To celebrate the release of my new Connelly Witches novel, A Past Undone, I am running a free promotion for the first of the Connelly Witches novels, Shattered Image. The free promotion runs from Sept. 19th through Sept 22. If you loved the characters in the Beneath the Shadows of Evil Series, you will want to read about the Connelly witches. They are the descendants of Alliana and Mikal, and carry on their magical legacy. Now is your chance to get both novels for the price of one.
In Shattered Images, Jolynn Raymond introduced the Connelly Witches. A family whose magic dates back hundreds of years. They have been entrusted with keeping the world safe from the demons who would prey on mankind. As they struggle to hold true to their legacy, they often must fight to save their own family from destruction by those intent on unleashing evil upon the world. Love and magic bind them all together as surely as the responsibility entrusted to their family. When Rachel Connelly turns her back on her magic, there are serious consequences, one of which puts her daughter in grave danger. Shattered images Available Here
In A Past Undone, Raven Connelly falls through a time portal back to the year 1890. There is a familiar demon waiting for her there, but she has no memory of him, or her family. The remaining Connelly Witches must band together to battle along side Alex Ashford, a man with a dangerous past but a heart full of love for Raven Connelly. Time and magic are tricky things and the rules governing them are often as hard to battle as the demons who would do them harm. As time ticks away, Alex must help Raven regain her memory before Naberious can lure her to her death. In the end, only Alex’s love can make Raven remember, but while he struggles to help the woman he loves, the demon strikes again and again, ever closer to Raven.
A Past Undone available here
Paranormal Historical Romances, Paranormal Thrillers, Modern Day Paranormal Romances and Kinky Historical Romances All novels by Jolynn Raymond are available here
Excerpt from Shattered Images
She lay upon the bed, dark hair damp and clinging to her forehead; the tangled ebony curls a sharp contrast against the stark white of the pillow. A sliver of moon shone through a gap in the heavy drapes, casting its pale glow upon her face, illuminating dark lashes upon porcelain skin. The shadows beneath her eyes gave testament to the restless nights that plagued her, whispering of the dreams that haunted her slumber and kept her anxious and on edge, even while sleeping.
As she ran in her dream, she kicked the heavy quilt off her legs and her arms flailed as she batted away the unseen hands that reached out to grab her. In her nightmare she fled the sinister shadows that chased her. She ran from them in terror, and then came to a sudden stop, but it was too late. Her feet slid on the loose gravel, and then she was falling, down, down, plunging into the dark maw where he waited.
Isabelle woke with a start as she always did when she came to the part of the dream where she fell. She put a hand over her eyes and rubbed to erase the last vestiges of terror and clutched the sheets with the other as she tried to take slow breaths of air through teeth that refused to be unclenched. Finally, she was able to slow her breathing and calm the riot of her heartbeats. It was only a dream, just a dream, only a dream, just the same one as every other night.
She often wondered in the light of day why it terrified her so when she knew the outcome, but then she told herself that she knew the answer to that question though wouldn’t readily admit it. It was more than the fact that each time she felt as if she’d plunged over the edge and into oblivion. The other more sinister reason was because of the dark figure with eyes like burning coals that seemed to float down in the black chasm, lying in wait, the one who wanted her to stay asleep and keep falling so he could wrap her in his arms.
It was his shadowy imps that chased her and drove her forward towards their master, his little demons who nipped at her heels and grabbed at her arms, not to catch her, but to urge her on in her mad flight though she wanted desperately to stop. They kept her running headlong through the darkness until she plunged off the cliff, arms pin-wheeling, feet skidding, body plunging, down, down, down. Night after night, time after time, dream after dream, always the same and yet she couldn’t stop herself. She became helpless each night when she closed her eyes and gave it to the deep weariness that couldn’t be denied.
The nameless demon frightened her more than the fall; for she didn’t believe death awaited her at the bottom of the chasm. Isabelle knew she would be caught by him before she hit the ground, caught and held as his. Whoever the evil creature was, it was in his arms she would know terror like she’d never known. She had no name for him, had no real idea of his face, and yet the fate that awaited her should she fall far enough to be caught was certain. The fear that tore her from her nightmare and saved her from becoming entangled in his arms would pale in comparison to what would befall her if she became his.
Knowing there would be no more sleep that night, Isabelle tossed back the bedcovers. She slipped from her bed and went to the wash basin. The thin layer of ice on the water gave little resistance to her shaking hands as she plunged them in. She splashed the freezing water upon her face, the shock of the cold chasing away the last hold of the dream. She then padded barefoot across the room, heedless of slipper or shawl. She felt the cold, but it didn’t matter, for her mind was focused on what lay upstairs in the attic. She had to go upstairs to see the mirror and the book. Only they could provide solace and perhaps answers.
Pausing long enough to light a lamp, Isabelle slipped out of the room and made her way silently to the stairs. She climbed to the third floor landing, and then went up one more steep flight to the attic. The things she sought were located there, under the eaves amid the dust and cobwebs. Perhaps tonight she would find answers that would calm her, and perhaps if she were lucky, she would see her tormenter in the mirror once more.
It had started with the mirror and the Book of Evils a fortnight ago when she’d come up to the attic looking for something to ease the tedium of being stuck inside day after rainy day.
She’d found the old book upon a pedestal covered in dust and opened it eagerly, hoping for a wondrous tale, but instead found hideous sketches of demons and dark creatures along with the names and vile descriptions. She’d been disgusted and frightened but entranced with their powers, and so had pulled the heavy book from its lectern and carried it to the old rocking chair to gaze at page after page.
The chair was placed in front of a tall looking glass, and it was within it that she had seen the demon that now haunted her for the first time. She’d been completely engrossed, whispering the demon’s names out loud, trying to say the peculiar words, when she glanced up and saw a creature out of a child’s worst nightmare standing over her. He’d been still and silent, bending over her from behind as she sat in the chair, nearly touching her.
Isabelle had screamed, shoving the book off her lap as she jumped up. She’d turned to flee, taking one last look over her shoulder to find… no one. The chair rocked with a small squeak, the lamp flame danced and made elongated shadows on the wall of the boxes and trunks, her footprints were left behind in the dust on the floor, but she was alone; utterly alone. There was no place for a creature of that size to hide, the nooks were far too small, but despite that fact, the demon she’d seen poised to grab her had been gone.
That was over two weeks ago, and her life hadn’t been the same ever since. That night had begun the nightmares that plagued her relentlessly, robbing her of her sleep and her feeling of well-being. At first Isabelle had told herself the creature was a figment of her imagination, something conjured up in her over active mind because of the book, but she began to doubt her theory as each night the dream became more vivid and she felt as if she were falling just a bit further, closer and closer to him.
She’d looked in her uncle’s study to find a book like the one in the attic but had found none. She’d even been so bold as to ask her aunt about the book in the attic but had only received a strict warning after assuring her aunt she’d never opened it. Perhaps that had been the wrong thing to do; she wasn’t a liar, but something inside told her to hold her tongue.
She’d kept her secret after that and had begun to make these trips back up to the attic, feeling as if they were the only sensible thing she could do. He, whoever he was, wasn’t going away, and so she’d decided to return in hopes of confronting the demon who was playing nasty games with her. She was to spend at least two more months with her aunt and uncle before being sent back to finishing school, and she had no desire to be tormented by her nightmare for so long.
Isabelle had read much more of the book, in fact she only had a little more left to read. It had filled her with revulsion but given her a sense of power as well. The book wasn’t meant to frighten, it was meant to help, to empower the one who knew its secrets so they could do battle against the malevolent beings that belonged in hell but sometimes refused to stay there. She learned something else as well. One should never say a demon’s name out loud. To do so was to invite danger to your door. Isabelle had cringed when she’d read that, thinking of all the names she’s spoken when she’d first opened the book. Now all she could do was hope to see the demon again so she could put a name to him and learn how to vanquish him, or at least send him back to the pits of hell from whist he came.
Isabelle picked up the heavy tome and took it to the chair once more before opening it and continuing to read in her quest to invite the demon she’d first seen in the mirror back again. She wasn’t foolhardy enough to repeat all the names towards the front of the book, so instead she kept her gaze mostly on the pages she had yet to read, but kept just a bit of her focus on the mirror in front of her. She was certain he meant to have her, and hoped to be able to confront him before the night came that she failed to awake in her bed and instead fell far enough into the black chasm that he was able to catch her.
She sat reading until the sky outside the tiny attic window began to take on the hues of dawn, and finally reached the end of the book. Turning the last of the pages, she found names inscribed on the back inside cover. Some of the names she recognized as being her ancestors, as well as others no one had spoken of. The dates of birth and death were written next to each name as is often the case in a family bible, but this of course was no such thing, and not everyone she’d been told of when learning about her ancestors was listed. Reading the time span of the lives of those written there made her brows draw together and her head shake slowly side to side.
Some of what was recorded had to be a mistake, for some of her ancestors were listed as living for over a hundred years, and couple of them for over two hundred. In one case, the son of the family’s patriarch on her father’s side of the family line was noted to have been born in 1525, and to have died in 1758. She looked at the name again, Mikhalen Arcos. She had heard his name before, and that of his father Mikhal Arcos, but knew little aside from the fact that the family’s origin had begun in Hungary.
Isabelle reached up to push back a lock of hair and suddenly felt cold fingers grasp her wrist. She cried out in fright and looked up to see the demon she’d been hoping to confront reflected in the looking glass. She’d been far too engrossed in the book on her lap, and had let her guard down. He was standing next to her with a malevolent grin upon his face.
“Hello pretty, seems you’ve come to the end of your book. Time for me to continue your education.”
“I… No! Let me go.”
“Oh but I can’t sweet girl. You’re a special prize. One I need for my collection.”
Isabelle tried to yank her hand away but was no match for the demon who held her. She rose and pulled back, yanking with all her might, but he simply laughed and tugged back, pulling her towards him, her bare feet sliding on the smooth wood boards.
“Try as you might Isabelle, you won’t get free. You’re special and I simply must have you.”
She opted for a different tactic, perhaps she could distract him with questions and get him to relax his grip.
“Why am I so special? I didn’t mean to summon you if that’s what you mean. It was an accident. I didn’t know about speaking the names. Who are you? What do you want with me?”
“You’d like nothing better than to know my name I’m sure. Perhaps you think you’ll get away and then you’ll use your uncle’s book to destroy me.”
“My uncle’s?” Isabelle looked at the book that now lay face down on the floor.
“Yes your uncle’s. Jonathan Arcos Morton, a descendant of Mikhalen Arcos. Your family has been battling demons for hundreds of years, and we don’t like it one bit. Capturing you will tilt the battle in our favor. The seer tells of the success your family bloodline will have in vanquishing us, and that simply can’t be. You’ll now live out your life in a place where you can’t do any harm. But never mind that. Come along now.”
The demon from her nightmare pulled her close to him with little effort. He wrapped her up in his arms, crushing her to his chest and breathing deeply, taking in her scent. “Such a delightful little treat, and all mine; this way sweet Isabelle.”
He lift her off her feet though she struggled against him, and swung her up into his arms like she was but a babe, then stepped to the oval looking glass, extremely pleased with his prize. Stealing this one would hurt her family greatly. It would deal a blow to those he hated and prevent her from bearing children or practicing the magic that lay dormant inside her.
Isabelle felt his chest rumble with laughter as he stepped through the mirror, and then she was gone.