Book Cover: The Questing Beast

Destiny won’t be denied…

All their lives, Dani and Perce Pellin have known they were different. Raised in the backwoods of Colorado by a paranoid mother who taught them to hunt and survive while filling their heads with haunting stories of a family curse involving a mythical Beast, escaping to civilization and seeing the world for themselves is all the twins have ever dreamed of doing.

But then a man named Grimm invites them to a meeting in LA, a meeting where they discover that they are not as alone in this world as they had imagined themselves to be. Tasked with finding the blade of Llawfrodedd Farchog, one of the pieces of the Caeg Dimmre, Perce and Dani are sent back to the wilderness, this time deep into the heart of the Yukon Territories.

There they will discover that far more lurks in the woods than just bears and moose, and it will take all their skills to finish the quest.

For their mother wasn't mad, and the cursed Beast is very real...

Arthurian myth meets urban fantasy in this new series from Rowan Casey!

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Chapter One

The little diner in Whitehorse had seemed safe enough, but Dani Pellin had learned the hard way in her twenty-plus years on God’s green earth with her twin brother that anywhere Perce went, trouble followed like dew with the dawn.  Sometimes she suspected he had a hidden power, one not even the Merlin knew about; Perce Pellin could make anybody wanna hit him.

Dani had gotten up to use the ladies room, leaving Perce alone for all of five minutes. When she’d left, he’d been drinking coffee and ploughing through a plate of hashbrowns and overcooked eggs. When she returned, a fight was about to break out.

Three large men, all with ten years, fifty pounds, and abundance of facial hair on her brother, were arrayed around Perce.  Her twin was on his feet just outside the booth he had been sitting at, saying something about how one of them needed to repeat what he just said for the whole room.

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Shadows had gathered around all three men, their desire for violence an almost tangible cloudy black aura closing in around their bodies. The storm gathering before the downpour. Only this storm was men with ill intent and the downpour would probably be blood.  Dani yanked her hair into a ponytail before striding forward. She drew her hunting knife as she navigated around the counter and the free-standing tables between her and the angry men.

She chose the brute with the darkest clot of shadows, his aura a clear indication that he was ready to strike first.  Dani stepped up close to him, sliding her knife right against his jeans over the family jewels. A tall, blonde woman silently and quickly taking him hostage certainly got his attention. The man looked down and then met her eyes, his mouth half-opened like a landed cutthroat trout.

“We’re all just here for breakfast, not trouble,” Dani suggested in her silkiest voice. She pressed the knife tip a smidge tighter against the man’s zipper.

“Dani,” Perce started to say but she shot him a glance and he, in a moment of uncommon intelligence, shut the hell up.

“Rich? You okay?” One of the other men, his shadowy aura fading as he grew uncertain, asked the man Dani was currently pressed up against.

“Fine, Gary. Your man and my brothers were just having some words,” Rich said.

“My brother,” Dani said, placing emphasis on “brother” as she did, “is about as good with words as a bag of wet mice.”

“That doesn’t even make sense,” said the third man. Dani risked taking her eyes off of Rich to make sure the third brother wasn’t intending violence. His aura was still full of darkness, but not at immediate danger levels yet.

“Neither does Perce,” Dani said.

“Wait a darn minute,” Perce said. “These fellows gonna get what they deserve. I don’t need your help.”

“No brawling, says so on the sign.”  The waitress, a black woman in her mid-fifties, said, venturing out from behind the counter.

Out of the corner of her eye Dani caught the baseball bat the woman held too casually at her side.  The brothers, Rich, Gary and whatever the third one’s name was, clearly saw it, too. Their dark auras faded rapidly and they backed up.

“No trouble here. We were just leaving. Got a long trip ahead,” Gary said, holding up his hands in a surrendering gesture.

Rich backed up as much as he could, and Dani quickly closed and sheathed her knife. She was pretty sure knives were legal up here in the Yukon, given that all the men around her were carrying hunting blades of one type or another , but there was no sense in calling unnecessary attention to it.

“Yeah, get going with you,” Perce said as the men left. One glanced back as though he really wanted to start something and his aura turned cloudy grey for a moment.

“Perce,” Dani warned.

“You didn’t hear what that butthole said about you.”

“Nope. Don’t care.” Dani shook her head at her brother. He meant well, but goddamn could he find a fight like a hound could find a skunk.  “Sorry about that, ma’am,” she added to the waitress.

“You just sit down and finish your breakfast. It’s all right,” the woman said with a weary smile. “That big hunt going down up north is bringing all kinds out.”

Dani wasn’t sure if she and her twin were included in that “all kinds” statement but she wasn’t about to ask.  She slid into the booth across from Perce, who had already gone back to eating. She watched his boyish face and wished, not remotely for the first time, that she could go through life so simply.  Nothing stuck to Perce. Food, fighting, flirting with every female that crossed his path. The three foundations of being Perce Pellin.

As their mama, God rest her soul, had always said, “No brains, no headaches.”

All the headaches were Dani’s.  She touched the pentagram medallion that she kept hidden beneath her clothing on a chain around her neck.  It was her own little rebellion against their mother’s strident version of God.  A symbol of protection. A symbol of hope for Dani that someday things could change.

The waitress came over with a coffee refill in hand instead of her bat. Perce gave her a million watt smile as she poured him a fresh mug.

“What’s that hunt you mentioned?” Dani asked. Grimm had sent them to the Yukon to find a missing piece of the Caeg Dimmre, but other than a rough area and that they were looking for something that might or might not look like a broken knife blade, Dani had no idea where to start.

“Up near Dawson,” the waitress said. “Tiny old mining town up that way name of Benderlake. Had a couple hikers get ripped apart by some kind of beast. Rabid bear or something, though nobody has seen it.”  She shrugged and pushed a damp curl back behind her ear.

“That sounds pretty strange,” Perce said, perking up. “Strange is what we looking for, right, Dani?”

The waitress shot him a look and  Dani laughed to cover up her brother’s poor choice of words.  “Drink up,” she told him. “Thank you,” she said to the waitress, putting on her stern but polite face to make it clear the woman could give her curious looks all day, but they were done here.

“I’ll get your check ready, no rush,” the waitress said with another glance at Perce. She was experienced enough, Dani guessed, to take hints.

Perce was looking at her like a kicked puppy as he shoveled more egg into his mouth. His thoughts must have finally come around to the fact that he’d nearly caused a fight and now had almost talked about their mission in public, something she’d made him swear up and down on tree and stone and his stuffed tiger, Fry, that he wouldn’t ever do.

Dani sighed and leaned forward. She spoke in her quietest voice, knowing that Perce’s preternaturally good senses, his “power” as Grimm had put it, would pick up her words.

“Yes,” she said. “We’re going to head up that way as soon as I figure out how. I’m going to go talk to the waitress more, so please, no fights.”

“Linda,” Perce said around a mouthful of egg.

“What?”

He jerked his head in an not-so-subtle manner toward the counter where their waitress was serving two more lumberjack-looking men plates of greasy food. “Her name is Linda. She’s got three kids, all grown. All went to college. One teaches now in Tokyo.”

Dani grinned. She didn’t know if he’d managed to get that out of Linda while she was in the bathroom or if he was repeating things he’d overheard with those annoyingly sensitive ears of his, but it was the little things that made her glad he was her brother. He might be dimmer than a box of unplugged Christmas lights, but he had heart and kindness.

She stood up.  They had a mission, and somehow, God willing, she was going to figure it out, find the blade, and keep Perce in one piece.  At least they were heading back into the woods, into wilderness not entirely unlike the Rocky Mountains they’d grown up in. They were both better with woods than people, that was a fact. L.A. had been more nightmare than adventure.  She’d longed forever to see big cities and now that she had, she was desperate for fresh air and filled with the need to get away from people.  She hadn’t realized just how many of them spent their days thinking about doing awful things to each other and now that she’d experienced it, her whole psyche felt clouded over with shadows and fear.

Dani fished out her wallet from her backpack and went to find Linda. Soon, it would be time to hunt.

 

 

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4 Comments

  • Shadowspun January 3, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    When will we be able to order this on amazon?

    • jnassise January 17, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      Today, Jan 17th!

  • Jessica MCFARLAND January 10, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I went to look on Amazon and I can’t find this one, I really really want to read it, will it be available today?

    • jnassise January 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      It’s available now, Jessica!

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