Excerpt from Cursed
Emma Boulton let herself sink beneath the surface of the steaming water, hoping the heat of the bath would ease the tension from her neck and shoulders. On a good day, teaching high school level English was difficult. On a day like today, it was hell on earth.
Amber, one of her students, was back in school after having missed several days to attend her grandmother’s funeral. Unfortunately, the spirit of said grandmother had decided to come to class with Amber. Once the old woman had figured out Emma could see her, she’d spent the entire day in her room, throwing markers, fiddling with the window blinds and dropping books.
Only one student had caught sight of the spirit, but she’d wisely put her head down and closed her eyes. Normally, not paying attention in class was an instant detention, but Emma wasn’t about to send her to the principal’s office. Hell, if she could have gotten away with putting her head down on the desk and ignoring the spirit, she would have done the same thing. It wasn’t that she was afraid of ghosts, per se. But they were dead, and the dead belonged on the other side—instead of staying here and throwing spit wads at the living.
Emma had stayed until even the cleaning crew had left the building and tried to convince Amber’s grandmother to move on. It had taken several long hours, but eventually the old woman crossed over.
Gripping the rim of the claw-foot tub, Emma pulled herself up to the surface and wiped the water from her eyes. She opened them, and a scream caught in her chest. A tall and decidedly transparent man leaned against her sink. Dressed as he was in a black suit, complete with a long frock coat, he looked like an antique photograph come to life. Shaggy, dark-brown hair drooped across his forehead, and he pushed it aside. Deep blue eyes watched her intently.
“For fuck’s sake,” she was finally able to mutter.
“Language, Miss Boulton.”
Stifling a sigh, she grabbed a towel and quickly stood to wrap it around herself. She’d never get used to ghosts knowing shit they shouldn’t—like her name. Pointing at the door, she said, “Out. Out of my bathroom. Out of my house. Out of this plane of existence.”
A dark eyebrow rose. “I’d love to. Really, I would.” An Irish accent colored his words, and his deep voice wrapped her in tingling warmth. “However, I’m not leaving until you convince your harridan of a sister, and her equally obnoxious companion, to leave.”
“Your sister.” He spoke slowly as though he thought she were an idiot. “Is in my schoolhouse. With her friend—the girl with red hair. They’re not listening.”
Realization sank like a stone in her stomach. “The abandoned schoolhouse on eighty-fourth street?
“The same. They have a Ouija board.” Disdain dripped from his voice. “A pink Ouija board.”
She was going to kill Meaghan. And Rowan. She’d told them time and time again to stay away from there, but they didn’t listen. Now, she had to deal with a pissed off ghost.
“Look, I’m sorry they disturbed you, but they really don’t mean any harm.”
“I don’t care. I want them out.”
She sighed. Meaghan wanted nothing more than to see the same spirits Emma did, but it wasn’t where her gift lay. Her sister was a seer—not a medium. Of course, Emma heartily wished she wasn’t a medium at the moment.
Tightening the towel around herself, she walked past the apparition. Just as she was about to pass through the bathroom door, he moved in front of her, simply appearing there in that annoying way ghosts had. Her next step carried her directly through his body, but instead of the icy cold that normally accompanied spirit contact, her body flushed with heat. She whirled to look at him, her surprise mirrored perfectly on his face.
“I can feel you,” he whispered, sounding as shaken as she felt.
Excerpt from Summoned
“As I will, so mote it be.” Rowan Spencer’s words hung in white puffs of breath in the chilly, late spring air as she released energy into the ground beneath her. A ripple of power spread through last autumn’s leaves and fallen twigs, churning the dirt below as though it were water. The lines of the circle she’d cast glowed faintly blue-white underneath the shifting leaves, disrupting the near darkness surrounding her.
Nervously, she knelt outside the circle and watched as the light brightened, searing the damp leaves and grass with its heat. Usually when the energy left her body, it slowly dissipated until it was gone, but this seemed to be increasing with every passing second. She only hoped that meant the spell would be successful. It needed to be successful.
The earth suddenly roiled below her, and she stumbled to her feet, unable to tear her eyes from the ever-brightening circle. She glanced around, hoping no one was nearby to notice the otherworldly glow shining through the trees. The ground rumbled as if something huge fought its way to the surface.
Her heart leapt into her throat. This wasn’t right. Simple protection spells didn’t involve burning leaves or miniature earthquakes. What had she done? And more importantly, how the hell was she supposed to stop it?
She dropped to her knees, laid her hands on the trembling earth and tried to call back the energy she’d sent forth. It didn’t work. A startling shock traveled up her arms and into her chest before she could pull her hands away. It reminded her of touching her grandparents’ electrified fence as a child. She’d wandered around for the rest of the day convinced that she’d drop dead at any moment because she’d disobeyed and snuck into the cow pasture. Now, like then, she wasn’t sure if she’d survive the consequences of what she’d done.
Roots and vines crawled toward the center of the circle, pulsing and rising from the earth—coalescing into a mound at least half a foot taller than her. As she watched in growing horror, the vines continued moving of their own volition, and a definite shape began to form. Discernable arms and legs appeared along with a head and wide shoulders.
Terror dried her mouth as she tried to convince her body to move, to run away and never to return to this place, but apparently, her body had zero interest in listening to her. It remained as firmly rooted to the ground as this humanoid figure seemed to be.
She wished Meaghan or Emma were here. Hell, both of them. They’d always had far better control of their powers than she’d ever had. She was an idiot to have attempted this on her own. No. That wasn’t true; she’d done tons of protection spells over the years. Granted, none of them on as large a scale as this one, but the area of effect shouldn’t matter. But somehow it did. Or, she’d really screwed up something. Something major.
A sudden breeze blew past her, whipping her hair into her eyes and causing them to tear. The breeze picked up the dead leaves that carpeted the orchard floor, drawing them like a cloak around the figure. They clung to the shape, forming a sort of skin over the vines.
Again, she tried to force herself to run, but she remained frozen in place—no more able to leave than the trees surrounding her. Her breath caught in her throat as a faint glow pulsed in the chest cavity of the figure. With every passing second, it grew stronger and more vibrant until it expanded and radiated through the entire body, bright as the noonday sun. She closed her eyes against the intense glare.
When she opened them again, the light was gone, but the figure wasn’t. Blinking around the floating black spots marring her sight, she stared in jaw-dropping awe at the man in front of her. Golden skin covered perfectly shaped muscles and wide, well-formed shoulders. Light brown hair dusted an equally broad chest and narrowed over tightly delineated stomach muscles, before thickening as it extended lower. Catching sight of a huge cock, she lifted her gaze sharply upward, meeting the brightest green eyes she’d ever seen.
The man held her gaze for several long, terrifying moments before glancing around the grove of trees. “You have summoned me, but I see no sacrifice.”
Excerpt from Enchanted
“No. Just…no.” Meaghan Boulton sighed as she interrupted Rowan, her best friend, again. “I know that you and Gwydion are the picture of freaking domestic bliss. And hell, so are Emma and Ian, but it’s not for me.”
“C’mon, Megs,” Rowan coaxed. “I just want to see you happy.”
“I am happy.”
“I know, but—”
“Honey, I adore you, but no love spells. They never work the way they’re supposed to, and besides, what I really need is to get laid. That’s it.”
“Shit!” From the corner of her eye, Meaghan saw the black streak tear into the street, and she slammed on her brakes. Almost immediately, she lurched forward. The seatbelt tightened uncomfortably across her chest, and her head smacked the upper edge of the steering wheel as the truck that had been following her hit the back of her car.
A rush of adrenaline flooded her body, and her breath caught in her throat.
“Are you okay?” Rowan demanded, her voice suddenly shrill. “Meaghan? What happened?”
“I’m all right,” she murmured. “But I need to call you back.” She disconnected the call then ran a shaky hand through her hair, blinking slowly. She waited a moment for her vision to clear before glancing into the rearview mirror. The guy behind her looked pissed as he scrubbed a hand across his face before motioning her forward.
Of course. A virtually deserted road and she still managed to get into a car accident. Lifting her foot off the brake, she steered toward the side of the road then put the car into park. At least the impact hadn’t been hard enough to set off the airbag. Meaghan took a deep breath, pushed the door open and got out.
She was already late for a photo shoot. She didn’t have time to wait for the cops to show up. Her boss would kill her. Toby was great, but she had a thing for punctuality. Not that Meaghan could blame her.
She turned toward the other driver at the sound of gravel crunching. Anything she might have said died in her throat at the sight of him. The guy was gorgeous. Definitely not her type, but gorgeous, nonetheless. Her gaze skittered over him—tall, broad shouldered, piercing blue eyes and full, firm, bitable lips. His sandy blond hair was short—not quite military short, but close. Yeah, so not her type.
“What the hell were you thinking?” the guy demanded as he stalked toward the front of his truck.
And he just lost points for attractiveness. “I’m so glad you’re all right,” she snapped. “I’m fine, too. Thanks for asking.”
He frowned then leaned closer. “You’ve got a mark on your forehead. Did you hit it?”
Her hand automatically lifted to her face. It felt tender to the touch. Oh yeah. That was going to bruise. Wonderful. “I’m fine. Are you all right?”
He nodded absently, still studying her. “What happened?” he asked. “Why did you brake like that?”
“A cat ran out into the road. I was trying not to hit it.”
He rubbed a hand across his eyes then glared at her. “A cat. You caused a car accident because of a cat.”
Meaghan took a step forward and pointed at his truck. “It’s fine. Look. You don’t have any damage. No big deal.” Her rear bumper was pretty well crunched, but whatever, she’d driven worse. “I’ll give you my information, and if something ends up being wrong, you can call and file a claim with my insurance company.”
He scowled at her then pulled his phone out of his pocket and punched in three numbers.
“Seriously? You’re calling the cops over this?”
Scowling at her the whole time, he reported the accident. When he hung up, he said, “They’ll be here as soon as they can.”
Meaghan fought the urge to roll her eyes and leaned against the side of her car. “Fabulous.”
His lips pulled downward, and she forced herself not to stare at his mouth. “I don’t know what you’re complaining about. I’m the one who’s going to get the ticket.”
“I’m the one who’s going to piss off her boss by being late to work. And don’t get bitchy with me. You’re the one who was riding my ass.”
His gaze dropped briefly to where her ass rested against the car then returned to her face. He didn’t say a word, but his eyes flared brightly as they held her motionless.
Awareness sparked to life in the pit of her belly, but she tried to smother it. “Whatever,” she muttered, waving her hand in his direction. “You’re the one who insisted on calling the police.”
He narrowed his eyes at her. “This is Michigan. It’s illegal not to report an accident if the damage is over three-hundred bucks.” He glanced at her bumper. “That qualifies.”
“Oh good. A Boy Scout.”