Here’s a another teaser from MIDNIGHT KISS: FOUR NEW ADULT PARANORMAL ROMANCES which releases TOMORROW!
This Halloween, prepare to be haunted by a kiss…
Midnight Kiss is a limited edition collection of four BRAND NEW, NEVER RELEASED novellas, all set in New Orleans on Halloween night.
My novella within MIDNIGHT KISS is called The Midnight Test. Here I give you the first scene of The Midnight Test:
The force fleeted through me, like a cold wind mixed with an electric pulse, and I gasped. What the …? Dozens of bad words crossed my mind, and I would have spat them if my cell phone hadn’t dinged.
Amber: So, did it work?
I sighed. If whatever was haunting this place stopped playing, maybe I would be able to start it.
Me: Hang on.
I knelt on the floor and resumed drawing a summoning circle. I could feel the ghost—or whatever it was—nearby, as if it were watching me, wondering what I was doing. I looked up, searching for the moon, but both four-story dorm buildings did a great job of hiding it from me.
It was almost two in the morning, and even though it was Wednesday, most students seemed to have turned in early. Good thing too, because I didn’t need any curious eyes.
I finished drawing the circle and grabbed a small leather pouch from inside my tote, which was lying on the ground. Careful with it, I opened the pouch and deposited it safely in the palm of my left hand. The red hawthorn berry powder inside it was running low, but I should have enough for this time. I made a mental note to stop by the Midnight Cauldron soon and buy some more.
Focusing on my task, I picked the red powder inside the pouch with my right hand and deposited it on the ground, forming a big star with each of its six points touching the circle’s line. After making sure there were no gaps in the star, I put the pouch back in my tote and sent a message to my sister.
Amber: Now you place the crystals around it, step in, and call it.
I rolled my eyes.
Me: I know.
Amber: Sorry. Force of habit.
Her powers manifested when she was twelve, and she started learning magic right away. I was ten then and, even though I still hadn’t manifested, I had sat through her lessons. I absorbed everything. My mother thought it had all been a waste of time when I turned sixteen and still hadn’t manifested.
Finally, on my seventeenth birthday, a sliver of magic appeared. To my mother’s disgrace, I had been the oldest witch we knew to receive my gift, and also the weakest. However, I knew it all. All the theory, all the history, all the spells, all the potions, and that knowledge, along with my weak magic, made me somewhat powerful.
Amber: Hazel, did you get it?
Suppressing a groan, I placed the fist-sized white crystals on the four corners—north, south, east, and west. I looked around one more time, making sure nobody was in the alley or watching me through the windows, and stepped into the circle.
The energy from the crystals flowed into me and I opened my arms, welcoming that bit of extra magic. It rushed through my veins, bringing energy, life, and power. I smiled.
“Veni ad me,” I chanted, funneling my power. I sent my magic to all four corners. I felt it when it bumped into the other force, enveloped it, and pulled it to the circle. “Now you’re mine.”
The force struggled against me, but my magic was strong when backed up by the crystals. The force crossed the circle’s barrier and my magic released it. Immediately, it tried to step out of the circle. I almost laughed at its foolish attempts.
I channeled my powers. “Apparet.”
The air shimmered and smoke appeared, slowly forming the outline of a person. It was a ghost. I knew it.
“Hazel Rose Levine.”
I snapped my head toward the new voice and lost my grasp on my magic. The power of the crystals faded and the ghost vanished.
“Shit,” I muttered.
A tall woman wearing a heavy white cloak with silver embroidery stood a good fifteen feet from the circle. The magic within her was so powerful that I could feel it brushing against my skin, filling the alley, chasing away ghosts.
I stepped out of the circle. “Yes?”
She took off the hood, revealing a plain face with sharp lines. Still, she was beautiful in an imposing, strong way. “I’m Lenora, one of the witches from the White Sisterhood.”
My throat became instantly dry and my hands damp.
“Um, have you received my request?” The one I had sent two months ago, when I first arrived in New Orleans? Several options had rolled in my mind since then. One, they didn’t get my request. Two, they got it and, knowing how weak I was, chose to ignore it. Three, they got it and were spying on me, waiting to see if I should be granted an audience or not.
“We did,” she said, her voice grave. “We decided it’s time for us to meet.”
My heart skipped a beat. I truly wasn’t expecting this. “Really?”
She went on as if the excitement in my tone didn’t amuse her one bit. “Tomorrow evening. At the appointed place and time.” She waved her hand and an old, rolled parchment blinked into existence right in front of my face. I snatched it. “Don’t be late.”
Shadows surrounded her, and just like that, she was gone.
Thrill bubbled in my chest and I reached for my phone from over my tote. I began typing a text for my sister then stopped. What the hell? Who cared if it was past midnight? My mother would want to know this no matter the hour.
She answered on the second ring. “They contacted you?” she asked, her voice alert.
I frowned. “How did you know?”
“Calling me at this time? It better be it.”
The excited feeling died down and I sighed. To her, that was the main reason I moved from our tiny town of Belmont, Louisiana to New Orleans. No matter how much I wanted to go to college and try living a normal life, since apparently I wasn’t cut out for the witch thing. But she had made me promise, she begged me, to contact the coven of the White Sisterhood, to request an audience so I could introduce myself and also request a position within their midst.
“It would be the biggest honor,” she had said.
Yes, it would. With the exception of my mother and Amber, our family was the weakest in our entire region, and I was the weakest of them all. She would love to have a daughter inside the White Sisterhood, the strongest, most powerful coven of white witches in existence. To my mother, I could be there as a maid, she didn’t care, as long as I got in.
“So,” she asked. “When will you meet them?”
“Tomorrow.” That was less than twenty hours. My stomach knotted. I picked up the crystals and stashed them inside my tote. “I’ll call you once I’m out.”
“Please, Hazel …” She sighed. “Impress them somehow.”
How was I supposed to do that? My magic didn’t hold a candle to theirs. There was nothing I could do that would impress them. Honestly, I didn’t know why they accepted my request.
I counted to ten before answering. “I’ll try.” I waved my hand to the circle. The red and white lines turned to dust, and soon they were carried by the soft breeze.
“If they ask you for a demonstration, what will you do?”
I scanned the alley one more time, making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, then turned on the heels of my high-tops and walked out the alley.
“I don’t know, mayb—” I bumped into something and tripped backward, but recovered before my butt met the ground. My phone fell from my hand and my tongue tingled with too many curses. “What the f—?” I cut my words short and stared at the guy before me with wide eyes.
Even peering out from under a hood, his eyes pulled me in. I had never been this close to him and it was breathtaking. His eyes were the brightest blue I had ever seen, and they went too well with his fair skin and his dark brown hair, which was shaved close on the sides and longer on the top, but he didn’t leave it up in spikes like Mohawks or fauxhawks. His puckered lips and sharp chin and jaw added to his beauty. As if his face wasn’t enough, he was tall and wide. Peeking from his sleeveless hoodie, his arms were inked and toned and, right now, gleaming with sweat. I didn’t know what to stare at first. The tattoos or the muscles or the sweat running over his skin.
Frowning, Sean Flaherty bent down and picked up my phone from the ground. “Sorry,” he said, offering the phone to me.
I forced myself to swallow. “Thanks.” I put the phone to my ear and flinched when I heard my mother yelling my name. “I’m here. I’m here. Sorry. I dropped the phone.”
Sean stared at me the same way I had stared at him. Was he checking me out or was he just curious about my unusual visual? My fair skin and pale blue eyes were nothing new. But blond hair with several pink and blue streaks, a bar on my left eyebrow, a tiny crystal piercing on my nose (I had another, not so tiny, on my belly button, but he couldn’t see that one), eyeliner and mascara, but no other kind of makeup, a tattoo of three stars on the side of my neck (I had more, but he also couldn’t see those) were almost always something people stared at. Not to mention the style of clothes I liked. At the moment, I wore a thin, off-white, long-sleeved tee, black leggings, black and pink high-tops, and had my pink leather jacket hanging from my tote. Well, my style might be a novelty back at home, but I knew it wasn’t here in New Orleans. Maybe he was staring at me for another reason, then. People always told me I looked younger than I was. Did he see me as a fifteen-year-old girl instead of nineteen?
His eyes met mine and I inhaled deeply. “Um, Mom. Can I call you tomorrow?”
“Sure,” she said, sounding a little suspicious.
“Bye.” I turned off the call before she could say anything else. I dropped my phone inside my tote. “Sorry about bumping into you.”
Sean buried his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants. “It’s okay.” His voice was deep and gruff. I told my girly side to be quiet before I acted like a hormonal high school girl and giggled at him. “It was my fault too. I should have been paying attention to where I was going.”
I tilted my head to the side. “You were running at this time of night?”
“And you were in a dark alley talking on the phone with your mother,” he said, his tone tight. I almost flinched. He averted his eyes. “Sorry. It isn’t my business.”
“Yeah, well, sorry I asked too.” As much as it pained me, I turned around and started walking to my dorm building.
The breeze blew again, carrying one of the many fliers spread throughout campus announcing the big Halloween party this weekend. I stepped on the flier and I picked it up, thinking about throwing it away in the next trash can I saw.
I took another three steps before he said, “Yes, I was running.”
I stopped and glanced over my shoulder. Sean’s body was angled toward me. Now he wanted to talk? I turned back. “Do you always run at this time of night?”
“Only when I can’t sleep.” He paused and touched a red macramé bracelet around his wrist. “Which is often.”
“Oh.” I wanted to ask why. Why couldn’t he sleep? But I didn’t want to pry too much. I had two classes with him, and until now, I had never seen him speak to anyone. I didn’t want to risk pushing him away, but I wanted to keep talking to him, even though I wasn’t sure what to say.
“How about you?” he asked, surprising me. He looked like the quiet, lonely type. Making small talk wasn’t his thing. “Do you always sneak into dark alleys and call your mother at this time of night?”
I smiled. Turning my own question against me. Touché. “Sometimes.”
His expression hardened, and the muscles in his neck and shoulders tensed. “You shouldn’t be out alone so late. It’s dangerous.”
On instinct, I gave one step back. Was he warning me he was dangerous? Not that I was afraid. I really wasn’t. I had ways of defending myself. If I didn’t allow it, a normal human would never touch me. But he didn’t know that.
“Right,” I said, playing along. “Well, I have class tomorrow morning. I should try getting some sleep.” I gave another step back.
He nodded. “Good night.”
“Good night,” I said before walking the short distance to my building’s front door.
Once inside, I spied on him through one of the lobby windows. Sean remained in place, staring at my building door. Slowly, his gaze shifted up—to the dorm windows? He shook his head, turned around, and pushed into a run again.
I watched until I couldn’t see him anymore. Sean was intriguing, to say the least.
I peeked at the flier in my hand. It would be nice to go to the Halloween party. To go out, period. I spent most of my weekend nights hunting ghosts and putting them to rest. Halloween night was always worse.
Fishing my phone from my tote, I climbed up the steps to my floor. There were several messages from Amber. As much as I wanted to answer her, I really should go to sleep. Just because I was a witch, didn’t mean I didn’t get tired, and knowing me, tomorrow I would feel like a zombie.
Add it on Goodreads!
Can’t wait to share this one with you!