Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Carpe Luna Publishing
Date of Publication: March 16, 2015
Number of pages: 300
Word Count: 65,000
Cover Artist: Steven Novak
Love will launch the mother of all battles.
Grateful Knight is one stressed out witch. Not only has she failed to restore her caretaker, Rick, from an evil witch’s mind-control spell, but the loss he endured extends well beyond his memory. To make matters worse, compensating for his absence could cost her the job she loves and the strength she needs.
When a new supernatural threat leaves Grateful for dead, a vampire ally saves her life but at a price. Her assailant's calling card makes it clear she’s marked for death, possibly by her goddess mother. With the help of her half-sister Polina, can Grateful gain the power she needs to win Rick back and beat the goddess at her own game?
Power is a pain in the ass. People think they want it, they’ll kill themselves to get it, but in the end, it’s nothing but trouble. Take Tabetha’s power; I was ringing with it. As I patrolled the street in Salem I’d seen in the mirror, the geraniums in the window boxes overhead stretched their necks in my direction. Don’t get me started on the roses in my living room. I’d become the freaking Jolly Green Giant of witchdom. The summer night veritably buzzed around me as the elements of wind and wood tuned in to my presence.
So much power and so much responsibility. I hadn’t asked for it, and I sure as hell didn’t want it. But here I was.
“Not sure. I couldn’t tell from the mirror.”
“What do you mean you couldn’t tell? And, more importantly, why on earth are we here if you don’t know what we are looking for?”
“There’s an evil presence here. We saw a woman die. She fell twitching to the street. I couldn’t see the perpetrator for some reason. Maybe she was poisoned, or it’s some sort of poltergeist or invisible demon. All I know for sure is a supernatural being means to do a human harm, and it’s our job to stop them.” Again I wondered if the deficiency of vision was due to Rick’s presence. I shook my head, not wanting it to be true. For all I knew, the enchanted mirror might be on the fritz.
“Mmm. It’s not the mirror, and I doubt it’s Rick,” Poe said, doing that intuitive thing he did that made me feel like he was in my head. “If you ask me, without Rick’s blood and, er, affections, your magic is weakening.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m more powerful than ever. I can feel every blade of grass from here to Vermont.”
“Yes, you have more power, but a more sizable engine requires a more sizable battery. You, Witcherella, are running on empty. The mirror knows and is answering in kind.”
“Hmph.” I hadn’t considered this possibility, but Poe was probably right. It wasn’t Rick’s presence making the mirror go wonky; it was his absence. Three weeks had passed since I last enjoyed Rick’s blood and as far as physical contact, that enjoyment ended at handholding. Every time I tried to get close to him, it was the fishing pole all over again. A distraction. An evasion. “I want Rick to come around on his terms. This is all new to him. He doesn’t remember anything, especially not me. I was there, not so long ago, when I first met Rick and I didn’t remember who I was. I need to be gentle with him.”
“Sex can be gentle. Have I mentioned you’re weakening?”
I groaned at his lack of subtlety. “It’s not just about blood and sex,” I murmured. “He either can’t or won’t shift or do magic of any kind. The answer is to jog his memory. I bought him a laptop today and showed him some cat videos.”
“Cat videos?” Poe forced a gag.
I spread my hands. “I want him to learn about the modern world. LOL cats are the gateway drug. Oh, and that panda that sneezes. I love that one.”
“Is he still hunting?”
“And fishing. Sometimes he stares blankly out the window,” I said honestly. “Have you ever seen squirrel stew, Poe? It ain’t pretty.”
“Sounds delicious.” Poe smacked his beak.
“I try to be charming, but it feels forced.” I pressed a finger into my chin. “It is forced. We are two strangers, and I’m trying to force him to fall in love with me like a creeper. He probably wishes the entire thing was a bad dream. Plus, I think he might be depressed.”
“Ya think? He falls asleep in 1698 and wakes up in 2015, having witnessed his fiancé burned at the stake and his entire community, including his parents, struck down by the cursed spellbook used to bind her. Of all the things Rick could be, depressed is the most logical.”
“I don’t know how to help him remember. I need him, Poe. If you’re right about the mirror and my magic is waning, things are going to go downhill fast.”
“Perhaps if you dressed a bit more comely?”
I looked down at my black T-shirt, jeans, and boots. My outfit was enchanted to remain comfortable in any weather and to bend and stretch to the demands of my job. I loved it. “What’s wrong with this?”
“You have a skull and crossbones on your chest.”
“It’s fun. It says dangerous, yet fashionably casual.”
“It says weird goth girl with emotional problems.”
“You’d have emotional problems too if your fiancé left you at the altar and then forgot who you were. This is who I am.” I stretched my arms to the sides. “Grateful Knight. Love me or leave me.”
Poe cleared his throat. “Only problem is, if Rick doesn’t love you and leaves you, it could mean your death. This is serious. If you can’t bring back Rick’s memories, at least try to make him want you. Tell him you need blood and sex, pronto. Love can happen at its own pace.”
Love. I hoped it could happen at all. Sometimes Rick treated me like his captor, like he didn’t quite trust me. I still loved him, even after he left me at the altar and ended up drugged in Tabetha’s bed. Those are hard things to forgive, but I’d let them go. I loved Rick from a deep, forever place in my soul. A place that couldn’t be reached by all the nastiness Tabetha had doled out before I tore her apart.
I rolled my eyes. Poe’s concern for my well-being had as much to do with his existence being tied to mine as for my safety. I got it. I did. I couldn’t go on much longer without Rick. But I also couldn’t lose him. If I pushed him too hard, I might drive him away.
“What was that?” I said, perking my ears.
“You didn’t hear that? It was a twanging sound. Very faint. Like a guitar string being strung.”
“Crap, Grateful. Move!”
Genevieve Jack is a former registered nurse turned author of weird, witty, and wicked-hot paranormal romance. She grew up in a suburb of Chicago and attended a high school rumored to be haunted. There she developed a love for old cemeteries and ghost tours. Today, she specializes in original, cross-genre stories with surprising twists. She lives in Illinois with her husband, two children, and a Brittany spaniel named Riptide, who holds down her feet while she writes.