Zombies. Black magic. Romance. Nobody said necromancy was easy.
All Evanthe wants is to hone her necromancy skills and gain the affections of her reclusive mentor, Morrow. Just when she thinks he might reciprocate her feelings, a face from his past threatens the life Evanthe is working so hard for. Now she's up against rogue necromancers, smarmy demonologists, and blood-thirsty zombies as she and Morrow fight to protect a secret that could kill them both. Evanthe's a talented necromancer, but that might not be enough to guarantee her a happy ending.
This is a previously published work. It has been revised and edited for Evernight Publishing.
“Evanthe.” He sounded strangely hesitant, unlike himself. “We should...” He trailed off, looking down as if he too was fascinated by the sight of his hand resting on hers. “We should start,” he said.
It wasn’t what he meant to say, she sensed. Hope flared treacherously inside her. They worked quietly after that, murmuring to each other now and then. Morrow led the spell casting, rubbing crushed vetiver into the salve, then rubbing the salve into the pickled Hand. He chanted as he worked. It sounded Latin, but Evanthe knew it was mostly nonsense, a way of channeling the magic. And the magic felt good. An icy caress down her spine, tingling against her skin and raising her own magic to feed into the spell.
A few times Morrow brushed her hand again, his fingers trailing fire up her arm and shaking her concentration. The Hand glowed a soft, ugly green as they worked and the magic sank in. It would glow the same green when the client activated the spell, sending whoever she chose into a deep slumber.
An hour later, they were finished. Morrow stopped chanting and the weave of magic fell away from Evanthe. She sighed, shoulders slumping in disappointment. There was nothing like the buzz of magic running through you. Nothing she’d experienced yet anyway. She stole one quick glance at Morrow as he wrapped the Hand in a simple white cloth.
“What time are we expecting the client?” she asked.
Without glancing up, he replied, “An hour or so, I’d guess. You don’t have to hang around for that if you don’t want.”
Her cheeks flamed again and she wished bitterly she wasn’t so pale. Her entire face must light up like a beacon. “You don’t want me there?” She tried to sound light, unconcerned, but was pretty sure she sounded sulky and sharp.
He faced her, his eyes dark, lips curved down. Not frowning... regretful, maybe. “I always want you around,” he said. “I don’t want you to feel obliged to be here. You could be out...” He trailed off, waving his hands vaguely. “Doing something. With people your own age.”
She had to smile. He clearly had no idea what a twenty-year-old woman might do with her spare time. “Don’t give me the old man routine,” she teased as he approached. “You’re not that much older than me.”
She was poised at the foot of the stairs, blocking his way up, and her heart raced as he stepped close, so close. Deliberately close, she felt, feeling the heat of his smile as he answered.
“Old enough to know better, I thought.”
Now her whole body flushed. He had to kiss her, surely? You couldn’t get this close without kissing. She didn’t dare close her eyes in case he vanished. His eyes glowed, lips curved in that faint smile she was never sure meant he was sad or happy.
He ran his fingers down her cheek, brushed his thumb over her lips, making the air catch in her throat. “Evanthe.” He whispered her name like it was a charm, fingers moving back up to tangle gently in her hair and ease her ever so slightly closer, and now she dared to close her eyes, anticipation sending shivers through her.
Then he sighed and released her. Evanthe’s eyes flew open. “Morrow?”
He slid past her. “I’m sorry. That was...inappropriate.” Then he was gone, running up the stairs and leaving Evanthe alone in the workshop, embarrassed, confused, and furious.