Hi readers! Welcome to An Urban Tuesday!
I've been a fan of author Katie Salidas for a time now and recently won her latest book in her Immortalis Series SoulStone. Her vampires are a unique breed and in my opinion writes urban fantasy with a great flare for story telling.
Today I've taken a snippet from SoulStone for everyone to get a closer look at it. I've also included the links from the previous three books in case anyone is interested in checking out the series if yo haven't already. I do recommend you read this series from book one. There are circumstances and events that happen which are better understood when reading the series in sequence.
Immortalis Series, Book 4
Amazon US| Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N
Back of the Book
It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone.Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Her clan, the Peregrinus, have all but given up hope. Only Alyssa still believes her lover can be released. In despair, Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum.The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.
“We’re back,” I called as I walked through the front door of Zuri’s house.
But no one answered.
In a house filled with supernatural creatures, it was common courtesy to announce yourself. This avoided any problems that could arise with surprise guests. Vampires and werewolves have excellent hearing, and even if someone were on an upper floor of the old brick row house, they should have heard me call, and responded.
“Hello,” I shouted louder. “Anyone home? Nicholas, you here?”
Fallon walked to the stairs and turned her head skyward. “Aiden… honey, are you home?”
Still no response.
Fallon followed me into the foyer, through the main floor parlor and dining room. It seemed like the place was empty; yet all the lights had been left on, and a fire was still burning in the fireplace.
“Strange. Why is no one answering?” I mumbled. “Something’s not right.”
Fallon removed her coat and tossed it over the back of a large L-shaped sectional sofa in the parlor. “Don’t be so worried. Maybe they stepped out for a minute.” She flopped down onto the couch, kicked up her feet on the oversized ottoman, and started fishing in the cushions for the remote.
Crystal and Drew had mentioned plans, so I assumed they would be gone. I knew Zuri was on duty, watching the tourist spots for rogue vampire activity, so I hadn’t expected to see her. But Nicholas should have been home; he’d been in a state of mourning since Rozaline’s death, and hardly left the house.
“I guess you could be right, but where would they step out to? It’s not like anyone is going to run down to the corner market for some bread.”
Fallon cleared her throat. “Excuse me…Not all the people in this house are dead, you know. Some of us do eat real food.”
“I’m not dead; my heart still beats. How many times do I have to remind you of that?” I didn’t bother to hide the aggravation in my voice. “And I seriously doubt Aiden stepped out for a loaf of bread, okay?”
“You’re right.” She stuck her tongue at me. “He’d probably grab a burger… or ten. My point is, I’m sure whoever left the fire going didn’t plan to burn the house down. They’ll be back soon. He and Brady are probably outside smoking a cigarette.”
“Nasty habit.” I joined her on the couch.
“Don’t start with me,” Fallon warned.
I’d been trying to get her to quit for years, but it wasn’t working.
A loud crash rumbled through the house. It shook the floor below our feet.
“What the hell?” I yelled and jumped to my feet. “That doesn’t sound like someone stepping out for a smoke.”
Fallon and I exchanged worried looks.
The door to the basement burst open and Nicholas came rushing out, coughing. A trail of smoke followed in his wake.
“What the hell happened? What the hell are you doing down there, and why the hell are you smoking?” I asked.
“I don’t smoke,” Nicholas snapped at me.
“I mean, you’re on fire. Turn around and let me see.”
Nicholas grumbled something under his breath as he turned his back toward me. There were no flames, and the smoke had dissipated, but his shirt had a large scorched area in the middle. Thankfully, his skin looked undamaged.
“You’re fine, but that shirt isn’t. Is everything okay? What was going on down there? Is Lysander—”
“Take a breath,” he said dismissively. “Everything is okay. What are you doing home anyway? Aren’t you supposed to be out?”
“I didn’t really feel much like painting the town red. What were you doing down there?” I started heading toward the basement door, but quick as a blur he stepped in front of it, blocking my path.
“What the hell, Nicholas?” I was really beginning to get sick of the strange way the members of my clan were acting. They were definitely excluding me from something, but what? “Let me down there.”
“You’re not going into the basement right now.” His words came out stern but the concerned expression on his face told me he was more worried about what I might find than just imposing his will.
Fallon was at my side in a moment. “Why can’t she go down there? What have you done?”
“I have done nothing, little human. Stay out of this.” His concerned expression turned into sneer.
“It’s okay, let them come.” Ariana’s voice floated up from the basement.
“When did she get here?” I pushed past Nicholas and barreled down the creaky steps.
In the basement, Crystal and Drew were busy lifting Lysander’s coffin back onto its stand. Smoke cleared out of the room through two small windows near the ceiling. Broken glass lay on the floor next to a greenish colored substance. Below Lysander’s coffin lay a charred body.
I rushed to the coffin. “Oh my God!”
“No, it’s all right,” Crystal said soothingly. “We were just trying something. We thought we could free Lysander, but it didn’t work.”
“What about the smoke and why is the body? That’s not…”
Her eyes followed the same path mine had taken and focused on the charred body lying at our feet. “On, no! That’s not Lysander. Everything’s okay. That was a human we used for blood.”
My hands shook on the lid of the coffin. Part of me needed to open it to confirm her words, while the other part of me was too scared to look.
“That was my doing.” Ariana lowered her head as if ashamed and wiped her hands on her jeans. “My potion backfired and sort of exploded.”
“Why didn’t anyone tell me what was going on?” I shot angry glances around the room. “You all had this planned and didn’t include me. Why?”
The room fell silent. Crystal bit her lip and looked away from me, toward the open window. Drew and Nicholas exchanged serious glances. But none of them appeared to be willing to speak. Even Fallon, who had followed me down the stairs, remained silent where she stood.
I turned to Ariana. “You I could understand keeping secrets, but not the rest of you. And yes, I’m including you too, Fallon.” I pointed a finger at her. “You’ve been too busy to hang out for the last couple of weeks and then suddenly tonight of all nights, you’re able to go out.” I flung my hands up in exasperation. “I can’t believe you would all do this to me. He’s my mate, and you were all keeping secrets from me.”
Drew opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but Crystal cut him off. “We didn’t know if what we were doing would work.”
“That doesn’t matter,” I yelled. “You still should have told me.”
Crystal reached out to me. “We wanted to spare you the pain—”
“Well, you fucked up there, didn’t you? You just caused me more pain. How can I ever trust you?”
I finally mustered the confidence and opened the lid, expecting the worst. Thankfully, to my great surprise, I found Lysander still intact, and if possible, looking better than he had earlier in the evening. The crystal too, residing on his chest, looked as if it had been rejuvenated. It had returned to a deep crimson again, as if it had never begun to fade. I reached out, hesitating as I touched it, and quieted my mind to sense Lysander’s presence. Like a beacon, it was there, stronger than before.
“What did you do?” I whispered. Whatever it was, it had strengthened him, and for that small part I was thankful.
Ariana was the one to speak this time. “We thought that maybe he needed to be stronger to break free from the crystal’s hold. We tried experimenting with blood and a summoning spell, but something went wrong and my potion backfired. I’m not sure what happened.”
Those words angered me even more. “Then why are you messing with magic you don’t know? You could have killed him!”
“And that’s precisely why we all thought it was best you weren’t around for this.” Drew’s voice boomed through the room. “You want him back, right? Well, you have to take some risks. Untested magic put him into that crystal, and it’s likely that untested magic will get him out.”
The anger in his voice shook me to the core. I’d never in all my time heard Drew yell. It was generally Nicholas who threw his authority around, and many times Lysander, but never Drew. I gulped back the angry retort I would have said. No matter how mad I was at them, they were trying to help.
“Now, if you’ll quit throwing a temper tantrum and help us clean up this mess, we can sort out what happened.” Drew sounded a little calmer now, but the authority was still there in his voice.
“Fine. I’ll grab a broom for the glass,” I said.
Ariana’s phone rang, playing Black Magic Woman as her ring tone. Fitting, I thought as I started heading up the stairs to the kitchen.
When I came back down, broom in hand, she looked very excited.
“I’ll tell them right now. Full moon is only a few days away… That’s why they call you the High Priestess.” She snapped the phone shut and that moment, all eyes were on her. “That was Mysti, high priestess of our coven. She’s been through all of our magical library and thinks she has located a spell that should free Lysander from the crystal and return him to his body.”
“Wonderful news!” Crystal turned to me. Her face clearly said “See, I told you we’d do it!”
“Do you really think it will work?” I asked, my voice wavering with cautious happiness.
“She said it will take a majority of the coven, lots of magic. And it will have to be done under the full moon since that was when he was originally trapped, but it’s the best chance we have. Trust me, she knows her stuff. If she thinks this will work, it will.”
“That’s good enough for me. What do we need to do to prepare?” Drew asked.
“Nothing yet. She’s going to gather the necessary items and find the location to perform the ceremony. Once she has that, then she’ll tell us and all we have to do is bring the body and the crystal. You should have your leader back by the end of the week!” Ariana turned to me and smiled. “And your boyfriend too.”
Do I dare hope that this will work? My whole body shook with excitement. I dropped the broom to the ground. My Lysander. I’ll finally get him back!
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