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Storm (Deadwood Ravens Book 2)

Storm (Deadwood Ravens Book 2)

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Click To Read The Synopsis

I thought the vampire bats were all I had to worry about. I was wrong.

I killed Erin’s mate. Now she’s coming for me, but she’s not the only one. Random shifters seem drawn to me faster than a moth to a flame.

Armed with a potion from the raven witch, I head back to my apartment with some from Poe’s crew while allowing him time to calm the shifters gathering in Gray Cove and figure out why they’re suddenly so drawn to me.

However, Norbury is no longer home and I’ll have to fight like hell to survive it.

Click To Read Chapter One


My shoes squeaked on the top step, sending hope pounding through my body. It shattered the instant Erin’s hand wrapped around my ankle and jerked me back to the dirt floor.

I landed with a thud, sending all the air rushing from my lungs. I didn’t have a chance to catch my breath before Erin was on me. She jerked me up, forcing me to look her in the eyes. They were solid black like Pike’s had been that first night at his house. Fear shot through my core, sending little shock waves of panic to my heart.

She looked demonic.

I waited for her to compel me to do what she wanted, but it never came. Instead, her fangs descended, and she sank them deep into the side of my neck. I cried out at the pain of them piercing my skin and tried to shove her away. My hands hit her and clawed at her, but it did no good. Her grip on me never loosened and her fangs never released. Instead, her gulps of my blood grew greedier by the second. I could feel my blood leaving me, my essence. My arms grew slack at my sides and my head fell back, exposing my neck to her even more. 

Erin was draining me. She was sucking the life right from me.

Time seemed to stand still. Dark spots speckled the edges of my vision and my body grew slack in her arms. I knew this was it. This was how I died. An odd sense of peace settled over me. There would be no more fighting. No more running. I would no longer be afraid of the dark.


There were three things I’d learned over the last few days. 

One—Poe’s bar, Ravens, ran like a well-oiled machine. While there were only four people running it—Poe, Cash, Myra, and Esmeralda—they were as efficient as ten. Each person had their station, and they could do all tasks within it without struggle.

Two—Esmeralda would hate me no matter what I did. Seriously. I’d tried cracking jokes with her, staying out of her way, complimenting her houseplants, and even offering to clean the glasses from the bar for her, which I knew was her least favorite task here. Nothing worked. Her face always had a permanent scowl while in my presence, and she made it clear daily how much she loathed me. 

And then there was number three, which was probably the biggest thing I’d learned in the last few days—post traumatic stress disorder was real and I suffered from it. Every time I glanced at my forearm, I saw the message Erin had etched into my skin with the help of a witch again—you’ll pay for what you did. Even though the words were no longer there—heck, nothing was—they haunted me. I was haunted by a lot of things. Like the fact that when I closed my eyes at night, images of the redheaded vampire bat I’d staked through the heart with the handle of a broom flashed through my mind. Each night, I relived that moment on Poe’s porch in vivid clarity. I could see Redhead’s shocked expression the closer he came to the end of the broomstick in my hands, the terror that danced through his eyes when he realized what was about to happen and how he had no way to stop it. I couldn’t get it out of my head, no matter how hard I tried.

If I was being honest, it was because I felt guilty for killing him. 

He’d shown up to abduct me, not kill me. Heck, he hadn’t even been there with the intention of harming me. Not really. All Redhead had intended to do was take me back to Pike so I could heal more sick or wounded shifters with my Mystic magic while he profited from it. 

And I’d killed him.

It hadn’t been intentional, but I’d done it. I stabbed a broomstick right through his heart. He’d turned to dust and then blew away on the wind. 

My stomach churned at the memory, and I swallowed hard.

Part of me thought I deserved whatever came my way next. However, there was still a large part of me that only wanted to protect myself—to survive. I just wished I knew what I would need to protect myself from. What I would be surviving.

Right now, I was waiting on pins and needles.

My teeth sank into my bottom lip. I’d been on edge these past few days, waiting for Erin and Pike to attack. It was definitely taking its toll on my mental state. I was exhausted because of it. 

I shifted my attention from my arm to the tiny window above the sink where I stood in the kitchen of Poe’s bar, washing glasses for Esmeralda. Night was falling. The sun was already making its descent behind the tops of the trees in the distance, and the last remnants of pink and purple lingered in the sky. Any second now, the pitch blackness of night would devour them, leaving nothing behind except solid darkness. Icy pinpricks shot through my chest as my heart rate spiked. Same as last night, I worried tonight would be the night the vampire bats returned.

That tonight would be the night Erin came for me again.

She’d said she would make me pay for what I’d done—for killing her mate—and while there was a part of me that felt I deserved whatever happened to me next, there was also a part that refused to let her take me out. A part that refused to die. I also wasn’t willing to be someone’s slave. There was no way I would go back to that house and heal sick and wounded shifters for Pike. 

“This one is still dirty,” Esmeralda said, startling me. I hadn’t heard her walk up behind me. I’d been zoned out. 

“Is it?” I asked, taking the glass from her. There didn’t seem to be a single speck on the thing, but I wasn’t in the mood to argue with her. Panic had dug its icy claws into me and was refusing to let go. “I’ll wash it again.”

“Get inside the scratch this time. There’s dirt in it,” she insisted. “And make sure you dry them by hand. They get splotchy when you let them air dry instead. Also, you need to kick it in gear. I need glasses out front. This place is slammed tonight, and I’m already low.” She tossed her long, dark hair over her shoulder before exiting the kitchen. 

I released a puff of air as I watched her walk away. She was in a mood tonight. More so than usual.

“Are you planning on standing up to her any time soon?” Cash asked. “I’m not sure how much more of her bitchiness I can take. She must be on her period or somethin’ tonight.”

I glared at him, giving him death rays with my eyes. “Nope. Don’t even go there.” I hated it when guys blamed a girl’s rudeness on her period. “Just because she’s being a bitch does not mean she’s on her period. She’s just a bitch,” I said with a shrug.

A crooked grin formed on Cash’s face. “Point made. I mean, if that was the case, then Esmeralda would be on her period all the freaking time, wouldn’t she?” His grin grew.

I rolled my eyes and went back to washing glasses, this time being sure to give the one Esmeralda had brought me an extra good scrub. 

Keeping my hands busy helped calm my mind. It kept thoughts of my current predicament from spiraling out of control, which was why I was glad Poe had offered to let me work here for the time being. My anxiety would have gotten the best of me over the last few days if I’d been sitting around doing nothing. 

“I need two hotdogs. One with chili, and one without,” Myra said as she poked her head into the kitchen. “Both with fries.” She caught my eye and flashed me a wide smile before heading back to the bar. 

Hotdogs, beers, and fries seemed to be in high demand tonight. I’d never seen this place so busy. Then again, it wasn’t as though I frequented it. I had no clue if all Mondays were like this. It was possible, considering they were closed on Sundays. 

“Hey, is a hotdog considered a sandwich?” Cash asked, drawing my attention to him.


“A hot dog,” he repeated, shifting to glance at me. A serious expression twisted his features. “Is it considered a sandwich? I mean, it’s technically meat squished between two pieces of bread. Isn’t that the definition of a sandwich?”

I made a face. Were most hotdogs even considered meat?

“Huh. I’m not sure. I’ve never thought about it before,” I admitted.

“Well, now that you are—what do you think?” It was clear he planned to bother me until I gave him an answer. “I say it’s a sandwich,” he said.

What I really wanted to know was where the heck these questions of his came from. Cash always seemed to toss out random questions I’d never thought about a day in my life. He was definitely a unique soul.

“What is?” Poe asked as he made his way into the kitchen carrying two bags of ice. The icemaker had gone out days ago, and with the number of customers filling the place, I was sure he wished it hadn’t. He’d hired someone to fix it, but they were waiting on the part to be delivered. This meant he’d been making trips across the street to the gas station for bags of ice multiple times tonight.

Waiting on parts seemed to be the theme lately. I was still waiting on Atlas, Poe’s mechanic friend, to call or text with an update on my car. He’d said he would reach out when they came in so he could give me a timeline for when he’d have my car up and running again. Even though I had no place to go, I still missed my little car. Sally was familiar. And lately, there didn’t seem to be much familiarity around me.

“A hot dog—is it considered a sandwich?” Cash asked Poe as he plated two baskets of fries for Myra’s order. “I think it is, but Gemma seems undecided. What about you? What do you think?”

“I’m not sure, but what I’d really like to know is how the hell you keep coming up with these random ass questions?” Poe asked with a slight shake of his head. A grin spread across his face. “I’ve known you for years and you always toss the most bizarre ones out.”

“I was thinking the same.” I locked eyes with Poe. That same electrical sensation that always rippled through me when we were near each other ignited to life again. 

“The gears are always spinning. Always,” Cash said, tapping his temple.

Poe licked his lips and then shifted his gaze from me to Cash. “Maybe so, but I’m not sure they’re always spinning in the right direction,” he teased. 

I stifled a laugh. 

“Life would be boring if they were,” Cash countered.

Poe ripped a bag of ice open and dumped its contents into the machine. His gaze shifted to me again and butterflies erupted in the pit of my stomach. 

“Still busy out there?” I asked, needing something to say. The intensity of his stare was making me feel tingly all over.

“Yeah.” Poe’s eyes darkened as his brows pinched together.

I gathered from his expression he didn’t care for how busy the place was tonight. He seemed to be on edge. I didn’t understand why, though. More customers meant more money, and more money was always a good thing in my book.

“Is this place always this busy on Monday nights?” I wondered, trying to figure out if there was an uptick in customers and if that was what had him so bristly.

His nostrils flared. “Not usually.”

I opened my mouth to ask if he was okay, he seemed so off, but Cash spoke before I could.

“Seriously, though,” he piped up again, his attention focused on me. “Sandwich or not?” He wiggled a hotdog in the air with a pair of tongs. The sight had me smirking.

“Sandwich,” I said, going with the first answer that came to mind.

“Ha! Yes! I think so, too.” He grinned. “I mean, it’s bread with meat and condiments. Some people even add cheese or chili. Onions. Relish. Loads of things.” 

“This is true,” I said. 

My gaze migrated to Poe. I could still feel his eyes on me. 

“You doing okay?” he asked. His stare intensified. What was with him tonight? “Ready for a break or something to eat?” he asked as he tore the second bag of ice open and dumped it into the machine.

“I had a break twenty minutes ago.” 

The way he constantly checked on me tonight was cute, but it made me wonder if everything was all right. My curiosity was piquing, especially since his irritation seemed to be coming from the front of the bar and I’d been back here for the better part of the night. 

“Right. Well, I wanted to make sure you weren’t needing one,” he said before licking his lips.

I shook my head. “I’m fine.”

My eyes dipped to his lips. I couldn’t look anywhere else. I was tossed back to our fiery kiss on his front porch at Deadwood Manor the last time the vampire bats had attacked. We had yet to recreate it, but I’d thought about it a million times.

Never had I been so desperate for a second kiss from someone.

“Y’all, seriously.” Cash’s tone dripped with disgust. He waved a hand in front of his face as though something smelled bad and then made a gagging noise. “The pheromones rolling off you two are choking me to death. Thank goodness I’m not a wolf shifter or I’d probably be dead right now from the potency.”

My cheeks burned. 

While I knew I was surrounded by shifters—and I’d accepted it mostly—I still tended to forget more often than not. Everyone seemed so normal—so human.

I returned my attention back to the glasses that still needed to be washed. Poe said something to Cash, but I couldn’t make out what over the sound of the water running. A cell phone rang, and it took me longer than it should to realize it was mine. 

I dried my hands on a nearby dish towel and grabbed my phone from my back pocket.

Carol’s name lit up my screen, and suddenly my old life from before being abducted, learning shifters were real, and that I was a Mystic flashed through my head. It was Monday. My stomach dipped. I knew immediately why she was calling. On Mondays, the Kellers brought in their two old English sheepdogs to be brushed out and freshened up. It generally took me an hour per dog because they didn’t enjoy the process or listen well. 

“Shit,” I muttered, feeling panicked.

Poe walked toward me. “What’s wrong?” 

I silenced the call. “It’s Carol, my boss at the groomer I worked for back in Norbury. She’s probably flipping out, wondering where I’ve been the past few days.” Or at the very least, she was calling to chew me a new one for leaving her high and dry. 

Especially on today of all days. 

There was no way she would have been able to take care of the Kellers’ dogs while also grooming the rest booked for the day. It wasn’t possible.

My phone stopped vibrating in my hand, but then started right up again. Carol had called me back instead of leaving a voicemail. 

“Oh, yeah. She’s totally pissed.” I grimaced, my gaze fixed on my phone. 

Carol might look all sweet and innocent, but she had a mean streak that ran deep when someone crossed her. I’d once seen her chew an old man out for bringing his dog in while he was suffering from a nasty parasitic infection. She’d ripped him a new one and then banned him. A week later, I watched her print out a bill for the sanitization of her shop and mail it to him. She also had threatened to sue for loss of wages and emotional distress. 

To this day, I still had no idea if she’d actually sued him. It was never discussed again. All I knew was that Carol wasn’t someone you pissed off and got away with it. And by not calling in, or letting her know I was taking time off, I had most definitely pissed her off.

“I don’t know what to say to her.” I chewed the inside of my cheek while I lifted my gaze to meet Poe’s. “I mean, it’s not like I can say I’m sorry for missing the last few days, but I’ve been running from vampire bats who abducted me to pimp out my magic for their benefit.”

My brain buzzed.

“No, I get it.” Poe folded his arms over his chest, and a pensive expression twisted his features. “You’ll have to tell her something. The question is, are you telling her you’re taking time off or that you’re moving?” An intensity I hadn’t expected to see sparked through the color of his eyes, one that made it hard to hold his stare. 

Cash was staring at me, too. 

I averted my eyes to the soap bubbles in the sink while thinking. What would I say to her? What should I say?

I felt as though I should have already had an answer planned for this moment, like I should’ve come to a decision about it all by now, but the truth was I hadn’t. All I’d been able to think about lately was how to stay alive. Deciding on what I would do beyond that wasn’t something I’d done yet.

“Well, it’s not like I can go back anytime soon. Not with Pike and his crew after me,” I said. I was thinking out loud. My words were mainly to myself, but I knew they’d both heard me. Needing something to do with my hands, I grabbed another glass and began scrubbing it clean. “It’s not fair of me to act as though I’m coming back tomorrow, which means I should probably tell her she needs to hire someone else. I know how busy her calendar is. She’ll need help.” 

“So, you’re staying, then?” Esmeralda asked from the kitchen doorway. She held a new order out to Cash, but he didn’t see her. “In Gray Cove?”

I looked at her. “Yeah, I guess I am.” Something in my chest lightened as the words fell from my mouth. Even though I knew it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, it felt right. “There wasn’t anything for me back home, anyway. At least here, I can make a fresh start.” I shrugged a shoulder while still holding her stare. She made a face, one that made it clear how against the idea of me staying she was, and then shifted her attention to Cash. She shoved her order at him again, this time right in his face.

“Woohoo!” Cash shouted. He clapped his hands together loudly, ignoring her completely. “I knew you’d stay. It’s Googly Eyes over here, isn’t it?” He hitched his thumb in Poe’s direction. “You two have feelings for one another.” He wiggled his brows as a wide, obnoxious smile spread across his face. “You like each other.” His words dragged out in a sing-song tone.

He was so childish sometimes, but it was one of the reasons he was so hilarious.

“What’s going on? What did I miss?” Myra asked as she bolted into the kitchen, her eyes darting from one person to the next.

“Gemma is staying. Indefinitely,” Cash insisted, his grin growing. “She’s getting ready to quit her old job.” 

His smile was contagious, so was Myra’s. Even though I tried not to grin like a fool with them—because, let’s face it, quitting my job at Carol’s and ultimately deciding to move to Gray Cove was scary—I couldn’t keep it off my face.

Myra waved a hand. “Eh, I already knew that was going to happen. Like I said, she’s one of us now.” She winked and then grabbed the two plates with hotdogs and fries Cash had made for her order before leaving him another to fill and heading back to the front. 

“Yeah, okay. Awesome. Are we done now? I have an order for you to make,” Esmeralda snapped. She shoved the piece of paper at Cash again. “I need a burger, rare, with extra cheese and no onion. No fries either.” 

Ew. Who ate burgers rare?

Cash took the paper from her, his eyes never wavering from me. “Burger. That’s another sandwich.”

I grinned, but didn’t say anything.

Esmeralda stormed out of the kitchen with a loud sigh and a dramatic eye roll. Cash flipped her off behind her back and I chuckled. 

“Don’t worry about Debbie Downer. We’re all excited you’re staying. Right, Poe?” Cash asked, nodding to him. 

He cleared his throat. “Uh. Yeah. We are.” He gave a slight nod of his head and then something happened to his eyes. They brightened, and I caught the faint scent of shifter magic rippling through the air. 

Was that his raven coming to the surface? If so, what did it mean? Did his raven not like the idea of me staying? Was his raven a separate entity inside him that could think for itself like that? 

I had no clue how that worked.

“I’m guessing you probably would like to take a break now, right?” Poe asked, his eyes returning to their usual color. The faint scent of shifter magic dissipated so quickly it was as though it hadn’t been there at all.

I blinked. “Why would I need to do that?”

“To call Carol and let her know you’re quitting.” 

“Oh. Yeah. I probably should do that.” I wiped my hands on a nearby dish towel again before retrieving my phone from my back pocket. “I’m going to step outside for a second. I’ll be right back.”

“Take your time,” he said. 

I made my way out the back door and paced the small gravel area near the building while trying to figure out if I wanted to call Carol or send her a quick text. Either way, what I said would be the same. I needed to let her know I wasn’t coming back. 

Holy crap. 

My teeth sank into my bottom lip while my nerves got the best of me. This whole situation was crazy to think about. I’d worked for Carol for almost two years. While it might not seem like the most glamorous job—giving dogs baths and answering the phone—it had paid the bills. 

For the most part.

Also, I’d come to love some of the regulars. There was a male yorkie I adored who came in every few weeks. He was the sweetest little thing. Although his kennel needed to be kept in plain sight of me or Carol at all times or else he’d bark excessively, he was still a favorite of mine. His owner said he suffered from separation anxiety, which was probably the case since she worked from home and the little guy was hardly ever alone because of it.

I’d miss him, but I’d also miss Carol. 

She’d been kind enough to give me a job without previous experience working with dogs or secretarial work. Sure, she’d been a stickler at times and hard to work for some days, but I understood it was because she had a reputation to uphold. A business to run. She was the top groomer in the area. 

Swallowing hard, I scrolled through my phone and tapped her name. I held my breath while it rang. Carol answered on the second ring as though she’d been waiting for my call.

“Where have you been?” she demanded. “I’ve been going through my calendar trying to figure out if you said you were on vacation and I missed seeing it.”

My heart skipped a beat.

“No, I definitely didn’t go on vacation,” I said with a nervous chuckle. I cleared my throat, preparing to explain things to her. There was no beating around the bush. This was the type of situation where you just had to rip the band-aid off and deal with the sting of pain. “I’m quitting.” 

“Excuse me? Quitting?” Carol repeated.

I squeezed my eyes shut, hating how dumbfounded she seemed. “Yeah. I’m quitting.”

“I don’t—why?” Her words fumbled together.

I knew this was a shock. Heck, it was a shock to me, too. I hadn’t planned this.

“I’m moving,” I said.

“Moving?” Carol asked. “How come I’m just now hearing about this?”

“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I decided I need a fresh start.” 

My stomach twisted into knots the size of my fist. I hated this conversation, but it needed to happen. Even if it couldn’t happen in person the way I would’ve liked, it still needed to happen. Carol deserved that much from me. I couldn’t ignore her phone calls or text messages, and I couldn’t continue to leave her in the dark. She ran a busy, profitable business, and she needed to find a replacement for me.

“Either that’s mighty impulsive of you or I’ve been living under a rock. I can’t remember you mentioning you were thinking about moving.” Her tone dipped low. “I know I’ve been busy lately, but damn, I didn’t think I was that busy.”

“I didn’t mention anything. It’s seriously just a spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment thing I’m doing,” I insisted, knowing how insane and dumb I sounded.

I mean, who does that? Wakes up one day and decides well, I’m moving today and then up and leaves without telling a soul? Not even their current employer?

Carol probably thought I’d gone nuts. “Well, at least I know I’m not losing it.” She sighed loudly. “I’m sad to see you go. I know I was a hardass some days—most days, let’s be honest—but you were a good worker. I’m gonna miss you.” 

My heart clenched tight. Her words had surprised me. “I’m going to miss you, too.”

“So, when are you leaving?” Carol asked.

“Actually, I’ve already left. I have to head back soon for some of my things, but I’ve been here for a few days now.”

Not a total lie. I had been here for a few days already, and I did need to head back to Norbury for my things once everything with the bats was over—whenever that would be.

“And you didn’t think to tell me you were quitting sooner?” Heat entered Carol’s tone. While I’d been expecting it at some point, it still stung.

“I know I should have said something sooner,” I insisted, tucking a few stray hairs behind my ear as a chilly breeze blew, sending them flying around my face. “Everything happened so fast, though.” 

Understatement of the year there. 

“Right, well.” She paused, as though thinking of what to say next. It was also possible she was trying not to chew me a new one for the abruptness of the situation. “I wish you well, hun.” 

I blinked, not expecting her to say that. “Thanks.”

Silence trickled through the phone. I wrapped my free arm around my waist as another chilly breeze blew. Goose bumps prickled across my skin, but they weren’t solely because of the breeze. 

Someone was watching me.

I glanced at the little window over the sink in the kitchen, but didn’t see anyone. When the uneasy feeling of being watched intensified, I shifted my gaze to the woods behind me. I didn’t see anyone there either, but it was dark out. Since my night vision sucked, it was possible someone might be watching me that I couldn’t see.

My grip on my cell tightened as my scalp prickled. I didn’t like that thought.

“Your final check will be direct deposit like usual. If you’re ever back in town, swing by and see me,” Carol said, breaking the silence and drawing my attention back to our conversation.

“I will,” I lied, walking to the backdoor of Ravens. I shouldn’t have ventured so far away from the building. Not with it being dark out.

“Good,” Carol said. “Take care, hun.”

“You, too.” I hung up and slipped my cell in my back pocket. 

I scanned the woods once more, but still didn’t see anyone. However, I could still sense someone was there, watching me in the shadows. The creepy-crawly sensation moving along my skin had me flinging the backdoor open with more force than was necessary. Feeling as though I was a small child running from the Boogie Man, I darted inside. Poe and Cash were standing next to each other, talking about something when I came in. Poe’s gaze shifted to me and I swore he knew in an instant something was wrong. My breath hitched, because I could tell from the way he tensed that there truly was something wrong. He was keeping something from me. I could sense it.

I thought the vampire bats were all I had to worry about. I was wrong.

I killed Erin’s mate. Now she’s coming for me, but she’s not the only one. Random shifters seem drawn to me faster than a moth to a flame.

Main Tropes

  • High- Stakes
  • Raven Shifters
  • On the Run Female

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