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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert


Halfway Hunted
(Halfway Witchy Series #3)
by Terry Maggert

Blurb:

Some Prey Bites Back.

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time.
Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers. 

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:
1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.
Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?
Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.


Available for purchase at 

   


Excerpts

Chapter One: Silent Night

There were only two reasons for me to be awake on my couch, staring up into the gloom of the pre-dawn hours. The first is my house itself, which complained against the deep cold with creaking pops like the knees of a guy who played sports a long time ago when he was younger and had more hair.
                 
The second was Wulfric. My lover was out there in the Adirondack winter somewhere, his vampire skin now as cold as the deep snows that settled on Halfway with a heavy hand. I missed him every second of every day with an ache that started in my heart and ended in the emptiness of my arms. Living without him was like swimming through wool that took my breath and will at every turn.
                 
Everything was hard. Little things made me sad.
                 
 Smiles died on my face and I knew if I didn’t find the magic to save him, moving on was going to take the rest of my life and all of my tears. In the midst of my somber reverie, my giant familiar Gus put one of his Maine Coon cat paws on my shoulder. His rumbling purr calmed my mind enough that I sighed and began absently rubbing the magnificent fur of his Tabby neck.

Brrrrtt?” He asked me, his bronze eyes fixed on me like two coals floating in the dark.

“I miss him. Sorry. I know I should sleep. Or listen for spell requests . . . or do anything except lay here having a pity party.”

Gus answered with a head butt and an even deeper bumble of contented reassurance. He stretched along me from hip to head and I was reminded again that my cat is nearly as tall as I am. Or he would be, if cats could walk upright, but he doesn’t because that would be weird. I felt a small grin touch my cheeks and let it bloom, then looked across the room to the kitchen. There, I saw another friend who was always near.

Even in the heart of a mountain winter, the moon always finds a way to touch me. Laying on my couch in the middle of a frigid night, I watch the square of moonlight light dance across my kitchen floor like the slowest ballet possible. The brilliant smudge of light comforts me, telling me that no matter how short the days and how deep the snows, sunshine will use the face of sister moon to reach across the dark and set my spirits to right.

 So I watch, and I wait.

I listen for the telltale creak of my mail slot, an old brass hinge that swings inward when someone needs me. Or, to be more accurate, they need my magic. When the moon is high, I spend my nights listening for the telltale footsteps on my porch. Those are followed by a hesitation as the person decides if they can go through with their request—they always do—and then I wait a bit longer. It’s understood that to ask for my family magic, you must write a note in natural ink, then fold the note within an envelope that is hand made. Hand crafting invests meaning into something as simple as a note, and the poignant pleas I get range from simple to impossible.

But I always try.

Tonight, there was no slide of an envelope on the floor of my foyer. Perhaps it was too cold, although Adirondackers are tough people. A few feet of snow and subzero temperatures wouldn’t stop a local person from asking for help if they needed it, which meant that at least or tonight, my town was free of unusual heartache.


In witch parlance, the night was clean. Spirits were at rest, and after casting a final wish across the snowdrifts to Wulfric, so was I. Before dawn’s gray could pierce the low clouds covering the mountains, my eyes grew heavy, I let the sadness leave me, and then, when there was nothing else to fight, I slept.


Excerpt Two:
Chapter Two: Let Them Eat Cake

There are really only two kinds of people in the world; people who like waffles, and people who are wrong.
                 
I stand by that mantra, and I’d like to go one step further, too. The only thing prettier than a waffle is three of them in a stack, also known as a Carlie in the language of the Hawthorn Diner. That’s my place, or rather where I work. You’ve seen a place like the Hawthorn before, with the comfortably squished pleather booths and the counter where old men gather to drink coffee and tell lies. In my town, Halfway, we just call it The Diner, and that’s good enough for us because we are the only diner. My name is used for the short stack of waffles as a nod to me being the shortest member of the diner staff. Until we hire someone under five feet, the waitresses will keep barking out orders for the Carlie unless I forget how to make waffles. So, never.
                 
I was born in Halfway, and this is where I belong. My folks retired three years ago and moved to New Mexico, where they produce art and sunburns with equal frequency. I love them, they love being retired, and we chat online once a week where they tell me about the exotic nature of the desert around them.
                 
My Gran lives just up the street; her lineage as a witch is longer than I care to think about, as is her power. It’s vast, and pure, and tinted with mercy. She is what I aspire to be, and I’m proud to follow in her footsteps as a protector of the lands that surround Halfway. Gran and I are more than wardens, and less than saints. The tourists who pass through Halfway don’t know of our skills at keeping their lives free of things that are either hungry, or evil, or both. It’s a complicated world, and the veil between our reality and the Everafter is too thin by far. That’s why I work to perfect a family magic that has been honed over centuries. It’s also why my name is known to locals as someone who can help when there are problems outside the normal scope of our human experience. Gran used to take care of spell requests, but frankly, her magic is too strong to be used on minor issues of grief, lost love, or restoring hope.
                 
But back to the waffles. Since I’m only five feet tall, seeing out of the window into the diner is a bit of a challenge. That’s why I wear Doc Martens at all times, unless I’m being chased by a bear in which case I will suddenly perfect the ability to fly or at the very least run barefoot while screaming. The Docs give me enough height to keep from singeing my nose on the griddle, and I’ll thank you not to make any short jokes while you’re visiting my place of work. I have several spells which aren’t permanent, but might cause you to have a bad day.
                 
You’ve been warned. Kinda.
                   
I keep my black hair back in a ponytail, and my gray eyes are always looking at one of two things: the grill, or the customers. I was plating an excellent omelet when my friend Brendan Kilmeade came in and took up his usual station at the counter. It was 10:18 in the morning, a fact I would later recall only because of what Brendan would say to me while I went out to greet him and pour his coffee. Glynna, the waitress handling all counter traffic, moved to the side while I went to speak to our town librarian and all-around good guy. Brendan is fully aware of the Everafter, my witchcraft, and everything that those facts entail. So when he looked at me with a half-quizzical smile, I knew something was up.
                 
He’s a librarian, and being inscrutable is part of his job description, so I just waved at him and said, “Spill it.”
                 
He took a leisurely sip of his coffee and made a show of enjoying it. I smiled sweetly, then pointed my charms at him and raised one brow. The message—talk or I’ll do something horrible and witchy to you—was received.
                 
“Interesting gentleman in the library this morning. Thought you might want to know.” His green eyes twinkled with the joy of holding out on me, then he caved and added, “He walked in, looked gobsmacked, and walked out. All in about ten seconds.”
                 
“Why is this news? You still trying out that new body spray?” I sniffed him and shot him a questioning look. He’d gone through an awkward patch last year that involved skinny jeans and body spray. The results hadn’t been pretty, and I wasn’t going to let him forget it. Brendan was more of a smart-but-hot librarian type, not a hipster.
                 
“No,” He said, defensively. “I’m free of scent, if you must know.” After his own chilly look, he continued. “I think he was confused by the technology.”
                 
“Why? Was he an old man trying to use the internet for the first time? You have to admit, that kind of thing isn’t unheard of unless you’re referring to the door, in which case he’s a few thousand years old,” I laughed.
                 
And then I stopped laughing, because Brendan pointed a finger at me and said, “Now you’re on the right track.”
                 
I felt a chill despite the warmth of the diner. Old things tended to be bad things. “How do you know he was. . . .what did he look like?” I amended my question out of curiosity about the man’s appearance. Usually that was a good place to start with all things unknown, including people who don’t understand computers.
                 
“He was dressed for the turn of the century. The early twentieth century, to be exact, or somewhere around there if I’m any judge of his clothing.” He thought for a moment as the noise of the diner crowded in on me. I was getting twitchy at not knowing what Brendan was about to say. “Baggy pants with a high waist. Suspenders and a heavy shirt. He wore boots that looked like he was used to hard work. His sleeves were rolled up and there were some kind of marks on his arms. He knows his way around tools, I think. He’s taller than me, maybe six foot two or so, but ropy and muscular. I’d put his age just past thirty.” He looked thoughtful, then asked me, “Do you believe in time travel?”
                 
I snorted, causing some of the customers to give me a look. “Don’t be ridiculous. Who would ever believe something that crazy?”

Brendan put his chin in one hand and gave me a patronizing smile. He dropped his voice and said, “Right. Who would believe in something crazy like time travel? I mean, it’s not like a werewolf or a vampire or something.”
                 
“Will you shut up?” I hissed. Even in the clatter of the diner, that was a bit too much information to let drift into the conversation. “And yes, I get it.” My charms jingled against my wrist as I poured a small amount of coffee into his mug while I thought. He was right, I of all people shouldn’t dismiss things out of hand. My entire life was beyond crazy, and I was just getting warmed up. I’m not even twenty-two yet, who knows what waits for me on the other side of adulthood?
                 
“I’m not saying that’s what he is, Carlie, but he was confused by everything in the library except one thing. Where it was located.” Brendan’s finger tapped the counter as he related the detail. “We’ve been here for more than a century. I’m just saying you might want to talk to the guy.” He raised his hands in supplication and looked off across the lake toward other park. Halfway is more or less one enormous park with a town in the middle, but there are two distinct places where anyone can access the lake. Brendan indicated what we call Golden Beach, then blew on his coffee to cool it. “He wandered off over there. He’s a bit stunned, I think. Want me to keep an eye on him until your shift is over?”
                 
I peered into the brilliant winter sun. “Sitting outside? Go ask him if he wants breakfast on me, and see if he’ll come to the diner. Do you mind? Is there any chance the guy isn’t human? I don’t want you exposed to danger because I had to finish a shift.”
                 
“I don’t get that vibe. There’s something, I don’t know, steady about the guy. He seems lost, not dangerous,” Brendan summed up.
                 
“Good.” I looked back to the grill, where tickets waited for me like flapping laundry. “I’ve gotta cook. I’ll watch for you, and if he won’t come inside from the cold, at least keep an eye on him so we can find him later.”
                 
Brendan winked awkwardly and said, “Gotcha boss.”  And with that, we made the decision to invite an unknown person across our threshold, if only to leave the Adirondack winter behind.




Halfway Witchy Series




Halfway Dead
(Halfway Witchy Series #1)


Available for purchase at 

    



Halfway Bitten 
(Halfway Witchy Series #2)



Available for purchase at 

   


About The Author


Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as "Seasons". After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school--which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master's Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I'm not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.




You can find Terry at 

            


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