To celebrate the release of The Romerus Conjury, the 4th installment of The Witches of Ravencrest, we’ve put it’s predecessor, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, on sale for just .99. You can get both The Romerus Conjury and the full-length novel of The Ghosts of Ravencrest, at Amazon.
In The Romerus Conjury, the hammer has come down at Ravencrest Manor. Evil has spread its wings, casting its black shadow on the town of Devilswood below, infecting the unknowing locals with a viscous corruption that will turn the entire community into a writhing, not-quite-living hell. At the manor itself, governess Belinda Moorland is stalked by former housemistress, Rebecca Dane … who was brutally murdered and decapitated over two centuries ago. And Belinda’s not the only one the phantom woman has set her dead, staring eyes on …
Here’s an excerpt from The Romerus Conjury, available now at Amazon:
Kiss of the Dead
Eric Manning slept fitfully, locked in a nightmare.
He walked down one of Ravencrest’s endless corridors in search of something – or someone – and although he wasn’t sure what he was looking for, he knew it was imperative that he find it. Passing the closed doors looming along the hall, he noticed that the wall sconces flickered, many of them dying, as he passed them. He became aware of something in his hand. He didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to look, fearful of what he might find.
He turned down another corridor. This one went on as far as the eye could see. This is the right one. As he went deeper, he grew very hot and began sweating. The hall went on and on and soon, there were no doors – just an endless expanse that would lead him to … to what? He didn’t know, but he had to get there.
The thing in his hand became heavy and he felt the pull of it in his shoulder. Ignoring the pain, he walked on, his heart pounding harder, the feeling of being very alone and very lost closing in upon him.
“Eric …” The woman’s voice came from behind. He didn’t look back, he had to keep moving. His bare feet slapped the hard floor as he broke into a jog.
“Eric … Wait …”
No, he thought. Keep going. Keep going. Sweat ran in rivulets down the sides of his face, down his bare chest and abdomen.
He ignored the voice. I have to get away. I have to get out! Turning a corner, he slammed into a brick wall. “No!” His scream echoed endlessly. “No, no, no!” He raised his fists to beat on the wall and that’s when he saw what he held in his hand.
It was a head. A woman’s head. Rebecca Dane’s mouth smiled up at him.
He tried to fling it away, but her hair had wrapped itself around his hand, through his fingers, over his wrist, tethering itself to him.
He spun and saw the woman who called his name.
Rebecca Dane’s headless body approached, arms out, blood pumping like a fountain from her neck stump, staining her white dress. But the voice wasn’t coming from the body – it couldn’t be. It was coming from the head in his hand.
The body, bright and clear in the darkness, glided toward him, its feet an inch above the floor.
He was trapped. There was nowhere to go. He tried to scream, but his voice had gone missing. He felt her cold fingers on his bare arm. Her other hand unraveled the thick blond hair from around his wrist.
Eric watched, frozen in horror, as Rebecca Dane fitted her head back onto her body. The fountain of blood ceased to flow, and slowly, her face began to change. The cheeks turned pink. The bloodless lips went crimson. The dark glazed eyes blinked.
And suddenly, he was staring into the face of Belinda Moorland. Rebecca Dane was gone.
Belinda undid the ties at the neck of her dressing gown. The garment fell open and Eric stared at her bare breasts – petite, upturned, and tipped in rose-petal pink.
“Eric.” She placed one hand at the back of his neck while the other played feathery designs down his bare arm. “Eric,” she whispered. “I want you.”
She pulled his face to hers, her lips touching his.
The kiss was gentle at first, chaste, and Eric relished the softness of her lips. Then came the warmth of her tongue. He’d wanted this for so long. He let his hands roam her body, memorizing her contours. Then the kiss deepened, becoming rough, passionate … savage.
Under Eric’s probing hands, her skin felt sleek, velvet-smooth, tight. Rigid with need, he pressed himself against her body. Her warm tongue tasted of sweet things – honey and ecstasy – as it explored his mouth, dancing, teasing his teeth with little stabs. He inhaled her breath, her scent, taking all of her into him, wanting more. And wanting to be inside her. He cupped her breast, squeezed it, and pressed his erection hard against her.
Slowly, the sensations began to change. Her tongue went leathery, dry, and its sweet taste turned bitter, redolent of blood and things long dead.
She moaned and the scent of death filled his mouth, his lungs. Under his touch, her skin went cold and rubbery.
He panicked, broke the kiss, and shoved her away.
Her head toppled from her body. Both dropped at his feet.
“No!” He looked down, stepping away from the cold, black pooling blood. The decapitated head was no longer Belinda’s; it belonged to Rebecca Dane. The eyes went wide with horror. Threads of wet gore hung from her neck. The blue lips pulled back into a scream – a shriek so high, so piercing, so filled with terror and madness, that it rang out like a siren.
Eric Manning jerked awake, sweat-soaked sheets twisted around his body, a scream lodged in the back of his throat. His breath came hard and rasping, and it took him several moments to realize he’d been dreaming. He turned on the light and rubbed his eyes.
The nightmare of Rebecca Dane hadn’t plagued him since he was sixteen, four years after the night he wandered into her art studio in the east wing and saw her ghost. He rose and went to his shower, taking it cold, trying to erase the nightmare. Why is it back now? And why was Belinda there?