It’s Release Day for THE SAMHAIN SOLDIER!. Woohoo! I’m so pleased this book is out. It’s been 8 years since I started writing and it’s now finished. 😀
I started writing this in 2014 just after The Beltane Witch came out, figuring I’d write a story about Darius Winterbourne’s younger brother, Phinnius. And I did get it started, putting the first chapter in an anthology. But then, it sat and sat and sat…
I tried finishing it last year (2021) but the Muse was having none of it and it sat some more. This year (2022) I was determined to finish it and get it out in time for Halloween. Woot! I got it done early!
Here’s the blurb:
It’s all fun and games until a tracker demon comes for you…
Phinnius Winterbourne, a soldier in the Summer Court of the Sidhe, has inherited his maternal grandfather’s sword. But the Winter Court of the Sidhe now wants it and him. Seeking help from his older brother seems like a good idea, until he runs into a witch. And the tracker demon sent to fetch Phinn. Not a great day.
Kendra MacGillivray is preparing her altar for Samhain when she runs head-on into Phinnius and his problems. She doesn’t have time for the arrogant fool who has irritated the Fae. When her healing spell clashes with that of the tracker demon, they end up in the Sidhe realm with no way home and a tracker demon familiar. Every witch needs one.
Trapped in the Fae realm, they must work together to keep the sword out of the Winter Court’s reach and get back home again before Samhain, when the veils close for the year. Nothing is as it seems and Phinn’s family secrets may break everything—him included. If they don’t protect the sword, they could lose more than a family heirloom—they could destroy the world. No pressure.
Excerpt of THE SAMHAIN SOLDIER
Kendra took a deep breath and waited a long time after the sounds of hoof-beats had diminished. They might have a rear guard or scout with them. The demon beside her kept its gaze on the road, its ears swiveling from time to time.
Despite waiting another twenty minutes, no one appeared on the trail and she stood up to relieve her knees. Thank the Goddess I was wearing my thick winter coat today. The air around her had turned frigid and her breath steamed in a pearlescent plume. But her coat wouldn’t help much when the sun set.
“Do you hear anything suspicious?” She had no idea why she talked to the demon, but she couldn’t help it.
Next thing you know I’ll end up naming it.
The demon whined and nudged Phinn’s still form.
“I know, we need to find a place to take care of him.” Kendra looked around the white winter landscape. “What we really need is an abandoned cabin to hole up in.” She snorted in amusement. “And while we’re wishing, maybe it could be fully furnished and stocked with supplies like herbs and food.”
The demon tilted its head as if considering her words, then coughed. Or barked. It was hard to tell which as it clamped its jaws around Phinn’s collar.
“What are you doing?”
The creature sighed and dragged Phinn down a game trail she hadn’t seen when they ducked into the bushes.
“Hey, where are you going?”
The demon warbled an encouraging sound and waved a clawed hand in a way that suggested it wanted her to follow it. I’m completely nuts. But she went after it, dodging low-hanging snow-covered branches deeper into the woods. Phinn’s bootheels left obvious drag marks in the snow, but it couldn’t be helped. Maybe it’ll snow more to disguise them. She’d lost her marbles. She wanted it to snow more?
Hell, I’m talking to a demon who’s dragging a man I barely know into the woods for which I have no map—I’m certifiable.
Despite her disbelief, the demon pulled Phinn into a clearing containing a few snow-shrouded stumps and a cottage with a thatched roof and a well-stocked woodpile. A steel chimney poked out of the thatching and smoke curled out the top just as they reached the door.
Kendra peeked in the windows, but the interior remained too dark to see anything.
“Think anyone’s in there?” She glanced at the demon, but it only nudged the door with one clawed hand. “You want us to go in?” When it whined, she sighed. “Okay, but it better be safe.”
The door easily pushed open and a blast of warmer hair stung her cheeks. Kendra’s body moved inside before her mind could catch up, and the demon crowded in behind her, towing Phinn.
A cheery fire crackled in an open woodstove and lit the fairly large one-room cabin. Despite blankets laid out on the double bed and the floor clean of debris, the cabin didn’t look occupied. Kendra closed and latched the door as the demon laid Phinn on the floor beside the bed.
“You’re going to have to help me lift him.” She gave the demon an expectant look. “He’s too heavy for me.”
To her surprise, the creature sat back on its haunches and picked Phinn up in its powerful forearms. It laid him on the bed, boots and all, and looked over its shoulder as if to check if it had done correctly.
“Yeah, that’s good. Thank you.”
It nodded and sat back out of the way as she tugged Phinn’s boots off his feet. Kendra shook her head. I’m seriously losing my marbles talking to a demon. She shot a look at the feline-like creature, but it just sat there and watched her tend to Phinn.
Phinn said it’s a tracker demon. Maybe it can find my marbles for me.
“There. He should rest better that way.”
Kendra swung her gaze around the cabin. Canisters marked with foreign symbols lined the shelves near the fireplace over a washbasin. A pump handle jutted from the wall, suggesting they could have some running water, and a tea kettle rested beside the basin.
“I’m going to make some tea if we have some. Want some, Marbles?”
The demon cocked its head at her words, its ears flagging forward. It wuffed an agreeable sound while its tail tip flexed with cat-like contentment.
“Yeah, you probably don’t drink tea.” She shook her head, more at herself than the demon. “Just goes to show how much I know.”