An exclusive excerpt of Cursed Hart:
“… Before Brin could question me further, Heidi’s car swerved in front of us and came to a screeching halt; a figure all in black rising from the pavement in front of her Hummer. Brin jammed on the brakes, swerving to miss them both. “What the hell-?”
“Uh, oh,” I said under my breath. A flash in my mind told me what I needed to know. The blood red hair of the woman under the black hood brought back images that didn’t belong to me, having seen them in Shitheed’s mind. “That’s Marlana.”
She was advancing menacingly at our car, eyes riveted on me and sparks flying from her fingertips. I could feel her black magic building, black smoke swirling toward our car.
Fortunately for us, I glanced in the rear-view mirror. A ginger-haired fellow with yellow eyes waved back tauntingly and stuck his forked tongue out at me. Dread coiled in my gut. “That’s Toby.”
Peter cursed shrilly. Brin remained deathly calm, his fingers winding into position around the stick, moving the gears into reverse out of their view. “Shira, you attack. Pete, get the defense ready.”
Tro was already gathering at my palms. Both people had black magic shields around them. Plus I wasn’t exactly sure they were entirely human; judging by Toby’s yellow eyes. “Just tell me when.”
He didn’t have to. Brin slammed the gas pedal down, the car rocketing backward. Much to my dismay, Toby disappeared into thin air the second we were about to hit him. I fired an energy bolt at Marlana and it bounced off her shield harmlessly, though it did work handily enough to distract her as Heidi gunned her engine and proceeded to slam into her with the Hummer. I never saw if the woman got up.
Fishtailing the car around, Brin sped toward the open highway. Peter gripped his seat nervously. “Who are these people?!”
I screamed as Toby appeared in the back seat next to me. “So you’re the precious Väktare. Xydon is gonna love you…”
Peony lunged at him as I kicked Toby in the face. Peony’s paws went through him as did my foot. He giggled and disappeared again, my hands meeting empty air as I struck out. I sat bewildered for a second, as did Peony. “Where did he go? He didn’t teleport.”
“And what the hell is he?!“ Peter yelped.
“Wall-walker,” Brin said grimly. “Moves through solid objects.”
“Shira, when I give the word, bend down,” Fae hissed in my head, creeping up under the front seat. “He’s right behind you on the back dashboard. I can smell him.”
I froze as I pictured him crammed in back there, right behind my head. Something was sniffing down the back of my neck, and it wasn’t Peony. Fae stealthily slithered up onto the console, looking anywhere but at me.
“Peter, take Shira and tele-send with her to safety.”
“No!” I exclaimed to Brin, realizing that would interrupt Fae’s plan. “No, I’ll come to you.”
“What? We won’t fit-”
“Now!” Fae screamed in my mind at the same time she screeched and launched herself into the air. I ducked down as she flew over my head. She must have hit her target because I heard a rather loud yell in response. I looked back to see Toby trying to get her off as she clawed at his eyes.
I dove over the front seat, grabbed Brin’s dagger from its sheath, and then jammed it down hard into Toby’s leg. Another agony-filled scream met my actions. I pulled it back, preparing to drive it down again, but he disappeared out the back windshield. Green drops of blood fell from the blade as Fae growled. “I don’t smell him anymore.”
“Where did he go now? He wouldn’t give up that easily!”
Brin didn’t answer as he wound in and out of traffic, speeding onto the on ramp of the interstate. He put his fingers to his lips and pointed upward. I followed his finger up to the roof with a foreboding feeling. “Pete, take care of it.”
“With pleasure,” Peter replied to him, digging around in the glove compartment. I dove for the floor. Fae took one look over the seat and bailed, too, with a yowl at seeing his pistol. I covered my ears as he fired off a bunch of rounds at the ceiling with a maniacal laugh. “How do you like that, sucker?!” I flinched as he hit the end of the cartridge. “Think I got him?”
“Load up the other cartridge just to be sure.” Brin’s eyes met mine in the rear-view mirror. “You okay back there?”
I sat up warily. “No. My boot went through him!”
“He’s a hybrid, I think. Wall-walkers don’t normally turn invisible or bleed green,” he said, eyes traveling around. Nothing pierced his steely calm, as he weaved in and out of traffic.
“Where do you think Heidi went?” Peter said worriedly.
“She’s likely better off than us. I didn’t see anybody fall back onto the road, so I’m guessing we still have a tag along.”
“Well, if he’s not on the hood or the roof, or in here, then…” A horrible thought clogged my mind. “Peter, is there space in the trunk?”
“Nothing but bags. Why? Oh,” he said, turning to me and eyeing the trunk. “How do we get back there? There’s no way to-”
I heard no more as a set of arms seized me from behind and grasped my throat; choking me. Glancing to the side, the arms were floating out of the back seat with no owner attached. I attempted to stab down on him with the dagger, but it went right through air. Peony went to bite him and the same happened. Running an electric current over my skin in desperation to try and break his grip on me, I gasped as my air supply ran out.
Peter fired a shot and the arms disappeared, dropping me. I promptly dove for the floor of the car again when I saw the muzzle of the gun aimed behind me. I covered my head and felt Fae’s silky fur against my face. Her low growl sounded in my ear as Peter realized all he would do was shoot the seats if he fired again. “Damn! I didn’t get him!”
“He’s still back there,” Brin said, accelerating the car, the engine whining in protest. “Either take care of him or take the wheel.”
“I am! Shira, get in the front!”
“If I do he’s liable to come for me through the front windshield!”
“It beats getting choked through the back!” Peter snapped. “We need to pull over. We’re handicapped by the car-”
Perhaps what he said gave Toby the idea. I don’t know. But suddenly there was no car beneath any of us. I dropped painfully onto the open highway along with everyone else, rolling over and over until I skidded to a stop on my belly. My eyes opened to see an enormous truck zoom over me, its horn blaring.
I screamed out and attempted to further flatten myself against the pavement. After a few horrifying milliseconds, I felt the air pressure lessen and opened my eyes a crack. The next car was a little distance away, but the wheels were in alignment with my head. Attempting to stand, I was too slow. I prepared for impact as it barreled down the highway. A set of arms grabbed me from behind and a much faster rush of air flew past me. My feet left the ground and then slammed down again with a breakneck force. Falling on my face, my cheeks tore against some unseen object…”