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The Crone Wars Book 1
BY LYDIA M. HAWKE
She wanted purpose. She got dark magic and war.
Claire Emerson is adrift. After a lifetime as a wife, mother, and grandma, she never saw divorce or loneliness coming and is desperate for some sense of purpose. But when her sixtieth birthday brings a snarky gargoyle, an annoyingly sexy wolf shifter, and an unknown magical calling, she thinks she’s losing the only thing she has left: her sanity.
Refusing to believe she’s the powerful defender of humankind her so-called protectors claim, Claire attempts a return to her safe life… only to have her powers ignite when she’s attacked by dark supernatural creatures. And without the training she was supposed to have received, she has no idea how she’ll defeat sinister mages plotting her demise.
Can Claire overcome creaky joints and major hot flashes in time to save the world – and her own life?
The Crone Wars Book 1
BY LYDIA M. HAWKE
I picked up the pendant, pushed Merlin a few inches to the side, and positioned the lens over the newspaper.
The number floated in red across the first paragraph. My hand jolted and the pendant dropped onto the paper with a heavy thunk. Merlin batted at the chain.
The number disappeared.
I drew a shaky breath. Cautiously, I brushed my fingers across the paragraph and found nothing but the smoothness of paper. I extricated the sturdy silver chain from Merlin’s claws and moved the lens over the paper again. The number reappeared.
I managed to keep hold of the pendant this time and moved it along the block letters unfolding after the number:
THE MORRIGAN’S WAY, CONFLUENCE, ONTARIO
An address? Here in Confluence? I moved the lens away. The writing disappeared. I moved it back. Letters and numbers returned. A chill slipped across my shoulders and down my spine, and I swallowed hard as I set the pendant on the table and curled fingers into palms, willing myself not to panic. I didn’t take any medications, so whatever this hallucination was, it wasn’t drug induced. That left what? Dementia?
Sixty years reached up and smacked me in the face. With a rush that took away my breath, the thousand insecurities I’d pushed away or refused to consider over the last months—much like the refrigerator and Jeff’s closet—flooded over me. All the signs of encroaching age: the aches and pains; the stiffness; the forgetfulness. I put a hand over the uneasy flutter of my heart. Damn Natalie and all those articles she insisted on sharing with me so I could be informed.
My health had been good so far, but I hadn’t been to see the doctor in months. What if I’d missed something? Brushed it off when I should have paid attention? What if those little bouts of word-recall issues, losing my keys, forgetting to lock the front door on my way out, leaving the stove on—what if those were indications of something more? Something I was ignoring—or, worse, denying?
Dear heaven, even my four pairs of reading glasses, so meticulously never removed from their assigned places, might be a coping mechanism…a way of masking a serious decline. With no one else in the house to notice if I’d changed, could I trust my own judgment?
A dozen visions reared up in my mind. My house in flames and me trapped inside…alone. My door left unlocked and an intruder finding me…alone. The place in shambles while I shuffled from room to room in search of misplaced items…alone.
The rest of my life ahead of me…alone.
And therein lay the crux of the matter. I rested my elbows on the table, dropped my head into my hands, and closed my eyes, forcing myself to breathe through my panic. A panic that might have been precipitated by the imagined writing in the paper but had far more to do with my fear of that rest-of-my-life-alone part.
Merlin nudged me under my chin and wedged himself into the space between my arms, his purr rumbling against my chest. Little by little, the panic released its grip on my heart and lungs and, gratefully, I buried my face in the velvet of his fur. At least I had him to keep me company.
And to feast on my body if I fell down the stairs and died and couldn’t feed him anymore.
A mangled chuckle-snort burst from me. Now I was being plain ridiculous. Merlin would likely be gone long before I was, and even if I did fall down the stairs in the meantime, he wouldn’t starve because someone would find me long before that, too. And, as Edie had reminded me yesterday, I was only sixty, not dead. I might not have planned on living this part of my life alone, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t capable.
Look at Jeanne. She was three years older than me and still working full time at the hospital, for heaven’s sake. And Edie was older than both of us and as fiercely active and independent now as she’d been the entire time I’d known her.
Both of them weren’t just fine, they were confident and fabulous, and they had lives, and I…didn’t. I hadn’t worked since before I’d had Paul. Jeff had liked having me at home. Liked having me throw dinner parties for his clients and play the role of successful businessman’s wife. The few times I’d suggested I might want more, the pushback from him had been so fierce that it hadn’t been worth the fight. It had been easier—again—to give in. To not rock the boat. To find more acceptable ways to keep myself from going slowly mad—gardening, bits of charity work…things Jeff approved of.
By the time Jeff left me, his land development company had become the largest in the region, and under Ontario law, the divorce settlement meant my life could remain unchanged. It didn’t, however, mean it should remain unchanged.
I pushed back my chair and stood up, meeting my cat’s round, orange look of inquiry.
“I need to be more like Edie and Jeanne, Merlin,” I announced. “They do things. They do lots of things. They have purpose. I want purpose, too.”
Merlin yawned, showing a rough pink tongue and sharp, needle-like teeth more than capable of tearing chunks of flesh from a body. I shuddered, picked up my empty mug, and turned my back on cat, pendant, nonexistent address, and overactive imagination.
I could totally find purpose in my life.
Lydia M. Hawke is a Canadian writer of supernatural thrillers and paranormal women’s fiction. She also writes romances (contemporary and suspense) as Linda Poitevin. When she’s not plotting the world’s downfall or next great love story, she’s a wife, mom, grandma, friend, coffee snob, walker of a Giant Dog, keeper of many pets, and an avid gardener and food preserver (you know, just in case that whole Zombie Apocalypse thing really happens).
Links to Lydia’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Author website: https://www.lydiahawkebooks.com
Universal buy link: https://www.books2read.com/becoming-crone
Thanks, Lydia, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!