Book Title: Burn (Witchbane #1.5)
Author: Morgan Brice
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Release Date: September 30, 2018
Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance
One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse.
Seth uncovers the cycle of ritual murders that feed the witch-disciples’ power, and he saves Evan Malone, one of the warlock’s potential victims. Neither Seth nor Evan expected to fall in love, but when the dust settles, they find themselves on the run and on the road together, heading toward Pittsburgh, on the trail of the next killer.
Seth wonders whether Evan will come to regret his choice to stay together, now that he’s living the reality of Seth’s nomadic life and the risks that come with it. He wants Evan to stay, but he’s afraid that Evan would be better off without him, living a normal life. Evan’s whole world has been upended, but there’s one thing he’s sure of, his love for Seth. Evan worries that he’s a liability, not yet able to hold his own in Seth’s rough-and-tumble world, but determined to do whatever necessary to have Seth’s back. On the way to face the next warlock, supernatural threats abound, forcing them to learn to fight as a team.
Fate and danger threw them together. But once the adrenaline fades, will love last?
“Tell me about the ghost.” Evan tried to sound business-like. He hoped he didn’t look fidgety. He’d meant what he said about having Seth’s back. If Seth didn’t think Evan could handle himself, he wouldn’t trust him as his partner—on the job, or in bed.
“This whole area is lousy with historic houses,” Seth said, pausing to take a swig of his beer. “Sometimes, the dearly departed residents don’t want to move on. If they aren’t causing problems, that’s fine. But there’s an old mansion that’s been turned into a B&B. Apparently, it has a hell of a history…maybe for real. The ghost is strong enough to do real damage, and people are getting hurt.”
He toyed with the half-empty bottle. “At first, it was workmen doing renovations. A guy almost got killed when something winged a hammer at his head in an empty room. Luckily, he ducked.”
“He’s sure no one else could have been there?”
“The guy was working on the lock on the inside of the door, which was shut with his body blocking it from opening, and he says he was alone. The hammer put a hole right through the door.”
Seth nodded. “Yeah. There’d been reports from some of the real estate agents who showed the place about being pushed on the stairs, having things fall near them. A lot of the agents refused to show the place, even though it had a nice price tag. The new owners thought it was all just stories and people’s imaginations until the husband got pushed out a second-floor window. There were witnesses. They said an invisible force threw him against the glass. He was my size.”
“Sweet baby Jesus. Did he die?”
“No, but he got very lucky. The workmen walked off the job—understandable. The new owners are stuck with a hefty mortgage, and they obviously can’t open to the public. The bank is afraid they’ll default and leave them on the hook for the property—again,” Seth added. “So apparently, someone in the bank went looking for a ghostbuster. Tried the local mediums and psychics—nothing wrong with that. For a low-level problem, it can work. But they weren’t successful.”
“Let me guess,” Evan chimed in. “Someone in Toby and Milo’s circles eventually heard about it—and here we are.”
“Yeah. That’s usually how it works. I’ve got a job to finish for a client, but it’ll probably only take me the morning to wrap up,” Seth replied. He’d been in computer ops in the Army and used those skills as a hunter to get into police databases and other locked down sites when need be. Toby had convinced Seth to establish himself as a “white hat” hacker, getting hired by companies to stress test their computer systems and keep out the riff-raff. It paid well and was a job he could do on the road, from anywhere.
If Evan could get his design and photography business off the ground, it would be a dream come true. He hadn’t been using his degree or following his heart working at Treddy’s bar. He’d found a shelter in the storm after he moved to the Richmond to escape a stalker, and never moved on. Now he had a real chance to do what he loved, with a man he loved. And in his spare time, risk his life to kill off supernatural predators most people didn’t believe even existed.
Then again, every job has its trade-offs, he thought, trying to convince himself he was up for it.
“What’s the plan? Just walking up and knocking on the door might not be a good idea,” Evan said. He’d spent four terrifying days running for his life from a faceless threat, only to walk right into the warlock’s trap and nearly become his latest sacrifice. Seth had tried back then to teach him the basics about supernatural self-defense, but Evan had to admit that his initial wariness and skepticism meant he hadn’t paid attention as closely as he should have.
“Still working on that part,” Seth admitted. “But I’ll come up with a plan.” His fingers brushed against Evan’s hand on the table. “So...” he let his voice trail seductively. Seth slipped his sock-clad foot up Evan’s inseam, gently kneading between his legs.
“I like how you think.”
“Did you have something in mind?” Seth asked, teasing.
Evan rose to his feet and moved sinuously to stand between Seth’s spread legs. “I don’t think I thanked you properly for your surprise,” he said with a wicked grin. He sank to his knees and began to nuzzle the inside of Seth’s thigh, letting his hot breath sink through the denim.
About the Author
Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Look for her other books—Witchbane and Badlands. Coming soon—Dark Rivers (Witchbane novel #2) and Lucky Town (a Christmas Badlands novella).
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