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Shadows of the Soul (Cora Roberts 2) by Adaline Winters Book

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Shadows of the Soul (Cora Roberts 2) by Adaline Winters Read Book Online And Download

Overview: A terrifying entity stalks the small town of White Castle, leaving a blaze of blood and destruction in its wake. My home is ground zero for the malevolent power capable of corrupting a symbol of purity.


The supernatural factions are being manipulated by the devious head of The Order, and I am a pawn in their game. Working together with Hudson, the lord of shifters, we must fight against shadows to not only save my friends, but the entire town. Everything is on the line, my life, my secrets, and my heart. The problem is, this time we are taking on family. My family.


Shadows of the Soul (Cora Roberts 2) by Adaline Winters Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Shadows of the Soul (Cora Roberts 2) by Adaline Winters Book





Shadows of the Soul (Cora Roberts 2) by Adaline Winters Book Read Online Chapter One


The handwritten letter clutched in my hand fluttered in the breeze, it having left a sour tang on the back of my tongue. If I let the paper go, the wind wouldn’t relieve me of my burden. The elegant scrawl belied the nature of the words. My Grandmother was reminding me of my obligation to update her on the other factions. She was head of The Order—leader of the elementals, and I was uniquely positioned to provide intel on both the shifters and the vampires. 


“Bear,” Rebecca declared with a snap of her fingers.


I squinted at the burly man unfolding himself from the driver’s seat of a sparkling new black truck. “Rhino,” I countered.


“How obscure,” Rebecca muttered.


“Final answer?” Maggie asked from her perch between us on the porch swing. 


“Yes,” Rebecca and I agreed. 


‘Guess the shifter’ was our current game. Hudson Abbot, The Principal, leader of all American pack affiliated shape shifters, Terror of Tennessee, and bane of my life, had gleaned some of my secrets after we joined forces to stop the menace that was killing supernaturals. He’d taken it upon himself to keep a closer eye on me by moving into the converted stables on my property. Consequently, I’d gained a steady stream of random shifters traipsing across my land. Hudson had an unhealthy obsession with learning my secrets, along with his chief of security, Dangerous Dave. They dug and dug. So far they’d come back empty-handed, but one wrong move from me and my world would turn upside down.


Hudson was perceptive, analyzing, dangerous, and damn right annoying. He also kissed me like his life depended on it, and I was a heartbeat and hormone away from becoming a notch on his bedpost.


“You’re both wrong. He’s a mongoose,” Maggie announced. Shifters could sense each other’s animal - it was a pack hierarchy and survival thing. A fox didn’t want to be challenging a lion. 


I blinked. Mongoose shifter? That’s new. Shifters were larger than their animal counterparts. How big would he be?


“You know, this could be avoided if you’d just sleep with him. Get it out of your system,” Rebecca said, plucking imaginary lint off her dress. 


“If it’s inconvenient, why don’t you sleep with him?” I snapped.


She lifted her nose in the air. “He’s not interested in me. Hudson Abbot only has eyes for a certain fiery-haired, green-eyed elemental. He’d probably move back to pack territory before the weekend if you got naked and dirty with him.”


I glanced at her. “I’m not having a one-night stand with a male who regards me with suspicion and contempt. Also, what are you saying? That I’m so boring in bed he’d run back to the shifter females before the sun had risen?”


“Don’t be ridiculous. You can act bad in bed. Lay there like a sack of potatoes.” She sighed and lifted her hands in the air. “All this passive aggressive flirting is making my hormones crazy.”


“Still, it’s not a good enough excuse. I will not sleep with someone to satiate your hormones.”


“Spoil sport.”


“Sex addict,” I threw back. 


Hudson exited the stables and glanced our way. His chocolate brown gaze collided with mine and a sinful smile played on his lips. He was tall, with strong thighs wrapped in blue jeans and a white shirt that bordered on needing a restraining order with how it was clinging to him. The breeze carried the scent of freshly cut grass mingled with a rich wild cedar that was purely Hudson. Ugh, now I was scenting him like a cat in heat. 


I sighed and leaned back. “He has enough shifter honeys to keep him occupied. I’m simply a challenge. He doesn’t want me, he wants to prove he could have me.”


“So cynical,” Rebecca murmured. She was right. I was cynical. Cynical kept you breathing. My last relationship ended in my torture and permanent maiming. It was bound to leave its psychic mark. Hudson knew my history, yet he pursued me all the same. 


“Incoming,” Maggie said before jumping up and running into the house. The front door slammed behind her. Maggie was a bobcat shifter who’d arrived to me alone, afraid, and abused. I’d offered her safety, a roof over her head, and food. In return, she helped to run my bed-and-breakfast home for the supernaturally inclined. Watching her emerge into a butterfly was worth it. But Hudson terrified her. It wasn’t his fault, he’d outlawed the arranged marriage her father was forcing Maggie into; but while her mind had caught up, her heart hadn’t.


I winced as he breached the ward, my magic pulsing around him, assessing his threat and allowing him through. No murderous thoughts from The Principal today, lucky me.


“You moved the ward boundary?” Rebecca asked.


“With us being the new popular shifter hangout, I had to, or suffer with permanent migraines.”


“It’s dangerous,” she mused. 


“It’s necessary.” 


The wards used to outline my property, including the stables. Now they looped around the main house and gardens but excluded the main gate and stables, so the shifters were able to traipse back and forth as they pleased. 


Hudson arrived at the edge of my wrap-around porch. The barrier was seven feet off the ground. He tensed and jumped clean over the white fence, landing lightly in front of me and Rebecca. I scrunched the letter in my hand tighter, folding the paper so it disappeared into my palm.


“Ladies,” he drawled. His southern lilt was faint, but smooth like warm whisky. It made my insides melt, and my heart pitter patter a happy dance against my ribs. We talked about this, I reminded the useless organ. He would tear you to tiny, tiny pieces after touching our soul. 


“Steps not good enough for you?” I asked, jerking my head toward the steps six feet away.


His lips twitched. “Steps are overrated. I took the most direct path to reach you.”


I sighed. “Principal, what can I do for you?” See, I could be nice. My heart rolled its eyes and sulked. 


“Can I borrow a whisk?” he asked, leaning back on the banister. It creaked, but held. Kudos to the solid workmanship, holding Hudson up was no mean feat. His ego doubled his weight. 


“I’ll get it,” Rebecca said, rising to her feet and floating away in a swath of pale yellow cotton. She was ethereal, timeless, classic. Rebecca was a vampire princess and conducted herself in a regal manner that was bred, not learned. 


“What does the Principal need a whisk for?” I wondered.


Hudson grinned. “Pancakes, would you like to come over for breakfast?” 


I opened my mouth to decline. This was also a game. He came to ask for something, sugar, flour, a whisk— invited me for a meal and I politely declined the offer. The paper in my hand tripled in weight and I pressed my lips together. If I had breakfast, I could report back to my Grandmother and she would see I’d done my duty. 


“I make fabulous pancakes. Blueberries are my speciality,” he ventured, sensing my hesitation. 


“Fine.”


He blinked and folded his arms. “Fine?”


I gazed up at him, the sun haloed around his head in the cloudless sky. “Fine, I’m a sucker for blueberry pancakes, and if I come this once, you can leave me alone for a month.”


He grinned. “A week at most and I’m sure we can upgrade ‘fine’ to ‘exceptional.’”


I rolled my eyes. “Let it go.” I’d once informed him the man who stole my heart would have to be exceptional—he’d been making a big deal out of it ever since.


Rebecca opened the front door and brandished a shiny metal whisk at Hudson. “Your whisk.”


He plucked it from her fingers and smirked. “Tomorrow morning at seven?”


Rebecca’s mouth fell open. 


“Fine,” I gritted out. 


I’ll survive breakfast. It was the smallest and quickest meal of the day. Get in, get out, and report back. Nothing to see here, Grandmother. My brain slow clapped at my cunning plan. Hudson turned and jumped over the fence again, landing with the feral grace only seen in cats.


“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” he called out. “Prepare to savor it, Cora. Every single morsel will be an experience.”


“Breakfast is a necessity, not an experience.”


“Then you are doing it wrong. Breakfast with you will be entertaining.”


“I’m not your entertainment.”


“Of course not. But what follows should be.”


I groaned and leaned back as he slunk away. We were doomed. 


“You’re eating with the Principal?” Rebecca mused. “Is that after a night of hot and sweaty kinky shifter sex, or is it a fuel up before a morning of hot and sweaty shifter kinky sex?”


“There will be no hot and sweaty, kinky, shifter sex.”


“Okay, no kink,” Rebecca agreed. 


Help me, I’m surrounded by supernatural sex-starved addicts. 


Maggie bounced out of the front door, her dark hair a wild tangle around her face. “You’re letting him feed you? In his home?” she whispered.


Hudson threw me a glance over his shoulder, grinned his predatory smile, white, perfect teeth on display, and winked. 


I frowned and narrowed my gaze. “Technically, it’s my home. Why?” 


Maggie shuffled on her sandals, the soles grazing the wooden floor as she glanced at Hudson. “Um, nothing.”


Hudson whipped his shirt over his head with one hand and let it fall to the ground. He picked up an ax left buried in the tree stump, dropped a large piece of timber on it, and swung the ax. The wood split in two with a loud crack. The birds chattered in the trees. I wondered if they too were in awe of the specimen before us. His muscles bunched and tensed with the motion.


“Holy vampire ovaries, that man is a thirst trap,” Rebecca mumbled.


“Why the hell is he chopping wood? It’s not even cold,” I pointed out.


“Does it matter?” she shot back.


“Umm, so they’ve grown again,” Maggie said. She hooked a thumb over her shoulder. “Do you want to see?


I jumped to my feet and followed a twitchy Maggie with my vampire princess sidekick in tow. We trotted down the steps and around the outside of the house. We passed under some mighty magnolia trees whose leaves rustled in the breeze and entered the garden area reserved for the dead. Unmarked graves dotted the lawn, twenty-five in total. If you weren’t part of a pack or vampire house, you were a loner. Loners didn’t have access to consecrated ground, and were subsequently denied the rights of passage. I had lots of land, and a gift to help those loners pass on. During the final fight with Ric, the elemental, he’d revealed I’d not been simply giving the dead a place to rest. I’d been getting them a back door pass to heaven. After crossing Jennifer over, Ric’s last victim, I ceased crossing over loners. Until I better understood the mechanics of my powers, I deemed messing with the Almighty’s grand plan to be unwise. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or my activities.


We came to a stop under my largest magnolia tree, its branches draping over the ground casting a sweet heady fragrance in the surrounding air. Tom Wayfer was buried here. He should have been laid to rest in the Tupperware tub I’d gathered his exploded body into. But Maggie, in her teenage wisdom and thoughtfulness about recycling, had emptied him into the ground and covered his remains with soil. All creatures have residual magic. It’s why we bury our dead in coffins and jars. If that magic fell into the wrong hands, it would be dangerous. White roses bloomed over the plot. They sprawled along the lawn and climbed up the trunk of the tree before weaving amongst the branches. The roses themselves weren’t bad news.


“Didn’t you cut these down a few days ago?” Rebecca asked.


“Yes.”


“Should they be bleeding like that?” Maggie asked, leaning over to study the crimson droplets rolling over the snowy velvet petals.


“No.”


Rebecca wrinkled her nose and stepped back. “What does it mean?”


My gaze darted over the flowers. “Nothing good,” I answered. Magic skittered over the ground, the charge raising the hairs on my arms. The heavy scent of roses coated my mouth like fur. Someone had screwed with Tom’s remains. Something unnatural lurked on my property, something that had corrupted a symbol of purity. Evil. 



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