Paranormal Hunter Dani Black wants nothing more ardently than she does revenge.
Welcome to one of the July 30th stops on the blog tour for Cinders of Yesterday by Jen Karner with Silver Dagger Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
Cinders of Yesterday
Legacy of Shadows Book One
by Jen Karner
Published 22 June 2021
City Owl Press
Genre: LGBTQ Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 304
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Paranormal Hunter Dani Black wants nothing more ardently than she does revenge. A year ago, the rogue Necromancer Spectre murdered her partner during a hunt gone wrong, and she’s been looking for a way to kill him —and keep him dead — ever since. When rumors of a weapon capable of killing anything surfaces in Dawson Maryland, she sets out on a mission to get her hands on it. While unraveling a web of clues about her own past, Dani runs into the alluring Emilie Lockgrove, eldest daughter of a magical family who are inexplicably tied to Spectre.
Emilie Lockgrove survived the catastrophic fire that killed her mother and hospitalized both her and her sister. Ten years later, she has returned to Dawson, expecting to confront the trauma of her past and move on. Instead, she discovers magic is real and encounters actual ghosts, namely the necromancer who has been hunting her family for 200 years.
Dani intends to kill Spectre, or die trying. Emilie wants to reclaim her life and her memories of the magic protecting her from Spectre. To survive, they’ll need to work together to confront their past, break the spell holding back Emilie’s magic, and destroy Spectre once and for all.
Her stomach growled as Joe slid a heaping plate of food in front of her. She pushed the folder to the side to focus on lunch. Grease-soaked fries, cheese so hot it burned her mouth, and chunks of real bacon was the perfect remedy for too many hours behind the wheel. She cleared half the plate before stopping to take a drink, the angry edge of hunger sated.
“Spectre isn’t your run-of-the-mill talented,” Joe said with a lingering look. “He’s old, and he’s nasty. Bastard don’t like stayin’ dead.”
“Is it because he’s a necromancer?” she asked.
“Doubtful. Even powerful talented stay down when you put ’em there—provided you do the job right the first time.” He tapped the bar counter with two fingers. “But he’s worked some kind of mojo, keeps him safe. Nobody’s managed to keep him dead.”
“So I’ve seen.” Dani clucked her tongue and finished her fries before pushing the plate to the side. “Same shit I heard from everybody else.” She waited a beat. “More or less.”
“Time was, there were weapons capable of handling things like him.” Joe wiped at the scarred counter with a rag, keeping an eye on her as he did.
“Old weapons. Older ‘n pretty much anything but lore these days. Called veilblades. Nobody’s seen one in…a long time. But rumor is, there’s one up in Maryland.”
“Rumor?” Dani opened the folder and scanned the details as Joe spoke.
“You gotta understand, Firecracker, we’re dealing with rumors. And you—”
“Know how hunters talk.” She finished his sentence for him with a smile. “Yeah, but you’re the one who taught me most every rumor started with a seed of truth, right?” She cocked an eyebrow. “Nobody has anything concrete. Fucking everybody has heard of Spectre, but he might as well be Valkyrie.”
“Valkyrie is no joke.” Joe’s eyes slid away, and Dani filed away the “tell” for later.
“Okay, sure. But there isn’t a trail. No real name, no hometown, no associates. It’s like he’s made of smoke and mirrors. Just…a nightmare for baby hunters.” She finished her beer with a scowl. “Except he’s real.”
“Way back when, there was a well-known family of hunters up in Dawson,” Joe said. “Capable of taking out nastier things than most of the hunters working these days.”
“It’s been years since anybody caught up with ’em. They worked outta Dawson for a long time, and then overnight, they were gone.” He shrugged and his gaze slid away from hers for the second time in as many minutes.
“Dawson…the name sounds familiar but…”
“It’s a little spot, up on Catoctin Mountain.”
“And what? You think this veilblade is still up there?” Dani raised an eyebrow.
“Maybe. Veilblades are old as legend and just as powerful. The hunters up there had at least one, maybe two. And after the family disappeared…well those blades aren’t the sort of weapon that disappears without a trace.” His eyes slide away from Dani’s again, as though keeping something from her.
“Why did they matter so much?”
“I’ve only got tidbits to go on.”
“So share with the class.” Dani gestured widely.
“You know the stories about the first hunters, right? Bladesingers, able to cut through wraiths like they were smoke and shadows. A blade for each of ’em. The Black family had a pedigree in hunting when they were still around.”
“And they up and poofed?”
Dani shifted in her seat and leaned forward, hungry for more information. Growing up without family, without anybody until she was a teenager, made hunting different for her than for other lifers. They’d been raised in the life, or trained by family like it was a legacy they needed to uphold. For her it wasn’t any of that, it just felt right. Down to the marrow of her bones she was a hunter, so hearing about a family that shared her last name and had a way with hunting wasn’t easy. She didn’t want to think about it, especially not if they were all gone.
“Like I said, they disappeared overnight. Nobody knew what went down, but sentinels locked the place down.” Joe tossed the rag under the counter and avoided her eyes.
Dani blinked and sat back, rubbing a hand over her face. Wasn’t this what she’d wanted? What she’d been asking and hoping and praying for? Something that might help her take Spectre down and keep him there. But things were getting complicated fast.
She’d left Graham dead and staring at her from the ground of a dirty warehouse in Alabama, but Spectre had followed her, chased her across eight months and twelve states. Only quick thinking and every spell and precaution in the book had kept her alive.
Sentinels elevated this to a whole new level though. There was a magical ecosystem in the world, three basic branches that tried to avoid each other. Hunters handled the rogue elements. Talented and casters could enjoy their lives without worrying about having their face blown off, so long as they didn’t screw up. And sentinels kept the peace and protected the land. They made sure that the supernatural didn’t spill over into the normal world and tried to keep regular people from sticking their nose in where it didn’t belong.
“Do you know the sentinels up there? Any of the talented? Anybody?” Dani insinuated the real question under her words. Can we trust these rumors if they involve sentinels? No way was she crossing one if she didn’t have to.
“Yeah, yeah I do.” Joe cracked open a second beer and drained half in a single long swallow. “I knew the hunters back then. Ben.” He tipped the bottle in his hand, staring at the label as though it would explain something to him. “And the Lockgrove family.”
“As in Ephraim ‘I own half of the antique relics on the market’ Lockgrove?” Dani’s jaw dropped. “You’ve been holding out on me.”
“Don’t get so excited. Ephraim handed over the biz to his son, who is…not the man his father is.”
“So we can trust this rumor then. It isn’t just bullshit from the road.”
“It isn’t just BS from the road,” Joe said.
“So the hunters. They never…came back?”
“Only one of ’em. In a body bag. Blade never showed up either, and after they went down, Spectre got bolder. More active than he’d been in a long time.”
“So Dawson is my best shot.”
“Darlin, I think it might be the only shot.”
“Guess that settles it then, huh? Maryland here I come.”
About the Author
Jen Karner is a queer writer who never attended college but still did the required reading. A feminist banshee, she enjoys horror movies, tabletop games, and debating about her many fandoms. When she isn’t writing, you can find her pretending to catch up on her TBR list, trying to convince her dog to love her best, or watching D&D shows.
Jen was raised in the Baltimore suburbs, where she devoured as many books as possible and spent her afternoons running amuck in the woods. She lives with her nesting partner, their dog, and a growing number of plants.
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