Starlight Web by Yasmine Galenorn

Acknowledgments





Welcome to the world of Moonshadow Bay.

Thanks to my usual crew: Samwise, my husband, Andria and Jennifer—without their help, I’d be swamped. To the women who have helped me find my way in indie, you’re all great, and thank you to everyone. To Kate Danley in particular, for running our author sprints that have helped me regain my focus in this current pandemic. To my wonderful cover artist, Ravven, for the beautiful work she’s done.

Also, my love to my furbles, who keep me happy. My most reverent devotion to Mielikki, Tapio, Ukko, Rauni, and Brighid, my spiritual guardians and guides. My love and reverence to Herne, and Cernunnos, and to the Fae, who still rule the wild places of this world. And a nod to the Wild Hunt, which runs deep in my magick, as well as in my fiction.

You can find me through my website at Galenorn.com and be sure to sign up for my newsletter to keep updated on all my latest releases! You can find my advice on writing, discussions about the books, and general ramblings on my YouTube channel. If you liked this book, I’d be grateful if you’d leave a review—it helps more than you can think.

August, 2020

Brightest Blessings,

~The Painted Panther~

~Yasmine Galenorn~





Welcome to Starlight Web





Moonshadow Bay…where magic lurks in the moonlight, and danger hides in the shadows.

One month before January Jaxson turns 41, her husband ditches her for a trophy wife. Adding insult to injury, he steals the business she built along with him and kicks her out during the holidays. So when her best friend Ari suggests she move back to Moonshadow Bay—a quirky, magical town near Bellingham, WA—January decides to take the plunge.

Born into a family of witches, January accepts a job at Conjure Ink, a paranormal investigations website. The job’s right up her alley, but she doubts that everything reported to Conjure Ink really exists. That is, until she’s sent out on her first case.

An asylum on the edge of town once housed a murderer who killed an entire family one Yuletide Eve. It’s rumored that every December he returns to haunt the woodland around the asylum, seeking to add new members to his supernatural family. January’s sure it’s an urban legend, but when the bodies of new victims show up with no logical explanation for their deaths, Conjure Ink sends her in to investigate. Suddenly, January finds herself in over her head, staring directly into the shadowed world of the Veil.

Now, January must not only navigate the new life she’s trying to build, but the paranormal beasties she’s sent out to explore, as well as a hot new neighbor, who seems to be hiding a shadowed past of his own.

Reading Order for the Moonshadow Bay Series:

Book 1: Starlight Web

Book 2: Midnight Web (forthcoming)





Chapter One





I leaned in my car window to crank the stereo, then returned to the sidewalk, staring at the house. Warren Zevon was on the radio, singing “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” The lawyers I had, for all the good they did me. Fortunately for Ellison, I wasn’t carrying a gun. But the money part? Not quite so flush, especially after Ellison took me to the cleaners.

As I stood in the driveway, I paused, jamming my thumbs in the pockets of my jeans.

Eighteen freaking years I’d spent with my scumbag of an ex-husband. For eighteen years I’d done things his way, followed his traditions instead of mine, kept my mouth shut while he made one mistake after another because I didn’t want to field yet another argument.

I’d decorated the house to his tastes, I’d worn polite, prim clothing because he couldn’t stand for anything to be too “weird” or “garish.” I’d played the good little wife and muted my magic when I was around his friends, who were oh so disdainful of anybody born outside of a human suit. I had put my life on hold to work for his dream, and I’d made his dream happen.

I’d done everything he asked, and what was the end result?

The end result was that I was now standing outside my house for the last time. I had been dumped for a twenty-year-old bimbo, I’d been blacklisted from any job in publishing in the area, and I had been bilked out of both the magazine that I had started almost single-handedly and the house I’d helped to buy.

Sure, I had been awarded half our known assets, but I knew that we had accumulated far more money. Ellison had just managed to squirrel it away from the judge’s eye, a judge who should have recused himself from our divorce proceedings because he was Ellison’s good buddy. But he hadn’t, and I’d gotten screwed without even an orgasm to seal the deal.

“Fuck you, Ellison Reilly. And your uptight prig of a mother, too.” I flipped the house the bird, but that didn’t feel like enough of a parting statement.

Then it hit me. I knew what to do.

I marched back inside and dug through the closets until I found his tuxedo—the one he had worn when we got married. The thousand-dollar stand-in for a honeymoon. I’m sorry, January, but I can’t afford a honeymoon, even though I promised you one. I had to buy my tux. We’ll take one later. Only later had never come.

I added my wedding dress—a modest white sheath dress, because I had stuck to the budget we had originally set for our wedding—and carried both the tux and dress outside.

My next act was to toss the thousand-dollar tux into the fire pit, then drop my wedding dress on top of it. After they were firmly inside, I poured lighter fluid over the whole shebang. I stepped back, then lit a match and flicked it into the pile of clothing. Whoosh! The flames roared up into the cloudy sky, filling the air with the acrid stench of dry-cleaning chemicals. The flames weren’t bright enough to attract undue attention, and Ellison was out with his floozy, so he wouldn’t find the charred remains until tomorrow.