The fourth volume of Paul Genesse’s Crimson Pact anthology series, featuring my short story “Return to Sender”, has hit the shelves. “Return to Sender” caps off my friend Gloria Weber’s inter-connected shorts, “Crimson Mail” and “No Mail”, which were published in the first two Crimson Pact anthologies. When a scheduling conflict prevented her from completing the trilogy, she passed the torch on to me. Many thanks to Gloria for letting me take her characters and spew my own issues all over them.
Here’s a brief excerpt,which I hope you enjoy. “Return to Sender” was a lot of fun to write.
Return to Sender
Leigh Dragoon (that’s me!!!)“We need to talk.”
The sentence glowed up at me from my phone.
I reached over and turned on the secondhand lamp perched on my nightstand. I winced away from the glare.
It figured. Six months without a peep, and as soon as I let my guard down, my ex-boyfriend messaged me.
I stomped to the apartment’s galley kitchen and tossed the phone down on the table. We need to talk. About what? As far as I was concerned, Matt and I had said everything we’d needed to right before I’d pointed my sky-blue Corolla west on I-80 and sped out of Ohio. I’d blocked his number once I reached Sacramento, but technology could only do so much against a determined mage.
I opened the cupboard, shoved aside a half-empty bag of flour, and reached for the burgundy-and-white box of Kosher salt. Just as effective as sea-salt but much cheaper. I’d have to weave protections to block any further messages, at least until I could change my number and maybe get a new phone.
The box felt too light. I peered inside. Empty.
Great. Just . . . great.
How had I missed running out of such a basic component? Salt and spring water formed the core of my magic. They were immutable, therefore incorruptible, and they lent that strength to whatever spells used them for a foundation. No matter what was done to them, they reverted back to their true selves every time.
I glanced at the microwave. Three-fifty AM. There was a 24-hour Wal-Mart a few miles from my apartment. I scooped my keys and wallet off the counter, shoved my feet into my sneakers and grabbed my jacket.
I crammed my left arm into the jacket and was groping behind me for the other sleeve when I opened the door and there he was. Matt. My ex, the professional demon hunter, who hadn’t wanted my help before, and I damn well knew wouldn’t need it now.
“Hey, Veronica,” he said. At least he had the decency to look embarrassed. “I just want to talk.”
I thought about slamming the door in his face. Better yet, walking past him, getting into my car, and driving to a bar.
Instead, like an idiot, I let him in.
Oooo, will Matt get a bittersweet come-uppance? Will Veronica crack, take him back, and make him waffles?! Buy it and find out what happens next!!!! (Seriously, buy it, I get royalties on this one) ;)