This excerpt is from The Chains That Bind, book 3 of the Runespells series. You can order Fluffy Bunny, book 2, published in 2017, and Too Wyrd, book 1, published in 2016. Both books are published by Black Rose Writing."Don't move, Nicola," Joseph said in a tight whisper. "Gods, don't move."
I stared at him, but he was looking past my shoulder.
"What is it? Snake?"
He swallowed hard. "Cat. I think its a cougar."
I nodded. "We should be okay, then," I murmured. "You're too old for her."
Joseph shot me a look. "Not a good time to be joking."
I nodded. "I'm going to turn slowly." I waited for his nod before I carefully shifted my feet rotating my body until I could peer into the trees and bushes behind us.
Crouching on a low branch, a lean, tan-colored feline stared at us. It was perfectly still, and the body language screamed that it was seriously considering attacking us.
"Damn," I said.
I unclipped the chest strap for my pack and slowly slipped it off my shoulders and down my arms.
"What are you doing, Nicola?" Joseph asked in a low, warning tone.
"How crappy would it be if, after all I've gone through, my quest ended in failure because of a stupid cat?" I asked mildly. "Random stupid dangers all around, bringing down people who have survived real tragedies. World ends because a big cat got a hankering for hikers."
I felt anger building in my chest as I focused on how unfair life could be. "My kids die in a fiery inferno caused by the world ending all because Mr. Wigglebutt there wanted a snack and we happened to come along."
"What are you doing?" Joseph hissed at me.
I stared at the cougar, letting it represent all the obstacles I'd been facing, all the unfair random things that kept me from doing the only thing I actually needed to do.
My nose wrinkled and my brows drew down. I directed every frustration at it, focused every hiccup in my plans on it. The look of hate and anger deepened.
"Nicola?" Joseph hissed again.
"Get ready to run, Joseph," I said in a low snarl. "I'm actually getting angry now."
I heard him cussing behind me as my vision washed red, then yellow. I small grin flickered over the snarl, and I tensed my body, unconsciously mimicking the cougar's posture.
"Time to die," I crowed, and I leaped at the cougar.