Free sample from my new book, Reckoning:
After they clawed out of the fires below, the Tavishaw family stood in a circle in front of our group. It was a family reunion for the Tavishaws, Kaylee, Borlock, Maxine, and their parents. The moment I saw Miss Maxine, I cowered behind Jacob. Sarah stood by her brothers and Via. My concern went to Sarah, who feared Maxine more than any person in this realm. The look on Steven’s face told me he was about to faint from fear. He rounded his spine, and slithered behind William and Henry. Their guns drawn, as well as their men, but all of us were too dumbfounded to do anything. We helplessly watched as Kaylee’s father congratulated his son.
“You have made your family proud, son,” said Kaylee’s father.
“Thank you, father,” Kaylee said as he bowed his head.
“Tonight, we shall have a ceremony to crown the new King.”
“I have resurrected!” Maxine screamed into the sky and spun around with her arms extended to their fullest. “I’m free!”
Borlock was merely feet away from Charles Slider. An evil sneer settled on his face. While Kaylee spoke to his father, Borlock grabbed Charles by the throat. Borlock looked deep into the old mans’ eyes and waved his hand in front of Charles’s face. A purple mist emanated from Borlock’s hand and saturated Charles’ body. When the mist evaporated, it left behind a young Charles Slider. The old judge had been replaced by a new, vivacious young man. Borlock salivated as he brought Charles closer him. He practically spit in his face as he hissed, “I won’t kill you…today. We rule the world, again, and we need slaves. Guess who I chose?”
With a wave of his hand, a metal choker suddenly appeared around Charles’ neck. A chain was attached to it and at the other end of the chain was Borlock. He struck Charles’s shoulder like a snake and bit into his newly renewed flesh. Charles screamed with agony while Borlock ripped off a piece of his shoulder and ate it. A satisfied smile sat on Borlocks’ lips while he watched the pain he caused Charles and sat back to enjoy his snack. Blood ran from his mouth as Borlock laughed like a madman. On the ground, Charles writhed with pain, keeping his hand on covering the bite wound. Without realizing it, I emerged from behind Jacob but he held me back, refusing to let me interfere. We watched helplessly as Borlock sat on top of Charles to lick the blood from his fingertips as if he wanted to savor every morsel of a wonderful meal.
“Do save some of him for later, Borlock. Remember, if you eat too much of him, even magic cannot repair him,” Kaylee said as if the situation bored him.
Maxine giggled gleefully. “Oh, I want one, too! I pick her,” she screamed and pointed at Sarah. Instantly, a metal collar magically appeared around my cousins’ neck.
“No!” I shouted.
“You’re not taking my sister anywhere, bitch,” William said as he aimed his gun at Maxine. The rest of his friends followed his lead and focused their weapons at Maxine. Jacob puffed out his chest and stepped up to show Maxine he was there defend Sarah at all costs. Maxine laughed at them and waved her hand. A powerful, unseen hand twisted the barrels of their guns upwards, making them worthless. The men stared at the guns with shock. Jacob, and the rest of them, were surrounded by a large ball of purple mist. It hugged their bodies and kept them from moving.
She turned to me with a wide, wicked smile on her face. “And who’s going to stop me? You? Your army?” She laughed at us as if she knew something we didn’t. “I am Maxine Tavishaw, bitch. I am more powerful than anyone in this world! You will not disobey me or I will roast your souls in the fires of Hell!”
I looked to Kaylee, hoping he would intervene, but appeared as if he were bored with our protests. If he refused to interfere, then it was up to me. I pulled away from Jacobs’ grasp and shouted, “Maxine, you cannot have Sarah.”
“Oh, yes I can. Right, Kaylee?” she asked my newfound father with a smile on her face.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Sure. My daughter is safe and we have repatriated. I don’t need her anymore.”
Maxine smiled at me with a smug face and yanked on Sarah’s chain to show her dominance over me. “I don’t care what Kaylee says, it’s what I say that matters,” I stressed the word I. “And I say Sarah stays with me.”
My aunt smiled at me and grabbed a handful of my hair, bringing my face to hers. I struggled to free myself from her grasp, but she held on to me as if she had an iron fist. “Charles banished me back to Hell after what I did to you and your little cousin at the Academy. I don’t know how he found out, but he did. All because of you. I’ve waited for this moment…to see the look on your face when I take your beloved cousin from you. I thought about taking Jacob, but I knew it would sting if I took the beautiful blonde. Say goodbye to Sarah.”
Finally, my instincts kicked in, as well as the training supplied by Via. I didn’t care if she held onto my hair, I ignored the pain when I ripped my head away, allowing a good chunk of my hair to be pulled out in the process. I spun around quickly to back kick Maxine in her stomach. Thank goodness Via had me kicking a tree for weeks. My leg was strong and delivered a powerful kick. Maxine stumbled backwards, but her chest fell forward. Her shouts of obscenities were so loud, they could be heard from the other side of the world. Before she could retaliate, I leapt forward, and punched her in the face with my right hand, but she anticipated my move, and blocked my arm. However, Via taught me to punch with my left and right hand. While Maxine was busy holding onto my right arm, I used my left to deliver a hard punch to the right side of her face.
She stumbled backwards, but managed to keep herself steady on her feet. The left side of her mouth curled up in the form a sneer, the way a dog curled its lip when it’s ready to strike. I knew she was going to come at me with everything she had, so I used this moment to punch her right in the nose. It was a sweet moment to return to Maxine what she did to me at the Academy.
Something else happened at that moment. Blood fell from Maxine’s nose. In fact, it erupted the way lava erupts from a volcano. Everyone, including my family, stood in shock while they watched Maxine discover the blood.
“I’m…I’m…bleeding,” Maxine stammered and backed away from me as if she were actually frightened of me.
Then it hit me; Maxine was now living in a body that can be killed.
I reached back, grabbed the handle of my Magnum handgun. The handle fit perfectly in my hand as I wrapped my fingers over it. I never took my eyes off Maxine as I took out the gun, pulled back the hammer in the process, and pointed it straight at her head. The fear in her eyes told me she was afraid and desperate. Her magic may have been able to disfigure the guns of Henry, William, and the rest of the men, but not mine. I was a Tavishaw and just as powerful as she. Her powers did not work well on her own blood. It was time to deliver some redemption.
Before I pulled the trigger, Maxine yanked on the chain and pulled Sarah to her chest. In an instant, a purple mist erupted from the ground below them and covered them from head to toe. Via lunged for Sarah in a final attempt to save her. The purple mist swallowed Via whole as she dived into it. When it dissipated, Maxine, Sarah, and Via were gone.
“Sarah! Via!” I screamed into the air.
“Anna!” Kaylee shouted at me. “Come.”
I shook my head. “No.”
“Come with your family, where you belong.”
“I…I belong with my husband.”
“You’re my daughter. Your allegiance belongs to me.”
“I’m not going with you, Kaylee. I’d rather die than stand by your side,” I spat.
He chuckled. “Perhaps you misunderstood me, this is not a choice, my darling.”
In an instant, I pointed my gun right at him and his body burst into a cloud of purple smoke and floated away. The remaining Tavishaw family followed suite and evaporated into smoke. We watched the wind carry them away from us, making it impossible to follow them.
I had made a huge mistake. Rei said I would let evil out of its cage and I did. How could I have been so stupid? I had to fix my mistake. I had to make things right with the Universe. To do that, I had to put my family back in Hell. It wouldn’t be an easy task. My family was not a bunch of knick-knacks that could be easily placed on a shelf. As I thought about Sarah forced to be Maxine’s slave, anger flooded my body. I allowed it to seep into my blood and fill my every thought with genuine revenge. I was going to save all of them, even Charles Slider. I owed it to him after what I did. He was the peacekeeper of our lands and my view had been skewed to portray him as my enemy. I vowed to hunt down every member of my family and send them right back to Hell where they belonged.