You may link to Frozen chapter one on my website in addition to or in place of one of the three excerpts listed below. Here is the link: https://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=4775
That’s when I saw it – the thing that had scared Evan. It was … a dog, maybe? But massive. As black as night. And with red, glowing eyes. If it weren’t for the eyes, I might have mistaken it for a werewolf. Well, that, and the fact that the moon hadn’t risen. Wolves didn’t turn when the sun went down, only when the moon rose. It wasn’t even the full moon; I would never have left Ana with Scott if it were.
The monstrous thing lunged for Jim, a thirty-something man in very good shape who couldn’t seem to outrun it. It tore at the backs of his legs, drawing blood and sending Jim sprawling to the ground on hands and knees.
I couldn’t move, and not because Evan’s power still held me. That thing was about two seconds from eating Jim, a man I happened to like and who I knew had a wife and two kids at home.
A strangled yell emerged from Jim’s throat. Guns blazed – I hadn’t even noticed Frank and Sheriff Adams drawing their weapons. The beast growled, momentarily losing interest in Jim as it fixed those demon eyes on the two men trying to fill it with lead.
Then, suddenly, it was in the air, flying backwards through the trees and out of sight.
The guns went quiet but the sheriff and his deputy continued to run toward their fallen comrade. Evan stood stock still, staring into the woods, arms raised and waiting. Listening.
Suddenly, the sound of a canine howling filled the air.
“Move!” Evan shouted. “It’s coming back!”
The node called to me. I could hear it, almost like singing. It wanted me to take hold, to use it, to find the raw power I would need if I had any hope of survival.
“Hang on, Sheriff,” I said.
Then I opened myself up to the node and let the magic pour through me, out of me, and into the world around me.
I didn’t know what I was doing. Not really. There is a big difference between theory and practice, whatever the little voice in my head wanted to make me believe. Which meant that what I actually did was open a floodgate when I had no shutoff valve.
Power. Intense. Hot. Electric. I could no longer feel my body at all. I was the power.
Some dim part of me that retained awareness tried to will the power to form into heat, but I was simply overwhelmed. The power went out into the world to do whatever it would, with no form or focus.
I was at the center of an explosion. No. I was the explosion.
Pain crackled through me until I couldn’t think. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t …
Apparently, life doesn’t end when you get married. I suppose that’s obvious, but it’s hard to tell from the way Happily Ever After stories dominate our culture. At any rate, marriage seemed like such a solid conclusion to the stories I had to tell that I ended my first four memoirs the day I married Evan Blackwood.
If only I’d known then that all hell was about to break loose.
My name is Cassandra Morgan Ursula Margaret Blackwood, and if you think that’s a mouthful, go ahead and call me Cassie. Most of my friends still do, although I no longer feel unworthy of the full appellation.
To be fair to my younger self, eager to share her journey of self-discovery with the world in the wake of some powerful events, things were quiet for almost two years. More happened to my two best friends than to me during that time. Oh sure, I consulted with the sheriff’s department here and there on cases that mystified them. I also worked with my husband and a dozen others to form and support the White Guard, an organization attempting to unify and protect the magical world. We made some big gains when Matthew was able to convince most of the magical world that his nemesis was using blood magic to control people’s minds – including mine and my husband’s.
It was a sobering moment for us.
But mostly during that time, I grew a baby and took care of her. I always wanted children, maybe because I’m the oldest of nine and having kids around seemed natural.
Anastasia Blackwood turned one in mid-December, right around the time my youngest siblings, Michael and Maya, both turned two. Honestly, I would have preferred to have two separate parties – or even three – to give each child his or her due attention, but my mom wasn’t up to it. She wasn’t up to much anymore, including party planning, so it fell to me and Juliana, seventeen now and pretty much already an adult. The last two years had aged her, as the responsibility for raising Michael and Maya fell heavily upon her shoulders.
The day started normally enough. Juliana, with Michael and Maya in tow, arrived at my place several hours before the party to decorate. My two best friends, Madison and Kaitlin, came to help too, the latter with a one-year-old son of her own. Madison, pregnant but not showing just yet, volunteered to keep the toddlers out of trouble. “For practice,” she said, although we all knew she was doing us a favor. I’d return that favor as soon as she realized how badly moms need breaks sometimes.
Yeah, I know, babies and birthday parties and maybe life really does end when you get married. Or at least loses its sex appeal. Although for the record, I still found Evan as sexy as ever. I mean, the man could drive me to orgasm with a single, magical kiss.
Damn, but it was addictive.
Frozen (Cassie Scot Book Seven)
Apparently, life doesn’t end when you get married.
When a couple freezes to death on a fifty degree day, Cassie is called in to investigate. The couple ran a daycare out of their home, making preschoolers the key witnesses and even the prime suspects.
Two of those preschoolers are Cassie’s youngest siblings, suggesting conditions at home are worse than she feared. As Cassie struggles to care for her family, she must face the truth about her mother’s slide into depression, which seems to be taking the entire town with it.
Then Cassie, too, is attacked by the supernatural cold. She has to think fast to survive, and her actions cause a rift between her and her husband.
No, life doesn’t end after marriage. All hell can break loose at any time.
- Barnes and Noble
Print Release: July 15, 2018
Audiobook Release: TBA
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot Book One)
Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot Book Two)
Mind Games (Cassie Scot Book 3)
Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot Book 4)
Madison’s Song (Cassie Scot Book 5)
Kaitlin’s Tale (Cassie Scot Book 6)
About the Author
Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, which scars the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. In addition to being a writer, she’s a mom and freelance editor.
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