Twenty-three-year-old Ari Calin has sworn to keep the peace in the Olde Town district of Riverdale, and most of the time the Otherworlders cooperate. The vampires, werewolves and other magical creatures go about their business, living side by side with humans, until the foreign wolves arrive and a virtual reality drug hits the streets. When violence erupts, Ari needs more than her witch fire, weapons and potions to stop the madness.
Joining forces with a human police officer, Lt. Ryan Foster, and a way-too-sexy vampire singer, Andreas De Luca, Ari hunts for the enemy—from the vampire strip clubs to the caverns under the city. Every step draws Ari and her companions deeper into an old feud and closer to the brink of a supernatural war.
Ari retrieved her knife from the forest floor. The woods were quiet again. Still, she lingered, reluctant to leave. An ominous prickle persisted at the back of her neck, keeping her rooted to the clearing. She scanned the trees, opening her mind to the smells and energy in the wind.
A sharp round of applause shattered the silence.
A shadowy figure stepped from the shelter of the trees. The stranger stopped, silhouetted against the light of the moon. “Very nice, if a little overdone. I do not think he will return soon.”
A rich, masculine voice, softly accented, rolled over her. Ari’s pulse leaped. Her witch blood surged in response to the unmistakable vampiric energy, and she snapped into defensive mode.
The vampire stayed in the moonlight. An easy target for witch fire, Ari thought. Maybe he wasn’t hostile. More likely, he didn’t think she was any kind of threat. Either way, her advantage. She’d been underestimated before.
“You need not be concerned,” he said. “I intend no mischief.”
The distinctive cadence of Italy in his words trailed a feathery caress along her skin. The sound wrapped itself around her in lazy curls. A quiver swept up her arms, and she shivered. Ari quickly blocked the intrusion. She needed to keep her wits about her.
“No magical probing,” she snapped. “Your tricks don’t work on me. I’m stronger than that.” Yet even as she spoke, she felt the pull, smooth as silk and slightly wicked. Her blood hummed in response, as if her magic recognized his.
And liked it.
Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for the Guardian Witch urban fantasy series. After earlier careers as a teacher, lawyer and Juvenile Court Officer, she turned to full-time writing in 2009. She still lives near Des Moines with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing or reading, she loves traveling in the US and abroad. Way too often she can be found on Twitter.