After five years on the run, Sunday has finally settled into a seemingly normal life in Columbia, South Carolina. What her two best friends don’t know is that Sunday has a secret past. She is the Incarnate, a conduit of mystical energy transcendent of the mundane and the divine. For most of her life, she served under Bernadette, the most powerful witch in the Northwest. Her power is terrifying, and what she remembers of her past—and what she doesn’t—haunts her. In the year that she’s been attempting to be anything but the Incarnate, Sunday has fought her abilities tooth and nail, but it’s been worth it. When Sunday joins her friends’ coven for an innocent gathering, Sunday discovers a darkness hidden beneath the blanket of the coven’s magic and she is determined to find out who is behind it and what she has planned.
For the last four years, Cyrus has been the point man on the contract to recapture the Incarnate and deliver her to the Pastophori of Iset. A gifted tracker and a fearless werewolf, he harbors a wild, inexplicable passion for the Incarnate that has driven him to hunt her. He was one of the original captors that brought her to Bernadette when his obsession with her began. Having found her, Cyrus and his pack find themselves torn between two objectives: take her by force and deliver her to yet another group of fanatics, or help her uncover the traitor among her coven.
Taking Back Sunday (Incarnate, #1
Excerpt 1 – from Chapter Four (haunted by memories of her past)
Sunday’s eyes shot open, and she jolted upright in bed. Her body was covered in sweat, and her heart was racing. Gripping the sheets in a white-knuckled fist, she scanned the room frantically to make sure that it was only a dream.
Curtains veiled the room from the early morning sun outside. When her eyes landed on the photo on the nightstand, she drew in a hard breath and slowly blew it out. She was in her room in Columbia, not a stone basement beneath Bernadette’s once-sprawling Washington estate. She ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face.
“When will this be over?” she muttered to her reflection.
Black and blue bags tugged at her bloodshot eyes, and worry lined her forehead. Hair mussed and tangled from tossing relentlessly in bed stood at all ends.
Half a decade earlier, nightmares like the one last night had been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. They had tipped Sunday off to the world hidden behind the veil of Bernadette’s sorcery. Until that time, Sunday couldn’t remember anything before her life at the right hand of the powerful witch. She didn’t even remember thinking that there was a time before then.
Her first real memory, at the time, had been waking as an amnesiac to the first thirteen years of her life. Through slits for eyes, Sunday made out the blurred shape of a man carrying her down a dim hallway. He radiated heat. Cradled in his arms, Sunday remembered thinking that she had never felt so warm in her life. Teeth chattering and freezing, her body shook uncontrollably against his chest. When her body jerked, he tightened his arms around her and held her closer. Her head fell against his chest, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Mind as blank as a newborn’s, Sunday had known no comfort in her life but this. As she closed her eyes again, she fell asleep.
For the first few weeks, her body healed. Open wounds turned to scabs and later scarred. Bruises turned green, and then yellow until they disappeared. During the weeks of her recovery, Bernadette visited Sunday regularly. She sat on the edge of Sunday’s bed and lay the girl’s head on her lap.
“My little girl,” she cooed as she petted Sunday’s head and caressed her gently. “I will teach you all the ways of the Incarnate, and you will shine as a star shines, only brighter. Yours will be the light of the sun, and we will be strong together.”
Under the witch’s hand, Sunday’s spirit relinquished itself and its authority to Bernadette. The witch had burned her, but the witch had saved her.
“I will show you the world that most do not see because they cannot see. I will show you of our kind’s dominion over the world of man and the world of magic. I will teach you of your power and of the power we hold over all that we can see, all that we can touch, which is so much more than that which other men can see, be they human or beast.”
As Bernadette lulled her to sleep, every cell in Sunday’s body tingled. Little by little, her life before the witch drifted further and further away until it all but disappeared. There was nothing then, nothing but Bernadette.
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1. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
2. Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac
3. Midnight Creeper – Eagles of Death Metal
4. Devon – Grimes
5. Burn the Witch – Queens of the Stone Age
6. It’s a Curse – Wolf Parade
7. Wolf Like Me – TV on the Radio
8. Soon – My Bloody Valentine
9. If the World Ends – Guillemots
10. The Queen of all Returns – Dead Meadow
11. Demons – Sleigh Bells
12. Witchcraft – Wolfmother
13. The Lucid Dream – The Life and Times
14. Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac
Ten Fun Facts about Cristy Moran
1. One time, I was offered a job at the White House. But I was in middle school then, and I couldn’t take it. True story.
2. Neil Diamond called me on the phone one time and woke me up from a nap. Yes. That Neil Diamond. And I cried because, seriously, it was amazing and I was overwhelmed.
3. I know all the words to Wayne’s World by memory and can recite the entire script at the drop of a hat.
4. My favorite fictional character of all time is Dr. John “Trapper John” McIntyre from the novel and movie MASH.
5. I am tall: 5’11”, and I’ve been this height since I was thirteen years old.
6. I did a two-week-long Shakespeare study abroad at Stratford Upon Avon in England when I was in college.
7. I absolutely love going to the dentist.
8. Technically, I was once in a high-speed police car chase. I wasn’t the felon, nor was I the cop. I was somewhere in the middle when my friend who was driving at the time said, “Wanna be in a high-speed car chase?” to which I answered, “Gun it!” and we did.
9. Of all the colors I’ve dyed my hair, I prefer washed out blue the most.
10. My cat is named after a comic book character of a little girl who doesn’t realize that she is dead, Lenore, and my dog is named after Indiana Jones and Sherlock (Henry Holmes).
Excerpt 2 – from Chapter Seven (Sunday and Cyrus meet)
As Cyrus and Sunday’s eyes met, the world shifted. The stale stench of cigarette and pungent clove smoke lifted. The penetrating music and the muffled shouting that passed for conversation at the club quieted. In less than a second, Cyrus was utterly changed. Cyrus’ soul settled. In the place of the consuming hate he’d nursed for over a decade, he knew peace. His entire body relaxed, and his mind quieted. His heart froze. The breath caught in his chest.
Sunday’s body swayed as her friend tugged to keep her moving forward, but she stood her ground. Even after Cyrus released her arm, her eyes remained locked with his while her friend asked what the matter was. Her cheeks flushed. As soon as she smiled, her eyes followed suit shimmering like honey.
Another handful of seconds passed when she finally looked away, bent her head slightly, and lowered her chin. She was blushing. Smiling. Tilting her face up, she wrinkled her nose coyly and batted her eyelashes.
“Do I know you?” When Sunday spoke, her voice drowned out every other sound in the room. She smiled again, awaiting his response.
His chest tightened.
All those years he obsessively chased her, and she didn’t even know he existed. Now, she looked up at him sheepishly and more adorable than he ever imagined. She wasn’t rushing to leave. She wasn’t running away. Minutes ago, he was dead-set on tearing her to pieces. It had occurred to him in the past that he would be unable to turn her over to his contractors alive. He considered the very real possibility that, when he eventually found her, she would inspire such blind fury that he might unleash his wolf and tear out her throat. Now, however, confronted with her in the flesh, his anger melted.
“No,” he painfully responded. For such a small word, it took a mountain of effort to say it. It was all he could do to keep from choking on the lie. She looked at him for another long moment.
She turned and walked away. Seconds later, Cyrus remained, staring at the gaping hole left by her absence. Her words echoed as she left him standing there feeling more lost and confused than ever in his life.
“What was that about, Cy?”
Cyrus didn’t have an answer. Not allowing his thoughts to delve into their momentary encounter any longer, Cyrus focused on the task at hand. The wolf couldn’t afford to let his prey on too loose a leash. Now, more than ever, she couldn’t get away.
About the Author
Cristy Moranlives in Miami, FL. She is a college librarian some of the time, a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She’s also a nerd and a geek, and proud to be.
Cristy writes the books that she likes to read. Her women are strong and out-spoken and her men run the gamut. Love stories abound in Cristy’s work because, really, aren’t love stories the best? There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.
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