Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rise (Pre-Order) by Barbara Winkes


Out September 30th, now available for pre-order:

Angel. Vampire. Witch. Fairy. Shifter.

For a long time, paranormal beings have lived alongside of humans, and minded their own business. After being mocked, hunted and used for millennia, it’s not in their best interest to get involved in human affairs—yet, these five females can’t turn away from the attacks on the dignity of human women. They have intervened before, but one incident convinces them that the time has come to turn their efforts into a global movement. The tide is finally turning.


Halfway through dinner, the doorbell rang. Cass went to open, startled to see a somber looking Daphne standing in front of her door.
“Hey. I was hoping you had a nice bloody steak for dinner and could share.”
“Didn’t you have your share today?”
“Can I please come in?” Daphne asked, and Cass stepped aside.
“Avery has a friend over,” she said.
Daphne gave her a wry grin. “You want me to come in through the backdoor? Too scary for the kids? I need to talk to you.”
“Don’t be silly. You don’t need to sneak around. I just don’t know what we could talk about. What’s done is done, and judging from what these men have done, no one will miss them. Rafi will read you the riot act, and we move on. By the way, I don’t have steak, but I made burgers from scratch. You want some?”
Daphne shook her head. “I’ll take a drink.”
“All right. Come on in.”
Avery had seen Daphne before, but Carly’s eyes widened at the sight of the woman all dressed in black leather, including the high-heeled boots. She whispered something to Avery that made Cass smile.
Is she a witch?”
No, silly,” Avery returned.
Carly was a nice girl, but apparently she had no idea how to recognize paranormals, being off by a whole species. Of course, any witch or vampire she might be aware of came from fiction, and they didn’t look like Daphne. Carly might sense something different about her, but like all humans, she didn’t know what to make of it. Would she be frightened to come here if she knew?
Cass served ice cream with sprinkles and chocolate sauce to the girls, and, seeing Daphne’s longing gaze, filled another bowl for her. She didn’t claim to understand all of Daphne’s cravings.
Daphne sat on the barstool at the peninsula, and Cass poured a glass of red wine for both of them. They waited until the girls were done with their meal and went up to Avery’s room to play before tackling the more difficult subjects of the day.
“It wasn’t all me,” Daphne said. “I agree with you, no one will miss them, but this wasn’t my idea. We got the tip, we got some friends together quickly and…”
“Things got out of control,” Cass finished. She still couldn’t fathom how she could help in any way, or what Daphne wanted from her for that matter. Absolution? She was the last to be able to give it.
Daphne sighed and finished her glass in one swallow. “There’s something nasty about the blood of people like this. You didn’t see the place. I couldn’t stop any of those who came with me, and I’m not sure I would have. I’m scared though. Madina has sure found out by now.”
Madina knows you.” Come to think of it, she knows you better than Mike knows me, and that’s something I’m quite jealous of.
“Maybe, but her coven…They never liked me to begin with.”
“Why did you do it then?”
Daphne straightened, a dangerous look in her dark eyes that would have alarmed Cass if they weren’t friends—maybe even have triggered a reaction. She almost expected her to show her fangs.
“Did you hear all the news? Some of those bastards turned themselves in today. They are afraid. That’s a good thing in my book.” She shrugged. “I don’t know, I’ve been wondering, ever since we started this. You and I are closest in nature, but I don’t know if I can believe in the good in humans. What we saw today is the lowest garbage of mankind you can imagine—they target runaways and vulnerable girls, and they kill them slowly, bit by bit—and this is what they bring out in me and my kind, ravaging beasts. What did ever possess me to think I could have a happily ever after with a cute, too trusting witch?”
What did ever possess me to think I could have a happily ever after with a good and kind human man?
“Talk to her. She’ll understand.”
“What if she doesn’t?”
Cass wordlessly poured more wine. This subject hit too close to home. Frankly, she had nothing to encourage Daphne, as the same subject kept her up at night. Madina, at least, had some idea of what Daphne was capable of, at her best, at her worst. One quarter of human DNA wouldn’t create any sympathy for some of the worst sex offenders in the book, would it? Who could say for sure?
“Then you move on,” she said with a hint of anger she couldn’t suppress. “Come on, you don’t think it’s the last time we’ll face a dilemma like this? Everyone knows what’s at stake, including Madina. We all knew it wouldn’t be easy.”
“Would you move on from all this? Mike, your kid? For the cause?”
“I think you’re feeling sorry for yourself. You know what they did to those girls. There’s nothing human, nothing redeemable about beings like that. Get over it. Everyone else will too. At least you have something to fall back on if all of this blows.”
“Yeah. Maybe.” Daphne looked thoughtful, perhaps understanding that Cass had her own issues to deal with when it came to the specifics of this new arrangement. The species their friends belonged to lived in groups. Cass had never met another shifter except her parents. Leopards were suspicious, not prone to bonding easily. She had found something good in her human form, and she was busy trying not to lose it, too busy to be much of a help to her friend.
“I’m sorry,” she offered eventually. “I know this is tough for you, but we all had to make decisions here. Speaking of which, what did your clan leader have to say about this?”
Daphne shrugged. “She generally understands the situation and signed off on our idea—in general. There might be some disciplinary action though. Not because we got rid of some human scum, but because it puts too much of a spotlight on us…I think.”
Cass remembered a discussion she and Mike had once had about the death penalty. Despite all the human cruelties he had witnessed, he was adamantly against it, arguing that killing a human being would put people on the same level as the perpetrator…Cass could understand his point rationally, but the other part of her nature wasn’t quite satisfied with it.
There were no easy answers.
“Go talk to Madina,” she said. “She will understand.”

About the Author:

Barbara Winkes writes suspense and romance with female, mostly lesbian characters at the center. Expect high drama and happy endings.

Coming soon: Intrusions (Carpenter/Harding IV)

Blog: Word Affair www.barbarawinkes.blogspot.ca

Callie & Rebecca: Autumn Leaves, Winter Storm, Spring Fever
Amber Alert
The Design of Everything Perfect
The Interpretation of Love and the Truth
Carpenter/Harding thrillers: Indiscretions, Insinuations, Incisions
Jayce & Emma: Halfway Home, Familiar Places, New Rooms

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