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The Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin

Lord Rake Danescu has his hands full.  Mythological creatures are attacking.  His hotel is hijacked.  People are dying. His magic is… not as it should be.  He does, however, have Mac and Ian and the whole SPI commando contingency working with him to figure out what in the fresh hell is going on.

Title: The Myth Manifestation
Author: Lisa Shearin
Series: SPI FIles #5
Publish Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Source: Purchased by reviewers

Publisher’s DescriptionThe agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.

We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, we have to save ourselves.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*

Nervous Nellie says…

This book has no sex, no graphic blood and gore, no swearing since Mac edits it out of her ongoing dialog.  This has got a tiny little bit of romance that includes one very rich and charming goblin courting our protagonist.  SPI is made of a team of agents that will do their share of kicking asses and taking names while protecting the mundanes from learning about the supernatural.  There is a tiny cliffhanger, but it’s the overarching relationship stuff – not the story itself.  It’s easy to handle.  Don’t worry.

I love Mac and the gang.  I also love Mac and Rake’s relationship.  He’s under Mac’s skin and Mac has got Rake swooning.  Okay, maybe the other way around.  Anyway, there is a supernatural summit taking place and anywhere there are a bunch of supernaturals trapped together you know there will be trouble.

Goblins and Elves do NOT have a harmonious vibe going on.  All other attendees also have problems intermingling, so security for this event is beyond difficult.  It’s not enough that it’s all races and creeds of creatures attending this summit, it’s their political leaders that take the spotlight and create a ton of drama.  SPI is on high alert but all the special drills they could go through would never cover this problem.

This is a good old “Clue” episode.  Who did it in the ballroom or the bedroom or the beer keg with a big ol’ knife? Yeah, I said beer keg. You caught that, huh?  That’s what’s fun about the supernatural culture differences in this book.  There are so many variations between cultures that anything goes but one wrong step or a simple action or comment could be construed as offensive and then watch out!  With the caliber of individuals attending this convention, we have political fallout first and foremost to worry about. After that, then we could have not only an international incident but an interdimensional incident that could very well incite a war.  Tread carefully and walk on eggshells. But we still gotta figure out who’s killing whom and why.

You want details on the story?  Well, ok… I can give you this.  Rake’s impossibly above high class, ten-star hotel has been hijacked.  Yes, that’s right.  Hijacked.  At first, it looks like a security issue, but then it evolves.  Boy, does it evolve. It involves mythological creatures materializing out of nowhere.  And Rake has no answers.  Can you imagine? He’s got no “clue” as to what’s going on.

I can also give you a small detail on the romance between Mac and Rake.  It’s moving very, very slow. I like that Lisa Shearin is making their relationship a gradual thing.  It builds anticipation.  I love that a nice southern seer girl can capture the attention of a suave, sexy, interdimensional uber rich playboy.  Makenna is all sassy common sense if not skill. She is not Rake’s type, per se.  You’d expect him to be with fussy, glossy, supermodel bombshells in tight dresses with 4-inch heels and coifed hair.  Except… he’s choosing Mac.  She has her own style, no-nonsense woman that knows her limits and tries very hard to be an asset to the SPI crew.  She loves her job and I love her unique personality.

Johanna Parker is the narrator for this book as well as all the other SPI novels.  She gives the story that much more depth and complexity.  Another 5 star hit if you ask me.

Invested Ivana says…

Toward the end of negotiations for a massive treaty among outworld species and Earth, the delegates come together for a summit to celebrate and sign the treaty. Someone isn’t happy, though, and traps the delegates in their hotel with monsters … and a killer. Maybe more than one.

Though the Myth Manifestation has plenty of monsters — one of the signatures of this series — it’s primarily a political drama. Though the focus wasn’t on the monsters, this story was as much fun as any of the others in the series. Readers get to see old friends, such as the Vlad the vampire and the Norweigan SPI agents. And we learn a little more about other species, like dwarves, giants, and a race that makes love with their fingers, making waving and handshakes MUCH more exciting!

Fans of the Raine Benares series will see some familiar names and maybe faces. I did wonder if, had I been reading the Raine Benares series, I would have followed the politics between the elves and goblins a bit better. There is some massive political upheaval on their homeworld that, I’m guessing, is forefront in Raine’s series.

Regardless, I followed the story fine and really enjoyed it. As always, Johanna Parker does a fabulous job narrating. This is one of those series I much prefer to hear than read. She really brings Mac and all the other characters to life. 5 stars.

Our reviews in this series…


Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 2/25/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.


Hi everybody! I’ve been busy searching out news for you and without any more delay, lets get at it.

  • Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin went live on January 16, 2018.  I have my review done and I’ll be posting it very soon.  Just a preview:  I loved it.  I love Mac and the whole team.  Even Ms. Sagadraco – even though she’s scary!Oh – get to the point.  Ok. Well, the audio version of Myth Manifestation is available.  If you don’t have time to read, but love to listen and work at the same time – here you go.

Title: The Myth Manifestation
by: Lisa Shearin
Narrated by: Johanna Parker
Series: SPI Files, Book 5
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
Release date: 02-13-18
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Publisher’s Description:  The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world – for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape. We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into
the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world – but first, we have to save ourselves. 

  • You saw the announcement from Brad Magnarella’s new series, right?  Well, he’s got it out on audio now too!!Blue Curse
    Blue Wolf, Book 1
    By: Brad Magnarella
    Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
    Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
    Release date: 01-31-18
    Language: English
    Publisher: Brad MagnarellaAND he’s working on #2 in the series of Blue Wolf.  The book will be called Blue Shadow.  It’s scheduled to be released on March 5, 2018.  I am listening to Blue Curse right now, so my review is coming.

  • Now we are talking about Gary Jonas.  I read the first book in the Jonathan Shade series, Modern Sorcery, and here is my review.  I really liked it and I’m ready to charge into the next book.  While scoping out book #2 in the Jonathan Shade series, I happened upon a novella that Mr. Jonas wrote that features Esther, the ghost who helps Jonathan Shade.Title:  Dying to Live
    Series: Jonathan Shade series #10.5
    Publisher’s Description:  On a dark highway, a creature from the Void confronts a lonely ghost, ready to feed on her memories.The ghost is Esther Carmichael, and she’s been through so much anguish since she died. She’s ready to bid farewell to her existence until the creature awakens something inside her.

    Now she’s dying to live.

    Esther is a beloved character from the Jonathan Shade urban fantasy series, and while this short story takes place soon after the events of the novel Timeless Gods, you don’t need to have read the books to enjoy the ride. However, if you have read the Shade books, you definitely don’t want to miss this one.

    And then I found other books that Mr. Jonas writes.  They all look so good, I don’t know which to choose first but, seriously, how could I resist a book called The Half-Assed Wizard.  The title in itself sounds like it’s a good time! Then we have book 2 in the series:  The Big-Ass Witch and #3 – The Dumbass Demon.  I swear, with titles like this they are just beggin’ to be read.

Title:  The Half-Assed Wizard
Series: The Half-Assed Wizard, book 1
Released: June 4, 2017
Publisher’s Description:  A couple of jerks wake me up at the crack of noon. Seems my klepto uncle stole an ancient deck of Tarot cards from a high-powered wizard, and too many losers want to ruin my day to get them back.

The cards are cool, so I check them out, but my magic-happy cousin, Sabrina, tells me I’m not supposed to touch them. Oops. Too late. Now the damn cards are tuned to me, and if someone else wants to use them, I have to die. Why couldn’t she have led with that information?

Magic was never my scene, but my dad is one of the most powerful wizards in the world, so I’ve got unrealized potential if I ever bother to apply myself. I’d rather power nap, but with wizards, gunslingers, and cannibalistic shark dudes coming at me, that’s not gonna happen.

They say I’m a half-assed wizard, but if I don’t play my cards right, I’m gonna get my whole ass killed.

The other series that I’ve got on my TBR pile is also written by Gary Jonas.  It’s the Kelly Chan series.  This character makes an appearance in Modern Sorcery.  She is really a no nonsense powerhouse.  Here’s the deets on book #1:

Title: Vampire Midnight
Series: Kelly Chan, #1
Released: February 17, 2016
Publisher’s Description:  Kelly Chan, the magically engineered assassin you know from the Jonathan Shade series in her first solo adventure!

Picking up a package for a friend should be easy, but when the package is at Tally’s, a shop that caters to things that go bump in the night, and that package is a woman, things can go south fast.

Of course, if the person picking up the package is Kelly Chan, when things go south, bad guys die.

But what happens when the bad guys are already dead? Or more specifically, undead.

Kelly finds herself face-to-face with an actual vampire who has the power to issue commands Kelly has no choice but to follow.

So how do you kill something when you’ve been commanded to protect it?


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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 1/28/18

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

There are a lot of things I want to share with you today.

James A. Hunter has a new audiobook series coming your way.  It was introduced on Audible at the beginning of this month.

Title: The Artificier
By: S. R. Witt, James Hunter
Narrated by: Matthew Broadhead
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Release date: 01-05-18
Language: English
Publisher: Shadow Alley Press Inc.
Genre:  LitRPG

Description: October, 2042

In two weeks, the world will die, murdered by a nine-mile-wide, extinction-level asteroid.

And Robert Osmark—billionaire and savvy tech-genius—couldn’t be readier for the fiery apocalypse.

Unlike the shortsighted masses, he’s been diligently preparing for this day from the moment the asteroid first appeared. Through his relentless efforts, digital salvation now awaits anyone bold enough to take the leap and permanently transition into the brand-new, ultra-immersive, fantasy-based VRMMORPG, Viridian Gate Online. And Robert Osmark will lead this new world he has created.

But even with every advantage skewed in his favor, Osmark faces powerful opposition. A rogue faction of global elites led by US Senator Sizemore isn’t content to merely survive the apocalypse. They have their sights set much higher, and are recruiting dangerous allies, undercutting Robert’s efforts at every turn, and hiring VGO’s most deadly assassins to get what they want. To win, Osmark will need to viciously crush all opposition before his plans turn to ash.  

While this book is released in audio, it’s also in print.  If audio is not your game, don’t worry, James A. Hunter has thought of you too.

Next up is:  Jennifer Estep

If you’ve not tried the series Elemental Assassin, you really should think about it.  I know, the heroine is an assassin and that may turn a person off of the story just like that.  But, give Gin a chance.  Here’s what Jennifer has to say:

Assassins might not be the most sympathetic characters or the easiest to identify with, but I think they are some of the most fascinating. Plus, I wanted to write a really smart, strong, tough female character, which I think that I’ve done with Gin Blanco.

Jennifer has introduced the next Elemental Assassin book.  It’s #17 in the series and it’s called:  Venom in Her Veins.

Venom in Her VeinsElemental Assassin #17 —Spring 2018 (no cover available at this time)
Gin and the gang will be back with a new adventure.

As of right now, after this book, there will be two more books in my Elemental Assassin series.
Also, starting with Venom in Her Veins, I will be self-publishing the series. I am hoping to release the book in spring 2018, but we’ll see what happens.
Note: The title of this book has been changed from Cold Sting to Venom in Her Veins.


NEXT: Lara Adrian

For us romance lovers, Lara Adrian has released Claimed in Shadows on January 23, 2018.  This is one series I haven’t tried although I want to.  You know, my TBR list is really, really long! 😉  Anyway, those that have a penchant for Vampire romances, check it out!

Title:  Claimed in Shadows
Author:  Lara Adrian
Series: Midnight Breed #15
Released: January 23, 2018
Description:  In this pulse-pounding new Midnight Breed vampire romance novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian, passion explodes between a daywalking member of the Order and a fiery female warrior whose shadowy past will test the bonds of both duty and desire. 

As the son of a formidable Breed warrior, Aric Chase has been devoted to the Order all his life. With his training completed, all he needs is one successful mission before he can join the fight to destroy the Order’s chief nemesis, Opus Nostrum. His rare ability to daywalk lands Aric an assignment in Montreal, where he learns he’s to be teamed with another new recruit, a beautiful, but tough-as-nails Breedmate named Kaya Laurent.

Independent and driven, Kaya wants nothing more than to become a full-fledged member of the Order. Having grown up in squalor and neglect on the streets of Montreal, she longs for the close-knit family she’s found during her training to be a warrior. Eager to prove herself, she is thrilled to be given the chance at a key operation—even if she must share the mission with an arrogant, far-too-seductive Breed male who’s practically Order royalty.

Their unwanted partnership soon erupts into a desire neither of them can resist. But when Kaya’s past reaches out from the shadows to call her back, she must decide between protecting a dark alliance that could shatter her dreams of joining the team and a truth that could not only forfeit Aric’s faith in her, but bring the enemy right to the Order’s door.

Another thing:  Lisa Shearin, author of SPI Files (just released #5, Myth Manifestation,  on January 16, 2018) and the Raine Benares series has released the titles of SPI’s best seer, Mac Frasier’s personal files that are upcoming:
SPI Files #6:  The Phoenix Illusion
SPI Files #7:  The Solstice Countdown
SPI Files #8:  The Pandora Predicament
SPI Files #9:  The Demon Directive

Obviously, there are no descriptions or covers yet.  Stay tuned.


Check in tomorrow for the cover reveal and description of Ken Lange‘s new book, Dust Walkers.  This is book #2 in the Vigiles Urbani series.


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The Myth Manifestation snippets by Lisa Shearin

Whoa, baby! Author Lisa Shearin of  The Myth Manifestation – sent tantalizing snippets that make me want the whole book even more! It’s releasing this TUESDAY, so we just have to hold on until then!

Earlier I posted about the fabulous Lisa Shearin releasing The Myth Manifestation.  This is episode #5 of the SPI Files series.  If you haven’t read #1-4, hop to it.  This is not a series to be missed.

Ms. Shearin sent us chapter 1 and chapter 2 of The Myth Manifestation to share with you. Today, she’s sent us TWO snippets.  Just enough to drive us crazy and make the wait until Tuesday that much harder! Come on…whatcha waitin’ for? Dive in!


Some of the delegates were strictly nocturnal, and now was their happy hour. The other delegates fell into two camps: too pooped to party, and wide awake with worry so they might as well try to have fun.

Yes, there had been a murder committed to keep anyone from leaving. The delegates didn’t know about it, and had yet to be targeted. Since the success of the summit depended on maintaining congeniality, Vivienne Sagadraco had determined that the best way to deal with the current situation would be to carry on with the summit’s meetings as scheduled, beginning in the morning. I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, the boss was the epitome of the whole “Keep Calm and Carry On” thing. If her tea time would not be interrupted for monsters and murder, neither would the Centennial Supernatural Summit.

Rumor had it there was one heck of a poker game going on in the room Vlad had taken for his team’s headquarters. As Ian and I headed toward the lobby, one of Vlad’s people passed us, presumably on his way to the game, and nodded a polite greeting. He had a flying monkey tucked under his arm.

Is that the vampire version of taking a keg to a party?” I quietly asked my partner.

“More like just a growler. But yeah.”


The thing slammed into the bottom of the elevator, sending the car—and our legs—up a good two feet. Kenji and I had instinctively grabbed the cable, which was all that’d kept us on our feet.

Then the car kept creeping upward, as if pushed from beneath, thumps and hisses coming from all around us.

Holy crap.

I did not want to look, but I had to.

I shined my penlight against the elevator shaft.

Snakes. Plural.

Not just two, but half a dozen snakes, maybe more, trying to squirm their way up from below, pushing against each other, each one the size of my thigh and plenty big enough to crush and eat us. They were eagerly squeezing themselves through the space between the elevator car and the shaft like Play-Doh in an evil Fun Factory.

Kenji and I were in total agreement on what to do next.

We screamed.

Don’t forget.  The Myth Manifestation releases January 16, 2018.

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The Myth Manifestation, Chapter 2 by Lisa Shearin

More info on The Myth Manifestation – chapter 2!! Can you believe it! One week til publishing and then we get to read the whole thing! Where is Rake? We can’t go on without Rake!  Oh, wait…

Earlier I posted about the fabulous Lisa Shearin releasing The Myth Manifestation.  This is episode #5 of the SPI series.  If you haven’t read #1-4, hop to it.  This is not a series to be missed.

I asked Ms. Shearin if it would be all right to share with you chapter 1 of The Myth Manifestation and she granted permission.  Now it’s time for the next chapter!!!

Chapter 2

Ian and I weren’t officially on duty for another hour, but we knew we’d been unofficially so the instant we’d set foot outside our hotel rooms.

When we glanced around the lobby, it wasn’t apparent to either one of us what was wrong.

The Regor Regency was a fully restored, thirteen-story epitome of art nouveau elegance.
The hotel’s defining feature was a central atrium that rose to a pyramidal skylight on the roof, revealing the surrounding Lower Manhattan skyline. The guest rooms and many of the meeting rooms opened out onto lushly carpeted walkways overlooking the atrium. The ornate, wrought-iron railing on each floor was waist-high to keep guests from taking a dive to the lobby below. It was Darwin Award–winner prevention that also looked good.

The hotel had been reopened for business for almost five years, and in that time, the Regor Regency had become the preferred destination for the well-heeled, both human and supernatural, who needed to be close to the Financial District. The logistics for the summit required a venue that was supernatural-friendly, meaning the staff had to be supernaturals themselves or some of the select humans who were in-the-know. Most of all, the staff couldn’t be the type to scream and run at the sight of guests with tentacles, wings, tails, scales, pointy ears, and/or fangs. The hotel also had to be able to accommodate the dietary and comfort needs of said unusual guests. And, most importantly, the venue had to be able to close itself to the general public (aka clueless humans) for the duration of the summit.

That meant the Regor Regency.

Plus, it was a nice touch that last year, the Regor had achieved a five-star rating. If you wanted people and not-people to make nice and work together, you’d better be sure they were happy with their surroundings.

Part of the hotel’s supernatural-friendliness lay with what ran below its foundations—several ley lines of power. They weren’t any of the four major lines that ran through the tri-state area, but rather smaller branches. The foundations of the hotel had been embedded in the bedrock right above the ley lines, which emitted a low and actually rather pleasant hum to people and beings who were sensitive to such things. After being exposed to a rudely awakened major ley line, I was officially a sensitive. As a result, the hotel’s interior was brighter and more vibrant, its cuisine more flavorful, its guest rooms more inviting and restful. I could see why the owner chose this hotel to renovate. It was a moneymaker waiting to happen.

To cover the preparations for the summit itself, plus getting the hotel ready to reopen to the public afterward, the owner had stopped taking reservations, and closed it for three weeks, citing renovations. To say that the owner was losing a lot of money from closing his hotel was an understatement, but I was sure that Vivienne Sagadraco had made it worth his while.

The owner was Rake Danescu.

Rake was a goblin, spymaster, billionaire, and presumed playboy. I say “presumed” because while I had no evidence to support that statement, he was tall, dark, blazingly hot, and his bank accounts were loaded. I felt safe assuming all of the above equaled a chick magnet; and since Rake was hot-blooded, breathing, and male, I couldn’t see him turning down the women who threw themselves at him on a regular basis.

I’d never thrown myself at him.

Maybe that was part of my appeal to him.

I still didn’t know.

By the way, Rake and I were kinda-sorta-maybe dating, and to the best of my knowledge, Rake had turned into a one-woman goblin.

I hadn’t slept with him. Not yet.

Call me paranoid, cautious, or merely sensible. Considering who and what the object of my affection was, I thought all of the above were good ideas.

But I hadn’t had to exercise any of my caution lately.

Rake and I hadn’t seen much of each other for about two months. I’d expected him to go full speed ahead after what had happened on Bannerman Island. We’d saved Ian, prevented an invasion by a race of ancient Irish gods, and as an added bonus, had made out in the woods. When it came to taking a relationship to the next level, that was a green light combined with flashing directional arrows. Instead, Rake had suddenly become “busy.”


To tell you the truth, it’d been kind of hard not to take personally.

But the reason I was here wasn’t personal, it was business, and I needed to get down to it.

I slowly turned in a full circle, my seer and regular human senses wide open.

I didn’t see anything in the hotel lobby that wasn’t supposed to be there. And all I could smell was the bacon biscuit in my pocket. Though a second later, I did hear my stomach growl in annoyance at being denied its crispy, bacony goodness.
The goblin chief of Rake’s hotel security stood utterly still across the lobby in front of the door leading to the hotel offices. Goblins had black eyes and hair (which they usually wore long), upswept ears, vampiric fangs, and a predator’s senses. I’d been introduced to Gethen Nazar yesterday. He and all those on his staff were battle-hardened dark mages, like their boss, Rake Danescu. A lot of supernatural VIPs stayed here, and as SPI knew through copious experience, wherever supernatural VIPs went, trouble was sure to follow. Rake and his people prided themselves on being prepared for anything.

If Gethen Nazar didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t feel so bad.

A low, rumbling growl made the marble floors vibrate beneath our feet.

It came from the hotel ballroom, not my stomach.

As did the crash of something large and extremely breakable immediately after.

I didn’t know what was going all Hulk-smash behind those ballroom doors, but I knew I hadn’t had nearly enough coffee to deal with it. Worst of all, I didn’t think I was gonna get to eat my bacon biscuit anytime soon.

One of the doors quickly opened, and two pale and wide-eyed goblin hotel staffers darted out, slammed the door, and threw their backs against it as something bigger than both of them put together times ten charged the door from the other side.

The resulting boom shook the floor under our feet again, and the door buckled, but held.


My mouth was suddenly a tad bit dry. “I always thought the Hulk was a fictional character.”

“He is,” Ian said from beside me. “Unfortunately, that isn’t.”

I was fairly certain I was underqualified to deal with whatever was in there, and I was positive I didn’t want to open that door for confirmation, but that was our job. Confirm and confront things from the other side.

Sandra didn’t have to call her commando team; they’d followed us out of the dining room. They were still on duty. SPI’s second commando team, led by Roy Benoit, was on call.

Sandra called.

Ian and I hurried over to the wall to the right of the doors that had taken yet another hit. Whatever was in there wanted out. We needed it to stay in.

Gethen Nazar was already there, speaking in low tones to the panicked goblin staffers.

Goblins didn’t shock easily, and if they did, they kept it to themselves. Whatever was in that ballroom had made these goblins toss their reserve right out the nearest Tiffany window.

“That’s impossible,” Gethen was saying.

Those words coming from a dark mage said a lot, none of it good.

“It was there . . . then it wasn’t,” the staffer managed.

The second staffer jumped in. “Then it appeared again.”

The security chief slid aside a small wooden panel that was at eye level in the ballroom door, like you’d see in an old speakeasy, and looked inside.

“What is it?” Ian asked him.

“Well, I’ll be damned. It is a buka.”

I blinked. “A what?”

“It’s a goblin legend,” Gethen said. “They exist, but they’re rare. A monster used to frighten children.”

If the staffers’ borderline panic was any indicator, bukas worked their mojo on adults, too.

“It appeared out of nowhere,” the first staffer told us.

Ian and I exchanged a glance. We both knew that a lot of monsters could come out of nowhere, and that applied to the proverbial “thin air” as well. Not all air was thin, and when it came to portals or tears in dimensional walls, there really wasn’t such a thing as “nowhere.”

“Gethen, what’s happening here?”

The familiar voice came from behind us.


He was tall and lean with shoulder-length black hair, angular features, and cheekbones you could cut yourself on. With the hotel being closed to the supernaturally clueless, Rake had dispensed with the human disguise, so his pale gray skin, pointed ears, and a pair of fangs that he knew how to use and use well—whether for ripping out the throat of an enemy or nibbling yours truly into incoherent babbling—were on full display.

The way things were going, there wasn’t going to be any nibbling on his part or babbling on mine for the foreseeable future.

Gethen answered his boss. “There is what appears to be a buka in the ballroom, sir.”

Rake paused for a moment, as if waiting for what he’d just heard to make sense. Apparently it didn’t. “A buka?”

The staffers were nodding in unison. “Yes, sir,” staffer number two said. “We were setting up the room for tonight, and it appeared.”

Rake crossed to the doors and slid aside the panel. He looked, he saw, and he carefully closed it.

He turned to us and said calmly, “There’s a buka in my ballroom.”

Ian stepped forward. “May I?”

“By all means.”

Ian took a peek, and I stood on tiptoe to do the same.

It was about nine, maybe ten feet tall, and bore a vague resemblance to a sasquatch. And yes, they do exist. Sasquatches are shy and gentle unless provoked. I didn’t know what had set this buka off, but those yellow eyes were blazing with a feeling that was way beyond provoked. It appeared to be deciding which set of antique tables and chairs to Hulk-smash next.

A normal person would think that was something you didn’t generally see in an upscale Manhattan hotel.
We weren’t normal people, and this wasn’t a normal hotel.

I drew back. “It looks like some kind of were-sasquatch.”

“Bukas are monsters native to my world,” Rake said, “specifically my home kingdom.”

“So, it shouldn’t be here.” I didn’t ask it as a question, since it was obvious that the thing was here. I shouldn’t have said it at all, but I think my mouth was killing time while my brain caught up to what my eyes were seeing.

“No, it should not be here.”

“Whatever we’re gonna do to make it go away, we need to do it quick. You’re starting to lose furniture in there.”

Sandra shouldered her way forward to take a look for herself. “All I need to know is how to kill it.”

“They’re tough and they’re fast,” Rake told her. “But they bleed and die just like anything else.”

Sandra gave a sharp nod. “Good enough.”

“That being said,” Rake continued, “some of the delegates have already arrived. A few have never heard gunfire before. We don’t want to upset anyone.”

Ian gave Rake a flat look. “So, you’re going to ask it nicely to leave?”

“The magic I plan to use is silent—at least it will be to my guests. All that will remain is a rather unpleasant odor, which the air filtration system can easily eliminate.”

“And if it’s tougher or faster than you think?” Ian asked.

I did a little internal wince.

Rake and Ian had never been what you’d call friends. More like two alpha males who had a mutual agreement not to kill each other in the immediate future. Maintaining that no-kill stance at any time beyond that was open to negotiation.
From what I had heard from others and seen for myself, Rake Danescu was quite possibly one of the most powerful dark mages on our planet right now. Ian had witnessed Rake’s magical badassery up close and firsthand. He knew what the goblin was capable of. So, Ian wasn’t questioning Rake’s qualifications to deal with the rabid goblin sasquatch; he merely wanted to cover all his bases should this not play out the way Rake believed it would.


Fortunately, Rake now knew Ian well enough to know this about him, and didn’t take it personally.


I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.


“I believe my team and I will be able to deal with the threat quietly,” Rake told Ian. “However, I am never opposed to backup—even if it is not needed.”


The members of SPI New York’s two commando teams were qualified to take down any monster in many ways. We had humans, elves, goblins, vampires, werewolves, and a couple of supernatural species I hadn’t been aware existed until I’d signed on with SPI.

All could kick monster ass with an assortment of lethal weapons, by hand, and with magic. That being said, I suspected they had nothing on Rake Danescu’s black magic security team, who had now joined their commander.

There were only six of them. Three men and three women Rake trusted to be able to deal with anything that could happen. He took the security of his properties very seriously, especially after what had happened a couple of months ago with a certain brimstone-leaking Hellpit under his most profitable nightclub.

Rake knew how much was riding on the summit. He’d pulled the best of his security personnel from his properties around town. They could fight and they could fling magic better than our commandos. I didn’t like admitting it, but it was true. It was true because Rake and his people were dark battlemages. They didn’t just practice black magic; they were experts. Their magic wasn’t the sacrifice-a-virgin kind; it was the too-dangerous-to-be-tried kind.

These people didn’t try it. They did it—and lived.

They were all goblins. While Rake had no problem with other races or supernatural species, when it came to those who had his back, he preferred his own people.

Considering the power even I could feel that they were packing, I didn’t blame him.

Ian had stepped to the side to call Ms. Sagadraco to inform her of the situation. While she would be on-site this afternoon when the rest of the delegates arrived, she always wanted to be notified if a situation went south when she wasn’t there.
A buka in the ballroom definitely qualified.

Rake and his people were going to take this entrance. Sandra and her team had moved to the ballroom’s east entrance, with Roy and his folks taking up position outside the west entrance. Both had just reported that they were in position.
As the leader of his team and owner of this hotel, it was Rake’s call when to move. They would attempt to deal with it themselves with magic alone. Our two teams were backup if dark magic muscle couldn’t get the job done.

The buka had stopped pounding on the doors. While we couldn’t hear it, no one could help but smell it. The closest I’d come in my experience to a stink quite that bad was a billy goat. Don’t get me wrong, I loved goats. Cutest babies ever. But once the boys grew up . . . dang, that was some serious stink.

Rake turned to his team. “If at all possible, I want this taken care of with minimal damage.”

Meaning to everything except the buka.

“I couldn’t see the entire ballroom through that little peephole,” I told him. “That buka could have friends—or whoever brought him here.”

“There was only one,” the goblin staffer said.

“That you could see. And you said that one kept disappearing and popping back up. What’s to keep another one from doing the same thing?” I held up a hand. “I’m not disputing what you saw, merely saying it’s a possibility we should consider.”

There was silence at that.

The staffers didn’t know what I meant, but Ian and Rake did. I was a seer. My survival instinct didn’t want me going into that ballroom, but keeping our people safe by alerting them to danger that only I could see was my job. It was my job, and I was going to do it. I wasn’t asking for Ian’s approval as my partner, or Rake’s as the owner of this hotel. It was more of an FYI. I was going in there.

“Me first,” Ian said.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” I told him. “You’re the badass monster hunter. I’m here to help you aim, if needed.”

I drew my own weapon. It was the latest and greatest paint pistol SPI’s chief armorer had made for me. As a country girl who grew up in the mountains, I was a good shot. Since I’d been working at SPI, I’d become a better shot. Our agents and commandos were expert shots—when it came to what they could see.

My paint pistol and I were there to help them shoot what they couldn’t see.

SPI’s R&D department had come up with ammo for my pistol and rifle that had a much wider splatter radius than a standard paintball. Plus, the dye was brighter and had the added advantage of glowing in the dark.

If a monster was sporting any kind of cloak or veil, I tagged it so our commandos could bag it.

I’d felt silly at first, carrying guns that fired dye pellets, but after dealing with the first few veiled baddies that had nearly killed two of our commandos, I carried my lethal-by-association toys with pride and honor.

Rake was wearing a suit, a suit that probably cost a month or more of my salary. He didn’t seem concerned that things could happen to the suit that even the best dry cleaner and tailor couldn’t fix.

I found myself on the receiving end of one of Rake’s bemused glances.

One corner of his mouth twitched in a quick grin. “Worried about me?”

“You can take care of yourself. I’m worried about endangering an innocent suit.”

Rake glanced down. “Good point. At least I can preserve the jacket.” With that, he shrugged out of the suit coat with one smooth movement, tossing it over the back of a nearby chair. Then he deftly removed his cuff links, which had probably cost more than the suit, tucked them in a pocket, and rolled up his sleeves. “Shall we?” he asked.

Ian gave a sharp nod.

A rafter-shaking roar came from what sounded like the middle of the ballroom. The buka was still there, but at least it had moved away from the door.

Our opportunity to get inside without the buka getting outside wouldn’t be any better.

Rake opened the door.

Don’t forget, The Myth Manifestation releases January 16, 2018.

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