Great news, everyone! Witch Blood (Whispers Book Six) is finally finished and with my great beta readers! Then, it’s onto my awesome editor, Theo. If all edits and revisions are completed ahead of schedule, I will not wait until the February 27 release date. Now, here’s a sneak peak at Witch Blood. Please remember this is the first draft. <3 Tara
Swish, gargle, spit, rinse, spit, spit, spit…
I couldn’t seem to get the taste of bile out of my mouth no matter how many times I brushed my teeth. I clutched the side of the bathroom counter as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. Dark circles that looked more like bruises hung under my eyes like heavy thunderclouds, a sharp contrast to my ghostly skin tone. My long, dark hair was a straggly mess, and my ordinarily vivid green eyes were dull and lifeless, sunk in their sockets, as if they, too were hiding from the horrors that may be lurking outside my home.
Basically, I looked like I’d been drug through hell and back. A shiver stole up my spine at the thought. Because it could really happen, since I’ve discovered my history teacher, Mr. Sleznick, was an incubus after my soul.
After a day of fainting, and then having a vision about my teacher from hell, then trying to control two morphling witch toddlers, you could say I’ve had a stressful day.
And I thought my week was off to a bad start when I sprouted this pimple on my nose. If only my life was that simple. What I needed was a good night’s sleep.
Since I knew it’s physically impossible to sleep with one eye open, I guess I’d be pulling an all-nighter. My cat, Alessia, who’s also my witch’s familiar, told me Mr. Sleznick’s powers were stronger at night.
If a soul sucking incubus tried to sneak through my window tonight, I wanted to be ready. I’ve already stolen my dad’s hunting knife and slipped it underneath my mattress, though I don’t know if a knife will be able to ward off his powers, whatever powers he may have.
Alessia told me every time an incubus kills a witch and steals her soul, he also absorbs her powers, and I’m not sure how many witches he’s already killed or what he’s capable of. One thing I know, he’s impervious to my mind control. He demonstrated that today when I tried to persuade him to let us out of detention.
I repressed another shudder before splashing my face with warm water. I pumped some makeup remover onto a wet washcloth and cleaned my face. Then, I applied some zit cream to my nose and rubbed moisturizer into my dry zones. If guess if I was going to have my life force sucked out of me by my demonic teacher from hell, I should have at least had clear skin. Besides, just in case I managed to survive my sophomore year, I wanted to look pretty for my new boyfriend Ethan Maeson.
I heaved a sigh as I patted my face dry with a towel.
At least something had gone right in my life today. Ethan asked me to be his girl, and I said YES! How could I not? I mean, the boy has to just look at me with that smoldering gaze and my insides melted. Not literally, of course, although I supposed they could since he’s an elemental witch, as in he’s got the power to control the elements. So freaking cool. Though Ethan was still honing in his skills, case in point, I accidentally burned my hand a few days ago when I grabbed his arm.
Note to self. Do not touch Ethan when he’s angry.
I went back into my bedroom. Alessia was curled up in a white fluff ball, snoozing on my satin comforter. She looked perfectly content, as her nose twitched while she slept. I felt a pang of jealousy that she could fall asleep so easily, then that jealousy turned to annoyance. Didn’t she care that a demon was trying to steal my soul? I may not be the most obedient witch slave, but I’ve always made sure my mom bought the expensive kibbles and I devoted at least an hour each day to scratching behind her ears.
I dare her to find another witch who gives her so many scratches.
Relax, little witch. He’s not coming for you tonight. Alessia said this to me in thought, not even bothering to lift her head and look at me with those piercing silver eyes.
“How do you know this?” I asked, trying to mask my annoyance that my telepathic cat just invaded my mind without permission.
Has AJ called you?
AJ, duh. My psychic BFF who literally can see the future. She’s always been able to predict impending death or accidents of her loved ones at least a day or two before they happen. If Sleznick was about to come after me, I’m sure AJ would see it first.
She’ll warn you before it happens. Alesia confirmed my thoughts, although she was probably still inside my head, anyway. My brain felt fuzzy. That’s how I knew she was there.
As if on cue, my phone rang and I jumped.
I forced myself to calm down when I realized it was probably just Ethan. He stopped by earlier to help me babysit (no, the parents did not know this), and said he’d call me when he got home. I reached for my jeans on the floor and pulled my phone out of the pocket, and then my heart froze when I saw AJ Dawson flashing on the caller ID.
I slid my finger across the screen to answer. “Hey.”
“Sophie,” AJ groaned. “Thank the Goddess you’re okay.”
“Goddess?” I asked, although I really shouldn’t have been concerned by her sudden change in religious deities. What I should have been worried about is the fact that she thought I wasn’t okay.
“Witch school, ya know,” she answered casually, as if I wasn’t about to have my soul sucked out of my body by a demonic history teacher with really bad breath.
“AJ, what did you see?” I snapped, unable to keep the impatience — or fear– out of my voice.
“There was a man chasing you,” she said. “I couldn’t see his face, so I don’t know who it was.”
I wanted to respond, I did, but my mouth stopped working, along with my lungs, heart, limbs and brain. In fact, I’m fairly certain the earth stopped spinning, too. I hadn’t had the time to tell AJ that I’d recently discovered Sleznick was an incubus.
I have no idea how my phone was still attached to my ear, but AJ continued without waiting for my reply. “This guy was chasing you through a crowd.” Then she paused, maybe waiting for my response, but my brain still hadn’t kick started into gear. “His eyes were red,” she added with a gasp.
Oh, no! That was my brain thinking, but I still hadn’t found my voice.
“You were at Dreamy World.”
“Sophie,” AJ impatiently huffed. “Are you there?”
“I-I’m here,” I answered through a shaky voice, as my world started spinning again, albeit slowly. Dreamy World was an entire days’ drive away. My parents hadn’t taken me there since I was a kid, and after our last trip, Dad said he would never take us again. Maybe it had something to do with me wetting my pants on the haunted castle ride. (I was seven, okay, so don’t judge. Those ghosts looked real, really real, and unlike my BFF, Krysta Richards, I don’t handle floating deceased people very well.) Anyway, anyone who knew my dad knew he preferred camping and fishing to riding Eddie the Elephant rides, and he especially hated the creepy Dreamy World employees telling us to have a dreamy day every time we purchased a soda or even farted in their direction.
So, no, I seriously doubted I’d be going to Dreamy World any time within the next century. For the first time that night, I heaved a sigh of relief.
“My dad hates Dreamy World. He won’t take me there.”
“You’re going soon,” she says. “I see Halloween decorations.”
I shook my head as I fall back on my bed. The day’s stress had left me physically and mentally exhausted. Now that I knew my teacher wasn’t coming for me any time soon, I gave into the fatigue, and massaged the tension out of my neck with my free hand. “My parents aren’t taking me to Dreamy World.”
“You were there, Sophie,” she stressed. “I saw you running. You were holding a little girl’s hand.”
Though I come from a big Italian family, other than my twin nephews, I’m the baby. “I don’t have any little girls in my family.”
“The dream felt so real. Really real.”
“I’ll talk to my parents and make sure they don’t have any vacation plans. If they do, I’ll tell them to cancel.”
“Sophie, listen to me very carefully,” AJ enunciated like I was my dear Aunt Louise who’s lost most of her hearing. “You are going to Dreamy World. What I don’t get is why this guy is chasing you.”
Crappity, crap, crap! She can’t be right, I told myself. But AJ’s never been wrong about a vision before. “I bet it’s my history teacher, Mr. Sleznick. He’s an incubus, AJ.”
“Mr. Sleznick? I remember him. What the heck is an incubus?”
“Ask Aunt B. Actually, is she there?” I managed to ask through a shaky voice. “I really need to talk to an adult witch right now.” Maybe Aunt Bertrice can help me make some sense of all this. Maybe she’ll have some good news like AJ accidentally inhaled some of her incense and her visions aren’t reliable.
“She’s playing bunco with her coven.”
“A bunco coven?” Now I’d heard of everything. I wondered if any of Aunt B’s friends were mind readers like me. I was sure those witches had plenty of tricks up their sleeves. I shook my head, trying to clear it of crazy thoughts. Bunco covens were the least of my worries.
“Hey, whatever makes them happy,” AJ answered.
“Would you have her call me when she gets home?” I managed to squeak, though my voice had gone so dry, it felt like I’d swallowed a bucket of sand.
“Sure. You okay?”
“Not really.” I sighed as I leaned back against the bed. I was so frayed from fear, my muscles felt liquefied. A lot of crazy things have happened to me since I discovered my powers, but nothing so frightening as discovering my teacher wanted to steal my soul. Then I remembered the one good thing that happened to me tonight. “But Ethan asked me to be his girlfriend.”
AJ let out this weird girly squeal. What had gotten into my jock friend since she moved to Salem? “I hope you said yes.”
“You know I did.” I draped an arm over my eyes and groaned. That vein above my temple was starting to throb. Another wonderful side-effect of my gnawing panic, no doubt.
“I’m worried about you, Sophie.” AJ’s voice dropped to a somber tenor.
I let out a long sigh, squeezing my fist by my side. “Me, too.”
If you’d like to read a few more chapters, check out Witch Blood on Wattpad.