- Dragon Wytch
- Night Huntress
- Demon Mistress
- Bone Magic
- Harvest Hunting
- Blood Wyne
- Courting Darkness
- Shaded Vision
- Shadow Rising
- Haunted Moon
- Autumn Whispers
- Crimson Veil
- Priestess Dreaming
- Panther Prowling
- Darkness Raging
- Never After
- Inked Anthology
- Etched in Silver
- Ice Shards
- The Shadow of Mist
Haunted Moon by Yasmine Galenorn (book 13 of the New York Times Bestselling Otherworld Series)
Berkley (Mass Market); February 2013
Release Date: January 29, 2013
We're the D'Artigo sisters: savvy half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. My sister Delilah is a two-faced werecat and a Death Maiden. My sister Menolly is a vampire married to a werepuma. And me? I'm Camille, a wicked-good witch with three sexy husbands. I'm a priestess of the Moon Mother, and I'm training under the Queen of Darkness. Unfortunately, playing in the dark means that sometimes you stumble over secrets better left buried…
There's a new Fae sorcerer in town—Bran, the son of Raven Mother and the Black Unicorn--and I'm the unwilling liaison between him and our new Earthside OIA. With cemeteries being ransacked, and spirits being harvested by a sinister, otherworldly force, Aeval sends us to rescue the missing wife of a prominent member of the Fae nobility. Our search leads us to the mysterious Aleksais Psychic Network, and ultimately, to face the Lord of Ghosts. Morio and I must undergo one of the most terrifying rituals we've ever experienced. A ritual that will plunge us directly into the world of the dead.
"Inhale. Slowly . . . That's it. Now . . . exhale in one, two, three." Morio's voice was low in my ear as he knelt behind me, leaning down, his hands on my shoulders, magic tingling through his fingers, into my body.
I sat cross-legged on the floor, wearing a filmy black dress, my arms extended to the sides. In my left hand, I balanced an orb of obsidian. In my right, I grasped a yew wand, carved with intricate symbols etched in silver.
"Focus on the spirit. Keep your gaze on it." Again, his soft whispers caressed my ear. We were in tune, my youkai and I, as we sat in a flaming Circle under the night sky, in the hidden shadows of a long-forgotten graveyard. The borders of the Circle were ablaze with magical fire-the purple crackle of death magic-and I was doing my best to control it, struggling to multitask the spells we were working on.READ MORE
We were in a small cemetery, one shrouded with disuse and neglect. The smell of earth hung pungent in my nose, and a scuttling of bugs across the ground made me shiver, but I forced myself to ignore them, doing my best to forget they were there as I stared at the spirit hovering in front of me.
The ghost was luminous in the night, rising above us, spiraling up from the skull that rested on the ground by my feet. I had no idea who the spirit had been, or why it was here. My task was to break through its barriers and destroy it, setting it free to rest, or-if it would not go willingly-sending it into oblivion.
I gathered the rush of energy Morio was feeding me into a focused beam. The rumbling power twisted through my body, a radiant heat, a purple flame. The tingles sparked, crackling through muscle and sinew as the power grew, buoying me up until I spiraled out of my body.
Looming large before the spirit, I struggled to keep control-both of the flames forming the Circle and of those bucking through me like a horse unwilling to take a master. Morio was forcing the power through me faster than I'd ever been able to take it before, and I struggled to keep atop of it. I lowered my head, searching for the key. And there . . . hiding behind a wayward spark, there it was.
All magic-all energy-had a key, a signature. Control the key, control the force.
Reaching out, I latched onto the signature and the flames flared up. At first they resisted my control, but I wouldn't let go. After a struggle, they surrendered and quit fighting me. As they gave in to my will, I shaped them, smoothing them into a sheet of fire, a backwash of flame, ready to surge forth at my command.
The spirit seemed to sense my intent and shrank back, wailing.
I raised my palms to it. "Go, go now or I will destroy you."
The spirit refused to move but instead shrieked and aimed for me, its lifeless sockets staring intently.
I tried once more. "I command you to depart this realm."
Again, nothing, but it was obvious the ghost was planning something nasty. I sucked in a deep breath and flipped my hands up, my palms facing forward.
"Death took you once; let death take you again." And then, I summoned the release word. "Atataq!"
The sound of the fire roared through me as it poured from my hands, soaring with the pulse of my blood. The flame carried me with it, rising like a purple phoenix to blot out the moon. I swung astride its back, riding it like I might ride a lover, the rush of orgasm building within me as the flame dove and turned, aiming for the spirit. As the fiery arrow barreled down to knife through the ghost, exploding the spirit into vapor, I came hard and sharp, letting out a sharp, short scream.
The spirit vanished as I struggled to shake out of my sudden passion-filled daze.
Still astride the phoenix, I realized the magical bird was beginning to turn its head. Oh shit. The gleam in its eye told me I was its next target.
Slightly rattled, I heard Morio shout, "Control it! Take control or the fire will go after you next!"
Quickly, I brought my attention back to the key, struggling to regain my hold on it. The phoenix paused.
"Bring it back now. Damn it, do what I say! Roll the power back now-there . . . you've almost got it." Morio's voice was abrupt, as a good teacher's should be.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts and reined in the power, reeling it back. I worked it, coaxing it, stroking it. As it began to submit, I demanded that it retreat. Another brief struggle and the fire finally obeyed, receding like a tide, rolling back to the Elemental plane from which it had come. The phoenix turned to face the silent night and then vanished in a bright flash.
I felt as if a fine dust of ash coated every nerve. I was vibrating, polished and cleansed from the inside out. As the wave of fiery death magic reached my crown chakra, I let go, and Morio took over, siphoning it back out of me into the sky, releasing it to the night, back to the haunted moon overhead.
Exhausted, I collapsed. Morio leaned over me, his eyes gleaming. His long black hair hung straight, and I longed to run my hands through it, to feel the silken strands between my fingers. I wanted to pull my Japanese lover, my husband, between my legs, and quench the fire that had built within me.
"Do you know how much I want you?" he whispered. "Do you know how hungry for you I am? Our magic makes me want to fuck you senseless."
"Bring it on. I'll take whatever you have to give me, my love." I was ready to take him right there inside the Circle of flames. But before we could act, my cell phone rang. It was in my purse, which was sitting on the grass, outside of the magical circle. The ring tone played out "Demon Days" by the Gorillaz, which meant it was Chase. Which meant it was probably important.
"Fuck." I pushed myself up to a sitting position. "Get that, would you?"
Morio opened the Circle, stepping over the flames as he did so. He grabbed my phone out of the purse and answered. "Hello? . . . Morio." After a moment, he motioned to me, his expression shifting from lusty to solemn. "Here, you need to take this. I'll start gathering our things."
"Bad?" I didn't want to hear. I really didn't.
He nodded. "Bad." And with that, we were out of the Circle, back to a reality I didn't want to face. But the fact was, reality was growing more and more deadly with each week that passed.
"Camille?" Chase sounded out of breath. The detective was physically fit, so the fact that he was panting worried me.
"What's going down? Where? And how bad?" I didn't spare any words. Phone calls like this were always terse.
"Robbery at one of the graveyards. And we have a handful of bone-walkers running around."
"Robbery? What the fuck are they stealing-and are the bone-walkers the ones doing the looting?"
Chase growled. "No. There's more to it-I can't explain now . . ." He paused and sucked in a lungful of air with a grunt. So not a good sign. Chase was in great shape for an FBH-full-blooded human. Or rather, an FBH with a tiny hint of elf in his long-distance background.
"Dude, are you okay? Talk to me." Collateral damage in this demonic war had hit us hard, and all too often, as of late. I found myself panicking over late-night calls.
"I'd be fine if I weren't hiding out from a fucking bonewalker who wants to break my neck. Or anything else it can latch on to. I'm playing hide-and-seek with it in Wyvers Point Cemetery, and unfortunately, I'm not the one doing the chasing."
"Let me guess . . . the cemetery is in the Greenbelt Park District?" If I never heard of that area of Seattle again, it would still be too soon.
"Yeah . . . Fourth and Hyland Streets. Get over here as soon as you can. And can you call the others?" He was whispering now. "I'm worried, Camille. Two of my men are lost somewhere in the graveyard, but I don't know where. We're all on the run. Tell you more after you get here and help me get the fuck out of this situation. And Camille . . . I'm hurt. I can't run."
"How bad?" I held my breath, waiting.
"Well, I'm not going to die from the injury, but I might from the bone-walkers because I can't run away from them."
"We'll be there as soon as we can. Just hold on, dude."
I punched the End Call button and turned to Morio, who had been gathering our things. "We've got another graveyard to pay a call on and we'd better hurry or Chase is going to be on the dinner menu. Bone-walkers on the loose, two of his men are missing, and he's hurt."
As Morio tossed our ritual gear into the back of my Lexus, I called home. We were closer to Wyvers than my sisters, so we'd get there ahead of time. But we'd also expended a lot of energy tonight on our magical practice, and we couldn't take on a full force of undead miscreants without help.
I quickly filled Delilah in on what was going down. "Get over there, now. Chase is hurt, two cops are missing. Gear up for a bone-walker fight. And who knows what the hell else."
"Menolly's at the Wayfarer. We can call her if we need her once we're there. I'll bring Smoky, Shade, and Vanzir. We're booking it out of here now." Delilah punched off and I texted her the location.
Sliding into the driver's seat, I clicked my seat belt shut. While I waited for Morio, I grabbed a candy bar out of the glove compartment and scarfed it down. I desperately needed the energy, so I polished off the chocolate caramel and then went for a protein bar. By then, Morio was swinging into the car and I took off as he slammed the door.
"We couldn't expect the quiet to last for long." Morio pulled his hair back into a ponytail, then yanked off his short kimono. Beneath it, he was wearing a pair of tight black jeans that curved around his butt in an oh-so-flattering way. As he fished a deep blue turtleneck out of a backpack, I managed a glance at his glistening chest.
Morio was buff-not a muscle man, but definitely buff- and I got wet just looking at him. One of my three husbands, he was Japanese, a youkai-kitsune-or loosely translated, a fox-demon, though he wasn't the kind of demon that we were fighting. Together with Smoky, my dragon, and Trillian, my alpha lover and Svartan-the dark and charming Fae-we made quite the quartet.
We'd been in a refreshing lull over the past five weeks, since Menolly and Nerissa got married, and we'd savored every minute. We'd used the time to bone up on our fighting techniques and magical skills, to stockpile weapons, and to hunt down as much information as we could on Gulakah, the Lord of Ghosts. Unfortunately, so far, we'd accumulated a whole lot of nothing in that regard.
We'd also done our best to keep tabs on what was going down with the impending war in Otherworld. When I thought about it, we actually hadn't had any downtime, per se. Just a short break from the continual fi ghting we'd been embroiled in for months now. But even a few days here and there meant the difference between being run ragged and regaining our equilibrium.
Morio finished changing into the turtleneck and fastened his seat belt as I took a turn a little too sharply.
"Try to keep at least two wheels on the road, babe." His eyes twinkled as he dove into our hoard of candy and protein bars. "We're probably going to arrive about ten minutes before the others. So let's take stock of what we've got for a fight, other than magic."
"I have a short dagger. I've started carrying it with me wherever I go. It's strapped to my thigh. But that won't be much help against bone-walkers." I felt better carrying a weapon now, even if it was more of a pacifier than anything that would cause some real damage. "I left the Black Unicorn horn at home, of course."
About a year ago, I'd received a gift-the horn of the Black Unicorn-along with a cloak made from his hide. The Black Unicorn was the father of the Dahns unicorns, and like the phoenix, he reincarnated every few thousand years, shedding his old body. Eight or nine horns and hides were rumored to exist, and I possessed one set. I was careful to keep that information under wraps, because any number of sorcerers and havoc-mongers would have torn me limb from limb to get them. The artifacts were incredibly powerful, so I was cautious where I took them.
"Yeah, I don't think you want to expend the power of it on walking plant food." Morio sorted through his pack again. "I can take my demonic form, of course. They can't do much against me then, unless there are a lot of them ganging up on me all at once." He held up a curved dagger that looked wickedly sharp. "How are you on magical energy? Did our practice wear you out?"
I gauged my energy level. I was tired; we'd been practicing a spell to destroy or dispel spirits. Ghostbusting, if you will, though magical means. I'd never before successfully cast it, and while I still felt amped up from the energy that had poured through my veins, I couldn't guarantee my accuracy if I had to actually start slinging around energy bolts.
"I can manage a few things, magically, I think, but seriously-don't count on my spells. I think 'backfire' could easily be my go-to game tonight."
He nodded. "Right."
"Speaking of the night, why the fuck do these things always happen when we're ready for bed? Why not in the morning, when we've gotten some sleep, had breakfast, and are good to go?" I swung the car left, onto Wyvers Avenue NW. The Greenbelt Park District wasn't all that far from the Belles-Faire area, where we lived. Wyvers Point Cemetery was on the border between the two.
"I think ghosts prefer the night. Just like vampires. Or maybe there's just so much activity during the day that they don't peek out of the woodwork as much. Whatever the case, I suggest we concentrate on physical attack tonight. And you be careful. With only a dagger, you're set up as the perfect target." He picked up my bag. "Are you sure you didn't swipe anything good from Roz last time you were poking around in his duster? No firebombs or anything?"
I grinned. Morio knew me, all right. Rozurial, an incubus who lived on our land and who had become enmeshed with our family, wore a long duster à la Neo from The Matrix. His coat was filled with everything from wooden stakes to magical bombs to a mini-Uzi. Although, now that I thought about it, last time I looked, the Uzi had been replaced by a magical stungun we'd managed to liberate from a sorcerer's bar. After we got through with it, the bar had bit the dust. Literally. There was nothing left of the building except a pile of toothpicks.
"Nah. I tried to snag some stuff from him yesterday, but he caught me with my hands in the cookie jar and threatened to tell Smoky I was prowling through his pockets. You know what Smoky would think of that."
Smoky was possessive and, being dragon, he didn't always get the joke. He shared me with Morio and Trillian because that was the way things were, and by now he had grown comfortable with the situation. But that was the limit of his generosity, and he'd already thrashed Roz once for a misplaced hand on my butt.
Morio snorted. "He's always and forever going to be a big galoot. You know it, and I know it, and we just have to love him for who he is." He laughed, then sobered. "So, we have two daggers and my bad-assed demon self. Sounds about right. I'll engage the creeps while you rescue Chase."
"Sounds good to me. Just don't send me off on a track-and field exercise. Not in these shoes." I had worn a pair of my granny boots. They were stilettos, definitely not made for running, but I'd had plenty of practice. On the concrete, I could run in them, but I hadn't expected to be out in the field tonight.
As we came to Atlas Drive, a small side street, I veered onto the darkened road and slowed down. We were no longer fully in the suburbs. Here, the foliage was a little more tangled, the surroundings a little more rural. It was harder to see because the night was dark, the streetlights were few and far between, and the moon had gone into hiding behind a patch of clouds. In the Seattle area, we only had sixty-some days a year that were totally cloud-free, and today-this evening- wasn't one of them.
As I slowed the car, edging along the street, the tangle of branches blossoming out overhead reminded me of our forests back in Otherworld. We were nearing Beltane, the festival celebrating sexuality, fertility, the gods, and the rut of the King Stag, and the plant world was responding to the energy.
The leaves burgeoned out on the tree boughs as the flowers and vegetables sprang to life, all urged on by the growing length of the days and the warming of the soil. My core felt the push as the roots buried themselves deep in the ground, and my body wanted to stretch as the leaves reached for the sun. The ferns were lush, and the grass green, and the days were hovering mostly in the low sixties.
We arrived at Wyvers Point Cemetery, and I eased into the parking lot, into one of the slots near the wrought-iron gates. Why did cemeteries always come outfitted with cast and wrought iron? It burned all of us who had any significant amount of Fae blood in our veins. Steel, we could handle-its makeup was different. Iron-not so much.
I parked the car and turned off the ignition, zipping my keys into the special pouch I kept around my neck when I needed to leave my purse in the car. It also held my cell phone.
Glancing at Morio, I leaned over and pressed my lips to his. "We'd better get out there and find Chase and his men before they get pummeled."
He stroked my face, stirring the heat in my body. "Be careful, babe." His eyes glimmered with brown and topaz. "Keep your eyes open."
"You do the same. The ghosts almost took you from me once. I won't let them do that again." I ran my finger over his thin mustache and goatee, then lightly tapped his lips.
With that, we locked the car behind us and headed to the sidewalk, on alert for the ghosts, and who knew what else.
Wyvers Point Cemetery had been let go to ruin. I doubted if there were any graves newer than fifty years old, and while the grass had been mowed, the weeds tangled thickly along the walkway, and the trees needed a good trimming. Some of the cedar branches were sweeping the ground, and here and there, limbs had been bowed and snapped by the force of the winter snows and winds. Whoever the landscaper was, he needed a quick kick in the ass. But it seemed that regular maintenance was low on the priority list for the groundskeepers who worked here.
The path was open to the sky until we approached the gates, but, directly through the wrought-iron bars, the trees closed in, shading the sidewalk. With no lights to illuminate the way, an incredible sense of isolation and loneliness emanated from the land.
As my studies of death magic grew deeper, and my training with Aeval and Morgaine became more intense, I was becoming accustomed to the shadowed nature of the woodlands and the secretive feel that permeated the Earthside wild places. Otherworld might be more upfront with the magic, but here, roots ran deep, and so did grudges and longings and long remembered animosities. The sacred places of this world held on to their anger at being desecrated by concrete and deforestation. The ley lines were very active, and very powerful.
"This is one of the forgotten places." Morio glanced around, a solemn look on his face. He pinpointed what I'd been feeling but unable to put into words. "The graves and their occupants have long been left to brood over their deaths without anyone to grieve for them."
"You feel it, too? I sense betrayal coming from the cemetery."
As I walked through the open gates, I shivered. Death and spirits were becoming common fare, but something about this place unsettled me, and I didn't trust it. Didn't trust anything within the boundaries of this graveyard. It wasn't so much anger, but cunning and the sense of being watched, and stalked.
"Something's been watching us since we stepped out of the car."
"I know. I sense it, too." Morio's voice was light and low, but beneath the gentle tone, I could hear a warning. "On second thought, I don't think we should split up-"
A hoarse shout to our left, through a copse of cedar, cut him off.
"That's Chase!" I headed toward the voice, even as a pair of bone-walkers-living skeletons-broke out from behind a large patch of wild brambles to the left. "You deal with them. I'll go find Chase."
Morio quickly transformed into his full demon form. Eight feet tall, with a muzzle and glowing topaz eyes, his hands and feet were still human, though matching the rest of his size. His clothes transformed with him-I wasn't sure on the how or why of it-but he'd never gone all Incredible Hulk and ripped out of his shirt and pants. He had one hell of a tail, and he used it to balance himself as he lunged for the undead.
I wasn't too worried about him. Morio could be ruthless when necessary. I headed in the direction from which I'd heard Chase calling. As I ran across the lawn, praying I didn't hit a gopher hole with my heels, I happened to glance up at the moon shining down. She was waxing overhead, and the Moon Mother's light pierced the veil of clouds to hit me full on, charging me with a surge of energy as she bathed me in her magic.
"Chase? Chase?" I slowed, calling his name lightly as I approached the thicket of cedar. My senses on full alert, I reached out, seeking his signature. Chase and I had formed some sort of magical connection, though what it was neither one of us yet understood, but our energies had meshed. We were able to find each other when we needed help. He'd found me from the astral plane when Hyto had captured me, and now . . . I could sense where he was hiding.
I paused, holding out my hands. A tingle guided me to the left, and I followed it, ducking beneath the low limb of a vine maple growing in the shadow of one of the cedars. I'd just pushed my way through the foliage when I heard a noise. A snuffling, like some beast or pig hunting for truffles. Stopping, I tried to sense whether it was friend or foe.
A whisper echoed on the wind.
"She comes, the moon's mistress comes . . . she will not harm, she can help. She can make our home safe again as we tend the spirits in the garden . . ."
"But will she help us? And who is the human-not-so-human? He is frightened. The wayward ones seek him."
Taking a deep breath, I slowly broke through the undergrowth. "Who are you? I can hear you."
There was a shift, and a blur raced by, then-hesitating- turned back. "Priestess?" The voice was wary.
"I am a priestess, yes. Of the Moon Mother." I glanced around, looking for Chase, but could not see him. He was near, though. My senses told me that much. And he needed my help. "I'm looking for my friend-the human-not-so-human. Can you tell me where he is?" I wasn't even sure if we were speaking aloud, but the words were there, hanging in the air.
"Priestess . . . you are from the other side?"
At first, I thought that the creature-whom I still could not see-was asking if I was a spirit, but then I realized that what it meant. "Yes, I'm from Otherworld. Who are you? Show yourself to me."
Slowly, as if shedding layers of an invisible cloak, a being appeared before me, emerging from the shadows. About four feet tall, he was formed of leaves and branches, vines and twigs. He reminded me of the walking sticks that inhabited the insect world, only his face was long and his chin pointed, and his eyes were slanted ovals, and on his face, a mere hint of nostrils. A crown of ivy wove around his forehead, and he wore a cape of moss and lichen.
"Are you Elder Fae?" I had never seen a creature like him, not even back in Otherworld, and he fascinated me. The closest I could think of would be Wisteria, the floraed who'd joined forces with the demons, caught in a frenzy of hatred toward humans.
He cocked his head to the right. "No, I be not Elder Fae."
And then I knew what he was. "You're an Earth Elemental!"
Slowly, he nodded. "I am. I am a part of the land itself. I am the guardian of this boneyard. And now, the bones are walking, where they should not be walking. Unnatural magic is afoot and has evil intent." He glanced around and motioned, and another of his kind appeared from the shadows. They moved like leaves on the wind, like walking trees.
Honored-Elementals didn't appear to just anybody, especially since a number of witches tried to summon them up in order to control their movements-I curtsied.
"I know. My friends and I are here to help put the bonewalkers and the wayward dead back in their graves. But I must find my friend-the not-so-human-before they harm him. Can you take me to him?"
I waited, forcing myself to be patient, so not one of my virtues. But when dealing with Elementals, patience was key. Especially Earth Elementals, who moved cautiously until they were certain of their course, at which point they could surge forth like an earthquake or landslide.
After a moment, during which they exchanged chattering noises that sounded like sticks rattling, he turned toward me again. "Your friend is in the clearing directly beyond this thicket. He is hurt. If you will clear the wayward ones, we will not forget your help. We guard the bones of this space, and they should not be abroad. Bones are for memories. Bones are to feed the earth and the worms. Bones are not meant to be walking above the ground without flesh and soul attached."
"You're right about that," I whispered, as I started past them.
As I passed by, the Earth Elemental caught my wrist in his hand. A heavy, laden sense of gravity sank me to my knees. "You are young in the world, still. There are ancient powers waking from their slumber. Some are beneficial. Others hunger from the depths. Be wary, Priestess: Not everything that answers to the moon will understand the changes wrought in this world. The Mother is ancient, and some of her children nearly as old."
And with that, he let go and I stumbled forward. I tried to get his warning out of my head, but the words rang in my ears as I pushed my way through the cedars to yet another clearing-the graveyard itself.
And there was Chase, propped up on a tombstone, looking petrified as a bone-walker made its way toward him. Unlike zombies, who moved slowly, bone-walkers could shuffle along at a pretty good clip. And once they reached you, if you couldn't get out of their way, you were toast unless you could totally demolish them. Given an open space and no obligation to destroy them, running away was usually the safest option.
Ghouls were different from both bone-walkers and zombies. They were faster than zombies, even though they were also animated corpses. And far worse, they absorbed life energy as well as eating flesh, and so were doubly dangerous.
A glance at Chase told me he wasn't going anywhere soon. He was leaning against the tombstone, one foot raised. In one hand, he held his Glock 40, even though bullets were no real use against the undead, especially skeletons. Chase was good with a gun-deadly accurate-but the bullets wouldn't stop what was coming our way, and he knew it.
He glanced at me as I headed toward him. Six two, with dark hair cut in a slight shag, he was swarthy with olive skin, brown eyes, and a suave manner. He was muscled and lean, but right now, he mostly looked like he was in pain.
I hurried over to him, eyeing the bone-walkers as I crossed the open swath of grass, past dilapidated headstones that were so old and weathered they were breaking apart. The bone-walker was near enough to worry about, but we still had a few minutes before it reached us.
We didn't have time for small talk. "Can you walk?"
"I stepped in a pothole and twisted my ankle. I managed to hobble over here, but I think I'll seriously fuck my foot up if I put my weight on it." He winced but pushed the pain aside and nodded to the oncoming undead. "What about them? You can't carry me, woman."
"You'd be surprised what I can do. I'm half-Fae, remember?" But the truth was, I didn't think I could manage to carry him. I could outrun him, outwalk him, and probably fight him down to the ground, but I wasn't Delilah with her athletic frame, and I wasn't Menolly with her vampiric strength. "Put away the gun; that's not going to do any good, and one of us will end up getting shot."
He tucked it back in the holster. "I didn't think it would help, but I was feeling vulnerable, you know? From now on, I'm carrying an armory, like Roz."
"Wouldn't fit in your suit jacket, babe." I began to edge away from the gravestone. The bone-walker was getting too close for comfort, and still no sign of Morio or the others.
I had to do something. "Hide behind the tombstone. I don't want you getting hit by any backfire if this goes wrong."
Chase knew well enough by now that when I said duck, he'd better move. Fast. And duck he did-crouching down behind the marker as I called down the energy of the Moon Mother. There were enough clouds that I was able to find the key for lightning. As I summoned it, I prayed that I'd have the ability to direct the energy without causing massive damage to either Chase or myself.
The familiar tingle ran down through my crown chakra, into my arms and through my fingers. My muscles and aura felt like they'd just been infused with a huge jolt of caffeine. I began to shake. Yeah, I was too tired for this, but we had no choice. I could run, but Chase couldn't, and I wasn't going to leave him alone to get attacked by the bone-walker.
As I took aim, focusing the best I could, I let loose with the energy bolt. The blast ricocheted out of my body, flaring out into the darkening sky. It wasn't a fork of lightning. Instead, the spell spread out, blanketing a wide swath of grass and gravestones instead of just pinpointing the walking dead. Like a floodlight, my spell lit up the night.
But the energy caught the bone-walker and knocked it on its ass. The creature went flying back, landing hard, giving us precious time while it tried to struggle to its feet again.
Meanwhile, I heard something coming at us from the left. I swung around in time to see a goblin, wearing full leather armor, headed full tilt toward us. He was leading a band of at least twenty other goblins.
"What the fuck? Goblins? You didn't say anything about goblins!"
"I didn't know there were any here!" He looked as startled as I was.
"Get that gun back out. Bullets might do some good against them."
Exhausted from casting the energy bolt, on top of everything else Morio and I had done earlier, I fumbled for my cell phone. We needed reinforcements and fast, or Chase and I were going to be mincemeat.
But before I could extract it from the zippered pouch that also held my keys, the goblins were on us. I yanked out my dagger and engaged the leader. As I swiped, desperately trying to focus, Chase let off a volley of bullets and two of the goblins went down, though they weren't dead.
Panicking, I lunged for the goblin's head and my blade connected with the flesh, plunging through to bounce off the bone. I didn't have the strength to drive the blade through his skull. As he lurched back, taking my blade with him, I scrambled to summon up as much energy as I could. I might be able to manage one more energy bolt. But as I dodged, trying to evade my attacker, a blur roared past me, and the goblin went flying. I squinted, trying to see what the hell had just happened.
And there, standing between me and the goblin horde, was Smoky. And he was pissed.COLLAPSE
Adele: Rumour Has It
Air: The Word ‘Hurricane,' Moon Fever
AJ Roach: Devil May Dance
Amanda Blank: Something Bigger, Something Better
Android Lust: Dragonfl y, Follow
Audioslave: Set It Off
Avalon Rising: Where the Sunset Is Golden
Black Mountain: Wucan, Queens Will Play
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Fault Line
Black Sabbath: Paranoid
Bravery, the: Believe
Bret Michaels: Love Sucks
Chester Bennington: System
Cobra Verde: Play with Fire
Cynthia Smith & Ruth Barrett: Faerie's Love Song
David Draiman: Forsaken
Death Cab for Cutie: I Will Possess Your Heart
Dragon Ritual Drummers: Black Queen
Eels: Souljacker Part I
Fatboy Slim: Praise You
Faun: Punagra, Konigin
Fleetwood Mac: The Chain, Gold Dust Woman
Flight of the Hawk: Bones
Foster the People: Pumped Up Kicks
Gary Numan: Dead Sun Rising, When the Sky Bleeds,
He Will Come, The Fall, The Angel Wars, Hybrid,
Halo, Walking With Shadows
Gorillaz: Demon Days
Gypsy: Spirit Nation, Morgaine
Hanni El Khatib: Come Alive
Heather Alexander: The Garden, March of Cambreadth
Hedningarna: Tuuli, Ukkonen, Raven, Gorrlaus
Hugo: 99 Problems
In Strict Confidence: Silver Bullets, Forbidden Fruit
Jay Gordon: Slept So Long
Julian Cope: Charlotte Anne
Kirsty MacColl: In These Shoes
Lady Gaga: Paparazzi, Born this Way, I Like It Rough
Loreena McKennitt: Mummer's Dance
Marc Lanegan: The Gravedigger's Song, Bleeding Muddy Water,
Judas Touch, Riding the Nightingale,
Miracle, Phantasmagoria Blues, Because of This
Orgy: Blue Monday
People in Planes: Vampire
Puddle of Mudd: Psycho
Roisin Murphy: Ramalama (Bang Bang)
Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil
Stone Temple Pilots: Sour Girl
Sully Erna: The Rise; Avalon
Thompson Twins: The Gap
Todd Alan: Gently Johnny, We Are the Walking Breath
Transplants: Diamonds & Guns
Verve: Bittersweet Symphony"
Woodland: Rose Red, First Melt, I Remember, The Dragon, Morgana Moon
Zero 7: In the Waiting Line