After a tornado strikes Coventry, the cleanup efforts are interrupted by the discovery of a dead body in the ruins of one of the worst-hit homes. But was the deceased killed by the raging storm? Or, is there something more sinister going on?
Kinsley and Thorn are new parents. Laney is a perfect baby, and because of the magical reset, they don’t have to harness her powers.
Life is everything Kinsley always wanted it to be. Nice. Normal. Quiet.
Until a dead witch turns up outside under the old hanging tree, and Lilith is possibly the prime suspect.
In an interesting twist this book is in two parts, it opens with massive storms moving through the area. Kinsley decides to go into work and takes Tangerine and Meri with her. Not fair to leave them to fend for themselves in the storm. While Viv had opened the Brew Station, she definitely wasn’t busy.
Lunchtime sees Kinsley and Reggie closing up and heading to the Brew Station and Viv is very glad to see them. She even tells Kinsley to bring the animals inside, as the storm seems to be building into something worse. After a rather unpleasant encounter with a man berating his son, Viv decides to close, Reggie and Kinsley are in agreement to just head home and wait it out. Then the Tornado hits Coventry.
In the aftermath of the storm there is much destruction and yet erratic areas untouched. Such is a tornado’s path, hit or miss.
Dorian, Reggie and Kinsley aid in checking neighborhoods for people needing help and Viv sets up to feed folks in need. In one neighborhood they found neighbors concerned about one particular house. The man hadn’t come out and he had his son with him. This is where they discover a body and when Thorn arrives, he checks the rest of the house, and the son doesn’t appear to be there. Jeremy is familiar with the man and calls his ex-wife, she confirms her husband had picked up the boy before the worst of the storm hit. One less thing to worry about.
Even as pregnant as she is, we all know Kinsley can’t stay out of things and Reggie is certainly one to aid her in this quest. Unfortunately, Kinsley ends up in early labor after talking to the ex-wife and her son. Just to make things more interesting the tornado sirens go off again and the race is on.
This is a favorite scene.
“Thorn will get here faster,” I said.
“Do you have any healing magic you can use?” Reggie whispered to me. “Anything at all?”
“I can’t,” I said. I felt so drained, and then another contraction hit me. All I could do was grip my belly and try not to scream too loudly. We’d already attracted a small crowd. “Meri,” I said.
He came sprinting down the street. Apparently, he’d wandered off to investigate something. Probably trying to figure out how close the tornado was. That’s what I told myself.
Wordlessly, he pressed himself against my back. The pain lessened a bit, and I felt strong enough to stand up.
As Reggie helped me to my feet, Thorn’s cruiser pulled up and its tires squealed to a stop. “Get her in,” he shouted when he was halfway out of the car.
He rushed around and helped Reggie get me in the car. As soon as they had my feet inside, Thorn buckled the seatbelt across me.
“I’m coming with you,” Reggie said.
“No, it’s too dangerous. Just go home and get to your shelter. The storm is still possibly coming in this direction. You can come to the hospital after it passes,” he said and shut my door.
I looked out the window, and Reggie was standing there looking at me. She contemplated it for a few seconds before nodding her head and taking off for her car. I noticed that the sirens had stopped, but the sky was turning an inky shade of black.
“We shouldn’t be going anywhere,” I said as I stroked Meri’s fur. He’d managed to jump into my lap before Thorn shut the door.
“I know that,” Thorn said. “But looking at you, I can see that we have to try.”
“We could stay here and call my family. Call the coven together,” I said. “Maybe together they can…”
“No,” Thorn said as he pulled away from the curb. “Maybe before the magic went wonky, but no. Not now. I can’t put you in the hands of… It’s just that there might not be enough magic…”
“To save me?” I asked. Suddenly, I wished the cruiser had a vanity mirror. “Do I look that bad?”
“You just look like you don’t feel well, sweetie,” Thorn said. He squeezed my hand, but his eyes didn’t meet mine.
We drove out of Coventry and off toward the hospital. The rain kicked in again, but at least some of the flooding had partially receded.
“We don’t have to cross any bridges, Well, one, but that one’s not close to the water. We’ll be all right,” he said as if he’d read my thoughts. “At least in that respect.”
I wanted to ask him what he meant, but I already knew. The sky was as black as night, and it looked like it was boiling. Hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, and I knew we were in a bad place.
Thorn hit the gas and began to drive much faster than I ever would have expected him to go with me in the car. When I turned to look out my window, I saw why.
Off in the distance, I couldn’t tell exactly how far, was a tornado. The wedge was a sinister scene, and it was so close to us. Too close for me to feel safe.
“Thorn,” I choked out.
“I know, sweetie. I know. Hold on,” Thorn replied.
“Should we turn around? Should we go back? I don’t know if you should try to outrun it,” I said.
“It’s not heading right for us,” he said. “I can make it.”
I was about to argue when another wave of contractions hit me. I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed to the Goddess.
By the time I opened them, we had passed the tornado. As long as it didn’t change directions, we were in the clear.
“We should be there in about five minutes,” Thorn said as we drove into the city. “I’ll call ahead and let them know we’re on our way.”
His words sounded far away. The sky was still bubbling and black above us, but there didn’t seem to be any tornadoes. The rain wasn’t very heavy either. I recalled reading somewhere about dry super cells, but the memory was as fuzzy as the rest of my thoughts.
The pain was nearly unbearable, and somehow, on the short trip to the next town, the contractions had accelerated. They felt as though they were right on rest.
But more than that, I was worried about my baby. If I wasn’t getting enough oxygen, then she wasn’t either. I tried to tell myself I was just panicking, but it really did feel like I couldn’t fill my lungs all the way.
“Kinsley?” I heard the terror in Thorn’s voice as we pulled up under the awning that covered the emergency room doors. “Kinsley, sweetie? We’re here. Baby, please,” Thorn pleaded as he squeezed my hand.
I wanted to answer him, but I just couldn’t. Suddenly, a rush of people came out of the automatic doors. People in scrubs and white coats with serious faces. Thorn opened my car door, and I felt myself being dragged out.
If a situation could be calm and frantic at the same time, that’s how I would have described it. There was a flurry of activity, but everyone around me was studious and professional.
Words about hypoxia and oxygen saturation swirled around me. Thorn was nearby at first, and I could tell he was on the phone with my mother.
“Brighton, you have to wait until the storm passes,” he said. “She’s here in good hands now, but you won’t be doing anyone any favors if you get killed trying to drive through that storm. Give it twenty minutes to pass and then you can come. The doctors will take care of her.”
“Meri,” I cried out as I looked back and watched the doors close with him on the other side of them. A nurse had shooed him out.
Thorn locked eyes with me and gave me a nod. He’d find a way to sneak him inside. I had to have Meri with me. I just had to have him there.
I was on a gurney being rolled somewhere. Bright lights above blocked my vision as they poked and prodded me. But it was all some sort of weird fever dream. I couldn’t hold onto a thought for more than a few seconds. I kept reaching for Meri, and then remembering that he wasn’t there.
A nurse leaned over me talking about informed consent. Could I sign a form for a procedure? What procedure? I thought. I was having a baby. What procedure could I possibly need?
Next thing I knew, Thorn was in the room. He told her that he was my husband. He signed the form.
They’d put an IV in my hand as soon as I’d come in. I felt that part as clear as day. Once Thorn signed the form, someone injected something into it. The medicine was icy at first, but then it burned and stung as it snaked up the vein in my arm.
At some point, though, it started to make the fuzzy edges even fuzzier. I was transported away to a place that wasn’t sterile and antiseptic. When they wheeled the gurney down the hall toward giant double doors, I could have sworn I was floating away on a bed of clouds.
We passed through the doors, and someone put an oxygen mask over my face. A blue cloth was hung right below my chest, and I tried to squeeze Thorn’s hand. But he wasn’t there. In the movies, the husband was always there.
Instead a nurse grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. “He can’t be in here,” she said as if she could read my mind. As if she’d done this a million times.
That made me feel better.
Then I was dreaming.
Bourgeois, Sara. Stormy Sky Magic (Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 9). Kindle Locations (848-940). Kindle Edition.
After the birth we get an unusual result on the body found after the tornado. That was quite the surprise.Then we come to part two of this book. Before Kinsley even left the hospital, she started having nightmares. There’s no explanation for them and her magic is going wonky as well. After one particular bad night, Thorn is due to start back to work and her mom is coming to help. After he leaves and Brighton arrives, she gets a call from Reggie. The shop has been broken into. Nothing is missing, but something’s been added.
Things get even more interesting when a body is found under the hanging tree in front of Hangman’s House. Lilith was pacing in the street in front carrying a knife and is disoriented.
Things get even more peculiar as her dad helps her with summoning the women’s ghost to find out who killed her. Witches seem to be involved somehow and they need to know what’s going on to top it off, another body of someone close to the first one.
Lots of interesting twists in this one as the story unfolds, no answers on the reduction of magic though. Meri is snarky as ever and Laney the new baby is just precious.
5 Contented Purrs for Sara!
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Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)