Book #1 in the Goddesses Rising series
Their power gives them strength…and makes them targets.
Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father’s bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.
But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by “family ties” she didn’t know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.
But not as hard as denying their hearts…
by Natalie J. Damschroder
Chapter One (part 1 of 7)
Society views goddesses the same way they view psychics—most people don’t believe in us, and since there are only about a hundred goddesses in the United States, skeptics rarely have occasion to be proven wrong. Some people have open minds but still no reason to seek to use a goddess’s talents. If you choose a public career as a goddess, you join in the responsibility for image maintenance. Help us keep public opinion positive.
When Quinn Caldwell’s cell phone rang, she assumed one of her clients needed an appointment or a Society member had a question about next week’s annual meeting. It took her a second to pull her attention from the paperwork on her desk, another three to register the name on the screen.
Her spark of joy at seeing his name quickly changed to concern. He wouldn’t be calling for anything good. Quinn plugged her ear against the noise from the bar outside her office door, held her breath, and flipped open the phone. “Nick?”
“Quinn.” The rumble of his vintage Charger’s engine harmonized with Nick’s voice. “Service isn’t good out here so just listen.”
She knew it. “What’s wrong?”
“We have a problem. I’m coming early. I’ll explain when I get there. I won’t have a very good cell signal most of the time. I’m at least a day away, so stay close to Sam, and don’t…” His voice cut in and out before disappearing altogether.
Quinn’s skin prickled. She closed the phone, frowning. Nick never came until at least the week before new moon, when she was most vulnerable. In the fifteen years of their relationship, he’d never come a whole week early.
Something big had to be happening.
Quinn was the only goddess whose power source was the full moon, which meant she was only fully able to use her abilities for the seven days around it. As the month waned, she grew more “normal” until the new-moon period, when she had no ability to tap the power. That was when Nick appeared. Never now.
“Who was that?” Sam’s solid, warm hand landed on her shoulder, and he dropped a pile of papers on the desk in front of her. Quinn blinked at the shift from the surreal nature of the phone call to the mundane clutter of her narrow office at the back of Under the Moon, the central-Ohio bar she’d inherited from her father. It was her main business, a connection to the parents who died within months of each other twelve years ago, leaving her without any real family. It also kept her connected to the public between power cycles. The goddesses who made a living with their abilities mostly relied on word of mouth to find clients, and Quinn’s bar, centrally located for locals and travelers, had enough people channeling through it to give her customers for both businesses.
“Nobody,” she said, still lost in thought. She shook off the fog. “I mean, Nick.”
Sam’s eyebrows disappeared under his dark, shaggy bangs. He crossed to his smaller but far more organized desk near the office door. His chair squeaked when he dropped into it. “Nick called you?”
“Yeah. He’s coming early.”
“Great.” Sam glowered and mumbled something under his breath. “Why? The moon is barely waning gibbous.”
“I don’t know. The signal dropped.” She worried her lower lip. Stay close to Sam. Why? The order was protective—and after all, Nick was her protector, so that was his default mode—but what did she need protection from? She rubbed her right forearm, the phantom ache a reminder of the first time Nick had been assigned to her, that “goddess” wasn’t a synonym for “invincible.”
Sam sighed. “When is he getting here?”
“I don’t know that, either.” She rested her head on her hand, her elbow on a pile of folders on her worn oak desktop. The full moon would completely wane by tomorrow, taking most of her power with it, so she’d worked steadily for the last week, using mostly telekinesis and her healing ability to help her clients. She hadn’t slept enough to balance the depletion of her normal energy, and her sluggish brain resisted the apprehension buzzing in her now.
“We’ll have to wait until he shows up, I guess.” She shook off the mental fuzzies and focused on Sam. He watched her, longing mixing with concern in his light brown eyes.
Look for Heavy Metal, Book 2# in the Goddesses Rising series, in March 2013!
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