Title: Storm Crazy, Destiny Paramortals, book 1
Author: Livia Quinn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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The Destiny Paramortals is a world of tempestaeries (storm witches), dragons, shifters, vampires and fae. Readers say, “Come to Destiny, you won’t want to leave.” “This series is a mini-vacation away from the real world.” “Run don’t walk to the buy button.”
Welcome to Destiny, or I should say Middle Earth…
I’m Jack Lang, sheriff, former Navy pilot.
To say Destiny was not what I expected would be like saying Wolverine's fingernails were long enough for a manicure. I'd been looking for Mayberry, a quaint safe town to raise my daughter. That ship sailed when I met Tempest Pomeroy, who turned out to be a storm witch with a djinni brother and an ex who was… hell, I don't know what he is. But I wasn’t sure I could stay. I had a teenage daughter to consider.
And I’m Tempe Pomeroy, Tempestaerie, mail lady, and - as Jack likes to say - trouble magnet.
Isn't it just like a man to exit a relationship when he finds out a woman has a few little secrets? Following Jack's, um, enlightenment, he finally started investigating my brother's disappearance, but time is running out and our relationship has gone from attraction to suspicion, support to friendship, romance to oh-my-god-get-away-from-me revulsion.
Jack’s an ex-Navy pilot. He says he wants to know “everything”. He may stick around, help me save my brother and discover the whereabouts of my parents, but I doubt he’ll still want to take me to the Mardi Gras ball, once he knows everything. He'll likely take the first jet out of Middle Earth. 'Cause there’s a lot of everything…
The dark knight arrives
Across the room, dressed in the gaudiest multicolored outfit I’d ever seen, was Jane. It was styled strictly to grab attention.
“That getup came straight out of the circus.”
Aurora sat at the other end, dressed in her usual understated elegance. For the ball it was a shimmering pearlescent shift, two matching crystals dangling from her ears to touch her shoulder blades, her long black and silver hair loose and flowing, and only the amulet as decoration. The contrast between the two “fortune tellers” couldn’t have been more stark.
Aurora’s mouth turned up as if to say, I can’t believe I’m doing this. To her left in front of a backdrop of glittering stars, crescent moons and happy suns was Jane, two hundred and thirty pounds squished into a five-foot frame. Jane’s dark hair was covered in a purple velvet and gold paisley turban with a green stone pasted in the center of her forehead. Eyeliner from her bottom lids nearly to her eyebrows made her eyes look like empty black holes. Her caftan was cheap purple taffeta and Jane had pulled the crisscrossed ties until the fleshy mounds of her chest threatened to tear the fabric. She was armed with all her standard psychic paraphernalia—oversized tarot cards, a tray of candles, a green “gazing ball” identical to one I’d seen in the garden section at Wal-Mart.
Besides her name, two other obvious “tells” spoke of her charlatan status, the most visible, the line of mismatched fan bulbs encircling the poster of sun, moon and stars on the panel behind her. And most telling, the tiny red flame flickering from within the gazing ball, in the silhouette of a Christmas candle, complete with an electric cord that ran from the ball to the wall.
Yeah. Very mystical.
I looked down at the nameplate in front of Jane. “Look.” I pointed to the table label. Montana snickered.
Jane’s hand-printed card read: Have your Fortune told by a real Psycho.
The chatter in the room quieted suddenly. Montana and Jack looked over my shoulder. Montana hissed behind me, a sound I’d never heard from her. “Mother of all the gods! Who is that?”
We turned as the elder at the door called out, “Conor de Sept-Flambe, Knight of his Majesty’s realm.”
Jack stiffened and muttered, “Which Majesty?”
“What realm?” I wondered aloud.
“Where’d he get those damn swords?” breathed Montana behind me. Leave it to a warrior goddess to appreciate and hone in on the most obvious feature of the newcomer’s costume.
The—it seemed lacking somehow to call him a man though he appeared to be, but I could see why both of them had reacted to the stranger.
He wore a beautiful black and red mask, which was slightly reptilian in design, strapped around his shoulder length black hair. He was shirtless and radiated danger with intricate red and black tattoos that looked like scales across his shoulders and triceps. He didn’t need a costume t-shirt with abs painted on it. The ridges of his torso indicated strength and discipline. Matching leather strips banded his bulging biceps and matched the jagged hemmed samurai pants floating about his muscular calves.
“Looks like someone left their video game on too long in a parallel universe,” said Jack.
The Knight Flambe’ did indeed look like he’d walked straight from the Samurai Assassin video game into the Grand Ball. His boots were exquisitely tooled silver and bronze, with a belt of the same metals, that glimmered flat against his lower abdomen. When he turned to hand his invitation to the elder there was a collective murmur and Jack made a low guttural sound.
Two long deadly looking gold and silver swords crisscrossed his back and seemed to shoot fire with each movement down their jagged twisting length. As he listened to the announcement, the knight’s hands, girded at the wrist in pewter, bronze and gold to the elbows, fisted and relaxed, making the tendons flex from elbow to chest. Whew!
Montana stood like a statue of a Valkyrie, her hands clenching and unclenching, piercing cobalt eyes locked on the figure dressed in precious metals, leather and a lot of bronze skin. Menori also reacted restlessly to the dark knight.
So did Jack. It was as if they were meeting as equals on some arena of war—not as I’d described him and Dylan—like dogs fighting over their Poodle. This was something elemental, as if they knew each other at their core. It lasted mere seconds but it was as if time was amplified, expanded to push away all other sounds and only those of us who saw, felt, and understood, well, I didn’t understand except to know that something intense had passed between them.
Party sounds filtered in again from the other room and the Knight Flambe’ took three deliberate steps off the platform, glancing toward Montana and away. His sharp predatory gaze met each attendee briefly, making each person acknowledge his presence, like he was studying them one by one and simultaneously erasing himself from their minds. I shook my head. We’d had our share of supernaturals, but this powerful looking ‘soldier’, a sexy sword-wielding dark knight… was a first.
The newcomer bowed and walked deliberately through the crowd, which parted like the Red Sea for the Israelites, to give him and his swords an unencumbered path to the bar. Montana devoured him with her eyes. She had not moved since he walked in the door. Interesting.
“Reckon that’s a costume? Or is he some kind of Knight in shining armor?” I asked.
Jack said, “He doesn’t seem the type.”
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Livia Quinn is a DC native living on the bayou in Louisiana with her husband and their protective Cajun husky, Dusty. She’s written seven paranormal and five contemporary romance set in her fictional Storm Lake world. Sign up for her newsletter to get updates.
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