Everything happens in Bandit Creek when WITCHES, WARLOCKS, and CANINE FAMILIARS slip through the portal from THE OTHERLAND
When murder strikes in a remote mountain town, and the victims aren’t who they seemed, powerful guardian warlock, Marcus Egan, is sent from The Otherland to investigate. What he doesn’t expect to find is Avalon Gwynn, the grieving daughter of the victims. She has no idea she’s an extraordinary, hereditary witch, and more than two decades’ worth of Avy’s pent-up magical abilities have just been set free in the mortal world. Can Marcus catch a killer while making sure Avy doesn’t bring Crow Mountain crashing down on her hometown?
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Marcus debated if he should fade into the background. In his line of work, his talent for making even another witch’s eye look past him without registering his presence was useful.
He felt another power surge. “What the—
The woman wasn’t the magic source. Fierce, dark eyes locked on him, not in a friendly, or mortal, way. And the beast already knew Marcus was there. What the hell is a familiar doing here? Familiars couldn’t be summoned. They appeared only when gifted by a more powerful spirit in times of great danger. There hadn’t been such a creature around The Otherland for centuries. So who sent this one to the mortal world, he wondered. And why?
Pushing away from the wall, Marcus wandered over to the reception desk. By habit, he moved with quiet steps, yet the young woman seemed to sense his approach and turned in his direction. She pulled the cap from her head, pushed loose wisps of hair from her forehead, and looked up at him.
His breath stopped in his throat and his mouth watered. The little nymph was more than the usual pretty combination of golden blond hair and flawless fair skin. Her electric blue eyes, even smudged with fatigue, jolted his gut in a way he hadn’t felt since his teens, when his magical energy was working overtime along with his hormones.
He smiled and managed to keep his stance casual as he kept one eye on the familiar and one on the woman. She seemed startled for a second but then returned his smile with a brilliant one of her own. The familiar didn’t. He bared his teeth and growled.
“I mean you no harm.” He didn’t want the familiar to blow his cover so he stood completely still as he spoke to it directly.
To the woman, he said, “Is he always afraid of strangers?”
The familiar rumbled again as if insulted.
“Only you as far as I know,” she replied. Her voice, a rich alto, wrapped around him like a siren’s song. “He was fine with me, and the sheriff, yesterday.”
He blinked trying to regain some control of his brain. “What’s his name?” He eased his hand, very slowly, towards the familiar murmuring reassurances that only the magical beast would understand.
“I don’t know really. I found him last night with no collar.” She shrugged and a light flush colored her cheeks. “I’ve been calling him Busby. You know, after the big furry hats the guards at Buckingham Palace wear. When I first saw him on my porch, that’s what he reminded me of.”
That answers one question, Marcus thought. He’s here to protect this woman. But does she know that? With his hand dangerously close to the familiar’s mouth, he let the beast scent the strength of his power. Warlocks were a level above most magical creatures, having been bred for generations as warriors. Of course, that didn’t mean the familiar wasn’t as strong, or even stronger. No one knew how familiars traveled from witch to witch and many assumed they were from the spirit realm.
Finally, the creature eased back on his haunches.
“Busby’s giving me a reprieve.” He very slowly withdrew his hand. To the familiar he said, “Giving me a chance, aren’t you, Busby. But you let me know who’s got the teeth when it comes to this woman.” He stepped back.
A few character quotes and funny moments:
“Maybe Marcus would realize she was missing. He might even be able to follow her magical trail. If that existed. She’d only seen it in the movies. Darn, that was werewolves—or was it vampires? She worked her jaw in frustration. She just didn’t know much about the supernatural, had never been that interested, until now.” – Avalon (Avy) Gwynn
“His breath stopped in his throat and his mouth watered. The little nymph was more than the usual pretty combination of golden blond hair and flawless fair skin. Her electric blue eyes, even smudged with fatigue, jolted his gut in a way he hadn’t felt since his teens, when his magical energy was working overtime along with his hormones.” – Marcus Egan
“A sudden movement behind them on the porch broke through Avy’s shock. Sheriff Morgan spun around with his hand on the butt of his Sig as a dark form slipped out of the shadowed corner of the porch. She couldn’t move, frozen in place by overstressed nerves and absolute terror. When the shape fully emerged onto the porch, her mind registered four legs, thick dark brownish-black fur, a long snout showing razor sharp teeth—with a tongue lolling out.” – Busby, Avy’s Canine Familiar
Watch for Mortal Magic, Book 2 in THE OTHERLAND trilogy.
Marcus is keeping Avy safe for now, but the story doesn’t end here. What will it take to stop the corrupt Council of Master Witches from destroying The Otherland— with the mortal realm as collateral damage? According to an ancient prophecy, the answer is the Fates of the Otherland. But who are they and how can they find each other in time.