OF FLAME AND FURY by Cecy Robson releases tomorrow!! This is Taran’s final book in the Weird Girls & Flame Urban Fantasy series by International & Award-Winning author Cecy Robson.
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Of Flame and Fury
Taran Wird, the loudmouth mistress of flame and lightning, didn’t want to attend the formal gathering of the supernatural elite. She did so only to help to unite the supreme beings in attendance in one common goal: protecting Taran’s sister, Celia.
Celia is pregnant with alpha werewolf Aric Connor’s child, the same child prophesized to save the world from uprising evil. Evil wants this child dead before he is born and, more importantly, before he can grow strong enough to stop it.
Taran and her werewolf lover, Gemini, put plans in place to protect Celia. Master Vampire Misha Aleksandr and his clan also swear their allegiance to Celia and vow to keep her from harm. The witches even cast protection spells around the manor to curse anyone with malintent who enters. Nothing was supposed to go wrong, except everything did.
Creatures that shouldn’t exist stalk the grounds and invade the premises, and every curse meant to shield the guests turns against them. No one counted on the powerful being who arrived uninvited. But he’s here, manipulating the magic enclosing the estate to work in his favor.
As body counts rise and allies become enemies, chances are Celia won’t survive the night. But evil never counted on how hard Taran Wird would fight, even at the expense of her life.
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Read Chapter One
Love is bullshit.
Or so I thought.
My parents had love. Two rounds from a shotgun cut that love short and catapulted my childhood into hell. Am I okay now? I suppose you can call it that. I survived a childhood that would make the Brothers Grimm think twice about writing stories of scary beasties. To their credit, they were only human, and like most humans, they didn’t realize those famished monsters looking for kids to munch on actually exist.
Yeah, I survived my childhood and the monsters along the way. Then I met Gemini, and I learned how to live.
From the moment I met my werewolf lover, I knew I was done for. Forget his strength and looks. Forget that he possesses the rare ability to split into two wolves. These are mere bonuses on a long list of sexy points. His real gift is calming my temper like no one else can.
“I think I may have to kill something,” I tell him. I give it some thought. “Any of the slutty vamps here yet?”
His chest rumbles where it’s pressed against my back, releasing a smooth, almost subtle laugh. He knows I’m kidding. Mostly. Except those damn vampires, who dress like naughty Catholic schoolgirls, have a gift for prancing on my last nerve with their stilettos.
“Not yet,” Gemini replies. “You’ll be the first to know when they arrive.”
His lips skim along the sweep of my neck. I shudder, the motion only briefly drawing my focus away from the terrace. I can’t see past the light bleaching the flat stone covering the small exterior space. I wish I could. Beyond, where the mountains of Lake Tahoe reflect on the water, scary creatures stalk, waiting for a chance to kill my sister and her unborn child.
Not that I’ll give them the chance.
It’s insanity, really. Anyone with a speck of reason would run screaming from this nightmare or fall into hysterics, pleading to be spared. I huff at the thought. I learned long ago pleading is for pussies, and no matter how fast you are, the monsters are faster.
“Are you all right?” Gemini asks.
“Peachy,” I reply, not even trying to mean it. God, I’m angry. No…I’m more than angry. I’m furious.
Since Celia learned she and Aric were expecting the child destined to save the world, my fury has brewed to a deadly calm, more frightening than a horrific scream cut short or the hot breath of evil trailing over an innocent throat. It’s a good thing. This fury that stirs me from sleep and burns down to my soul is useful. Sooner or later, evil will lurk from that darkness and find Celia, targeting the little one growing inside her. When it does, my fury will unleash, and the remains of that evil will lie at my feet.
“Taran,” Gemini murmurs against my skin. “Our people are in place. We’ve planned for every possible scenario to protect Celia.”
“I know.” We plan all the time. Sometimes, we wake up planning. Except the bad guys plan, too, and tend to tuck cards up their sinister sleeves.
My right arm twitches in agreement. She doesn’t like anyone threatening us. Like a supercharged battery, Sparky is ready to blow.
“My love,” Gemini whispers against my ear. “It’s all right.” His hand strokes my agitated arm, his gentle touch soothing her in ways I’ve never quite managed.
I smile softly, feeling her settle with another pass of Gemini’s hand.
My zombie right arm is almost a separate entity. The bleached white skin and sickly blue veins that run the length clash against my olive skin tone, causing the suggestive glances I typically receive to avert quickly away. Can’t say I blame anyone. As much as Sparky and I have accepted one another, she doesn’t always listen, and her temper rivals my own.
Sparky here will fry you like bacon with a strong bolt of lightning or whither you to ash in a blaze of fire. It won’t be pretty or gentle. In fairness, neither was the way my original arm was eaten off.
The skirt of my white gown swishes as I turn to face Gemini. He’s in a tux he was born to wear, the shape outlining his long, lean muscles and broad chest. The dark whiskers of his goatee lie neatly trimmed over a chiseled jaw, and his dark, almond-shaped eyes shimmer as they take me in. He strokes the strand of hair that escaped my fancy bun, letting it curl around his finger. He’s so beautiful, and his heart so grand that sometimes, like now, it hurts to look at him. I look anyway, relishing this small pocket of time that remains between us.
My arms wrap around his waist when he kisses me. It’s not a sweet, brief kiss. It’s one that promises we’ll spend the night making love if everything goes well. If it goes well. With everything out there… Yeah, I really need this kiss.
Gemini pulls away before I’m ready to let him go. His gaze is sharp.
It takes a moment for my hearing to catch up with his supernatural senses. A floor below, voices ripple as the first of the honored guests make their way to the ballroom.
“It’s time,” Gemini says. The softness he demonstrated in my presence abandons him, leaving nothing but the devastatingly beautiful features of a predator readying to kill.
My hands slowly slip away, the bite of tension that consumes me finding its way into my throat. “I know,” I say.
The last few pureblood weres in existence arrived in Tahoe late last night. The vampire clans from Eastern Europe, three nights before. As head witch of the region and hostess, Genevieve has welcomed sister covens from as far as South Africa over the last few weeks.
Working as one, the witches created and reinforced the wards surrounding Le Grand Chateau de Montagne, Genevieve’s newly constructed magical fortress where this supernatural summit is to take place. Anyone who’s anyone will be here for a chance to mingle among the elite and seek an opportunity to get ahead. But the real reason for this gala is why I’m here. It’s one last chance to unite the forces for protecting Celia’s baby.
Voices echo along the second floor, the collective power of all these formidable beings chilling my spine and sending a quiver down Sparky’s length. The pale, bleached skin glows fluorescent white. She doesn’t like the magic scraping along our skin. It challenges us to come out swinging.
Settle down, Sparky, I tell my arm. There shall be no death and destruction tonight.
The smile Gemini stirred vanishes as I mull over that thought. Well, maybe, maybe not. None of us are exactly besties.
Sparky shudders when someone belts out a laugh. It’s not a genuine, fun laugh. It’s packed with power and warns those in the vicinity that he’s not afraid—and that they should be. Gemini chuckles when I roll my eyes. This idiot is only the first of many who will flex their supernatural muscles tonight.
We’re not rounding up the good guys. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re attempting to unify a crowd of bloodthirsty freaks.
“Shhh,” Gemini murmurs. He lifts my right hand, brushing his lips across the sickly blue veins and over my knuckles. It’s fair to say we had issues accepting my new arm, despite the were magic used to create it. But you’d never know it by the way Gemini caresses me now. The glowing recedes, as do the trembles. “Rest easy, Taran. I am with you.”
He bends to kiss me. But if he does, I won’t want him to stop. I avert my chin. “We should head to the party before I do more naughty things that you’ll enjoy.”
“Hmm,” he says. “Very well. But it seems you enjoy them too.”
“I’ll give you that,” I say. My impish smile vanishes when I realize how worried I really am. “Let’s stay alive, okay?”
Gemini’s worry for my safety tightens his voice. “We will,” he replies.
He straightens slowly, his posture stiff as the voices grow louder and the waves of magic rippling through the room turn more pronounced.
I drop the vulnerability I allow in Gemini’s presence and reach out with the magic I was born with. I sense the witches, mingling among the throng of weres who’ve just arrived. The spell-wielders are different beings, but their magic is earthy like the weres. It’s one of the many reasons weres and witches are so tight; their mojo complements each other. But then in a shove, their collective power drifts away, and I receive a virtual slap to the ass.
Oh, goody. The vamps are here, showing off their strength and allure since that’s how they roll.
Gemini lifts his head, scowling. Yup. He senses them too.
Tonight, is all about the supernaturals. Clans coming together and old bitter rivals burying hatchets. Unity must occur, so Celia and her unborn child remain safe. That doesn’t mean everyone will play nice, nor does it mean they’ll agree for the greater good. Most just want to spare their hides and keep their fortunes.
Gemini’s frown deepens. “Aric is here,” he says.
And cue the sense of wrongness. “Without Celia?” I ask.
Gemini jerks out of his jacket and shirt before I finish asking. Like a vat of pouring ink, his twin black wolf materializes from his back.
Large paws, one as black as the rest of the beast, and one white, strike the hardwood floor almost silently. I shadow Gemini as he crosses the suite to the door leading out.
His twin stalks out. Another wolf prowling by, this one brown and white, stops dead when he sees Gemini’s twin. Like the black wolf, he’s over four hundred pounds of muscle and damn intimidating. He eases away from Gemini’s twin, trailing him as the twin trots down the hall.
“Why is Aric here without Celia?” I ask, not liking this one bit. “His biggest fear is someone hurting her or the baby.”
Gemini shoves his dress shirt back into his pants, redressing quickly. “He’s worried.”
“Exactly,” I say, edging closer to the door. “So, why would he leave her alone?”
Gemini sets his jaw. “It’s extra security. Aric’s magic is strengthening.”
I help him with his tie, attempting to relax my nerves as I mull over his words. “I haven’t felt anything different.”
“He’s been holding back,” Gemini replies, his voice lowering. “Being one of his Warriors and Second in Command, I’ve sensed it growing and feeding mine.”
“I haven’t felt anything,” I admit. “And I feel everything…”
My words lodge as a scary and vicious presence forces its way into the room. I jump away from the door, my firing arm out. Something primal waits just outside. I’m ready to blast away until I catch a trace of familiarity behind it. This beast isn’t at our door—he’s everywhere.
“Is that Aric?” I ask, barely recognizing what his were power has become.
“Yes.” Gemini reaches for my hand and escorts me through the door. “He won’t hold back tonight.”
All right, now it makes sense. “Anything out to get Celia will presume she’s with him,” I determine. “He’s making himself a target.”
I barely shut the door with how fast Gemini stalks forward. “Yes,” he responds, keeping his voice quiet. “It will divert attention away from Celia.”
I grind to a stop. Gemini could easily keep going with my hand still attached. Thankfully, he’s always careful not to hurt me. “How bad is it?” I ask.
His gaze darkens as it meets mine. “Worse than we could have imagined.”
© Cecy Robson, LLC 2020
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