Author: E.M. MacCallum
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
When strange shadows and messages plague Nora's daily life she fears for her sanity. To escape questions from her family, Nora joins her friends on a weekend getaway. Despite not liking Aidan Birket, Nora finds his remote, Victorian house charming. Until they discover the marble doorway on the third floor and, against Nora's better judgment, they open it.
Trespassing into an unfamiliar world called the Demon's Grave, the group face a charismatic demon and six nightmarish Challenges as punishment. Those that make it to the end can go home, but those that don't will be his forever. Friendships are tested, secrets revealed and sacrifices will be made.
Nora battles zombies, doppelgängers, eyeless bikers, and the demon—whose interests are more than just a game of cat and mouse. If it's all in her head, then it should be easy. But, if not, it means the demon knows about her sticky past, and the death of her twin sister.
Even the frogs and crickets ceased. They waited and listened. She could sense the anticipation.
She felt the sacred vibrations all around her. A false move, voice or intention could shatter it. She adored it like a warm bath on a cold day or food on an empty stomach.
It had been years of waiting, yearning, and pleading with the world to see this moment unfold.
The pains her body endured were paltry compared to this—compared to him.
One of the brothers attempted to speak.
Hissing through her teeth, she glared over her shoulder.
With an audible click of teeth, the taller man's jaw shut. Doubt shadowed his rigid features and he looked to his smaller, more violent brother.
The second man with flaming orange hair clasped his knees to catch his breath and was looking up at the flames, then to her. The Devil lived in that one. He must have felt the earth speak to them. Not at the same level as she, of course, but he must have sensed it.
Remaining quiet, the more ruthless of her two tormenters stayed quiet, knowing what he'd done.
His mistake earlier could have botched the entire ritual. If the ritual had failed she knew he wouldn't pay for it, she would. She'd waited too long for this moment and suffered too much to allow that now.
Fear got the better of her and she whispered through the silence, quivering the thickened air. "If you screwed this up because you can't catch a kid, you'll pay." The idea spawned a physical pain in her chest. Frustrated with the emotions she twisted the heartache into something she could comprehend: anger.
The redhead smirked as if it were the most amusing thing she'd said all day. She was no match for him physically, he had demonstrated that on more than one occasion, but this time would be different.
Stillness gave way to a chill. His chill…no, his power. Despite being so near the fire, she felt like there was ice in her veins.
He was closer.
Gripping the black, leather-bound book to her chest she felt the power disturbing the air.
She hardly felt the howling wind above; though she could see it twisting the tip of the bonfire in a fiery vortex.
According to her book, the flames acted as a conduit between the two worlds.
Her partners shouted in alarm and she smiled inwardly.
They were fools, always bossing her around, thinking her inferior. The bruises on her arms and legs would fade and so would her memories of them. She doubted she would even think of them after tonight.
"What is this?" A mellifluous voice that might as well have pulled her into an embrace, whispered at her. He asked only her, not them, but her.
For a split second, she forgot to breathe.
The exhilaration wracking her limbs shuddered through her voice as she gasped. He was here at last, he was with her, he came after all the grueling work and sacrifice. This had been a moment she feared she may only experience in her imagination. She wanted to exclaim, "It's you!" but knew better. This demon wouldn't want praise even if she fell to the ground weeping.
Swallowing the nervous bile in the back of her throat she called out. "Do you like her?" The confidence ringing in her voice surprised her. Her insides were a sloshing muck in comparison.
"I wanted the other one," he answered in obvious displeasure.
Listening to his voice echo in her head, she tried to memorize it, to capture it.
She searched the bonfire wanting to see him. Those idiots, she thought. There were only two. I'd told them which one to sacrifice and what do they do? They could have ruined everything!
Breaking from her composure, she protested. "She couldn't have gone far. I can find…"
"You're wasting my time," his abrupt tone straightened her spine.
For the first time since initiating the ritual she felt a hint of fear. "I did not mean to. Please, what may I…"
"You sacrificed the wrong one."
"I sacrificed her for you," she answered, lifting her hands pleadingly. She knew running back to find the other child would take too long. The portal would close in a few minutes.
Shaking dirt off her fingertips she cleared her throat.
This was her last gateway to a better place, she reminded herself. "I want to join you in the Demon's Grave," she blurted in painful desperation.
The air was growing thinner, less vibrant, less…magical.
Dread wriggled inside of her as the silence stretched—ached.
On the verge of panic she hoped he hadn't abandoned her. "You can choose your Neophyte. I asked the Keeper from this realm and he confirmed this rule." Her heart fluttered like a trapped butterfly. "I wish to leave this world and join you. Choose me!"
"The Demon's Grave" trilogy came out mid-2015
"Zombie-Killer Bill" novella will be re-released 2015
If you'd like to know more, please visit: www.emmaccallum.com