COVER & EXCERPT REVEAL
WICKED SPIRITS by Autumn M. Key
Release Date: September 21, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance with paranormal elements
I don’t believe in true love.
I don’t want forever.
I want right now.
But right now, isn’t cutting it anymore.
I didn’t expect to find the remedy in her.
I didn’t expect to want more.
I didn’t expect to find her at her fiancé’s funeral
She needs me.
No one has ever needed me.
It makes me want her in ways I’ve never wanted anyone.
True love is always just out of reach.
I’ve accepted that love is not meant for me.
It has always been a lie.
I didn’t expect him to find me.
He has me confessing my secrets and desires.
But can he accept the truth about what I am?
The timing is wrong.
This is wrong.
No matter how he makes me feel, this is only for right now.
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I’m not sure why, but I find myself compelled to search the room. They have separate drawers for their clothes. Hers are messy. His are neat. The closet is mostly hers. Shoes are scattered on the floor while his dress shoes and three different pairs of cowboy boots are neatly placed in a row. He has several sports jackets, slacks, button down shirts and even his jeans are hanging neatly. I slide my fingertips across the sleeves of Portia’s clothes. T-shirts are mixed with dresses and blouses. I love how unorganized she is. It feels comfortable and familiar.
“Why are you in here?”
Startled I turn to the doorway to find Portia in my t-shirt staring at me. Her arms are crossed over her chest.
“I was curious?”
“You were snooping.”
When I approach her she takes a step back. “Not really. It’s just bizarre as if this other person lives here with you. Sometimes I feel…”
I was going to say, I felt like an intruder, but the word hits me square in the gut. “Yes, jealous.”
“Why? I’m the one who asked you to come stay with me.” I realize I have invaded the space she shared with Evan. “You have no right to be in here.”
I carefully place my hands on her hips. “No, I have no right.”
“Then why are you?”
I close my eyes, unsure why or what to say. “I don’t know really. Evan is so real for you – for Ember and to me…well he’s like a fictional character. I guess I need to validate his existence.”
She studies me, letting my words sink in. I don’t attempt to bridge the distance between us. I can tell she’s upset with me, and most likely still battling with her feelings from the night before.
“I don’t want you in here!” she finally says. Her body is tense.
“Why?” I feel pissed that she has drawn a line that I’m not allowed to cross.
“Because I don’t want you here with his things…or in…our…”
“Bed?” I finish.
“No,” she snaps.
“What if that’s exactly what I want?”
Anger flashes over her face. “Parker!”
“I don’t like him!”
Portia does a double take and raises her eyebrows.
“I don’t like Evan. I don’t like the way he lied to you. The things he kept from you or the way he loved you.”
“What do you know about it? About any of it? There is no proof he kept things from me.”
“Don’t you see it? You must. You wouldn’t have me here if you didn’t.” Anger floods my bones.
Portia raises her arms and pushes my hands away. “Maybe you shouldn’t be here then.”
I step into her space. “Oh no! You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
Portia jerks her chin up at my challenge. Fire glints in her eyes. “I get to do whatever I want!”
“You want me to leave? Standing there in nothing but my t-shirt…you don’t look like I’m invading your space.” I don’t know why I’m goading her. It’s mean, but I can’t stop myself. It angers me how Evan didn’t fully love her, and how he left her alone to hurt.
“Fuck you!” She grits out and turns her back to me.
I lean my lips next to her ear. “You want me to leave Portia? Leave you alone with his things. Is that going to make what he did to you hurt less?”
She doesn’t answer, but I can tell by her breathing she’s angry. Slowly I trail a finger along her side and skim the curve of her breast.
“I’m glad he’s gone. He didn’t deserve you.”
Portia spins around. She pounds her fists against my chest. “That’s not true!”
I grab her wrists to keep her from hitting me, and she squirms in my grip. She has no idea how hitting me makes me want her even more. “Yes, it is, and you know it!”
“Fuck you!” she spits.
“Is that what you want me to do?”
“Stop this! Stop confusing everything with sex! No wonder I’m so confused.”
She pulls at her wrists and stumbles back. It takes us both to the floor. We land in the closet doorway, half on carpet and half on the hardwood floor. She’s squirming, but I’m fighting to hold her still.
“Let me go Parker!”
“Let me go!” she demands again.
“No.” I keep my voice calm and my grip firm without hurting her.
“Why are you doing this?”
“I want you!” I look around us. “In here! In the room you shared with him.”
I laugh, and she shutters. “No sugar. I’m jealous!”
Immediately Portia stills. Her eyes search mine, and I feel her tension ease. “Jealous? Of Evan?”
I release her hands, move off her and sit back on my heels. With my hand, I pull the hair on top of my head. “He never deserved you. Especially now! How could he do this to you? Mislead you about a future…about forever and fucking destroy you?”
Portia blinks and her body relaxes against the floor. Her eyes become distant and they slide to the side staring into an unseen depth.
Regret sinks in. Regret for invading her privacy. Regret for pushing her. Regret for saying such harsh things. “I’m angry at a dead man,” I confess.
“Me too,” she whispers.
“I don’t want him here with you – with us – hurting you.” I slide my hands along my thighs.
Portia hasn’t moved. She looks like a lifeless doll sprawled across the floor. The only sign of life is the blink of her eyes and the small lock of hair she twists around her finger.
“Why aren’t you wearing his ring?”
She doesn’t flinch. “He made me a promise and he broke it, immediately. It felt like he broke my heart by dying.”
“Fuck,” I breathe out.
Why the hell do I push?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I grew up in the deep south where we don’t talk about any of the things I write about, which is what makes it so much fun! Since I was a kid I have been writing something – books, poems, journals – always something. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I embraced the story that was burning in my heart and invading my dreams. It turned into my debut novel, Apothecary Tea.
I am living my own happily ever after which is why I love to write about love and romance. I’m married and madly in love with my soul mate. We have one beautiful daughter who is the light of my life. We also have three pet rabbits. I’ve realized my dream of living by the sea, and when I’m not writing, I’m usually drawing, painting, reading, sea shell hunting or cross-stitching. Honestly though, if I’m not working I’m writing!
CONNECT WITH AUTUMN
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