Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Cat Who Pawed the Cultist by Robert Hazelton - Book Tour + Giveaway

The Cat Who Pawed the Cultist
Sanctum Guardians Book 1
by Robert Hazelton

YA Urban Fantasy

Charlotte Barreau has tried to maintain a low key lifestyle but it isn’t easy
for a young witch. As a student of the Holstrom Sanctum, she’s
studied the intricacies of magic but never had to apply them to
anything of importance. Her biggest concerns involve finding a movie
she hasn’t seen, spending time with her friend Avery, and passing
magical physics.All that changes when she meets a feisty orange cat
attempting to foil the plot of a cultist opening a portal to another
world. This magical beast comes to her with a calling, a duty to
defend our world against denizens of a dangerous realm called the
Umbra Oculus. Charlotte finds herself inextricably bound to her new
friend, a partner in his crusade.As they begin to investigate, they
find themselves dangerously outmatched. Their opponents are fully
trained, adult wizards with serious zeal for their work. Even after
enlisting the aid of two additional students, they discover they may
not be cut out for the task. But with no one else working on the
problem, these children and their cat must save the world, even as
they risk their very lives in the effort.

A Society detective saved my life. I couldn’t remember any of the details but the report stated I’d been kidnapped just before my tenth birthday. No one told me why I’d been taken or what might’ve happened, so I assumed the absolute worst. They probably wanted to sacrifice me or something.
My parents died during the ordeal, murdered actually. Ms Holstrom took me in a touch early and I started school a couple months later. The small patch of amnesia covering part of my brain seemed to block that single event and no amount of counseling brought it out. Avery suggested I’d been mind wiped.
If the Society chose to do that, then I probably didn’t want to remember.
The woman who saved me became a friend. She checked in occasionally, becoming the closest thing to family I had. It helped that she was a little funky herself, living her own way regardless of what anyone thought around her. I found it inspirational and it really did lead me to the style I adopted.
I went to collect Blaise so he could come with me. Breaking out the brand new cat carrier, I set it down and motioned for him to get in. “Hurry up,” I said. “We have to get there and back if we want to do any of our own research on this stuff.”
“If the detective takes over,” Blaise replied, “then what are we going to do?”
“There are some magical things we can find that might help. And they’re not dangerous, which is kind of the point, don’t you think?”
“Meh.” Blaise licked his paw, eyes closed. “I coat my fish with danger before I eat it.”
“Okay, Monster Meow. Just get in the carrier.”
“You must be joking about that.”
I tilted my head. “And why must I?”
“Because this kitty don’t roll in no carrier.”
“I…can’t believe you just said that.” I sighed. “I can’t have you walking around. People will think it’s crazy! We have to…you know…make this look like you’re a normal cat. At least until we get to the Society building.”
“Hm. Leave it unzipped a little. I need to escape if you die in a horrible accident.”
“Charming thought,” I muttered. “Just get your furry butt in there! I’ll make sure you can escape when the bus kills only me.”
“Purrfect!” Blaise ran into the carrier and flopped down. “Ooo, you got the fuzzy one. I love the fuzzy on my feetsies. Ooo, purr…purr…” I watched him knead the faux sheepskin, his eyes half closed. Zipping him up, I slung the carrier over my shoulder, grabbed my bag and headed out.
An hour later, I stepped into the halls of the twelve story Society building. The receptionist changed often. They had a succubus do it for a while, a werewolf, a witch, and even a ghost. A demon sat there this time, eyeballing me as I approached. He looked like he might be in his twenties but he could’ve been a couple hundred.
“Can I help you?” His smooth voice made it clear that his kind made deals. There was something soothing about the tone, a way of speaking that made it easy to trust him.
“I just need to head back to the detective’s pool, please.” I leaned on the counter. “I’m Charlotte Barreau.”
“And…the rodent?”
“What?” Blaise shouted. “Who you callin’ a rodent, Brimstone? Seriously? Let me out of here, Charlotte! Let me give this wannabe bat a little claw and fang!” He punctuated his rant with a mighty hiss.
The demon lifted a brow and I shrugged. “That’s my cat.”
“I see.” He gestured to a ledger. “Sign in. Do you know where it is?”
“I sure do.” I wrote my name down. “Bye now! Thanks!”
“Of course.”
“Don’t thank him!” Blaise growled. “Kick him in the—”
“That’s enough!” I rasped. “Come on, Be! We have to be subtle! Relax before you get us in trouble.”
Blaise started mumbling with only the occasional violent word coming out. I wished I knew a good silence spell that would work on him but the Society suppressed all forms of magic within the walls. Probably a good idea considering how many supernatural creatures wandered in and out on a daily basis.
Some of them were bound to get testy with one another.
“Are we there yet?” Blaise called. “I’m tired of being in here.”
“It’s just down the hall, you goof!”
He meowed pitifully, crying so loud it made the carrier vibrate.

Robert Hazelton has been writing short fiction, novels and music his entire
life. As the founding member of Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society
and a long time member of the band Abney Park, he has traveled
extensively and performed countless shows in exotic locales.

Robert writes in a variety of genres but keeps drifting back to modern
fantasy/horror. He considers Elizabeth Moon, Frank Herbert, and
Steven Pressfield to be his biggest influences.

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