I don’t think I can pass a book whose Hero’s name is Mephisto. I mean… Plus, the series is already at the third book (it release mid-June), so it’s binging material.
Fireborne (Raven Cursed #1) by McKenzie Hunter released last November in the New Adult, Urban Fantasy genre.
My magic isn’t just a curse – it’s an addiction. I crave it the way some people crave chocolate. But, chocolate doesn’t kill – my magic does.
I’m Raven Cursed. When I borrow magic from someone, they die. That’s always been the case—until I met my client, the devilishly handsome and enigmatic Mephisto. He has his own brand of unique magic and a mysterious past he’s determined to keep to himself.
He knows that I’m the one to call anytime a curse goes wrong, a magical object is lost, or a rogue supernatural needs apprehending. So he offers a trade. He’ll give me his magic, and in return, I accept a job from him.
It seems like a simple deal until all hell breaks loose. We have to team up to stop a god from unleashing destruction upon the city. It leaves me to wonder: can I battle a god with the devil at my back
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“Emotions—fear, anger, frustration—they all have a distinctive smell, a noticeable physiological change.” The languid lilt to his voice matched the way he sat on my sofa. He sighed, his voice cloying—annoyingly sweet. “How can I mend the rift in our friendship?” he asked.
“First we would have to have a friendship. We were never friends and never will be. I don’t trust you.”
“And that breaks my heart,” he purred. “Tell me how to get that trust?” It had a hint of mockery to it, and I knew he didn’t care that I didn’t like him. This was just another challenge. It was obvious he thrived on them.
“How did you do it?”
“I’m a predator. I follow the footprints and scents. It’s what I do.”
“Does that mean you followed my digital footprints?” Had that asshole hacked my computer?
He leaned forward, his face pensive, and for a brief moment, I thought maybe I was mistaken. Maybe he was being serious about repairing the rift between us. The people I dealt with daily had made me cynical. Then it dawned on me. When it came to shifters, it all came down to protecting the pack. Adding “corp” behind their pack name didn’t change their dedication and priorities.
“Why did you need it?” The Salem Stone was a magic connector that allowed the user to siphon magic from others and strengthen the borrower’s magic. It wasn’t as malicious as it sounded. A person had to willingly sacrifice their magic by invoking that spell. Contrary to how dramatic and portentous the STF made it sound, it wasn’t as if a person carrying the stone could rip magic from people and become an overpowered, unstoppable magic wielder. It had limitations. It also required magic to use it, something that shifters didn’t possess.
“How does it affect your pack? What’s going on?” I asked pointedly.
His casual smile faltered. “What goes on with my pack, stays with my pack. Are you interested in being part of it?” he asked in a cool challenge. His brown eyes flickered. Slowly, measuredly, very intentionally, his features shifted. Skin stretched, the carved lines of his jaw relaxed, allowing the jaw to elongate. The narrow slope of his nose extended and reshaped, as did a partial facial shift into his wolf counterpart. It stopped mid-transition, to give me a look at his canine, and before it could fully register, he shifted back to human form. I expected a sheen of perspiration, panting, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, or some sign of distress. Nothing. He’d donned and doffed his wolf half with the ease of someone changing a shirt.
“If that creepy performance was a true recruitment effort, you need to work on it.”
His laughter filled the room, and for a fleeting moment, I wondered if I could actually be changed and how shifter magic would affect my magic. Was becoming a shifter even an option? Would it take away my desire for magic since I’d have a different type of magic working through me? I didn’t let the idea linger too long—especially in front of someone as perceptive as Asher.
“Then you know I can’t tell you anything. I needed it and now I have it,” he said bluntly. “Now, my goal is to make recompense.” He seemed earnest, someone a less cynical person would believe. If someone could tell when someone else was lying, it gave them the necessary tools to be a good liar, too.
“Are you really sorry?” I asked.
He nodded. “Not for what I did. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat if I needed to. I’m sorry that you got screwed over.”
Direct but honest. I could work with that.
“Get me the Mystic Souls,” I blurted. “Then we’ll be even. No more bad blood between us.”
I didn’t have to be a shapeshifter to see the change in his mood. His tension was palpable, and he sat up and eyed me, his interest kindled.
“Mystic Souls,” he repeated, his voice grim. “You know it is rumored that only two copies exist in the entire world, right?”
“I only need one.” He wasn’t going to be able to get it, but it was worth the shot.
His hands washed over his face and then scrubbed along the shadow of beard that accentuated his jawline. For a while, he seemed to contemplate my request. I needed the Mystic Souls book and if he could get it, I’d mend our pseudo friendship.
“If you are asking me for this, you really need it, don’t you?” The arrogance and playfulness had melted from his face and words. Whatever he was doing with his eyes, I didn’t like it. The intensity of his gaze was hard to hold. I nodded. Standing, he straightened the sleeves and nodded.
“Okay, give me two weeks.”
Okay, give me two weeks? What the actual fuck? I’d like a unicorn, a zero-calorie Snickers, and snow on my birthday in July, too.
Hiding my shock, I just nodded again. Of course, it would only take a couple of weeks to find one of the rarest books in the world. I swallowed hard with my hands balled at my sides as I kept my breathing normal, trying not to show my excitement. In a couple of weeks, my life was going to change. Or was it? I snuffed the excitement. He would probably come back with some knockoff consolation prize, one of the spell books I already had or had access to. I didn’t allow myself to hope too hard.
Stopping at the threshold of the door, he looked over his shoulder and smiled. “You’ll get your book.”
“Okay.” I loved that I sounded so nonchalant. Whatever, Mr. CEO, Alpha Man, just drop off the book whenever. It’s no big deal.
Madison believed the book contained a spell that could remove my curse and give me access to magic, and I wanted to believe it, too. I wanted to believe it so much.
AUTHOR BIO: McKenzie, as a child, discovered that her life could be a whirlwind of adventures by simply opening a book. To this day, reading is still her favorite activity. She has a fondness for fantasy and mystery, which is probably why she writes urban fantasy.
When McKenzie isn’t working on her next book she is usually binge-watching paranormal and comedy shows, maintaining her title as “favorite auntie”, or trying to create a tasty low-calorie pizza. McKenzie loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her via her website, Facebook, or email.
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- $25 Amazon gift card