Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Shadow Demon (Judith Post) in One Thousand Words

Judith Post is today's featured author on One Thousand Worlds. Judith lets us take a look at the first one thousand words of Shadow Demon, the sequel to Wolf's Bane which was featured last month. What's more, she is also putting up 5 copies of Shadow Demon (mobi for kindle, or Epub) up for prizes in a great giveaway.

Shadow Demon-

A cruel, Egyptian pharaoh unleashes a shadow demon on Bay City. When Reece Rutherford's magic first awakened, Hecate—a skilled witch—volunteered to mentor her. Nen senses Hecate's magic once more and comes for her. She barely escaped the evil warlock centuries ago, and she's been hiding from him ever since. This time, though, with Reece there to help her, along with Reece's soul mate, Damian—a gargoyle—and the werewolf pack of Bay City, Hecate decides to take a stand and fight. But Nen's practiced black magic for centuries. He's spilled so much blood, he ripples with power. Too much power?

Chapter 1

            He walked toward the back doors of the Fine Arts Building-recessed with a large overhang.  A perfect spot-his second home.  He unzipped his winter coat.  Finally, a mild night after a long, cold winter.  No more Rescue Mission.  No more effing rules.
            Relief washed over him.  No idiot tried to claim his quarters in his absence.  He pulled the heavy comforter from his two-wheeled cart, tossed it on the cement, and sank onto it.  Then he reached inside his coat, took out the solid, glass bottle, wrapped in a brown, paper bag, and unscrewed the lid. 
            Liquid heat.  The fluid burned his throat and warmed his belly.  The second gulp set his veins on fire.  And the third brought the blessed numbness that stilled his mind.
            He squinted at a fog gathering at the far side of the park-probably rolling off the bay.  It had an odd shape, almost human-a strange patch of glittering shadows.  Did shadows glitter?  He shook his head.  What did he care?  He propped his arm on a knee and took a good, long slug.
            His muscles relaxed.  A few late visitors wandered the pathways that wound through the park.  No worry.  They'd avoid him.  The fountains were quiet, shut off until warmer weather returned.  In nearby flower beds, daffodils pushed their heads through the cold ground.  His mother's beds had daffodils and tulips. 
            A pang of bitterness stabbed him.  He tilted the bottle again.  His mom sided with his wife in the divorce, his own mother.  She'd told the judge his children would be better off without him.
            He brushed at his eyes.  How old were Sara and Justin now?  What did it matter?  They deserted him too.
            Another drink.  A few after that.
            His arm grew heavy.  He closed his eyes.  When he opened them again, the walkways were empty, and the glinting shadow rolled toward him.  Sparks of dust glimmered in its dark folds.  Not fog.  What was it?  Was he seeing things?  Maybe he'd had one drink too many.  Or maybe not enough.  He swallowed a long draught.
            When the fog grew closer, it stopped, hovering near. Four legs formed.  Yellow eyes gleamed.  They stared at him, unblinking.  Thin lips curved into a cruel smile.
            He shivered.   He dug his heels onto the cement, trying to push himself into the corner.
            Shiny flecks sparkled.  His past reflected off them.  Short scenes flashed before him... 
            He was in fourth grade, holding up a ribbon for winning the class spelling bee.  His mother cooked his favorite meal and bought a cake to celebrate. 
            High school.  His dad cheering from the bleachers.  A winning pass and the state championship.  A scholarship for college. 
            Two years of partying, too much to drink.  Flunking out.  Returning home.  His dad's friend offered him a job in real estate.  Big sales.  Good money.  Marriage.  Kids.  Late hours and more drinking.  Carousing. 
            He shut his eyes.  He didn't want to see anymore.    
            He took a deep breath to steady himself and felt the darkness slip into his nostrils, slide down his throat, and enter his lungs.  He clutched his neck.  No air.  No oxygen.  Only foul tasting shadows.  He coughed, trying to hack them out. 
            They slithered into his stomach, wormed through his intestines, and into his bowels.  He pressed his hands down, trying to push them out, but they wouldn't leave.  His chest hurt.  His stomach cramped.  Then the burning started.  Acid.  Fire.  He clawed at his skin, but the pain wouldn't stop.  It spread, eating him from the inside out, until he threw back his head to howl.  No sound came.  This burn wasn't alcohol.  It felt more like death.

Chapter 2

            The mattress sagged on Damian's side of the bed.  Reece smiled.  It must be daybreak.  Her gargoyle was returning home.  She waited for him to settle before scooting closer to spoon her body against his.  Mmm, he felt good.  She was drifting back to sleep when his cell phone rang. 
            He turned away from her to take the call.  Reece gazed at his leathery wings, tucked close to his body.  Oh, how she loved those wings.  Unfurled, he could drape them around her, blocking out the world and pinning her to him.  Petersen's voice caught her attention, pulling her back to the conversation on the cell.  The detective sounded more harried than usual. 
            "I'm on my way."  Damian pushed himself to his feet to pull on his jeans. 
            Reece sighed.  Urgent calls were one of the down sides of partnering with a guardian of mankind.  "More rogues?" 
            "No, this is..."  He searched for a word.  "...different."
            "What do you mean?"  Fighting rogues was bad enough.  What was he up against this time?
            "I've never heard of anything like Petersen described.  I'm calling Benito and Antony to join me."
            Reece threw off her blankets.  If Damian was summoning back-up, this must be serious.
            His eyebrow arched in warning.  "Where do you think you're going?"  He looked beautiful, standing there with the dim morning light warming his gold-tinged, alabaster skin.  His dark hair was tousled, making him look young, but his gray eyes were narrowed in worry.  His eyes gave him away.  They looked as though they'd seen too much over too many centuries.
            "I'm coming with you."  Reece snapped her hair into its usual ponytail before reaching for her jeans and a sweatshirt.
            He shook his head.  "No, I don't know what we're fighting, so I don't know how to defeat it."
            "All the better reason to take a witch."

Shadow Demon is available on Kindle at: Amazon

And for Nook at: Barnes and Noble
How to connect with Judith

Judith's Goodreads Author Page
Judith's blog
Judith's website
Judith's Facebook Author's page
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