~ About the Book ~
~ Synopsis ~
~ About the Author ~
~ Excerpt ~
It only took Millie a few minutes to tally up the day’s business and put the money in the safe for Mr. Fegley to find the next morning. Quickly wiping down the counters, she made sure everything was tidy. She went into the back room, removed her apron, and took a quick look in the mirror that hung next to the back door. Wisps and strands of tawny hair had escaped the ribbon she tied it back in this morning, forming a messy halo around her pale, freckled face. In the threadbare, brown tunic and pants that were her normal work uniform, she looked drab and washed out. If she weren’t so clean, she could almost be mistaken for a beggar. She swiped at her hair, but it did no good. No matter. She didn’t have time to pretty up, and she wouldn’t be graded on her looks today, just her powers.
She jumped as the clock on the wall chimed the hour. There was less than half an hour left to get across town in order to make the evening test. If she were even a minute late, they would turn her away and she would have to wait six more months for another test date. Luckily, she’d saved up a whole buck so she could take the trolley.
Being sure to lock the door behind her, she ran out into the early evening twilight. She had just a few minutes to make it two blocks over to the magi-trolley line. Glancing down the street, she saw it was crowded with daytime shoppers hurrying home to dinner and the beginnings of nighttime shoppers coming out. Dusk and dawn were always the busiest time in this part of Old Nash City. The vampires who stayed out of the daylight to avoid severe sunburns and allergic reactions were venturing out and mingling with the norms and paranorms who had no such allergies to the sun. The shops and streets were usually crowded for the first hour or so past dusk.
Even as small and fast as Millie was, it would take her forever to slip through the crowd. She eyed the narrow alley to the right. The light from the blue-tinged crystal streetlights didn’t make it into the alley. It was dark and dirty. She hated walking through it even in the daylight, but she didn’t have much choice. Some things were just more important than her fear of the dark.
He leaned against the stone wall, deep in the shadows cast by the setting sun and the solar-crystal lights that illuminated the bustling street. This body was awkward and cumbersome. He’d used it too many nights now, and it was starting to get stiff. No matter. He would pick another from his store tomorrow. But for now, he needed to find new food—another worthy enough to fuel his body and perhaps become a vehicle for his spirit.
He scanned the crowd, using his second sight, his divine sight, to view the magical auras that pulsed around the unsuspecting people. They had no idea he was there, hunting, waiting for the perfect specimen. Of course, none of them had anything to worry about. Their auras were all dull and muddy. All no-to-medium powers. Not one bright aura in the bunch. None were worthy. He was just about ready to give up his search and move on to another street when a bright light caught his eye at the other end of the alley. He turned his full attention to the young girl moving quickly down the alley, as if she were afraid. Her magic burned brightly around her. Most people, common people, wouldn’t know what was inside the girl. But he did. Brilliant shades of purple and blue pulsed and shimmered around her. The colors of her aura were so dark and bright they were almost tangible. His fingers itched to reach out and touch it. She was brimming with untapped power. Oh yes, her power would be filling and delicious. She was worthy. He would have her.