Please welcome back Bri Clark....
By Bri Clark
Maeve da Paer has lived her life free from the restrictions of the world of sorcery and the Board of Witchery hidden behind the combined protection of her grandparents powerful clan magic—and a lie. Although her life has not been worry free, it is when all that desperation and grief cause her to cast her most powerful spell ever…a spell that will end the pain before it begins on the powerful All Hallows Eve.
Fionn Hughes, an immortal tracker, former heir to a powerful clan of time warlocks is on a mission to restore his honor—instead he finds Maeve da Paer. Following the scent of Gardenias and Honey Suckle, he discovers the last Scent Witch. It’s only after she almost takes off his ear that something more stirs, eventually changing his mission from one of duty to one of need.
What will Fionn do when he finds out Maeve plans to cancel out her own existence? Will he be strong enough to stop her?
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Fionn Hughes leaned against the brick building, shaking his head in frustration. Upon his father’s insistence, he’d traveled to this cursed century seeking a prize that had been lost. With the death of the warlock, Patrick Sweeney, the powers of time sorcery had gone with him, leaving only the Hughes clan. Fionn’s father would be furious and terribly saddened to know that Sweeney’s wife, Cordelia da Paer, was dead as well. While Fionn didn’t know the details, the marriage had caused the clan’s centuries-long allegiance to sever. Fionn’s father, Laird Rordan Hughes, was soul-weary, and Fionn feared this might send his father over the edge to seek the afterlife.
Before fear could grip him, he decided to continue after the mortal grandchild of the deceased couple. He had followed her from the Sweeney estate to the downtown Halloween festivities. If the mortals knew the truth of All Hallows Eve, they’d put an end to the commercialized debauchery that occurred every year.
Fionn looked up and cursed. The tangled mass of brown curls with auburn highlights he had been tracking disappeared. Panic bubbled up in his innards, but his warrior instinct dismissed it as quickly as it appeared. A strict warning from his father to use his magic sparingly sounded in his memory, but he longed to call up a tracking spell. He offered another colorful Gaelic curse, causing an elderly woman walking by to jump. After a mumbled apology and bow, he jaywalked to the side of the street near the food vendor. The last time he had seen her, the granddaughter had been near the mobile cart offering saturated fat and processed food. Fionn preferred the simpler fare of stews, homemade cheese, and ciders.
Unable to use magic, he took a breath and used skills acquired as a boy under his father’s guidance. Offering his most dazzling smile, he set his charms on a group of older ladies with low cut athletic shoes and fanny packs.
“Good afternoon ladies.” He bowed and the three women turned and giggled in unison.
“Where are you from shoog?” asked the tallest one, a brunette who was obviously the leader. “You have an accent the likes I’ve never heard.”
“Why, I’m from Scotland.” He offered her a smile but then quickly continued. These women were ferocious when it came to gossip. “I’ve lost track of the lass I was with.” Three sets of intensely plucked then re-penciled eyebrows went up and the tracker knew he had them.
“What does she look like?”
“Where did you last see her?”
“Don’t worry dear, we’ll help you.” All sounded in unison in their ages-tarted accents, signature for the region. He couldn’t help but smile and felt a tad guilty for lying to the three helpful grannies.
“She’s about your height, long curly brown hair that has a touch of auburn highlights when the sun hits it.” They sighed in unison. “She had a scarlet shawl tied around a long white skirt…” He would have continued, only the brunette started bouncing up and down.
“That way, she went that way,” she declared, pointing down a dark alley in between two very close buildings.
The earlier panic reappeared. Was the woman a twit? It was a night of danger for not only those of Witchery, but mortals too, and walking down a dark alley was most unwise.
Nodding to the glassy-eyed women, he ran to the end of the alley, then stopped and kneeled. The gravel was disturbed, creating a slight pile. Then, going in a western direction, every few feet there was another mound, before finally it stopped at the edge of a wooded area. Fionn sensed a presence of power in the air. But that could be a combination of the coming night and being so close to the haunted Carton Plantation.
Memories of the gracious MacGavok family pulled at his emotions. He had been injured at the Battle of Franklin, the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War. The family had tended to him as well as many others. Randal and Carrie McGavok were truly two of the noblest mortals Fionn had ever known. They would turn no one away based on skin or uniform color. The bodies of the dead had been stacked four feet high by the end. Later, after the battle, the family unburied and then reburied over fifteen hundred Confederate soldiers, dedicating two acres of their land for a military cemetery. When Fionn had asked his friend why, he’d been admonished that everyone deserved a proper burial and last rights.
Squatting so he could look more closely at the ground, he caught site of small bare footprints in the softened dirt. He grinned in triumph, then scowled. One footprint sunk deeper, indicating she was limping. Had she hurt herself? An urgency he didn’t understand pushed him forward, the sensing of power becoming stronger. But as he traveled deeper into the foliage, a feeling of peace seemed to emanate. He puzzled over the source. That is, until the distinctive smell of Honeysuckles and Shamrocks invaded his nostrils.
A Scent Witch. The scent of Shamrocks was exclusive to that line of witches, and the scent was only detectable through their blood. Whoever she was, she was the last, for he knew of no other. And she was hurt.
Fionn moved at the speed his unnatural immortality allotted him. The panic he’d managed to contain before exploded in his chest. If he could bring her back to his clan, perhaps he would be in his father’s good graces again. The flora opened up in his line of vision creating a half clearing along a stream of water and there, sitting along the edge, was an enticing water nymph with unruly brown hair and auburn highlights created by the sun.
Unable to look away, he watched as she moved her feet in and out of the water, allowing him a generous view of long shapely calves that flowed seamlessly into milky white thighs. His throat tightened as craving burned in him. Desire he hadn’t known in a long time warmed his insides. Fionn was no rogue but he was certainly no saint either. However, he had never felt the stirrings of passion as he did viewing the female before him.
With an easy grace she leaned forward, reaching out with her right arm and bending her right knee up to drape water from her fingertips down her leg. So enchanted by the movement of the elegant beauty he didn’t see the dagger that appeared in her left hand until it took off a lock of his hair before firmly ending in the tree behind him.
The realization that he almost died startled Fionn out of his daze. The wild-haired woman let out a particularly unladylike Gaelic curse, and her eyes looked around as if seeking escape. Finally she stopped, face forward staring at the water, then she looked at him. It was only a moment but, in that instant, he saw what his father had sent him to retrieve: the key to their future. Thick lashes, darker than the brows above them, framed light brown eyes with flecks of gold in them, feline-like in their slanting shape. The Sweeney Eyes. Then she disappeared into the water.
About Your Author
Bri Clark is a real example of redemption and renewal. Growing penniless in the South, Bri learned street smarts while caring for her brother in a broken home. She watched her mother work several jobs to care for their small family. Once her brother could fend for himself, Bri moved on to a series of bad choices including leaving school and living on her own.
Rebelliousness was a strong understatement to describe those formative years. As a teenager, her wakeup call came from a fight with brass knuckles and a judge that gave her a choice of shaping up or spending time in jail. She took that opportunity and found a way to moved up from the streets. She ended up co-owning an extremely successful construction business. She lived the high life until the real estate crash when she lost everything.
She moved west and found herself living with her husband and 4 kids in a 900 square foot apartment. She now fills her time, writing, blogging, leading a group of frugal shoppers and sharing her southern culture. Her unique background gives her writing a raw sensibility. She understands what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles. She often tells friends, “I can do poor. I’m good at poor. It’s prosperity that I’m not used to.”
Bri and her husband Chris live in Boise. Bri is known as the Belle of Boise for her true southern accent, bold demeanor and hospitable nature.
Bri boasts several positions in the publishing industry. An author, professional reviewer, blogger, and literary strategist she enjoys all aspects of her career from the creation of story to the branding and marketing needed to make her books successful.
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