Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor
(A Magnus Blackwell Novel, #3)
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: March 26th 2019
Genres: Adult, Supernatural
Lexie Arden has a loving husband, a thriving business, and consults with the New Orleans Police Dept on murder cases. Kalfu has given her everything she desires, but challengers to her authority are closing in.
Her dark secret remains hidden from everyone except Magnus. He sees the evil growing stronger, changing her, and hurting her marriage. If Lexie doesn’t rid herself of Kalfu’s influence soon, the consequences will be irreversible.
When she unexpectedly inherits a cottage in the swamp, she uncovers a library of rare books on voodoo. Their spells can reverse the dark lord’s hold and set right the balance between darkness and light. But such magic requires a great sacrifice; one Lexie isn’t willing to make.
With the shadow spirits and raging voodoo gods vying for her attention, Lexie is on the verge of losing everything—her husband, her power, Magnus, and possibly, her life.
The battle for control of the mambo’s soul is about to begin.
When the recessed lights came on, she stumbled backward.
Bookcases, dozens of them, lined the walls. Shelves crammed with a wide variety of covers, from leather-bound tomes to paperbacks, gave off a musty smell.
“Now, this is more like it.”
Book after book, title after title, was about magic, witchcraft, and voodoo. Lexie estimated there had to be a few hundred books in the room. Many were rare editions that collectors would kill to get their hands on—including Lexie.
She selected a leather book from the shelf titled, The Loa of the Voodoo Religion: Myths, Facts, and Mysteries. She sneezed as the dust rose into the air.
She flipped through the pages, intrigued by a chapter on infighting among the spirits of voodoo.
“I’ve heard ’bout you.” The voice was coarse, craggy. “The spirits speak of you. The mambo who serves two masters.”
Lexie almost dropped the book. A chilly breeze brushed her cheek. She stepped back from the shelf, searching the room.
“I can’t see you.”
“But you can feel me. Your blackness knows me.”
The voice was female.
A reading lamp on top of a pedestal turned on. Lexie tried to reach out with her power, but nothing came to her.
“Who are you?”
A shadow emerged from behind the pedestal. Black, cold, and fading in and out, it made the light flicker as it got closer.
Lexie held the book against her chest. The aroma of sweet pipe tobacco tickled her nose.
The shadowy figure moved away from the pedestal.
“You’re in my home. Where I used to live when I walked among the livin’.”
Lexie’s fear fizzled. “Your home? This was Kalila La Fay’s home. She was—”
“And before her, it belonged to another servant of your master, and another, and another.” A gravelly cackle rocked the air. “There have been so many, but only Kalfu knows all their names.”
For the first time since entering the home, the black in Lexie spurred to life. It felt safe here, but the rest of her didn’t.
“This house belongs to the priestess who serves Kalfu, doesn’t it?”
The spirit made of shadows moved closer. “Which is you now.”
Lexie’s bounding heart sounded like thunder in her ears. “How do you know that?”
The shadow rocked back and forth, and with every movement, specks of color showed against the blackness. Red appeared on the lower portion of the figure. The swaying motion soon became a rustling and a long skirt, one that reached the floor, materialized. A black shawl, woven in a pattern of squares, and a plain white top came into view. Her neck, the loose flesh around her jawline, and the dark color of her skin surfaced next. Her face came into focus, but what Lexie noticed first were the scars—ugly ones on her cheeks and across her forehead. A corncob pipe protruded from her lips, billowing black smoke crept upward in a lazy spiral. The last bit of her wardrobe to manifest—the red turban on her head.
“You’re his new prize. That’s why you’re here. To learn more about him.”
The spirit stepped closer, and Lexie noticed her limp. The afterlife had not given her freedom from infirmity like the other apparitions she’d seen. The disfigured face and sad appearance had only one explanation—a curse. Lexie had seen it before, with Magnus and others. When the atrocities of life remained like scars on the soul, the spirit had been doomed from the moment of death to suffer for its sins.
“You were a priestess, like me.”
“I ain’t nothin’ like you. You practice city magic. My skills came from the swamps. Lotta power there people know nothin’ about.”
“How did you end up haunting this library?”
“I drown in this house when the storm of 1915 hit. The water came up so fast, I never had a chance. Been here ever since.”
Lexie remembered the storm and the priestess who had predicted it. “You’re Julie Brown. You belonged to Maman Brigitte.”
The old woman glided up to her, motioning to the book in her hand. “You don’t belong to one master. Neither did I.” Julie Brown swept past her, heading to a corner bookcase. “We can choose who we allow to guide us, and who we wish to banish from our soul. But you gotta be real careful ’bout not lettin’ one spirit get stronger than another. That was my mistake. I let Kalfu take over. Maman Brigitte wasn’t happy about it.”
Lexie’s legs wobbled, and she fought to regain her balance. Julie Brown had been like her—one priestess bound to two masters. Suddenly, the woman’s life became important.
Author Bio:Alexandrea Weis RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis writes mystery, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.
Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.
He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.
Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.
One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
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