Plague Cult is going really well and is on track for its June 27 release. I know I shared the draft blurb on Facebook, but I don’t think I’ve done so here. It’s really rough, but here it is — followed by a snippet.
When magic mixes with a lonely hearts cult, the result could be murder!
Ruth Warner is from a small town in the Texas Hill Country. Years ago she was driven out, blamed by her family for her cousin’s paralysis. If she’s such a powerful healer, why couldn’t she heal him?
But now her home town is ground zero for the Lonely Hearts Plague, and Ruth is back to try and save her family and former friends, and she’s not alone.
Shawn Jackson is a Collegium guardian, a mage trained in combat and sworn to protect the innocent. For all her travel overseas healing the world, you don’t get much more innocent than Ruth, so Shawn’s priority is protecting her.
The danger centres on the Moonlit Hearts Cult that has established itself in the town’s former holiday resort. Investigating it will be difficult, but Ruth and Shawn have the perfect cover. Ruth owns an abandoned house on the edge of town, and Shawn will be her ex-marine friend receiving board and lodging in exchange for renovating it.
Too bad nobody told the resident ghost!
Shawn took her empty mug from her and put it beside his on the table abandoned by the businessmen. Then he sat back down. “What else do I need to know?”
Ruth sighed. The guardian was smart and controlled, which were great traits in a mission partner, until you wanted to avoid an issue. She guessed he’d detected her reluctance and wanted an explanation of it.
“My family and I aren’t on the best terms.” She kept her response minimal. Strictly a needs-to-know basis. “My brothers and I are fine, but they’re not in town. Mitch is in the army, Kane at college. Coming home means facing a bit of talk. Nothing that will jeopardise our mission. You should ignore anything you hear about me.”
He looked thoughtful. His amazing hazel eyes seemed to darken from alert yellowy-green to a shadowed khaki shade. “Will it cause trouble that I’ll be staying alone in the house with you? Single guy?”
“Oh? Oh no.” She almost laughed. “No. They won’t believe you’re involved with me.”
He didn’t relax and share her humour. If anything, his face set stern, forbidding. “Why not?”
“No reflection on you.” Without thinking, she put a reassuring hand on his knee. “My family sees me as a repressed—well, for lack of a less old-fashioned word—spinster.”
He didn’t move, but she was suddenly aware of the skin, muscle and bone under her hand. The intense masculine power so near her. “No.” She had to clear her throat. “I’m not repressed.”
“Just haven’t found the right guy?” And suddenly he was the laid-back, teasing guy who’d presented himself in William’s office.
His change, and the swiftness of it—his ability to mask his power—was something to consider, later. For now, Ruth embraced the reduced tension. “Yeah. So far, all the frogs I’ve kissed have been toads.”
He laughed, stood and stretched. “All right. I’ll read the briefing, get a few of my things together, and meet you here at four o’clock.”
She nodded at what had been less question than command. A mission couldn’t have two leaders, and she didn’t see Shawn Jackson following anyone. He seemed a man inclined to take his own path. “Four o’clock in the foyer.”
He sketched a casual salute and loped away.
She stayed seated beneath the tree fern and watched him, and the way others turned to watch his departure. Evidently she’d been away from the Collegium too long. Shawn Jackson had some sort of standing, and she didn’t know what.
Time to find out.
Plague Cult is out June 27, but enjoy the other Collegium books, now! The adventures (stand alone) begin with Demon Hunter.