Black Moon Draw (Chapter One, page 1 of 4)

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The Shadow Knight of Black Moon Draw lifted his boar's head to the sky, worn yet energized by the day at battle. As the battle-witch had promised, he had won shortly after sunset and stood, triumphant, over the body of his slain enemy. The battlefields were littered with the dead and dying, enemies slaughtered by his bloodlust and brute strength, and the bodies of men who served him. He counted the dead then nodded in satisfaction.

It was a good day. Except he needed a new witch. His lay among the corpses, her purple robes fluttering in the late summer breeze.

With six kingdoms conquered and three remaining to oppose him, he did not have time to celebrate his victory with a feast. The end of the era was coming, and with it, the fulfillment of a thousand-year curse that gave him little time to find the last great battle-witch he had sought for ages. The Heart of Black Moon Draw was depending on him. There was no way he was going to fail.

My phone rings, jarring me out of the reading zone where I've been hiding from reality all day. I blink at the words on the screen of my laptop to help me return from the world of Black Moon Draw and then snatch the cell phone on the desk beside my mouse.

"Hello," I answer groggily. Sitting back, I wipe my nose with my palm. The tears stopped a while ago. My nose is still running.

"Hey, baby. Saw your Facebook post," my mother says. "Sorry to hear about Jason."

"Shit happens, Mom," I mumble. "Real life's so much stranger than fiction."

"Is the wedding really off or is this something you're both working through?"

I flinch, lost for a moment. I've spent the past year preparing to dedicate my life to the man I thought was my true love, only for him to tell me he's found someone else, a week before the wedding.

Someone more grounded, he claims.

I hope she's ugly. It's a terrible thought, but I can't help it.

"It's off, Mom," I answer. "He says I spend too much time with fictional people when I should be in the real world with real people."

My mother is silent.

I know she's working hard not to utter an I-told-you-so. Jason isn't the first person to try to pry me out of the land of the nonexistent and he isn't the first to leave my life over it.

Probably not the last. I'd like to think I have to lose myself in books. I've been a librarian for a year now and one of my tasks is to help identify great books to feature at the library. It's a perfect job. All I do when not behind the desk at work is read. If I don't keep reading, how will I know if I've found the next great thing? There's some vindication for a bookworm who reads an awesome book before it's mainstream.

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