And, because I'm just in that kind of mood, I'm going to post an excerpt from the fourth Downside book, SACRIFICIAL MAGIC, which will be released on March 27, 2012. (And wait till you guys see the cover!)
READING, WRITING, AND RAISING THE DEAD
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.
Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks.
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.
EXCERPT (this excerpt is taken from the pre-copyedited version of the ms; final printed version may vary slightly):
Bump leaned back on his gold-tipped cane, crossed one ankle in its furry boot over the other. Somehow even standing on the street across from a burning building he managed to look like he was lounging around his horrendous living room, perfectly relaxed, lord of his tacky pornography empire.
“Nobody in, aye?” Terrible asked. He stepped a little closer to her; just half a step, really, nothing anyone would notice, but she did, and it helped.
“Nay, ain’t none people in there, when it fuckin go. Only our fuckin supplies, yay? Fuckin only half got out, fore it blowin the fuck up.” He leered at her. “Too fuckin bad, yay? Got less smoke now, price goin up, Bump gots the guessing on. ’Course, could be you ain’t gotta get the fuckin raise, you helping Bump out, getting what we needing done up, yay?”
She didn’t answer him. Would not. He didn’t deserve an answer.
Instead she just watched the fire, watched Terrible’s profile silhouetted by it and the way it cast changing golden light on everything. Downside looked almost wholesome with the flames dancing in their enormous makeshift firecan; that same light softened the sharp edges, bleached out the blood and needles and filth, the passed-out bodies and pockmarked walls and broken streets. The fire smoothed it all over, made it look almost normal.
Funny, she’d never really noticed that before. But then she’d never really paid this much attention to a fire before, at least not one she wasn’t inside. Burning buildings were as common an occurrence in Downside as muggings and beatings; they no longer attracted much attention, save from scavengers looking for something to snatch from the wreckage.
After the fire finally died they’d swarm, and look for every scrap of metal, every bit of furniture, every smoke-damaged pipe. And of course, any lumps of Dream that might have survived. The thought caused a little pang in her heart. She could use a visit to the pipes just then. It would be nice to forget Bump’s beady eyes, his dismissal of her, the confidence with which he used her.
But that was the price she paid, and she knew that. So she squared her shoulders. “You don’t have any idea who could have told? Who knew the place would be empty?”
“Terrible an meself, coursen. An a some they others. They needed for fuckin clearin up, dig, movin fuckin furniture. Movin them fuckin Dream out, yay. They Bump gots fuckin trust for.”
“So who could they have told?”
Bump shrugged. “Ain’t shoulda given none the fuckin tell, yay? Bump’s business Bump’s own fuckin business. Ain’t for nobody givin out.”
“Well, clearly someone you trust isn’t really someone you should be trusting,” she said without thinking, and regretted it when Terrible glanced at her. He did it fast, just a quick cut of his eyes in her direction and then away again, but she saw it. She felt it.
It was starting already. She wished she could say she was surprised, wished she hadn’t been waiting for it, expecting it the way she expected rain from black clouds overhead. Nothing in the world was permanent, especially not happiness.
She’d always known that. She just wished life would stop proving her right.
Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? I hope so!
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