I've been hard at work developing my new Rhys Lawless series and it's closer than you think!
The pre-order is already up, and today I've got the exciting first chapter exclusively for you.
Chapter 1 - Tomasz
“Are you sure you want to do this?” the old woman asked. She didn’t appear old, per se. But looking at her, the only thing that came to mind was Matka Ziema, the powerful Slavic deity I’d grown up to equally love and fear. “I’m sorry to disappoint, young man, but I’m not her,” she said as if she could read my mind. Right. I had been warned about her. Be careful what you think of, my boss had said. It seemed he was right. “It-it’s okay,” I managed to mumble. I was terrified of her, yet drawn to her bright green eyes, which seemed to have an inhuman glow in the darkness of the underground chamber we were in. The same eyes that seemed intent on burning me with their intensity. Instead of returning the gaze, I focused on the fire in the pit between us. It seemed a little cliché for this sage old witch to be hiding in a dark cave lit by torches and balefire, surrounded by old hardbound books and cobwebs, but I guessed some witches took themselves a lot more seriously than others. “So?” she said under the hood of her black cloak, her curly hair spilling out from beneath it, creating a frame around her face. “What is your answer, young whisperer?” The fire pulsed. It thrummed in my ears. I didn’t know how it could do such a thing, but that was the only way I could explain it. Or maybe I was losing it. I was sitting in an underground cave in the middle of Camden after all. But its beat, its song, brought up all the images, all the horror, all the loss. The memories I wanted to erase with every fiber of my being, but doing so would mean I’d live under the illusion that they were still alive and they weren’t. And those who murdered them needed to pay. “So much anger. So much hatred,” she whispered. “Let me guess. You’re going to tell me I need to let go, to clear my mind, that revenge is never the answer?” I told her, looking at her with defiance I hadn’t been feeling before. She cocked her head and without missing a beat opened her red lips. “No. Use it,” she said. The memories assaulted my mind again. The chaos. The mess. The blood. And for what? For a stupid, fucking egg! The flames of the fire seemed to burn brighter, licking my skin and lending me their heat. Within seconds my insides were just as hot. I caught my breath, felt my heartbeat pounding in my ears, tasted the bile on my tongue. “Do it!” I told her. I stretched my hand over the fire and she held out a dagger. No. Not a dagger. A sword. The silver blade glinted, reflecting the light and I caught the markings on the surface. Knots. Decorative knots that seemed to never end. With the tip of the sword she pricked my finger and let my blood trickle down the blade and paint it red. Then she got up and walked into one of the many doorways, tunnels branching out from the center of the room, dragging the sword, a red line coloring the floor behind her. Even though she’d only taken a drop or two, the blood gushed from the blade. What had I just done? “Are you coming?” she asked before disappearing completely. I rushed to my feet. It was dark in the tunnel but somehow I knew where I needed to go and when I needed to stop. When there was light again I found myself in a long, cold room with a stainless steel wall. Along the wall were small doors. Rows and rows of them. Wait a minute. Is… “Is this a morgue?” I asked her as she opened one door and confirmed the answer to my question. “I thought we were summoning a demon.” She leaned over the large man in the drawer. He was covered in a thin gold membrane but was otherwise butt-naked. The witch looked up at me and smirked. “A demon, young whisperer, needs a body,” she answered and before I even had a chance to digest her words, she lifted the sword and impaled the man with the bloody sword. Shit. Maybe this was a bad idea. “Too late now, little whisperer. Your demon is about to awaken.”