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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shadow's Awakening by Molle McGregor ♥ Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Paranormal Romance)

Shadow's Awakening (Shadow Warder #1)
Hannah Green wants her life back. In the past three years she’s gone from promising graduate student to patient in a mental hospital. Now, she’s being held prisoner by a terrifying group of men who believe she has a mysterious power. She wants to think they’re wrong, but something inside her has changed. If only she could use her p0wer to set herself free.

Conner’s entire life, he’s played by the rules. He’s a soldier. A leader. He knows better than anyone that contact with the Shadows is forbidden. So when a midnight phone call demands he rescue one from a nest of demons, he has no intention of following through. Until he sets eyes on Hannah. Brave, beautiful and determined to survive. Conner can’t walk away.

When you’ve worked so hard to make the right choices, temptation can be a kind of torture. Conner knows he should turn Hannah over to the Shadows. Hannah wants to be grateful for her rescue and let Conner go. But when love and desire bind two strangers together, they have to choose between what they think is right and what they know they need.
Hannah's pillow was flat. Not surprising. She'd been
using it since high school. She shifted her head restlessly,
trying to nudge the hard foam into a more comfortable
position. No use. The pillow was a loss. Too bad she wasn't getting a new one anytime soon. Or ever. If she managed to
survive her current situation, Hannah was buying a whole
new bed. Something big, a queen at least, with five hundred thread count sheets and fluffy down pillows. Tons of them. She sighed.

Her wish list got longer every day. A new bed. Clothes
that weren't dirty and threadbare. Food. Some days she'd
give almost anything if they'd feed her something other than
PB&Js and frozen dinners. If she knew what her captors
wanted from her, maybe she could figure out what to offer in trade. After close to six months of captivity, all they seemed
to want was her pain. Hannah would have preferred not to give them any more of that.
As if Glenn read her mind, a thin line of burning agony
sliced into her forearm. There were all kinds of ways to cause a human being pain. By now, Hannah thought she
knew most of them. When it came to physical pain, some of
them liked their fists. Some liked to improvise with
whatever they had on hand. Glenn was partial to a blade.
"Tell me how that feels," he said. His tone was mild.

Almost gentle. Hannah had learned to fear his calm more
than his rages. "Does it burn? Is it a sharp pain or dull? I'd
like you to be more specific than the last time. All your
screaming was distracting."
His round, pale, face was genial. Absurd when paired with
the long knife in his doughy hand. Shiny and razor edged, it dripped Hannah's blood from the tip in a steady plip, plip on the hardwood floor of her room. Idly, Hannah wondered how
much blood she'd lost if there was enough to drip from the
knife. Had to be a lot. The pain in her arms was a warm haze through the fuzzy static in her head. Hannah knew she would have to pretend it hurt more if she didn't want Glenn to come
up with something more inventive. He always knew when she was numbing out. And she was just getting used to the knife.

Glenn changed his grip on the knife handle, pressing the
sharp tip into the sensitive nerves of her elbow. A rage of
fire shot up her arm. Hannah couldn't hold back the jerk and thrust of her body as she screamed. Glenn removed the knife
and leaned back, a replete smile on his broad face. He
stroked her sweaty hair from her face as he watched Hannah's struggle to calm herself.
"That's all I wanted, girl. An honest reaction," he said.
Hannah made no reply. She still shuddered from the
echoes of pain in her arm. The sheets beneath her hips were
damp. With a flush of shame she realized that she'd lost
control of her bladder. Every time she thought there was no
further humiliation Glenn could visit on her, he found a way. Her head throbbed with pain and the static that had been her companion for the past three years.

Even before her world imploded and her kindly stepfather
became a sadistic monster, her body had begun to fail her. She fought to think through the mess in her head. It wasn't the pain that debilitated her. Pain she could handle. It was
the static, the insistent buzz in her head of a radio that
wouldn't tune in. Like drops of water from a slowly leaking faucet, it had been nothing to start: a fuzzy noise that made
to harder to concentrate. Whispers, murmurs that never
clarified into comprehensible sounds. Like eavesdropping on a conversation she couldn't quite hear. Hannah had been able
to work around it, the same way she could ignore someone interrupting her when she was on the phone.
Over the space of a few short months the whispering,
staticky buzz became a sensation as well as a sound.
Unrelenting, interfering in the simplest of thought processes,

the fuzzy noise and pain turned a four way stop sign into a
decision of monumental proportions. She wanted to believe
that she would have found a way to escape Glenn if she could
think clearly. If only the buzzing murmurs would just shut up.
Hannah felt Glenn's eyes crawling over her, waiting for a
reaction. Between the thick, fuzzy interference in her head
and the fire of knife slices in her arms, Hannah was drowning in sensation, buffered from Glenn by the
overwhelming pain and confusion. She sank deep into
herself, allowing the agony to wrap her in a cocoon.
Dangerous. A lack of response would make him dig harder to g e t t o h e r .
Her flinch when he touched her cheek was involuntary,
but it seemed to please him. Glenn stroked his thick fingers

down her sweaty face, tracing her cheekbone like a lover. As
his fingers slid over her cracked lips, Hannah longed to bite him. Hard. To the bone. Her stomach flipped at the thought of his blood filling her mouth. She wanted nothing of Glenn
inside her. Not even if it would cause him pain. His hot fingers on her collarbone. Muscle tensed as the fingers
moved to the scoop neck of her t-shirt and slipped over the
tops of her breasts. She wasn't given much in the way of
clothes. Old jeans and t-shirts, a few pairs of underwear she
washed out in the sink between loads of clean laundry. No bra. Hannah was acutely aware of the worn cotton between
Glenn's hand and her breasts, the fabric so thin as to be
almost non-existent. All of Hannah's attention focused on the hand on her chest.
No one had touched her body this way since the first few

weeks. The only one who tried hadn't survived the attempt.
He'd been a tall, wiry man. Strong and easily able to subdue her. Hannah hadn't known his name. She didn't know any of their names aside from Glenn. The one who touched her held her down, stripping her clothes with silent efficiency. Hannah struggled and fought, but his hands had been
everywhere and she'd only succeeded in angering him. He
struck her across the face and told her he was tired of risking
his life to keep her and not getting any of the good stuff. If she wasn't going to break, he was at least going to get some fun out of her.
Hannah still didn't understand what had happened. One
moment she'd been trying to push him off of her, turning her face from his stinking breath, twisting away from his rough, seeking hands. Revulsion, shame and horror growing inside

her, rising in a sick swell so huge Hannah could no longer
contain the roiling emotions. She'd opened her mouth to
scream and found her voice silenced. Instead, a loud, wet pop
hit the room with a concussive bang and the hands touching her were gone. When Hannah opened her eyes, her assailant
had disappeared and her small bedroom was washed in blood, dripping with it, bits of his flesh sprinkled like
confetti on every available surface. That was the last time any of them touched her with any sexual intent.
As if he saw her memory, Glenn withdrew his hand from the tops of her breasts.
"I'd like to, but it wouldn't be right. You're my
stepdaughter. Your mother would want me to keep you pure," he said with a benign smile.
"You're batshit crazy," Hannah whispered. Glenn

c huc kl e d.
"I'm not the one who got kicked out of school for mental problems," he said. "Almost finished your first year of grad school. Such a good little student with your perfect GPA and
the internship already lined up for summer. And the irony,
mmmm—what was your major?"
Hannah turned her head away and tried to ignore him. He knew all her soft places. He knew where to make it hurt. The
crack of his hand on her cheek barely intruded on the static
in her head or the pain in her heart. Dissatisfied with her
silence, Glenn brought the handle of the knife down hard on her jaw. A small crack accompanied the flare of pain. He'd
broken something. Didn't matter. She'd heal. She always di d.
"Answer me, you little bitch. What was your major?" he

asked again.
Hannah knew Glenn had run out of patience. Sometimes it
was just easier to play his game. She spoke softly through the new pain in her jaw.
"Psychology," she whispered. Glenn laughed in glee.
"That's right, the psychology student got kicked out for
beingwhat did you call me? Batshit crazy. And the best part—my favorite part—is that you still don't even know
why. Mmmmmm."
Glenn hummed to himself as he drew the knife down the side of her neck. Hannah didn't even think he was looking at
her anymore. Warm blood dripped down her skin, soaking the sheets.
"The day I stumbled across your little family was the best
in a long time. Years and years," he sing-songed, leaning

close. He sounded drunk, but Hannah didn't smell alcohol on
his breath. "I'm going to have to give you up soon. It's
getting too dangerous to keep you here. I wanted to squeeze you dry and take it all. But he's too close and it's not worth
being caught with you."
"Let me go," Hannah whispered, without any hope.
"No," Glenn said, stroking the knife over her neck again.
"I won't do that. But I will give you to him. And what he's
going to do to you will make all this feel like a day at the
"Please," Hannah begged. The warm wet of a tear spilled
down her cheek. Every time she thought she was finally
numb, they'd proved her wrong. Glenn leaned close again.
"I love you most when you beg. It tastes so good," he
crooned. He straightened, abruptly businesslike. "You aren't

going anywhere. Don't try to get out again. You won't like
what I'll do to you."
Hannah allowed her eyes to drift shut. His footsteps
crossed the floor, thumping steadily down the stairs. Her
consciousness faded. It was rare that Glenn hurt her enough
to make her pass out, but they hadn't given her much food
lately. Hannah sighed, letting the darkness pull her under. If sleep was her only escape, she wouldn't fight it.
Sometime later Hannah woke with a start. Overhead, rain danced on the roof as thunder rumbled. She held her breath
and waited, listening as hard as she could. The attic stairs
creaked. Hannah stiffened, her ears straining. The old
farmhouse was a mess of sounds, especially at night. Silence. No one was coming.
Hannah let out her breath, relaxing into the bed. Glenn

might be back, but right now she was alone, wearing fresh
clothes and lying on clean sheets. Hannah often wondered at men who tortured her one minute, then changed her clothes
and sheets the next. She stretched her arms out in front of
her, studying them. The damage was clear in the moonlight
flooding the room. Bloody knife slices had become long, thin
stripes of puckered red from elbow to wrist. She was lucky Glenn had been careful or she might have bled out.
Her body was healing faster. Hannah always healed quickly, but in the past year her system had kicked into
overdrive. Small injuries disappeared almost immediately.
Larger wounds, like knife cuts that should have required stitches, closed in a few hours. Her cracked jaw would be
nothing more than a bruise in a day or two. If only her
broken mind would right itself as easily as a broken bone.

The why of it all remained a mystery. So many things had
stopped making sense that Hannah didn't bother to dwell on the details any longer. Her life had changed so many times,
she'd given up trying to get her bearings. Every time she
thought she had her feet under her, the ground shifted again.
It started in the first year of her master's at NYU. She'd been studying Organizational Psychology, excited about the idea of applying the humanity of psychology to the logic of
corporations and institutions. Back then she'd been so
enthusiastic. Eager to start her life, her future spread out
before her. Getting into NYU had been a lot of hard work, but Hannah had never been afraid of hard work.
The problem began with a whisper. She'd had issues with
her hearing since her early teens. Mechanically, her ears
were fine. Doctors said her hearing was excellent. The

problem was that she heard too much. Whispers, murmurs,
faint sounds that led her to ask, "Did you say something?"
The sounds were infrequent, not debilitating, so she'd
ignored them. In college it got worse. But she'd been so busy
she'd brushed it off, thought she was listening to her music too loud.
Not until that first year in New York had the weird little problem coalesced into a serious condition. One day she'd
woken up with an odd headache. The annoying whispers
were louder, and this time they hurt. Hannah ignored them
and went to class. By lunchtime the sensation faded. The
following day it was back, stronger than before. The pain had
been uncomfortable, but the staticky sounds were worse. A
radio that she couldn't tune in or turn off. A thousand
whispers rustling in the periphery of her mind. It wrapped

her brain in cotton wool and buzzed, unrelenting, in her ears.
As the months passed it grew worse. She began seeing
things. People in the streets shrouded in a muddy red aura that gave off an irritating electrical hum. She thought she
was sane. She felt sane. Except when she heard and saw things that weren't there.
Her grades slipped. She had difficulty sleeping. She missed classes, then exams. Her doctor was unable to diagnose Hannah's condition. The tests showed extra
electrical activity in her brain, but otherwise nothing was
wrong with her. It was suggested that she might be suffering from a nervous condition.
Technically, she was on a temporary leave of absence
from her program at NYU. That all seemed so distant now.
Like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, whatever was

eating at her mind had grown worse. Her mother, always by
her side, did everything she could to help.
Hannah moved back home, into this very room. A series
of low-paying jobs followed. With her mental confusion
from the headaches and staticky whispers in her head, she couldn't handle more than the most basic employment. A few years passed in that confusing limbo, Hannah growing
more sick and afraid, her mother grieving for the loss of her daughter's future.
Desperate for a solution, Hannah had checked herself into
an inpatient psychiatric facility, hoping the doctors would
spot something new with round the clock care. A month
later, Glenn showed up and checked her out. That was the
moment her entire mess of a life had slid sideways into the s ur r e a l .

He'd smelled of cheap liquor, weird in itself. Hannah
didn't remember ever seeing him drink more than a beer.
Odder than the alcohol was the fuzzy reddish cloud
surrounding him. Just like the auras she'd first seen in New
York. Glenn's body had begun to give off that same
humming vibration. Even before he'd started to hurt her, the humming made her want to push him away. Anytime he was
near her, she got that same sensation, like invisible bees
swarming and buzzing around her, just out of sight, making her skin crawl. Creepy.
Groggy from the meds she'd been given and distracted by
the changes in her stepfather, she hadn't fully registered
Glenn pushing her up the stairs to her room and locking the
door until it was too late to stop him. That evening, he'd told
her that her mother was dead. Heart attack. Stress. Hannah

hadn't missed his implication. She'd killed her mother with
Hannah's already shaky world crumbled. Her mother had
been her closest friend, her support system and confidant after they lost Hannah's father. Amy Green had loved her
husband and daughter fiercely. When her husband died she'd
turned all that love on Hannah. Amy believed in Hannah
without reservation, even when Hannah had gotten sick and
the doctors thought she'd had mental problems. Amy was convinced it was something else. The doctors just weren't looking hard enough. She'd been Hannah's champion and biggest cheerleader.
When Amy married Glenn, during Hannah's first year in
college, Hannah had been happy for her mother. Glenn
wouldn't have won any prizes in the looks department, but

he was sweet and clearly devoted to Amy. Glenn had fit well
enough into their little family. Now, with her mother
suddenly dead, her stepfather had morphed into a different person.
Drunk more often than not. Angry all the time. Looking
back, she remembered the red cloud around him getting
darker and more distinct even as it pulled closer to his body. He'd been standing in a wispy pink cloud in the beginning.
By the end it was a thick red line drawn in bloody permanent marker.
The annoying hum had strengthened until it felt like
standing a hair's breadth from high voltage power lines. One
day there were locks on her bedroom door and bars on the windows. Then the knife. Soon after, the other men moved
in. All of them like Glenn. Outlined in the same hard red

aura, they buzzed and hummed like an invisible swarm of
bees. They liked to hurt her, seemed to feed from it.
Hannah knew she'd have to try to get away again. Her
room was on the third floor with barred windows and a door
secured by three keyed deadbolts. But this wasn't the first
time Glenn had hinted that worse was still to come. Passive
acceptance might be easy, but it would just earn her more pain in the end. It might not be smarter to fight, but it was
the only way she could live with herself. She wasn't going to
just lie there while they broke her into pieces. Exhaustion
crept back in. The rain on the roof thrummed a soft rhythm, reminding her of early spring nights in front of the fire with her mother. Hannah let her tired body carry her off to sleep, wrapping her mind in the memory of her mother's love.

The rain was a freezing pain in the ass. It dripped down
the back of his neck, sending icy fingers sliding along his
spine. Conner paced the dark city street and tried to pay
attention to his work. Patrol was a mixed bag. Some nights it
was fun. Some nights it could be exciting. Occasionally it was even dangerous. But every once in a while it just plain sucked. Not that he was complaining.
Walking these streets, protecting humans from Vorati
demons, wasn't just Conner's job. He'd been born to it,
raised with this one purpose in mind. He was a dedicated
soldier, one who did his duty to the very best of his ability. For a brief time he'd even been a trainer at the Academy.
After a few years he'd requested a transfer back to the field. At just over one hundred and fifty years old, Conner thought he was too young to be training their children. He belonged

on the front lines of their secret war.
Not for the first time, Conner wished he could switch
places with Kiernan. On a night like this his closest friend had undoubtedly managed to meet his quota early and was
likely already relaxing in the dry sanctuary of their favorite bar. Kiernan wouldn't shirk his duty, but he had the Devil's
own luck when he needed it. He was kind of guy who found a
quarter just before the meter ran out. Conner would bet that Kiernan wasn't freezing in the rain, methodically covering
his section, street by street, patiently waiting for his targets.
All Warders were born with an internal magnet that pulled them to the demons they were created to destroy. It wasn't all that accurate, but it at least gave them a hint as to where
they'd find their quarry. Conner's wasn't pulling him toward
jack shit. Even the Vorati weren't out on a miserable night

like this.
As if to prove him wrong, his awareness kicked into gear.
Prickly heat spread across his skin, firing his instincts. Somewhere ahead of him, there was a Voratus demon.
Finally. Conner picked up the pace, concentrating on the
faint pulse of demon in the air. A pained squeak floated out
of the alley ahead on his right. Then a thunk, followed by
dragging sounds. He eased up to the mouth of the alley. His
back to the wet brick, Conner tilted his head around the corner.
There, at the dim end of the narrow alley, was the
Voratus. He was a big sucker, at least Conner's height of six
foot three, could be even taller. And wide. Conner's well- muscled frame and broad shoulders made him bigger than
most of the men he passed on the street. Bigger than most of

the other Warder soldiers. The body of the Voratus he'd
found made a linebacker look small. It had a massive chest,
its shoulders rounded with muscle and thick, beefy thighs. Its
dinner plate-sized hands were wrapped around the neck of a
woman. Through the patter of rain, Conner heard her
whimper in fear. The Voratus sank its head into her neck, inhaling the intoxicating scent of her terror.
Watching them feed always turned Conner's stomach.
Everything had to eat. Conner got that. He liked a thick steak
himself and he didn't spare much thought for the cow. But the Vorati were able to feed on any emotional resonance.
They could have nourished themselves on joy, love, pleasure. Instead, they preferred pain, fear, and anguish.
In their natural state, they were incorporeal. As spirits,
they drifted through the world, soaking up negative emotion

to abate their hunger. That was never enough for them. The
demons survived in spirit form. In a human host, they
thrived. The worst part was that the humans invited them in. A Voratus couldn't possess a human with a strong soul.
Someone who loved, who cared for others, was impervious
to the Vorati. There was nothing for the demon's spirit to
stick to, no way in. But give the human a little moral
weakness to crack their soul and the Vorati could wedge
their essence inside. Sometimes a series of bad decisions was all it took to create fissures big enough for a Voratus to gain
traction. Once the Voratus began its assault, it was almost impossible for a human to push it out.
The figure before him might not have been a terrible man.
Maybe he gambled too much and lost the rent. Skimmed
money at work. That would take longer, but the demon could

have gotten in. Or he could have been worse. Hitting his
wife, or his kids. Dealing drugs. Those humans went fast.
The demon got a foothold and began to whisper to the host.
Nudging them further down dark paths. Hit her again, she
deserves it. No one will notice if you take more. The human never knew his descent into depravity wasn't his own idea.
Bit by bit, the Voratus consumed the host's soul until
nothing was left. If it could destroy family and friends along the way, all the better. What remained was the creature at the end of the alley. A human body jacked up on a demon spirit. Stronger, faster, harder to damage. Eventually the power of
the well fed demon would literally burn the host's body
away. Then the process would begin again with a new victim.
The weaker demons could keep a host for decades. Older
Vorati might only be able to inhabit a body for a few years.

By the looks of him, vital and strong, this host was new
enough to be in good shape, but old enough that the former occupant was gone.
Conner moved with deliberate steps, keeping to the
shadows as he got closer to the Voratus and the girl. She was
young, not over twenty he guessed. Small boned, wearing a
too short skirt and flimsy top. In this neighborhood, most
likely a working girl. Not a Voratus's meal of choice. Most of them were too numbed out by life to give good fear. The
demon probably wanted to feed and get out of the rain. In
that, Conner could relate. One more kill and he'd kick back with a burger and a beer.
Nearing the pair, Conner tried not to wince as the thing
shoved its hips between the girls legs, grinding into her pelvis in simulated rape. She shook with terror, twisting

against his hold. Years of experience hunting Vorati told him
the best approach. This one was making it easy, enraptured
with its meal. It hadn't heard the faint scuff of Conner's boot on pavement. The girl was so frightened, she wouldn't notice a lightning strike right next to her. Conner circled to the back
of the Voratus. Drawing his long-bladed knife, he centered himself just behind his target. The stupid thing still hadn't realized it was no longer alone with its victim.
Moving with liquid speed, Conner drove the knife into the
demon's back as he wrapped his arm around its neck. The
knife and lack of air startled the Voratus just enough for it to
drop the girl. Conner twisted the blade, trying to keep its attention on its own pain for just a few moments.
"Run," he shouted at the girl. She'd collapsed in the dirty,
wet alley, her legs too weak to hold her up, her stare blank

with shock. Conner hoped she wasn't drunk or stoned.
Dealing with the Voratus would be a whole lot easier if she took off.
"Get up and run," he said, willing her to listen. "Now.
Awareness began to seep into her face. Eyes widened as
the took in the sight of her attacker impaled on Conner's
knife. The Voratus struggled, heedless of the knife cutting
through its bleeding flesh. Vorati-possessed bodies felt pain,
they just didn't care that much about it. Conner often
wondered if they savored their own pain. It certainly didn't
slow them down for long. That was one of the reasons
Conner rarely brought a gun when he was hunting. Unless he
got a head shot, bullets didn't do much to injure a Voratus. The demons healed as fast as a Warder. He could do more

lasting damage with the knife. Back in the day, he'd favored
an ax. Sadly, a battle ax drew too much attention on the streets of Charlotte.
The girl finally registered that her attacker was trying to
pull out of Conner's hold. New fear flooded her face, forcing life into her shaky limbs. She surged to her feet, taking flight down the alley in an awkward rush.
Conner released his hold on the demon's neck and shoved it hard. The unexpected push propelled the body off his knife
and into the side of the alley. Conner tried not to enjoy the
crack of the thing's wide forehead against brick. It turned to face him, assessing exactly how dangerous Conner would be.
Conner fell into an open fighting stance, waiting for the thing to make a move.
"Goddamn Warders," it said. "Always getting in the way

of a good meal. I don't suppose I can convince you to let me
go?" It's voice was oddly cultured coming from the brutish body. Conner laughed.
"You must be high if you think I'm going to let you go," Conner said.
"This body isn't as strong as it looks. It's sick," the
Voratus whined. "I'm not a threat."
"Right." Conner shifted the knife to his left hand. With his right he reached into an inner pocket of his duster. His
fingers closed around a calix. Palming the copper, dart-
shaped device, he withdrew it and lowered his hand out of
the demon's line of sight. "I'm sure you're going to take this
opportunity to join a knitting club. No more raping and
killing prostitutes?"
"I wasn't going to kill her!" the Voratus protested.

"Just rape her," Conner said, not trying to hide the
sarcasm. He thumbed the protective tip off the sharp point of t h e c a l i x .
"She's a hooker. It's not really rape," the Voratus said, dismissing his victim. "It's not like I'm staking out grade
schools." It watched the knife, waiting for Conner's attack.
"I don't care if she is a prostitute," Conner said. "She's
human, which makes her mine."
"You Warders." The thing shook its head in derision. "I don't know why you waste your time on the humans. You could rule the world and instead you run around protecting
them. They aren't worth it."
Conner didn't bother to respond. The Warders had been
created thousands of years ago for the express purpose of
protecting humanity from the Vorati. It was what they did.

Conner couldn't imagine walking away, abandoning the
fragile human race to face a predator they had no idea
existed. Few of his kind ever reconsidered their mission.
With no opposition to the Vorati, the world they shared with the humans would degenerate into hell.
The demon thought it had distracted Conner with conversation. Inching over to the right, thinking that
Conner's lowered hand meant he wasn't ready for an attack
on that side. The flicking sound of a switchblade registered a second before Conner raised his hand to block the strike. Fire
streaked across his forearm. A small wound. Nowhere near enough to slow him down.
Bending into the demon's attack, hunched as if curled
over the knife slice, Conner drove his shoulder into the
Voratus's gut. Trapped by its own momentum, the Voratus

flipped over Conner's back to land, stunned, in a dank
puddle. Without a second's hesitation, Conner drove the
point of the calix deep into the center of the Voratus's chest. The copper dart surged to life, sucking the Voratus from its host body with violent force, trapping the demon's essence in the flat copper bulb at the end of the dart.
Conner watched the light fade from the demon's eyes as a
familiar rush of sound told him the calix was doing its job. When the alley was silent again except for the rain, Conner
pulled the copper dart easily from the body. The next day
Conner would deliver it to the Warder Citadel where they'd
store the full calix with the others. Someday, when they discovered a way to destroy the Vorati completely, the
immense warehouse would be purged of centuries of evil.
But that was the future. Right now Conner was going to get

out of this damned rain and meet Kiernan for a beer.
As he left the alley, Conner flipped a wooden disk with dark markings onto the body. Before he reached the street,
the disk began to smoke. Seconds later, as Conner turned the corner, the body disappeared in a flash of light and smoke.

Thank you for reading this excerpt from Shadow's
Awakening, available in August 2014
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Shadow's Awakening
Copyright © 2014 by Molle McGregor
All rights reserved.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Shadow's Pleasure
Molle McGregor
Molle’s writing career started when she was seven and suffered terrible insomnia. Night after night she couldn’t sleep until long after mid-night, only to wake a few hours later. Frustrated with her inability to just go to bed, (and her penchant for sneaking a book and a flashlight under the covers) her grandmother said, “You like to read so much, why don’t you tell yourself a story until you fall asleep.” With this brilliant advice, Molle’s overactive brain was off and running. Now, years later, she’s finally taught herself to sleep, but she’s never stopped telling stories.

When she’s not reading, writing, or staring into space making things up, Molle is getting into trouble with her husband, two sons, two dogs and vicious attack cat in the mountains of North Carolina. She likes to hike, cook, listen to music way too loud, and hang out with her boys. She does not like dusting or emptying the dishwasher.
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