Book II of the "Winslow Witches of Salem"
from Secret Cravings Publishing
How rare it is to find an author who can wrap everything together so seamlessly: characters, plot, background, oh yes and sex. No, not just sex. Sensuality, romance, eroticism and innocence, all in one beautiful package.
Jo, Editor of Out There: Newsletter for Lovers of Paranormal Fiction
Journey into a world where magic rules and death is the penalty for
mistakes--return to the kingdom of Ru-Noc, where witches, wizards, and warlocks dwell...
Hannah Miller is starting over--new life, new location, and the grand opening of the Sugar 'N' Spice bakery with her best friend, Kirrah Walker. But Hannah soon discovers Sanctuary is not small town America. Trapped in a world of magic where humans are considered aliens--Hannah soon becomes the target of a waken assassin.
Red Roses for Authors
Christmas Awards 2008 Nominee
The male witch, Sage, is sent to terminate Hannah, the impertinent human who has dared to enter the sacred realm. Sage usually complies with the guild's orders, but he faces this assignment with dread. He hasn't forgotten what took place at the Salem witch trials in 1692 and has vowed to avoid all mortals--until he sees Hannah for the first time.
Caught up in the immortal conflict sweeping across Ru-Noc, the star-crossed lovers wage a different kind of war that set off more sparks than a witch's wand...
Fall under the spell of "Witch's Heart"--where Sage and Hannah discover love has a magic all its own...
From WITCH'S HEART
After The First Battle for Ru-Noc
Mojave Desert, southern California
It was a perfect night for murder, except when Sage opened his eyes he wasn't looking up at the moon and stars. Instead, he saw a vivid blue sky.
That couldn't be right. He'd never seen a blue sky before. Lime-green and lemon-yellow, sure, certainly not this strange blue with fluffy white clouds dotting the sky like marshem puffs.
He couldn't possibly be in his realm. In Ru-Noc, clouds bobbed across the sky like enormous, pink lolli-roos.
He squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his hand across his aching forehead. Murder. Now why did that come to mind? His brain felt jammed with the absurd, blue sky, white clouds and murder.
He wondered vaguely whose party he'd attended and just how much of the potent amber wiska, he'd consumed. He pulled himself to a half-sitting position, moaning as he forced his tortured body to move. Sharp splinters of pain sliced through his skull. Unanswered questions buzzed around inside his head like a plague of Mandreyan bees.
"I couldn't have murdered someone."
What the hell kind of party did I go to?
True, he'd never had a head for wiska. One sip of the intoxicating waken's brew and his speech slurred, his legs wobbled, and he crashed faster than water racing down a sluice. However, it didn't usually leave him with the mother of hangovers. He rubbed his heart. Acute pain lodged in the center of his chest. That was something new as well. Someone must have punched a big hole in him, and for added measure, ripped out his guts through the cavity.
On top of everything else, he seemed to have misplaced his memory. Only snippets of things--words, popped in and out of skull, mish-mashing with the constant buzzing. Nausea slipped in, a black fissure in his stomach.
He tried to swallow. Hell, there wasn't a hint of moisture to dampen his parched throat. He couldn't spit. The sand in his mouth refused to budge.
Sand? There was another word that made little sense.
He made a face and spit out the grit. Chomping down was a major mistake. The miniature granules crunched beneath his teeth like tiny beads of glass.
It set his teeth on edge. Erg!
His stomach chose that moment to rumble its complaints, reminding him he had no idea when he'd last eaten. He rubbed his blurry eyes. Blinked. Rubbed them again, but rubbing only made them burn worse. A steaming lobstroid in a pot of boiling water couldn't burn any worse than his eyes.
Swiveling to the left, he gasped. Never in all his centuries of living had he seen such desolate land.
Where the hell was he?
Great! That's exactly where he was. Hell. He must be in Hell.
But how had he gotten here?
He'd never breathed air like this--bone-dry and hotter than the sweltering red dunes of the Underworld. So maybe that was it. Forget Hell. He was in Dym's Underworld. The Prince of Death had collected him.
He drew in a deep breath but fell into a fit of coughing.
Everywhere he looked, sand, sand, and more sand. Tall, thick things dotted the vast, scorched land--spiny arms stretched toward the sky. Uneven ridges of rocky, lusterless mountains jutted upward and outward in bumpy, jagged walls of sandstone. Splashes of white, the pale gold of champagne, and the blush pink of a sunset gave the stone ledges spectacular color and a sense of life.
Fingers of apprehension snaked down his spine and coiled around him like a Junus vine. The aloneness hit him, the total isolation. He was an alien in an unfamiliar world.
A slight movement on the sand diverted his attention. He stared at the pinkish colored bug. It scooted across the creamy colored granules as if it was on fire. Its long narrow tail spiked over a ribbed back. In front, a set of pinchers grasped a small black spider.
Panic whipped through him. His gut clenched. The bug might be small, but he'd never seen anything so damned ugly in his life. Of course, he could have the misfortune of meeting a human. Illumrofs were damned ugly, too. That's what he'd been told anyway.
It crept closer.
"What in the bleeding hell are you?"
The odd looking creature didn't bother to answer him. It darted beneath a rock with its soon-to-be-meal, but the critter was too close for comfort, especially since he didn't know what the ugly bugger was.
Sage crab-crawled back from the rock and froze. There was another strange creepy-crawly undulating toward him. Its entire body colored a sandy beige with darker, diamond-shaped markings bordered by lighter-colored scales.
Of a sudden, it whipped into a coil and furiously wiggled its black-banded tail.
He stared at it, fascinated. Damn, if it wasn't closer than the ugly bug under the rock. For some reason, the rattling creature with its thin lips reminded him of Black Drayke.
Black Drayke! He remembered the evil warlock. Sage sighed. Nothing else came to mind.
"By the Devil's wicked brew, this is getting worse by the minute."
Here he'd awoken in an alien world, surrounded by wicked looking critters, his memory sketchy at best. He hoped whatever god played this joke on him was having a good laugh.
He wished the funny looking--thing would quit shaking its tail at him and stop making that strange noise. It was beginning to sound like the odd buzzing in his head. Annoying.
Spitting more grit out of his mouth, Sage rose to his feet and wobbled unsteadily. Goosebumps rose on his arms. Whatever world he was in, he didn't like it here. He wanted his home at Droth. He wanted Ru-Noc. Yesterday. Hell, he'd settle for Sanctuary. Today. Ah. More words. More memories filled his head. Home. He remembered home, but only in a distorted sort of way.
The blazing sun beat down on the top of his bare head. His left eye hurt like the devil, the same eye Hannah Miller slammed her fist into a few nights ago. Hannah Miller, one human who definitely did not look like a troll. Another piece of the puzzle slid in place. He remembered Hannah.
Sage squinted, searching the distance. Did Hell actually have big silver boxes that sort of looked like a place to dwell? Metal houses?
Yes! There was life here, after all. If he didn't hurt so badly, he'd shout with delight. Maybe there was someone who could tell him where he was and what had happened to him. He stared at the distant images, happy to see any form of a lifeline. The metal houses wavered and floated in the obscure distance like a ship adrift at sea.
Greasy nausea rose from the back of his throat. He leaned over, retched, and stumbled closer to the angry creature shaking its tail. It flicked its tongue at him.
Sage sucked in a sharp breath as the thing suddenly jumped its full length straight at him.
"Mother of the Devil!" He tottered back. "Holy, witch's brew, it bit me!" He tore at the metal button on the front of his black leather pants and dragged the zipper down in a mad rush. White-hot pain nipped at his balls. "I can't believe it. It--bit me on--"
His voice cracked with horror when he saw exactly where he'd been bitten. He cupped his balls and collapsed to one knee. Sharp pain curdled through his groin. "Ouch! Sheeahta!" He watched the demon creature slither away. "Come back here, Thing! I'm going to rip you in half!"
He released his aching balls, muttered a chant, and wiggled his fingers. And waited. The creature didn't explode. There were no wondrous sparks of energy. No explosion of mighty, waken power. "Gods. I have no magic."
Incredulity spread through him. He was stranded who knows where with no magic and a creature had just bitten him for no reason.
He rose slowly to both feet, but the hideous thing rudely ignored his command to come back. It crawled on its belly until it reached a clump of prickly bushes a few feet away. There it coiled its stodgy body under the shade and flicked its wicked tongue in silent warning. It dared him to make a wrong move. Sage snorted. Yeah, right, like he wanted the cock-biting son of a bitch near him again.
He drew a short breath. His gut clenched as he looked down a second time. Yep. Sure enough, there were two tiny pricks mid-way up the length of his...prick. "May the devil weep."
Sage eyed his cock. His brows knitted in a frown. Droplets of blood oozed from the two identical tiny punctures. He sucked in a sharp breath. The wounds burned like the Fires of Damnation.
Horrified, he scowled at the matching sites. Suddenly, his cock throbbed. He watched, jaw agape as his shaft stretched full length--not with passion, either. Samhain! Was he now going to walk around with a permanent hard-on?
Hmm. If that was the worst thing that happened from the monster's bite, he'd find a way to live with it--somehow. Grunting, he reached down to pull up his pants. The ground rushed at him like a speeding rom. He swayed unsteadily. His eyes rolled in the back of his head and he crashed like a felled tree.
Sage blinked. "Whoa! What happened?"
Be damned if he wasn't right back on his back and sprawled on the sand. He closed his eyes, fighting the green bubbles of nausea fizzing in his stomach.
Warily, he opened one eye, then the second. Big mistake! The strange, blue sky lurched to one side like a giant tidal wave. Devil's toenails, sure as Samhain, he was going to hurl.
Only the gods knew how long he lay there too paralyzed to move while the crazy world he'd woke up in sucked him to the center of its spinning black vortex. It seemed like hours. He squeezed his eyes shut and clawed at the loose sand. His fingers buried in the granules as the wild ride went on and on, spinning and spinning in an endless voyage.
He couldn't think. He could barely breathe. What a sad shape the creature's bite had rendered him to. His breath climbed into his throat and lodged there. He gasped, trying to suck air into his lifeless lungs. His last coherent thought as he lay there naked from the waist down, pants twisted around his boots, was he really must have died and gone to the Underworld. There was no other explanation. He'd died.
And his punishment was having a big, swollen cock and no female to ease the problem.
The sad truth hit him. He felt too sick to even give a shit.
Was it hours later or merely a moment before he heard an odd, growling noise? Gods, he hoped the damned crawling thing wasn't bringing its father to finish him off. He raised his head high enough to see what angry monster approached, then fell back, closing his eyes. It was impossible to move. His body was stone and growing stiffer by the minute. His muscles were simply locking tightly together.
The strange rumbling sounded like thunder as it drew closer. He forced his eyes open and turned his head to one side.
What kind of beast roared on four wheels?
It jerked to a sudden halt beside him. He could swear it belched fire and brimstone as it sat there and rumbled. Watching the woman climb off the reined-in brute, he choked back a gasp. Oh, no. No way. This could not be happening to him.
He was in the illumrof world? The human world? The worst enemy known to witch kind?
He must be.
How else could he explain the beautiful, but hostile face of Hannah Miller--the only human he'd ever met--standing over him?
She leaned closer and snorted. "Your dick is burned to a crisp, Waken!"
"My cock is fried?"
Horror engulfed him. He groaned. Oh, yes, he was in the illumrof world, punishment for daring to face MeLora in battle, for saving Saylym. This had to be part of his penalty for banishing Hannah from his world.
He closed his eyes and wished he was anywhere but here.
Memories tumbled, revolving over and over in a heedless blur through his mind, twirling, whirling like the gears of a watch. Spinning--spinning--until--until--
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