A Stormwalker novella, published in the anthology Hexed in June 2011.
I totally devoured this novella, have read and reviewed the other stories in this anthology a while ago. But I knew back then I would be reading this series, and saved this story for now.
The plumber Fremont, who has a tiny amount of magic himself, and Janet are trying to repair a leaky foucet in one of the hotel rooms, when it suddenly starts spouting blood instead of water. A bloody message appears on the mirror, and one of the chamber maids screamingly quits her job. The couple residing in the bloody room leaves immediately. Is this a portent of something horrible coming?
Cassandra, the receptionist/hotel manager calmly checks the guests out, and then dissolves in a puddle of tears. The man she used to work for has found her, and has come for her. She will leave immediately. Of course Janet and Mick won’t have that and want Cassandra to stay so they and the warded hotel can protect her.
And then it is to late. All the hotel doors and windows are sealed shut, electricity, mobile phones and the water are no longer working the wards are infected by a powerful hex, and no one can leave anymore. The hex is working on them all, bringing out their worst traits. They are all trapped, Janet and Mick, Maya and Fremont, Cassandra, Coyote and their Nightwalker guest. At first they think it will be easy to defeat the hex, together they are so extremely powerful, but the hex just eats their magic and Coyote is the first to lose all of his godpowers. Cassandra is just a weeping puddle, totally dejected. She is convinced this powerful sorcerer is after her, and if she just sacrifices herself, the rest will walk free. How will they free themselves before the Nightwalker kills them all during his bloodlust? Will one of them really have to sacrifice his/herself for the safety of the others?
A very surprising story, which I loved. It was full of surprises, and possibilities for the future. According to Allyson James, who tweeted me, this is a stand alone novella. Her website says it is 2,5 in the Stormwalker series, but you can read it anytime. (Yes ladies, I am on twitter, as xAurianx, still learning the ropes, but I am present).
The hex brings out the worst in everyone, but they still can control themselves, even if it sometimes needs a hand, or two. For you who love Mick, he is overprotective and heroic here. Still, Janet and Coyote have a strong role, and the rest are great secondary characters. The whole story takes place inside the hotel, as they are all trapped there, until the end, when Mick and Janet go away for a few days together.
I am sorry it was a short story, even though one of the longest in the anthology, and I will continue with the next book, even though some other brand new ones are calling my name.