Darkness is settling over San Francisco—vampires in the throes of blood lust are taking innocent lives. One witch will need to see past her fear, and trust her Guardian, before everyone is in danger, including herself…
Earth Witch, Sabi, has been gifted with the ability to see premonitions of the darkness that threatens human lives. Safe in the Otherworld, she adjusts to these new visions…which isn’t going so well. Luckily, she’s got the sexy Guardian, Ryker to help her work through these visions. He’s intent to show her how to distance herself from them and help her gain control of life. Not that it’s really helping. The visions are leaving her crippled and unable to help pinpoint the killer’s locations to stop the acts from happening.
If that’s not enough to deal with, she soon begins to see vampires on a killing rampage in San Francisco. Vampires are being born and left to fend for themselves, resulting in innocent lives being taken while they’re in the throes of blood lust. But as Sabi’s visions begin to kick up a notch, personal matters need to be put aside. And as the mystery begins to unravel, Sabi will begin to see that these visions are getting far more dangerous and that humans are not the only ones at risk―she is.
Blood dripped off white fangs, dark eyes clouded with bloodlust as the vampire dropped the woman he’d killed to the ground. The room consisted of blank walls, large windows covered with beige blinds and typical office cubicles, all empty. Yet, whimpers of fear echoed through the space indicating the woman would not be his last victim. He turned toward his next target, the corners of the vampire’s mouth lifted, and hard cold cruelty danced across his features.
A woman stood on the other side of the office, terror filling her expression as she stared at the end of her life. “Please don’t do this.” Fear froze her in place, her body trembled, but she didn’t move or run for help, only stood, waiting for death to take her.
“No!” Sabi shouted, mirroring the woman’s plea. “Leave her alone.” If she had the ability to kill the vampire, take his life as he unmercifully took the lives here, she’d do so. But she held no power—could only watch in horror as the scene unfolded.
The vampire grinned, the smile cruel. “Sorry, luv, the choice isn’t yours.” With speed no human could match, he lunged toward her, grabbed her blonde hair in his hand, and angled her head for his attack. “Try not to take it personally.” His fangs penetrated her skin and her soul-crushing screams echoed through the air.
Sabi shuddered as she heard the deep gulps of blood drawn from the wounds, and it sickened her to see the life drain from the woman. She ached to call on her magic, conjure Earth to do something to help the woman, free her from the fate forced upon her, but she had no power here. Not even her abilities as an Earth Witch could stop the horror from happening.
In mere minutes, the fear in the woman’s eyes diminished with the loss of her life—no spark, blank and empty. The vampire released her and she crumpled to the floor. He wiped the blood off his lips then smiled, displaying crimson-coated fangs. “Like I said, it’s not personal, but damn woman, you tasted delicious.”
A small squeal erupted, and the vampire’s gaze locked on the woman who hid under a desk across the room. She sobbed—never glanced to him as if the idea of hiding would save her. The vampire lunged a second later and took her life, ignoring her pleas to God to save her.
Sabi watched the murders and listened to the horrified sounds of lives being lost around her. One by one, men and women had been slaughtered in nothing less than a blood bath. She couldn’t help any of those being murdered, no matter how much she wanted to. She stayed focused on the disbelief and dismay in each of the human’s eyes as their life ended. Sabi tried to concentrate to have a better understanding to the reasons behind these killings, a way to locate the rampage vampire in time, yet her focus couldn’t be swayed from the emotions as she watched these humans die.
She experienced their sadness, rage, and utter desperation because they were helpless to fight against the evil picking them off as though they were nothing more than livestock.
If only she could center herself away from the death, steady herself on the images around her to find out where they were to offer them aid. To stop the event before it became present time, but she couldn’t will herself to let go of her pain she suffered watching this.
Right then, a hazy fog drifted over Sabi’s vision as the vampire took the last victim’s life, and relief flooded her. She’d soon be removed from this tragedy and return to her body where violence so gruesome only existed in nightmares.
“Sabi,” a voice roared through the horror. “Come back to me!” The urgent tone came again—this time, more—forceful.
The scene dissolved, and reality snapped back in full force. Sabi blinked once before she found herself staring into gorgeous, yet commanding blue eyes shaded with concern. Ryker’s thick body of muscles should have gave her comfort, but her rattled emotions were too strong. She drew in a deep breath to stabilize herself before she dared to speak, and noticed the clay teakettle smashed into a hundred pieces on the ground with a puddle of water around her.
Ryker nudged her thigh, commanding her attention—patience had never been his best attribute. Resolved to just get this over with, and sure she could speak without stuttering, she glanced back to him. “I had a vision.”
He nodded and gave her a knowing glance. “A tough one by the looks of it. What happened?”
Sabi wiped the sweat off her forehead, released a long, deep breath, and forced her thoughts back to the memory that haunted her. “I came in here to make some tea and a vision hit―hard.” They weren’t always so intense, but since the demise of the Underworld, her visions had become harder to deal with. Before then they’d only consisted of Black Magic rituals―events she shared with the four Masters of the Otherworld.
Since all Black Magic Supernaturals had been sent to hell forever, her visions had intensified—innocent lives ripped away in complete bloodshed. The horror had weighed on her as of late and dealing with what she saw hadn’t come easy. She could’ve hidden away from it all, but Ryker always pushed her to face it. Instead of prolonging the inevitable, she dug down deep and found bravery. “Something bad is going to happen.”
“What did you see?” Ryker asked.
“A vampire killing…” she gulped. “Lots of killings.”
He gripped her arms as an offering of support, which she didn’t mind. He could hold her like that for as long as he wanted, she had a hard time grasping onto anything right then, and having him there gave her stability. “Did you make anything out?”
She shook her head and hated how her body still trembled in fear. “Just their sadness.”
His brows furrowed in unhappiness. “A hard thing to watch, yes?”
He quieted a moment, studying her before he finally asked, “Only one vampire had been there?”
“I think so. The room appeared to be an office or something like it, but once the murders began…” She paused to collect herself, “I couldn’t make out anything after that.” Humiliation settled in as the realization of what she had done hit her, and she suspected her expression went straight from terrified to a full out pout. “I’ve failed again.”
“I thought we already went over this.” He frowned. “You’re doing your best, and you’re not used to these powerful images being thrust upon you. Cut yourself a break and give yourself time to grow into this new ability. No one expects anything from you, you know this.”
Yes, she did know, but it didn’t help her any. Her visions would steal her mind daily―if not, twice a day. No point lying to Ryker. Seeing so much death did affect her, and he’d see her lies a mile away. “It’s just…” She couldn’t even find the words to explain.
He sighed and brushed his fingers across her cheek. “I realize this has been hard for you. The transition from seeing premonitions of Black Magic to now facing the cruelty of a life being taken cannot be easy, but we need to find a way for you to deal with it. You have to put a wall up and remain distant. You can’t be responsible for all those lives lost. You’re only one Witch.”
A Witch who had been granted the gift of foresight by the Earth Element, which she had yet to decide should be called a gift or a curse. Before dealing with her abilities came easier, Black Magic showed her dark spells being conjured, never deaths of humans. Nowadays, her visions were harsh, with horrible images she couldn’t sort out.
Ryker’s empathic gaze said he understood all too well how it troubled her and that knowledge should please her, however, it didn’t. She hated to appear weak and frightened, so she let go of the lingering fear, not wanting to be babied. “It’s over now—I’m fine.” She wiggled out of his arms to stand then approached the stove to grab a tea towel.
She hadn’t heard Ryker stand behind her, but he grabbed her wrist. “Sabi.”
He had a gentle expression on his face. Not a typical look for Ryker. His tough attitude had been one of the reasons she found herself attracted to him at first. Only months had passed since he’d returned to the Otherworld from being a shield for Mistress Thalia, but the heat between them had been instant. His unbreakable attitude set her aflame, and once the initial spark had ignited, things soared between them. However, the sweet side of Ryker didn’t show itself often, so she it made her curious to hear what he had to say. “Yes?”
“You don’t have to do this alone.”
“I know I don’t.” She leaned up to give him a passionate kiss, eager to end the conversation. She didn’t want to be lectured or worried over, and needed to figure things out before she explained herself. The images of those bodies still bore heavy in her heart, and even though she did her best to ignore them, she remembered every single detail.
Kissing him, making his mind travel to other places, always ended conversations she didn’t want to have. Ryker could be so predictable and easy to manipulate if she set her mind to it. His lips crushed against hers as he parted her mouth to deepen the kiss. She let him lead the way so she could get lost in happy thoughts for a little while. Her hands travelled up his bare chest, ran over the strap holding his sword in place, before she moved down his sides to touch the top of his armor kilt.
After a swirl of his tongue against hers, Ryker backed away and she wobbled. Lord, the man could kiss like a damn god. “As much as I want to continue this conversation with you, and I realize your diversion technique, I’ve been called out on an assignment with Kyden.” He cleared his throat. “I wanted to come and tell you.”
Sabi gripped the handle of the stove behind her in order to regain her composure. Arousal burned in her blood, yet at the same time, her heart warmed because he’d shared the information with her. They weren’t committed, or he hadn’t declared his intentions. Maybe their relationship had been more serious than a friend with benefits type of thing, but she wasn’t too convinced, it was Ryker, after all. The Guardian’s bedpost had many notches.
Realizing where her thoughts were headed, she quickly refocused—struck by something he said. “You and Kyden are going out on an assignment.” The two had never paired up before, and she worried what the outcome would be. “Are you two going to play nice?”
Kyden, another Guardian, had been one Ryker tended to knock heads with, and often. Nexi—a mixed supernatural, being Fae, Guardian and Witch—and also Kyden’s mate, attributed it to the fact they were so alike. Sabi found the feud amusing, even if she didn’t get the meaning behind it.
“We shall see, won’t we?” Ryker’s smile showed arrogance and only burned more heat in the areas Sabi attempted to cool off. He leaned forward, about to kiss her goodbye before he stiffened his back and cleared his throat again. “Right, I’ll catch up with you later.” After a wink, he spun on his heels and left her standing alone in the kitchen.
To get her mind back on the present, she cleaned up the spilled water on the floor and put the shattered pieces of clay into the garbage. If Earth had granted her the magic most witches received, she could have simply cleaned up the mess and repaired the teakettle, but no such luck. Her abilities were to see darkness within her light world.
Not only did she carry the unique talent, but she also held defensive magic, as all witches did. Earth could be used to devise a distraction. She could make the ground rumble, use vines to wrap around someone to hold them, all sorts of defensive techniques. But compared to most, her talents were weak except for the visions. They came powerful and yes, no one else in either the Otherworld or the Earthworld held the ability. Yet no one had ever said they wanted her gifts, had never considered her special, and she sure as heck didn’t think that way of herself—seeing into the pits of hell was not a great way to spend a night.
Before, she had a purpose, saw evil and acted to stop it, and now, the images haunted her. She couldn’t get anything out of the visions she needed, too distraught to focus on what mattered—the scenes shook her soul and left her incapacitated.
Most times, she only had minutes to work with once the vision hit. If the Council didn’t act immediately, it’d be too late, and so far, she’d proved to be useless since she couldn’t focus on anything but the death around her. Yes, she had to get past this, she just didn’t know how.