Adult Urban Fantasy
Anna Marlowe needs a steady paycheck without going back to dancing in “butt floss.” She’s so desperate she heads to Piedmont Park for what she swore she wouldn’t do — throw a spell for good luck. Instead of some luck she finds a corpse infected with dirty magic so toxic it can stop the heart with a touch. To Anna’s trained eyes it’s the work of an alchemist who can twist power and science into an abomination of magic. A killer targeting witches for deadly experiments.
Atlanta’s Supernatural Investigations Unit needs an outsider like Anna. She might be an unlicensed necromancer, but she isn’t compromised by local supernatural politics and as a dead-talker she can help them when their only witnesses are on a slab in the morgue.
The last thing Anna wants is to get involved in the hunt for a magic-wielding serial killer. She’s scared using her powers again will turn her into the same kind of monster the cops are hunting — the same kind of monster who trained her — but she can’t walk away when people are dying. To make matters worse, the local coven she refuses to join suspects her of the murders. If she doesn’t find the killer, they’ll make sure she pays with her life.
Atlanta’s Piedmont Park was a place to commune with nature. The dead woman hanging in a tree ruined it for me.
Raw poisonous power infected her body, leaving a quicksilver shine to her skin and an angry shimmer in the air like a magic bomb had gone off in her heart. I breathed in death, tasting ashes and tears. She had been tortured.
Anna, you are so screwed.
Tonight, I’d planned to throw a spell to keep me from going back to stripping or waiting tables. Some extra luck getting a job with a dental plan and without guys grabbing at me. Instead I sat on the back bumper of a police car at four in the morning while cops decided whether or not I should wear handcuffs.
The patrol officer had taken my statement and now I waited for a detective to repeat the process. I wanted to go home and sleep.
The medical examiner was taking pictures with a digital camera. His hands kept twitching the same way a kid at a museum tries to resist fondling the statues.
“Don’t do it,” I said under my breath. His plastic gloves wouldn’t keep him safe, but warning the cops about dirty magic required answers I didn’t want to give. My finding the body was suspicious enough. I walked away from necromancy five years ago and wanted nothing more with that world of ghosts and death. I was already pushing it with this luck spell, if I ever got the chance to do it.