The Untamed Moon
“Swear not by the Moon, the inconstant Moon…”
Night is falling on the world of the Arcana Council, and the darkest corners of the psychic community are stirring, eager for war no matter the cost.
In a last-ditch effort to maintain the balance of magic, Justice Sara Wilde launches an all-out search for the Moon, one of the Council’s most powerful missing members. With a team that includes the darkly formidable Magician, the tech-savant Fool and the incomparable Nikki Dawes…Sara likes her odds for finding her quarry in time.
Unfortunately, she’s not alone in the hunt.
A cry for help from the depths of South America triggers Sara’s oldest enemies, the cutthroat artifact hunters of the arcane black market. In a race to find the deeply secretive, elusive Moon, the winner is promised power beyond their wildest imagination. Are these claims pure lies and moonlit fantasy? Or a sign that when the Moon is in play, nothing is ever as it seems?
The truth is deadlier than anyone expects.
Even your shadow will betray you when you hunt The Untamed Moon.
Read an Excerpt
The devil was in the details—again. I still didn’t want him on my pizza.
“They cut their pepperoni into horned devil faces?” I studied the steaming pie. “That seems…wrong.”
Across from me, Sariah Pelter leaned back and propped her booted feet on the vinyl bench seat next to my legs. She moved aside the stack of napkins emblazoned with a devil and pitchforks, along with “Best Pizza in Pennsauken” inscribed in curly script. She pushed the pizza pan my way in tribute. “Justice first.”
I reluctantly picked up a slice, glancing from it to her. Sariah wore what I was coming to acknowledge was her new uniform: a beat-up leather jacket with lots of pockets to hide weapons I didn’t much want to think about, a tank top, and low-slung jeans, usually accompanied by scuffed boots. It wasn’t all that different from my typical attire, but it seemed rougher, edgier. Sort of like Sariah herself.
“I’m telling you, this place would be freaking amazing if it wasn’t run by devil worshippers,” she said, talking around a mouthful of pizza. “Or if they actually were talking about kissing up to the Council’s version. Kreios is a pain in the ass, but at least he’s easy on the eyes. The guy these people are following? He rocks it much older school, all the way down to his cloven hooves. And he’s bad, bad news.”
Coming from Sariah, this observation hit a little harder than usual. As my not-so-better half, she’d spent an unreasonable portion of her life in Hell. Maybe not the Hell that Bible thumpers described so eloquently, filled with fire, brimstone, and pointy-tailed demons inflicting torture on any unfortunates who dared to violate their religious strictures. But a place of imprisonment, confusion, and lies nevertheless. A place you couldn’t leave when you wanted to. A place without coffee.
It had been bad.
Sariah had been a part of me at one point, our two spirits living as one when we were kids. At age seventeen, an inferno of epic proportions had split us off from each other. I’d run away from that fire, she’d run toward it. And that had marked the difference in our personalities ever since.
I’d found Sariah in Hell while hunting down someone else for my number one client at the time. The Arcana Council were a group of Tarot sorcerers so strong, some of them were actual demigods, and they’d taken it upon themselves to keep the magic of the world in balance. I hadn’t so much cared about the group’s mission statement when I’d first started working with them. My goal had been to use the cash they paid me to help keep the most vulnerable members of the psychic community safe from the higher-level magical asshats who exploited them for personal gain. But one job had led to the next, and then the next. Eventually, I’d joined on as a bona fide Arcana Council member—Justice, no less. Brand-new title, same job description: to right the wrongs perpetrated against Connecteds by other Connecteds.
Spoiler alert: there were a lot of wrongs to right.
Sariah had taken on a new job recently too, one with an even sketchier job description than mine. As the Night Witch, she’d officially become my right-hand woman—as in the left-hand-not-knowing-what-the-right-hand-was-doing kind of woman. She’d been duly appointed to take out all the bad guys who needed taking out, no after-action review required. She was also supposed to work on her own.
I pointed my pizza slice at her. “So explain why you asked me to come here. You have all the authority you need to make crooked things straight. I’m technically not supposed to be a part of that.”
“You’re right.” She took a long swig of her beer, then settled the bottle back on the table. Even she knew enough not to order from the tap at a place called Demonico’s Pizza, where they served their pies hot and dangerous. “Trouble is, I’ve never done any of this before. I kind of thought it might be good for me to have some, you know, onboarding.”
I blinked at her, instantly on alert. “Why? What did you do?”
Sariah lifted one shoulder, dropped it. “Let’s just say you may be getting another call for Justice across the transom in oh, say, a couple of days. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take them to dig out.”
“It wasn’t my fault,” she countered, setting her boots back on the floor so she could hunch over her beer toward me. “It was a dig in Madagascar, a diamond mine that had been part of this indigenous people’s religion forever. They’re good, simple people. They sell one of their sacred diamonds a year, and that diamond finds its way back to Hell in due course. Once I started noticing the pattern, I got into the habit of returning the rock to their mine so the cycle could start again. No big deal. But I haven’t been down to Hell in a while, so when I saw a complaint from the tribe, I poked around to see what was going on. Come to find out, a bunch of assholes from the arcane black market had discovered the tribe’s mine. They killed half the miners, and were going to town digging the shit out of this hole in the ground themselves without a single damned clue of what they were doing. Those bigger sacred diamonds are bad news, intended only to keep that tribe rolling along. Too many of them hit the market at once, a whole lot of people die.”
I studied her skeptically. “I don’t suppose you explained that to the assholes in careful, measured tones?”
“See? There you go. A tactic I never would have considered.” Sariah grinned. “My way was a lot faster.”
“I bet.” I set down my pizza slice and settled back, sliding only a little on the shiny vinyl. “Is the tribe going to be okay? The ones who are left, anyway?”
“Yeah.” She rolled the beer bottle in her hand. It was already half-empty. “They’re the innocents in all this. They should never have been forced to defend themselves from a bunch of Connected assholes trying to horn in on their territory. Not their battle to fight, not their day to die. Anyway, now they’ve gotta track down some rogue diamonds, but that shouldn’t be too much trouble. Those rocks tend to make themselves known. It was easier when they just fell down at my feet, usually clutched in the hand of someone who really wished they’d never found it. But God love greed, it does keep things interesting.”
I grimaced, but she wasn’t wrong. “Well, I don’t have a problem with what you did, for what it’s worth.” I tipped my bottle toward her. “Consider yourself onboarded.”