Title Raven’s Peak (Book I, World on Fire)
Author Lincoln Cole
Genre Horror/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Thriller
Publisher Kindle Press
A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.
Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.
Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?
Raven’s Peak is a Finalist and You Can Help:
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“Reverend, you have a visitor.”
He couldn’t remember when he fell in love with the pain. When agony first turned to pleasure, and then to joy. Of course, it hadn’t always been like this. He remembered screaming all those years ago when first they put him in this cell; those memories were vague, though, like reflections in a dusty mirror.
A buzz as the door slid open, inconsequential. The aching need was what drove him in this moment, and nothing else mattered. It was a primal desire: a longing for the tingly rush of adrenaline each time the lash licked his flesh. The blood dripping down his parched skin fulfilled him like biting into a juicy strawberry on a warm summer’s day.
“Some woman. Says she needs to speak with you immediately. She says her name is Frieda.”
A pause, the lash hovering in the air like a poised snake. The Reverend remembered that name, found it dancing in the recesses of his mind. He tried to pull himself back from the ritual, back to reality, but it was an uphill slog through knee-deep mud to reclaim those memories.
It was always difficult to focus when he was in the midst of his cleansing. All he managed to cling to was the name. Frieda. It was the name of an angel, he knew. . . or perhaps a devil.
One and the same when all was said and done.
She belonged to a past life, only the whispers of which he could recall. The ritual reclaimed him, embraced him with its fiery need. His memories were nothing compared to the whip in his hand, its nine tails gracing his flesh.
The lash struck down on his left shoulder blade, scattering droplets of blood against the wall behind him. Those droplets would stain the granite for months, he knew, before finally fading away. He clenched his teeth in a feral grin as the whip landed with a sickening, wet slapping sound.
“Jesus,” a new voice whispered from the doorway. “Does he always do that?”
“You’ll cuff him?”
“Why? Are you scared?”
The Reverend raised the lash into the air, poised for another strike.
“Just…man, you said he was crazy…but this…”
The lash came down, lapping at his back and the tender muscles hidden there. He let out a groan of mixed agony and pleasure.
These men were meaningless, their voices only echoes amid the rest, an endless drone. He wanted them to leave him alone with his ritual. They weren’t worth his time.
“I think we can spare the handcuffs this time; the last guy who tried spent a month in the hospital.”
“Regulation says we have to.”
“Then you do it.”
The guards fell silent. The cat-o’-nine-tails, his friend, his love, became the only sound in the roughhewn cell, echoing off the granite walls. He took a rasping breath, blew it out, and cracked the lash again. More blood. More agony. More pleasure.
“I don’t think we need to cuff him,” the second guard decided.
“Good idea. Besides, the Reverend isn’t going to cause us any trouble. He only hurts himself. Right, Reverend?”
The air tasted of copper, sickly sweet. He wished he could see his back and the scars, but there were no mirrors in his cell. They removed the only one he had when he broke shards off to slice into his arms and legs. They were afraid he would kill himself.
How ironic was that?
Mirrors were dangerous things, he remembered from that past life. They called the other side, the darker side. An imperfect reflection stared back, threatening to steal pieces of the soul away forever.
Lincoln Cole is a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.
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Title Raven’s Fall (Book II, World on Fire)
Genre Horror/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Thriller
Publisher LC Publishing
Abigail was arrested by the Council, and now she’s awaiting trial for the decisions she made leading up to and culminating in the events of Raven’s Peak. She is restless while she waits for answers and knows that there is a real threat outside their walls plotting to bring them down.
Meanwhile, Haatim is getting a crash course in this world he knew nothing about and finding out that nothing is as it seems. He’s being taught how to survive, but will it be enough?
There are dark clouds on the horizon and it is coming whether they are prepared or not. Will they be able to weather this storm?
As soon as Abigail stepped outside the house, she knew something was wrong. She no longer stood alone, although she couldn’t see anyone else around her in the immediate proximity. How could she know? Nevertheless, she felt certain.
Alert and alarmed, she slipped her gun loose and crept toward her car, scanning the area around the house. Dark and cloudy, she couldn’t see anything.
When she drew closer, Abigail noticed that the vehicle rested lower than it should have. Someone had slashed the tires.
Not waiting for the trap to spring on her, she sprinted to the right, running toward a fence leading into an old horse paddock. A shout came from behind, followed by a gunshot. Abigail ducked and dashed to the fence, climbed over it, and dove into the tall grass below.
Years of horses walking over the muddy terrain had made the ground uneven. Luckily, the grass stood several feet tall and disguised her entire body, especially with such little light.
Abigail landed hard and rolled, ducking into the grass as more shots fired behind her. She kept moving, crawling low through the grass and, occasionally, glancing back the way she had come.
Near her car, three people ran toward her. Although Abigail couldn’t recognize their faces, she knew them from the way they moved: Colton Depardieu, Jack Wright, and Anong Sao.
It looked like they had come to finish what they had started back in Lausanne. Colton raised his pistol and fired into the grass. The shot fell behind her, but not as far away as she would like.
Abigail flinched, ducked again, and continued crawling. On this breezy night, the grass wafted in the wind and masked her progress. She moved fast, staying low, and went another fifteen or so meters. When she checked again, her pursuers had made it through the gate and into the field. They combed the area slowly, spread out to fan the entire field, and worked their way toward her.
Abigail held onto her revolver. At the least, she could drop one of them from her hiding spot. Anong stood closest, oblivious to her. They hadn’t prepared for her to retaliate, and she could put a bullet in Anong and still (probably) crawl away without the other two being able to find her immediately.
However, she didn’t. These were Hunters, her brothers and sisters, and killing them felt … wrong.
Though she might well regret it, Abigail slipped her revolver away instead and belly-crawled through the weeds and toward the fence. There, she found an opening that she could crawl under and slid outside the field. Abigail couldn’t see any other houses or vehicles in the area, but an old barn sat only fifty meters from her.
It looked like it had burnt up in a fire years ago, probably due to lightning or hooligans, and only half of it remained standing. Still, it gave better cover than nothing.
Abigail moved cautiously, crouching low, and made her way to the barn. Once there, she ducked inside, out of sight of the fields, and let out a quiet sigh.
Title The Ninth Circle (Book 0, World on Fire, Side Jobs)
Genre Horror/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Thriller
Publisher LC Publishing
Arthur Vangeest has been hunting a cult known as the Ninth Circle for months and finally located their base of operations, but something goes terribly wrong before he can strike at them. Someone he trusts betrays him and his wife and young daughter are murdered. Now he isn’t sure if there is anything left to live for. But, when he exacts his revenge on the people the hurt him, he finds a new reason to stay alive.
This short story takes place several years before the events of Raven’s Peak and details how Arthur first discovered Abigail and how she gave him something new to live for.
Arthur Vangeest ran the wet sharpening stone down the edge of his sword, feeling it glide along the razor-sharp finish. His motions were practiced and precise, yet his mind was far away in his own thoughts.
The blade didn’t need the honing: he could have shaved the stubble off his face with it if he was willing to risk cutting his head off.
But he needed it: the action served to keep him from being idle. This was something he did before every battle, a superstitious ritual. He did it in an effort to maintain calmness and composure in the face of adversity while he risked his life for the Council. Right now, however, he was sharpening his sword to control the horrible despair and anger raging in his heart.
It wasn’t working.
“Are you all right, Arthur?” Frieda asked. Her voice was tender, as though she were afraid to speak up around him because he might break.
Maybe she wasn’t wrong. He glanced at her, meeting her eyes, but his hands kept gliding the stone down the blade. Frieda was wearing a black leather suit and had dyed her hair crimson in preparation for the upcoming mission.
She was beautiful and austere with a mole on her left cheek and eyes that pierced into whoever she looked at. She was, Arthur knew from personal experience, an incredibly dangerous woman.
“Are you sure? You haven’t been—”
“I said I’m fine,” he reiterated.
She pursed her lips, thoughtful. “You don’t need to go in with us,” she said. “After everything that—”
“I’m going in,” he interrupted. “When we breach the building, I’ll push for the ritual chamber and search for survivors. I am not staying behind.”
Frieda hesitated but didn’t object. “Very well. From all reports, there should be four or five innocents trapped inside, so we need all the help we can get.”
“How many hostiles?”
“Somewhere in the range of fifty, but we can’t get an accurate count. At least nine are possessed. The rest are zealots.”
They were sitting on a park bench just outside Allison Falls in Virginia. It was beautiful in the midafternoon. They were waiting for three more Hunters to arrive from out of state before they attacked the Ninth Circle. Frieda had called in a team, Charles and Mildred Greathouse and Dexter Colson, to deal with this cell. They were flying in from around the world, the Greathouse family from Europe and Dexter from Brazil.
This was one of the biggest cells they’d ever located, and removing it from play would severely cripple and diminish the cult. This was a longtime project of Arthur’s, a venture he had dedicated years of his life to and risked everything to find.
He had, in fact, lost everything.
He underestimated the resourcefulness of the cult in finding out information about him. Someone within his own Order had betrayed him, and The Ninth Circle discovered where he lived. His wife and child were murdered in their sleep and left horribly butchered for him to find. It was the worst sight he’d ever experienced, and it was waiting for him when he’d come home.
That had been two weeks ago. He hadn’t discovered who betrayed him inside the Order yet, but he intended to pay them back in full. He knew that Frieda felt the same way, and she’d been cautious and withdrawn since the murder had taken place.
Frieda checked her watch. “We can start moving,” she replied. “The second plane touched down ten minutes ago. I can direct the other Hunters to meet us at the site. If we leave now, we will arrive about twenty minutes ahead of them.”
“All right,” he said, standing up and sliding his sword away. He dropped the sharpening stone onto the park bench and started walking toward her car. “Let’s go.”
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