HEAT OF THE MOMENT Lori Handeland
Sisters of the Craft Series , Book 2
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-250-02013-0
July 2015
Paranormal Mystery

Three Harbors, Wisconsin the Present

Four hundred years ago, Roland McHugh, at the behest of King James, went on a secret mission to purge witches from Scotland. He burned Henry and Prudence Taggart at the stake. Indeed, the two were witches, but to save their triplet daughters, they made a spell from the fire and their blood that threw their three daughters into a future time when witches would not be hunted.

Veterinarian Becca Carstairs comes from a loving family with three brothers and a sister. Her bright red hair defines her, but what no one knows is that she can hear her animal patients' thoughts. The local police chief arrives at Becca's clinic to tell her three cats, a dog, and a rabbit, all black-furred pets, have gone missing. It is close to Halloween, so could local children be involved? Maybe. On her evening run that evening, Becca recognizes the large black wolf that she has seen many times since childhood, and then sees a light at a place where none should be. She stops to investigate and finds Owen at his mother's abandoned house. Owen McAllister was Becca's one and only love, but he left her ten years ago. He brings back strong memories. Inside the house are five butchered and burned animals. The next night, someone tries to smother Becca in her apartment above the vet clinic. The witch hunters are in Three Harbors.

Owen had to have his mother institutionalized. Her hearing voices craziness, her alcoholism and drug abuse have affected his entire childhood, not only the home lifestyle, but also everyone in town belittling him as the crazy witch's son. Becca was his closest friend, and the woman he still loves. They slept together once, and then, warned away, he left to join the Marines. Now, Owen has come home to sell his mother's house. On the day of his arrival back in Three Harbors, he discovers the house in worse shape than he expected. Nor did he expect to find burned animal carcasses inside, or have the expectation that Becca would be the first person from Three Harbors that he would see. An even bigger surprise arrives when a black wolf shows up. His dog, Reggi, a bomb-sniffing military working dog, barks as the wolf that growls at Owen. Becca demands he call of his dog; the wolf won't hurt him. Strange. Both Owen and Reggi suffer from severe wounds from an explosion. Owen limps. He hopes for a complete recovery for both him and Reggi so they can return to the military as a team. Even with that thought in the back of his mind, when someone attacks Becca, everything changes. He will protect her.

Becca's situation is similar but also very different from her sister Raye's in the first volume IN THE AIR TONIGHT. Like Raye, she has a voyage of discovery to make about herself under a very difficult, actually murderous, situation. Readers will empathize with Owen's plight and love his partner dog, Reggie. Characters from the first volume play important parts in HEAT OF THE MOMENT, including Raye and Bobbie, ghost Henry, four-hundred-year-old wolf Prudence, FBI agent Franklin, and Cassandra, the voodoo priestess. Love, family, betrayal, and secrets in a small town all play important parts in this superb and thrilling story.

Robin Lee