Magic and Alphas: A Paranormal Romance Collection, p.1
Table of Contents
The Lunar Effect
Streak of Tigers
Edge of Magic
Queen of Gods
Dictionary of Terms
About the Author
Also by Devin J Fontaine
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
Full copyrights included at the conclusion of this volume.
Brenda Trim & Tami Julka
The Lunar Effect
Streak of Tigers
Margo Bond Collins
Edge of Magic
Queen of Gods
Scarlett Dawn & Katherine Rhodes
Dictionary of Terms
• Aether— The energy which surrounds everything on the Earthly plane. The strongest Practitioners can tap into it to increase their power.
• Altara (m.) Altarasha (f.)— soulmate
• Amicus— friend
• Angelen/Angelus— angels/angel
• Aura— Emotions surrounding a living being.
• Cor meum— my heart
• Dulcedo— sweetness (pet name)
• Fidelitas— faithful, loyal
• Fortis— strong
• Halla— love, my love
• Infernum— Hell
• Kanata— warrior
• Nephilim— offspring of a daemon and human
• Ritus— ritual
• Sancten/Sanctus— saints/saint
• Signum— seal (to break a seal)
• Veritas— truth
Places and Things to Know
• Great Battle— Angels and saints aligned with the nephilim cousins to banish the Daemon Kings.
• Trinity— A coalition of the three factions of immortals: Underworld, Hereafter, and Earthly Plane (daemons, angels and saints, and practitioners)
• Domus Desiderii— House of Lust. Inherited by Dante from the his sire, the Daemon King of Lust. Given to the Trinity to use for meetings.
• Four Horsemen— War, Famine, Death, and Pestilence. Goal is to open enough seals to bring the apocalypse to the Earthly plane.
• Hereafter— Ruled by the five Fates, it is where angels and saints are created.
• Underworld— The place where daemons and evil are spawned.
• Banished— Sending an immortal to the Underworld.
Colors of the Seven Sins
• Envy— Green
• Gluttony— Orange
• Lust— Navy Blue
• Wrath— Red
• Greed— Yellow
• Sloth— Light Blue
Colors of Auras
• Black— Stress
• Brown— Troubled, restless
• Red— Rage, anger
• Orange— Aggressive, irritated, hungry
• Gold— Hope
• Yellow— Confused, curious. greedy
• Yellow-green— Worried
• Lime Green— Shocked
• Emerald— Triumph, energetic, mischievous
• Dark Green— Disgusted, ill, nauseous
• Teal— Alert, anxious
• Ice Blue— Fear, panic
• Light Blue— Sleepy
• Blue— Relaxed, calm, lust-filled
• Dark Blue— Bored
• Blue-violet—Serious, confident
• Violet— Happy, prideful
• Light Purple— Excited
• Magenta— Embarrassed
• Dark Pink— Drunk, silly
• Light Pink— Amused, playful
• White— Hollow, blank
• Grey— Sad, bereft, hopeless
At the top of a small hill just outside the damp gray walls of the castle keep, the rider yanked hard on his mount, forcing the beast to swing around. The horse was enormous, easily twice that of its Earthly relations. A beast of this size was required to carry the shadowy figure looming on its back, his heavy frame much bigger than that of a human man. Facing the cluttered, uneven sprawl of pathetic little dwellings, where the poorest of the poor lay their heads at night, Death sat and awaited for the agreed upon time. Impatient and craving action, the pale horse shifted beneath his thighs. It shook its mighty head, eager to storm the village and stomp its hooves on the skulls of the sleeping inhabitants.
The wind shifted to blow from the North and Death’s cruel lips unfurled into a hideous grin.
It is time.
Death looked down upon the third finger of his left hand, where he wore a ring forged from a metal known only to those from the Underworld. The thick band began to glow, a smoky, shimmery gray light which radiated from within its dark, cold metal. Where once there was nothing, a scythe emerged, etched upon a flat surface of the ring. Death lifted his cloaked face to the sky and released his mount’s reins to spread his heavily muscled arms to either side, palms facing up. When midnight struck, he spoke the familiar words. Words older than the Earthly plane and everything on it. Words that called upon Death’s powers so that he could open the seal.
Death’s gruesome smile flourished as icy dark energy gathered and grew, drawing life from the force coiled within Death’s Earthly form. A gray fog collected in the sky above the r
“Praeparare ad mortem.”
The cloud pulsed and expanded outward, doubling in size. The mass flowed at Death’s bidding and slithered down the crest of the hill to rest above the quiet village.
With the final words spoken aloud, the seal opened. Heavy black smoke billowed outward, the area it blanketed so vast, when the mist lowered to the ground, it swallowed up the entire settlement—the dilapidated homes, the crumbling stables, the encampments and smoldering remains of cooking fires, along with every single creature caught within the boundaries of the escalating power.
Lightning streaked across the sky, the accompanying crack deafening to those who were of the Earthly plane.
Death frowned at the thought of the irritating pests… those humans. Pests which overran the land like swarms of locusts.
Rumbling thunder rolled through the valley, shaking the very ground beneath the pale horse’s ever shifting hooves. Death inhaled and braced himself as a great surge of power pushed its way inside his dull, blackened core and he shuddered in ecstasy.
Invisible to those of Earthly origin, a shadowy figure darted past Death’s shoulder and entered the dense mist. Death raised his fist and shouted encouragement as the shadow descended upon the village. To Death’s utter delight, the narrow dirt paths began to fill with curious mortals, woken from their slumber by the lightning, lightning from the Underworld, the sign a seal had opened.
Grinning, Death closed his eyes and sighed in delight when the first of the screams pierced the air.
The great ashen beast threw back its head and Death yanked up on the reins. He kicked the horse’s flanks and with his Earthly form tingling with energy, he charged directly into the township. Wails of the dying permeated the stagnant stench of waste and disease. Frightened humans spilled from their shacks, crude dwellings of sticks and thatch pasted together with mud and filth, panicked as they sought the source of confusion only to meet their own demise.
Death reveled in the sounds, the cacophony of those meeting their end, whilst welcoming the power that surged into his empty soul. One by one, the mortal vermin gurgled their final breath, giving Death what it was he required. The specter of death brought forth by the ring cut down all who crossed the path of its wicked, curved scythe, which it held in a pale, gnarled hand. With one final swipe, it returned to Death’s side. Death rejoiced in the aftermath of the massacre, his black core buzzing with the transfer of energy from mortal souls to his swirling center.
Alas, all things must come to an end. Exhilarated and riding a wave of euphoria, he tilted his head back, closed his eyes, and spoke the final words to bring an end to the ritual.
“Et factum es ita.”
The dark fog vanished along with the shadowed specter, leaving Death and his mount alone in the night. He nudged the horse, which took advantage of the slack in the reins and gleefully stomped over bone and flesh and blood until its pale coat was splattered with gore. Knowing that elsewhere on this damnable, forsaken plane, Death’s three brothers were taking pleasure in their own devastation, made his icy insides marginally warmer.
Once they destroyed everything on this wretched plane, the Four Horsemen would have enough power to not only take over Underworld, but invade and defeat the Hereafter as well, leaving the home of the angelen and sancten in ruins.
Michael Caelum, the Archangel of Protection, stood at the edge of what used to be a vibrant, bustling village. He maintained his stoic visage, impassive as per the norm. For the moment, Michael chose to ignore the admittedly numerous times his temper rose beyond its breaking point. As difficult as it was to push down the urge to allow one of his infamous fits of rage loose, Michael held tight and swallowed it down. He refused cause a scene. Not in the midst of so much pointless carnage, death spread out like a gruesome buffet.
The sharp scent of decomposing bodies made Michael’s nostrils flare and whilst he took extreme care to ensure he projected the picture of control over his quite irritating human emotions—an unfortunate side-effect of an immortal taking an Earthly form—by burying them deep, behind his mask of impassiveness, Michael felt anything but controlled.
Aye, he was enraged. Beyond enraged. In truth, Michael found himself so bloody furious, he viewed the destruction laid out in front of him through a red-tinged haze.
“Pestilence,” Michael snarled. The facade slipped and his lips peeled back to expose his gleaming white teeth. He spoke with his jaw clenched to maintain an even tone lest he give away the truth of his emotional state.
“It appears so,” Michael’s companion agreed. “Luke deems it to be the Black Death, though the affliction has not been seen in over a century.” His fellow immortal paused to stare at the gruesome number of bodies before continuing. “The word is that all are dead. Including the Manor Lord.”
Michael shifted his attention from the rotting, bloated corpses of hundreds upon hundreds of once vibrant humans to face St. Anthony of Padua, or Tony, the Patron Saint of Lost Items. Tony appeared as angry, if not angrier, than Michael—well, what little anger bled through Michael’s tightly orchestrated expression. In truth, the saint looked downright murderous. In time, Tony must needs learn to hide his emotions. Michael would say nothing today, as Tony was still young for an immortal and did not yet possess the skills necessary to control his feelings. Though, Tony was passionate, and Michael couldn’t be certain Tony would ever learn, nor care to hide how he felt.
Michael ignored his thoughts of young Anthony and spoke. “In truth, this behavior can no longer be ignored. Death alone razed three mid-sized villages in the past six months. Famine has destroyed enough crops and livestock in the eastern fields to rival the Great Wheat Famine. Based on this most current discovery,” Michael grimaced and gestured toward the field of corpses. “Courtesy of Pestilence, I am certain War is responsible for the current strife and infighting in the south.” Fingernails dug deep crescents in Michael’s palms. Fates, his Earthly form was so tense his jaw ached. “We must needs put a stop to the Horsemen’s rampage.”
“How?” Tony’s handsome features twisted with indignation. “Together, they are far too powerful. Every attempt the Guard has made to banish the bastards has thus far failed.”
“I’m still sorting it out,” Michael snapped, then bit his tongue. He must needs rein in the pressure in his chest. The rising urge to lash out in violence. “What I do know is that we cannot continue to allow the Horsemen to destroy the Earthly plane.” He narrowed his gaze as he took in the diseased corpses. “I am the Archangel of Protection, therefore my sworn duty to maintain balance between humans and immortals whilst preserving both species. It is clear the Horsemen cannot, nor will not, peacefully coexist with either.”
A burning flush prickled across Michael’s skin. A knot of red hot fury expanded in his gut and his voice rose as Michael clung to the last fraying threads which held him back. Tony was staring at him, yet Michael ignored the gaze which burned into the side of his face and continued his rant.
“They care for nothing but their own selfish needs and desires!” Michael vibrated with fury. Shaking, he closed his eyes and inhaled deep through his nose, a last ditch attempt to quell the fiery rage that burned in his gut.
“Do you suppose they have a larger goal?” Tony pointed at the decimated village. “One event of this magnitude every decade or so is customary for a Horseman. But this? So many horrific incidents in such a short span of time? It is unusual, even for those soulless bastards.”
“Mayhap.” Michael squinted and tilted his head toward Tony. The young male served as Michael’s most trusted companion and despite his youth, Tony was second in command of the Guard of the Righteous, a coalition of angelen and sancten. The Guard was task
“Are you suggesting the Horsemen mean to bring about the Apocalypse?”
Tony answered with only a sharp nod. Without a single twitch of his stony façade—an impressive feat considering—Michael glanced away to stare at the diseased bodies which littered the muddy ground. His angelen were busy collecting the dead, the gruesome pile now tall enough to surpass Michael’s own six-foot-six stature. The bodies were to be burned to prevent illness spreading to nearby villages. He sighed and rubbed a hand over his chin.
“I admit, it appears the Horsemen are traveling the path toward Judgment Day, though I cannot confirm it to be truth.” A torch touched the bonfire and brilliant orange flames, many over twenty feet high, licked at the stars overhead. “But I intend to find out.”
It wasn’t until the ashes were buried and the final dwelling reduced to rubble that Michael moved from his spot. The weight of a long, heavy sword carried in a worn leather sheath which Michael wore strapped to his back served to lend him comfort. The hilt sat positioned between Michael’s wide shoulder blades in such a way that all he must needs do was reach back and pull it free. He closed his eyes and a low hum began to emanate from the sword, the sound growing in intensity until the weapon vibrated with power. The energy crackled in Michael’s ear as the consecrated blade spoke to him. It was eager for battle, hungry to fight the evil that surrounded them.