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TIME IN BETWEEN
Liberty Valley Love Book 6
BY JOSIE MALONE
The oldest of the Jamison triplets, hereditary witch and criminal defense attorney, Astra Jamison knows more about the laws of magick than her two sisters. She serves the Goddess but believes those who hurt and harm people who can’t defend themselves should be punished, abhorring it when innocents suffer. She is always willing to dole out her kind of justice to anyone who offends her, often sending them to gruesome deaths. When she and her sisters open a time portal to 1888 Liberty Valley to save two people from a serial killer, the last thing she expects is to have the wizard she views as an age-old enemy return, seeking retribution for sins she committed in the past.
Wizard and healer in more than one life, Rowdy Tall-Deer struggled to survive when his soul-matched mate arranged his murder time and again, having rogue shape-shifters attack and eat him alive. Discovering a time portal that leads to the 21st century and the witch who betrayed him means making new plans. Does he opt for vengeance or attempt to learn the truth behind her machinations? Nothing is as it seems when her demon father becomes involved, determined to continue a war that began eons ago.
Will love finally conquer evil or is history doomed to repeat itself for their next life?
“Learn to use your magick, or your magick will use you.”
Astra Jamison, attorney, and hereditary witch
Prologue ~ “Magick, Marriage and Monsters!”
Trilunon – 10 days before the New Year Triholath festivals
The tense silence in the stone-walled bedchamber mounted as her two sisters stared in shocked silence at Satiranika. She took a deep breath and studied them in the weak daylight filtering through the narrow slits of the barred windows. All three were tall with dark red hair. Born in the same hour nearly thirty years before, they were the Trecesalty and considered favored by the Goddess. She was the oldest, a former High Judge in the courts of Amalodia, their country. “Well, say something.”
“What is there to say?” Katiranika, the youngest war-queen of their family, favored armor over the dark blue tunic, leggings, and riding boots she customarily wore. She pulled a decorative dagger from its sheath on her slender hip. “Our aunt, the regent of our land, steals the thrones left us by our mother instead of turning them over to us at the Winter Festivals this year. Now, we’re denied the privilege of royal deaths at the sacred fires. Instead, our aunt orders us wed, gives us away like sex slaves from the marketplace, as if we really are the treasonous criminals, she labeled us. Who does that witch think she is?”
“The new High Queen of our realm.” A tear trickled down Matiranika’s pale, wasted cheek as she leaned against the pillows of the giant bed the three of them shared in their tower prison. Several blankets covered her, but she still shivered in one of the nightgown she always wore. “Who would match with us? My ceroymatand died in the first wave of the plague. Yours would have taken you, but his relkinam refused you, Sati, saying you’re too much like our sire who slew our mother. Our aunt delayed Kat’s binding to Prince Hughondear of Warpathia.”
“She claimed to fear my death from the disease that killed the women and girls in that region.” Katiranika ran a careful finger along the edge of the blade, testing its sharpness. “Even she can’t mean to give us to strangers from other worlds. It’d lead to more wars.”
“It’s not strangers.” Satiranika picked up the goblet of wine on the table near the door, crossed the thickly carpeted floor, and carried the glass to her middle sister. “Drink your tonic or you won’t live to the New Year. You’ll be on a Journey to Rebirth, rather than joining us in the sacred fires or at a soul-binding ceremony or traveling with us since she’s banished us to a distant realm.”
Matiranika nodded agreement before sipping the restorative beverage. Her link to Trilunon poisoned her as much as the fire rain that fell from the smoky, gray skies. She barely managed to breathe the soot-laden air and rarely tasted the food delivered from the palace kitchens. “So, who are the men?”
“The Warpathians I sentenced to death before my arrest.” Satiranika sat on the edge of the bed, holding the golden cup for her sister. “After the Priest-Mages of Ethlestial demanded we serve our sire’s sentence when he fled the fires and our aunt refused, there aren’t any other males for her to choose.”
“What else did you learn?” Katiranika joined them on the bed, glaring across the room at the elaborate painting of their aunt on the wall. “Giving us to the felons in the dungeons couldn’t have taken that long. How does she know they won’t kill us when we’re sent to this new world?”
“At first, she only said what I told you.” Satiranika placed the goblet on the table next to the bed. “We talked of the Healers, Kat. They still don’t have a way to cleanse the waters, air, or soil of this realm. The creatures here in Amalodia continue to die as do the people. Our aunt intends to have the Healers strip our powers before the soul-binding rites. Those in your army are to be sent with us to a new land far from our home here. She asked after Mati and wanted to know you controlled your temper.”
“My temper!” Katiranika leaped to her feet. “I’ll show that witch my temper.” Whirling, she hurled a fireball at the painting. Ashes scattered on the carpet as the picture burned. “So much for her spying!”
Shaking her head, Satiranika waved her hand and put out the fire. “Cease, Kat. This chamber is smaller than either of our palaces, but at least we’re together where she had us jailed. As for your other question about our mates, our aunt has decided they will serve as our chapalmatands.”
“What does that mean?”
“Using a set of jewelry as tokens, they sacrifice their hearts, minds, souls along with their magick and powers. It doesn’t kill them.” Satiranika continued describing the ancient rite that would bind them and their newly matched mates. “We will wear the ornaments, the talipenlace sets for the rest of our lives and we will be bonded forever, through Time, Death and Rebirth.”
“I won’t.” Katiranika lifted her chin, narrowing violet eyes. “I’ll only be pushed so far. I will not be degraded or some man’s property.”
“Our aunt says that all three of us must wed on the same day, at the same hour or we lose our magick,” Matiranika said. “She claims it’s the law decreed by the Goddess.”
“Our aunt doesn’t know as much as she thinks.” Satiranika gestured for her sisters to draw closer. “I’m the one who has always studied every canon and Book of Shadows in all of the libraries here, in Warpathia and in Ethlestial. We are supposed to choose the talipenlace sets that we wish to wear. We can refuse and insist our newly Chosen mates place the jewels on us. They will believe us obedient, as women were in their land before dying in the plague.”
Katiranika rested a hand on the dagger hilt. “If I set myself afire at the ceremony, it will start a war. I’d rather be dead than linked to Hughondear.”
“No, Kat.” Matiranika held up her palm. “If harm comes to you, I feel it. Your death will bring about mine.”
“And I will die without both of you.” Satiranika caught both their hands and gripped tight. “Listen to me. Our aunt doesn’t have to win. For the talipenlace jewels to affect us, we must wear them of our own free will. Otherwise, they become tokens of Power. They focus our magick but give us the talents of our new mates too.”
Matiranika ran a hand through her thinning hair. “I might regain my health.”
“That alone would make it worthwhile.” Katiranika frowned thoughtfully. “Could we really trick them so easily? Afterward, we’ll escape. I’ll rally my soldiers and take back our thrones. Let our aunt go to the fires she loves so much.”
“One problem at a time.” Satiranika relaxed her grip on them. “I’ve never trusted our aunt with her love of the throne. Think. Who’d be forced to do the evil ritual to strip our magick and return all our powers to the High Queen?”
“Our oldest half-sib, the leader of the Healers who serve with Kat,” Matiranika mused. “It’d slay Robin’s heart. She cries when she comes to heal me now. She’ll pretend to take our powers and lie to our aunt. We act as if we’re without magick until we evade our enemies.”
“A simple ploy,” Katiranika said, “but those tend to be best in wars.”
“Exactly.” Satiranika stood and went to the table on the far side of the room to fill three glasses. “Thanks be to the Goddess that we’ve always treated our older sister with respect and kindness. She serves us willingly and with much love. She knows we are the royal Three.”
“And the Three are the Trecesalty,” Katiranika and Matiranika joined in the chant. “Trilunon is ours. We have the powers of the Three.”
I live on the family farm, a riding stable in the Cascade foothills. I organize most of the riding programs, teach horsemanship, nurse sick horses, hold for the shoer, train whoever needs it – four-legged and two-legged. And write books in my spare time, Liberty Valley Love, a paranormal western romance series, “where no matter what, soulmates find each other” and the Baker City Hearts and Haunts, a paranormal military romance series – “where love is real and so are the ghosts!”
Links to Josie’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
Amazon ebook: https://amzn.to/3NVa7Tl
Amazon print: https://amzn.to/3LQD6pC
Facebook Page: Josie Malone, Author | Facebook
Amazon Author Page:
Amazon.com: Josie Malone: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
BookBub: Josie Malone Books – BookBub
Newsletter Link: https://sendfox.com/josiemaloneauthor
Special Giveaway: Because Astra and her sisters are secondary characters in Hero Spell (Book 4) and Trail Through Time (Book 5), Josie will give away an ebook of each of those two previous titles to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.
Thanks, Josie, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!