Authors: Heather Killough-Walden
FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK FOR FRONT ROW SEATS TO
DELICIOUS TEASERS, BREAKING RELEASE NEWS,
AND INCREDIBLE CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS!
By Heather Killough-Walden
Book two in
The October Trilogy
Sam I Am
Visit Heather’s Facebook pages at:
for paranormal romance news, teasers, updates, contests, and giveaways!
Also follow Heather on Twitter at:
Visit Heather’s website and sign up for her newsletter to receive all the latest at:
The October Trilogy
Book Two: Secretly Sam
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
The October Trilogy
By Heather Killough-Walden
on real history:
In the year 1561, a highly intelligent and learned innkeeper by the name of Hugh Draper was accused of witchcraft and imprisoned in the Tower of London. During the course of his stay within the Salt Tower, he carved an imprint on one of the walls which can still be found there today. It is a highly detailed astrological Zodiac chart complete with his signature and the date of its creation.
Unlike the vast majority of prisoners accused of performing magic during this age, Hugh Draper was not in fact innocent of performing that magic. Draper was a self-proclaimed wizard. Also unlike his fellow prisoners, Draper was not tortured, nor was he put to death. There are no records of his execution, nor his escape. There are also no records of his life after imprisonment.
In fact, for all intents and purposes the accused wizard, Hugh Draper, simply… disappeared.
And was lost to time.
A.D. Island of Anglesey, Britain….
Genovea chewed on her lip, this time almost drawing blood when she once more dipped the quill’s tip into the ink pot that rested beside the parchment the grove members held open before her.
She glanced up, desperately wanting reassurance. Ciara, her best friend, gave her a small, almost imperceptible nod. It was a sign of empathy, of understanding. Ciara knew what it was like to be under Aidan’s tutelage, to be the one his ocean fire eyes burned ruthlessly into.
, Genovea. Waste no time, lass. Ink is precious, do not let it dry uselessly,” said Aidan, his deep voice cutting across Genovea’s already raw nerves.
“I’m sorry,” she muttered as she placed the nib to the parchment and closed her eyes in concentration.
She’d been at this all day. The ground was damp and the hem of her dress had long ago been soaked through. She itched where bugs had bitten her, she was thirsty, and her fingers were cramping around the quill.
It was more difficult than it should have been to work this day. Word had come from neighboring villages. The Romans and their blood-thirsty general, Suetonius Paulinus were carving their brutal path across the Keltic lands, wiping out families and their culture without a care. Every sundown, there were fewer of her kind to light candles and pray to the gods. Every morning, more Roman crucifixes littered the grim landscape, their nailed bodies rotting over the moors and heather.
Genovea had good friends in a settlement two days’ ride east. They’d grown up together, chosen their paths together. It was estimated that Paulinus would be heading to that village next. She wondered whether she would ever see her childhood companions again. She wondered… what the world was coming to.
Such wonderings interfered with the vitally important task she now performed. Not that this particular spell didn’t always take a while anyway. It was long and the words had to be chosen with utmost care.
These words swam through her head like fireflies, darting this way and that as if daring her to attempt to catch them and bind them to paper. They were words no one had ever heard, words both new and timeless, some of them difficult to read, much less difficult to pronounce. They zigged and zagged, leaving trails of star dust in their wakes.
But catch them, she must. She was the only one who could.
She was the bard.
It was her task to create the spell that would be cast on the first day of Samonois. This was her third year creating the spell. Genovea reached out with her mental fingers and touched the nervous words. She praised them, calmed them, and drew them out of herself. And then she wrote them down on the scroll before her.
These were the last. It was finished.
Genovea exhaled tiredly, set down the quill pen, and looked up at Ciara where she sat across from her. “I’ve finished.”
“Ye’ve done verra well, Genovea,” said Ianna, a druid elder. The old woman’s silver hair shimmered in the waning sunlight. She had been teaching Ciara the ways of their grove; Ciara was to take her place as one of the grove leaders tomorrow, just before the casting of this spell.
“Aye, ‘tis true,” said Aidan.
Genovea turned to look at the grove herald. He was Ianna’s age, which made sense. They were twins. The herald smiled warmly at her, a slightly bewildered but plainly proud expression on his weathered face. “Ye have.”
He turned to Ciara then. It was Ciara who would be casting the Samonois spell this year. It was to mark her first steps into the position of a leader.
“Take it, Ciara,” he told her. “Learn it well.”
Ciara nodded, her look serious. Genovea moved back a little, allowing her friend room to roll the parchment up. She felt the magic in the words draw up with the stiff paper, temporarily contained and ready to be used.
Tomorrow was the first of October. The spell would have to be cast tomorrow night. Genovea hoped Ciara would be smiled upon by fortune in its telling.
She thought of the crosses that obliterated her lands….
And wondered whether the spell would be cast at all.
I’m going to kill him.
It seemed so simple. Why hadn’t she thought of it before? She could just kill him – here and now. So easy. A few swipes of the hand, a stroke of her fingers, and he would be wiped out of existence. Never to trouble her again.
A car accident, she thought. No – a train wreck.
Logan’s amber eyes glittered in the October moonlight coming through her bedroom windows. A liquid excitement burned the insides of her veins like gasoline.
I’ll have him die in a gun fight. Just like Jesse James.
The house was quiet. It was empty. She was alone but for the night that whispered through her curtains and the blank piece of paper that waited before her on the window seat. The pen in her hands was heavy and solid, like power made tangible.
With grim determination, Logan sat on the edge of the window seat and leaned over to place the tip of the pen to the white, waiting sheet. At once, a stain of crimson dripped from the pen’s fountain tip to soak into the parchment. It was the color of blood, deep and sensual and wrong because it wasn’t inside someone’s body, but here, in the wide open, staining her page.
She watched the red ink spread throughout the paper, curling across the space like a growing beast. As it built and expanded, a sense of foreboding thrummed through her. She straightened, pulling the pen away. But it was too late.
The ink had been spilled. The monster was born.
Logan stood, no longer so certain. As she watched, the red blotch upon the page continued to morph, stretching into the third dimension and taking on mass. The floor beneath Logan’s feet began to tremble. She backed up, bumping into the dresser behind her and reaching out to steady herself. She dropped her pen as the beast on the page grew in form and function, reaching a foot in height. Then two.
A heaviness settled in Logan’s gut at the sight of so much blood, but it had taken on a life of its own, and the horror of it held her fast. She was frozen, immobile and rapt as her unwitting creation finally reached six feet and stepped off the page with legs that flowed like rivers of life-giving liquid.
Logan opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out.
There was no breath, no movement, only the knowledge of what she’d done.
It came toward her.
With the mercy of a miracle, she awoke and jerked upright in her bed, her hand automatically flying to the small Celtic medallion she wore around her neck. For several moments, she remained still, her hand pressed to the hollow of her throat as she stared through wide, terror-filled eyes at the posters and drawings on the wall in front of her. She could hear her breath, ragged in the night air. The house was asleep but for her.
Slowly, and with real fear for what she might find, Logan turned in the bed to stare at the journal that waited on the window seat across the room. It was just a spiral bound notebook, nothing more. Just a bunch of bound-together paper.
But to her, it was a weapon. She’d pulled it out of a drawer earlier that afternoon and stared down at it, considering her options. For a week, she’d been trapped in limbo. Samhain was out there somewhere, occupying the unwitting body of someone she knew. She had no idea what his plans were other than to somehow kill her and pull her into his world forever. She had no idea what was going to happen to her next. And she had been terrified to write anything further since the Death God had used her words to his very great advantage. Everything she ever wrote into any of her characters – he took. Every power, every grace, every bit of knowledge. He’d absorbed it all.
But earlier that day, it had occurred to Logan that if Sam had been capable of using her words to give him life… maybe she could use them to bring him death.
What if she wrote his untimely demise? What if she just spelled it out, plain as day, and had him offed?
Logan gazed at the waiting book now and swallowed hard. Whatever she’d been considering earlier, she was definitely less certain of it now. If the dreams she’d had this October had taught her anything at all, it was that there was a very thin line between make-believe and reality. Her words had already given birth to one monster.
That was enough.
It was a thought that thrummed through Sam’s mind, droning at the same constant rumble that the bike beneath him created as he sped his way down the city’s streets. Dominic Maldovan knew. He had to. Sam had sensed it as he’d walked out of Maldovan’s garage, still draped securely in the body of Maldovan’s best friend, Alec Sheffield.
He knows because of my eyes,
I can’t control the color.
Alec Sheffield’s eyes were supposed to be brown. Sam’s were blue. And now that Sam had subjugated his form, Alec’s were blue as well.
Several nights ago, Sam had been magically attacked and harshly drained of the majority of his power. It had nearly killed him – so to speak. His physical form had taken too much damage and could no longer sustain existence in this world. He’d been forced to make a decision: Let it go and return to his realm alone once again and for who knew how long, or take another form.
He’d made the choice in the beat of a human heart, allowing his spirit to leave the body that everyone knew as Sam Hain and enter the body of one Alec Sheffield, eighteen-year-old lead singer of a garage band. Granted, Sheffield wasn’t the worst individual to be trapped within. He was tall and possessed the same rakish good looks that Sam had attained when he’d first absorbed Logan’s work.
In that split second that it had taken Sam to make his decision, Alec had been the obvious choice.
However, Sheffield was also all too human.
And that wouldn’t do.
For countless eons, Sam had existed as an entity without form or substance. He had been
powerful. There was nothing that escaped him. In time, all that had ever been and all that would ever be was forced to come see him.
He could have anything he wanted.