Title: Into the Mystic
Series: Volume One
Author: Brooklyn Ray. J.C. Long, Kara Race-Moore, Samantha Kate, Nicole Field, J.P. Jackson, Caitlin Ricci, L.J. Hamlin, Kayla Bashe, Charli Coty, Tay LaRoi
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 7/31/17
Eleven lesbian/bisexual paranormal short stories…
Reborn by Brooklyn Ray – Dark magic, mystical bloodlines, a living forest, and two women fighting to reclaim a love they lost.
Zero Hour by J.C. Long – She can’t outrun the full moon.
Dove in the Window by Kara Race-Moore – As if the Great Depression wasn’t bad enough, Cissy’s first love is back from the dead.
Bottom of the River by Samantha Kate – The demon isn’t always the monster.
If You Want to Walk by Nicole Field – Follow Chess into the Underneath and meet the strange creatures she finds there.
A Tended Garden by J.P. Jackson – Immortality or humanity—which one will win out in the end?
Romancing the Healer by Caitlin Ricci – In a deadly snowstorm a werewolf needs all the help she can get, and the werebear coming to her aid is more than she appears to be.
Midnight Kisses by L.J. Hamlin – A local witch, a new-to-town werewolf, and a mystery to be solved.
Like a Bell through the Night by Kayla Bashe – Guarding a faerie princess? All in a day’s work for a werewolf bodyguard. Avoiding falling in love with said princess? The hardest mission of Jaffa’s life.
The Imp in the Rock by Charli Coty – The cure for a bad breakup might be magic.
Smile Like You Mean It by Tay LaRoi – Ingrid meets a terrifying Japanese legend, but the stories are all wrong.
A Tended Garden by J.P. Jackson
Catastrophe at Mabon
“So mote it be.” Alyssa repeated the mantra with the other women as the chorus rang out, signaling the end of the ritual. A gentle breeze wove its way through the near-barren trees. A shower of ochre and rust reds cascaded down upon the coven, the desiccated leaves remnants of what had been an overly hot summer.
Alyssa sighed with relief. The Mabon ceremony was over, and it played out just as Rachel had choreographed. Rachel was their High Priestess and could be a raging harpy if things didn’t go as she’d planned.
It was sad, actually, because the holiday should have been a time to relax. In the old days, the festival was a celebration marking the midway point of the harvest. The majority of the fields would have been cleared off, as the hard days of working in the scorching summer sun came to an end. Autumnal temperatures settled in, and nights had a crisp bite as the trees slowly morphed into their magnificent glory of reds and yellows—a final show before the long rest of winter. For Alyssa—this being her favorite time of the year—it was the season for big fluffy sweaters and light drizzly rain. Weekends were spent on long walks through deer paths in the forest or curling up at night by the fire with a blanket, a good book, and a hot cup of cocoa. Preferably an oversized mug with extra chocolate swirled on the inside rim and little marshmallows floating on the top of the rich steaming liquid. But it was also the time of year when Alyssa spent hours writing new spells in her Shadow Book. And that had to be done the old way, with parchment and ink, otherwise the spells never seemed to work right.
Instead, Mabon had taken weeks to organize. Alyssa had spent hours combing various craft stores and pagan bookshops looking for the right pumpkin-colored candles. As if the Gods were really concerned that the candles were Halloween orange instead of bronzy-orange.
Rachel, however, was terribly obsessed about such details. It drove Alyssa a little crazy. When Rachel started to lose her shit, she stood with her feet apart, hands on her hips, and scrunched her eyebrows together so they became one raging caterpillar of ire. Alyssa smiled, thinking about her High Priestess with caterpillars for eyebrows.
Rachel may have been a generational witch, but Alyssa was a natural. And the thoughts of a natural witch have a way of coming to pass, so Alyssa’s mirth over larvae needed to dissipate, otherwise disastrous things might start happening.
Putting up with Rachel was an unfortunate side effect of being involved with her coven. Alyssa spent a majority of her mundane-world time alone, and although she was mostly comfortable with that, there was a small part of her that needed the companionship of the other women. Outside of coven, she really didn’t have a whole lot of friends, so it was important to her that Rachel stayed happy. If that didn’t happen, there was a distinct possibility that she’d be kicked out of the group. That had happened to Jenny Westfall when she failed to bring enough charcoal for the cauldron during the Imbolc festival. Jenny was unceremoniously ousted.
Alyssa would do just about anything to ensure she did not end up like Jenny.
Funny, though. No one had seen or heard from Jenny since the exile, and it wasn’t like Edson was so large a town that Jenny wouldn’t have been spied out. Rumor had it she had moved to the big city.
The matching black robes worn by the Sacred Earth klatch swirled as each member exited the sanctified space by walking counterclockwise to the Fire candle’s position in the south. At that point, and that particular point only, were they to leave the circle. Alyssa had to admit, even though they had practiced this move as a group many times, there was something fortifying in the synchronized movements. It brought a tangible sense of power to the group. Alyssa felt it as the slightest of tingles; tiny little static charges that ignited along the surface of her skin. She had no idea if others had experienced this phenomenon, and she didn’t care. She reveled in it and kept it as a little treasure for herself. She closed her eyes to concentrate on the feeling, dropping her head only slightly when she felt the exhilarating electrical charge dancing across her flesh. Of course by doing so, she hadn’t seen that Samantha had suddenly stopped.
Alyssa careened into her, and the unintended body contact made her jerk back, eyelids popping open, just in time for her foot to knock one of the candles that marked the periphery of the working space.
The candle tipped over, and fell onto Alyssa’s long robe, catching the hemmed edge, and setting it ablaze.
Alyssa’s first thought was Shit, Rachel’s going to have a fit!
The second was Shit! I’m on fire!
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