Friday Fragments are my way of counting down to the release of MAGIC ON THE HUNT on April 5th. Every Friday until then, I'll post an excerpt or deleted snippet or alternate scene from the Allie Beckstrom books. (And yes, I'm still thinking about writing that shower scene just for fun, so stay tuned!) 🙂 Today's fragment is an actual snippet of MAGIC ON THE HUNT. This scene is a little spoilery if you haven't read book 5, MAGIC AT THE GATE, so now would be the time to click away. Thank you for coming, and hopefully, see you next week! .... .... .... All right. Let me set this up a little. I know there are a lot of Shamus fans out there, so I thought I'd pick a *short* snippet out of MAGIC ON THE HUNT with him and Allie in it. Shame has a cutting sense of humor, but in this scene, I think it's his bad ass tendencies that shine through. ***** Shame strolled over, his hands low at his sides. He walked around to stand in front of me. "Good to see you again, Mr. Beckstrom. I appreciate you not killing me with the whole disk thing a few days ago. But I’d just be lying if I said I haven’t been looking forward to this for a long time now.” Shame pointed his finger at my chest. He didn’t touch me; he didn’t break eye contact; he didn’t speak. He slowly traced a glyph in the air. Magic rose to his hand and dragged ponderously through the glyph as if the magic were actually earth, soil, and stone. The glyph became solid, filled with that magic. The crystal in his chest glowed through his black T-shirt, soft pink, then blue-white, then bloodred, pulsing with his heartbeat. He did not cast the spell, not yet. It was a taunt, a slow-motion game of dare. Even from the middle of my peacefulness I could feel how furious Dad was. And worried. I wondered if he’d finally met his match. “You are making a grave mistake, Flynn,” Dad said. “Just like your father.” Shame’s lips quirked up. “You killed my father, Mr. Beckstrom. And now it’s time for me to return the favor.” He closed the glyph and cast the spell. Dad stretched out in my mind, taking up more space, too much space, crushing my safe cocoon. He became a thousand hands that patted and crawled over me, digging deep and holding on. I moaned, but that didn’t stop Shame. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea at all. I couldn’t look away from Shame’s eyes. Eyes that were no longer green, but pure, heartless black. He spoke one word: “Die.” Knife-hot pain slashed through me. I yelled, tipping my face up and trying to force the pain out of my chest, out of my mind, out of my head. The pain doubled, tripled. I couldn’t get away from it, couldn’t make it stop, could not endure. I wanted away from my body, my mind. Wanted away from this pain. I was stuck. Anchored. Burning from the inside out. I begged for unconsciousness. Please, I thought, please stop. I can’t. I can’t. Fear took hold where just a moment before pain had resided. How much of my mind would be left after Shame was done? How much of me would my father allow to be destroyed before he gave me up? Much too late, I realized there was no way to stop Shame, to tell him what I suddenly knew. My father would let me die before he ever allowed anyone to remove him from my mind.