Wow! have I got a good one for you.
The Seer is the third book in a series, sent to me as an ARC. I expected to be confused, maybe even a little uninterested because, let's be honest, picking up with the third book in a series is like trying to watch a movie in the third act. You know what though? It didn't matter. From the first line I was engaged and by the end of the first scene there was no way I was putting the book down! The writing is beautiful, tense, and before you realize it you've stayed up all night reading. I have found my new paranormal series to love and a new author to stalk.
Blurb of The Seer by Cynthia D. Witherspoon
The past will foretell the future.
Eva McRayne has seen a lot during her short time as the Sibyl. She's spoken to
Eva McRayne has seen a lot during her short time as the Sibyl. She's spoken to
the dead. Fought against the Erinyes. But when she is faced by an entity no
one dares to speak of, Eva must strike back or lose the only thing she has ever
Excerpt of The Seer by Cynthia D. Witherspoon –
Available March 1, 2015
I ran as if my life depended on it. Somehow, even in this twisted nightmare of mine, I knew that it did.
Branches snapped back against my skin as I pushed through them. Leaves were crushed beneath my boots. The silence was the most unnerving part. I could feel. I could see. But there was no sound whatsoever.
Gone were the usual whispers which haunted my dreams. Gone were the voices of those long dead who clamored for my attention.
I was more alone than ever. Abandoned and discarded by the gods and dead alike.
I pressed against a tree in an attempt to hide long enough to catch my breath. My lungs were on fire. My legs ached from my run. Yet the moment I stopped, all hell broke loose. The silence was shattered as my hearing returned.
Dogs howled as they closed the narrow gap I had managed to make. Men shouted words I couldn’t understand as they gave chase. Hooves pounded against the forest floor and I knew they were coming for me.
This was it. The end.
And it was all for nothing.
I was convinced my heart was going to burst out of my chest as I resumed my flight. But to stop now would be my downfall. To slow down would be my demise.
Even as I ran, I understood my enemies’ fear. I was an unnatural. A monster made by a vengeful god. And I had done something horrible. Unspeakable. I knew this. I could feel my victim’s blood stiffening my clothes as each minute passed.
I just couldn’t remember what I had done. Had I struck out against Cyrus? Elliot? Joey?
Impossible. I wouldn’t hurt them. Hell, I wouldn’t hurt anyone without justification to do so.
Flashes of memory flickered behind my eyes in a blur that matched the trees I was passing. Cyrus’ golden sword slashing downward. Hazel eyes widening with surprise. The sword coming down once more before the life in those eyes diminished.
I stumbled as a loud explosion knocked me forward. I slammed against the ground with a plea for mercy as dogs circled around me. The first rider slid his horse to a stop just short of where I had landed.
“You will murder no one else in this land, Skinwalker.”
Skinwalker? I felt relief despite the fear gripping my heart. They were after someone else. Of course I wasn’t a murderer. I could be freed from this if the man would listen to me.
“No, please.” I managed as the man pressed the muzzle of his gun against my temple. “You’ve got to believe me. You’re wrong. I am not a Skinwalker. I don’t even know what that is. I am the Sibyl.”
“Either way, I will see you dead for what you have done.”
The resounding shot was deafening until the silence returned and with it, an eternal darkness my soul was all too familiar with.
I woke up screaming. Grabbing for anything steady enough to make the shaking of my body stop. Before I could collapse into the tears threatening to overwhelm me, Cyrus pulled me into his embrace.
“Hush, Little One. It was only a dream. You are safe.”
I buried my face into his chest as I willed myself to calm down. He was right. There was no gunman here. No one was chasing me. I was secure in my condo on the outskirts of Los Angeles in the arms of a man who would go to Hades before any harm came to me.
I knew this. I relished in the sweet security Cyrus provided. But now, it did nothing to stop the pounding of my heart or my head. I was still in the grip of my nightmare and it did not want to let me go.
I had to get ahold of myself. I breathed in Cyrus’ scent of old liquor and counted to five. It didn’t help. All I could see was the man on horseback with his gun.
“Here.” Cyrus pulled away just enough to press a glass between us. “Drink this. It should do wonders to calm your nerves, Eva.”
“One, I am not awake enough for whiskey. And two,” I pushed the cup away. “I’m fine. Just a little rattled.”
“Rattled, is it?” Cyrus put the glass down on my bedside table. “You’ve woken up screaming for the past three nights. Each time I end up having to change shirts because your tears have soaked them through. That is not what I call fine.”
I shuddered as he reached out to brush my hair away from my face. After a moment, Cyrus broke the silence between us.
I thanked Apollo that the nightmares of little girls with demon eyes had not made an appearance tonight. I could still hear them giggling over the fight I had been forced into over Elliot’s soul. I shook my head to get rid of the memory as I switched on the lamp beside my bed with a glance over to my alarm clock. It was just after six in the morning.
“Look, you know I’m no good at talking about things I don’t want to. Don’t push me, Cyrus.”
“Will coffee help?” Cyrus gave me a crooked smile as he offered me his hand. “I bought a new bag yesterday for you.”
“Coffee always helps.”
I took his hand and let him lead me into the kitchen. Once Cyrus had deposited me at the table, he busied himself with my coffeemaker while I tried to forget the images trying to return to my head.
Running through a forest. Chased down by men on horseback. The sound of the final gunshot.
My nightmare was always the same. There had been no fluctuations to it over the past three nights. No break in the action. Cyrus had tried to calm me before by saying the bad dreams were nothing more than a workplace hazard. Images born out of the horrible stories of death I had to tell on my television show. But I knew better. What I was seeing wasn’t just the product of haunted houses. They were either memories or premonitions.
And I didn’t believe in premonitions.
“One mug with enough sugar to put you in a coma,” Cyrus sat my favorite yellow coffee mug in front of me. “And just enough coffee to give it taste.”
“Bless you, Cyrus.” I cradled it in my hands. The warmth was soothing. The smell alone was enough to chase away the rest of my lingering fears. “You are the best keeper ever.”
“I know.” He grinned. “I’m also your only keeper, so you better take advantage of it.”
Cyrus switched from playful to serious in two seconds flat. He tapped his fingers against the tabletop as he spoke. “Come on, Little One. Talk to me. Perhaps we can find a way to put a stop to this dream of yours.”
“It’s not just any dream.” I shrugged as I swallowed my drink. “Besides, can you even stop such a thing? I’m sorry, Stick, but I don’t think you can protect me from this one.”
Cyrus awarded me with another crooked smile at the use of my nickname for him. But what I had said was true. As my keeper, Cyrus was bound to protect me from any spirit who wished to do me harm that I came in contact with as the Sibyl. That was his duty to Apollo just as mine was in using spirit communication to bring him followers. But dreams were different than ghosts.
No. This was a battle I would have to fight on my own.
“During my time, it was believed that there were two types of dreams.” Cyrus leaned forward to rest his elbows on the table. “The insomnium, which could be interpreted, and the somnium which foretold the future. Do you believe this is a dream of prophecy?”
“No.” I snapped before I could stop myself. I took a breath, muttered an apology, and started over. “At least, I hope to the gods it’s not.”
“Because it is horrible.” I muttered again as I stared into the remains of my coffee as if it had the answers. “I die, Cyrus. Shot in the head.”
My keeper didn’t argue with me. He didn’t need to remind me that I had no need to fear death. As the Sibyl, I was an immortal until I chose to relinquish my role. But since I’d broken the ancient mirror used to pass the powers of my position from one girl to another, I knew there was no way I could ever be replaced.
No, instead of arguing, Cyrus did the most annoying thing. He went silent. It was up to me to fill in the gaps as he waited for an explanation. I didn’t know why I couldn’t talk about what I’d seen. And I couldn’t explain my reaction to it. After all, it was just a stupid dream. So I gave in to his silent treatment and started talking.
I told Cyrus everything; from the forest to the murder to the gunshot which never failed to wake me up. When I was finished, I glanced over to see that his expression had gone dark.
“Well, oh wise one?” I took the final gulp of my now cold coffee. “What do you think? Is this some vengeful spirit looking to find the men who killed him? Is it indeed a prophecy and I am killed somehow? Or have I finally gone completely insane thanks to this whole talking-to-the-dead business?”
“Alright, Eva.” Cyrus held up his hand to shush me. “I get your point. Yet despite your sarcasm, you may just be correct.”
“That I’m insane?”
“No, silly girl.” Cyrus clasped his hand over mine. “Remember, if you will, that even in your sleep the spirits can still contact you. It is when you are the most vulnerable. I do not believe that this is a nightmare at all. I think it is a memory.”
“So do I. But who does it belong to? And why do I tell the shooter that he has the wrong person? That I’m the Sibyl?”
“I do not know.” Cyrus shook his head. “I think we are asking the wrong questions though. I am curious as to what this monster is. What was it called again?”
“I will see what I can find out while you are in your meeting this morning. What time do you have to be there?”
“Eight-thirty.” I stood and rinsed out my coffee mug. “Since we are finished with the contract negotiations for season two, Connor wants all the paperwork signed by the time Joseph gets into the office.”
I was drying off the mug when Cyrus came up behind me. He took the dishrag away from me before putting his hands on my shoulders. My keeper turned me to face him before he wrapped his arms around me. I closed my eyes as my heart flipped at his touch. Say what you will about Cyrus, but he was good to me. And he had the most amazing ability to raise my blood pressure. I felt myself blushing as he brushed a single kiss of my ear before he whispered.
“I will keep you safe, Little One. Monsters or no, you will have nothing to fear in this life.”
*** End of Excerpt ***
Cynthia D. Witherspoon is an award winning writer of Southern Gothic, Paranormal Romance, and Urban Fantasy. She has been published in numerous anthologies since 2009. Her work has appeared in several award winning collections including Dark Tales of Ancient Civilizations (2012) and PellucidLunacy (2010).
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/cynthia-d.-witherspoon