By Dana Marie Bell, author of OF SHADOWS AND ASH
Book three of Maggie’s Grove
Overprotective dryad Ashton Ward is pissed off. His mate Selena has been tortured by humans who hunt supernaturals, and she’s flat-out refusing to let him near her as she heals. Her magic is so compromised that just being near her puts him in danger, but he’s sure he can help ease her pain if she’ll just let him.
To keep Ash safe, witch doctor Selena Giannone wants to handle the fallout from her nightmare alone. But she might be dealing with more than the agonizing loss of her powers–something’s haunting her house so badly the land itself is afraid. A demon so powerful nothing in Maggie’s grove can tame it alone.
Terrified, exhausted and out of options, Selena turns to Ash for help. The enemy needs two things to feed: Selena’s powers, yes, but also it needs her fear. And if there’s a magic that can save her, it lies with Ash–with his touch, and with their bond.
We’ve always had fears of what’s hidden in the darkness. The creak of a floorboard is a footstep we can’t ignore. A whisper of sound becomes a sigh in the night. The faintest breeze caresses our cheeks, and we sense intent behind that touch.
But what if that touch was real? What if we open our closet and a monster really does reach out and drag us in? A monster you can’t fight, can’t strike because he’s incorporeal, made of nothing more than shadows and fear. And it wants you. Or rather, in Of Shadows and Ash, the third Maggie’s Grove novel, it wants Selena, the town’s beloved witch doctor.
Worse, what would you do if it was after a loved one? Would you sit back if asked and allow them to deal with it on their own, or would you insist on helping? If it managed somehow to get a foothold inside your love one, would you be willing to do whatever it takes to remove it? This is the dilemma that faces Ashton Ward, Selena’s dryad mate.
Researching ghosts, demons and the ways societies developed to deal with them was fascinating. From banishment to containment to forcing the spirits to go around the home, wards of all types can be found throughout the world. Priests and shamans can cleanse the area, and mediums can try and speak to these entities with the intent to find out why it lingers and what would appease it. Even now, magic is considered a strong tool when dealing with the supernatural. The rituals used in the book are based on my research, from the gems, to the gestures. I wanted to make sure each ritual was done in a way that would make sense to those who work magic in the modern world, and I hope I managed to achieve that.