Sneak Peek Sunday #4

Did you know today is Bastille day? *nods* So for  this Sneak Peek Sunday we have a spooky entry from House of Cards (Reign of Tarot, book 1) that just so happens to take place around this time of year. The main character, you see, is on the run because his family is about to be arrested during the opening strains of the Reign of Terror which affected France in the years following this event. So, here he is, just a moment after one of his horses threw a shoe. And he sees a woman hanging from a tree.

Spanish Dungeon© Kacpura |

Surely, he was seeing things: the poor soul hadn’t been there a moment ago.  Ignoring the driver’s warning, he turned back to demand he lend a hand as Sinjon intended to cut her down. The more he looked, the less he was sure she was human. There was something odd about her: the nails weren’t right seeming almost like razors, her skin more like wrinkled leather, her throat a little too long. Her eyes were altogether strange, gouged, yet whole; staring and lifeless, yet somehow they seemed to watch him. What had happened to the right side of her torso, he couldn’t tell, but it was torn to shreds, strips of bloodied flesh hanging, ribs showing through the injury. Yet, when he tilted his head for a different view, the skin and sinew seemed almost woven together. Something protruded from her back, but whether two humps, knives, or—it couldn’t be—stubby wings, he couldn’t decide. Or didn’t want to know the nature of what he saw.

As he turned back to his driver, a wall of ethereal flame erupted between them. Sinjon fell back, staring in astonishment. The ice-blue flames crackled and spat, the wind gusting from the blaze was cold as a winter’s breeze. Beyond, noises of battle erupted.

Sinjon reached for his pistol. A screaming woman flew from the conflagration and locked her hands around his throat. Shock paralyzed him as she dragged him to the flames.

The fire engulfed them utterly. The hag hissed, baring wicked fangs. Twisting her grip, her nails cut his flesh like blades. He shivered in the chill of the unreal blaze, struggling for freedom. She laughed and tossed him about until nausea threatened to overtake him.

Sudden darkness blinded him. Chains snaked around his chest, his limbs. He slammed against a stone wall alive with spiders; the monsters sunk their teeth deep into his flesh, shocking him with unmatched pain.

“Where are you?” he screamed. “Come and face me, damn you! I’m not afraid of you!”

Does he have reason to fear her? What does she want? If you’d like to see what happens next, House of Cards (Reign of Tarot, #1) is available at Amazon and Smashwords. Book two is in the works to be released (tentatively) next year!

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