Witch Blood (Whispers book six) is over on GoodReads now. Please add it to your TBR pile. Initial beta responses are in, and so far they love it. I sure hope you do, too. The book is scheduled to be released the end of February, but I predict it will be released a week or two early. I can’t wait to share it with you!
In the meantime, here’s another (unedited) scene…
“Ethan, I’m so sorry,” I said as soon as we pulled out of my driveway.
He shrugged a shoulder and laughed, doing his best to look casual, but I wasn’t fooled. The way he clutched the steering wheel reminded me of that time I held onto the safety bar at Dreamy World’s haunted castle ride. Again, in my defense, I thought those ghosts were real.
“Don’t be,” he said. “He’s doing what dads do.”
“You mean embarrassing the hell out of me?” I groaned.
He laughed again, but the nervous energy behind it skirted across my psyche, and I felt Ethan’s panic jumping off his skin in erratic currents.
I didn’t want to pry into his mind, even though, as a telepath, that’s what I did best. But seriously, what was up with Ethan?
I should have been the one on edge. Ethan’s heady cologne wrapped around my senses in a warm embrace, setting my hormones on high alert. And his full lips were begging to be kissed. I could practically hear them calling to me. I was sorely tempted to ask Ethan to pull over so we could make out.
Besides, I so wanted the distraction after my crazy week. Maybe a make out session was what he needed to take the edge off, too.
“So we’re really going to your parents’ party, right?” I asked.
Ethan shrugged again, clutching the wheel even tighter. “Only for a little while, and then we have to go someplace safe with my kid sister.”
His nervous energy hit me like a blast of hot air. I crossed my arms over my chest, narrowing my eyes. “You want to tell me what’s going on?”
Ethan sucked in a deep breath, and then his words fell out of his mouth in a jumbled mess on the exhale. “My parents assembled their coven. They’re going to banish Sleznick to hell.”
I blinked once, then twice, waiting for my boyfriend to break into a fit of laughter and tell me that it was all just a joke. But his features hardened like granite, and the temperature in the car dropped like twenty degrees.
Even though I was wearing a warm jacket, I shivered as the gooseflesh rose on my arms. “Excuse me?”
“They’re doing a ritual to banish the incubus, Sophie. They need us there.”
“Omigod!” I squealed, even though my teeth had started to chatter. “What are we supposed to do? I don’t know how to banish anyone.”
I swear the temperature dropped another ten degrees. Even though my limbs felt frozen, I leaned over and set Ethan’s heater to full blast.
We’d come to a stoplight, and Ethan was staring at it like he was transfixed. Finally, he turned toward me, and I watched a knot jump in his throat as he swallowed. “You don’t need to do anything. We just need your uhhh…” He turned away, his cheeks flushing as bright as the glaring red light in front of us.
His words spilled so fast out of his mouth, I swear they were going to trip on his tongue along the way. “My dad says he needs the blood of a virgin witch to lure Sleznick to the ceremony. So he wanted to ask me if you were maybe able to do it.”
I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing at this point, and I gaped at my boyfriend like he’d grown a second head. He looked away from me and put the car in drive. I turned my head and stared out the window as cars whizzed by. At first, my brain was too numb to process what Ethan had just told me, but then his words started to filter into my brain, like coffee on a slow drip.
Virgin. Witch. Blood. Sacrifice.
Ethan had pulled into the driveway of a two story house. Several cars were parked along the sidewalk, and all of the lights were on inside. Voices carried from behind the large bay window where I saw shadows moving frantically about.
O-mi-freaking-God! We were at his house!
“Are you serious?” I practically screeched.
The car suddenly warmed to the point that Ethan had to roll down the windows and let in the cool air. He turned to me with his palms out in a defensive gesture.
“They just need a drop of your blood from your finger for the sacrifice.” He cringed. “That is, if you’re eligible.”
I’m pretty sure my heart fell to the pit of my stomach. “If I’m eligible?”
His face contorted, making him look like he’d just swallowed a whole lemon. “I know you and Frankie were going out before.”
“We haven’t done anything, Ethan,” I said on a low growl. “I haven’t done any of that with anyone.”
“Whew. That’s a relief.”
Was the boy smoking some kind of magic crack? Instinctively, I reached out and punched him, which was totally out of character for me. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t punched anyone since that time Patty Ledbetter royally kicked my ass in the sixth grade, but I was so angry I was practically seeing stars. “I can’t believe you!”
Ethan jerked back and rubbed his shoulder. “Sorry, it’s just we were going to have to use my sister. She’s only four and she’d probably freak.”
“And what makes you think I won’t freak?”
Ethan pinched his fingers together. “It’s just a tiny drop of blood. I swear.”
Just take me home, I wanted to say, but I clamped my jaw shut, even though I was sorely tempted to jump out of Ethan’s car and make a dash for home. Somehow watching old crime dramas with my dad sounded far better than spilling my virgin blood for a demon. I poked a finger in his chest. The heat radiating off him was palpable. “Why can’t they use your blood?”
Ethan’s face colored before he looked away.
I clenched my fists by my sides and scooted back against the door. “I see.”
Ethan’s shoulders hunched. He looked ready to sink beneath his seat. “It was a long time ago, Sophie.”
“That’s okay.” I waved him away with a flick of the wrist. “I don’t need to know.” Truthfully, the thought of Ethan doing that stuff with another girl gnawed at my insides like a starving dog with a bone, but I wasn’t about to tell him that. He was older than me, plus he had a car, and he was cute. Really cute. I was sure he’d had more than one girl, and I was sure it wasn’t that long ago.
“Sophie, if we don’t banish him, we’ll never be safe.”
“What if something goes wrong? What if they don’t banish him?”
“My parents are powerful witches. I trust them.”
“Sure you do.” I rolled my eyes. “You’re not the one being sacrificed.”
“Okay,” he said on an exhale. “We’ll have my sister do it.”
“She’s freaking four years old!” I wagged a finger, sorely tempted to ball up my fist and punch him again.
“We need a virgin, Sophie,” Ethan pleaded, his bright blue eyes darkening and his lip turning down in a too cute pout.
“Fine. I’ll do it.” I folded my arms across my chest and flashed a pout of my own.
When Ethan leaned forward and brushed a feather soft kiss across my forehead, I felt my resistance weaken even more.
This had to be the worst first date in the history of history, and I was the craziest, stupidest girlfriend on the planet. I knew we needed to get rid of Sleznick. I shouldn’t have been a baby about a little drop of blood, but I didn’t need AJ’s gift of foresight to know that this ritual had the potential to go terribly wrong.