I’m back from Italy! Read a bunch of books and visited a lot of great places, but I’ll tell you all about it later. Now, let’s focus on another great book from Ally Shields!
A fire witch sworn to protect and serve…
It’s Ari Calin’s duty to peace in the Olde Town district of Riverdale, and most of the time the Otherworlders cooperate. The vampires, werewolves and other magical creatures go about their daily business, living side by side with humans, until the foreign wolves arrive and a virtual reality drug hits the streets. When violence erupts, Ari needs more than her witch fire, weapons and potions to solve her first murder case and stop the growing madness.
Joining forces with a human police officer, Lt. Ryan Foster, and a mysterious vampire singer, Andreas De Luca, Ari hunts for the enemy—from the vampire strip clubs to the caverns under the city. Every step draws Ari and her companions deeper into an old feud and closer to the brink of a supernatural war.
Excerpt: (This excerpt is part of the first meeting of Ari with the vampire Andreas.)
Whatever was going on behind the vampire’s hooded eyes, he kept it to himself. He made no overt aggressive moves, simply stood there. Wasn’t that typical predator behavior? Lure the unwary into a sense of safety? Well, he could forget it. Wrong prey, bloodsucker.
She took the initiative. “I know what you are, but I’ll ask again, who are you? What are you doing here?”
He moved then, gliding forward. She was startled when he bowed with all the grace of an old world aristocrat. It didn’t quite fit the jeans and T-shirt. “Andreas De Luca, at your service, madam witch. And you are…?”
“Arianna Calin. Guardian for Olde Town.” She hesitated, then stuck out her hand. She really didn’t want him touching her, but getting along with both the human and magic communities was part of the job.
He accepted the gesture, grasping her hand in long, cool fingers. Ari felt a spark of energy, but its relative neutrality told her how good he was at controlling his magic.
“Arianna.” With his eyes never leaving her face, he repeated the word, his voice rolling it around. “Not exactly a Romani name.”
“No, should it be?” Her gut clenched at his unexpected remark. How much did this vampire know about the Calin family of witches? About her?
As if she’d spoken aloud, he said, “Your great-grandmother was the witch Talaitha. The last great fire witch in this region.” His smile said he knew he’d surprised her. “Talaitha is a Romani name.”
How did he know that? What right did he have to use her name so freely? Ari was tempted to confront him, but it would have confirmed what might be a guess on his part. Talaitha was one of Ari’s given names. An ancient name. Since the old names held power in her world, she was reluctant to share it. Especially with a vampire.
Andreas De Luca examined the hand he continued to hold. His fingers were inches away from Ari’s silver bracelet. Although he didn’t make direct contact with the trinket, he didn’t act bothered by the sight or presence of the charms, most of which were considered dangerous or at least harmful to vampires. The miniature silver cross, the vial of holy water, the protection stones. Ari lifted a brow. Interesting reaction.
“These slim fingers have inherited Talaitha’s gift for fire,” he said, using her great-grandmother’s name again, as if he knew it bothered her. “A rare and coveted talent.” His smile broadened, bringing charm to his attractive face, and he lifted Ari’s fingers to his lips in a brief kiss. Before she had a chance to react to this unexpected gallantry, he turned her hand over and nipped the palm with wickedly sharp teeth.
“Ouch!” She snatched it back, leaped away, and glared at him. Her witch senses flared with a rush of hot energy that ran to her fingertips. Ari clenched them into fists.
His rich laughter rang out. The real thing, no magic this time. Grinning, he threw up his hands as if to ward off retaliation. It defused the moment.
“It’s not funny,” she snapped, getting herself under control. Unclenching her fingers, she stared at the small drop of blood that welled from the broken skin. Her brain warred between anger and a strong desire to get the hell out of there.
Wow! Thank you Ally! This series is so on top of my TBR list!