She was born to power — power that could destroy worlds.
He was born to stop her, whatever the cost.
They didn’t plan to fall in love. Will it save them … or lead to their foretold destruction?
18-year-old martial arts champion Corinne Driscol knows what it’s like to suffer. In a world void of magic, she feels a power deep inside her that she can’t access. Trying only leads to pain and depression. When her childhood cat magically appears in the woods outside her house after a near-fatal run in with a supernatural serial killer, Corinne is set on a path of secrets, lies and danger. But what she finds isn’t what she expected.
* * *
Kian O’Riley has his hands full. As lead detective for the worst case he’s ever seen, Kian must stop a serial killer whose true nature is known only to him. He doesn’t have time for love.
But Kian knew he’d met his match when he met Corinne. He also knew he’d met his destiny. The son of an Irish Fay, Kian was born and raised to do one thing, find the person who’d been prophesied to destroy all of humanity … find her, and stop her at all costs. Falling in love with her wasn’t part of the deal.
Now, the closer Corinne gets to unlocking her own power, the closer Kian gets to making an unbearable choice that could forever alter the future of his world. Will he stop the evil that is tearing apart the fabric of our world? And will he have to destroy the woman he loves in order to fulfill his destiny?
The earth was cold and damp under my bare feet. Trees whipped around me in a cacophony of sounds as the wind tore at their branches. I shivered, wearing only an old t-shirt and boxer shorts.
Death stalked me. Terror filled my veins. I tripped on my own feet and landed on my knees. My heart beat frantically, like a hummingbird on speed. Clammy hands gripping each other did little to still my shaking body.
I couldn’t breathe. Something moved towards me, but I was paralyzed. Every fighter’s instinct I had ever learned was gone in that moment. I was as defenseless as a child. Master Song would have been so ashamed.
An ice cold breath slithered down the back of my neck like a Cobra’s tongue. The chill went bone deep and I shivered, terrified. A menacing black crow landed on the branch in front of me, its beady eyes tearing into my soul. I tried to run, but I was stuck. My vision went red. Awash in blood. I could taste the salty copper on my tongue. I gagged soundlessly, dying inside.
Without warning, agonizing pain sent alarms throughout my body, alerting each and every nerve ending I possessed that something horrible was happening. My insides were torn out of me. Claws dug into my heart, my lungs, into my very marrow. I was dying.
Then he appeared. His presence always a whispering comfort in my darkest nights. Never had I been more desperate to feel him near me.
Warmth flooded into me, slowly replacing the pain.
I inhaled deeply, grateful for the newfound ability to breathe.
“Corinne.” His voice travelled on the wind, caressing me.
“I’m sending you help. Hold on, Corinne. Just hold on. Be strong.”He sounded worried. Unlike himself. His strong voice carrying itself into the black hole that had formed in my chest. Bringing light. Sewing together the jagged seams that were ripping open.
I knew this was a dream, but I also knew I would die soon if I didn’t do as he said.
He was just a vision of light. Translucent, like he was projecting himself from very far away. Sometimes we met in his world. It was in those dreams that I felt safe and at home for the first time in my life. I craved the memories of being with him, being there, more than anything. False memories. Memories created by my shattered mind.
But I would take this hellish nightmare if it meant I could have a moment with him.
He spoke again.
“Wake up now! Wake up and you will see an old friend who can help you. You must keep the key on you at all times. It will protect you. Wake up Corinne. NOW!”
It was like being dropped out of a second story window. The sense of falling. The jolt. When I woke up I expected to feel the downy comfort of my bed and pillows. I did NOT expect to still be living my nightmare, trapped in the forest in the middle of the night wearing only my pajamas. My long white-blonde hair loose down my back and whipping around me in the wind. I hugged myself and shivered, the cold all too real without the fog of sleep to cloak me. My meager clothing doing nothing to shelter my pale skin.
Waking had changed nothing. I was still under attack by some unseen force. I still couldn’t move. My terror escalated as I realized I really was going to die. And I didn’t even know how or why.
Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
A large orange cat.
But not just any cat. My cat. Mothball. Missing in action for over two years now. Death by coyote, we’d presumed. But apparently not.
Mothball threw himself into me, knocking me over.
An old friend…could this be the help my dream man promised?
I could still feel the fear snaking its way into me, stealing away my soul.
I longed to be back in my dream, where at least I would still have him.
Mothball meowed, reminding me I wasn’t alone on this plane either. A stray moon beam caused something in his mouth to glint. He dropped his treasure into my hand and pawed at me. It was a necklace.
On a silver chain hung a heavy symbol that looked ancient and like nothing I had ever seen before. It reminded me of mutated cross between hieroglyphs and Asian symbols, if you only had a vague idea of what those might look like. The metal was thick and had a liquid quality to it, like melted silver. It was hot to the touch, and sent a shock through my body.
Heat moved over my skin, like fire caressing me. I expected to feel burned, but instead felt a coolness seeping into me, causing my body to become jellylike. I had the fleeting thought that this must be what a Morphine overdose felt like.
The crow shifted and glared at me with menacing intention.
My breathing became labored and I struggled not to panic. I searched frantically for a spot in my mind that wasn’t racing. No such luck.
I screamed as my chest tore open. I tried to let go of the necklace but my fist was locked around it, unmovable. My ribs cracked into tiny pieces, piercing my lungs in the process. I was sure I would die if I couldn’t let go of the necklace. I began to lose consciousness just as my body split in two. Then nothing.
Was I awake or dreaming? I didn’t know. The pain was gone, but I wasn’t in the forest anymore. I was floating through rainbows of lights amidst a jet black sky. The lights entered me, riding through my veins like a drug until my body disappeared.
I was an expansion of all that was, is and will ever be. I was an expression of eternity. Freedom and power coursed through every aspect of my being. Power without pain. Joy without the shadows of depression. My heart soared. My soul breathed in the stillness of the night and rejoiced in the beauty.
The crow shot through my vision, attacking my face. Shards of colored light broke through me and surrounded the crow, pushing it away.
I felt something. Pain. My body was back, and I fell back to earth, heavy and lethargic.
When I opened my eyes I was struck by how dull and lifeless everything looked. My body, a body I had carefully trained to be lean, fast and skilled, felt like a lump of lead. My head was spinning with conflicting images and thoughts. I took a few deep breathes to steady myself and tried to sit up.
Mothball was next to me, claws raking against my leg.
The crow was gone. I slipped the necklace around my neck, feeling the pressure of its power build in me.
I looked around and realized for the first time that I was in the woods outside my house. I had been walking in my sleep.
I was about to chalk the whole experience up to my overactive imagination when I noticed the plant life around me. It was all dead. I was sitting in the center of a circle of death, the smell of which was carried on the wind by a single black feather left on a withered branch.
My body was limp with spent adrenaline as I pulled myself off the ground and freed my body of excess twigs and dirt. Mothball stood there as guard, occasionally looking at me quizzically.
“We have a few problems,” I told the cat.
“One, you just appeared out of nowhere after my fictitious dream man said he would send me help. Two, something just tried to kill me. And three, this necklace is brimming with magic.”
I walked back to my house, Mothball keeping pace beside me.
“I need answers.” I looked at him. “I don’t suppose you came back as a talking cat? ‘Cuz that would be really helpful right about now.”
He meowed loudly.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
I snuck back into my house as quietly as possible so as not to wake my aunt. My knee was starting to heal of its cut, but needed to be cleaned out before I went to bed. What had just happened to me? I needed help.
Grabbing my cell phone, I checked the time. 3 a.m. Barry would kill me if I didn’t at least text him about this.
My hands shook as I texted. I was still in some shock, I knew.
BARRY, CALL ME ASAP. URGENT.
Two seconds later my phone buzzed.
Did you just get back from a hot date that you had to gush about? Cuz I’m ALL over that girlfriend!
Despite everything that had just gone down, I had to laugh. If anyone could pull me out of a funk it was Barry. Witty, charming, a great dresser, and excellent taste in men. Barry was the perfect best friend.
“No, no date. Unless you count dream boat. He showed up again, only you are not going to believe what happened.”
Want more? Read Chapter 2 & 3