The Lords of Night: A Shadow Bruja Novel from author J.C. Cervantes is on sale now! Set in the world of her best-selling Storm Runner trilogy, the first part of this new duology is perfect for both new and returning fans.
And we’ve got an exclusive chapter excerpt right here:
In the beginning (sort of)
Seven months before
Once upon a night, there was a girl who didn’t know who she really was. She didn’t know how her shadow magic worked, or even where it came from. Only that it was there, deep in her blood and bones, and maybe even deeper than that.
But to understand everything, it’s important to go all the way back to the sort of beginning.
It started like this:
There she was, all cuddled up on her bed with her weighted blanket, reading a book about Maya gods and magic and curses and some overly dramatic kid named Zane Obispo. She didn’t want the story to end, but it was inevitable. The end always comes.
Ren was just about to close the book when the last words on the last page started to glow a greenish gold. She blinked over and over, thinking—hoping—she could pretend the iridescent glow wasn’t really there.
No such luck.
Someday when you least expect it, the magic will call to you.
Then, like the need for breath, Ren had a sudden urge to say the words out loud. “The magic will call to me . . .”
At first nothing happened. But then, four minutes and fifteen sighs later, a familiar tune being played on viola rushed from the kitchen, down the hall, and under Ren’s closed bedroom door.
Ren’s heart ballooned so big and so fast she thought it was entirely possible it might explode. This wasn’t just any song—it was her dad’s favorite, and he had written it especially for her. But that was impossible! He had died six years earlier and been buried with his beloved instrument.
Jagged stripes of lightning flashed outside. Anyone paying half attention would have thought an electrical storm was approaching. They weren’t unusual in Galveston, Texas.
Something indeed was approaching.
The music grew faster, louder, more urgent. Ren was sure now. The melody was definitely coming from her father’s viola, the one that creaked when he played it.
In that first moment of panic, Ren wondered if she could take the words back, unsay them. Maybe if I repeat them backward. . . she thought just as another blinding white light flashed across the night sky.
Then came the scratching on the pitched roof. Her mind immediately conjured the image of a corpse trying to claw its way out of a wood coffin. Not that she would know firsthand what that looked like, but she had, regrettably, watched too many zombie movies in her thirteen years.
Ren knew the drill. She had practiced for this exact moment. She threw off her blanket, swung her legs over the side of the bed, and tugged on her red cowboy boots.
Just as she opened her bedroom door, her abuelo appeared in the hall. His gray hair was sticking up all over like a storm cloud. “It’s happening.” His low voice carried a strange tone that sent a shudder down Ren’s spine.
There will come a day when your shadow magic is discovered, her abuelo had told her. On that day you will have to leave. To run. To hide.
Ren felt sick. Had she done this? Just by saying those words? But it’s just a book. A book still in her grasp.
Ren was breathing heavily now. “Do you hear Papá’s music, too? It’s my song!”
Abuelo shook his head, his eyes roving the ceiling. “Mira,” he whispered, “we are going to get in the car very quietly just like we’ve practiced. ¿Me escuchas? And we are going to follow the music. Your music.”
There was no time for arguing or explaining, no time to grab her laptop with her blog articles about aliens or even change out of her spaceship-patterned pajamas before her grandpa nudged her into the garage and into the car.
The music got even louder.
Instead of using the remote control, Abuelo manually opened the garage door, slowly, carefully—each inch a lifetime.
Lighting flashed again. A terrible growl clung to the night air.
Rain began to plummet from the sky as her grandfather slipped inside the car. He pulled the little Honda out gradually, checking the side mirrors every two seconds.
“Abuelo . . .”
“Shh . . .”
It was the dead of night. There was no traffic, no people, no life.
The rain came harder. The lighting flashed so bright it could’ve blinded the sun.
“Tell me which way the music wants you to go.” Abuelo wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.
Ren hesitated, not trusting herself with something so big. What if she picked wrong? But no way would her dad let her down when she was running for her life. She took a deep breath, tuning her ears to the instrument playing so clearly. “Turn right.”
Abuelo hooked a hard right, not bothering to slow down at the stop sign. “I know you can’t control the shadows yet.” He pulled in a long, ragged breath. “But that will change. Your power will grow.”
“But where am I supposed to hide? And for how long?” Ren thought these were excellent questions since their drills had never covered this part.
Thlunk! Dark glossy wings spread across the length of the windshield.
Want to see what happens next? Be sure to pick up The Lords of Night: A Shadow Bruja Novel, on sale now!