Witching Hour (Blood Magic #3) by L.H. Cosway

1.



The fighting sprang out of nowhere.

One minute I was walking down the street minding my own business, and the next I was standing in the middle of a riot.

Turning the corner onto Campion Row, one of the main shopping districts in Tribane, my eyes were assaulted by a fist
making contact with somebody’s face. Then, when I had the chance to scan the area, I realised it wasn’t just one fist and
one face. Hundreds of people were fighting each other. Just going at it like they were taking part in a giant MMA tournament.

What fresh hell was this?

A thin brunette who looked like she wouldn’t normally harm a fly yanked on the hair of a blonde woman, spouting angry
profanities into her face, spittle flying from her mouth.

Was there some sort of controversial protest happening today that’d gotten out of hand? It was the only logical explanation
that came to mind as I took a step back, edging away from the chaos. But when I turned back to go the way I came, the
riot had spread.

Had the entire city taken crazy pills?

This was too bloody weird.

Only a moment ago shoppers were wandering casually about the street, and now they were kicking the living crap out of
each other.

A group of teenagers banded together, throwing bricks and smashing the windows of an electronics store. Several
employees came rushing out to try and stop them, which only created more fighting. The teenagers kicked and punched at
the polo shirt wearing employees.

At first, the polo shirts tried to stop the teenagers from doing any more damage, but it was like a flip switched in them and
violence took over as they fought back. I stepped away, backing myself up against the concrete wall of the building behind
me. Two men fell to the ground a foot or two away from me. The man on top pummelled the other man’s face, bloodying his
nose.

“Hey, stop that!” I shouted.

The aggressor paused his pummelling, and my heart pounded when he turned and glared at me. There was a rampant,
crazed look in his eyes. Not good, not good at all. He wore a wool coat, corduroy trousers, sensible brown shoes, and his
balding dark hair had speckles of grey in it. He looked as straight-laced as they came, like an accountant or a financial
advisor doing some shopping on his day off. Not some mental case who would randomly beat on a passing stranger. He let
go of the man he’d been punching and advanced on me.

“You little tramp,” he seethed. “What did you just call me?”

The anger and hate in his words were odd, since I didn’t actually call him anything. I only told him to stop what he’d been
doing. The fighting and looting were still going on around me, but all I could focus on was this man’s bloodshot eyes and the
saliva that began to drip from his mouth, like a rabid dog.

I pressed my entire body even harder against the concrete wall as he came towards me.

“I didn’t call you anything,” I said in an even tone.

“I heard what you said, you fucking bitch! You’re going to pay for that,” he spat.

“Seriously? Are you deranged?”

Okay, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to say, but I tended to get rude when I was frightened. If this man were a
supernatural being, like a vampire or a dhampir, I’d have no hesitation using my magic to fight him. But he was only a
human, so I didn’t know if my sparks would simply incapacitate him or kill him. I couldn’t saddle the death of a stranger on
my poor, abused conscience. I already had enough to be feeling guilty about.

“I’ll show you deranged,” the man retorted, his hand fisted as he brought it down on me, punching me right in the face. Fuck
that hurt! Sorcerers and ancient vampires might be psychos, but humans could be violent dickheads when the mood took
them.

“Stop! You’re hurting me!” I begged as he lifted his leg and landed several kicks to my shin and one in the ankle. Right, well
I’d been trying to save my conscience the addition of murder, but this prick had it coming. Without much effort, I summoned
my magic. Sparks tickled my palm, which I raised and smacked directly into his forehead.

Immediately, he cried out, a look of pure, undiluted rage marring his features. He called me a see you next Tuesday before
backing away several yards.

“Well, that’s not very nice,” I muttered as I glanced at the electronics store just as the teenagers fled. They were laden down
with looted items. One of the employees grabbed a fleeing looter by his collar and pulled him to the ground, punching him