About the book:
Nell can draw magic from the land around her, and lately she’s been using it to help the Psi-Law Enforcement division, which solves paranormal crimes. Joining the team at PsyLED has allowed her to learn more about her powers and the world she always shunned—and to find true friends.
Head agent Rick LaFleur shifts into a panther when the moon calls him, but this time, something has gone wrong. Rick calls Nell from a riverbank—he’s naked, with no memory of how he came to be there, and there’s a dead black cat, sacrificed in a witch circle and killed by black magic, lying next to him.
Then more animals turn up dead, and the team rushes to investigate. A blood-witch is out to kill. But when it seems as if their leader is involved in the crime, the bonds that hold the team together could shatter at any moment.
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Five winners will receive the first two Soulwood novels! Contest runs Feb. 11th until Mar. 7th.
“Proper channels means we’ll never know who was suppressing reports to us, because KPD will never share that.”
“Copy that,” I said. I started typing my summation report to Rick. “The sacrifices appear to be evolving, accelerating and decelerating in terms of the focals used and the animals sacrificed.” I stopped typing and looked out the window into the night. “She’s good at killing things.” I put my fingers back on the keyboard and took up where I left off. “The runes in the circles suggest preparation and planning toward a greater black-magic spell. Future human sacrifice cannot be ruled out as an ultimate intent.” That part hadn’t occurred to me until I typed it out, and a chill went through me.
- Laine said, “I just pulled up Rick’s schedule. He was hundreds of miles away on some of the older black cat circles. Either he felt a calling from way off and didn’t tell us or the summoning spell has a limited footprint. I’m going with a limited footprint. But we need to talk to him.”
Haltingly, Tandy said, “But—well—I have to tell you both, privately.” We both turned to the empath. “I’ve noticed an increase in anxiety, irritation, and temper from Rick on the waning moon for the last two or three moon cycles.”
“That’s not good,” T. Laine said. “Is it getting worse?”
“No.” Tandy looked puzzled at that. “And it goes away. Coincidence again?”
“Or he’s lonely and that’s the time of the cycle where he feels it most?” I suggested.
“Were-creatures are sensitive to lots of things,” Tandy said, “and I may be the only empath to ever work closely with werecats, so I don’t know what’s normal.”
“Occam acting jumpy?” T. Laine asked.
“Not at all. Rick is . . . different.” The empath stood, went to the coffeepot, and refilled his mug. Black this time.
I held a hand over my own cup. Tandy started pacing and sipping his coffee, his body movements beginning to take on a human version of Rick’s lithe motions. I realized he was drinking coffee the way Rick drank his and I was fascinated at the transformation. T. Laine sat up in her chair, watching the change, her eyebrows up in surprise.
“You felt maggots at one site,” he said. “I think we need to know if Mithrans had been called there. Maybe before Rick got there?”
“Could be. And if so, then the fact that we got to tonight’s circle so fast could mean the vamps arrived but were able to stop approaching the circle before we saw them.” I stopped and drew out the site of that circle on a legal pad, including nearby roads and parking areas. “Yes, there could have been vamps present. I never read with the psy-meter here”—I pointed to a warehouse—“here”—I pointed back to Walmart—“or here”—I pointed to the roads near the creek where a vamp might have parked. “I haven’t been to all the circles, so I don’t know if there were vamps there or not. Why?”
“What if there’s a para hate group with a single witch attached, calling on the undead, trying to capture or kill a vamp, and Rick just got caught up in one of the spells with a black cat,” Tandy said.
Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series is a dark urban fantasy. Jane is a full blooded Cherokee skinwalker and hunter of rogue-vampires in a world of weres, witches, vampires, and other supernats.
Her Rogue Mage novels—Bloodring, Seraphs, Host, and the RPG Rogue Mage—feature Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage in a post-apocalyptic alternate reality.
The Soulwood series is a dark-urban fantasy / paranormal police procedural /para-thriller series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram, an earth magic user and Special gent of PsyLED.
Faith writes full-time, tries to keep house, and is a workaholic. She gave up cooking for lent one year and the oven hasn’t been turned on since. Okay – that’s a joke. She does still make cold cereal and sandwiches. Occasionally, she remembers to turn on Roomba (that she named Duma$$ because it fell down the stairs once.)
Faith researches in great detail, and tries most everything her characters do. Research led to her life’s passions – jewelry making, orchids, bones, travel, white-water kayaking, and writing.
Jewelry-making was the occupation of two of her characters: Thorn St. Croix, the Rogue Mage, and the main character of BloodStone, written by her pen name, Gwen Hunter. She fell in love with the art form. Faith makes, wears, and sometimes gives away her jewelry as promo items to fans and as prizes in contests. See her FaceBook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter for pics. She works with stones, pearls, crystal, and glass, wire wrapping larger, undrilled, focal stones. Labradorite, Amazonite, apatite, aquamarine, and prehnite are her favorite stones.
Faith loves orchids. Her favorite time of year is when several are blooming. Pictures can be seen at her FaceBook page. And yes, she collects bones and skulls. Many of her orchid pics are juxtaposed with bones and skulls —a fox, cat, dog, cow skull, goat, and deer skull, (that is, unfortunately, falling apart) and the jawbone of an ass. She just received a boar skull, and the skull of a mountain lion (legally purchased from a US tannery) killed in the wild.
She and her husband RV, traveling to whitewater rivers all over the Southeast.
And that leads Faith to kayaking – her very favorite sport. Faith discovered whitewater paddling when she was researching her (Gwen Hunter) mystery book, Rapid Descent. She took a lesson and—after a bout of panic attacks from fear of drowning—discovered she loved the sport.
Faith is one of the founders and a participant at the now defunct and archived www.MagicalWords.net, an online writing forum geared to helping writers. And she is a voracious reader.
Under other pen names, notably, Gwen Hunter, she writes action adventure, mysteries, and thrillers. As Gwen, she is a winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for Fresh Talent in 1995 in the UK, and won a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award in 2008. As Faith, her books have been on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists, been nominated for various awards and won an Audie Award with Khristine Hvam. Under all her pen names, she has more than 40 books, anthologies, and complications in print in 30 countries.
For more, including a list of her books, see www.faithhunter.net , www.gwenhunter.com , and www.magicalwords.net. To keep up with her daily, join her fan pages at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter