Excerpt of WITCHY WICKEDNESS

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https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Soule/e/B0104Y33KK


For readers of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series and fans of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer!

Black magicks. Vanishing teens. And doomed loves. This is where the haunting and breathtaking saga begins… 
 
Ravenwood, California isn’t like other coastal towns. It’s a mystical place built over a gateway into Hell, with some extremely unusual residents. And Shiloh Trudell isn’t like other girls—she’s a teen witch who can sense the things that go bump in the night. 

When Shiloh gets a visit from a shadowy demon threatening to steal her family’s spellbooks, her life quickly spirals into one of unending weirdness and danger.
As if life isn’t complicated enough, she takes a job at the local haunted house, where she meets the sinfully hot Trent Donovan with massive amounts of swoon-inducing charm. With his insanely green eyes and a crooked smile that must’ve broken more than a few hearts, Shiloh can’t deny the red-hot chemistry between them.

Yet as the witching hour approaches, Shiloh’s forced to put romance on hold and embrace her destiny as guardian of the Charmed Chronicles. That is, if she can evade a kooky ghost on a revenge haunt, contain the scary dark power tainting her magick, and survive attacks by a pack of creeptastic demons first. 

For poor Shiloh, life’s a real witch.

~ ~ ~

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE


For as long as I could remember, I’d seen things in the shadows—sinister, twisting shapes that chilled my blood. Whenever I’d catch a glimpse of their greenish skin, crimson eyes, and sharp claws slithering through the fog, I’d wish for an elsewhere to be. 

Like anyplace, other than Ravenwood, California.

Normally, I felt safe during the day with all the lights on, but when the shadows made an appearance this morning, my heart started pounding so hard, it hurt to breathe. The shadows crawled along the wall near my bed and whispered in an eerie language, their voices churning around me like the remnants of a bad dream. Those dark, scary creatures I could never tell anyone about seemed to fade into the cracks in the floorboards, but I could still hear their insidious murmurs.
How the hell had they gotten through my magickal defenses? I had just reinforced my telepathic shield last night. 

Apparently not good enough.

The desk light and floor lamp blinked off and on. I glanced at the last line I’d typed on my essay for English class, one hand hovering over the laptop keyboard. The flames of the candles lining the dresser flickered, and the open curtains over the closed windows eerily fluttered. 

Still, the room didn’t seem bright enough.

Closing the laptop, I set it aside on the bed. Not that I needed any extra incentive, but finishing homework could wait. My priority had shifted to finding those little demons, then get right back to the studying thing. 

The ominous mutterings sounded as if they were coming from the closet across the room. The swirling azure colors of the witch-ball suspended from the ceiling rotated in a slow circle. 
I slid off the bed and scanned the dark bends and edges of the room. The furniture seemed to cast long, dark shadows in the otherwise brightly lit space. I squatted to check under the bed, then peek under the desk and dresser. 

No hellspawn prowling around. 

Shuffling over to the closet, I kicked the door open. On tiptoes, I stretched over the threshold to grasp the brass chain, and gave it a yank. Light bled across dirty laundry, illuminating shoes piled on the floor and an overflowing laundry basket. Dusty board games cluttered the shelf, and haphazardly hanging clothes swayed on the bar. My fuzzy bunny slippers stared upward with glassy button eyes. 

I listened, wary and waiting. The murmurs ceased. Everything seemed…normal. The raised blinds and the open curtains on the windows let the midmorning sunlight glare into the room.

So why couldn’t I shake the total creep factor?    

Suddenly the lightbulb in the closet and both lamps exploded, causing shards of glass to rain down on the floor. A sharp gust blew out the candles. The blinds dropped over the windows and the curtains slammed together, plunging the room into semi-darkness. 

Bile rose in my throat. Nothing to fear. Nothing to fear. Nothing to—
 
The smaller shadowy creatures—shades—covered the pink rug like an opaque stain. Tremors traveled from my legs and vibrated up my neck. Red eyes gleamed from within the inky blobs. Spiny reptilian fingers reached to grab my ankles and I lurched back from their grasp. 

In a corner across the room, the darkness thickened somehow, creeping up the wall. An entity, solid and vertical, was detaching itself from the other shadows. The über-evil mass of blackness, like a spatter of crude oil, pulsated and churned until it nearly touched the ceiling. The odor of sulfur, musty and acrid, wrinkled my nose. 

Breathing out desperate choking noises, I stumbled sideways, my knees buckling. I leaned hard on the wall, blood roaring in my ears. 

The nest of smaller demonic beings started circling my legs. A threatening growl came from within the larger shadow, and the shades slunk away, blending into the dim corners like frightened children. 

When scary things get scared—so not good.

Power surged through the upper-level demon as he swelled into a seething maelstrom of dark energy. The demon’s strange features—part phantom, part reptilian—fought to become corporeal. He morphed, muscles expanding over bones of shiny obsidian, smooth and razor-sharp. Then the entity throbbed, altered, coalescing into soot-colored skin, with a sturdy flexibility, more sinuous than flesh. Partially humanoid. No hair. Creepy ocher eyes. His man-parts covered by loose black pants. The demon flexed his hands, revealing long fingernails.

“Greetings, Thirteenth Daughter,” the demon said. Heat, like the breath of a dragon, radiated from the seven-foot-tall lizardy monster. “Or should I call you by your birth name, Shiloh Trudell?”

He knew my name. The demon knew my friggin’ name!

My scalp prickled with sweat. It wasn’t as if I were some girly-girl afraid of her own shadow, but when they had glowing eyes and spoke to me…well, I tended to freak out. 

Okay, focus. 

My gaze darted to the bottle of holy water on the nightstand, then the windows. Sunlight might be my only ally. If I lifted the blinds and opened the curtains, the sun’s rays would turn the demon into a crispy critter. At least that was the hope. Through the blinds, a crack of light spilled into the room. 

I just needed to distract Shadow Man, the big bad evil, until I could reach the windows. Hopefully before any deathage occurred…meaning mine.

“So, um, what do they call you?” 

“Irrelevant,” he said, standing in the corner and glancing at all the lamps and candles cluttering the room. “Although, I do find it rather intriguing that a girl of your special talents is afraid of the dark. I would think by now, you’d be embracing it since you are bound to me.”

Inching forward, I kept an eye on the shades with their greenish hands, arms, and flashes of carved faces. The shades must be his creeptastic minions. They continually moved, sliding under the bed in a twisted game of peek-a-boo. 

The big demon stood unnaturally still. Intent, watchful, calm. “Did you know that demon blood is better than Wheaties? It has all the nutrients a growing witch needs.”

“Say what? I-I don’t even know what you’re talking about, and I’m not bound to you—”

“You bear the Devil’s Mark.” He pointed at my scarred arm. 

A blast of scorching pain, as if I’d plunged my arm into scalding water, struck the scar, tracing a jagged line from my elbow to my wrist. Sucking in a breath, I held it against my chest and tears filled my eyes. 

“It’s only a scar,” I whispered.

“Only a scar? Tsk, tsk.” He lowered his arm and his inhuman voice slid across the space between us, resonant and sinister, like the threat of a snake before it strikes. “You belong to me now.” He pointed at my scarred arm again, and hot pain shot through the raised skin. “Debts must be paid.” 

“Okay, whatever. You have my attention,” I said, feeling extra wiggy by this whole monster-rific conversation. “What do you want?” 

“Give me the grimoires, and I will make your death quick and painless.”

My gaze automatically darted to the trunk under my bed. The demon caught my glance and lifted one side of the bedframe as if it weighed only five pounds. The wooden trunk hidden under the mattress faintly glowed with fiery-red magickal symbols and wards. Shadow Man reached out a leathery hand to touch it, but when his skin made contact with the flaming radiance, it sparked like an electric fence and he jerked back his arm. 

“Tricky.” Shadow Man dropped the bed with a loud thud. He stepped closer, then halted and tilted his head to one side. His lips curved into a malicious smile.
A soft knock on the door.

“Shiloh?” My mother’s annoyed tone penetrated the wood. “I heard a noise. What are you doing in there? Do you need help with something?” 

No way was I letting this all-purpose evil leave my bedroom to hurt my parents.
“Uh, sorry,” I croaked. “All good here.”

She twisted the knob on the locked door. “We don’t want to be late for the meeting.” 

No...we wouldn’t want that.

“Okay. Be down soon.” 

My fists clenched at my sides, fingernails cutting into my palms. I glanced from the door to Shadow Man. 

“Hurry up,” she said. 

The soft tread of her feet padding down the hall rattled me enough to take action. 

I stepped forward, intent on defending my loved ones, and glimpsed my reflection in the mirror above the dresser—blue gaze steadfast and cheeks flushed with a flare-up of bravery.

Or more like a case of much stupidity. 

“You know, I just wanted to finish my homework. Be like any other normal girl,” I said. “Have friends, sleep at night, maybe even date a cute boy—but nooo, you and your creepy fiends had to show up and ruin my day.”

The demon sneered. “Now, Thirteenth Daughter, we can do this the easy way or...well, there’s the dead way.”

“Are you sure you want to mess with me? I’m just saying, this won’t be all party favors and animal balloons. We’re talking bloodshed, roughhousing, and maybe even an R-rating.”

“Hmmm,” he said. “Sounds quite enjoyable, but first I want those spellbooks. Then I am going to spill your blood like a human piñata.”

“You know, I’m thinking you’re overly passive-aggressive.” I inched closer to the windows. “You could benefit from therapy, and okay, now that I give it more thought, you’re not so much with the passive, but this whole death threatening spiel needs some work. It’s not gonna win you any friends on the playground. Or get me to hand over those books. Just saying’.”

Okay, so nervous, nonsensical babbling was a flaw, but it was keeping the big bad somewhat distracted.

“Rebellion is useless, my ascent is imminent.” He lifted his arm. “Out of everyone in this room, who’s just been voted most likely to become invincible?” Shadow Man waved at me, and dropped his hand. “Guess that’ll only be me, then.”

I shuffled a few steps closer to the window. “God complex much?”

“A god? No. Powerful and immortal? Yes. Unfortunately, I remain a tad weak. However, being this close to you—my goodness, what a rush!” The demon crooked a finger like a hook and his gaze settled on me with such animosity that my skin recoiled. “I am craving a taste of your life force. Come here. Now.”

“Like hell I will,” I said, but the tone was not mine. This time courage flooded my voice. “What are you? Some kind of succubi?”

“Ah, so you know your demons. No, I am much, much more powerful, and even more deadly.”

We glared at each other, and I felt a dark force unfurling within my chest, as black as the demon before me. Tension coiled my muscles and I gritted my teeth. My limbs twitched while the obscure power within me stirred restlessly—precarious, unwinding. 

No one moved. Even the nasty little shades became rigid. Shadow Man, the Repulsive Reptile Guy, hesitated. He was more corporeal than a ghost, but still not entirely solid. 

I held my ground, my heart beating too fast. That darker energy stirred under my ribs, as if itching for release and making my skin prickle. A buzzing filled my ears, and something dark and—sort of evil?—grew inside me, intensifying outward, as if firing off neurons and creating new pathways. 

With inhuman speed, Shadow Man closed in and grabbed me by the throat. I knocked his scaly arms away, and kicked him strongly in the face. The blow sent him stumbling back, but he recovered almost instantly. He rushed forward, landing a solid punch to my jaw. Pain radiated up into my skull, my teeth rattling…then ebbed away. 

The strange, intense power inside my chest surged again, pulsing and expanding like armor over my body. This time when he swung again and hit me in the chest his strength and density seemed to wane, and I barely felt the strike. For a moment, I wasn’t sure what scared me more, the adrenaline rush of freaky energy or the upper-level demon trying to kill me.

“Get out of my house!” I demanded. “You must have an elsewhere to be…like, oh, I don’t know—Hell?”

“You are plucky!” Shadow Man chuckled, but without humor. His form wavered from solid to misty shadow. “Too bad you must die.”

“And you’re awfully chatty for a demon.”

He rushed forward so fast his movements were a blur, and threw another punch. I blocked the blow with my arm, adrenaline coursing through my veins. Shadow Man landed a backhanded slap on my cheek, and stars exploded in my vision. 

Lifting a leg, I kicked him as hard as I could in the gut. When he doubled-over in pain, I slammed my elbow into his spine. The demon staggered and hit the wall, falling to the floor, winded. His shoulder struck the tall lamp and sent it crashing to the ground.

I backed up, both fists raised. “Ha! Take that, evil baddie!” 

Guess that self-defense class my dad made me take a few years ago had finally paid off. 

Shadow Man straightened, studying me with his yellow gaze, and my courage faltered. His shadowy body shimmered and grew slightly bigger, taller. I had the sudden horrible feeling that he was only toying with me and held back his full demony strength. 

Now he was done playing. 

“You are wasting my time,” he hissed, towering over me.

“Yeah, well, I had other plans today, too. Which did not include kicking your ass.”

“Last chance, Thirteenth Daughter. I want those books.”

The heat of his stare slammed into my scar again. It throbbed as if a wasp had stung me, the sharp pain radiating up my arm, and all the way across my chest. My stomach heaved, my breakfast threatening to cough back up.

Okay, deep breath. Do the calm thing. The un-freaking out thing.

Shadow Man stood between the door and me. No quick escape there. 

Come on, Shiloh—think! 

The demon flung back his head, emitting a thin stream of smoke that spewed from his parted lips. His smoky vomit appeared viscous and black, tinting the air with a sulfurous residue. 

Well, hell.

Instead of screaming, I’d try the brave thing and make a run for the windows.
“Kiss some daylight, demon!” 

As I ran past Shadow Man, I grabbed the bottle of holy water, twisted off the lid, and hurled the contents at his face. He shrieked as steam rose from his burning scalp. A trickle of the water splashed onto my skin, and a blistering heat hit my arm. 

Stumbling, I fell to my knees, gripping the ledge of the windowsill. A surge of energy radiated through my limbs, crackling with weird power. “Please, oh please, open!

~ ~ ~


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author Kiersten White - Slayer - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Watcher’s Guides - Chosen Ones - Angel - girl squad - YA novels witches - Willow - Xander - Spike - free ebook - BtVS fanfiction - Sunnydale - Hellmouth - Faith - Scoobies - Buffy inspired fiction - Buffy Angel Fanfiction - Buffy the vampire slayer fanfic - paranormal romance - urban fantasy - young adult fiction - Buffy the vampire slayer 20th anniversary - BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN SHERRY SOULE - http://sherrysoule.com


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