Juliet Black Thrillers

In November 2018, I will introduce you to Juliet Black and her supernatural demonic world. (Want a sneak peek? Click here!) I find paranormal-y things very interesting. Recently, I watched a documentary called Hostage to the Devil. There's a great breakdown and trailer here.

So then I decided to watch The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. Because why not, right? I think Ed and Lorraine Warren are fascinating. I've seen them both in various paranormal investigation shows--more of Lorraine since Ed died in 2006. (Lorraine is still alive and so is the organization she and Ed started in 1952.)

Here I am at 48 watching horror movies about possession and what-not, but when I was kid The Exorcist freaked me out. I saw it when I was three (yeah, three, thanks Mom!). We went to a drive-in movie theater in our cool-assed, carpeted van. (It was the 1970s and the closest I've ever gotten to being in the Mystery Machine.) I remember scenes from that movie to this day. For years afterward, hearing the "Tubular Bells" theme would scare the crap out of me.
Fast forward to when I had kids. In their teens they watched The Exorcist and laughed. My son told me, "That movie is hilarious!" So, okay, a head-spinning pea-vomiting little girl might not be super scary now, but in 1973, it was terrifying.
These days, I write about demons, so TAKE THAT The Exorcist! And my demons are sometimes sexy like in Come Hell or High Water or scary and mean like those in Blood Kiss (which also has a demon hero, so bonus!).

In Juliet Black's world, demons are mostly jerkfaces except for a few that Juliet teams up with to defeat the really evil demonic forces that threaten our world. I'm so excited about this series! (And also excited about my Paranormal Homicide Division series, which you find out more about here!) And now ... a sneak peek!

BLACK HEART
Book 1 ~Juliet Black Supernatural Thrillers

~Sneak Peek~

“Zipper, I’m tired of talking to your fucking voicemail. If you don’t call me back—I will cut off your balls and feed ‘em to Max.” I ended the call and glared at the burner phone as though it had a personal part in sending me to this miserable small town.

I had parked my beloved 1970 Buick GSX on the side of the narrow two-lane road, near the yellow welcome sign that shouted: “We love visitors in Sunshine, Texas! Stay for a while—we’ll make you smile!” Underneath that horrible threat was the number of idiots who lived here: 403.

Ugh. I was already claustrophobic. I preferred big cities with their bad drivers, polluted skies, shitty attitudes, and endless cheap motel and diner options. No one in a big city gave a damn about you. I preferred that kind of rude anonymity to everyone-knows-your-business whistle-stops like fucking Sunshine.

From her curled position on the passenger seat next to me, my pit bull looked up. Her one good eye glinted with hope. “Sorry Max,” I said, tossing the phone onto the dashboard. “You can’t eat Zipper’s gonads.”

Max cocked her head and licked her lips, a gesture I took to mean: “Are you sure?”

“You’ll get herpes, honey,” I crooned. “But if he screws me over, you can chew off his arms, okay?”

Her tongue lolled out, and she offered me a craggy smile before returning to her nap. I stroked the top of her head, my fingertips tracing the scarred lines that crisscrossed her skull. Her missing right eye and her mangled fur provided visceral evidence of brutality by both man and animal.

Tragedy and the unexpected gift of magic had turned me into a bounty hunter and assassin for both humans and supernaturals. When I found Max, I’d connected with her instantly. We were both tortured souls who needed purpose. Needed revenge. Needed a reason to keep going.

Three years ago, I had tracked a kid-raping troll to Georgia. I do mean troll—as in big, ugly, and stupid. Ricky Montaz spent most of his time in human form and was a convicted pedophile. I found Ricky among the depraved assholes that liked to watch starving, abused animals attack each other.

Surrounded by shouting spectators, Max had just won her fight by killing her opponent. Blood and foamy drool spattered the dirt. The sickening smells of feces and death intertwined with the stenches of body odor and dirt weed. Max had stationed herself in front of the dead dog, as though trying to protect its ravaged body from the gazes of the hateful humans and monsters jammed around the pit. She lifted her snout and howled, not in triumph, but in heart-twisting grief. I felt her anguish like a goddamned kick in the stomach.

I didn’t know what to do with all that anger and angst, so I shot Ricky in the kneecap with my .45. Then I stuffed his groaning, perverted ass into my car’s trunk for the ride back to Florida. You know those supernatural books that talk about shifters turning into their other forms to heal faster? It’s actually the opposite. If they’re in human form when they get badly injured, say getting a bullet in the patella, they can’t shift.

Rage makes me impulsive and dangerous, but it does not make my hands shake—and I am an excellent shot. I retrieved my Browning Maxus shotgun and pointed it at anyone who tried to get between the pittie and me.

I got into the ring, clutched the grubby, growling dog by the collar, and wrestled my way out of the crowd. By the time I hauled her into the car, I was sweating and swearing. No one had tried to stop me. Even so, as I took off—wheels spitting out gravel as I hit the accelerator—I kept the shotgun pointed out the driver’s side window.

Max sat in the passenger seat, staring at me with her only eye; her fur caked with blood, her body striped by cuts and bites. I guess I passed some kind of pit bull judgment test because she finally sank down into an exhausted heap and closed her eye.

She had settled into the sleep of the saved, and I knew well that kind of soul-deep relief. The rage had surged inside me, pulling at my self-control. I’d had to resist the compulsion to stop the car, open the trunk, and shoot Ricky’s other kneecap. Believe me, I’d wanted him to hurt and bleed for Max’s suffering, but I couldn’t risk him dying before I got him to Zipper. Montaz owed a debt to someone a lot scarier than me, and I’d been hired to deliver him alive. Well, alive-ish. Besides, I knew all kinds of people: victims, royalty, bullies, drug lords, movie stars, gangsters, witches, shifters, vampires, and voodoo queens. My job, what I do, it puts me in touch with those who have squishy morals and long reaches. Yet, even the ethically ambiguous have causes close to their hearts. I’d known a leg breaker in Savannah who loved pit bulls more than his own mama—and he loved his mama a whole lot.

So, I’d given him a ringy-ding, and he’d gathered a few like-minded souls to rescue the rest of the dogs. The people who ran the fights mysteriously disappeared and haven’t been heard from since. It warmed my vengeful little heart to know those abusive bastards had suffered for their acts of animal cruelty.
 
I’d named my vicious new friend after the Maxus shotgun because it seemed fitting, and I’m not good at naming things anyway. It took months of vet visits and intense training to get Max close to being somewhat mentally and physically healthy. I knew from experience that some wounds never heal, and some people—and dogs—are just fucking broken.

Maybe that’s why Max was the only living creature I loved.

We were kindred spirits. We both had attitude problems, and we both hated people. The only thing worse than messing with me—was messing with my dog.

“You hungry?” I asked.

Max lifted her head and yawned. I took that gesture for a yes.

“Okay. Let’s hit a hamburger joint and see if the locals know anything about the Temple. I’d like to do a little research before I break into this so-called sacred compound.” I grabbed the padded envelope from the glove box and dumped the obsidian medallion into my hand. It glowed a soft red when I held it in my fire-scarred palm—and I had no idea why. It wasn’t like the damned thing came with instructions. I studied it, still unnerved by what it represented.

Zipper had sent it to me with a note: Sunshine, Texas. Take this to the Temple. You’ll find your answers there.

The answer to who or what had killed my family and why it had singled me out as a target existed in that Temple. That creature had stolen the lives of my brother and sister, but it had also given me a gift: the ability to wield shadow magic. My power was strongest at night. I could command the dark, create shadows to do my bidding, control nocturnal animals, and call forth the dead—ghosts. Zombies only exist in fiction. Don't get me wrong. I love The Walking Dead. But that shit ain't real.

Zipper had found me after I’d gotten out of the hospital. To this day, I don’t know how he knew I’d been given magic, but I’m grateful. He straddled the human and supernatural worlds, mostly as a smuggler, a blackmailer, and a thief.

Anyone who wanted anything went to Zipper first.

He put me in touch with a warrior who trained me in combat and a dark witch who taught me how to wield the magic. Of course, Zipper never did anything for free. He received the full benefit from my transformation from scared teenager to kick-ass woman. In all fairness, he didn’t have to give me much of a pitch. Delivering jerk-offs to those who punished swiftly and without bothering with the justice system—either human or supernatural—was my reason to live. That burning rage, that jagged pain, was all I had. And Max.

My whole world boiled down to acts of vengeance and love for a mangled dog.

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