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Staring out of the tinted bulletproof windows of the limo, I can’t tell for sure how gray the clouds are that gather above us. I hope it doesn’t rain again. It’s unsettling to come back here. To see the complete destruction of the California ocean side town that I once called home—Avilene Beach. It’s a ghost-like cemetery of charred, crumbling homes and palm trees turned askew and broken apart. Just like me.
This is the direct result of my decisions.
Wind skitters across the surface of black puddles racing by, reminding me of the oily blood of the Ma’tiok. It’s been just one week since my old life, my human life, ended and this new one exploded into existence. Acid rises in the back of my throat, burning hot, and I crush my jaw together hard until my lips press into a thin line. Why did Eenoki pick me?
“Priestess, do you understand what I said?”
Katok’s sharp telepathic tone startles me out of my immersive guilt. “Stick to the speech the High Priestess provided. Yes. I got it.” I swallow hard against the rising bile being pressed there by the trembling in my gut. What if this press conference makes things worse?
“Allison, don’t worry so much. You’ll be safe.” Stephen reaches out to me and Katok snatches his hand midair, crushing it in his huge taloned palm.
“Ow! Dammit, Katok!” Stephen clutches his wounded limb.
I swear, that’s almost a smirk on the massive Vongjar commander’s leopard-like face. Katok’s lips curl back menacingly to reveal his white fangs and piercing resolve. Stephen knows better than to try and touch me.
I sigh, and can’t help but glare at Stephen who sits across from me. His dark muscular arms are crossed hard against his white Navy button up shirt. Even with the blotchy purple and yellow bruises healing across his tense neck and face, he’s still handsome. But his haircut, shaved in military style, makes me miss his longer tawny surfer hair.
“Stephen, if I can’t be the bridge between the Alliance and Earth, our world won’t survive the Ma’tiok. You understand that, right?”
His angry blue eyes lock on me, softening, and he smiles.
I look away and clench my fists on the cold, empty, black leather seats beside me. We can never make it work. He’ll never understand what I am, or what I have to do. I have to serve the Alliance to have any chance of getting them to fight the Ma’tiok on the ground, instead of glassing the Earth like they have so many other infected worlds.
The blue tint to the air thickens as we get closer to our destination. What if I had just gone with Z’iram and left Earth behind? Maybe he would have spared those who died here.
No. If we left, there would be no hope of the Alliance helping this world fight back. Any other choice would have meant the total destruction of Earth without any chance of survival.
I know Eenoki is right, but the truth still hurts.
The High Priestess will arrive soon, aboard the planet killer Star Fire, to judge and test me. This speech is another test, one that I can’t afford to mess up. If Kiobaan doesn’t publicly declare me a Priestess, of Earth, then there will be no ambassador to the Alliance or protection for our world.
I take a deep breath and straighten the pale gown Tarem made me wear, irritated at how ridiculous I look. Not that I own any clothes besides what the Alliance has provided me. Before we left, my reflection shocked me. The way they pinned up my long auburn waves under a small crystalline hairpiece that stands a few inches high, reminded me of my vision of Aakina. The memory Eenoki shared with me from her last day alive, before she and her world were wiped out by the Ma’tiok.
“How much longer Katok, until there are too many Ma’tiok for your troops to handle”
His golden eyes widen. “They multiply too quick. The ground troops struggle to do more than contain them. Our current calculations project ten Earth days at most. We need Alliance support to do any more.” Katok shakes his head.
Ten days left? It’s only been twenty one since the Ma’tiok arrived!
Stephen leans closer. “He’s not telling you the whole story. Admiral Hurst says that there are over ten thousand Ma’tiok and infected humans on the ground, and that combined kills between Katok’s troops and the US military don’t even equal the rate that they’re multiplying at. We are losing every day.”
Cole, in all his confidence, stared at me. His features were gentle. Seeing that I was frozen, Cole took slow deliberate steps toward me, and I wrapped my hands around the swing ropes so tightly that my knuckles were turning white with my grip. Stepping into the well-worn hole in the earth from years of people kicking off the ground to swing, he came closer until our knees were pressed together and I could feel the tips of his shoes against my boots. I stood to move away, but he wrapped his hands over mine. His skin was warm and like it transferred heat, my body felt like it was rising in temperature. The minimal space between us was making me crazy. I glanced up and he leaned his head closer to mine. I should be stopping this. I should have shoved him away and let loose a string of profanities at him for thinking that I would kiss him. I should have done a lot of things, but I didn’t.
Swallowing the insanity of nerves raging in my body, Cole’s eyes watched the movement of my throat before they slowly trailed up my neck and to my lips. Images from last night when he had been this close forced themselves to the front of my mind. Both of us on the floor, watching one another with hungry eyes, and yet distance still separated us. I would have done anything to twine my fingers in his thick brown hair and pull him tight against my body and never let go of his mouth. A shaky breath escaped my lungs at the thought. I started to realize how crazy he made me feel, especially at this proximity. The desire to kiss him overwhelmed my senses, and I caught myself unintentionally wetting my lower lip with the tip of my tongue. Just a taste, I thought.
Cole was the one to swallow this time when he saw my tongue stealthily sweep out over my parted lips. It was like I could see him giving in to temptation in his raw stare. Slowly, his hands ran up my arms, leaving chills across my skin at the heat brewing in my body, igniting my impatience to have him in my arms. Even though we were outside, the air did nothing to cool the electric feeling between us. It was like I had become the sun and he was my sky, enveloping me until the universe became just him and me.
The tips of his fingers gently caressed my neck, sending faint tickles down my spine. He inched closer and closer until he stopped a breath away, our eyes not leaving the others’. As the end of his nose brushed the tip of mine, my eyes fluttered shut, anticipating his touch.
A YA paranormal that takes an old concept and adds a new twist to it.
First, I did get bored at some points. Nothing really happened until after the 50% mark, and that was a long first half of the book. The main character, Kaddy, just had a lot of band practices and weird fevers. With a paranormal, you expect more action and more pieces of the puzzle for the hero or heroine to figure out by the 50% mark. We don’t really get that. I was intrigued, but not as much as I normally would be with a paranormal.
Kaddy was not your typical girl. Her past was really dark and cruel. She never seemed to get a break with anything. I am interested to see if her family comes into play in the next book(s). I have a lot of questions about her parents and brother.
I loved Mike, Kaddy’s best friend, and the rest of the guys in her band. They were a dynamic group, and they all had this up and down relationship. I kept thinking that Mike would become the love interest, but that never happened. I also thought Mike would be a lot more involved, too, as the story progressed. Sadly, he was left in the dark.
With Cole, the new guy in town, I don’t feel like I know enough about him and his character to say much. He was there, but his character fell flat with me. I don’t know if I was just waiting for something amazing with him or I was feeding off Kaddy’s initial assessment of him. He just didn’t seem 3-dimensional.
Overall, the writing is amazing, if a little long-winded. The story itself is original-ish. And the characters are fluid.
The Gifted Series Book 1
by Maria MacDonald
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Emery never realized the kind of power she held.
Her whole life had been one long battle. Against other children, bullies, her abusers. Forever the outsider, living her days isolated and lonely. She didn't know that while waging her own battles, another kind of war was coming.
In just one night her whole life changed.
When she finds herself in danger, the power that was lying dormant inside of her suddenly releases, surprising everyone.
In the aftermath, a figure appears in the shadows – Elijah. With an air of mysteriousness and answers she had no idea she needed, Emery suddenly understands she’s not alone.
He's either here to save her or bury her. But with no time to ask questions, she takes the plunge, grabs his hand, and prepares herself for a whole new world. One where she will be reborn.
Maria is a full time working Mum, she has two beautiful daughters, both of whom love books as much as she does.
Maria has loved to write since she was a little girl.
Reading and loving books, as well as blogging, has inspired her to write and publish.
Maria, her husband and children now reside in Wiltshire, England.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!
In this chapter. Syl’s met one of her own people, the Prince of the fair Fae, but he’s turned out to be a bit of a creeper…
I’m no good for you
You’re no good for me
Worship me, worship me
- “Worship,” Euphoria
I’m standing at the end of the football field, on top of the scoreboard, a don’t-see-me Glamoury cloaking me as I watch this fair Fae jerkwad hit on my girl. The wind blows cold, mirroring my emotions, whipping my dark hair about my face.
Every cell in my body begs me to go down there and knock him into next week. If he were a dark Fae, I would. But he’s not. He’s a fair Fae, one of Syl’s own people, and I won’t come between her and her people.
It wouldn’t be fair.
Still, I watch as he gets pushier and pushier, fury building up inside me until I swear, the Winter’s going to burst from my blood. I’m ready to explode, all my protective instincts on high alert.
I blow out a shaky breath and touch the ring in my pocket. Let Syl handle it, Rouen. Don’t go berserk…
At least not yet.
I can hear every word they say, thanks to my Fae hearing. He makes it sound so easy. Just pair up with him. He tells her they’re meant to be soul-bound. It’s what every teenage girl wants to hear, right?
Except, Syl’s not falling for his whole “fated mate” speech.
Good, because it’s more than half a lie.
She turns to walk away, and he grabs her. And refuses to let go. The flex of his biceps tells me he’s exerting his fair Fae strength.
I see red, my heartbeat pulsing so hard that time seems to spiral outward. In that moment, I know two things. One, he’s a prince and that means he’s powerful. Two, he’s likely had hundreds of years in the Summer Court, maybe even thousands. I’m not a quarter of his age.
He could easily overpower me, even kill me.
Let him try. No one grabs my girl.
All my fury rushes in, cold and calculating. Boosting my Glamoury, I leap to the bleachers. My motorcycle boots slam down on the metal slats hard enough to shake the whole foundation. I straighten, slow, deliberate, giving him my dead-eye stare. “For a fair Fae, you’re awfully pushy.” I look at the hand he has on my girl. I want to snap it off and beat him with it.
He squares his stance, still gripping Syl’s arm.
Wow. He’s really doubling-down on the stupid. I clench my fists, getting ready to fight. “Take your hand off her. Now.”
My threat rings out like the pounding of Faerie war drums. It hangs between us, a sharp and glittering thing, and I see him weighing his options, weighing me. Whether he can take me.
A smirk tilts his lips. He knows he can.
“Euphoria…” Syl’s voice trembles, but I give her what I hope is a reassuring smile.
Then I turn the full force of my dark Fae glare on Mr Fancy. He might be stronger, but I’m willing to bet I’m more cunning. I won’t go down without a fight, and he doesn’t want to pick one. Not here. Not when he thinks he can sway Syl’s decision by manipulation alone.
Not on my watch, buddy-boy.
He lets her go. “Rouen Rivoche.” His voice drips with scathing hatred.
I shrug one shoulder. “Prince What’s-Your-Bucket.”
Syl comes to my side, and I risk getting burned to a crisp by putting an arm around her. She leans in, the small, solid warmth of her body a balm to my ragged emotions. I keep her there longer than I should, already feeling the hum of her power firing up.
I let go and step away just in time.
“It’s Aldebaran,” he says. “Prince Aldebaran.” He puts both hands in the pockets of his skinny jeans and slouches in that way some guys have of making it look casual while flexing his biceps.
Give me a break. Agravaine was twice as big as this guy, and he went down just fine. The bigger they are, and all that.
A Girl Called Monster
by Paige Lavoie
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Where she came from there were no windows. The sounds of buzzing
equipment and the doctor's shouting rang through her ears daily. It was too uncomfortable to call home and too familiar not to be. Like it or not, she was an experiment.
Filled with childlike wonder and innocence, she took pleasure in
stories, imagining what it would be like to live in those pages.
A longing growing deep inside her.
She knew she'd never have that life... Not in the lab. Not with
them studying her every move. So she decided to do something terrifying.
Paige Lavoie is a writer, comic artist and self-proclaimed queen of silly faces, with a passion for bring her characters to life with the power of storytelling (including the undead ones) Paige spends her days hiding underneath a parasol in sunny Orlando FL. and frolicking through bustling convention centers, theme parks and farmers markets with her husband and their fluffy dog named Oliver.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
We are a group of authors,