Witchful Thinking (Jolie Wilkins #3)

      H. P. Mallory
Witchful Thinking (Jolie Wilkins #3)

Product Description

From H. P. Mallory—the exciting author of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble—comes her new paranormal romance featuring the sassy, self-deprecating witch Jolie Wilkins.

Jolie thinks she’s seen it all, but life continues to spring surprises. The latest shocker? She’s just been crowned Queen of the Underworld. Jolie may possess a rare gift for reanimating the dead, but she doesn’t know the first thing about governing disparate factions of supernatural creatures. She can barely maintain order in her own chaotic personal life, which is heading into a romantic tailspin.

First there’s sexy warlock Rand, the love of her life, from whom Jolie is hiding a devastating secret. Then there’s Sinjin, a darkly seductive vampire and Jolie’s sworn protector—though others suspect he harbors ulterior motives. As the two polar opposite yet magnetic men vie for Jolie’s affection, she must keep her wits about her to balance affairs of state and affairs of her heart. Overwhelmed, under pressure, and longing for love, Jolie decides it’s time to take charge—and show everyone that this queen won’t take jack.

From the Paperback edition.

About the Author

H. P. Mallory is the author of the Jolie Wilkins series as well as the Dulcie O’Neil series. She began her writing career as a self-published author and after reaching a tremendous amount of success, decided to become a traditionally published author and hasn’t looked back since. H. P. Mallory lives in Southern California with her husband and son, where she is at work on her next book.

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      H. P. Mallory

SINJIN is the first book in the Bryn and Sinjin Paranormal Romance series:

Abandoned on the battlefield by the people she calls her tribe, Bryn must face the fact that she is now playing prisoner to the Queen of the Underworld, who also happens to be her fraternal twin sister. As the days and months go by with no word from the Supreme Elder of her tribe, Bryn thinks her life couldn’t get much worse.

While Bryn bemoans her imprisonment, her sister, Jolie, is doing everything in her power to ensure that blood ties are thicker than they appear. Jolie wants nothing more than to befriend Bryn and teach her not to hate the Underworld, but to embrace it.

But Bryn fights the very idea of becoming one with her enemies, although she can’t help her attraction to a certain six-hundred-year-old English vampire, Sinjin Sinclair. Once Bryn is placed in Sinjin’s care, she’ll find herself battling the undeniable magnetism of the vampire, the one creature she abhors above all others.

Sinjin’s quick wit, his indisputable sex appeal, and the mystery that surrounds him all point to the fact that if Bryn falls for him, she’ll be in over her head. But, as a warrior through and through, Bryn isn’t the type to fall for anything, especially a handsome face. If anyone should be able to withstand the lure of the vampire, Bryn appears to be the likeliest candidate.

Of course, looks can be deceiving…

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    Big Easy Murder (The Peyton Clark Series Book 3)

      H. P. Mallory
Big Easy Murder (The Peyton Clark Series Book 3)

From New York Times And USA Today Bestselling Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Author, HP Mallory, Comes The Peyton Clark Series!

“H.P. Mallory has a quick wit, a fresh voice, and a clever way with words. If you like Charlaine Harris, you’ll love H.P. Mallory!” ~ Larissa Ione, New York Times Bestselling Romance Author

BIG EASY MURDER is a novella in the Peyton Clark series. The first book is GHOULS RUSH IN and is currently available.

Please note, this is a novella and is, therefore, shorter in length than the other Peyton novels.

Peyton Clark’s life is anything but ordinary. And it’s about to get even more bizarre.

As if it weren’t enough to be on the receiving end of the affections of two men, one of whom is deceased, Peyton finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery taking place nearly sixty years earlier.

Ryan Kelly, her very much alive boyfriend, is by her side while the spirit of Drake Montague, a 19th century policeman, is inside her head and her heart.
As Peyton finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of New Orleans voodoo, she can only hope she escapes unscathed. Or will she become the victim of another murder in the Big Easy?


Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
Toil and Trouble
Be Witched (Novella)
Witchful Thinking
The Witch Is Back
Something Witchy This Way Comes

To Kill A Warlock
A Tale Of Two Goblins
Great Hexpectations
Wuthering Frights
Malice In Wonderland
For Whom The Spell Tolls
Eleven Snipers Sniping (Short Story)
A Midsummer Night’s Scream

Better Off Dead
The Underground City
To Hell And Back

Ghouls Rush In
Once Haunted, Twice Shy
Big Easy Murder (Novella)

The Scent

Find Urban Fantasy Romance Author, HP Mallory, Online: Visit HP’s website at www.hpmallory.com
Follow HP on twitter at www.twitter.com/hpmallory
Join HP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hpmallory

If you enjoy reading HP’s books, consider adding yourself to her email list to keep on top of new releases, contests and other fun stuff! Signing up is easy, just visit: www.hpmallory.com/mailing-list/


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    The Witch Is Back

      H. P. Mallory
The Witch Is Back

The witching hour has arrived in bestselling author H. P. Mallory’s captivating and sexy new novel, starring the most dazzling denizen of the undead, Jolie Wilkins.
Funny and feisty witch Jolie Wilkins is back—or rather, she’s back to her humble beginnings. Propelled into the past to her old Los Angeles fortune-telling shop, Jolie has no idea she possesses extraordinary powers, and she definitely doesn’t remember becoming Queen of the Underworld. But at least she has two incredibly sexy men vying for her affection: Rand Balfour, who looks very familiar, though Jolie can’t place his gorgeous face, and Sinjin Sinclair, who is tall, dark, and perfect . . . except for the fangs.

Yet despite her steamy love life, Jolie can’t shake the sense that something is not quite right—like she’s stuck in a déjà vu gone terribly awry. As both men race against time—and each other—to win Jolie’s heart, the fate of the Underworld hangs in the balance. And Jolie’s decision can either restore order or create an absolute, drop-dead disaster.

From the Paperback edition.

About the Author

H. P. Mallory is the author of the Jolie Wilkins series as well as the Dulcie O’Neil series. She began her writing career as a self-published author and after reaching a tremendous amount of success, decided to become a traditionally published author and hasn’t looked back since.

H. P. lives in Southern California with her husband and son, where she is at work on her next book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.




When the phone rang at ten minutes to seven, I wasn’t surprised. Nope, I figured that Sinjin Sinclair, the most handsome and charming man who had ever stepped into my life, had probably just come to his senses and realized he didn’t want to take me out for dinner after all. Maybe he’d suffered from a slight brain freeze the night before when he’d been awaiting roadside assistance at my tarot‑card‑reading shop, and that was why he’d asked me out.

So when he phoned to say he was lost, I was surprised—­not so much that his navigational skills were lacking but that he actually wanted to go through with this. Okay, I know what you’re thinking—­that I must look like a troll, or something equally heinous . . . Well, I’m not a troll by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m also not the girl who stands out in a crowd. I’m more the girl next door—­or at least I live down the street from the girl next door.

Okay, I’m probably being a little too hard on myself because I have been told that I’m attractive and I know I’m smart and all that stuff, but I’m still nowhere near Sinjin Sinclair’s league.

But back to the phone call. After Sinjin said he would be at my door shortly, I hung up and then stood in the center of my living room for a few minutes like a space cadet, gazing at the wall until I’m sure I looked like a complete and total moron.

But while it might have appeared that nothing much was going on in that gray matter between my ears, appearances can be deceiving. Thoughts ramrodded my brain, slamming into one another as new ones were born . . . What am I doing? What am I thinking? What do I possibly have to talk about with a man as cultured and refined as Sinjin Sinclair? Moreover, how am I going to eat in front of him? What if I choke on an ice cube? Or I sneeze after taking a mouthful of salad and spray carrot chunks all over his expensive clothes?

Jolie Wilkins, calm down, I finally said to myself, closing my eyes and taking a deep breath. You are going to go on this date because if you don’t, you’re never going to forgive yourself. And, furthermore, Christa will most definitely murder you.

I inhaled another deep breath and forced myself out of my self‑inflicted brain coma, starting toward the mirror as I took stock of myself for the umpteenth time in the last hour. Christa, my best friend and self‑proclaimed fashion advisor, had left twenty minutes ago after chastising me about my current getup. Yes, she’d tried to force me into what amounted to shrink‑wrapping, complete with stiletto heels that were so narrow, they could double as weapons. Then, after that attempt had failed, she’d tried to get me to go with a flame‑red corset dress that was so tight, I couldn’t walk—­and breath- ing was out of the question. So yes, I’d defeated the raunchy‑clothing demon but I couldn’t say I felt very good about my victory.

I sighed as I took in my shoulder‑length blond hair and the fact that the curl Christa had wrestled into it only minutes before was already gone. It could be described as “limp” at best. My makeup was nice, though—­Christa had managed to talk me into a smoky eye, which accented my baby blues, and she’d also covered the freckles that sprinkled the bridge of my nose while playing up my cheekbones with a shimmery apricot blush. She’d lined my decently plump lips in a light brown and filled them with bubble‑gum‑pink lipstick, finishing them with a pink gloss called “Baby Doll.”

There was a knock on my front door, and I felt my heart lurch into my throat. I took another deep breath and glanced at my reflection in the mirror again, trying not to focus on the fact that I was anything but sexy in a black amorphous skirt that ended just below my knees, black tights, and two‑inch heels. Even though my breasts are decently large, you couldn’t really tell in my gray turtleneck and black peacoat.

Maybe I should have listened to Christa . . .

Another quick knock on the door signaled the fact that I was dawdling. I pulled myself away from my reflection and, wrapping my hand around the doorknob, exhaled and opened it, pasting a smile on my face.

“Hello,” I said, hoping my voice sounded level and even‑keeled, because the sight of Sinjin standing there just about undid me. A tornado was rampaging through me, tearing at my guts and wreaking havoc with my nervous system.

“Good evening,” the deity before me spoke in his refined, baritone English accent. His eyes traveled from my eyes to my bust to my legs and back up again as a serpentine smile spread across his sumptuous lips.

“Um,” I managed, meaning to add a How are you? to the end of it, but somehow the words never emerged.

Sinjin arched a black brow and chuckled as I debated slamming the door shut and hiding out in my room for the next, oh, two years, at least.

“You look quite lovely,” he said, with that devilish smile as he pulled his arm forward and offered me a bouquet of red roses. “These pale in comparison.”

My hand was shaking and my brain was on vacation as I reached for the roses, but somehow I did manage to smile and say, “Thank you, they are really beautiful.”

The beauty of the roses didn’t even compute, though—­ my overwhelmed mind was still reeling from the presence of this man. Man didn’t even do him justice; he seemed so much more than that—­either heaven‑sent or hell’s emissary.

He was wearing black, just as he had been the night before. His black slacks weren’t fitted, but neither were they loose—­in fact, they seemed tailored to his incredibly long legs. And his black sweater perfectly showcased his broad shoulders and narrow waist. Even though his body and intimidating height would have been worth writing home about, it was his face that was so completely alluring.

Sinjin’s eyes should have been the eighth wonder of the world. They were the most peculiar color—­an incredibly light blue, most similar to the blue‑green icebergs you might find in Alaska or the Alpine waters of Germany. They almost seemed to glow. His skin was flawless, neither too pale nor too tan, without the kiss of a freckle or mole.

His hair was midnight black, so dark that it almost appeared blue. Tonight it looked longer than I remembered. The ends curled up over his collar, which was strange considering I’d only met him the day before and I could have sworn he had short hair. But the strangest thing about this enigmatic man was that I couldn’t see his aura . . .

I’ve been able to see people’s auras for as long as I can remember. An aura is best described as a halo‑type thing that surrounds someone—­it billows out of them in a foggy sort of haze. If someone is healthy, his or her aura is usually pink or violet. If someone is unwell in some way, yellow or orange predominates. I had never before met anyone who didn’t have an aura at all or whose aura I couldn’t see. And what surprised me even more was the fact that I hadn’t noticed his missing aura the first time I’d seen him . . . Of course I had been pretty overwhelmed by his mere presence—­and that dazed feeling didn’t seem like it was going to go away anytime soon.

“May I escort you?” he asked as he gave me another winning smile and offered me his arm.

I gulped as I tentatively wrapped my hand around his arm, trying not to notice the fact that he was really . . . built. Good God . . .

“Thanks,” I said in a small voice as I allowed him to lead me outside.

“Are you forgetting something?” Sinjin asked as he glanced down at me.

“Um,” I started and dropped my attention to my feet, attempting to take stock of myself.

Shoes are on, purse is over my shoulder, nerves are present and accounted for . . . the only thing I’d forgotten was my confidence, which was currently hiding beneath my bed.

Sinjin stopped walking and turned around. I followed suit and noticed that the door to my modest little house was still open—­gaping wide as though it was as shocked as he was that I’d forgotten to shut it.

“Oh my God.” I felt my cheeks color with embarrassment. It had to be pretty obvious I’d completely forgotten how to function in his presence. I separated myself from him and hurried back up my walkway, shaking my head at my inattention. Anxiety drumming through me, I closed and locked the door behind me.

“Shall we try this again?”

I jumped, shocked that he was suddenly right beside me. I shook the feeling off, figuring that he must have been trailing me all along. But still, there was something . . . uncanny about it, something that set off my “Spidey” senses. I blamed it on my already overwhelmed nerves.

“Yes,” I said with an anxious laugh as he offered his arm again and I, again, took it. This time we made it to the curb, where a black car awaited us. So angular it almost looked like a spaceship, it was the same vehicle he’d been driving the night before when he’d gotten a flat tire and had asked to use my phone. He opened the door for me and I gave him a smile of thanks as I seated myself, glancing over at the steering wheel where I recognized the emblem of a Ferrari.

A Ferrari . . . seriously?

I had to pinch myself. This just wasn’t real—­it couldn’t be real! I mean, my life was composed of TV dinners and reruns of The Office. My only social outlet, really, was Christa. Men like Sinjin Sinclair with...

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    lily harper 04.5 - the bladesmith

      H. P. Mallory
lily harper 04.5 - the bladesmith

From New York Times And USA Today Bestselling Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Author, HP Mallory, Comes The Lily Harper Series!"H.P. Mallory has a quick wit, a fresh voice, and a clever way with words. If you like Charlaine Harris, you'll love H.P. Mallory!" ~ Larissa Ione, New York Times Bestselling Romance AuthorIf you like your books steamy (this is an adult fantasy romance, not for kids or teens!) and you aren't easily offended by potty-mouthed, crass guardian angels, read on!THE BLADESMITH is a novella in the Lily Harper series and is narrated by leading character, Tallis Black!Please note, this is a novella and is, therefore, shorter in length than the other Lily Harper novels.The Bladesmith:Tallis Black is not accustomed to playing the role of prisoner. Yet that is exactly the predicament in which he finds himself in this latest installment of the Lily Harper Series.Tortured, malnourished and at the mercy of Persephone, a vengeful spirit who resides within the body of...

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    To Hell And Back (The Lily Harper #3)

      H. P. Mallory
To Hell And Back (The Lily Harper #3)

Lily Harper’s third mission into the depths of the Underground City finds her battling its demonic residents in the Toy Store, level four of the hellish afterlife. 

Although Lily’s guardian angel, Bill, is by her side every step of the way, Bill isn’t much of a consolation when it comes to fighting things that go bump in the night. Instead, Lily would much prefer to rely on the brawn and brains of the two thousand year old Celtic warrior, Tallis Black. But Tallis is busy battling his own demons…the internal type. 

While in the Underground City, Lily finds herself on the wrong end of a demon’s wrath. A surprising encounter with the Master of the Underground City, Alaire, not only ensures her survival but also leaves her in the unenviable position of being in Alaire’s debt. It’s no secret that Alaire harbors a strange and unsettling fascination with Lily but she’s more concerned with solving Tallis’s deep and dark mysteries hidden beneath his stoic exterior. 

While becoming better acquainted with the master of the Underground City and coming ever closer to unraveling the enigma that is Tallis Black, Lily can only hope she makes it through hell and back. 

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    Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

      H. P. Mallory
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead. A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover. A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes an appetite for witches. The Underworld in a state of chaos. Let the games begin.Life isn't bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn't have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend. Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she's a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost's demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life! Word of Jolie's incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld's most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand.

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    Once Haunted, Twice Shy (The Peyton Clark Series Book 2)

      H. P. Mallory
Once Haunted, Twice Shy (The Peyton Clark Series Book 2)

Sassy, spirited Peyton Clark is back—and she’s not alone!

After agreeing to let the spirit of Drake Montague inhabit her body, Peyton soon discovers that the twentieth-century French policeman may be dead but his lothario longings sure aren’t. Now she has to find a way to explain to her sweet, sexy boyfriend, Ryan Kelly, that a spirit has taken up residence in her head, whispering French words of affection day and night.

While Peyton is torn between her love for a living man and her growing affection for one deceased, supernatural activity in New Orleans spikes—and something wicked this way comes. With the help of her friends (and a little voodoo), Peyton learns that the demonic spirit of the Axeman may still dwell in her home. To stop bloody history from repeating itself, Peyton will have to travel back a century to confront the Axeman at his roots, with the help of a certain handsome—and suddenly flesh and blood—police officer in the Big Easy.


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    Ghouls Rush In

      H. P. Mallory
Ghouls Rush In

Do you believe in love after life?

Looking for a fresh start, Peyton Clark becomes the proud owner of a piece of New Orleans history: an Antebellum-era two-story house in the Garden District. It's going to take time and a fat wallet to restore the fixer-upper to its former glory, but after her recent divorce, Peyton could use the distraction.

It's not long before Peyton discovers she's moved into the haunted home of a flirtatious paranormal prankster. She's receiving kisses from unseen lips and caresses from a ghostly hand, and soon she begins to have vivid dreams, bringing her face-to-face with the incomparably handsome ghost of Drake Montague.

When Peyton grows closer to her general contractor, Ryan Kelly - who is as charming as he is alive - the chill in the air could only suggest Drake's jealousy from beyond the grave. But even though she's definitely attracted to and interested in Ryan, Peyton also can't get Drake out of her dreams, or her heart, as she begins to uncover the frightening truth behind his death a century ago...

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    Something Witchy This Way Comes: A Jolie Wilkins Novel

      H. P. Mallory
Something Witchy This Way Comes: A Jolie Wilkins Novel

A witch’s work is never done, and in bestselling author H. P. Mallory’s mesmerizing new novel, Jolie Wilkins finds that the real magic is only just beginning.
For smart and sexy witch Jolie Wilkins, being Queen of the Underworld is a royal pain. Back from a round of time travel, Jolie must now protect her realm from the sinister Lurkers—a powerful breed of half-humans bent on conquering the undead. And if there’s one thing she knows, it’s that the supernatural never go down without a fight.

At least Jolie has her soul mate (and finally official boyfriend), warlock Rand Balfour, by her side. Honorable, brave, and unbelievably handsome, Rand is everything Jolie wants in a man. So why can’t she forget the dangerously alluring vampire, Sinjin Sinclair? With her private life heating up and a battle boiling over, Jolie sets out to prove that in matters of love and war, the fairer hex has its own set of charms.

About the Author

H. P. Mallory is the author of the Jolie Wilkins series as well as the Dulcie O’Neil series. She began her writing career as a self-published author and after reaching a tremendous amount of success, decided to become a traditionally published author and hasn’t looked back since.

H. P. Mallory lives in Southern California with her husband and son, where she is at work on her next book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.




I blinked.

I blinked a few more times, and even then my vision was still cloudy, like I was just waking up with a massive hangover in a room bright with sunlight. I covered my eyes with my hand, trying to ward away the garish attack of light, hoping that my sense of hearing might help me figure out where I was. But my heart was beating so fast, it sounded like waves crashing into my ears.

I dropped my hand from my eyes and forced myself to focus, to concentrate on the scenery around me so I could get some sense of where I was and what had happened. Once I was able to make out the rocks that interrupted the otherwise deep blue ocean before me, I realized it wasn’t my heart that was echoing through my ears at all, but the actual waves. I glanced down at my shoes and took in the sand, feeling the sea breeze as it whipped around my ankles and caused me to shiver involuntarily.


I felt like I was moving in slow motion as I turned to face Rand. His dark brown eyes showed his concern for me as he smiled, and his dimples made him appear almost boyish. His deep chocolate hair was tousled, as if he’d just awakened from a restless night. He was breathtakingly beautiful, as always. At the sight of him, something warm began to grow within me and I recognized the feeling—­relief melded with love.

If Rand was here, I was safe.

But the question remained: Where exactly was I?

I swallowed hard, trying to bridge the gap that was growing in my mind. I’d been home in . . . Los Angeles only moments ago and now I was . . . now I was . . .

I glanced around again, at the beach and then behind me. I took in the craggy hillside that led up to pastures of heather, dotted with enormous pine trees and a three-­story white mansion, the plaque of which proclaimed itself to be kinloch kirk. Somehow, the title resonated with me and carried me to a place in my mind that I hadn’t visited in a while.

Kinloch Kirk is the home of the Queen of the Underworld, I told myself. It’s my home.

“We’re back in Scotland,” I whispered to Rand as I faced him again, the dawning realization forcing the clouds from my mind. He said nothing, just nodded and reached for me, engulfing me in his strong arms. I leaned my head against his chest and inhaled his spicy, masculine scent, relishing the feel of his embrace.

“You failed.”

It was a woman’s voice—­austere and calculating—­and I knew it well. I turned to face the prophetess, Mercedes Berg, who stared past us, her mouth angry. The prophetess was the highest of all the witches and also the Queen’s chief ambassador, my chief ambassador. But what struck me was how upset she was that her plan hadn’t succeeded. Actually, it had been a complete fiasco.

And that was when it all came back to me, like someone had just pumped memory juice directly into my brain.

Mercedes had broken the rules of time by sending the vampire Sinjin Sinclair two years back in time to meet me before I ever became Queen . . . hell, before I was even aware that I was a witch. And Sinjin’s purpose? To get to know me before Rand did, thereby ensuring that I would never fall in love with Rand, which is what truly happened. Sinjin had wanted me to fall in love with him instead, and as much as I now hated to admit it, he’d succeeded.

But luckily for me, Rand hadn’t given up. A gifted warlock, he had recruited the help of Mathilda, a fairy. They’d traveled back in time to beat Sinjin at his own game. Why Mercedes had orchestrated the whole thing, I still didn’t know. And why had Sinjin agreed to it? Well, I also didn’t know for sure, but I did have my suspicions. He undoubtedly wanted the promise of power that went along with being the paramour of the Queen of the Underworld.

“I attempted.”

At the sound of Sinjin’s voice, I felt something within me constrict. I had to fight the feeling, though, because I’d promised myself I would get over him.

I refused to look at him. The power of his betrayal still felt like a knife in my back. Instead, I faced Mercedes and felt anger riding up my throat. She appeared so nonchalant, almost indifferent, as if sending Sinjin back in time and royally screwing up my life was no big deal. She acted like it was no more serious than if she’d just stepped on an unfortunate beetle.

“And apparently you failed,” Mercedes said, facing Sinjin with an expression that was none too friendly. I didn’t miss the fact that Sinjin had no comeback. But I still refused to look at him.

“Why did you do it?” Rand demanded of Mercedes. He took a step toward her, his shoulders tight. She turned away from him without answering. “Why the bloody hell did you do it?” he repeated, and his voice was rough, his English accent more pronounced and heated with his anger. I was suddenly afraid of a possible confrontation between the two of them.

“You must not doubt the prophetess,” Mathilda suddenly piped up from behind me. I turned to face her, in surprise, not having realized she was present. The oldest and wisest of the fae, Mathilda was slight, barely four feet tall. Her long, silvery hair flowed around her body. When I looked at her, I sometimes couldn’t tell how old she was. She’d told me a long time ago that each person’s perception of her was different—­they see her however they choose to see her—­ apparently my confused mind was unable to distinguish her age.

But back to the time-travel thing . . . Right before Mercedes sent Sinjin back in time, I was looking for my cat, who had escaped from the house. Instead of finding her, I stumbled across Mercedes as she was performing a time-­traveling charm on Sinjin. It was on the beach, just below the bluffs of Kinloch Kirk. Knowing it wouldn’t be long before everything I knew was whisked away from me, I used my telepathic connection to warn Rand—­who was miles away at the time—­about Mercedes’ intentions. Then, boom! When I woke up, it was two years in the past, in Los Angeles. I was completely unaware of the fact that I was officially Queen of the Underworld. Truth be told, I hadn’t even met Rand or Sinjin because they had yet to venture into my life.

To make a long story short, Rand, Sinjin, and Mathilda were able to return to the present. (I hadn’t traveled back in time to begin with, so I didn’t have to make the trek back.) I was surprised that everyone had returned to the same place—­right here on the beach where Mercedes had first sent Sinjin on his merry way into the past. I wasn’t sure why, but I had guessed that upon returning, each person would reappear wherever he or she had departed. Well, clearly that wasn’t the case. ’Course, I also couldn’t say I understood the hows and whys about time travel, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.

“Damn not doubting her,” Rand raged.

“I had but one goal,” Mercedes answered in her same level tone, fixing her gaze on Rand and then on me.

“What was it?” I asked, my voice sounding hollow and drained, which wasn’t surprising considering everything going on around me.

“I made the decision to ensure the safety of our Queen and sovereign,” Mercedes finished, raising a brow at Rand as if to say, How can you argue with that?

“Her safety against what?” Rand asked as he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me close. It seemed as if just the very thought of a threat to my safety bothered him.

Mercedes didn’t alter her straight-­lipped expression. Instead, she stared at him vacantly for about two seconds. “The Lurkers,” she finished succinctly. “Sending the Queen back in time would give us another two years to train her in an environment free of Lurkers.” I was about to respond when she held up her hand. “I never told you, Jolie, but I could sense something was coming, something dangerous.”

“So you decided to send Sinjin back in time to avoid it?” I asked.

She nodded. “It was the only way I could protect you, to give us more time to plan our retaliation.”

“Fat lot of good it did,” I muttered. The Lurkers, a breed of half-­human/half-­vampire creatures who had a vendetta against all Underworld residents, had done as good a job of attacking me in the past as they had in the future—­well, now my present. Shit, this time-­travel stuff was going to get confusing fast.

“What do you mean?” Mercedes pressed.

“She means that the Lurkers found her even though you upset the balance of time. So your reasoning was completely flawed,” Rand finished, his eyes burning.

“The Lurkers found you?” Mercedes asked slowly, spearing me with her eyes.

I nodded, reliving my fear as I remembered my brush with the Lurkers and how they had poisoned my dreams. “Yes.”


“They sent me a dream,” I answered, remembering the images—­a battlefield littered with bodies, an image of a throne unattended. It was a dreamscape that appeared to me twice in my sleep. The first time, I awoke with the realization that the Lurkers were not only half-­vampires, but also possessors of magic. The second time I had the dream, I was back in Los Angeles, two years ago, and the images resulted in an attack on my psyche. “My magic wasn’t strong enough to fight the images and I became very sick.”

“She could have died,” Rand finished for me, his lips tighter than before. I could feel his hands fisting around me, and I glanced up at him and...

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