Mel’s back after saving Saleem’s sexy posterior, and all is well in Mithras. But the tracker and her team still have unfinished business.
The Sharaita still expects her price, the ruler’s of Drakys are expecting help to save their realm from being overtaken by cultish clans, and Mel still has her own personal drama to tackle.
Her memories are gradually returning, her new powers are making themselves known–and not in a small way because that would be too much to ask.
And Mel still need to figure out who was responsible for Samuel’s death. Tox reports and investigative research finally take Mel on a trip across the Veil to realms she has no business being in. Not that the trackers cares. As long as she can find the killer, she’d be happy.
After that, then she can focus on the other personal issue hanging over her head because her Ari has some explaining to do. Thing is, Mel has to find her first, and that’s something which is easier said than done.
Oh, and not to complicate things any further but there’s also the small issue of the people who are trying to kill Mel.
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Mysteries and secrets abound, new alliances formed, dangerous sacrifices to be made and don’t forget to keep an eye out for characters from the SKINWALKER SERIES.
SOULTRACKER 8: EXCERPT BLOOD BORN
If there was anything I knew it was that the very instant in which I believed I’d caught a break, shit happened to put me back on the right track–the track where I screamed to the universe to bring it on even as I staggered when a few more chunks hit the fan.
Steph’s little Mini skidded on the wet blacktop as I hung a hard left. My fingers gripped the wheel and my vision blurred, an odd sensation within my belly twisting as though I was about to jump to the ether.
The blinding glare of twin headlights had dogged my every move since I’d left the house to meet Ash at Elite HQ. Whoever was on my tail had taken the corner close behind me and was now approaching all too fast. The fact that they no longer felt the need to hide their presence didn’t bode at all well for me.
Why the hell was I being chased down a dark highway by a black SUV when all I was supposed to do today was meet a friend and get an update on a bunch of unknown poisons.
After we’d helped Saleem and the people of Mithras, we’d returned to EarthWorld, but I had too many things to think about, Samuel’s murder and my sister’s crimes at the top of the list. Of course, the curse of the Sharaita was up there too, a glaring reminder of how close we could be to our own destruction when the relic finally chose its price.
The tires squealed and the acrid odor of burnt rubber teased my nose. Crap. Steph was going to give me hell for pushing her poor car well beyond its limits. But I figured it was better to be alive and deal with Steph’s anger, than dead and unable to defend myself when my favorite hacker let me have it.
Then again, given how furious Steph was with me right now, maybe death would be preferable.
I’d barely completed the thought when the SUV slammed into the mini. My head snapped forward and then back hard and from the loud crack that filled the inside of the little car, I suspected I’d hurt my neck.
The glare of the headlights, the honking horn, the sudden ringing in my ears…all accumulated enough that I felt I couldn’t breathe. A near-weightless sensation filled my mind and body. The air in front of the car shimmered then sparkled like glass, moonlight flashing off the hard surface in tandem with headlights’ glare.
I slammed my foot on the brakes and tugged the wheel around in an almost full revolution. But I wasn’t fast enough.
Metal slammed into the magically apparated glass shattering the window in the middle of the road. The glass shattered sending shards raining down on the blacktop. The splinters tinkled as they hit the top of Steph’s car.
I’m going to be in so much trouble.
That was my last thought before the Veil opened and the car tumbled into black nothing.
I flailed, hands spread, wildly reaching for something to grab onto, imagining myself cartwheeling through the air, cannonballing along like some crazed trapeze artist high on Synthe.
Somewhere along the way, Steph’s car had faded into nothingness leaving me spinning in an opaque vacuum that resembled the blackness of outer space.
I flew along almost believing I was lost somewhere in a part of the ether I’d never entered when suddenly my hand smacked hard into something. Pain screamed in my knuckles and warmth flooded the wounds. I couldn’t tell what I’d hit but even as I worried about what else was out there that I could crash into, something struck my shoulder then careened past along the tunnel.
The vehicle giving chase seemed to have disappeared into thin air but for some reason, the thought that I was here alone in this place of utter darkness scared me. Though my fingers burned with the pain of the impact I reached out around me, desperate to find something, anything, to stop my fall.
And then a strange sound filled my ears, a loud growling that at first sounded like a crazed animal, something deranged perhaps or in agony. And it was following close behind me.
Pain exploded in my head as something hard hit my skull. The groaning of metal the screaming of an engine, all made my heart still with fear. The vehicle that had followed so closely behind me was still with me inside this wormhole of darkness.
And I found I was far from relieved at the reality.
I ducked, curling myself into a ball as the car wooshed past me, tumbling over and over as it went, the lights from the dash giving off a pale green glow as it slowed and righted itself.
Whoever they were they could still be determined to kill me. What if their weapons worked here, wherever this place was that I’d been sucked into? I blinked hard to keep the pain at bay, to keep the buzzing out of my ears.
Even while I fell and fell along this pitch dark tunnel, I had to hope I could somehow get myself out of this mess, get back to reality. I had too much going on to be stuck in this nowhere place.
And then the doors opened the sound of a low pinging echoing toward me as two tall dark figures sprang from the car. They seemed immune to the gravity-less ether, and where I flailed and cartwheeled like an astronaut in space these two straightened nice and tall and swung dark and strange weapons at me.
Heart thudding, I felt a little grateful that Steph’s car was long gone and that she wouldn’t have to kill me if these guys put more bullet holes into her pride and joy.
Their eyes glowed as they hovered with me, speeding along the darkness, faces hidden though their strange-looking guns shimmered as though reflecting random streams of moonlight. Who were these guys and had they been the ones to open up this wormhole? Or had I constructed it in a moment of panic? And, if I had created this tunnel of darkness, then how were my two attackers able to follow me inside?
All too many questions and not an answer in sight.
I blinked, limbs paralyzed as they raised their rifles. It all seemed so incongruous. The way they stared, so determined and serious. The way I flew along, cartwheeling like a crazed trapeze artist with only a sense of the tunnel walls to confirm I wasn’t lost in space.
When the first shot went off, I wasn’t surprised. I’d expected the attack but the bullet itself–and the way the tiny silvery missile behaved in the dense blackness of the dark wormhole–was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
The bullet was headed straight for me and I did the only thing I knew how to do. Back in Mithras I’d created a dome of protection around me out of pure instinct for self-preservation. In the here and now, survival was also my preferred state of being. I didn’t have time to clear my mind fully. Or to prepare.
With the bullet speeding toward me, I raised my hands and drew the power of my instinct from inside me. We’d only returned from Mithras the day before and had all spent much of the last twenty four hours recuperating.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to practice how exactly I was expected to contain my magic, or to wield it. I suppose I ought to have allowed Saleem to train me as he’d suggested, but I’d decided he needed more time to recover from his ordeals in Mithras. Despite his djinn nature, he’d been having a slow time of regeneration, probably what with everything Ward had done to Saleem’s mind. That was a whole other set of issues that had to be addressed. And soon.
Still, it was probably not my best idea to delay training, considering I could have done with some actual experience with my newly developed powers.
Either way, my instinct seemed to be working. The golden sparks of magical power shimmered around me, drawing a shield between me and the oncoming bullet. I had to compartmentalise my surprise now, as this was my first time seeing what the shield looked like with its network of magical threads all haphazardly connected, millions of coppery lightning bolts of energy all linked together to create a sphere of protection around me.
I was partly aware of the postures of my attackers, both stiffening with what I could only assume was surprise, or maybe shock. Perhaps they hadn’t been prepared for me to protect myself against their onslaught.
Sorry guys. If you thought eliminating this tracker was going to be an easy assassination then you’re in for a disappointment.
I shouldn’t get too cocky though. The power shuddered within my mental grasp and I focused my thoughts on the shield, willing the skin of the protective net to hold as the bullet hit its surface.
But the bullet didn’t bounce off my shield as I had expected. Instead, the shimmering black casing of the slug split apart like pieces of orange skin peeling off in ragged strips. The shattered shards of casing fell away, discarded in our wake as we continued to fly along the black tunnel.
I felt a tiny lilt of pride that I’d incapacitated the missile. And then that satisfaction evaporated and I blinked as the bullet just kept traveling. It pierced my magical ward, shattering the shimmering network of threads, and just kept coming at me.
Now what was I supposed to do?
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