Oath Bound Is Live!
So excited to announce that Oath Bound is now Live! Check out the excerpt below to read the first chapter of SkinWalker 8. Kai faces so much in the latest book and you will get to see some of the other characters from the soultracker series. Mel and co appear here in the mission to mithras, If you haven’t read demon bones: SoulTracker 7 you’ll want to after reading oath bound!
CHAPTER 1: OATH BOUND EXCERPT
The world around me had just gone crazy.
The air within the living room of our family home spun like a tornado, bits, and pieces of mementos and fragments of our family history riding the gusting currents in a large swirling whirlpool of wind.
The once welcoming room, with its soft crème-and-gold decor, inviting sofas and pale plush carpets, was now a mess of frantic destruction.
The portrait of Dad, Grams and Grampa Mason that had once hung above our mantelpiece, had been ripped off the wall, its frame smashed to smithereens simply by the force of the speeding air. Deadly shards of mahogany joined the debris that spun around the room like a vortex hungry to suck our home right into it.
My parents were across the room from me, huddled inside the great stone fireplace, faces and once-pristine clothes smudged with coal and ash, half-burned logs kicked out in a hurry sending cinders across the creme pile carpet.
Celeste and Corin Odel were unaccustomed to being helpless, and I felt a ripple of sympathy for them now as they stared out at the destructive force mowing down their home, unable to do anything but hide to safeguard their lives. They would no doubt be assessing the situation, but right this second, neither had come up with the brilliant plan required to save any of our asses.
My parents’ hidey-hole was definitely safer than mine. I hunkered down, tense and uncertain in the furthest corner of the room crouching beside our antique sideboard, handed down through three generations of Odels and holding a crapload of priceless knickknacks and wedding gifts.
I chose the spot because it was away from the windows, the best place to shelter and to avoid the dagger-like shards of glass that had once been the cottage-pane doors of our living room, I was near enough to the doorway to the hall which was my only path to relative safety. But, my current position meant it was only a matter of time before I went the way of the mahogany picture frame.
Still, I was safer than Grams who stood stiffly on the threshold of the living room, facing down the tornado, expression implacable, as though she would use her body and her mind to stop the damned thing. I had no clue what she was thinking, and part of me wanted to run to her, throw her out of the way and drag her to a safer spot.
Then maybe yell some sense into her—if I could be heard above the roar of the spinning vortex.
The temperature had dropped too, an icy chill taking hold of everything around us, chains of frost appearing along the walls and floor like shimmering necklaces, a cold beauty that would precede an awful death.
Pulsing vibrations rumbled beneath my feet as the house shook right to its foundations. I softened my knees to keep my balance, and an irrational fear rippled through me as I imagined the entire building being lifted off its foundations, then flying off with the tornado when it finally decided to move on.
This was insane.
The people of our town would be shocked. The small panther skinwalker enclave of Tukats, Illinois, would be horrified to see such a dramatic—and quite inexplicable—event as this.
And then I caught myself mid-thought. I knew I was wrong.
I’d heard as much from Mom and Grams not too long ago, enough to confirm how wrong I was, because this very home had seen a dramatic enough event a few decades back. The events of a day long ago, discussed within the shadows, spoken in whispers I’d never even heard.
The day the Fae Court came to claim one of their own.
Our little walker town had its own personal history when it came to face-to-face meetings with an attack that came out of nowhere. An attack the nature of which had both shocked and befuddled its innocent citizens, leaving one family scarred for generations while the townspeople helped to hide the event altogether.
Tinkling echoed around me as shattered glass now also joined the vortex, thankfully having done no damage to the occupants of the room. My heart tightened at the thought of how close the twins—who we’d sent up to their bedroom to wash up before dinner—had come to being hurt had they still been here in the living room when this ethereal tornado had ripped into our home.
Thank Ailuros, the rest of the family was safe with Iain in Europe busy with Council Meetings and Darcy on a case out of state. Alina and Axel, our adopted goblin twins, were feisty enough to have insisted on remaining with us given the chance. Not that we were stupid enough to have given it.
I whispered a prayer of gratitude that Logan—who’d been at my side when the tornado had shown up—had swooped off out the shattered doors to skirt the house and take the kids to safety. I’d glimpsed flashes of his golden scales as he passed by, the light of the moon casting a dark shadow as he flew off.
He was going to be pissed, that much was sure. I’d refused to go with him when he’d insisted on taking me to safety. I knew why, and he did too.
We’d planned on a quiet evening as a prelude to the big day when we would depart with Mel and the team for Mithras to help Saleem out of his incarceration. But moments ago, our family night had been reduced to shards and shattered pieces when the tornado had appeared out of thin air while we’d been laying the table for dinner.
Now we were covered in dust and dirt, having never even eaten that dinner. My black leather pants had lost its sheen, covered in a layer of dust, and I sighed. This vortex was also taking out its frustrations on my threads, and I was not a happy girl.
The pink-and-purple paisley blouse I’d worn for the special evening was still intact, thank Ailuros—Grams would kill me if I got it ripped, she had a thing about heirlooms aka hand-me-downs.
Gusts of air lifted my hair and threw the dark locks back into my face. I swiped them away from my eyes and focused, trying to think.
Insanity prevailed now, the speeding currents plucking more pictures off the walls, half a dozen ceremonial masks that Mom and Dad had collected on their travels, an obsidian platter they’d been given for their wedding, the box of cigars Dad had kept on the mantelpiece, the set of kovale metal sculptures they’d had made from our baby feet, all sucked into the swirling mass in the middle of the room.
Only Greer’s little feet had remained, tossed to the carpet. Probably something I could read a lot into, but maybe later when I had time. To ponder why our dead sister’s baby sculpture had been forgotten by the vicious tornado
A mass that was slowly growing ever larger.
The furniture wobbled on the floor, the great leather sofa shifting in place while two Victorian armchairs began to slide across the carpet, drawn to the tornado and powerless to stop their inevitable destruction as the spinning air crushed them into nothing.
I swallowed hard as I watched the panel above the fireplace shudder as it too threatened to be sucked out of place. As much as everything within the room meant a lot to us, the contents of the Odel artifact repository was invaluable.
Years spent collecting priceless and rare objects, some of them believed to have been lost to the past, many of them dangerous in the hands of an ignorant user, and deadly within the grasp of a knowledgeable one.
Heart racing now, my gaze shifted to Dad, who crouched within the shadows of the stone fireplace, an arm slung around Mom’s shoulders.
Mom didn’t appear to be aware of her husband’s attempt to protect her either. Which meant she was too distracted to notice because Celeste Odel was the last person in this universe who would allow a man to save her when she was fully capable of saving herself.
They made a scruffy disheveled pair; Mom’s baby-blue blouse with dozens of tiny rips through it, pants covered in ash, Dad’s white button-up shirt smeared to a tie-dyed black-and-grey, blond hair discolored by dustings of coal and littered with wood-chips.
I could almost feel their frustration and anger all the way across the room.
But that was probably the crux of our predicament. We could do nothing to save ourselves. Not until we figured out what in Ailuros’ name was going on. Where had this tornado come from, and why had it decided to touch ground inside our living room?
Even though I had a suspicion, I wasn’t yet prepared to believe that Grams’ past had come back to haunt her.
A decanter, still half-filled with eighty-year-old dwarven fire-whiskey, flew past my face, missing my cheek by a mere breath and a wish. It crashed into a spinning chair leg, scattered shards of crystal in the air and then disintegrated into nothing.
I had to put a stop to this madness.
The SkinWalker Series