Title: The Flame Wars
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 83,000
Immortality isn’t a gift. Elsbeth desperately seeks other witches, hoping they can destroy the curse that keeps her alive after every death, every murder. But she’s traveled the world and hasn’t seen another witch for centuries. After taking refuge in her old home in historic Salem, Massachusetts, Elsbeth breaks her biggest rule: trust no one—let no one close. She lies just enough to elicit help from a non-magic human, an Innocent, named Andrew. With his cooperation, she discovers the cruel reality that others also search for witches.
Led by Hopkins, Elsbeth’s executioner during the European Witch Trails, warlocks hunt the women. Except when a warlock finds a witch, he kills her. And unlike Elsbeth, they’ve had no trouble uncovering witches.
Panicked and scrambling for a plan, Elsbeth is kidnapped by Hopkins, but she refuses to become another victim in his lifelong pursuit to slaughter witches for warlocks’ gain. Overconfident, Hopkins reveals Elsbeth is the last. Only her immortality—the curse she’s despised—prevents the extinction of witches, and she alone maintains the balance mankind unknowingly depends upon. Yet Hopkins vows to end the curse and kill her as a mortal.
Now Elsbeth must escape, prevent Hopkins from killing her a second time, and protect Andrew whom she put in danger by letting him close. If Elsbeth dies, witchcraft ends and all that is humane in the world ceases, but witches can’t cause harm and she doesn’t know where to begin.
I hold a B.S. in Biology with an English minor from Virginia Tech, providing Elsbeth a love of nature, and a graduate degree from Hollins University where I studied creative writing.
I am cursed; I was saved.
Blue smoke, thick as ash, swirls inside my body. Dropped in the dew-covered grass, I clutch my chest, roll over, and curl fetal. Hot bile stings my throat. Come on, heart, pump. Come on.
The smoke drags through me, forcing a shout, then chokes my lungs closed. One minute I’m convulsing on a gurney in New Orleans, the next I’m here—always here. Reborn in Germany after each death, twenty-five years old and still searching.
Some lifetimes I live for decades, others only a few years before . . . Either way, no one mourns me. Letting anyone close isn’t an option.
Sweat coats my scalp as pain splinters across my ribs. Not a moment too soon, the tight weight lifts and thick hazy spirals exit my body, form a cone above me, and vanish.
Come on, heart. Beat.
Frozen as a corpse, I stare at a spotted falcon circling above. I’d cry his name if I could.
Finally, oxygen rushes in, and I gasp. Shaky moans come between coughs and gags. My heart thumps as I shiver on the frigid ground while blood retraces my veins. Each death is the same. Each death is different. This time a car accident, last time a . . . I don’t recall. Time distorts my memory.
Tremors jolt my torso as my temperature normalizes. Full recovery is inevitable, but takes time. Time I don’t have.
Every inactive minute equals time lost in my search for witches.