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Friday, November 30, 2012

The 13th by Shadow Stephens Book Excerpt plus 5 Sets of ebooks Give Away

The 13th

Magic in Strega Bluff is like parking meters in other cities. The quaint New England town is home to a large community of witches, warlocks--and many secrets. Jade Hansen loved living there until the untimely death of her parents. After a much-needed sabbatical, she returns to find the peaceful hamlet turned upside down. A string of murders haunts the city and everyone is potential a target, but even worse, they are all suspects. A family secret puts Jade in the middle and her loved ones in danger. Dodging an evil warlock set on revenge, she is in a race to stop the killer before it’s too late.   

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Book Excerpt
Hours were spent wiping dust from each candle and placing them on shelves. Jade hung 4 x 4 inch weathered wood plaques above each group that described the scent and meaning of each candle. In the middle of the shop was a round, wooden table on which she placed incense. She chuckled as Asher grunted under the weight of an antique cash register and placed it on the counter. The outside was brass, with carvings of brooms, witch hats, cats, and cauldrons. This was far from a modern machine. You manually operated it by simply pushing the numbered buttons. Jade had found it on her travels and lugged it all the way back to Massachusetts. Living in a tourist town, she knew it would fit right in.

Strega Bluff was known for witches and warlocks, but to the public it was a myth. They assumed it was a fun place to come for the day, have a tarot card reading, eat lobster, buy souvenirs, and go home. Little did they know each citizen of this town was in fact magical. Each one different in their own right, they cashed in on the myth and supported their tiny town with the droves of people that came by ferryboat from the mainland.

Jade ran her hand over a candlewick and it sparked to life, filling the room with a lavender scent. Asher slumped into a chair, his black hair falling into his eyes. Jade smiled and ran her fingers through it, putting it back into place.

“I missed those deep green eyes of yours,” Asher said.

She had been born with stunning green eyes, which her mother had immediately fallen in love with. She named her Jade because of their bright color.

“Help me with this sign,” she said trying to ignore his comment. Being friends didn’t allow you to get too caught up in each other’s flattery.

Asher put his hands on his knees and stood up.

Grabbing a wooden sign, she walked outside as Asher followed her carrying a ladder. He leaned it against the building and reached in his pocket for nails and hung the ScentSations sign perfectly straight above the door.

“Want lunch?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m starving.”

“Let’s go.” He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and walked her back inside.

Asher flipped off the lights as they walked out. She snapped her fingers and the candle blew out causing a stream of grey smoke to dance toward the ceiling. Jade closed the door behind her and locked the deadbolt.  

Turning to walk toward the pier, Jade was pulled back by Asher taking her hand. “Um, the car is right here.”

Jade had to laugh. “It was worth a try.”

Asher insisted on driving Marilyn, his car, everywhere, even if his destination was two doors down.

“Will you ever stop obsessing about this car?” Jade asked as he started the engine.

“Marilyn and I go way back, don’t we girl,” he replied stroking the dash affectionately which caused Jade to roll her eyes.

They drove two blocks and parked. As usual, Captain Jack’s, one of the several local seafood restaurants, was packed with the dinner crowd. Jack, who received a fresh delivery of clams every morning from the local fishermen, could make the best clam chowder around.

Jade and Asher walked to a table that would normally be outside, but Jack had put up a temporary cover for fall and winter. Outdoor heaters had been set up to fight the chill and they burned giving off a loud hissing noise. They pulled the menus from the table holder, though they really didn’t need one, Jack never changed.

“Jade, you’re back!” the waitress squealed.

“Julie, oh my gosh, you’re very pregnant!” Jade stood up to hug her.

“Yep, I decided to let Doug get some,” she chuckled. “What will you ’all have?”

“Chowder,” they said at the same time.

“Bread or bowl?” Julie queried.

“You really need to ask that?” Asher said.

“Bread it is. Want your usual draft?”

They both nodded and Julie waddled away.

Five minutes later she came back with two huge sourdough bread bowls filled with white chowder. Steam danced atop them, and Jade eagerly grabbed her spoon.

“My gosh I missed this,” she said holding her palm above the soup and uttering a quick spell to cool it.

“That’s easy to solve, don’t leave again.” Asher said it lightly, but Jade knew he meant it.

“Ash, you know I had to.”

“I could’ve helped you.”

“I know, but it was just too much. I didn’t want to hear the police ask me about dark magic, or enemies one more time. My parents were murdered, and no one knows who did it.”

“They were just doing their jobs, but I understand. I still hated it while you were gone. It felt like a part of me was missing.”

“It’s not like I didn’t feel the same; I did. But, I’m back now, so let’s just concentrate on the future.”

“Sounds like a plan. To the future,” Asher said raising his beer glass. Jade clinked hers against his and they took a drink.

Asher drove her home and hugged her goodbye. “I’ll see ya tomorrow, Elf.”

Jade had to smile at his nickname for her. Her ears were a bit pointy at the top and the kids would tease her about it when she was little. They came up with the name and she hated it, except when Asher used it.

She watched Marilyn disappear down the quarter mile driveway before walking toward the house. The scent of his cologne mixed in with the smell of engine grease still filled her nose and she inhaled deeply.

About Shadow Stephens Story telling seems to be a part of my DNA. Since childhood, I made up fantastical characters and brought them to life. Part of it was to escape the turmoils of childhood and some were just for fun. Sitting beside my couch is a constant stack of history, biographies, and compelling fiction, which means I have many overloaded bookshelves. Wouldn't that be great to have a room just full of shelves? I would love to see a wave of outstanding, self-published authors take over the market. I think it's important to own your work and take pride in it. Writing several novels and short stories, I know the trials of writing and rejection. Constructive criticism can only make you better. Never doubt yourself.   

Tour Prize 
5 sets of Broken Butterflies and Legion of Bats ebooks 

Sharon x

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