure I’d remember.”

His wings vanish in a blink of purple light along with his leathers, a black suit and a matching shirt replace them. It really doesn’t do much to dampen his intimidating aura.

His eyes focus on a spot above my head, and I follow his gaze to find my grandma’s photo resting on a tall shelf. She is sitting on the porch with me on her lap, a book opened in front of us.

“Magdalena,” the demon mutters, surprise and recognition in his deep voice.

I freeze. “You know my grandma?”

A flicker of something akin to sadness flashes in his face so fast I’m not certain if I imagined it.

“When she was about your age, she summoned me as well,” he says, zeroing his gaze on me again. “Only she did it intentionally, and it had nothing to do with cooking.”

I blink. My grandma knew a demon. The same grandma who had warned me never to peek into her magic books and grimoires, to be a good little witch even if I felt like setting my bullies’ asses on fire.

Then something much more important finally hits me through the numbness of the rum.

“You called me half-human.”

“Did I?” he asks with calculating purple eyes. That unnervingly knowing gaze narrows on my left cheek. “What happened?” he demands, jerking his chin to point at the growing, throbbing bruise.

“I fell,” I lie.

He cocks a brow. “On what? A male’s fist? You summoned me using my real name, which means I am bound to do a deed for you. Give me the name of the idiot so I can deal with him and go back to my business.”

I blink, feeling my stomach cramp with uneasiness.

“There’s no need for you to intervene. He is worse off than I am, believe me,” I say, trying to keep my voice leveled. “And unless you want to make me my chicken soup, I have no use for demon favors.”

“For now,” he says, his tone giving me chills.

I recoil as he leans to take the old notebook from the counter. The heat of his body makes me shiver. I’ve not turned on the heating.

“Where is Magdalena?” the demon asks. “I’d like to give her a little talk about hiding such material better.”

I blink several times as the old notebook magically turns into a leather-bound book. The pages are yellow and full of symbols and what I think now is some bizarre form of Latin.

“How did you—”

“It was glamoured,” he says, eyes hard on my face. “Where is Magdalena?”

Icy pain cuts through my chest. “The funeral is tomorrow.”

He goes preternaturally still. “How did she die?” he demands.

I try to swallow the knot in my throat. “Heart attack.”

His brow knits as a horrific thought crosses my mind.

“She’s not… I mean, she knew how to summon demons.” Oh gods, I think I will vomit. “She’s not in Hell, is she? Please tell me she’s not.”

He snorts. “Foolish girl, a mortal must exchange their soul for wealth or power in order to end up in Hell, or have done wicked deeds. Her soul was among the purest I’ve ever encountered.”

I breathe again as the room spins. The rum, lack of sleep, and hunger are taking a toll.

To my surprise, the demon catches me and sets me down on a chair, his hands warm against my arms, face a few inches away. Just then, I notice how extraordinarily handsome he is—sharp features and pale skin that makes a beautiful contrast with inky black hair. His purple eyes lose some hostility as he examines me back. Amethyst, I realize. His irises look like they’re made of perfectly cut and polished amethysts.

His head snaps toward the door, brow furrowing.

“What—” I begin to ask as the door is pounded on several times.

I flinch. The noise does not help with my throbbing headache.

“Dinah! I know you’re there! Open the door, you little bitch!” Daniel screams.

My eyes widen. How did that psycho find me so fast?

Fear rears its ugly head and I can’t help but shake. I’m in no shape for round two. The bruises still hurt and I feel too weak.

The demon growls, startling me, and moves toward the door with long strides. He opens the door and Daniel’s blue eyes widen in terror. His forehead has a big purple bump from where I hit him with the skillet.

The demon looks down at Daniel as if he’s a particularly annoying vermin, then he takes the six-foot-two football player by the collar and hauls him off his feet as if he’s weightless.

“I see you weren’t lying about fighting back,” the demon says to me as he takes in Daniel’s wound, voice as cold as ice, amethyst eyes bright with an eerie glow. “Nevertheless, I say he’s earned a little punishment, don’t you think?”

Before I can answer, the demon sends an invisible coil of chilly power around Daniel, who lets out an unearthly wail and flails madly for a second before the demon drops him to the ground.

Thanks to the heavens, there are no neighbors around for at least a couple of miles.

Daniel picks himself up, still wailing like a banshee, and runs to his car, rushing inside and revving it up. Mud is lifted off the damp ground as he maneuvers out of the property in a matter of seconds.

“There, he will not be back, I can assure you that,” the demon says, eyes normal again, his expression slightly less murderous.

I stare at him, stunned. He didn’t get a request out of me, but still helped me. I can’t deny a dark part of me enjoyed the sheer terror he put into Daniel, but I don’t want to owe him. “Dammit, I would’ve preferred you making me that chicken soup.”

He sighs. “We will see each other soon.”

“Huh? Why? I thought the deal was off—”

He disappears, just like that, in a flash of amethyst light.

I take a deep breath and close the door, staring into the empty living room.

“Thank you,” I mutter.

Even though it is quite insane to thank a demon for scaring off your obsessive ex-boyfriend.

Meh, I’ve done crazier shit.

©Selene Kallan, 2018.


****UPDATE: Here's the novel inspired by this prompt: DEMON WARDEN. Tap the image to download!
 

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