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RITES OF PASSAGE (EBOOK)

RITES OF PASSAGE (EBOOK)

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*includes a digitally signed author note*

EBOOK. WITCH QUEEN BOOK #2 

It’s all fun and games until someone pisses off a Witch Queen…

Weeks following the events that led to her awakening and her initiation into the New York coven as the Witch Queen prophesized to rule the world of magic, Mae Jin is still trying to get a semblance of her life back together. But disaster strikes when her apartment gets attacked by ghouls, driving her into the thick of the action as she helps Nikolai Stanisic figure out the origins and purpose of a mysterious skeleton key that falls into his hands by accident. A key the Dark Council was guarding.

Forced to travel to Philadelphia for the Annual Grand Meeting of all covens, Mae finds herself treading a fine line amidst the cutthroat politics of the covenstead and the senior witches and sorcerers who wish to put a leash on her. When they discover that local magic users have gone missing, Mae, Nikolai, Vlad, and the others stumble upon a link between the disappearances and the skeleton key.

After Nikolai’s brother Oscar and the demon Barquiel steal a sacred grimoire from the covenstead, Mae realizes all the incidents are connected and that there is a traitor amongst them. With help from some unlikely allies, Mae and her friends rush headlong into a race to uncover the secret behind the skeleton key and the book of spells. Will they figure out the Dark Council’s wicked scheme before all is lost?

Nerves will be frayed. Steak will get eaten. Snark will be committed.

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READING ORDER

WITCH QUEEN SERIES
The Darkest Night
Rites of Passage
Of Flames and Crows
Midnight Witch
A Fury of Shadows
Witch Queen

READ A SAMPLE

Bryony Cross narrowed her eyes at the teleconference display on the wall opposite her desk. “Are you being serious right now?”

Ephra Erwin, the High Priestess of the Houston coven, arched a perfectly manicured eyebrow. “Why, yes, Bryony. I’m not quite sure how you could have interpreted our request any other way.”

Her brittle tone did not escape Bryony. Even though the High Council members were separated by thousands of miles, sitting in their respective offices spanning the East to the West coasts, the New York coven leader could practically taste the arctic front permeating the meeting. Armand Duprey, the current secretary, visibly swallowed a sigh.

Guilt flitted through Bryony at his harassed expression. Armand wasn’t just a well-respected colleague and ally, he was also a close confidant of Barbara Nolan, the Chicago coven High Priestess and one of Bryony’s closest friends.

Abraham Whitworth shifted slightly in his seat beside her. His jaw was tight and his owl familiar’s normally limpid, yellow gaze glowed with a hint of heat. It didn’t matter that the sorcerer had been the first to chastise Bryony for not scheduling the long overdue meeting before now. Abraham took any affront against the New York coven personally and the way the other High Council members were currently addressing her fell squarely under that category.

Bryony drummed her fingers on her desk, her own temper simmering beneath a veneer of civility. She knew she was at fault for not arranging this meeting sooner. But it wasn’t exactly as if she’d been sitting around doing nothing this last month.

It had been two weeks since the Witch Queen prophesied to rule over the world of magic had awakened. Not only had Mae Jin saved innocent humans from being slaughtered by the demons the Dark Council had unleashed inside the hospital where she was working on the night her powers manifested, she had also gone on to fight the Sorcerer King’s minions. Not to mention the modified demons he had placed in the ranks of a dangerous Russian crime gang creating waves in the city’s underworld. The repercussions of her revival and the battles that had ensued were still being felt across New York’s magical community and the city itself.

This had meant Bryony’s coven having to field dozens of meetings with the U.S. Special Affairs bureau, as well as pacifying various local officials and the coven chapters of the neighboring towns who wished to know what their new queen’s intentions were.

Mae’s face rose before Bryony. She furrowed her brow.

She knew the High Council’s disgruntlement had less to do with her tardiness at informing them about the crucial events that had transpired in New York and more to do with the fact that they believed her coven stood to gain the most by being the first to ally themselves with the Witch Queen.

They probably think we kept Mae Jin’s existence a secret so we could benefit from her power and influence. A thin smile curved Bryony’s lips as she met the probing gazes of the High Council. Wait until they meet her.

Mae Jin was not the Witch Queen nor indeed the woman Bryony had expected her to be. And she had never been more glad of that fact.

“Does this matter amuse you?” Gerard Mosele asked with a frosty grunt.

Bryony allowed her smile to widen, knowing it would only irritate the Orlando coven High Priest further. The magical community was a mostly matriarchical one and the heads of covens were witches by tradition. Few sorcerers held the title of High Priest. Only two occupied that position in the U.S.: Derrick Adlington, the leader of the Baton Rouge coven, and Gerard.

Of the ones abroad, the Sorcerer King was far and above the most notorious. As the head of the Dark Council, he was not just the unofficial sworn enemy of the wider magic community, but also Mae Jin’s nemesis. For it was the Sorcerer King who had robbed her original incarnation of her birthright thousands of years ago, killing her mother and banishing her father Azazel to Hell.

The only thing stopping the magical societies of every nation from engaging in open warfare with the Sorcerer King was the Treaty of Argentheim, the accord reached at the end of the Middle Ages to stop the deaths of thousands of magic users on both sides of the divide.

“It does amuse me, to an extent,” Bryony said. “The fact that you’re asking me to command Mae to attend our next Annual Grand Meeting shows how asinine you’re all being. One does not give orders to our queen.”

Ephra bristled. There was a general darkening of faces across the board. Ice practically crackled across the speakers.

Armand pinched the bridge of his nose.

Only three Council members seemed to be paying no heed to unfolding events. Charlotte Brix, the Atlanta coven High Priestess, had her eyes firmly focused on her knitting. Raven Quinn, the L.A. coven High Priestess and the youngest witch present, was typing away furiously at her laptop, her hand occasionally straying to her iced latte. Derrick Adlington was perusing something on his phone, his expression somewhat bored.

“It’s too soon for Mae to reveal herself publicly to our community,” Bryony said curtly. “The Sorcerer King and the Dark Council may have gone to ground for now, but I have no doubt they’re plotting something in the shadows.” She lifted her chin. “It is our duty to ensure Mae’s safety and that of her family until we know what his next move is. I’ve already told you what happened to her sister and grand—”

“What about her duty to us?”

The woman who interrupted her did so in a soft voice that still managed to grate on Bryony’s nerves. Karin Everheart’s gaze was steady as she observed Bryony over her steepled hands, the supercilious light in her pupils tempered by her fake smile.

Bryony met the San Francisco coven High Priestess’s stare with a stony expression. “What duty are you alluding to?”

Penley, Bryony’s black cat familiar, raised his head from where he’d been sunning himself on the windowsill. He jumped down, padded across the room, and leapt onto her thigh. Bryony stroked the cat absent-mindedly as he curled up on her lap, his presence and magic calming her ruffled feathers.

Karin waved a lazy hand. “I know many in the magic community have long held on to the antiquated belief that the Witch Queen is some kind of deity we must serve, but we need to move with the times. We cannot defer to this Mae Jin simply because of who she says she is. She needs to prove her worth to us.” She paused. “She needs to serve us.”

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