Title: The Siren’s Song
Author: Andrew P. Weston
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Publisher: Raven Tale Publishing
Having survived the double-cross planned by Asmodai, the demon king, and Fanon, his own spawn-father, Augustus Thorne is trying to come to terms with his lot in life. Both Fanon and Agamemnon, the king’s assassin, are dead. As are the embers of a burgeoning relationship. The only woman Augustus has ever dared to love has fled, driven from his side in fear of the danger being with him brings.
Unfortunately, he can’t dwell on what might have been. An insidious new threat has emerged, one that exposes humanity to unimaginable peril. Yet fate seems to lend a helping hand when Augustus stumbles upon a mysterious woman, someone who appears to be the only other Cambion he’s ever met. It’s only after they team up to fight the rising tide of terror together that things get complicated.
Excerpt: Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum.
Background rhythms pervaded the tranquil serenity of her all-encompassing womb.
Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum.
Though distant, the steady cadence of doubled palpitations was strong and defined, coaxing her consciousness along on a current of sublime melodic reverie. Everything was as it should be. Safely cocooned within a weblike tracery of scarlet and rose warmth, her senses were soothed to the point of euphoria.
She had changed of course, of that there was no doubt. The disconcerting other within her heart was, even now, continuing to make its presence felt. Even so, the metamorphosis it generated created a neural balm that not only banished her fears, but soothed away any lingering discomfort.
Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum.
Yet something encroached. Hovering at the very limit of discernment, it enticed her away from the bath of amniotic white noise surrounding her toward a sharpening of mental dexterity. Wakefulness threatened, and her acuity swarmed to the echo of myriad whispers. Reluctantly, she blinked her eyes open. Where . . .? It was nothing but a dream.
At first, her senses refused to cooperate, and it took an eternity for the liquid silver precision enhancing her vision to clear. Once it had, lucidity—the likes of which she had never before witnessed in thousands of years of existence—struck her with a hammer blow. She caught her breath. In Azazel’s unholy name?
A darkened chamber illuminated only by a handful of balelights greeted her newly restored sight. Plain walls welcomed her return to coherent thought, their clinical frigidity a stark contrast to the bank of high-tech medical equipment surrounding the single bed upon which she lay in the exact center of the room.
Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum.
That unfamiliar sound intruded again. I recognize this place from somewhere.
“Are you alright?” a disembodied voice asked.
“I . . . I think so.” Her attention fell inward, scrutinizing the strange new presence within her.
“Are you in pain?”
“Are you suffering from any form of residual anxiety?”
“None at all. It was just . . . this is different than what I expected . . . than what I’m used to.” Turning, toward the source of that voice, she recognized her questioner. “Lamia?”
“Welcome back, Mahlatessa. How have the last three and a half months been?”
I’ve been out of it for three and a half months? Mahlatessa pressed her palm against her breast and the newfangled tempo beating incessantly within it. Ignoring the query, she murmured, “I feel odd . . . different somehow.”
“That’ll be the Bloodstone doing its job.”Lamia reached over to offer the reassurance only intimate physical contact could bring. “Is its presence freaking you out? Let me know if it is and I’ll see if I can come up with something to ease the transition.”
“No, it’s just . . . not what I’m accustomed to.” Mahlatessa scrutinized the kernel of self that now seemed so alien and wondered what to make of it. “What’s happened to me?”
“Your memories haven’t returned yet?” Lamia’s gaze intensified, burning into Mahlatessa like a laser beam.
Realizing her error, Mahlatessa hastened to add, “Well, I recognized you, didn’t I?”
That did the trick. The tension drained from Lamia’s face. “Ah, I see. The Bloodstone must have induced a form of temporary amnesia as it bonded to your psyche.”
“What else has it done?”
“It’s changed you at the molecular level, Mal. Altered what you are—”
“What I am?”
“We talked about this. Don’t you remember?”
A soupy mishmash of jumbled recollections churned through the sludge that was Mahlatessa’s mentality. Slowly, they began to settle into a structured, recognizable form. “So the bloodline proved dynamic enough then?”
“It certainly did. Only two viable strains still exist, as you know, both of them weakened by humanity’s proclivity to interbreed like rats. Fortunately, we were able to extract sufficient vitality from our subject to imbue the gem with the potency needed to trigger the transmutation.”
“And there’ll be no lasting side effects?” Mahlatessa touched her fingertips to her chest again in a subconscious effort to quell the disconcertingly loud resonance still hammering away at her ribs.
“Not so far as we can determine. The stone contains sufficient potency to hold the change in stasis for about six months, give or take a few weeks either side. It’s leaking that essence into your new heart at a steady rate, and once depleted, you’ll either revert back to normal or have to undergo a fresh infusion.”
Something about Lamia’s statement roused unexpected conflicts. Mahlatessa sat bolt upright, the speed and fluidity of her movement catching her by surprise and triggering a surge of adrenalin. “Whoa that was fast!”
A couple of deep breaths helped bring things back under control. Once her emotions were in check, she asked, “Is there a mirror in here I could use?”
Lamia stooped to retrieve her handbag and removed a small compact from within one of the compartments. As she handed it over, her eyes glowed affectionately, emphasizing the beginnings of the smile playing along her lips.
For some reason, Mahlatessa was reticent to go any further. Slowly, her hand inched toward her face. When at last she was able to gaze upon her own countenance, she was stunned by the reflection staring back. How?
Gone was the devilishly attractive and angular profile that would cause the hardiest of the demondim to flounder in her presence. In its place was a creature even more beautiful, graced with the most refined and exquisite features she had ever seen. Is that really me? “I look . . .”
“You look perfect. And if I may say so, exactly the way we need for you to fulfill your mission.”
Special Giveaway hosted by the author:
The first reader who ‘friends’ me on TikTok and enters the phrase “The Cambion Journals Rock” in a personal message will win a $15.00 gift voucher to purchase all three kindle e-books in the Cambion Journals so far: A Hybrid’s Tale; Call of the Cambion; The Siren’s Song. (As reviews are truly appreciated)
The second-place winner will receive a $10.00 gift voucher to buy any two books in the series.
Andrew Weston is a bestselling author from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with a growing family of rescue animals.
As creator of the critically acclaimed IX Series, the Cambion Journals, and Hell Bound, Hell Hounds, and Hell Gate, (novels forming part of the Heroes in Hell universe), Andrew has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, the British Science Fiction Association, and the British Fantasy Society.
He also enjoys writing review articles for Amazing Stories and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
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