Dark, quirky, urban fantasy with a mystery plot, a dash of social commentary, and a sprinkling of slow-burn romantic potential.
The Rifter Series Book 2
by L.R. Braden
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense
Moonlight streamed in from the building’s skylights, casting long shadows from the crisscross of scaffolding onto the concrete floor. Several large bay doors that would once have allowed trains to pull in were boarded over, each sporting the tag of a local artist. Steel tracks set flush to the floor created a ladder effect across the pitted, dirt-crusted surface.
A figure crept along the far edge of the building. Long, matted, white hair draped their shoulders and obscured their face save for the profile of a beak-like nose. Pale, wiry limbs moved amid tattered strips of soiled fabric, fingers nearly scraping the floor as the hunched form slunk from shadow to shadow between patches of moonlight. One bony hand clutched something. Mira squinted, then nearly gagged as she realized the man—he had to be the rifter—was dragging an extra appendage. A dark smear snaked across the pale-gray floor in his wake.
<Looks like dinner.>
Mira scowled, but since the demon was inside her, the expression didn’t have much effect. Not that the demon tended to care about Mira’s disapproval in any case.
There but for the grace of God. . . . She sent a silent, grateful prayer for the miracle that had allowed her to strike a balance with her possessor all those years ago and saved her from becoming one of the creatures she now hunted.
The rifter shuffled from pillar to pillar, dragging its gory meal toward a break in the south wall—a section of empty window frame partially covered by a loosely propped piece of plywood. At the pace he was moving, she had maybe a minute before he reached the opening.
She glanced around the rest of the interior. Plenty of open space, good solid supports, no one nearby . . . couldn’t really ask for a better space to fight in.
<Are you going to call Ty?>
She fingered the cell phone clipped to her belt. Carrying the device—basically a tiny tracker—made her uncomfortable, but she had eventually given in to the practicality of being able to quickly communicate with Ty. Yet another concession to this whole partnership thing. The plan had been to locate the rifter, text the location, then trail it at a discrete distance until they could take it down together. It had seemed logical enough when she’d agreed to it. Now, watching her target move slowly away, she wasn’t so sure.
She worried her lower lip between her teeth, then shifted her hand to the sheathed kukri knife also attached to her belt. By the time Ty gets here, the rifter will have moved on, and the next place we catch up to it might not be so accommodating. She slid the long, curved blade free. We can handle this ourselves.
Mira felt the demon grin. <Just like the old days.>
Her lips twitched up to match. The “old days” were barely two weeks gone, hardly any time at all, but Mira couldn’t deny the thrill of acting without the need for debate or consent. The single hunt she’d worked with Ty—not including the unofficial case on which they’d met—had gone smoothly enough, but she’d chafed at his slow pace and meticulous planning. Right now there was a rifter in front of her, and she was going to kill it. Simple.
Demon Riding Shotgun
The Rifter Series Book 1
L.R. Braden is the bestselling author of the Magicsmith and Rifter urban fantasy series, as well as several works of short fiction. Her writing has won the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Sci-fi/Fantasy, the First Horizon Award for debut authors, the Imadjinn Award for Best Urban Fantasy, and the Colorado Authors League Award for writing excellence in multiple categories. She was also honored as a finalist for the 2023 Colorado Book Award in Sci-fi/Fantasy and for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year award in 2021 and 2023.
While she loves to travel, she’s always happy to come home to Colorado, where she lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her wonderful husband, precocious daughter, and two quirky cats. When not writing, she spends her time playing games, enjoying the great outdoors, and weaving metal into intricate chain mail jewelry that she sells in her Etsy shop, WimsiDesign.
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