Today I’m going to introduce you to Demon Magic and a Martini – The Guild Codex Spellbound, Book 4 by Annette Marie. There’s a giveaway and an excerpt, but first: a little bit about the book.
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: April 12, 2019
Themes and genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, magic, mages
When I first landed a bartending job at the local guild, I didn’t know a thing about magic. These days, I’m practically an expert on the different magical classes, but there’s one nobody ever talks about: Demonica.
Turns out they have a good reason for that. My guild is strictly hellion-free, because who wants to risk life and limb to control the biggest bullies on the mythic playground?
Well, some people do, and now a demon has been loosed in the city. My three best friends are determined to slay it, but even badass combat mages are critically out-magicked. And that’s not all. The monster they’re tracking—it’s not hiding. It’s not fleeing. It’s not leaving a trail of corpses everywhere it goes.
The demon is hunting too. And in a city full of mythics, it’s searching for deadlier prey.
If we can’t unravel the demon’s sinister motivations, more innocent people will die, but finding the answers means digging into dark secrets … and learning truths I never wanted to know.
Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.
Ezra’s head swiveled, his shoulders tight.
My steps slowed as I broke out of my reverie. “What’s wrong?”
Stopping in the center of the narrow alley, he turned in a circle, his smile nowhere in sight. As his brow scrunched with focus, he faced the way we’d come—then his head snapped back, gaze jumping to the rooftops three stories up.
He dropped his bags and they hit the ground with a crunch. Grasping my arm, he yanked me so hard I almost fell.
“Ezra?” I gasped.
He hauled me into a stumbling run and we sprinted to an intersection of alleys. Fifty feet away on our right waited the brightly lit and bustling street. The other three directions were dark, narrow alleys full of dumpsters and graffiti-marked overhead doors.
Ezra glanced at the bright street, then pulled me in the opposite direction. “Ezra!” I yelped, his grip on my arm painful. “What’s wrong?”
His gaze shot upward. This time I turned fast enough to follow his line of sight, my neck craning back. The rooftops loomed over the narrow alley, the silhouettes marred by power lines and rickety fire escapes.
Fear hit me like a bolt of arctic lightning, seizing every muscle in my body.
Two buildings down, perched on a rooftop, was a shape that belonged only in nightmares and horror movies. Something blacker than ebony, horns rising off its head, and eyes that glowed like twin drops of magma.
Ezra and I fled down the alley.
Panic squeezed my lungs but my legs pumped anyway, driven by animalistic terror. Death stalked us, and my lizard brain knew it. Survival instincts screamed in my skull, and I clutched Ezra’s hand as we dashed through the maze.
I didn’t look back to see if it was following us. I just ran, half a step behind Ezra, struggling to keep pace. He kept pulling away until our arms were stretched between our bodies, then he’d slow again to let me catch up.
We reached another intersection and he wheeled into an even narrower alley. Heading east. Fleeing toward the Crow and Hammer.
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. The guild was full of combat mythics resting between shifts. We didn’t have to outrun the demon. We just had to reach the guild before the demon attacked us.
We sprinted between buildings, and I prayed I wouldn’t trip. Couldn’t fall. Had to run.
Ezra slammed to a halt. I flew past him before he yanked me off my feet and into his chest. He scrambled backward, holding me tight against him, the soles of my shoes brushing the wet pavement.
Metal creaked overhead, then groaned under a heavy weight. Two stories up, a dark shape perched on a fire escape.
Ezra dragged me backward, keeping the demon in sight. Hysterical babble filled my head. Demon. The demon was here. It was stalking us. Why was it here? How was it here? It was supposed to be terrorizing combat mythics twenty blocks east of Gastown.
Reaching what he must’ve considered an acceptable distance, Ezra spun around and broke into a run, pulling me with him. We raced back to the intersection, and he turned north. Yes. Go north, cut east again, bolt for the guild. We weren’t that far. Only a few more blocks.
We got six steps before Ezra pulled up short again. He backpedaled and I almost fell from the sudden change of direction.
The demon landed on a wooden beam above a set of power lines, halfway along the northern alley. Waiting for us. Taunting us with our inability to outrun it.
Ezra backed up step by step, his breathing fast and harsh. I clutched his hand, my limbs shaking. We retreated into the intersection of alleys. The demon had cut us off when we went east. It’d moved to stop us from going north. Just south of us was the crowded street the alley paralleled.
With nowhere else to go, we ran west—away from the Crow and Hammer. Where else could we go? I raced beside him, too frightened to think beyond the next moment. Just run. No time for strategy. Just—
We skidded to a stop again, but not because the demon had cut us off.
A four-story wall rose in our path. A dead end. I scoured the rows of tall overhead doors, all shut and locked. A single lightbulb glowed above a recessed metal door with a heavy padlock hanging from it. We were trapped.
Ezra and I spun around.
The demon prowled into the alley, its magma-red eyes radiating malevolent power. A low, growling laugh throbbed from its throat.
Terror buckled my legs. Ezra grabbed my waist and pulled me against his side.
The demon was huge—seven feet tall with a heavy head. Four thick horns rose off its hairless skull, covered in dark skin with a reddish undertone. Bands of muscle crossed its broad chest and its thick arms were weaponized by the spines protruding from its elbows and the curved talons tipping its strong fingers. Black cloth, covered by interlocking metal armor and a wide belt, wrapped its hips and upper thighs. A heavy tail dragged behind it, ending in a bony plate that could crush a human skull with one hit.
Petrifying fear like I’d never felt before closed my throat. No mythic had frightened me this much. No black-magic rogue. No darkfae. This was something else, something worse.
It was pure evil. It was death given form, the embodiment of murder and bloodlust.
As though it could hear my thoughts, the creature’s lips pulled back to reveal huge, flesh-tearing fangs. Its quiet, gravelly laugh echoed down the alley, and it took another step. The beast was toying with us, drinking in our terror as it stalked closer. Even fifty feet away, its suffocating presence filled the alley. I couldn’t breathe through the icy chill.
Ezra’s arm tightened around me—and I realized the cold was coming from him.
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Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and the romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
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