A Grave Magic: The Shadow Sorceress Book One

BOOK: A Grave Magic: The Shadow Sorceress Book One
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A Grave Magic
The Shadow Sorceress Book One
Bilinda Sheehan

C
opyright
© 2015 by Bilinda Sheehan

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Also by Bilinda Sheehan

T
he Shadow Sorceress Series

A Grave Magic

Blood Craft - Coming Soon

Grim Rites - Coming Soon

B
ond of Blood
and Shadow Series

Violet Line - Book One

Violet Code - Coming 2016

Contact the Author

T
o learn more
about this series and upcoming books from Bilinda, visit her website, join her mailing list, and email her.

Website:
bilindasheehan.com

Mailing List:
http://eepurl.com/bEgDrT

Email:
[email protected]

You can also keep up to date and follow her on Facebook

Facebook Page for Bilinda Sheehan Author

For my brother John, who taught me that the most innocent and beautiful of souls make the toughest cookies

Chapter 1

T
he night beat
against Andreas’ skin, like a song he couldn’t quite shake. The only other time he’d felt like this was when he’d still been human and getting high on the drug of the day.

It was the buzz, a power that flowed in his veins, an addiction like no other and this was no different.

Chasing the high was the only thing that mattered and he would do whatever he had to in order to get that hit.

Except for this time—this time it had been too far. There was one place he drew the line and that was with kids.

Snotty nosed, spoilt red rotten kids.

Their constant need for attention, tears and tantrums, it was all just too much and there was no way he was getting paid enough to deal with this shit.

Rolling his shoulders, back he pushed open the door and stepped inside. The room was dark, heat pulsing against his icy skin, making him feel almost sticky as he crossed the floor to where she sat.

Her dark hair had fallen across her face, covering her brown-black eyes, and for that he was glad. There was something about her eyes, something soul sucking that gave even him, Master of the city’s vampires the heebie-jeebies.

“Did you get it?” Her voice made his very old bones ache and he fought the urge to drop to his knees and grovel for her forgiveness.

Master of the City didn’t grovel for some upstart magical bitch, no matter how old her magic felt.

“Not this time, it was.…” He trailed off; he needed to come up with just the right word. “Complicated,” he said triumphantly.

She hadn’t been there. He was the one running around town doing her dirty work; for all she knew, it could have been impossible.

“Liar.” Her voice was soft and filled with boredom.

“Listen here, sweetheart, you wanted me to kill some random human and bring you the gift. What you failed to mention was that the gift was a frigging kid.”

Straightening his spine, he eyed her carefully. How tough could she possibly be? She looked like a twig, one he could snap across his knee with both hands tied behind his back.

She pushed up onto her feet—scratch that, breaking her across his knees had suddenly lost its appeal. There was something far better he could think of making her do. There would be a lot less breaking involved, but no less screaming.

“You really think I would let you do those things to me? You think I would allow you to put your hands on me?” Again her voice was soft, like a feather’s caress, and the sound of it made things tighten and harden low on his body.

“A pretty little piece like you, I don’t think you could stop me. But if you ask me nicely, I promise I won’t make it hurt too much.”

Power rolled through his body, the power that came with the responsibility of being Master of the City. Every vampire who had threatened his reign over the last four hundred years had met a painful and bloody demise.

What stood before him was little more than a slip of a thing, but she was all woman, curves in all the right places, and the thought of sinking his fangs into some of her softest curves practically had him salivating.

She was the source of the power, the source of the buzz he sought. If she could bestow such a high with the touch of her hand, what would her warm blood, as it poured down the back of his throat, do to him?

The only thing Andreas was certain about was that he wanted to find out.

Lunging towards her, uncertainty almost made him falter as she lifted her gaze, her soulless brown-black eyes meeting his.

What the fuck was he doing? This was a huge bloody mistake!

But he was already in motion, his preternatural speed preventing him, in such close proximity, from aborting his plans.

She, however, didn’t have the same limitations.

His body crumpled in on itself, causing him to hit the dirt floor. Pain ripped through every shredded muscle and tendon, his bones snapping into smaller and smaller pieces almost as though they planned on completely disintegrating inside him.

She smiled at him and it was a beautiful smile. A smile he could gladly get lost within.

Crouching down next to him, he strained to reach towards her as she held her hand out to him.

“I could have given you everything. All you needed to do was bring me that one snotty-nosed child.”

Struggling to open his ruined mouth, Andreas fought to speak, but what was left of his vocal chords could only gurgle and choke, refusing to form the words on the tip of his bloodied tongue.

Her soft hand stroked down the side of his face as heat seared through the broken pieces of his body.

Death had been a grand adventure; dying on the other hand….

She smiled as the ruined mess of his body erupted into dust that slowly danced on the barely-moving air.

Chapter 2


A
mber
, what the hell are you doing daydreaming? You’ve got a mountain of reports to file,” Jon said.

My head felt as though someone had stuffed it full of cotton wool. The boredom of sitting at the same desk, hour after hour, reading case files, was slowly killing off every brain cell I had.

I blinked up at him, surprise accelerating my heartbeat. I hadn’t even heard him approach. What was wrong with me?

Exhausted
didn’t even begin to cover how I felt.

“I—” I opened my mouth to speak, but he shook his head in disgust and stalked away before I could even get the words out.

What the hell was his problem? Jon hated me; there was no mistaking the emotion. He’d hated me from the moment I’d started working as the newest rookie.

What exactly I’d done wrong to prompt such intense dislike was beyond me. But then, no matter what I did, it would never be good enough for Mr. Perfect.

Blowing out my cheeks the breath I’d been holding whooshed out of me as I dropped my face into my hands. Why did I have to be such a bitch? He was only trying to do his job.

Of course, there was a huge difference between doing his job and treating me like a first class fool.

And anyway, I hadn’t fought my way through the training to get stuck riding a desk for the rest of my life. I wanted to make a difference.

No, scratch that, I needed to make a difference.

Trying to push aside the flicker of uncertainty that lit within me, I cracked my knuckles. Bad habits were hard to kill.

Now is not the time to let your cold feet expose who you are.

What I was.

Scooping up the first file my hand touched from the pile, I dropped it down on the desk in front of me. Flipping it open, I stared at the crime scene photographs and cringed.

So much violence, gore, and blood.

But then, what did I expect? I’d known what I was getting into when I signed up to be one of the Elite.

Just get it over with.

Brushing my finger against the glossy print of the picture, I cringed as images flashed through my head.

The pictures were bad enough without my own gift giving me a blow-by-blow playback of everything that had happened.

The man’s face flashed into view for a second and I slammed the file shut.

“This one isn’t preternatural,” I said, to no one in particular, digging my nails into my arm in an attempt to clear the residual images from my head.

Pain was the only thing that helped to control it. The only thing that cleared the clinging cobwebs after a….

“What was that, Morgan?”

I jumped, my train of thought dying as Graham spoke.

What was with everyone sneaking up on me today? I was jumpier than a feral cat but without all the cool sensory abilities. Swinging around in my seat, I stared up into his face and smiled.

For some reason, he always called me by my surname rather than my given name. It’d been jarring in the beginning, but I’d come to the conclusion it was just his thing, probably a residual left over from when he’d been a cop.

After all, in the cop shows on TV, the detectives all called each other by their last names. It made them grittier, more real. And Graham fit right into that category—tough, gritty city cop who’d seen too much.

And maybe he had.

But it didn’t stop the name thing from being odd to my mind.

And anyway, why would a successful cop quit the force and join the Elite? We weren’t exactly respected for the job we did.

It didn’t make any sense and neither did Graham.

He was tall, his greying hair flopping over into his pale blue eyes. Blue eyes that now stared down at me with a mixture of curiosity and kindness.

“I was talking mainly to myself,” I said with an apologetic smile.

As the newest member of the Elite Preternatural Force, I knew I was little more than a filing clerk.

I was supposed to go through the cases and determine whether they were of a supernatural origin or if they were just run-of-the-mill human crazy.

I was supposed to do all this with a cheery smile and be grateful Jon was even giving me the chance.

I’d been doing it for months and if Jon had his way, I’d probably never leave the confines of my cubicle.

Jon didn’t believe a woman’s place was out in the field.

“You do that often?” Graham said, with a broad smile as he scooped up the file I’d been studying.

“Only when Jon chains me to the desk with nothing but grunt work,” I said; the bitterness in my voice was unmistakable and I could feel heat rising into my face.

The last thing I wanted was for Graham to feel pity for me.

But what did it matter?

I’d worked damn hard to earn a place on the Force, and spending my days cooped up behind the desk wasn’t exactly my idea of fun.

“What makes you say this one is human? It has all the hallmarks of werewolf,” Graham said, studying the pictures in the file.

The man’s face flashed through my head again. He wasn’t a shifter gone rogue, I was certain of that. His was the special brand of crazy reserved only for the humans.

“See the wound patterns? I know it’s not completely clear in the pictures, but if you flip to the back page, you’ll see one of the coroner’s own images after he cleaned the wound.”

Graham flipped to the back of the file and there was a small furrow in the centre of his brow that said he was concentrating really hard.

Probably because he wasn’t wearing his glasses.

“Yeah, I see them,” he said, peering closer at the file.

“They’re too perfect; they were done with a machine and not claws. Shifters don’t leave wound patterns as perfect as that.”

Graham flashed me a contemplative glance over the top of the file and then returned his attention to the pictures.

“You know, I’d say you’re right.”

“We can still send someone down there, but I think it’s a waste of time. They’ll only declare it a human kill.”

Graham snapped the file shut and dropped it back onto the desk.

“That’s your third human discovery this week, isn’t it?” he asked, the curiosity in his voice making me uncomfortable.

I fought the urge to squirm in my seat.

If he knew what was giving me such crystal clear insight, he’d report me.… I’d be out on the street faster than I could say, “I can explain.”

“Is it? I hadn’t noticed. Just dumb luck I guess.” I smiled and tried to keep my face as blank as possible.

There was no such thing as dumb luck. Luck was real, but it wasn’t dumb; it wasn’t smart either. It just existed, and tended to swing wildly in the opposite direction of where you really wanted it to go.

Graham smiled again, a thin-lipped twist of his lips that wasn’t as warm as it had been.

“I think it’s about time you took that talent out into the wild.”

My smile turned into a grin. This was my chance; if I could prove myself to Graham, then Jon couldn’t keep me cooped up here for the rest of my life.

“That’s what I want to do, but Jon.…”

Graham sighed, “Yeah, yeah, he doesn’t want you out in the field. In this day and age, I’d have thought the idea of a woman tied to a kitchen sink or, in this case, the desk, was well and truly dead. But, evidently not,” he said, gesturing to me.

I slumped back in the chair. Getting over excited by the wrong thing was a stupid mistake. I’d been so certain he was about to ask me to accompany him out in the field that I’d forgotten that direct disobedience of an order from Jon would lead to disciplinary action. Disappointment flared through me.

If I could just prove myself, then Jon’s issue with me wouldn’t count anymore.

“He doesn’t approve of me anyway. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a woman,” I said. Trying to cover up my disappointment was nearly impossible, but I tried anyway.

“You could be right there, but how about we put it to the test?”

I fought the urge to hop to my feet and clap my hands in glee. Behaviour like that wasn’t going to endear me to the uptight ass that was Jon. And drawing attention to the fact that Graham was risking his badge by inviting me on a ride along with him would only get me kicked back to the desk.

Or worse….

My opportunity to get out and prove myself would be over before it even got off the ground.

“Meet me out front in five minutes, and don’t forget to bring your weapons. This might be your first ride along, but I’m not going to hold your hand through it, Morgan.”

“You won’t have to; I’m more than capable of handling myself.”

“Well, hopefully you won’t have to. This should just be a little recon, but it’ll stop you from being so wet behind the ears.”

I grinned up at him. He might have been a little odd, and his motivations for his career trajectory were all over the place., but that didn’t change the fact that he was a really nice guy.

A nice guy who was going to get me out of the bloody office and out onto the street.

“Five minutes, Morgan, or I’m leaving here without you,” he said, a wry smile playing around his lips.

I didn’t answer him, allowing him to walk away as though we’d exchanged nothing but friendly chit-chat.

I needed to be sneaky, give him his opportunity to clear the area before I….

Screw it!

Hopping up, I dragged open the desk drawer and tugged out my weapons belt. I fixed my gun onto the clip and slung it over my shoulder before turning for the door.

Jon caught my eye and my stomach flipped. It was like he had radar or something, that even before I’d managed to do something, he was already on to me.

Of course, if I was out the door before he caught up to me, then he wouldn’t be able to stop me.

I started for the door, my short stride carrying me forward as fast as it could without actually making it look as though I was taking part in the great escape. But then, that was exactly what it was.

The sound of Jon’s office door swinging open had me throw all pretence to the wind.

I sprinted for the door, slamming out through it into the warm autumn sunshine before he had the opportunity to call after me.

It was childish; I could have turned around and told him where I was going, that Graham had invited me out.

But then I also knew what would happen if I had.

I wouldn’t be trotting towards Graham’s car and that was for certain.

It’s more fun this way
, the voice in the back of my mind prompted. The voice was right; it was always right.

Graham sat behind the wheel of his beat up Volvo; as I sidled up to his car, he cocked an eyebrow in my direction and the surprise on his face was genuine.

Why was he so surprised?

Tugging open the car door, I slid into the passenger seat, pushing aside the empty cans of soft drinks and the fast food wrappers to make room for myself.

“You were quick? I thought I was going to have to go back in there for you,” Graham said, starting the engine and backing the car out of the space in front of the Elite building just as Jon poked his head out the door.

“Busted…” I said under my breath as Jon’s furious gaze met mine. I could practically feel the heat of his anger coating my skin.

“We’re only busted if he stops us, and…” Graham pulled away, leaving Jon and his anger behind; “I’m pretty sure he can’t stop us now.”

BOOK: A Grave Magic: The Shadow Sorceress Book One
6.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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