Cover Reveal: Darkness Haunts

I have a treat for you guys today, a new urban fantasy book set to come out January 15. I beta read this book and can say the characters are compelling, the world building engaging, and features one kick-ass heroine. If you enjoyed reading the Alaska setting in Earth Tones, this one’s set in Fairbanks. And this cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Darkness Haunts
     Melena Sanders faced her fair share of danger with insurgents and terrorists when she served in the U.S. Army, but now she is about to go up against a new threat.  Her best friend, Aniya, has disappeared while on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska—a supernatural haven.  Most humans have no idea darker races lurk amongst them.  Mel has always known better.  If she wants to get her friend back, she’s going to have to go in alone—but not unarmed.
     Melena has a few special skills the Army didn’t provide, but the odds are still against her.  She’s got to come up with a plan fast that doesn’t involve her, or her friend, dying.  But danger likes to play it rough.  A war for power is about to rise in Fairbanks and if she wants to get Aniya back, she’s going to have to step right into the middle of it.
Here’s a sneak peek:
The woman caught me hovering at the door and waved me inside. I took two steps in and stopped. She wasn’t much of a threat, but coming near her still made me squeamish.“You look lost my dear. Are you searching for something?”Once my eyes had adjusted to the dim interior, I saw she had kind hazel eyes, and a face framed by long silver hair. The wrinkles lining her skin seemed to accentuate, rather than detract, from her looks. My senses told me she was pushing seventy years old, but she still appeared to be in good shape with a small, nimble body.The mystic must have been one of those types who got into the act of her profession because she wore a long, dark robe that flowed around her. Something I might have expected from a tarot card reader. Of course, her business did sit within the confines of a major tourist attraction. She would want to cater to customers’ expectations.“Actually, I’m looking for someone.” Pushing aside my trepidation, I pulled out my picture of Aniya. “Have you seen this woman?”She leaned over the black silk-draped table she sat behind and took a close look. After a moment, she shook her head.“No, I’m sorry. She hasn’t been around here.”“You haven’t seen her anywhere?”

She smiled. “I don’t get about town much these days. This is the one place I have a chance to see anyone aside from my family.”

I supposed that made sense at her age, but this was the last place I had left to visit in the park and had hoped for better results. It was the only reason I’d been willing to take a chance on her at all. Vampires couldn’t mesmerize her into forgetting like they could the humans around here. Not at her power level.

“Why don’t I give you a reading? Perhaps that will help.”

My body tensed at the offer. Sticking around a sup, any sup, for very long did not sit well with me. Never mind that I needed to work on getting past that particular problem if I was ever going to have any luck finding Aniya. I really didn’t think she was with a human anymore.

The mystic cocked her head at seeing my reluctance. “If you’re really worried about your friend, it could be worth a try.”

Doubtful, but this was an opportunity to work on overcoming my fear and see what she was made of. All the other readings in my past had been fake, done by people who had no skills at all. I went along with the show because it amused me to see how far they would go in their act. My ability to sense magic let me know they were doing nothing more than guessing. But this woman had magic—not that it would be any more useful than the fakers.

She took the twenty I handed her and stuffed it into a small opening in her robe. I contemplated asking her if she could do a spell with Aniya’s picture to find her, but didn’t feel ready to ask for that kind of help. One step at a time. Better to feel her out for now and keep my options open.

She turned her back to get a deck of tarot cards after indicating for me to take a seat. My muscles cramped as they bent down into the chair, the good kind of ache after too many hours on my feet. The run this morning must have taken a greater toll than I’d thought. I made a mental note to get myself into a better routine with my workouts. They were more important now than ever.

The mystic shuffled the cards and arranged them with care before laying them down. We both took an indrawn breath at what was revealed, or rather, not revealed. The woman gave me a startled look and I drew back myself. Every card she laid down came up blank—solid white, with nothing on them. It was the last thing I’d expected.

Her magic was trying to pull my information, but couldn’t, so it wiped out the details of the cards. She mumbled under her breath and her hands began to shake. Guilt stirred inside me at seeing her so upset. From what I could tell, the cards had their normal illustrations on them until she laid them down, then they blanked out. She tried several times with no success. My very nature made me a void for magic, but I hadn’t realized it went this far.

Our attention was so riveted on her trying a new deck that neither of us noticed the man who stepped in until he spoke.

“Those won’t work on her, Yvonne.” His rough voice carried over to us, making me jump.

About Susan Illene:
photo of Susan     Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber — an experience she is sure is best left for criminals.  For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units).  Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.
     After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal (macaroni and cheese apparently doesn’t count), but she’s found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.
Connect with Susan:

Twitter: @susan_illene

Watch for Darkness Haunts available January 15!


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3 comments on “Cover Reveal: Darkness Haunts

  1. Beautiful cover and I love the excerpt! I’m gonna have to check this one out 🙂

  2. Susan A. says:

    Angela, thank you so much for posting the cover reveal. You did a great job!

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