Mafia thief. Miami party-girl.
Wake up, chica. The Zodiac Shadows are coming…
It’s hard getting your life together when mysterious, soul-wrenching zodiac shadows start taking over your mind.
Why am I being hunted by monsters that feast on my fear?
I’m just a college girl breaking into safes and picking locks for the Miami Mafia, but when I finally land a big job, I manage to mess it up. Beaten and bullied by my mafia outcast father, it seems I am following in his footsteps. The mafia is ruthless. It’s stupid to cross them, and I did it twice.
The second time was marrying the rising king of a rival gang. I become territory to fight over, but I don’t belong to anyone and the savage zodiac fire within me knows it.
With my sanity at stake, will I escape my brutal life and learn what the stars have in store for me?
ZODIAC SHADOWS, an action-packed slow burn prequel to the Warrior Shifters series by paranormal romance author R.C. Luna. Warrior Shifters is a steamy paranormal mafia romance series which is perfect for fans of Jaymin Eve, Elizabeth Briggs, or the Reliquary series by Sarah Fine. Due to sexual content, violence, and language, this series is intended for mature readers.
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A Warrior Shifter Prequel
2022 © R.C. Luna
I flew higher and got farther away in each dream, looking down at a growing darkness I didn’t understand. And the thing was, the darkness absolutely terrified me. Not because it was dark, foreboding, large and mysterious, but because it seemed to call to me. Because I was drawn to it. Because I wanted to wrap myself in that darkness and allow it to take me away with it. It was terrifying that the screams and whispers I heard from the depths of the shadows were equal parts unknown and familiar pieces of myself.
One day I found myself thinking a lot about my dreams while Nikki and I were walking around in the mall. We had just strolled into a small fashion boutique. After scanning for store clerks and mall security—who occasionally dressed as civilians to throw us off—I slipped a silver ring with a turquoise stone into my pocket and watched as Nikki didn’t even blink as she stuffed something in hers.
We went to the mall bathroom and entered the handicap stall.
″Here, happy birthday.” Nikki handed me a pair of chunky, gold hoop earrings.
″Thanks girl!” I snatched them out of her hands and went to the mirror to try them on. “I love them! You knew I wanted these. Here, because I know you love turquoise.” I handed her the ring, and she slipped it on, admiring it.
″I do love it Sasha, but you keep it. It’s your birthday.”
I scoffed and hesitated but took it from her anyway. “You know you’re my ride-or-die, right?”
“Yes girl, I know. You’re eighteen now, and I can’t throw you a party, but I can let you have the ring you just stole.” She laughed and hugged me.
Our next stop was a jewelry counter with a glass case full of gold and silver chains I couldn’t afford, which made them even more desirable. The kiosk also did piercings.
″Maybe you should get your nose pierced on your eighteenth birthday,” Nikki suggested.
My eyes opened wide, and a shiver shot straight down my back; I knew exactly what was going to happen next.
″What, Sasha? What’s that look? It’s not a big deal. Anyway, I’m going to do it.”
I shook my head as the words I wanted to say stayed stuck in my throat like a bunch of mothballs.
Nikki took a sideways look at me and rolled her eyes as she put her hand on her hip and moved toward the counter. “Excuse me, can I get some help here?” she said to the attendant at the kiosk. She didn’t bother to check with me again for any signs of approval. She just went for it. I, however, was frozen in place, and when the attendant presented her with the different stud options that she had in stock, I stole a glance of myself in the mirror. Black, shiny waves of hair framed deep, olive-colored skin. Emerald-green eyes lined with gold, normally bright and carefree, stared back at me, confused.
A few short minutes later, Nikki, twirling a light-brown curl around her finger, sashayed over to me with a new gold stud piercing on display on the top of her right nostril. “Fresh, isn’t it?” She gave me a sly smile.
″Um . . . yeah. For sure.” My mind wandered.
″Seriously, why do you look so salty? I mean, it’s not your face.”
I wasn’t sure how to tell her what I was thinking, and the immense sense of déjà vu that I was experiencing in that very moment. This feeling of déjà vu was so ominously familiar that my hands balled into fists. I shook it off, buying myself some time to figure out how I could tell her this.
“I think I’m just hungry, and watching your nose get drilled into made me kind of nauseous on an empty stomach.” I put my hand over my belly. “Can we get something to eat?”
″Yes! Definitely. I think Carlos is working at the food court. Let’s go see if he’ll hook us up.”
When we were sitting and sharing the meal that Carlos slipped us when his manager wasn’t looking, I began to tell her about my dream. It was one of the many dreams I had been having lately about flying, but this time, instead of lifting off the ground right away, I got curious about some shapes I saw faded in the background. When the shapes came into focus, Nikki was looking at herself in a mirror, just as she did at the kiosk with the new piercing. In the dream, she’d also looked directly at me and said, “Fresh, isn’t it?”
″Ha! You’re a psychic,” she blurted out, laughing.
This wasn’t even funny. “Yeah, right. It’s crazy, though. I saw it in the dream as clear as I saw it just now.” I shook my head.
″You can always talk to my mom. You know she interprets dreams. She can help you figure out what they’re trying to tell you.” I guessed she’d gotten a hint of my mood, because she was serious now.
Ms. Gabriel was something of a spiritual guide. She sold insurance during the day and read tarot cards and dabbled in astrology at night. I wondered if I should talk to her about the dreams, since at this point I was having them every night.
″Yeah, next time I’m at your house, I’ll talk to her.” I stuffed a French fry in my mouth. Whatever this déjà vu or dream was, it didn’t feel right. Maybe it would be good to talk to someone about it.
That night when I went to my room, I saw a text on my phone from my friend Elio: Happy Birthday, Estrellita.
He called me little star, because growing up all I ever did was talk to him about the stars.
Thanks (smile emoji), I texted back.
I pulled out my astrology notebook and tarot cards. So far, Nikki and Elio were the only ones who had even remembered my birthday. My mother just went on like today was any other day, so I didn’t bother to remind her. She seemed like she had been on Xanax all day anyway. And my father, well, that joke was on me if I even thought he would say anything.
But I knew that if Tia Lily was still alive, she would have made my birthday special somehow.
I reached under my dusty bed and pulled out a large shoe box that I had decorated over the years with various zodiac and tarot stickers. I picked up a picture of her and me outside of the ice cream shop she used to take me to when I was little. It was my tenth birthday, and she had come to visit me in Miami. The sweltering heat melting the chocolate ice cream down my hands faster than I could eat it. I was wearing the yellow dress she had just bought for me. A silent tear spilled from my eye and over my cheek that I quickly wiped away. She’d been dead eight years now, but it still felt as sore as a fresh wound.
I moved the photo aside and picked up my tarot card. It was the tarot card assigned to the day I was born. Everyone has a tarot card that represents their birthday. Mine was “The Magician.” But Lily said the man in this card was more than a magician. She’d called him, “The Shaman,” and told me that one day I would meet him in person.
When she’d told me that, I’d gotten so nervous at the thought of meeting him because he must have been famous if they’d made a card all about him. Now, I laughed at the thought of my wild imagination. Funny, I’d always believed all her stories.
I had asked Lily why I would end up meeting him and she explained that it was because I was magical. She’d always said I had a special path in the universe, one written by the stars themselves. That I had a destiny to fulfill.
I missed her crazy prophecies for me. They at least made me feel special. They made me feel like I mattered in a big way. Of course, I had my friends Nikki and Elio, but they were still figuring themselves out. They had their own problems and issues, and so did my mom. But I wasn’t a little girl anymore. I had to live in the real world and deal with real-world problems.
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R.C. LUNA is a moon child that believes we are all made of stardust. Her passion for books, magic, witchcraft, and mystery comes alive with the sexy, paranormal monsters that line the pages of her books. Her characters are driven by the phases of the moon and the alignment of the stars. Her new series, Warrior Shifter, will be released this year and brings to life a fantasy world of vampires, shifters, fae and so much more. Luna’s experience as a Puerto Rican growing up in South Florida influences her writing of multicultural storylines, as does her time spent in the US Air Force and living in various Latin American countries. Darkness is her playground and you’ll find her up well into the night-reading fantasy romance novels.