Next week the Five Past Midnight anthology releases from Samahin Publishing with novels by Anne Hope, Corrina Lawson, Robyn Bachar, Cassi Carver, and Robin Bielman included! Today we’re happy to share an excerpt from Robyn Bachar’s Blood, Smoke, and Mirrors! We hope you enjoy and pre-order your copy of Five Past Midnight!
The café had a decent amount of customers when we arrived, despite the fact that it was the lull between breakfast and lunch. I set Tybalt up in a booth with a plate full of pancakes and a Chicago Tribune, and then hoped for the best. Squaring my shoulders, I pasted my friendly customer-service smile on my face and began my shift. My section kept me too busy to worry about silly details like the fate of magician/faerie relations throughout the Midwest. As closing approached, we had only three customers left in the café: a young newlywed couple who were regulars seated in my section, and Lex, who’d snuck in at some point and was sitting drinking a cup of coffee over in Maria’s section. She’d left early, of course, and I’d been ignoring him in the hope he’d leave, but he seemed determined to stay. Annoyed, I stopped at his table, coffee carafe in hand.
“Want me to warm that up for you?” I asked politely. I couldn’t tell him off while I was on duty. It’d be unprofessional.
“Sure, go right ahead,” he drawled, smiling slightly. I resisted the urge to pour the coffee into his lap and refilled his cup.
“What are you doing here?”
“Well, I was considerin’ havin’ some pie with my coffee.” There was amusement in those dreamy light blue eyes of his, and I frowned. To my credit, I swallowed my temper and dutifully listed off the pies we had left. He picked apple. How all-American.
I disappeared into the back and Tybalt immediately knew something was wrong. He appeared at my side as I stabbed an innocent pie with a knife that was much too large for the job.
“Lex is in the dining room. Again.”
“I can’t kill him, we’re on neutral ground,” Tybalt apologized, and I laughed.
“I can spit in his food.”
“No, thank you. Feel free to threaten him though.”
After venting a little aggression on the pie, I set a non-mangled piece on a plate and carried it into the dining room. Tybalt followed and took the seat across from Lex as I delivered his slice of pie. Without a word I left them alone and headed back to my section to chat for a bit with the newlyweds, who caught me up on the neighborhood gossip. Apparently the city was still investigating the source of a power surge which had blown out the streetlights up and down Main. Oops. Well, that’d teach me for losing my temper. Finally I shooed them outside and began cleaning up their table. As I headed for the kitchen with their dishes I spotted Mac speaking with Lex and Tybalt, and I knew no good would come of that. When I returned to the dining room Mac was in the process of dimming the lights after flipping the sign in our window to “Closed”.
“Something you want to share with me, Cat?” Mac asked from the other end of the room.
Hovering in the doorway, I looked pointedly in the direction of the guardian before turning toward my boss. “With you, sure.”
Lex chuckled, and I glared at him. Those light blue eyes studied me over the rim of his coffee cup, and I felt something twist low in my gut, something that was certainly not the nervous flutter I’d been suffering from lately. Silently I berated myself for still being attracted to him. I knew better than to get giggly over a man who’d more than proved I couldn’t trust him.
I marched over to his table and stared down at him, and he watched me with quiet curiosity. The unmistakable scent of magic wafted up from Lex, the odd mix I’d come to associate with him. A hint of cinnamon marked him as having faerie blood like myself, which could have indicated anything from witch to necromancer, but he was thankfully lacking in the awful rotting stench that clings to necros. There was a bit of the floral scent I associate with witchcraft, but there was also the musk of a shapeshifter and the sharp alcoholic tang of an alchemist—none of which should be found all together. Magicians don’t mix and match their abilities—you’re generally born to what you become—but guardians seem to have a bit of everything.
Guardians are essentially the magic police, but they’re also like the border patrol too. Any otherworldly beings who decide to vacation in the human world and aren’t supposed to—imps, goblins, demons, that sort of thing—get evicted by guardians. If a dragon decided to fly through downtown Chicago, it’d be a guardian’s job to escort it back to Faerie, with extreme prejudice if need be. Just one of their many, many responsibilities. They are overworked, but not underpaid. The Higher Powers made sure guardians want for very little.
Placing my hands on my hips, I eyed him. “Why are you here?”
Blood, Smoke and Mirrors (Bad Witch Book 1)
Even a bad witch deserves a second chance.
Wrongly accused of using her magic to harm, the closest Catherine Baker comes to helping others is serving their coffee. Life as an outcast is nothing new, thanks to her father’s reputation, but the injustice stings. Especially since the man she loved turned her in.
Now the man has the gall to show up and suggest she become the next Titania? She’d rather wipe that charming grin off his face with a pot of hot java to the groin.
Alexander Duquesne has never faltered in his duties as a guardian—until now. The lingering guilt over Cat’s exile and the recent death of his best friend have shaken his dedication. With the murder of the old Titania, the faerie realm teeters on the brink of chaos. His new orders: keep Cat alive at all costs.
Hunted by a powerful stranger intent on drawing her into an evil web, Cat reluctantly accepts Lex’s protection and the resurrected desire that comes along with it. Lex faces the fight of his life to keep her safe…and win her back. If they both survive.
Warning: This book contains one tough and snarky witch, one gorgeous guardian, explicit blood drinking, magician sex, gratuitous violence against vampires and troublemaking Shakespearean faeries.
Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors, and slaying creatures in mmorpgs. You can find her online on Twitter and RobynBachar.com.