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Magic of Storm and Fury - Paperback

Magic of Storm and Fury - Paperback

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Twenty years ago, I escaped my hometown of Moonfell, a paranormal hotspot in the suburbs of New York, hidden from human eyes.

A place I swore I’d never return.

But the gruesome murder of a teen werewolf has brought me back. And I’m here to solve it.

As I delve deeper into the case, I realize this is no ordinary killing. Someone or something is targeting the supernatural community.

Struggling to control my powers, I find myself entangled in the drama of my neighbors—from a group of mysterious witches to the sexy and dangerously seductive Blake as well as a seemingly ordinary feline that turns out to be something entirely unexpected.

I must navigate the dangerous waters of Moonfell while keeping my own secrets hidden.

See, I’m not your average witch. Hell, I’m not like any witch. My magic is different. It’s wild and unpredictable. And one day, it’s going to get me killed.

But as the stakes get higher and the bodies pile up, I realize this is more than just a murder investigation. This is a battle for survival.


Magic of Flame and Shadow is perfect for fans of urban fantasy, mystery, slow-burn romance, and action-packed adventures.

Look Inside Chapter 1

The soft skin of his belly was torn open, marked by runes, symbols, and letters carved into his chest. The deep, jagged cuts told me this was done either by an amateur or someone in a hurry. Or maybe they just didn’t care. Garish and unoriginal, if you ask me.

The victim’s eyes were missing, and blood trailed down his wrists where he’d been cut. The scent of blood and entrails was thick.

I loved nothing more than to find a dead body before nine in the morning, before my second cup of coffee. Caucasian by the light coloring of the blood-soaked skin and male. He was just a kid.

Maybe seventeen years old. Possibly younger. And that—didn’t settle well with me.

The sight was grim. The body hung from the wall like a painting, pierced and punctured by an iron rod through each clavicle. The corpse was pinioned out in the shape of an X, with cords stretched to hold the limbs apart. Blood had dripped from the body and pooled on the wooden floor beneath.

The runes and letters were carved into the victim in what I recognized as Latin. My Latin was a little rusty, but I knew this word. The letters said ANIMAE. Soul.

What the hell did that mean?

This wasn’t my first experience with a ritualistic killing. In my line of work, these were as common as a sale at your local grocery store. I’d seen my share of dead bodies, even those carved up in runes, but no matter how many, when it came to kids, it brought some deep, primal rage up to the surface. I hated nothing more than the killing of kids. Nothing.

But that’s not what had my blood pressure, or the hairs on the back of my neck, rising. Nor was it why I’d requested this particular case.

It was the fact that I’d seen this particular way of ritualistic killing, along with those strange runes and symbols, once before.

Exactly twenty years ago.

I could still see the face of the girl all those years ago, like it was yesterday when I’d ducked under Fallburn Bridge on my way to see my aunt, seeking shelter from the rain. She’d been strung up just like this boy, the same runes and symbols carved into her chest and her eyes missing.

And she’d been still alive.

I shook those thoughts away and focused on the scene.

It told me two things: one, the culprit who’d done it wanted us to see it, to show off his masterpiece. They were seriously twisted individuals.

And two, they were paranormal.

I could sense the echoes of magic—not much, just a soft humming and enough to know that magic was performed here.

I yanked out my phone and began taking pictures of the body, the house, everything. It was always better to have too many photos I could delete later than not enough and miss something important.

After I’d done a quick walkthrough of the house, including the basement, I couldn’t see any signs of a struggle. The house was clean, too clean, like no one had lived in it for a while. Possibly months. The lack of visible defensive wounds told me that the kid was brought here, probably unconscious or drugged, and probably didn’t feel anything until they started to carve his chest and took his eyes. Yeah, I was sure he was awake for that.

Bastards. Bile rose in the back of my throat. It was too early in the morning for this shit.

A loud bang behind me made me spin around.

A thin woman in her early sixties walked through the entrance of the two-story house. Her straight gray hair brushed her shoulders as she marched forward, and red glasses sat on her thin nose. She reminded me of my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Spots, who loved to pick on me in class because I wasn’t like the other kids. I hated her.

“Thank the cauldron you’ve arrived,” said the stranger, her shoulders slumped as she stood next to me like she’d been carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders until this very moment. Her jacket was two sizes too big, as though it belonged to her husband, and her mom-jeans were held up high on her waist with a belt, again a size too big for her thin frame. “I didn’t know what to do. So I called Jack. Said he’d send a Merlin to help us.”

Jack Spencer was the assistant director of the Merlin Group in New York. The Merlin Group was an acronym for Magical Enforcement Response League Intelligence Network. They were like the FBI, like a sort of magical police force.

My nose tickled at the paranormal energies that rolled off her. Wild and canine. A werefox, if I had to guess.

“Got here as soon as I got the call,” I said. “And you are?”

The stranger flashed a quick smile and stepped into my personal space—way too close. She stuck out her hand. “Helen Robbins,” she said, her warm breath smelling of coffee as it brushed my face. “I’m the mayor of Moonfell. And you must be Katrina.”


“You have no idea how relieved we are that you’re here. We didn’t know what to do. We’re all beside ourselves.”

“Who found the body?” I took a step back. It was too early in the morning for those close-talkers.

“The Realtor. Angie. Nasty woman. She came in to get the house ready for a showing this afternoon. Been on the market for a while. The price is way too high, if you ask me. Who can afford prices like that? No one will buy it now after they find out what happened here. Shame. It was such a lovely house when the Airds lived here.”

“Do you know who he is?”

Helen sighed and nodded. “Tim Mason. Local boy. Smart. Good-looking. He had it all.”

“Paranormal.” It wasn’t really a question since I already knew the answer.

“A werewolf, like his parents.” Helen stole a look at the young man hanging on the wall. She quickly averted her eyes as though staring at it too long would somehow damage her sight. “What do you think happened here? Why would someone do this?”

Good questions. “Not sure yet. But it’s why I’m here. To find out why this happened to Tim.” I hated it when innocent lives were taken so brutally. And this was a ruthless killing, no doubt about that. No matter what Tim had done or gotten involved in, he didn’t deserve to die this way.

“His parents still don’t know.” Helen pulled off her glasses and rubbed her eyes with the butt of her palms. “This is going to kill them. He’s their only son. I don’t have children of my own, and I can’t imagine the pain they’ll suffer. It’s too horrible to imagine.” She slipped her glasses back onto her face. “Do you know what the word means?”

I studied her for a second. I could lie to her and tell her I didn’t know, but she was the mayor of this paranormal community. Sooner or later, she’d find out.


“Soul? As in our souls? Us paranormals? Do we have a serial killer in our town!” Helen’s face flushed like her blood pressure was going through the roof.

“I’m not sure.” My own tension rose at the stress of the situation. Helen’s outburst wasn’t helping. My body trembled as it always did under these conditions. A cold slip of energy rushed inside me, and I quickly pushed it down. This was not the time to display my magic.

Instead, I reached inside my pocket, pulled out a stack of gum, and popped a piece into my mouth.

“Is that nicotine gum?” Helen was back in my personal space, the scent of lavender shampoo brushing my nose. “You smoke?”

“Trying to quit.” I showed her the stack of gum before slipping it back into my pocket.

“Do they help? With the cigarette itch?”

Not so much. “Sure.” The truth was, I hated the taste of these things. But it did keep me from buying a pack of cigarettes. I really was trying to quit.

“Smoking kills,” scolded Helen, looking at me like a disappointed parent.

Apparently, so did just being a teen kid.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” She was starting to annoy me, but I didn’t dislike her. Not yet. She was one of those people who oozed goodness and dependability like she was the one you called when you were in a jam. Might come in handy while I was here.

Helen propped her hands on her hips, looking at everything except the dead teen. “So, do I alert the town that we have a murderer in our midst? This has never happened before in Moonfell. We’ve never had a murder.”

We had, but I decided to keep this to myself. After all, Helen was a stranger to me, and I wasn’t in the mood to share.

“Should we keep our kids inside until you catch the murderer? I mean, this was some sort of ritualistic offering. Right? Shouldn’t you be looking for witches and wizards? A male witch moved in last year. He rubs me the wrong way, you know. Gives me the willies when he walks past me. He smells of incense. Maybe you should start with him.”

“It’s too early to start pointing fingers,” I told her. “I need more to go on.” And I happened to like the smell of incense. It calmed me.

“But this is a ritualistic killing?” prompted Helen. “Dark magic. Voodoo hoodoo. That sort of thing. To call up a Dark god?” Her eyes rounded.

I shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe not. There are many different types of ritualistic killings. This could also be something posing as ritualistic, but not. To try and steer us away from the real killers.”

“So you don’t know?”

“Not yet. No.”

At that, Helen gave me a hard stare, like she was trying to lift the skin off my forehead to get a peek inside my brain. “Aren’t you Merlins experts in these things?” she asked, waving her arms around like she was doing a backstroke.

I blinked. “I wouldn’t know.”

Helen’s mouth fell open. “Aren’t you a Merlin? You know, that group of investigative witches?”

Here we go.

“No. I’m not a Merlin.” I didn’t feel the need to elaborate on how I’d failed the Merlin trials and had brought great shame to my family, especially to strangers. “But I do work for them from time to time. Depends on the job. Contract work mostly.”

“I asked Jack for a Merlin,” said Helen. A frown twisted her forehead as she stared at me like it was the first time she set eyes on me.

“And you got me.”

“Oh.” Disappointment flashed on her face. Guess they were hoping for better, or maybe even the best.

I was used to that look. It had been my constant companion these last thirty-seven years, but it still stung.

An uncomfortable silence followed until Helen broke it.

“Well,” she said with a forced smile my way. “Jack must know what he’s doing if he sent you. It means he trusts that you’re a capable Mer—person. So that means we will, too.”

I appreciated her words, but they felt forced and fell flat.

“Thanks.” Thanks? Why the hell did I say that?

“Wish Blake would have stayed,” said Helen. “He kind of took off after seeing the body.”

“Who’s Blake?” Though the name did ring a bell.

“Our sheriff. He left in a rage.”


“He needs to work on that temper. It’s going to get him killed. Mark my words.”

“Will you contact the parents, or do you want me to do it?” It was the part of the job I hated the most, but someone had to do it. I’d done it so many times over the years that I was mostly numb when I had to do it. Still, it would be better coming from someone they knew rather than a stranger.

“Oh, I’ll do it.” Helen glanced at the body one last time. “How will you… get him down?” She blinked fast, and when she looked at me, moisture filled her eyes.

“I’ve got a cleanup crew on speed dial. They’re very good at what they do. Very discreet. I’ll be here and make sure they’re gentle with him. Don’t worry.” I had a feeling this was what she wanted to hear.

Relief flashed on Helen’s face. “Well, then. I should leave you to it. Please tell them to bring the body to the morgue on Birch Street.” She started for the door.

I followed her. “I know where it is.”

Helen opened the front door, stepped over the threshold, and turned around. “You do? You’ve been to Moonfell before?” Curiosity was high in her tone and her features. Her green eyes flashed behind the rim of her red glasses.

Unfortunately. “I was born here.”

Moonfell was a haven in Upstate New York for various supernaturals who had decided to retreat from the world.

I grabbed the doorknob and pulled the door toward me, giving her the message that it was time for her to leave and let me do my job. I still had lots of work to do here, and the sooner she left, the sooner I could get back to it.

But Helen just stood there, blocking the door with her body. “You were?” A smile spread on her face. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“Because I’m not planning on staying for long.” Nope. As soon as I found the bastard who did this and put a stop to them, I was out of here.

She squinted at me, and I could almost see the questions brewing in her eyes. “What’s your last name? I’m sure I know your parents. I know everyone in this town. Well, except for you,” she added with a laugh.

Here it comes.


At that, Helen’s eyes rounded, and she took a step back like I’d physically pushed her. “Lawless? You’re related to Evangeline and Alistair Lawless? Noooo… You are?”

Another unfortunate product of my birth.

I could see the connections she was making fermenting behind her eyes. When I didn’t answer, she added, “You’re that daughter. The one they never talk about.”

Bingo. “I have to get back to work. Nice to meet you, Helen. I’ll call you if I need anything else. Jack gave me your number. If you need to reach me, here’s mine. You can call me anytime.” I reached into my bag and handed her a card.

She glanced at it. “Lawless Investigations. That’s you.”

“That’s right.”

Helen blinked her large eyes at me, and I could tell she wasn’t about to let that information go, not when she had the bit between her teeth. “I never thought I’d ever meet you in person. Never even seen a picture. But now that I’m looking at you… you look just like your mother. Well, a younger version of her. I can’t believe you’re her.”

“Believe it.”

“Will you be staying with your parents?”

I shook my head. “I’ll be staying at my great-aunt’s house. She left it to me in her will when she died two years ago. I haven’t had the chance to see it yet…” No. I’d left this town twenty years ago and never looked back.

Helen’s jaw seemed to be dislocated as it kept opening. “But that place is run-down. Only the squirrels and raccoons occupy that house. No one has lived there since she passed. Not after Luna died.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Well, if you need help with the renovations, I can give you a few names.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

And then I shut the door in Helen’s astonished face.

Was that rude? You bet. But she was really starting to annoy me. And I wasn’t here to discuss my personal life. I was here on a job.

Damnit. The news of my return would spread like wildfire in this town. And guessing from that look on Helen’s face, like she’d just won the gossip lottery, I gave it one hour before all twelve hundred inhabitants in Moonfell would know.

Yes, I was back in my hometown—a place I’d sworn I’d never return to, no matter what.

I let out a sigh. “Welcome home, Kat.”



Coming soon! 

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