The first book a thrilling, addictive new series by a talented new voice in dark fantasy. Welcome to Nocturne City, where werewolves, black magicians, and witches prowl the streets at night…Among them is Luna Wilder, a tough-as-nails police officer whose job is to keep the peace. As an Insoli werewolf, Luna travels without a pack and must rely on instinct alone. And she’s just been assigned to find the ruthless killer behind a string of ritualistic murders-a killer with ties to an escaped demon found only in legend…until now.
But when she investigates prime suspect Dmitri Sandovsky, she can’t resist his wolfish charms. Pack leader of a dangerous clan of Redbacks, Dimitri sends her animal instincts into overdrive and threatens her fiercely-guarded independence. But Luna and Dimiri will need to rely on each other as they’re plunged into an ancient demon underworld and pitted against an expert black magician with the power to enslave them for eternity…
The first thing I saw when I woke up was the glowing blue display on my alarm clock, placidly telling me it was 3:23 a.m. I registered that the wind had picked up and the trellis roses were lashing back and forth outside my window, casting kinky shadow patterns across the bar of moonlight streaming in.
Over the face of the man standing above my bed. He pressed a hand across my mouth before I could breath, strong as a steel plate.
I kicked up and out, struggling to free my arms, but my heavy quilt effectively had me pinned. I stared up at his face, a plain black stocking mask and two shiny dark eyes. That charred smell rolled out from him and choked my nostrils.
Oh, this is good, Luna. You drug yourself insensible and totally miss the fact some wacko pervert has snuck into your bedroom until he’s right on top of you.
“Don’t make a sound,” he whispered. His voice was high and smooth.
I tried to say “Kind of impossible with your hand across my face, jackass,” but what came out was “Kurmph!”
He reached behind him with his free hand and took out a knife in sheath, a fixed blade with a matte black handle designed not to reflect light. He thumbed the sheath off and touched the point of the blade to my cheek. I was shivering now, hard, my body wracked of its own accord.
“If you have anything more to do with the weres, Stephen Duncan or any other aspect of your current case,” the masked man hissed at me, “I will turn you into a pretty little doll, with no tongue.” The blade skated over my lips. “And no voice.” It caressed down my throat and pricked the hollow. “And no heart.” He drew the blade down with force and cut my t-shirt open, leaving a thin scratch in my chest that stopped just over my left breast.
“Do we understand each other, officer?” he breathed.
Fear is not something that you will ever meet face to face. It will sneak up on you and grab you, wrap arms around your chest, put ice in your blood and freeze you still. I lay there, cold as he ripped my bedding back and sat astride me, keeping the point of that horrible knife twisting in the soft flesh over my heart.
“Just to be sure you won’t do anything foolish, like tell someone we had this interlude,” he said, lifting my left hand to his mouth. My arm was stiff as a corpse in rigor and he jerked at it. “There’s a good girl.” He smeared my own hand in the blood from my cut, and then unzipped the black nylon jacket he wore, revealing a bare chest covered with brandings that showed up as dark veins in the moonlight.
He took my saturated palm and pressed it to his flesh, and I felt a pop like I had connected with static electricity. The charred smell came back tenfold and my stomach bucked. Touching magicks is like touching heat lighting, and his were black as a moonless storm.
A tiny light flamed on in the recesses of my mind, and with remarkable clarity I realized that if he had only intended to scare me, he would be gone already, leaving a job well done. He wasn’t a blood witch—otherwise he’d be using his own blood. Something else was going on here, and it was dark and ancient and filled up with the most primitive kind of fear.
“Now you’re marked,” he told me in that same whistling hiss. “And we see everything you do.”
Copyright 2007 Caitlin Kittredge
Now doesn’t that sound amazing? Want it? Check out Caitlin’s guestblog and answer the question there…or, ask her your own question!