Storm of Reckoning

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9780765361653: Storm of Reckoning

Lisa McGarrity lives to hunt ghosts.

With the able assistance of her loyal ghostbusting team, of course . . . and the unexpected powers of Trevarr, a fiercely driven demon-hunter from another dimension.  Their last mission—a supposedly simple haunting that turned into a demonic free-for-all—left them battered and ready for some R&R.  But rest has to wait.  Garrie and her team are summoned by an old friend in Sedona who desperately needs some occult assistance.  Making matters worse, Trevarr has reappeared, bloody and bruised . . . and exiled forever from his homeworld.

While happy to have Trevarr back at her side, Garrie is shocked to discover that Sedona’s ethereal breezes are quiet, the usual paranormal activity nearly nonexistant . . . except for some oddball power surges that don’t “taste” like our world at all. 

Then Garrie’s friend disappears and all hell seems about to break loose as Sedona’s ghosts rise up against Garrie and her team.  With Trevarr’s not-cat bond-partner hinting at dire trouble on their trail and Trevarr himself seeing enemies at every turn, Garrie is running out of time to figure out just what’s happening in the Southwest...and to put a stop to it. 

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About the Author:

DORANNA DURGIN spent her childhood filling notebooks first with stories and art, and then with novels. After obtaining a degree in wildlife illustration and environmental education, she spent a number of years deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Dun Lady's Jess, Doranna's first published fantasy novel, received the 1995 Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Award for the best first book in the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres. When she's not writing, Doranna builds web pages, wanders around outside with a camera, and works with horses and dogs.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1
 
Apply your skills with precision.
—Rhonda Rose
 
Love me a good pointy-toed shoe.
—Lisa McGarrity
 
::Tasteeeeee.::
—Sklayne
 
Lisa McGarrity stuck to the shade.
Never mind the strong Arizona sun, never mind the summer heat beating down at the Sunset Point rest stop heading north out of Phoenix, or the fact that she wasn’t wearing sunscreen.
It was the reflective shimmer of her skin that concerned her.
Nope, she still hadn’t gotten used to it. And shoot, who’d even known the consequences she’d face from those moments in San Jose? Blown through a dimensional pocket, buffeted by the tsunami of energy channeled through her body, and hey, presto! Permanent starlet shimmer in strong light. Not to mention that the funky electric blue streaks once dyed into her gamine-short hair now grew a permanent silvery-blue from the roots out.
Yeah. Lisa McGarrity stuck to the shade.
Lucia Reyes, on the other hand ... a creature of the sun. Basking in it, her exquisite features and model-perfect body—not to mention that damned J-Lo ass—drawing stares from travelers who until that moment had thought themselves weary.
Right. What’s the worry? As long as Garrie was with Lucia, no one would notice a little shimmer.
And then she bit her lip on a sudden smile, because what had she even been thinking? Once Trevarr strode down the sidewalk to ponder the sundial memorial with them, no one would be looking at Garrie or Lucia at all.
There’d been a reason Garrie had gone into that portal.
That reason now stood in the full heat of the sun, deep blue shirt slightly iridescent where it wasn’t inset with leather panels, crossover bib front making him look like both a trendsetter and an exile from someone else’s past century.
That last wasn’t so far from the truth, although Garrie wasn’t sure if he was an exile as much as a rebel waiting to return. She knew only that things unspoken still rode him—needs and obligation and intent. That he carried himself tensely when he thought she wasn’t looking; that he held himself wary when there was no evident need.
His out-of-place, out-of-time theme carried on through, just as the first time she’d met him—fall-front leather pants, high boots with enough buckles along the outside to satisfy any biker wannabe, wide leather belt riding lean hips, black leather half-finger gloves. There’d be a caped leather duster over it all if Garrie hadn’t informed him it would draw serious attention in this heat.
Trevarr was used to a warmer clime. A much warmer clime.
Sunglasses added a little bit of Terminator to the mix. He’d pulled back deep brown-unto-black hair; myriad silvered braids were completely obscured within the mass of it, but Garrie knew of them. Likewise obscured, the tattoolike marks at his wrists and torso ... the ones that sometimes changed. He still owed Garrie a good explanation about those.
She wasn’t holding her breath.
And when he strode out toward that sundial after Lucia, the Bradshaw Mountains stretching stalwart and picturesque before them, the rest of the overlook platform mysteriously emptied of other visitors.
“Pikers,” Garrie muttered, and went out to join him. No one left to see her shimmer after all.
“Good,” Lucia said in response to Garrie’s arrival, her face still tipped to the summer sun. “You have to get used to it sometime, yes? They all think it’s makeup, anyway. I’d use it, if I could get it.”
You should know better than to want it,” Garrie said, maybe just a tad bitter. Things lost, things changed ... things still confusing.
For when they’d originally departed Albuquerque for San Jose, they’d been a team. A little ragged at the edges, with Quinn Rossiter staying behind to run the research, but nonetheless—not just Lucia by her side, but Drew Ely. Drew, whom they’d just left back in San Jose—his choice. No longer part of the team. No longer one of Garrie’s reckoners.
Trevarr wasn’t anybody’s anything. Not then, not now.
He gave away nothing as he looked down at the sundial memorial. “This celebrates life lost.”
“Commemorates,” Garrie told him, aware all over again of how his indefinable accent edged his words—crisp here, inflection slightly misplaced there ... a little bit Russian, a little bit German, a whole lot Trevarr. “What, they don’t do that on Kehar?”
“Kehar,” Lucia said, a dreamy tone in her voice. “A whole ’nother world. You still owe me details.”
“Seriously ... not,” Garrie told her. “Not safe.”
“That’s what you said about him.” Lucia lowered her face to give Garrie a brief if pointed glance. “Look how that ended up.”
Right. Reckoner power mingling with the power from another world. Shimmering skin, streaky hair ... and other changes, not yet truly known. Drew, opting out.
But that’s not what Lucia was talking about. Not really.
“On Kehar,” Trevarr said, without concern for their byplay, “they set warnings.
“Of course they do,” Garrie muttered, tugging at the hair just behind her ear.
But she believed it.
*   *   *
Sklayne sulked.
Left in the farking car, as if he couldn’t be trusted out at the rest stop.
As if he might be tempted by someone’s little foo-foo dog.
::O fine snack!::
Maybe not such a bad idea, staying here.
It wasn’t as if the car could keep him in. Not with locks, not with closed windows. Trevarr knew that; the Garrie knew it. The Lucia person had yet to learn it. The Lucia person understood not-cat ... but she didn’t yet know all that not-cat could encompass.
Not-cat was as big as the world. As small as the crack where the car window met the door. As solid as he wished, or pure energy and flow. Appearing as cat merely because it pleased him, as Abyssinian because it was what he had seen first.
Perhaps because it suited Trevarr. Atreyvo. Bonded.
Just as they were here because it suited Trevarr. Never mind that healing was best done in the sweet woods of Kehar, the safe warded cave lair where they’d never been found and never would be. Stubborn Trevarr. Never mind that the food here lacked the vital spirit that fed Trevarr’s other. O stubborn. Never mind that Kehar was the only place he and Trevarr could overturn what had been done. O foolish stubborn.
Because of the Garrie. All her fault. Because she knew nothing of the tribunal or its ways or its wants.
Or its threats.
Sklayne experimented with disliking the Garrie. Small person of much power, the Garrie. Experimented with mean thoughts and making himself bristly.
No. Maybe not.
But he still wanted to go home. To be home.
Trevarr’s self-voice rolled into his head, not far away at all. We cannot leave her unprotected. Hunted.
“Mrrp!” Sklayne made a surprised noise into the stuffy, muffled silence of the car interior. Thinking too loud. Not my fault. Bored. Homesick and bored and ...
Hungry.
He eyed a small mahogany dog with a long body and pointy snout and wagging, whip-thin little tail. Tasteeeee.
No. Trevarr. Implacable. Paying attention.
Sklayne growled to himself. He knocked the cigarette lighter aside, sipping at the hot power that gathered in its wake and eavesdropping—ever eavesdropping, listening through the lightest thread to Trevarr.
Listening ... and watching over.
Hunted.
*   *   *
With the next round of hapless tourists meandering along, Garrie moved away from the pipe-rail safety barriers of the overlook and circled through the shaded picnic shelter. Maybe a hat would help. She already wore a tissue-thin shirt in a watercolor wash of blues over her camisole top, tucked into low-slung trail shorts with all the pockets she could ever want and barely covering the braided leather bracelets she habitually donned on one wrist. Lightweight, sneakerish hiking boots and thick white socks, and wasn’t she just the perfect blend of funk and tourist?
Then again, she’d long ago quit comparing her wiry, petite self to elegant Lucia. Because Lucia would somehow walk the Sedona trails alongside Garrie in her slim-cut clam-diggers and espadrilles and little cap-sleeved shirt with the eyelet panels, and she wouldn’t trip, turn her ankle, or acquire so much as a smudge of dust.
“Whatever,” Garrie muttered.
“Aie,” Lucia said. “Grumpy!”
Garrie cast a look back at her, raised an eyebrow. The other one tried to join it. So much for practice with the Spock eyebrow.
“Oh, not you, chicalet.” Lucia nodded at the rest rooms. “In there.
“I haven’t been paying attention.” Garrie scowled at herself. Stupid, that—failing to sweeping the area for out-of-place breezes or darkside presence.
Lucia had no problem raising that single eyebrow. “Bathroom break means off-duty. Drive to Sedona means off-duty, too. It’s just that you have to look, while I have to remember not to.”
True enough. It was why she was on Garrie’s team in the first place. Just as Quinn had an incredible head for supernatural trivia and ghostly details, and Drew could instantly read the history of a place.
In fact, Drew already had his first freelance gig back in San Jose, thanks to a connection through his new girlfriend: vetting a potential construction site for inconvenient ancient remains. Or even worse, those more recent.
But Lucia understood Garrie the best. Lucia read the emotional resonance of a place—of the energies there. Whether she wanted to or not. Like Garrie, Lucia couldn’t not do this work.
Garrie glanced back at Trevarr—still imposing, even if he still healed from what had gone down in San Jose—an arm still stiff, a side still tender, the scar over his eye angry but fading faster than it had any right to. He lingered at the pipe railing, gazing out on the long, lean desert mountain ridges. Not exactly anything like it, back at home. All deep gloom and black fog and heavy-branched trees over rugged ground, the air spicy and thick, the sounds muffled and threatening.
She’d been there once. She still wasn’t sure if that visit had been just long enough, or if what she felt now was the yearning to see more.
Not much chance, with Trevarr exiled. Or if she didn’t pay more attention to the here and now. She cast her awareness over toward the grumpy bathrooms—long, low, pale brick, recently remodeled ... surrounded by a deep glow-stick green morass of nastiness ...
Creeping tendrils trailed from the heels of the unsuspecting, a proverbial spiritual toilet paper trail. She wrinkled her nose. “It stinks.”
Lucia reached into her Burberry tote, all details and buckles and D-rings and the faint plaid imprint on supple leather. “Time for the secret herbs and spices?” As if she ever went anywhere without their own special spirit-containment system—storage bag based for the modern disposable age. A little petroleum jelly, a few carefully chosen herbs ... tried and true and field-tested.
Garrie shook her head. “Grumpy darkside visitors, that’s what we’ve got.” No containment worked for darksiders. Intimidation, dissipation—those things worked, both accomplished by ethereal breezes at Garrie’s command. Breezes, gusts, and, if need be, gale storms.
Even if it was all somewhat erratic in nature since San Jose. As if she’d just learned to shout, but no longer knew how to sing a fine sustained note.
As if, every time she opened her mouth, she wasn’t sure exactly whose voice would even come out.
She made her words firm. “Nibblers, I think.” Business as usual, shortly after ...
Well. After saving San Jose, and thus the world, channeling power that had changed her nature in ways she hadn’t yet begun to explore. Or maybe to admit to herself.
Business as usual, because what else was there to hang on to?
Garrie’s gaze flickered over Trevarr. Standing at that railing as though his mind were a million miles away, and knowing it was probably even further.
And yet he’d come back here to be with her.
I think.
Garrie headed for the bathrooms; protecting energies circled around her and questing energies reached out—letting them know she was coming. Letting them run for it, if they would. Better that than a pitched battle in a public place.
“Eep!” Lucia hastened to catch up with her. Trevarr jerked around, and those sunglasses did nothing to hide his subtle frown.
Didn’t do anything to stop her, either.
Trevarr wasn’t the boss of Garrie.
Especially when he had things he wasn’t yet telling.
What happened to your people, Trevarr?
“Garrie!” Lucia said, catching up just in time to grab Garrie’s arm and spin her away from the bathroom’s dark, cool shaded doorway. “Men’s!”
Oh. Right.
An elderly man exited the facilities, giving them a startled look. He’d be even more startled if he could see what clung to his shoes, trailing behind in ribbons of darkness and threat.
Nibblers ... not such a big deal for a virile young man. For a Trevarr. Even for a Garrie or a Lucia. But for an elderly man? He just went downhill, they’d say. No one knows why.
Garrie knew, and she wasn’t about to let it happen. A quick, precise puff of power severed the darkside ribbons at the man’s heels; if he stumbled a little, he regained quick dignity and didn’t look back. The darkness recoiled into the men’s room like a snapped rubber band, radiating indignant offense.
“Not happy,” Lucia whispered, effort in her voice. She, too, was a little off her game. “Maybe Trevarr’s cat is hungry—”
As if she needed help. “You might want to step back.” Tendrils of darkness emerged from the bathroom—appeared around the corner, coming from the ladies’ room as well. “Because the sneaky little bastards are going to get a whole lot more not happy before I’m done.”
Laced through with electric green and steaming in a particularly unhealthy fashion, the energies were for her eyes—and nose—only. Or maybe also for Trevarr’s, as he came up from behind; she wasn’t sure. She cast him a warning glance. “Might be some splashback.”
Because of course her breezes ... his energies ...
Not exactly oil and water. Something more combustible than that.
He said, “Sklayne hungers—”
“I don’t need help.” Garrie felt an unexpected thread of fraying temper, individual strands snapping ... ping-ping-ping! She pushed a breeze at the aggregate collection of nibblers and watched with satisfaction as they recoiled.
A man fled from the facility, towing a reluctant little boy behind him. “But, Daddy, did you see? Why did the toilet do that, Daddy? Can we go back and watch? Did Mommy’s toilet do that, too? Daddy, my pants aren’t done yet!”
Whatever Daddy muttered, he kept it under his breath—except to aim at Trevarr, “Go find a cactus, man. Trust me on this one.” And then no time for more than a quick double-take at Trevarr’s appearance, swinging the kid up for a quick rescue before the pants went entirely south.
Garrie took a deep breath, trying hard to pretend everything was as it had been not so very long ago—even if as it had been didn’t include bold nibbler aggregates of this size. As Trevarr headed off to check the building perimeter, she sta...

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Book Description Tor Books, U.S.A., 2011. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 1st Edition. Synopsis: Lisa McGarrity lives to hunt ghosts. With the able assistance of her loyal ghostbusting team, of course . . . and the unexpected powers of Trevarr, a fiercely driven demon-hunter from another dimension. Their last mission¿a supposedly simple haunting that turned into a demonic free-for-all¿left them battered and ready for some R&R. But rest has to wait. Garrie and her team are summoned by an old friend in Sedona who desperately needs some occult assistance. Making matters worse, Trevarr has reappeared, bloody and bruised . . . and exiled forever from his homeworld. Bookseller Inventory # 002484

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