Sunday, September 8, 2013

Excerpt from A TWISTED MAGICK--the death card...

Here’s an excerpt from A TWISTED MAGICK by Shara Lanel. Gabe has already been to Shylah’s house to question her because he thinks she might have murdered his cousin. Now he shows up at her place of work. (Shylah reads the tarot to make some money since she was fired as a teacher.)


“I’d like my fortune read, please.”

Shylah startled, both from the sound of a voice where there hadn’t been one for several minutes, and also at the familiarity. The deep, velvety voice flipped a switch in her body, from off to on. But what was Gabe doing here? How had he even found out about her new business? She slowly looked up, mentally squaring her shoulders. What new tact would he try today?

He gazed at her herbs and candles. “Got any pot in there?”

She sighed. “Why are you here? I thought we were done talking.”

“Like I said, I want my fortune told.”

“How did you even find me?”

He grinned as he pulled out the chair opposite her. “My hotel had the Richmond and Charlottesville papers, so I saw your ad.”

“My name’s not in my ad.”

“I have my ways.”

That worried her, since she didn’t want other Smith Creek residents finding out about her side business.
She looked up again and found him staring at her intensely. Disconcerted, she gestured for him to sit and slid her drawings off the table and into the bag underneath. “What sort of divination are you interested in?”

“What do you usually do?”

“Well, I have a crystal ball if you want the total ambience. I have the tarot or runes, which are the most popular, or I can scry into a mirror. Do you have a specific question in mind?”

He turned the chair around backward and sat down. Why did men do that? “Yes, it concerns the truth about guilt or innocence.”

Shylah grimaced. “I think we’ll use the cards, which will give you something tangible to look at.” She slipped the deck out of the silk bag again and handed the oversized cards to him. “Shuffle them slowly while concentrating on your question. But you can’t expect me to give you a reading admitting to my supposed guilt. That would be counterproductive on my part, don’t you think?”

“I didn’t say it was your guilt or innocence I was thinking about.”

“No?” She lit an incense cone in a tiny brass censer. “Pull the curtain closed a bit, okay?”

“Not all the way?”

“I like potential customers to know I’m in here, even if I’m giving a reading.” She took the cards from him, grazing his fingers and wondering at the tingle she felt. It was a schoolgirl tingle, the kind you get when you’re working with the boy you have a crush on. She hadn’t felt that tingle since high school.

The table was covered with a black shawl with Chinese calligraphy on it. She spread the cards out in the classic Celtic Cross formation, and the first thing she noticed was the death card in the future position. The death card usually meant extreme change, not literal death, but as Shylah peered at the cards and took in their vibrations, she realized that this card might mean literal death. Her face froze. Who? Was Gabe going to die? She looked up into his strong face, masculine jaw and cheekbones, kissable mouth, mahogany eyes. Once she got past her immediate attraction—again—she thought she saw an unnatural shadow across his face. She let her eyes un-focus so she could see it better.

It was a skull.

“What’s the matter? This card with the grim reaper isn’t good, is it?”

“Someone’s going to die.”
* * *
Gabe narrowed his eyes. “Well, that’s certainly ominous.”

Shylah examined the cards in the spread. “The cards are not clear on who dies, but since your energies are on the cards, it’s likely you.”

“Does it say who kills me? Someone with poisonous tea perhaps?” He grinned, obviously not taking her seriously.

She scowled and looked down at the cards again. “Something is covered and then revealed.” She ran her finger over each thick card. “The devil opposes you.”

“Does it say what devil?”

“That card can mean controversy, violence or disaster as well as a literal person.”

She was very concerned about this reading. When she was alone again, she thought she might do her own reading to see if she intersected with Gabe somehow. She also wanted to consult her tarot books for nuances of meaning that perhaps she had forgotten.

“Well, I’m not going to die, so you can straighten out your brow. No need to worry about me.” He tilted his head and examined her. He frowned. “Is this some sort of veiled threat? That I need to stay away from you or else?”

She shook her head and pointed to the Priestess card. “It seems to say that our purposes are entwined. It’s not telling you to get lost.”


Be sure to get your copy of A TWISTED MAGICK here!


Shara Lanel said...

Hey ya'll, this excerpt will be important for the giveaway coming this afternoon :)

Anonymous said...

Shara -- I saw this excerpt when I was on my own Super Book Blast on Friday for my new novel, STEALING FIRE. I have to tell you, I'm intrigued! (Imagine getting sidetracked while trying to promote your own book!) I really love the excerpt and would love to know what happens next - this is a great setup!

Shara Lanel said...

Thanks, Susan! Good luck with all your promo--I know the feeling.