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Cleo's Curse -- Allie Burton

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Cleo's Curse
Soul Warriors Book 4
December 2015

An ancient knot entangling Cleo in a world of magic and power.
A driven leader intent on controlling a curse.
A disgruntled slave no longer willing to bow to a modern goddess.

Needing to suck up to her parents, spoiled boarding school student Cleo Carruthers decides to make an effort and attend classes. Except the teachers can’t see her. The Knot of Uset has woven a web around her and she’s become truly invisible.

A slave to Queen Cleopatra in a previous life, Soul Warrior Antony refuses to serve anyone. But when a modern day goddess demands his help, he can’t say no. Saving the world must take precedence over his wishes. Until his wishes get tied up into a knot by Cleo.

Trapped in a strange world, together the two teens must secure the magic of the knot and become unbound from the relic’s powers. But they are being hunted by those who want them to disappear. Permanently.

Buy: Amazon | B&N | Google Play | Kobo | iBooks | CreateSpace

Reviews

starstarstarstarstar “Can’t wait to read the new book! Awesome series. I’m dying to read the next book to see how things work out for the Soul Warriors…this is a series you are going to love.” Cashmere

starstarstarstarstar“What a rush! This is definitely a one of a kind tale that kept me on my toes throughout. It is a novel that will be loved by readers of all ages.” Jonel

starstarstarstarstar“Another big hit with me, and I can’t wait to see what Allie writes next!” Serenity

Excerpt

Chapter One

Cleo

 

A black SUV screeched to a stop on the quiet street in front of my private boarding school residence hall. Two men wearing mismatching black pants and sweatshirts charged out of the vehicle.

I hated when people didn’t match their shades of black. Fashion basics, people.

“Get the Uset package!” One of the guys with black hair and a strong build rushed past, pushing me.

I stumbled and my Christian Louboutin boots stepped off the sidewalk into a puddle, coating the pink leather in mud. Was I invisible to everyone? “Hey!”

The man swiveled and pointed a metallic grey contraption. The barrel came to a tip like a ballpoint pen. Tubes curved along the top in an infinity pattern. Where the trigger should be was a clear orb sparking with flames.

Each detail stamped on my mind even while my brain circled in panicked loops. Loops that dipped and flipped and tripped. I’d never seen a rifle close, especially one this strange-looking. I held my shopping-bag laden arms in a no-challenge position and took a shaky step back. The designer clothes, guy-teasing pumps, and chocolates weighed heavier in the fancy bags than they had the entire time I’d shopped.

The guy pointed the gun toward his real quarry—a delivery guy.

My bones sagged, weary with relief. I took another slow step back.

Further up the sidewalk, the second man pointed his weird gun at the delivery guy dressed in a drab brown uniform and pushing a metal cart filled with packages. The delivery guy stopped only a few feet from the front door of my building. No one was around this early on a Saturday morning because most of the students were sleeping or studying.

The man dressed in black shoved the gun at the delivery guy. “Give me the Uset package.”

Was that a new perfume or fashion designer? From the plain black khaki slacks, black sweatshirts and knit beanies the men with strange guns wore, I didn’t think they were after stylish clothes. My designer friend Demetri was about to release his latest line and I’d be one of the first to see the runway show.

The delivery guy with the bulging belly held up both his hands knowing he was being mugged. “Take them.”

Obviously he wasn’t paid enough to protect the packages in his care. Hopefully, none of my online shopping was in that shipment.

The man standing by me moved forward and picked up the top package. Grunting, he tossed the box to the ground. Glass shattered inside. He did the same with the next package. And the next.

The street view was blocked by the dark van and the delivery truck. Tall hedges covered the residence hall’s lower windows. No one could see what was taking place unless they sauntered down the sidewalk.

Without the gun trained on me, I took another step back trying to merge with the bushes. With a shaky hand, I grabbed my phone from my pocket. I tapped the screen and hit the recording app. It didn’t turn on.

“It’s not here.” The man threw the last package down. “Where is the goddess of Uset package?”

I smacked the recording app again. Come on. Think how many hits I’d get with this post.

Both guys held their weird guns higher, trained at the delivery guy’s head, ignoring me.

I swallowed. Instead of recording for social media, I should be calling 9-1-1.

The delivery guy’s eyes widened covering half his face. He tucked in his chin and fear stamped his expression. “I don’t know, dude.”

Both guns fired. Real flames.

Except not real flames because purple, pink and green colors shot out in streams. The noise hissed more than banged. The streams wrapped around the blah-brown delivery guy and he bent at the waist seeming to curl into himself.

My chest chattered in a horrific rhythm causing my heart to sputter and choke. Adrenaline and a self-preservation instinct had me hitting the ground. I landed in the puddle and covered my head with my hands. My nose filled with the smell of wet dirt. Forget recording the scene, I needed help. Hitting the first speed dial, I listened to the dial tone.

Pick up. Pick up. Pick up.

The delivery guy collapsed onto the ground. The two men turned toward me. The rhythm in my chest twisted into an electric dance music. I couldn’t hear the two men talking, yet I knew I’d be next.

“I’m sorry I’m not able to answer the phone right now. Leave a message or call my assistant at…”

Anger flashed similar to the flames from those weird guns. Hurt sent a burning sensation over my skin. Of course, she didn’t pick up. Not for me. My life was ending and I wouldn’t even get to say goodbye.

I flattened my body against the wet sidewalk not caring about my tailored jeans or the untucked silk blouse. Not worrying about my perfect brunette curls or my department store-prepared make-up. Only thinking about my short, sixteen-year life.

A life I’d been trying to change so my parents would approve. Go to classes. Make real friends. Start a new adventure.

Being dead was not an adventure. Being dead was…well, dead.

The burning pain ripped through and scorched my lungs. I wasn’t ready to die. I scrunched my body trying to get smaller. Sharp pinpricks pierced the scorching skin. Had the torture begun? I didn’t hear the weird guns or see the colors swirling around. I lifted my head.

The two men jumped into the SUV and the car squealed away.

Those black pants. Honestly, someone needed to lock Walmart’s doors once and for all.

My body warped into the muddy and wet sidewalk. Every inch of my skin made contact with the rough surface and proved I was alive. I was safe.

Beeeeeep.Mother’s long-winded message finally ended.

Not that my life mattered to anyone else.

“Mother, this is CC, you’re daughter.” In case she’d forgotten. “You have to get me out of this horrible San Francisco boarding school. Someone’s been killed in front of the residence hall.”

The message clicked off and I smashed my finger against the end button. My parents wouldn’t notice if I’d been killed or disappeared. They were too busy with their jet-set travel, country club and charity events. Which was why I was trying to be good so they’d bring me home and start paying attention.

Untangling my arms from my shopping bags, I got to my feet and stared at the body of the delivery guy.

Quit feeling sorry for yourself. At least you’re not dead.

His brown uniform smoked. He must’ve been wet from the rain and the sun warmed his clothes, steaming them dry.

I surveyed the sky. There was no sun. Only fog and damp. Why had my parents banished me to this west coast wasteland?

Tiny tendrils of grey plumes twisted into the air off the delivery guy. Splotches of…emptiness appeared on his body. Like big holes.

Coldness shivered across my arms and caused the small hairs to stand at attention aware something was most definitely wrong.

The holes became bigger. Through the holes I saw the wet sidewalk beneath. Parts of his body were fading or evaporating.

The coldness spread. Twin emotions of terror and fear curled in my stomach and buzzed in my brain. I shook my aching head, trying to make sense of the vision.

There was no wound. No blood.

No body.