Excerpt: Witch in the Wind

Everything happens in Bandit Creek when WITCHES, WARLOCKS, and CANINE FAMILIARS slip the portal from THE OTHERLAND

(Excerpt from Chapter 2)

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 travelled 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.

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