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Before the Witches (Dark Mission 0.5) - Karina Cooper I don't know what made me purchase this novella but all I have to say is that I am so happy that I did. Wow!Before the Witches begins with Detective Nigel Ferris. He's working undercover, trying to bust a Russian prostitution ring. While he's at the whorehouse, pretending to be a dirty cop, he encounters Katya. He chooses her as the one he wants to have sex with. While in the bedroom, Nigel starts asking Katya questions. Katya plays dumb, afraid that if she says anything it'll get back to Ivan, her pimp. Katya decides that in order to save her butt, she should seduce the detective. During an explosive and passionate kiss, the ground begins to shake. An earthquake is rattling Seattle.Katya left Russia to find a better life in America. Her family shunned her because they were afraid of her. They called her a witch because she knew things before they happened. Katya is desperately trying to find to get out from under Ivan's thumb. She has a plan in place to rescue herself and the other girls when Mother Nature throws a wrench in her plans. Detective Ferris is there to save her but can she trust him? Does he truly want to help her and the other girls or is he another dirty cop working for Ivan?I didn't know what to expect when I started reading Before the Witches. But I do know this - Karina Cooper knows how to pull the reader in with her words. There was never a dull moment while I was reading the novella. The descriptions are so vivid that I felt like I was watching an action-packed movie. Nothing was left to the imagination. The story was intense and emotional. Under 100 pages, I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride that had me clutching my chest. Nigel is the perfect hero and Katya is the perfect damsel in distress. I loved that even though Katya's circumstances were not great, she did not dwell in them. She took control when she could and proved to be a worthy partner for Nigel. The romance between Katya and Nigel progressed rather quickly but because this is a novella, I had expected that. It was believable and fit perfectly within the plot.After finishing Before the Witches, I immediately purchased book 1 of the Dark Mission series, Blood of the Wicked. Blood of the Wicked takes place years after the apocalypse, where the Holy Order is on a bonafide witch hunt. I am anxious to revisit the new world that was created by the events that occurred in Before the Witches.Before the Witches is the perfect prequel novella. It does a fantastic job of setting the stage for the series as a whole. I finished reading the novella feeling anxious, emotional and satisfied. A all-in-all fantastic read.