QSFer Shannon West has a new MM paranormal book out, the first in the Witches of the Big Easy series: “Hexxed.” And there’s a giveaway!
Self-exiled to New York for the past two years, Nic Gaudet never planned to return to New Orleans. But with the mysterious death of an old man named Abel Delessard, a member of a family of Cajun witches who were his own family’s greatest enemies, it seems he has fallen under suspicion of murder. He’s been accused by none other than the man’s grandson—and Nic’s former lover—Thibeau Delessard. Nic is furious and travels to confront Thibeau and his family in an official capacity—Nic is a member of the Legislateurs, the governing body of all the magic practitioners in the Big Easy, both the living and the undead. What he doesn’t expect is for all his old feelings for Beau to come rushing back in the moment he sees him again.
Thibeau Delessard had an excellent and heartbreaking reason to break up with Nic two years earlier, but it hasn’t been anything he could tell him until now. Secrets and lies separate them now as they did in the past, but soon, they find themselves back in love and back in danger. Someone is trying his best to use magical spells and hexes to kill Thibeau. Evil pervades not only the French Quarter, but also the old Creole style house where the Delessard family lives. A web of plots is closing around Thibeau and his family, and if Nic can’t find a way through it—and defeat the warlock magic with his own–they’re all going to die. A cursed diamond, an evil book of spells and danger surrounds them on all sides in this city where the veil is thin between this world and the next, and most especially, after dark.
PAIRING(s) and/or LGBTQ+ CHARACTER IDENTITIES: Nic Gaudet, gay, a witch, and Thibeau (pronounced Tee-bo) Delessard, gay, a former love or Nic’s who was also a witch until his grandfather sent him to a pseudo-religious psychiatric hospital, where he was forced to undergo electro-shock therapy that burned his magic away
Shannon is giving away an eBook copy of her book, Mate of the Tyger Prince, a sci fi romance. For a chance to win, comment on this post below.
We all rushed up the steps and found Camille in the hallway, her face buried in her hands. She was wearing a turban on her head and had on makeup, which she rarely ever wore. She must have been on her way out to one of her church group meetings when the trouble started. She was also shaking so hard she could barely stand. Her son Emmanuel was beside her, his hand on her shoulder. He had a pair of big hedge clippers in his hand, and they were dripping blood onto the floor next to him. His face was shocked and angry as he looked at us. “I wanted to call the police, but Rafe said not to. He said to wait for you.”
“Thanks, Emmanuel. We’ll handle it. Take care of your mother until I can come back, okay?”
“I planned to,” he replied, looking at me a little belligerently.
What the hell was with this attitude? He had always been around, as long as I could remember, just like his mother. He was already a grown man when I had come there as a child, and I figured he was close to fifty by now or maybe just his late forties. He hadn’t shaved that morning, so his scruff showed gray against his dark skin. As long as I’d known him, he’d been surly and bad tempered. He did his job and Camille more than made up for his bad attitude, but I could still hear my sister Sophie sobbing and screaming in the parlor and all I could think of was getting to her. I didn’t have time for his drama just then.
Nic apparently did. He stopped short when he saw the hedge clippers. “Whose blood is that?”
“More like what. I killed that thing in the hallway,” Emmanuel said, his dark eyes narrowing. “Before it killed Sophie or my mother. I heard their screaming all the way out in the yard. It was coming for both of them, and I ain’t sorry I killed it neither.”
“What are you talking about? What thing?”
He lifted the gory clippers and pointed with them farther down the hallway. “That thing. There.”
“S—!” Taylor said softly, and I heard Nic and Gabriel’s quick intakes of breath.
It was so dark in the hallway that I hadn’t noticed it before. But the thing lying there looked as if it had lumbered out of the front parlor and had been headed down the hallway toward the kitchen. It was as large as a man, but it wasn’t recognizable as any creature I’d ever seen. It had a head like a monstrous dog, but with only one eye in the middle of its forehead and a long, misshapen snout. Its body was like an alligator’s, only shaggy with dark fur and it had longer legs. Its mouth was open wide, showing sharp, saw-like teeth. A green, viscous substance was mixed in with the red blood that was pooling underneath it and the creature had several jagged wounds on its head where Emmanuel had stabbed it with his hedge clippers. But the most horrible thing—the thing that had me drawing in a shocked and horrified breath—was that it had ripped and torn rags of clothing hanging from its body. The shreds looked like a red flannel shirt and some jeans.
The thing lying in the hallway had once been wearing clothes.
I glanced over at Nic in horror and saw that he was badly shaken too. “What is that thing?” I asked softly.
Rafe came rushing out in the foyer, glancing down the hallway at the creature and shuddering. “Thank Christ you’re here. It tried to kill Sophie and Camille while they were both in the kitchen after breakfast. If Sophie hadn’t stopped it, I think they’d be dead by now.”
“But what is it?” Gabriel asked him, taking a step toward it.
“We think it’s Christophe.” He pointed down at it. “It’s wearing his shirt.”
I reeled back in horror and disbelief. I heard the words but they weren’t registering on me. “What? What did you say?”
Nic pushed in front of me and went over to kneel down beside the body. “What happened here? Who did this?”
“I did,” Sophie said, swaying in the doorway, her face pale and staring. “It’s all my fault.” She took a step toward the body and started screaming again, a long hysterical wailing that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Nic took a quick step toward her and grasped her by her shoulders.
“Nunc vado ad somnum,” he said and the wild screaming and crying stopped. She swayed a moment and then collapsed gracefully in his arms. Rafe and I both reached for her and eased her to the floor. I held her in my arms and just rocked her like I had when she was a baby and I hadn’t been much older.
Nic came over to kneel beside us. “Take her up to her room and stay with her while we get this sorted out.”
I glanced up at him quickly. Was he sending me safely upstairs while he took care of things? I resented it even as I recognized I was the logical one to take care of Sophie right now. I swept her up in my arms and Rafe, who had rushed over to her too, helped me carry her into the parlor. The room was in shambles, chairs overturned and lamps on the floor. A bookcase lay toppled on its side near the door, and on the coffee table, its pages opened wide, was a large book. I had an awful feeling that if I closed the cover, I’d see that it was the Bestiare from my dream. But that was impossible. That had only been some kind of nightmare and this one was all too horribly real.I stood there, feeling sick as I looked down at it. “Get Nic,” I managed to say, taking Rafe’s arm. “Tell him to hurry.”
Shannon West is an author of MM Romance and believes love has no gender. She has well over a hundred novels, novellas and short stories that usually have a paranormal or a sci fi twist, but she also loves contemporary.
Her stories have been translated into French, Italian and even one Japanese Yaoi, and in the past, she has worked with several publishers, both large and small. She can be found most days fighting cats off the keyboard, eluding housework, lost in fantasy worlds, and imagining love scenes—sometimes all at the same time.
She makes her home in Georgia, with frequent jaunts to the North Carolina mountains and anywhere else she can, really, as she loves to travel. She’s married with four children, has too many cats and a German Shepard named Smokey. She is almost always working on a few more stories at any given time.