Lost Souls by Chelsea Mueller
Soul Charmer #3
February 25, 2019 Self Published
The pale glow of daylight brightened Derek’s bedroom. Callie rolled over to put the curtained window at her back. Her head throbbed. If the sun had already crested the house to make it to the back window, even the grey fabric Derek had hung over the window couldn’t buy her more time.
The bed sagged on her side. “Callie?” Derek’s sour tone didn’t match his sleep-smashed hair.
Callie brushed her fingertips over his locks. The short strands were soft, and she smoothed them back. “Hmm?”
“I hate to wake you, doll—”
“Then don’t. Climb back in with me. Our problems can wait a few more hours.” Sleep was good on her. The playful tone in her voice was off from disuse, but she aimed to fix that.
She tugged Derek down, and then arched up to meet him. Her breasts grazed his chest, and his groan was a curse. She pressed her lips to his and swallowed the sound. The dark rumble vibrated against her sternum, making her feel dainty and precious. Against Derek like this she wasn’t teeming with soul magic power. No, she was swathed in desire and hope and it’d been too long since she let them override her mind. Bubbles tickled her stomach, and something darker warmed even lower.
Derek’s fingers dug into Callie’s shoulder. She nipped his lower lip.
“Doll. Callie. Wait,” he said between breathless kisses.
“Wait?” She paused, holding a breath deep in her lungs. Holding back the need to push.
His calloused thumb skated across her lower lip. “My gorgeous woman.” He sighed like everything could be okay, but this was Gem City. “I wish we could do this now. Fuck. You have no idea how much I wish we could do this right now.” His words were half groan, half plea.
She arched a little in a way that made him close his eyes and clench his jaw. His need grounded her. She was safe here, in this bed, with him.
The safety couldn’t last.
He wet his lips. “I’m so sorry, Callie. The Charmer called.”
That name was cold water to the face. Callie sank back against the sheets. “I thought we agreed not to mention his name in bed?”
Derek didn’t take the bait. All levity was gone. “He’s called an all-hands meeting.”
The hollow depths of his voice conveyed the gravity, but Callie didn’t understand the words. “Is that concerning?”
“It means something is fucked.”
“He didn’t demand every person show up armed when Tess was stealing from him.”
Oh. This was ‘burn the city to the ground’ bad.
ABOUT LOST SOULS
Get out of Hell free card? Not for Callie Delgado, Gem City’s newest soul charmer. Sin and salvation collide in this gritty and action-packed urban fantasy.
Callie’s magic is finally her own. She and Derek dispatched Ford. They should have been able to breathe, but layers of sin run deep beneath Gem City. Another mob boss quickly rises, and his sights are firmly set on Callie–and her family.
Mobile soul rental shops begin to bite at the Soul Charmer’s business. His retribution is wicked, but the blowback threatens to crush Callie. If she can’t maintain the tenuous balance of souls in Gem City, more lives will be lost.
Only the more magic she uses, the more danger finds her. A break-in, pools of blood, and bare shelves at the Soul Charmer’s store force Callie to choose the fates of others.
But which can she live with? Losing her city, her love, her family …or her very soul?
ABOUT CHELSEA MUELLER
Chelsea Mueller writes gritty contemporary fantasy. She founded the speculative fiction website Vampire Book Club, blogs about TV and genre fiction for numerous websites, and is co-chair of SF/F charity Geeky Giving. She loves bad cover songs, dramatic movies, and TV vampires. Chelsea lives in Texas, and has been known to say y’all.
For the latest updates, join her email list at ChelseaMueller.net or follow @ChelseaVBC on Twitter and Instagram.