It takes an embarrassing amount of time to realize she's talking to me. It's the first time she's used my name - the one I answer to, at least - and she sounds almost reasonable. Normal.
"Can we keep this a secret?"
Seeing as this could refer to anything her cracked brain could come up with, I'm not keen on just blindly agreeing. "Keep what a secret?"
She waves a hand at herself. "Me."
"Unless you have an invisibility cloak stashed away somewhere, sweetheart, that's pretty damn unlikely."
"Are you always this dense? You should come with a foghorn."
Okay. Forget tossing her in the bed of the truck. I'm going to lock her in the toolbox. "You're going to have to be more specific. I'm not fluent in crazy."
"Coulda fooled me." She crosses her arms over her chest and turns her head to stare out the passenger window. Thanks to several layers of Greta's makeup, Astraea no longer looks like a human punching bag. I remember where every dark mark is hidden.
She falls silent again. I would rejoice, but there's a tension in the truck that makes my skin itch. "Out with it."
"Voids are rare. Usually they're a karmic bitch slap to someone trying to mess with the rules of magic. People - witches - don't usually react kindly when faced with a void." She scowls at her reflection. "Act as if all we do is suck up magic and turn them into bitter hags. Like I want all that nasty magic boiling inside me. Oh, puh-lease. I don’t even like being able to see the future. It makes my eyeballs hurt."
"Won't they be able to sense you? Anders could."
"Matthias isn't a witch," she says, as if that explains everything.
It explains exactly nothing. I don't have time to wrestle answers out of her, either. We're at the coven headquarters, and Sally Caplinger is waiting for us on the front porch. Princess unbuckles her seatbelt with a quiet click. I want to grab her before she can bolt out of the truck, but this is the calmest she's been since the previous night. I don't want to add any magic to her already overloaded system.
"Keep your mouth shut in there. Stick to me like glue. Don't touch anything. In fact, keep your hands in your pockets."
"I'm not three."
"Coulda fooled me."
The glare she sends my way makes me fear becoming a human torch. Fortunately, the stench of burnt hair doesn't fill the truck. Maybe sane-Princess has a little self-control after all.
Title: Witches, Voids and Other Sanity Suckers
Author: Kara Thorpe
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Alpha of the only Shifter pack in Houston, Rick Haskell has his hands full. When the Mage of New Orleans calls for a favor – a favor that pays $400,000 – Rick can’t refuse. Even if that favor means adopting the Mage’s daughter into his ragtag pack. Az Vardan is beautiful, smart, and takes frequent vacations from sanity. Before Rick can learn how to handle the blonde kiss-and-run firecracker, wolfsbane appears in the local coven’s garden, witches mysteriously die in police custody, and a rash of centaur murders rocks Houston’s Paranormal Community. Az’s knowledge of magic may be all that saves Rick’s pack when a new, powerful threat moves in to take over his city.
First person, present tense
Warning: language, violence, and irreverence (and Oxford commas)
Kara Thorpe started writing as a distraction in French class and never stopped (don’t ask her to conjugate many verbs). Born and raised under the South Texas sun, she spends her days navigating Houston traffic and the exciting world of production planning. Nights are for creating character-driven romances and wrangling a stubborn Siamese. Look for Chai’s cameo in each story.