Hidden #TBT — The time I wrote a HIDDEN Christmas story

I was messing around with my blog a little and found this — and I had completely forgotten about it! I wrote this short story to coincide with the release of Lost Girl in ebook form, and I had this posted on the blog as a little extra for readers who stopped by the blog after reading the book.

It takes place a couple of months after the events of Lost Girl, and before Broken. I’d forgotten how much I loved this story. I had a lot of fun writing it. If you want to read it, you can check it out here!

What I’m Writing Wednesdays:

I’m in the closing stretch of writing Nether, and Earth Bound is just about finished as well! I even have release dates for you:

Earth Bound (Hidden, Book 4.5) — October 31

Nether (Hidden, Book Five) — November 24

It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to share much more from the current books since I’ll start giving things away and I hate spoilers. I’m so wrapped up in Nether right now that I’m not working on much else, so for this week’s “What I’m Writing Wednesday” all I have is this little snippet from Nether to share:

* * *

“You can’t die,” Nain said, picking up where we’d left off before the cursing incident. “Doesn’t mean it won’t still hurt.”

I shrugged. “I’ve been beheaded, incinerated, eviscerated, stabbed, shot, and buried alive. I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal.”

* * *

Oh, Molly. Being a badass. I love her. :)

Have a great day, all!

Book Review: “Desert Bound” by Elizabeth Hunter

UnknownLet’s be honest. If you know me at all via the blog or social media, you probably already know how this review is going to go (because you probably already know that I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Hunter’s work.)

So let’s get that part out of the way now:

I love this book.

I love Alex and Ted.

I love the setting and the romance and the mystery and Elizabeth Hunter is disgustingly talented.

You should buy this book as soon as you possibly can. 

All right. Now that that’s out of the way, here are some thoughts about WHY you should read Desert Bound (and the first book in the Cambio Springs series, Shifting Dreams).

I should probably start by saying that when Elizabeth asked if I wanted to beta read Desert Bound (yes, I am a lucky, lucky girl and I may have jumped up and down with joy when she asked…) I was a little burnt out on shifter romances. I had read several of them earlier this year and through the summer and I just wasn’t feeling the whole shifter thing (um, other than MY shifter, of course). But I knew that Elizabeth knows how to tell a damn good story, and I was excited to see what would happen with Ted and Alex.

Needless to say, this book made me appreciate shifters again. 

Ted is exactly what you expect an alpha female to be: strong-willed, independent, straightforward, and honest. And Alex is the best kind of shifter male: alpha in a true alpha way, meaning he can do the tough and gruff thing very, very well but rarely needs to because posturing is stupid when everyone knows he’s the big dog (er, wolf. You know what I mean.) I loved that not only was he NOT an asshole alpha, but he took his role in his pack and community very seriously. And that care and strength extended to his relationship with Ted.

The relationship was, of course, the core of the book, and it was very well done. Their relationship had an almost melancholy feel to it. These are two people who loved each other dearly, who had a whole lot of history between them, and it had all fallen apart somewhere along the way. Reading the way they worked through their past issues, and the way they both gave a little to make it work (and make it last!) was wonderful. The love scenes were very well written: steamy and sensual and Hunter does a fantastic job of making sex not just a plot point, but very much integral to the way their relationship evolved. Beautifully done.

I also enjoyed the way she handled the extensive cast of characters in Cambio Springs. Each one felt real, as if this was someone who could easily live next door to  you. I wanted to know more about each and every one of them (particularly a somewhat surly bartender.)

And, since this is a mystery, I should also note that the mystery element was very well done. I was worried at a point in the story, wondering how in the world Hunter was going to make it all work, and damn if she didn’t pull it off in a surprising, yet perfect way.

This book is just another example of Hunter’s ability to provide a story with amazing depth and living characters. I cannot wait to read more about the inhabitants of Cambio Springs.


Friday Reads: Master of Crows and Thor #1

Moc_med-210x300Book Review: Grace Draven’s Master of Crows

One of the things I want to do more often is showcase authors whose work I enjoy. Most often, they’ll probably be indie authors, because these are my people. :) This week, I want to talk about Grace Draven’s Master of Crows.

*stares at you intensely*

You HAVE to read this book. Have to. Go get it. Now.

But then come back so I can tell you how amazing it is.

. . .

Okay. All set? Good.

I guess the first thing I have to say about Master of Crows is that I’m pretty sure Grace Draven is some kind of writing talent-enhanced cyborg. It’s really the only thing that makes sense. It is unnatural to be able to write this beautifully, to so perfectly capture a scene  that your reader feels like she’s right there with the heroine. Draven’s descriptive talent is inspiring, and makes Master of Crows one of those books in which, once you’ve set it down (or your Kindle battery has died on you), you feel as if you’re waking from a dream.

She doesn’t just say things like “the curtains fluttered in the breeze.” No, Draven makes you see it:

“Curtains of faded lapis and rust fluttered outward, snapping in the wind like a Kurman dancer’s skirts.”

Isn’t that gorgeous? Can you see it? I love the imagery there. And that is just one small example of the attention to detail shown throughout Master of Crows; details that make the story feel so alive and vibrant that you never want it to end.

As to the story, I can’t say enough good things (can you tell?) Draven loves her anti-heroes, and Silhara is a complicated, intelligent character. I love that we (as the reader) come to understand his character alongside Martise (the heroine), adding even more to the feeling that we’re there with them. As Martise comes to know him deeper, to learn about his code of honor and his history, we see a character who started the story very much as the villain become so much more. Silhara’s character development was exceptionally well-done.

Martise is my favorite kind of heroine: intelligent, resourceful, complex, and with plenty of backbone. Again, we see wonderful character development with her. I can confess to not feeling much for Martise either way as the book began. That changed fairly quickly, and, like Silhara, I came to appreciate her so much more than I thought I would.

And because Master of Crows is fantasy romance, the romance should really be discussed. It is intense. A slow burn, an enemies-to-lovers story that flows beautifully. It is the story of two people who really seem not to belong anywhere finding themselves, and then finding a place together. It isn’t instalove (or even insta-like, really) and they have to work their way to the realization that they care.

And when they do… remember how I said Draven is a master of description and detail? Her love scenes are to die for.

Master of Crows has everything: intrigue, anti-heroes, faithful sidekicks, romance, moody settings, beautiful writing… can you tell I loved it?

Grace Draven Online

Thor #1

4078196-thor_1_coverI know I have fewer comics fans, but if you are into comics, you really should take a look at Thor #1, which came out this week. To see my review, check out my Geekerella blog.

What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Week Three

It’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time for another tiny sneak peek at what I’m currently working on. Unlike the last snippet I shared, this isn’t something you’ll have to wait much longer to read! This is from the upcoming installment of Earth Bound, which you’ll (hopefully!) have in your inboxes on Friday.

The set up: Meaghan goes into work the morning after she and Heph have their date/Zeus battle. Nain leaves, and, for a little while, it’s just Meaghan and Molly in the loft. Here’s some of what happens.

* * *

“Do you have any questions?” Molly asked.

“About?” Meaghan responded, knowing full well what the goddess was asking.

“Christ, I feel like a mother giving ‘the talk’ for the first time,” Molly muttered. “About Hephaestus, or what he is, or his parents, or whatever. This must be overwhelming,” she said, taking a seat on one of the stools. “And Heph is so wrapped up in you, he’s probably not even realizing what a shock all of this might be.”

“Is he wrapped up in me?” Meaghan asked quietly. When she looked back up, Molly was watching her, empathy in her features.

“You have no idea,” Molly said with a small smile. “He’s nuts about you. He’s told you that, though,” she added.

“He has. I just don’t quite believe it.”

“Heph isn’t a liar,” Molly said.

Meaghan sat on the stool next to the Angel, her tea forgotten. “If I ask you stuff, do you promise not to tell him? I don’t want him to think I’m prying, but I just—“

“It’s okay,” Molly said. “It’s between us.”

Meaghan took a breath. “Aphrodite.”

“Was a coldhearted bitch who never brought him any happiness and murdered two of my closest allies right in front of me,” Molly said, ending with a snarl.

“That whole goddess of love thing, though,” Meaghan pointed out. “And she must have been gorgeous, right?”

Molly let out a small laugh. “Goddess of lust, maybe. I don’t think Aphrodite loved anyone but herself. She was gorgeous. Physically perfect in every way. I hated her,” Molly finished, and Meaghan laughed. “She had kids with Ares, not her husband. Theirs was an arranged marriage, and they never should have been forced to be together.”

“Did he love her?” she asked softly.

Molly shrugged. “I doubt it. He lusted after her, for sure. He’s admitted as much. Early on, he wanted a real marriage with her, but the longer it went on, the more she insisted on continuing her thing with Ares, Heph went from being hurt, to pissed, to just not caring.” Molly paused. “Their relationship was not good for his ego. Not in that department, anyway,” she finished quietly. After a few moments, she added, “I think the two of you have that in common, probably.”

Meaghan nodded.

“You’ve been thinking you couldn’t possibly live up to what he had,” Molly said. “Really, the thing is that maybe you’re showing him what an actual relationship feels like, for the first time in his existence. And if you mess around on him, if you break him, I hope you can run really, really fast, because I will have a problem with you.”

“I wouldn’t,” Meaghan protested. “We might not work out,” she finished quietly. “I don’t even know what we have, really.”

“Not working out is one thing. It happens. I’m just saying: be honest with him. If you decide you’re done,  then you’re done, but don’t sneak around behind his back, and don’t lie to him. And for the record, he’d never lay a hand on you in anger,” she added, reading the concerns in Meaghan’s mind.

“You didn’t see him last night,” Meaghan said, speaking the fear she’d been trying to shove away. “So much rage. And that kind of power is terrifying, and I barely lived through being with somoene who had a tiny speck of the amount of power Hephaestus has.”

“Heph and his father have issues,” Molly said, toying with an envelope from the ever-growing pile of mail on the kitchen counter. “You should ask him about it sometime if what you saw last night worries you that much. That’s his story to tell. Not mine.”

“But you were fine telling me about Aphrodite?” Meaghan asked, confused.

Molly shrugged. “You knew all of it already, or at least you started to put it together. You know Aphrodites’s sons aren’t Heph’s. And you’re not dumb. It doesn’t take a genius to know what that means.”

Meaghan crinkled her brow. It was slightly annoying that she was broadcasting her thoughts to Molly and Nain all the time, but she guessed it was also kind of convenient, too.

“I think I love him,” Meaghan said.

Molly met her eyees, gave her a small smile. “Well… duh.”


* * *

That’s it for this week!

What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Week Two

For this week’s “What I’m Writing Wednesday,” I thought I’d share the beginning of one of the side projects I’m working on. I need to have at least two things in the works at all times, because then, even if I get stuck on one project, I can be working on something else. Right now, I’m working on finishing Nether and Earth Bound, but I also have this book in the works for those times when the HIDDEN world is just driving me too crazy.

This is the beginning of the first book of what I’m calling “The Copper Falls series,” which will be out next year. It will be paranormal romance, and not at all related to the HIDDEN series. So, here’s the opening scene in the first book (which I don’t have a title for just yet, so we’ll just call it “Copper Falls #1″ for now.)


* * *

Copper Falls #1

Chapter One

Sophie unlocked her front door with a sigh of relief. Long day. A busy day, which was always good, but she was more than ready to take a cup of tea out to her garden and lose track of everything other than the perfume of herbs and the trilling melodies of the birds in the woods that bordered her cottage.

As she turned and grabbed her mail out of the box, she noticed a rumbling motorcycle turn into the driveway down the road. The farm had been empty for nearly a year. She grimaced. The idea of hearing a motorcycle all the time wasn’t exactly appealing. She shook her head and went into the house.

The second she walked in, everything just felt right. She breathed in the clean, natural scents of the herbs drying from the beams above, beeswax. The soaps she’d made the day before were curing on wooden racks in the next room, and they perfumed the entire house. She flipped on the radio, started bobbing her head immediately as Rihanna wafted from the speakers.

She shrugged out of the white button-down top she wore to work, shimmied out of the crisp khakis. She pulled on a pair of well-worn jeans and a faded Detroit Red Wings t-shirt.

She was  in the kitchen, debating over whether she wanted a salad or scrambled eggs for dinner, when there was a knock at the door. She glanced in that direction, then at the clock. She never got visitors out here. That was the entire reason she’d been so thrilled to have inherited this in the first place.

She sighed and glanced out the round window in the door. There was a man standing on her porch, clad in denim and a t-shirt. He was facing away from her, looking across the road. Longish, wavy, dark blond hair. Very, very broad shoulders.

Sophie opened the door a little, kept it braced with her leg. “Yes?”

The man turned around, and Sophie’s mouth went dry.

His hair was a little unruly, and he had a short, neat beard. Long black lashes. Icy blue eyes.

Eyes she’d dreamed, not knowing what it meant. Visions that spoke of danger and heartbreak, and always, those eyes. Sophie tried to force herself to remember to breathe.

“Hi,” he said, and his voice was deep. Low. Almost a growl. “I just moved in across the road. There’s a goat in my yard. Wondering if it’s yours.”

She blushed. “Oh, shit. That would be Merlin. Sorry.” Sophie slid her feet into the sandals she kept by the door and stepped out onto the porch. Beside him, she felt tiny. He was easily over six feet tall, and her five-five put her roughly at chest level.

And what a chest it was, she thought to herself.  Holy broad-and-muscled, Batman.

“I’ll get him. I’m so sorry about that. I just got off work and haven’t even checked on them yet.” Stop babbling, she told herself, and clamped her mouth shut.

“It’s not a problem.”

“It will be if you plan on having livestock. I’ve been putting off reinforcing the fencing. I’ll have to get on that.”

“Not planning on any livestock,” he said as he followed her across the road.

“No? You’ve got over sixty acres, right?” she asked.

“Yeah. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere quiet and where I could spread out a little. No neighbors on top of me.”

She smiled to herself. He sounded like her. “And your first day in, you have a neighbor’s goat in your yard.”

“Well, goats I don’t mind so much,” he answered, and she could hear the smile in his voice.

They crossed the two-lane road side by side, and it occurred to her that she was walking away from her home, her sanctuary, her safe haven, with a man she’d (maybe?) seen in frightening visions.

If she was one of those witches who could summon fire or wind or something, she’d have less to worry about it.

She cursed her stupidity, but walked with him nonetheless. It was entirely possible this was not the man from her dreams. And, anyway, she was new at this witch stuff. What the hell did she know about visions?

She followed him around the side of the house, up a long gravel driveway, and there was Merlin, standing there, calmly chewing at some grass near one of the fence posts.

“Merlin, you devil,” Sophie muttered under her breath. She clicked her tongue at him, and he raised his chocolate-brown head and studied her. She walked toward him calmly, nonchalantly. As if she had no intention whatsoever of grabbing the blue nylon collar he was wearing and leading him home. She was aware of tall, muscled, and gorgeous watching her, and felt even stupider for the ploy she was making.

Sophie sprung at the goat and he tried to buck away, but she grabbed his collar and held tight when he tried to fight his way away. He pulled, and tried to pivot, and she planted her heels in the soft soil and tried to hold him fast. After a few attempts of breaking free, he just gave her a bored look and bent to chew at the grass near their feet.

That settled, Sophie chanced a glance toward her new neighbor. He was watching her, an unreadable expression in his eyes.

Sophie gathered as much dignity as she could and led Merlin back toward the driveway.

“Sorry about that,” she muttered, well aware that her face was burning with embarrassment.

“No problem,” he answered. “Does he get out a lot?”

She was walking down the driveway, and the fact that he joined her only made her nervous. “Yes. I’ll fix the fencing. I just need to get the replacement fence.” And the money to pay for it, she thought to herself. “Goats are a major pain. Wish I’d known that before I bought them,” she said aloud.

“Why do you have them, then?” he asked, putting his hands in his jeans pockets as they crossed the street again.

“For their milk. I make soaps,” she said, shrugging. “Made more sense to have them around for that. I was stupid to accept a male, though, since I could just borrow a male when I need one for the girls. I felt sorry for him,” she finished, feeling like a babbling idiot.

She glanced toward him, noticed a blank expression on his face.

“Anyway. It won’t happen again,” she said, looking with hope toward her door. Something in her told her to run from him, to get away and stay away. She’d be setting wards tonight, she thought. Weak as hers were, they were better than nothing.

“If it does, at least I know who he belongs to,” he answered. “I’m Calder, by the way.”

“Sophie,” she said, glancing toward him again, feeling relief once they stepped into her yard. She could feel the energies of her own magic, that of her ancestors, there. It was the only place she felt safe.

“Well, Sophie—“ Calder began, when a delivery van pulled up. The driver jumped out and passed a clipboard to Sophie. She knew what it was already, tried not to show her panic. She signed, and the driver handed her the thin brown envelope, departed without another word. She looked down at it, hating that her hands were shaking.

She’d failed.

She took a breath. “Sorry again about the goat. Welcome to the neighborhood,” she said absentmindedly. “Excuse me.”

* * *

And, that’s that! Have a great day, all!


What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Week One

I’m going to try this, and we’ll see how long I stick to it. The goal here is to share a snippet of whatever I’m working on every Wednesday. I really do want to try to establish a more regular blogging schedule. One more thing on the interminable to-do list, I guess. :)

For this week’s “What I’m Writing Wednesday,” I thought I’d share the opening lines of NETHER. I shared it on Facebook this morning as well. I’m kind of surprised by how emotional I am over this book. Highs and lows, and the knowledge that I’m going to be both excited (because I can’t wait to share this story with you guys) and sad to see HIDDEN end. The words “I am Molly Brooks…” have been part of my life for four years now, since Molly became Molly in that third draft of what became “Lost Girl.” It’ll feel kind of weird to start a novel without them.

Without further ado, here are the beginning lines of NETHER:


My name is Molly Brooks.

Not many know me by that name.

To them, I’m the Angel.



I can’t even think either of those two words with a straight face.

And yet, here I am.

The people of my city are becoming accustomed to seeing me soaring in, wearing my customary black, and punching whoever needs to get punched.

They’ve seen me freeze troublemakers with a word.

And they believe the spin our government has put out about me.

It helps them sleep better at night.

What they don’t know, in general, is that the villains don’t listen to me out of fear or respect.

They listen because they can’t not listen. Because I have control of their mind and actions, and that unless they’re mentally strong, they don’t have a chance in hell of fighting back.

They don’t know that I can steal the abilities of those around me, that I feed off of emotions and power. They don’t know that, should I ever lose my mind, there’s not a whole lot that can stop me.

Lucky for them, I have no goddamn intention of losing myself again. Ever.

I have fought my way back from death. Torture. I have been at the edge of the abyss, and I’m still here.

I have been captive. I have had to fight for myself. I have been bonded to the immortals, possessed by an angry primordial being. And where she was, where Nether lived in my soul, I feel emptiness now.

And I welcome it. 

For the first time in my entire life, I am learning exactly what I am. Who I am.

I was a lost girl.

I was a freak.






And, now, I’m figuring out what it means to be me, to live by my own terms, to stop dancing to the tune set by those who came before me.

My life.

And I swear on everything I am that I am going to make it a good one.

that I’m going to be the hero I’ve always wanted to be.

The woman I want to be.

I am done playing games,

being afraid,

fighting what I am.

This is my life. 

And there will be no help for those who try to take it from me.


The book is almost done! About one more week of writing, then a couple of weeks of editing and tweaking. I am a bundle of nerves and emotions right now.

I’ll have another installment of EARTH BOUND for my newsletter lovelies on Friday. Have a great day!

Molly and Eunomia


Forgive me for going all “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” here on you. (My kids LOVE that show, and so do I.) 

This post was inspired by seeing Susan (hi, Susan!) post on Facebook that Molly and Eunomia were two of her favorite book besties. I was happy to see that, because as much as I love writing the romantic relationships in my books, writing those friend and family relationships is just as enjoyable. Every time I get to write E and Molly together, it’s a treat. Honestly, I would like to write many more E scenes than I have, because she’s a fun character and her back story is amazing. I do have an idea for that, but that would be something to think about when Nether is finished.

Which should be in the next couple of weeks. I hope.

Anyway, back to Molly and E. What I love about both of them is the fact that they are each very experienced in certain aspects of life, and not at all experienced in others. For example, you have E, who has been around for thousands of years. She’s seen every facet of death and destruction you can imagine, and some we probably can’t. Her entire existence has been about duty, about fulfilling the things she was created to do. Interpersonal relationships, leisure time, basic, simple things, are things she has just about zero experience with until Molly comes into her life.

And then, there’s Molly. Who has lived in the mortal realm, who has had love and loss and hate and all of the normal things she’s taken for granted. As we learned in Strife, there are several things (ahem) Molly had done that E hadn’t. But for all of her human experience, Molly knows next to nothing about the world she really comes from. It’s all new to her, as is the fact that she isn’t at all what she thought she was.

So in their own ways, I feel like Molly and E are both kind of stumbling along. The great thing is that they have one another to lean on when they need to.

I really wanted to write a female friendship that had just about zero to do with anyone or anything other than the two women involved. I didn’t want any of the cattiness or stupidity over men or competing over nonsense that it seems many female relationships in the media are centered around. And even when things potentially could have gotten weird between the two of them (again, in Strife) the loyalty they have to one another surpassed any of that.

In addition to those heartwarming moments, I have to admit that writing Molly and E fighting side-by-side is a lot of fun for me.

I think what I wanted to get across with all of the relationships in the series is that things are complicated. Even with people you love. Even with people you hate. Feelings are not simple and as a result, neither are relationships. People screw up. People change. It’s the foundation of love and trust that two people have between them that determines whether the relationship will last.

And if Molly and E’s relationship has a bit of complexity to it, we haven’t even gotten into Brennan and Nain’s friendship yet. We may need a professional on hand to tackle that one. :)

Side Note: Earth Bound

This week’s installment of Earth Bound went out this afternoon. I hope you enjoy it!


Have a great weekend!

RT Book Reviews: 4.5 Star Review for STRIFE!

I just had to share this with you. I mentioned it on my Twitter and Facebook pages a while ago, I but I just realized I hadn’t mentioned it here. The lovely Jill Smith from RT Book Reviews (who also reviewed HOME and gave it an amazing 4.5 out of 5 stars) published this awesome review of STRIFE in the September issue. Check it out!


How about that? I still grin like an idiot every time I read this review. :)

Have a great day, all. Newsletter subscribers: you’ll have this week’s Earth Bound in your inboxes sometime tomorrow afternoon, most likely.

Sneak Peek: Nether

I am celebrating getting over a rough patch with Nether… by sharing a sneak peek of Nether! Enjoy!



I was finishing up, talking to a few of the people from the neighborhood, when I noticed the black SUV pulling up to the curb. I suppressed a groan. This would be my government counterparts. I’d avoided them as long as I could, apparently. I had to give Bren credit: he’d kept them off of me longer than I thought he’d be able to.

I watched as Ross and one of his underlings got out of the SUV, and noted Brennan climbing out of the passenger side. One look at him told me all I needed to know, even if I couldn’t sense emotions: the man was pissed. That tightness in his jaw, the cold glare he sent in Ross’s direction.

Either Ross was a really good actor, extremely confident, or totally clueless, since he didn’t seem to realize that he was in bodily danger.

Personally, I voted for clueless.

I moved away from the Normals. This probably wasn’t a conversation they needed to hear. I was relieved that they didn’t insist on coming with me, trying to hear what we were saying. They were taking me at my word that it would be handled, and there aren’t even words to express how crazy that still is to me. And when Heph arrived and they all flocked to him, I had to smile. The man was probably even more popular than I was. He was, after all, the one who got the lights back on and life back to normal. He gave me a wink before I turned back toward Ross and his guys.

“Angel,” Ross said as he approached.

“Agent Ross,” I said, with just as much warmth in my tone as he’d had. I had to wonder how he ever got his job. The man had the personality of a damp rag. His men alway looked either bored or confused, and usually both.

I glanced at Brennan, who was still shooting Ross looks that would have made me cower, even knowing Bren would never hurt me.

“As you can see, there is absolutely nothing for us to do here, unless you count getting in the way as being productive,” Brennan said. The other agent, who I wasn’t familiar with, chuffed out a breath in a sound that might have been a laugh. “I know you need to feel important here, Ross, but you’re useless unless you want to help Heph shovel some of that mess out of the way so he can fix the sewers.”

“No one asked you, Matthews,” Ross snarled. “So this is another immortal doing this?” he barked at me, and I raised my eyebrow.


“And what are you doing about it? Because from what I see, you have your pals fixing the messes, yet I don’t see you out there doing what you’re supposed to do.”

“And what is it you think I’m supposed to do?” I asked, shooting Brennan a glance.

“You’re supposed to be out chasing it down, not standing around here basking in the glow of your fame,” he said, and I stared at him.

“Basking? Really?” I said.

“You love it. The adoration. And for what? As long as you’ve been with us, you haven’t done shit beyond give press conferences.”

Before I could react, Brennan had Ross by the front of his shirt, his face inches from the shorter, thinner man’s.

“You have no clue. You have no idea what she does every single day to keep everyone, including your smarmy ass, safe. Because she doesn’t go around advertising every single action she takes the way you do. And considering that you came to her, begging for her help,” he continued as Ross struggled to get out of his grip, “I’d suggest showing her a little fucking respect.” He released Ross with a look of disgust and turned back to me.

I watched in amusement as Ross took a few steps away from Brennan, shooting him looks as he straightened his tie. It was rare for Brennan to actually show that he was pissed. Usually, by the time he was pissed off enough to act, it was too late for whoever had pissed him off to save themselves.

“Any other agent would have been written up for insubordination for shit like that, Matthews,” Ross said, pointing a trembling finger at Brennan which did absolutely nothing to help regain the appearance of control. The other agent was standing next to Brennan, arms crossed over his chest, looking more than pleased with the turn of events. Honestly, he looked like a kid at an ice cream parlor or something.

I liked him. I sensed for him, and felt his good mood over seeing his boss shown his true place. Respect for me and Brennan, and undertone of concern for the circumstances. He was a Normal, but unlike Ross, he didn’t seem perpetually freaked out by all of this.

“Yeah, well. I’m not just any agent, am I, Ross? And we all know you’re on your way out. I wonder who’ll replace you when you’re canned,” Bren said with a smirk.

I glanced at him. “Seriously?”

He grinned at me. “It’s all but a done deal. The higher-ups think he’s made more than a few missteps, the main of which is that he doesn’t understand a damn thing about how the supernatural community works because he’s lazily relied on my reports all these years.”

I smiled. “So why not put the man who actually knows shit in charge, right? Finally.”

He laughed. “And they’re not happy with the way he’s treated you. You wouldn’t know it from the interactions you’ve had, mostly with him,” he said, gesturing toward Ross, who was standing there seething, “but you have a ton of fans in the agency and in higher levels as well. Pissing you off is not something anyone wants to do.”

“Well, congratulations. It’ll be a vast improvement.”

“Yeah, it will,” Bren said, nodding. I had to laugh. There was that cockiness, that self-assuredness I hadn’t seen since before Nain died. His gaze met mine, and he nodded once before looking away.

“It’s not a done deal, Matthews,” Ross said.

I rolled my eyes and turned away from Ross, and Brennan followed suit. “So it looks like the same as the last one. Heph is making the repairs now to limit any chaos,” I said to Bren. We started walking toward where Heph was, Ross trailing behind us like a cranky toddler, the other agent at Bren’s side. “These people should have the lights on and water running within a few hours at most,” I said, and Brennan nodded.

“Give me a little fuckin’ credit, queenie,” Heph called from the ditch Demeter had cleared around the broken sewer pipe. “An hour, tops.”

I grinned, and the assembled Normals cheered. Bren and I exchanged a glance.

“He’s loving this, isn’t he?” he asked quietly as we kept walking.

“Every single moment,” I answered, and he laughed.

“I’ll keep looking,” I continued. “Jamie sent me the reports she ran, and this  is right in line with what she predicted from the pollution stats. I’ll start monitoring the next few probable sites.”

“I can put some men on them, too, so we can cover more of the possibilities.”

“I’d appreciate it, thanks,” I said. “I really miss the imps at times like this. They were freaking masters at surveillance.”

Brennan reached over and took my hand, gave it a squeeze. “You’ll get them back. Have you seen them at all?”

I shook my head. “Once Nether’s around, I probably will.”

I heard another car approaching and turned to watch. It was another black SUV, and Jamie and another government guy climbed out. Brennan nudged me with his arm.

“Listen,” he said, meeting my eyes. I nodded.

I heard Brennan’s voice in my mind. This is Director Petersen. He’s in charge of homeland security now. Ross’s boss. Also a huge fan of yours.

“Thanks,” I said softly, and he nodded.

“Agent Matthews,” Petersen said, walking up to Brennan, hand extended.

He was a good looking man. Early to mid-forties, maybe. Tall and broad, muscular. Blond hair, blue eyes. He could have been related to Brennan, from looking at the two of them.

And he was a warlock.

“Director Petersen,” Bren replied, shaking the man’s hand. It didn’t go unnoticed that Petersen addressed Brennan, and not Ross. “I’d like to introduce you to the Angel,” he said, nodding toward me.

Petersen turned to me with a smile. “Finally! I’ve been looking forward to meeting you and thanking you in person for all of the help you‘ve given us.”

“Thank you,” I said, shaking his hand. I sensed for him. Respect. As I studied him, I watched as his eyes took in the scene around us, noting Heph working on the pipes, the Normals standing around. “I admit I was not excited to join up, but other than a bit of unpleasantness, I’m glad Agent Matthews convinced me to work with you,” I said.

Petersen nodded, and his gaze landed on Ross. “Yes. As far as the unpleasantness. I am sorry about that.”

I nodded.

“You will meet with me at nine tomorrow, Ross,” Petersen said, and Ross gave a terse nod.

“What was that?” Petersen asked in a mild voice.

“Yes, sir,” Ross grated.

“Good.” Then Petersen turned back to me. “I can’t believe how fast you and your friends get things back to normal. This would be a giant pain in the ass otherwise.”

“Instead, it’s just mildly terrifying,” I said, and Petersen laughed.

“You know who’s doing this, I assume? Agent Matthews has been typically tight-lipped about anything related to you.”

I shot a glance at Brennan, who was watching me. “And I appreciate that. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, I like as little interference as possible when I’m working.”

“Absolutely. All I need to know is that you know what’s going on and you’re working on it.”

“And I am,” I assured him. “This isn’t something any of your agents could deal with. It has to be me.”

Petersen surveyed the area. “I can see that. It is mind-blowing.”

I nodded. “I’m working on tracking the being responsible down. Hopefully we can stop this from happening again. It’s my top priority right now, in addition to tracking down the being who destroyed Hart Plaza the other day.”

“Two separate beings, then? I was hoping it was all the work of one insane, powerful supernatural,” Petersen said.

“Nah. That would be too easy, director,” I said, and he laughed. “I know who they are, and it is something my friends and I are uniquely suited to handle, and we will.”

“You have my eternal gratitude, Angel,” Petersen said. “If there is anything at all I can do for you, please don’t hesitated to contact me.” He reached into the inner pocket of his blazer and pulled out a business card.

“I will. Thank you,” I said. I was getting antsy. Too much talking, not enough smashing. And every second I stood around, one or the other of my two foremost troublemakers were undoubtedly preparing to do something else insane. I turned to Brennan.

“I need to get going,” I said.

He nodded. “Thanks again. I’ll stick around in case there are any questions.”

I nodded, then excused myself and walked out of the Normals’ line of sight, between two large trucks parked in the otherwise empty lot.  I focused on the house Nain and I had moved into, and felt that familiar sensation of being pulled apart, cell by cell, until I came back together again in the kitchen of our flat.

I had to track down my insane Titan. I had to stop her from doing this again, no matter how much I agreed with her in general. I had Jamie’s reports, and I had Brennan’s promise of help for recon.

What I really needed now was a tracker, someone who knew what to look for.

And I knew just who to ask. Assuming she wasn’t busy babysitting just then.



Nether will be out in November! I’ll undoubtedly have a few more sneak peeks between now and then. :) I hope you enjoyed it!