Publisher: ImaJinn Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Artist: Patricia Lazarus
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/sCnfq9Se7bU
She has never feared the walking dead. It’s the power required to reanimate the dead that startles her, seduces her. The power that dwells inside her…and is growing.
For Professor Ruby Montagne, being a necromancer has brought her nothing but heartache, and she walked away from that part of her life long ago. However, her quiet existence in San Francisco is shattered when she stumbles upon the body of a slain witch, and the supernatural community insists she transform him into a revenant to track the killer. But his murder was just the beginning, and Ruby soon realizes that the stakes are higher than anyone can imagine—and that revenants have nasty minds of their own.
Now demonic creatures have escaped into the human world, and zombies once again walk the streets. For humanity’s sake, Ruby forms an unlikely alliance with a witch, a zombie, and Ewan March, a demon warrior who sets her senses on fire.
She’s always distrusted demons and Ewan is no exception, but circumstances push them closer together, and Ruby not only finds it harder to resist him, she isn’t sure she even wants to. But she suspects his job of patrolling the portal separating humans and demons conceals a dark and deadly past that may consume them both.
With events spiraling out of control, Ruby unravels a plot that not only threatens the human and demon realms, but puts Ruby’s very soul in jeopardy. Because when the dead walk, no one is safe. Especially Ruby.
He was going to kill me. He really was. He motioned for me to follow him. We walked down a short flight of stairs to a spacious basement that looked normal enough, replete with pool and foosball tables, bar, and the slightly damp mildew smell ingrained in the walls of all basements. Nothing that hinted at a gateway to another plane of existence.
“Take my hand. You need to be in physical contact with me from now on,” he said.
Was this a put on? I eyed his outstretched hand and raised my eyebrows.
He grinned. “I promise you my seductions are much more imaginative than hand holding.”
My hand sparked, and my breath caught when he wound his fingers through mine. He swept his gaze over me, settling on my face. I moistened my lips, and he smiled, a wicked smile deepening the smolder of his eyes. “Come on.”
We walked to a door on the other side of the basement, past the well-stocked bar. He spoke in the demon tongue, and the door swung open. A narrow passageway spilled out before us. “How exactly does the portal work?” I asked.
“Malthus learned how to bend matter at points where our realms come the closest to converging, creating the portals—similar to your theoretical space worm holes. These points fluctuate, never occurring at the same place, but that instability also gives us the ability to travel to other places in your world. Like right now, the realms have converged in New York. Next month, it might be London or the Arctic Circle. San Francisco is the only stable point, and therefore forms a permanent portal.”
“Demon worm holes, huh? Don’t want to see those worms.”
He chuckled. After a few moments of walking down the corridor, my wedge sandals sank into the now dirt floor. I stuck my hand out to my side, feeling damp brick where only moments before I’d encountered plaster walls as we trudged deeper into recesses lit only by oil lanterns. We must have left the confines of the house. Of reality, for that matter.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“I can’t explain it in normal terms. We aren’t in the world as you perceive it. Think of this as a mental landscape.”
“Is my mind projecting all this?”
“No, mine is.”
“How can a creature from the demon realm find its way out if the way in is another demon’s mental projection?”
He ran his hand through his hair. “Demon magic works a lot with bending perception and manipulating space and time, as you experienced with Jax after the zombie attacked you. A demon wanting to breach the portal need only learn how to perceive its way out. Granted, if he makes a mistake, he can wander forever, lost in the oblivion of his own mind.”
The passageway narrowed until my shoulders scraped against the brick walls, now stained with black slime. The oil from the lamps mingled with another smell, a deep, dank odor that made me feel like I needed to wipe black mold off my body.
“Christ, can’t you tell your mind to make this passage a little wider and warmer?”
“It’s a subconscious projection. I can’t control it.”
“Your subconscious is a dungeon?” I said, eyeing a rusted chain hanging from the wall. “What the hell is this place?”
Out of nowhere a large mosaic door appeared on the wall in front of us. “We’ve arrived at the portal,” Ewan said.
The small mosaic tiles combined in a pattern of shapes and colors to form a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. The water of the bay shimmered before me, and the briny scent of the ocean tickled my nostrils. I reached out to touch the mosaic, but Ewan seized my wrist. “Don’t touch it.”
He reached a finger out to the mosaic and touched a boat bobbing in the waters of the bay. The tiles shuffled in a flash of color similar to a tile game until they formed a picture of the Empire State Building. The yellow taxi cabs on the street appeared to veer around traffic.
“No shit,” I said in awe. “That is one of the coolest things I’ve seen—ever.”
“The portal is an organic, almost sentient mechanism. The closest parallel to human science is quantum physics.”
I grimaced. “I’m an anthropologist, not a physicist.”
He laughed. “Imagine we’re taking a ride on an atom.” He squeezed my hand. “Are you ready?”
I nodded and wiped my clammy hands on my jeans. “What will happen?”
“I don’t know what humans perceive when they travel through the portal. It’s different for everyone. We’ll pass through the demon realm for a split second. You might get sick.”
The mosaic flexed when we stepped through. Inky blackness greeted me. I stuck my hand out in reflex. Slowly, light poked at my eyes until I saw images swim past my periphery as if I were viewing mirages in a desert. The sound of buzzing cicadas on a hot summer day filled my ears.
I couldn’t see Ewan, but his firm grasp on my hand settled my nerves and kept me from losing myself in the sensations. A dark shadow blocked out the images. Then everything around me blurred, and I found myself swaying on a concrete floor.