Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Author Archive

TRUE (Fire Born 3) Playlist Countdown #YAlit #PNR

Continuing on with the TRUE playlist countdown. 🙂

 

Daughter

Winter

 

***********

The end is coming.

       SEPTEMBER 8, 2015

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015


TRUE (Fire Born 3) Playlist Countdown #YA #UF #PNR

I am currently compiling the playlist for TRUE, the final book in the Fire Born Novels trilogy, which releases in September.

Today I am sharing the first track. The playlist won’t be shared in order until the book releases—can’t give you guys too many hints. 🙂

 

****************

        SEPTEMBER 2015

SEPTEMBER 2015


My Music Monday

My Music Monday

Awolnation

I Am

 


Thursday’s Off The Beaten Track

This week on Thursday’s Off The Beaten Track:

New from Postiljonen (who I love),

Wait.

 


#CRYSTALLUM edits have begun! #YA #UF

Official edits on my new YA Urban Fantasy,

CRYSTALLUM

(The Primordial Principles #1)

have begun!

 

BTcovergrahicYosbeCalma

(Design by Yosbe Calma)


Thursday’s Off The Beaten Track

Crystal Castles

Frail

 


Book Release! ~ The Artisans by @JulieAReece @Month9Books #YA

I am so happy to share my pub sister’s release of The Artisans! 😉

new-artisans-cover

BLURB: In this dark southern gothic novel, a young woman meets a man who may be more than he seems. After the death of her mother, 17-year-old Rave Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands. To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day. Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox. But Raven’s stepdad is drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail. Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights. Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes. But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

**************** 

What people are saying:

 

~ “The Artisans has all the elements I love – spooky intrigue, strong friendships, and a romantic tension to be savored.” ~ Wendy Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy.

 

~ “High stakes and unsuspecting romance fill the pages of THE ARTISANS. Julie Reece completely blindsided me, proving the most tender love can be found where we least expect to find it.” ~ Jennifer Murgia Author of FOREST OF WHISPERS.

 

 ~ “THE ARTISANS by Julie Reece is a captivating tale of dark magic, love and redemption. The main characters of Raven and Gideon were completely absorbing and I really enjoyed the underlying tension between them. With plenty of haunting action, friendship, bravery and love, THE ARTISANS by Julie Reece had me hooked from the beginning.” ~ Linda Green reviewer for Fresh Fiction.

 

~ “Read THE ARTISANS in the middle of the night with a flashlight if you dare. The perfect blend of romance and horror with a strong female lead kept me reading through the night.” ~ L.S. Murphy, author of Pixelated

~ “Dios mío. This book is one of the most amazing books I think I’ve ever read. The Artisans has everything I’ve ever wanted in a book” ~ Jackie, No Bent Spines Reviews

 

 

Giveaway!!!

3 eBooks of THE ARTISANS International

Ends on May 22nd at Midnight EST!

Enter below:

 

http://www.twochicksonbooks.com/2015/05/release-day-blitz-artisans-by-julie.html

Check out The Artisans and Julie Reece’s other books on: Amazon


My Music Monday

Love this entire album.

Mumford & Sons

Tompkins Square Park

 


It’s Official ~ My New #YA Series Has A Home

I am thrilled to finally announce that my new YA Urban Fantasy series,

The Primordial Principles,

has found a home.

 

I am happy to be joining the very talented and community-oriented group of authors at Booktrope.

booktrope_logo_color_rounded_250w

**********

CRYSTALLUM,

the first book in the Primordial Principles series,

will release in the fall of 2015.

 Cover Reveal and blurb are coming soon!


What Am I Doing? ~ Blog Update

Hi everyone,

So, it’s been pretty quiet here on the blog ~ sorry about that.

Besides finishing up the final edit on TRUE (Fire Born 3) which has been both awesome and kind of sad, I’ve been working my way through two other YA stories, plus I have some exciting news about a third. 🙂 Still can’t say what that news is … but I’ll be making an announcement soon, I hope.

In the meantime, here’s a small teaser for what’s in store:

“It’s four fifteen in the morning, and I’m afraid to even venture why I received a notice for you to appear in front of the Warden later today, and Danny has nothing to say, which could only mean one thing—” Plumb looked Cole up and down. “With the condition you’re in, I’m not sure I want to know where you’ve been.”

“You probably don’t.” Cole held his hand out for the summons.

Plumb handed the paper over, scowling. “Are you going to tell me where you’ve been?”

“Thought you didn’t want to know.” He walked toward the porch.

“Cole.”

“I’m tired as hell. I’ve been up all night.” He turned to face her. “I need to get some sleep.”

“What were you doing in the middle of the night that the Principals couldn’t handle?”

“A girl.”

“Excuse me?”

“No … I, no, I wasn’t doing … a girl. She just … never mind.”

********

 

🙂


My Music Monday

My Music Monday

Weight of Love

by

The Black Keys


BOOK RELEASE: The Surrogate Sea by Danielle E. Shipley

Today I am happy to share with everyone

Danielle E Shipley’s, The Surrogate Sea,

the 6th installment in her Wilderhark Tales series.

Surrogate Sea, Cover Reveal Promo

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Excerpt

Danielle has a giveaway and another goodie in store for the launch:

 First up:

Danielle has agreed to write a piece of Flash Fiction for her stop on the tour. 🙂

The Sea’s Judgment

“Waters of land.”

The Moon’s voice fell on the southern seas, otherworldly as his light glinting off their waters, weighty as his pull upon their tides.

“The Great Sea’s time draws near,” he said. “It will not do that she should die with none to take her place. Who among you has a daugher? One born of sea and neighboring sea?”

Seven such daughters came forward, all thrilling at the prospect of so grand a destiny. They rode in the hold of the misty South Wind to the nethermost shore, where waited Aesóryna, the first and greatest Sea.

She looked the daughters of inland waters up and down and deep inside, senses testing at their cores. “My role is vast,” she told them sternly. “My ways are wild. Only the fiercest hearts have a hope of holding my power. Too gentle,” she dismissed one. Another, “Too meek.” A full half, rejected for being too shallow.

At last, she studied the final pair, unsure how best to choose between them, for each seemed the other’s equal in strength.

“Then do not choose,” the South Wind spoke smoothly from his humid haze, “but divide your sea between them.”

The first maiden’s eyes brightened; even half of Aesóryna’s power was far more than that of any inland sea. But the second maid said, scowling, “No! The essence of the Great Sea is not a piece of meat to be shared among sharks! If it is not whole, it is not true. I would sooner have another claim it in full than see it thus diminished.”

Aesóryna smiled at the South Wind. “Thank you, clever Austeryn. Though you cloak this length of shore in fog, you’ve shown me my choice clear.” She turned her gaze onto the indignant sea maiden. “Who are you, child?”

The maid answered, “Neredeth.”

“One name too few. Henceforth, you are Neredeth Aesóryna, heir to my sea.” Her eyes and waters sparkled bright. “For you shall be a great one.”

And we have a GIVEAWAY:

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Giveaway

 Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Author

Thank you, Danielle for stopping by the blog today!


COVER REVEAL ~ TRUE (Fire Born #3) by Laney McMann

The cover for TRUE,

the final book in the Fire Born Novels trilogy,

is here.

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Blurb:

Nothing in Layla and Max’s world will ever be the same.

Since Max left, and joined his father in the Shadow Realm, everything in Layla’s life has changed. The Demon Gods threaten to destroy the Otherworld, and an inconceivable darkness has awakened—a darkness that wants control of Layla’s will. It also wants Max … dead. Not only must Layla face the true fire simmering inside her, but fight the one she loves most. And this time, with her friends and family left behind, she’s completely on her own.

Leaving Layla nearly destroyed Max, but it was his only choice. Now, he must play the part—stay in control of his end goal, his actions, and the poison coursing through his veins, clouding his thoughts, and turning him into what he fears most, a Demon God. But even with his Oghams fighting the toxins, his control is slipping. Living in the Fomore castle with his Vampyre Fae ex-girlfriend isn’t making it any easier to stay sane, and waiting to face off against Layla is taking its toll.

In the final installment of the Fire Born Novels trilogy, the legendary Battle will be fought, and Layla and Max stand to lose everything. How far will they go to save each other and protect the ones they love? Even they don’t know the answer.

No one can win.

From the ashes of old,

They shall rise.

The last of the Ancients,

Foe and Ally.

The Legend lies in wait,

And bides its time.

Until at last the day comes,

For the children born of fire.

#####

The ending comes September 2015


TRUE (Fire Born #3) Cover Reveal Coming Soon!

TRUE

the final book in Fire Born Novels trilogy

COVER REVEAL and BLURB

coming within days ….

 

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** Sale Alert ** TIED & TORN $.99 #YA #UF #PNR

***** SALE  ALERT *****

TIED and TORN by Laney McMann are $.99¢ each for a limited time only!

Grab your copies now and join The Fire Born.

 

salebannerT&T

Amazon-BuyNow
BN-BuyNow
Kobo-buyNow

 

@@**@@**@@

perf5.250x8.000.inddNormal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough … away.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

 

TORN (Book #2)Find Max.

That’s all Layla cares about. Not healing from the Fomore attack. Not finding answers to how she survived a fall that nearly killed her. Nothing will stop her. She will find him. She’ll even pair up with an overbearing Fallen Angel who’s hell bent on making everything harder than it needs to be if she has to.

Protect Layla.

For Max, nothing else matters. Not the bruises covering his body. Not the pain radiating from his broken bones. Not even his hands tied behind his back. He will find a way to save Layla, and the Fomore will pay if they’ve hurt her.

Every. Single. One of them.

In the second installment of The Fire Born trilogy, a new breed of villain looms—one Layla and Max will never suspect, and this killer has nothing to lose. Better yet, with Max and Layla’s deaths, victory is in the grip of the enemy.

Will Max and Layla find each other in time, or is it already too late for them both?

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

 

And coming soon ….

How far would you go … to protect the one you love?

 

TRUE (Fire Born 3)

 


#TeaserTenth ~ #YA #UF

teasertenthbadge

#TeaserTenth is a monthly meme for writers, both published and unpublished. It’s a great opportunity to meet other writers, as well as readers, by sharing a sampling (10 lines or less) of the stories we are working on, or have already published.

Feel free to join! (click the badge above for details.)

This week, I’ve decided to share lines from one of my works in progress. This is taken from a random spot in the book. (unedited.)

Enjoy!

“It’s four fifteen in the morning, and I’m afraid to even venture why I received a notice for you to appear in front of the Warden later today, and Danny has nothing to say, which could only mean one thing—” Plumb looked Cole up and down. “With the condition you’re in, I’m not sure I want to know where you’ve been.”

“You probably don’t.” Cole held his hand out for the summons.

Plumb handed the paper over, scowling. “Are you going to tell me where you’ve been?”

“Thought you didn’t want to know.” He walked toward the porch.

“Cole.”

“I’m tired as hell. I’ve been up all night.” He turned to face her. “I need to get some sleep.”

“What were you doing in the middle of the night that the Principals couldn’t handle?”

“A girl.”

“Excuse me?”

“No … I, no, I wasn’t doing … a girl. She just … never mind.”

********

Thanks for reading! 🙂

To join in here’s the link: http://www.jabelfield.com/teaser-tenth.html

And a big Thank You to J.A. Belfield for creating the meme.


COVER REVEAL ~ The Surrogate Sea (Wilderhark #6) by Danielle E. Shipley

Today I am happy to share Danielle E. Shipley’s reveal of

The Surrogate Sea

Book six of The Wilderhark Tales

Surrogate Sea cover, front
Release date: March 24,
Genre: Young-Adult Fairytale / Fantasy / Romance
BLURB:

The Sea’s storm brought them together, and the Sea’s rules will keep them apart, unless the mute but melodious Muirigan can find another to take her place, freeing her to pursue the human man she loves. But when her plan collides with the schemes of the sly South Wind, a princess’s agenda to look for love in all the most fantastic places, and a prince whose head and heart have been long years at war, the result is a tragedy of errors from which the world might never recover.

The Surrogate Sea (Book Six of The Wilderhark Tales)

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast; a princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell; bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk – all within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories – of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball; of frog princes, and swan princes, and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea. Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

***********

Author Bio:
Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof.

When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble.

When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and all that authorial jazz, she’s probably blogging about it at EverOnWord.wordpress.com.

Surrogate Sea, Cover Reveal Promo


Re-Release ~ INSTINCT by J.A. Belfield #Giveaway #HollowayPack

Today, I am sharing J.A. Belfield’s Re-Release of INSTINCT (plus a new cover!)

AND we have a Giveaway ,,, AND a sale.

 

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 FOR ONE WEEK ONLY: Jan 23 – Feb 1.

perf5.250x8.000.inddBlurb:

Werewolf Sean Holloway treats the village marketplace like a sexual buffet, though his charm does little to win over his latest entrée of choice. Whether because of Jem Stonehouse’s unique scent, her headstrong nonchalance, or the fact he is forbidden to see her by his pack’s rules, Sean wants her.

When Jem is nothing but flippant toward his advances, he pursues her with vigour, stealing moments alone with her without a libido-driven agenda.

The new and heady experience for him drives their relationship beyond romantic interest, and straight toward love.

That is, until Jem learns the truth about Sean’s heritage. Knowledge of the existence of werewolves leads to only one outcome: death.

In this prequel to Darkness & Light*, we are taken back in time, to the very beginning of Jem and Sean’s love-across-the-centuries relationship.

Did it end there? Or did Sean defy his own pack to save the woman he loves?

*Can be read as a standalone.

EXCERPT:

The marketplace had to be the best venue to pick up females. At the age of twenty, I would have been happy to visit every day, but James would not permit me. As Alpha, his commands were followed without question, so my visits were limited to once a week. I had to admit, it worked out better that way.

From fruit to art, to lace, to the blacksmith’s stall, I walked. Paintings of marketplaces often depicted them as cheery, colourful, and bustling with activity. The latter conception may have been correct; although, they leaned more toward grey and dreary than bright, and the air often filled with yells of anger and bitterness, as opposed to joyful greetings.

At least there were the scents: hams and boars’ heads, fruits, wines, the steam of cooking soups, and, my most favourite of all, the freshness of ripe women. Lorna Rushford, Helena Longbarrow, Matilda Thornberry named only a few, each of those alone bringing with her a memory.

The females noticed me as much as I did them, even though my past catches never approached, never asked why I had not called to visit, or if I would tend them again. Of course, my refusal to conform to the current trends in attire ensured I stood out from the other males who bothered to arrive. Whereas the women’s glances would be appraising, perhaps even hopeful, the men’s glares offered nothing but scorn for my dark trousers tucked into knee-high leather boots, and for the shirts I never bothered to secure with their woven laces. Men had been hung for far less than inconsiderate fashion sense, yet I did not care. I was not like them and never pretended to be.

A whisper drifted across, as I meandered through the crowd: “’Tis Mr Holloway, Eleanor.”

With a tilt of my head, I spotted the speaker leaning into her sister, who fluttered her lashes in a clear attempt to catch my attention.

Eleanor had turned out to be a worthy virgin. The scent of her blood had driven me wild as I had plunged into her.

I smiled to myself as I turned away.

Farther along, pausing to sample the crisp apples, I caught Mrs Lawson’s scent. The older ladies may not have been as pure, but they could not be denied their eagerness to please. For that reason alone, they made for an entertaining afternoon.

My nose lifted to track her, and I found the woman beyond a table stacked high with fresh loaves, hidden behind her fan, which she waved with vigour. I recalled that her petticoat had held many layers, and the removal of them turned out to be almost as much fun as the act itself. I wondered how she had explained the damage to her pompous husband.

At a new aroma begging for notice, my step faltered as my nostrils flared.

Strong, yet understated, alluring and seductive, the unsullied flavour carried the exceptional deliciousness of womanly musk. Possessed by a need to find the source, I tilted my head and allowed my nose to lead.

It should have been difficult, impossible even, to locate such subtlety amongst the overpowering wafts of food and body odours, yet the strong pull beckoned to me, drawing me on.

Whispers continued, as I passed one stall after another, but they no longer held my interest. My mind seemed only able to focus on the unfamiliar scent. Although it intensified with each step, I half wished for a stronger breeze to invade the clear morning, to bring me a more wholesome dose and appease my sudden and unbidden greed.

My eyes shifted, as I moved, searching. I skimmed over those who held no appeal, the ones whose flavour had already been tasted, until, at the end of the row ahead, I spotted two young women.

From the angle of their positions, I doubted they could see me. The purchasing of herbs distracted the darker haired of the two. Animated, she possessed a flamboyance which showed in her movements, and in her pleasant tones, as she bartered with the stall owner.

I imagined she would get her own way with the price.

To her side stood a fairer female, with a quiet calm that showed in the relaxed set of her shoulders. Taking a step closer, I studied her.

Appearing younger, almost lacking in confidence, she was also somewhat taller and certainly far more beautiful. I did not recognise her, yet could not mistake her scent. I had been tracking it for the past five minutes.

Leaning across the jewellery on the stall beside me, I caught the proprietor’s attention. “Who is the girl?” I asked, pointing toward the one who held me so rapt.

“Regular of mine.” He nodded and smiled. “The Stonehouse sisters often purchase my quartz and amethyst.”

As he spoke their name in a conspicuous overtone, the females turned.

Blue eyes, as dark as sapphires, appraised me from beneath wisps of blonde, and a smile widened the girl’s lips, as my own mouth curved at the corners.

Beside her, the darker girl leaned into the fair tresses of her sister. “Sean Holloway is a ladies’ man and not to be trusted,” she hissed, her words carrying to me with ease, before she walked off. When her sister remained, gaze locked with mine, the seemingly older girl called out, “Come along, Jem. Mother is waiting.”

My eyebrow twitched upward. Jem?

With her attention tugged back toward her departing sibling, she dipped her head and followed behind.

Still, the essence her body had left in its wake lured me, and, unable to do otherwise, I trailed after her.

Links:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

Goodreads

GIVEAWAY:

Prize: $10 Gift Card + an ecopy of Eternal, the sequel novella to Instinct.

eternal-cover-300px gc10

TO Enter go Here: RAFFLECOPTER

Good LUCK!!

 

Giveaway Rules can be found HERE!


TRUE (Fire Born 3) #TeaserTenth

teasertenthbadge

#TeaserTenth is a monthly meme for writers, both published and unpublished. It’s a great opportunity to meet other writers, as well as readers, by sharing a sampling (10 lines or less) of the stories we are working on, or have already published.

Feel free to join! (click the badge above for details.)

*************

Today I’m sharing lines from TRUE, the third installment in the Fire Born trilogy, publishing September 2015.

Enjoy!

********

The world is a still and quiet place when you’re dead.

The grind of stone on stone touches my dormant ears, and soft candlelight peeks through the slightest of crevices above me, warming my cold face. Bones creaking, my body shifts gently to the side, twisting through darkness, as the rich aroma of melted wax wafts over me. The sweet tinge of vanilla candles. There must be hundreds just beyond my tomb. I wonder who put them there, how they stay lit.

The spiciness of gardenia petals flits through my resting place, too, sharp and intoxicating as ever. They are perfectly pristine flowers, I remember, yet so delicate, they bruise too easily.

The soft, protective embrace of feathered wings catches my weakened sight through the widening rift overhead, protecting me in shimmering cream and gold plumage. I don’t know how long I’ve been here, buried underneath this heavy slab in the frigid cold of The City of The Dead, but I know MacCoinnich is near me. I feel his heat emanate the stone, the warmth of his undying love, even in death, fills me with hope in the dark. 

BkBnrBoth

Thanks for reading!

 You can check TIED & TORN (Fire Born 1 & 2) here: AMAZON

To join in here’s the link: http://www.jabelfield.com/teaser-tenth.html

And a big Thank You to J.A. Belfield for creating the meme.


Midwinter’s Eve Winner Announced

Thank you to everyone who entered the

Midwinter’s Eve Blog Hop Giveaway.

 

2013-Midwinters-Eve-Hop

Random.org has chosen:

Diane Elizabeth as the winner.

Congrats!

You’ve won a copy of CRUX by Julie Reece

and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Check your email for your prizes

and thanks for entering!


#TeaserTuesday ~ TORN (Fire Born 2) #YA #UF

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday.

Today I’m sharing a sample from TORN, the second installment in the

Fire Born Trilogy.

 

This sample is taken from near the beginning of the book:

The stab of feathers bites across my shoulder blades. A constant crash of wind and waves pounds in my ears, and the harsh odor of burnt wood and plaster overwhelms my senses. Running my fingers along rough fabric underneath my body, tufts of material come loose in my hand.

“Looky, looky. She wakes.” A woman’s voice rebounds, as if it’s closing in on me. “Come to see the ruin?”

With fists clenched , my sleepy-eyed gaze roves across darkened, soot-mottled walls. “Where am I?” The slur in my voice doesn’t surprise me—I’ve become accustomed to what it must feel like to be hit by a tranquilizer dart.

“Where are you? Where am I? It seems a redundant question. You are here. I am here.” She snickers.

Shading my eyes with my hand, my gaze travels up a staircase banister, on toward the highest point of the ceiling far above my head. Attached to the wall like a spider, skin hanging from her bones, a woman peers down. From her perch, she smiles, a blackened-toothed grin spreading slowly over her wide, lopsided mouth.

“Clever, I see.” She nods. “Smart is good—clever is better.”

 

CollagesTHIS IS THE ONE

 

Thanks for reading! 😉


Read Chapter Two of TIED (FireBorn1) by @LaneyMcMann @JTaylorPub #YA

To celebrate the holiday season, I’ll be sharing the first few chapters of TIED, book 1 in the Fire Born Novels trilogy, over the next few days.

ENJOY!

 

perf5.250x8.000.indd

YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Here is chapter one if you missed it: TIED 

CHAPTER TWO

I tiptoed up the steps to my house, the wooden planks on the deck creaking under my feet. Easing the backdoor open, careful to keep the hinges from squeaking, I brushed the sand off, and ducked in time to miss the new wind chime hanging from the ceiling. My mom wouldn’t be understanding if she found me sneaking in again, and I’d never been able to explain what kept happening to me.

Creeping down the dark hallway, I dodged the night-light’s glow and crawled into bed. Five A.M. pulsed on my alarm clock, turning the white ceiling a fluorescent shade of orange. I stared at the light until my eyes watered, the weight of exhaustion blanketing me in a continual haze. I didn’t sleep. Not much, anyway. Staying awake kept most of the visions at bay—the ones I didn’t invite in, visions that used to wake me in the middle of the night in a cold, terrified sweat.

I lay, staring blurry-eyed into nothing. The face I knew so well came into focus, and I smiled in spite of myself, knowing I should push the thoughts away—knowing I made myself crazy by thinking about him.

I missed Max more than I’d ever missed anyone in my life. For years, I’d tried to will him to return. He never did. Max didn’t exist. Somehow, I’d created an imaginary life, and my heart ached for it. For him.

I wiped the tears from my face, got out of bed and pinned down my mass of scraggly hair. The sound of my mother banging around in the kitchen reached my room, her percolating coffee permeating the air. The aroma, I loved; the drink, I didn’t.

Bare feet peeked under the refrigerator door as I rounded the corner into the kitchen from the stairs, our cat meowing hungrily at the hem of my mother’s pink bathrobe.

“Aw, Teine. Look at you.” She reached for my cheeks over the top of the door, but I dodged her hands. “Your eyes are so dark. I think you’re overdoing it.”

“I’m fine, Mom.”

“You’re continually trying to convince me of that, but …” She shook her head, eyes cast down toward my clothes.

I glanced at my worn-out pink ballet tights with only a few holes, and my black faded leotard, partially covered by a too large, and beat up, grey sweatshirt. “What?”

She shook her head again. “Teine . . .” She sighed. “Benny is outside. Can you feed Kaevnor before you leave, please? She’s been pestering me all morning.”

“Why is Benny here?” Kaevnor ran to my side as I poured her food. “I’m supposed to pick her up.”

“She didn’t say. I asked her to come in.” My mom shrugged and began unloading the dishwasher.

I pulled on my old, low-top Converse shoes and grabbed my dance bag from beside the front door. “Bye, Mom.”

“Take it easy today, Teine.”

I opened the front door, but before I could leave, my mom rushed up behind me, breathless. “You forgot your juice.” She held it out, tucking stray hairs behind my ears and smoothing out my bun before shaking her head.

My shoulders slumped. I hadn’t forgotten, but I’d hoped she had. “Mom . . .” I groaned. “I hate that stuff.”

“It’s good for you. Drink up.”

I held my nose and gulped it in one swallow before breathing again. “Ugh. It tastes like freshly mown grass.”

“Old family recipe. Keeps you strong and focused.”

“Yeah, right. More like weak and nauseous.”

Thick early morning air hung on my clothes as I walked outside and found Benny dancing in the driveway next to my car with her iPod blaring.

“I was supposed to pick you up,” I said.

She pulled her ear buds out. “What? Oh, yeah, I know.” She smiled and slid into the passenger seat of my nineteen seventy-seven AMC Gremlin—rated nineteenth out of fifty of the worst cars of all time.

I slung my dance bag into the back seat and climbed in after her. The car stalled twice before it started, the engine screaming like a cat caught in the fan belt. I gunned it out of the driveway, afraid it would cut off again, spinning my tires and throwing gravel everywhere.

“In a hurry?” Benny clipped her seatbelt, eyebrows raised.

“No.” I avoided her gaze and turned out onto the road.

“Why so grumpy?” She tilted her head.

“Why so cheerful?” I rubbed my eyes.

“What’s up with you, Layla? You’re like the walking dead these days. I don’t see one speck of green through all the red in your eyes. Your clothes are all random, too. Did you roll out of bed and get dressed in the dark?” Her eyes made an up and down movement as if scanning my entire body.

Next to me, Benny resembled a walking ad for Capezio with her perfect pink tights and her hair tucked into a flawless bun.

I leaned over and cranked the portable satellite radio—the only decent feature about my car—in an attempt to drown out any further conversation she might try to start.

Benny gave me the sideways glare as M83 blared through the speakers. I took the warning as, ‘You better be taking care of yourself, or I’ll take care of you’, as she turned the volume down.

“I’m fine. Drop it.” I turned the music back up. I didn’t need to hear how awful I looked. I knew.

“Your hair’s a mess. Did you sleep?” She shouted loud enough that I could actually hear her. I groaned, trying to block her out. “Who doesn’t brush their hair before they leave the house? Have you even washed it?”

“Benny. Stop.”

She eyed me again and scrolled through the songs on her iPod before shoving her ear buds back in and hitting play.

We drove down US-1, along the coast to school, crawling at thirty-five miles per hour due to tourist season. The blustery weather from the night before had all but vanished, leaving a calm gleam across the surface of the ocean. Devon flew past us, music blaring, and waved out his open window.

We only had a couple weeks until summer break. After that, our senior year would begin, and the sizzle in the air was like a live wire.

“Your boyfriend is going to get pulled over one of these days.” Benny mumbled under her breath, crossing her arms over her chest.

I ignored her, focusing instead on reaching my goal— Historia Performing Arts School. The only one of its kind within a hundred mile radius, it was the reason we lived in Historia. I’d been dancing as long as I could remember, and my mother made sure it was a part of my everyday curriculum. Not that I minded. Dancing had become my life, but more than that, it had become my escape.

Our high school appeared to be as old as the city itself, which was founded sometime in the late sixteenth century. The building resembled a crumbling stone castle—which I supposed it was in its original state. Although beautiful in its own way, the deep cracks snaking through the walls made it eerily decrepit. Beyond the football field were endless views of the ocean, but unfortunately, those views didn’t extend to many of the classrooms, most of which had oddly high windows and drafty undercurrents. I imagined them as dungeons hundreds of years ago.

Live oaks dotted the massive campus lawn, and every year, at least one tree would inflict some sort of damage on the school during hurricane season. A thousand pound limb might crush the side of a building or an entire tree might fall on an old artifact. It was always the same, but they never cut those trees; they were as important as the buildings themselves.

My mother even sat on the historic preservation board for the city, which had control over the school. I never understood why she got involved, considering she didn’t attend any of the meetings. She just insisted the school be maintained in its near original state, which meant it was in constant need of some kind of repair. Why the school heeded her rules, I had no idea. The student parking lot filled as the warning bell rang.

“Took you long enough.” Devon opened my car door, a mocking grin on his face.

“You okay?”

“She’s … tired.” Benny answered before I did. She’d been my best friend all my life, and she was fiercely protective of me. The same way my mom was. It was annoying.

Rolling my eyes at her, I grabbed my stuff from the back seat and started the walk towards the dance wing, sick of all the remarks, her questioning glances, and Devon’s constant worrying. They climbed the hill after me. Whispering. Surely discussing their newest concern.

“Lock the Grim, Layla.”

“For what?” I shouted and turned around to find Benny with her arms on her hips. “No one’s going to steal it. Look at it.” I pointed to where my car, the Grim as Benny liked to call it, sat parked. It was the color of mud and looked like a semi-truck had smashed into the tail end of it at about ninety miles an hour. It had bug-eye headlights and a thick faded orange stripe running up each side toward the hatch-back where it flared out in three smaller stripes. The makeshift convertible top the previous owner had attempted to rig himself was so loose it barely kept the rain out. No one in their right mind would steal it.

I turned my back on both of them and continued the climb across campus, sighing as they continued to whisper. I knew my behavior was upsetting them—my angry outbursts—my temper spikes, especially since I’d stopped trying to control them all the time.

No one, though, was aware of my visions, or whatever they were. The more I tried to understand them, the more confused I became. The angrier I became. I’d tried to block the thoughts, to push them away and ignore them all, but years had passed since my last cherished memory, or what I’d hoped with all my heart was a memory. For six years—since I was eleven—I’d seen strange, unexplainable things.

After bringing up Max’s name so many times that my mother threatened to send me to a psychologist, I’d stopped asking about him—stopped talking about him altogether.

Even worse, I could only remember pieces of my past. While other kids recalled skinned knees and sleepovers, I conjured up snippets of voices and muddled colors. Besides my mom, Benny was the only constant in my life, and even memories I knew I had to have had with her were sometimes impossible to call up. I didn’t understand it. Who doesn’t remember the majority of their life?

“Layla, wait.” Devon jogged up to me and reached for my arm. His golden eyes implored concern. “Did I say something wrong?”

My shoulders relaxed. “I’m tired. Benny was telling the truth.” It’s only a small lie.

He bowed his head, peering up at me. “Okay, well, as long as that’s all.”

I nodded, giving him a half-smile. “Meet you at lunch.” He kissed me on the cheek and ran off as the second bell sounded. As sweet as Devon was, he would never understand me, and sometimes, knowing that, made everything worse.

~~~

All the other dancers sat in huddled groups on the scuffed wood floor of the studio as I walked in. The morning light reflected off the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, casting tiny rainbow prisms along the walls, as the stench of sweat hung in the still, thick air.

“Shh! She’s right there.” Dena, my understudy for the spring show of Sleeping Beauty, sat across the room. She dropped her stare when my gaze met hers. We’d been through the same dancing drill together for years. Same classes. Same performances. Her disdain for me was known. She twisted her hair into a knot at the back of her head, obviously pretending I hadn’t busted her running her mouth again.Between dancing as my understudy, and me dating Devon—the only boy she ever ‘truly’ liked—her hate was ingrained. Not that I cared.

“Places along the barre. Quiet down. First position please.” Ms. Trudy clapped her hands together. “And one, and two, and three. Chins up, heads high, shoulders down,” she said in time with the classical music.The steady repetitive rhythm, the music I’d known all my life, the same low droning chant of Ms. Trudy’s voice, all of it fell over me.

Ms. Trudy made her rounds, checking everyone’s form, making corrections. Sunlight shone through the high windows in cascading sheets, its warmth touching my face. I closed my eyes, raising my head to meet its heat, my grand plies repeating in perfect unison, and let the slow music take over. “Nice, Layla. Very nice.” Ms. Trudy’s voice rang out right before it faded.

@

The sun blazes through the tree line, and Max paces in the underbrush, halfway hidden by thickets and shadows.

“Where have you been?” He rushes forward.

“Benny was on alert all morning. She’s been setting traps to catch me,” I say.

“What?” His eyes widen. I shrug, picking beggars’ lice off my shirt. “She doesn’t like you.”

“Maybe you should go back.” He drags a hand through his hair.

“Go back?” My arm drops, leaving my shirt covered in little green specs.

“What are you talking about?”

“I . . . I don’t want you to get in trouble.” He averts his gaze.

“Since when are you worried about me getting in trouble?” I ask.

“Never mind, it’s nothing.” His smile is fake. I’m not buying the mock reassurance.

“Max, what’s going on?”

“Nothing.” He bites his bottom lip, his gaze skirting the trees. “I’m trying to look out for you.”

“Uh-huh. What’s up?”

“I told you. Nothing.” He shoves his hands in his pockets.

“Max …”

Lifting an eyebrow, he grins. “Race you to the falls.” He crouches forward like a cat ready to pounce, hands resting on his knees.

“Distractions won’t work.”

“No?” He takes off running.

I catch his hand as he turns and catapult myself past him.

“Hey, no cheating!”

I laugh, as he runs up behind me, his breathing steady. Our pounding feet sink in the thick wet grass of the open field. Max is taller than me, with longer legs, but I’m faster, and he hates it. The rush of crashing water leads us to the ledge, each of us pushing harder to stay in the lead.

“Don’t jump, Layla!” He reaches out.

I catch it in mine and pull us both off the ledge in a blind leap.

We plummet into the depths of the waterfall, Max‘s hand gripping mine. As our heads break free of the churning froth, he lets go, splashing me in the face.

“Hey.” I push water back at him. “What was that for?”

“For getting here first.” As he shakes his sandy brown hair out of his face, droplets of water run down his golden skin, and the corner of his mouth lifts in a grin.

I splash him again and swim to the edge of the pool, climbing onto the bank in dripping wet clothes.

He follows, and sits next to me, wiping the water from his grey eyes. “Lay, we’ve been friends for a long time.”

“Yeah.” I lean back against a gardenia bush covered in pure white blooms, their rich sweetness intoxicating the air.

“You’re my best friend.”

“I know that. You’re acting so weird today.” I nudge his shoulder, and say, “Beat you to the ledge again,” and spring to my feet, leaving him sitting on the bank.

“Layla!” He races after me. ”Wait!” Grabbing me around the waist, he sends us both over the ledge in a tangle.

“What are you doing?” I shove him as our heads rise above the surface.

“Be quiet.” Putting his finger to his lips, he drags me behind the falls onto the rock shelf. “Someone’s coming.”

Distant footsteps approach, crunching through the crisp leaves on the forest floor. Voices reach us.

“Stay still. It’s Lorelei.”

My mother walks through the forest, her sister at her side.

“They are here. You must find them.” She paces through the trees. “This is not safe.”

“Sister, please. There is no need for your concern. They are in no danger here.”

“No danger? My daughter is to be nowhere near the boy. I warned him to stay away.”

I try to shift my position, but Max pushes me back. “Stop moving.”

“Warned him?” my aunt asks.

“Yes.” My mother’s gaze sweeps past our hiding place. “The bond grows stronger by the day. Their connection, their energy. Teine must be kept hidden. Away from this world, away from the boy. They must be separated.”

“That isn’t necessary. No one knows they exist.”

“We know! Others might know as well.”

My aunt gathers her cloak around her shoulders. “It wasn’t I who placed the curse. That untimely deed falls on your shoulders, sister.”

“Once the truth of the children’s existence is revealed, my simple curse will no longer matter. I will be hard pressed to keep our enemies at bay.” My mother wrings her hands.

“Your attempt to sway the children must end. As long as the light shines, we will remain safe.”

“You presume too much, and do not speak to me in that tone. I am still the eldest.”

“Tone? I speak with understanding, but my patience wears thin. You renounced your position here. You are a fool to think you can keep the children apart. Let them be, or I am afraid you will regret it.”

Max turns to me. “You have to go.”

“No.”

“Your mother is trying to separate us. You have to go.”

“We’re not doing anything wrong.” I start to rise, but he grabs me by the shoulder, eyes staring into mine. “You heard your mother. She believes you’re not safe here. She thinks it’s dangerous for us to be together.”

I stare back into his face, confusion welling up. “Then I’ll explain it to her.”

“Layla, please. For me. Go back now. Stay safe.” He pulls me into a hug before standing.

“But . . . wait.” I reach for his hand.

He wrenches it free, his gaze roving over my face. “I’m sorry.”

“Max!”

I sit alone with only the sound of water splashing against the cliff.

“Max!”

~~~

“Layla.” Benny’s terrified voice rang out above me. Her fear-filled eyes came into focus as glaring fluorescent lights radiated down from the ceiling. “Can you see me?”

“Who else would I see? You’re in my face.” I shielded my eyes from the light’s glare, the vision reverberating through my mind. The same vision I’d seen a hundred times before. The one I thought had to be a memory but knew couldn’t be. The vision that made my heart ache as if it were being ripped out. A crowd of dancers hovered around me, all gazes fixed on me as I hastily wiped my damp eyes. What did I do?

“I told you she was crazy,” Dena said.

“Shut your mouth, Dena, or I will.” Benny’s threat came out calm and controlled.

“Let me up,” I said.

“Back away. Back away now.” Ms. Trudy pushed her way through everyone and knelt down. “Layla, are you all right?”

My head throbbed, mind spinning as she rose to her feet, pulling me slowly to mine. As my knees buckled, Benny swooped in and draped my arm over her shoulder. “Let’s get you some water.” Ms. Trudy steered me into the hallway. “I believe you’re overheated. It’s very warm today.”

The chill from the air conditioner, and Ms. Trudy’s jasmine perfume, sent shivers up my spine and made me want to gag.

“Benny, you may go back to rehearsal. I believe I have the situation under control.”

“No, ma’am, I’ll stay.” Benny’s tone was unthreatening but firm and Ms. Trudy didn’t argue.

“I’m okay, Ben, really.” My voice, on the other hand, must have given her the impression I wasn’t because she tightened her grip.

“Sit down for a few minutes until you compose yourself. I’ll get you some water.” Ms. Trudy headed down the hall, wringing her hands.

“What happened?” Benny hissed under her breath after Ms. Trudy rounded the corner.

“I don’t know.” I slid down the wall, to the floor, shaking. “I closed my eyes for a second and then I woke up with you crouching over me.”

Scrutinizing, unbelieving eyes narrowed. “You just passed out?”

“I guess.”

Ms. Trudy rushed back, carrying a glass of water. “Drink this.” She thrust the warm, right-out-of-the-tap water into my hands. Gross. I handed it back. “Perhaps you should see the nurse.”

“No. No nurses. I’m fine, really.”

“Well, if you say so, but no rehearsal for you today. Benny, please help Layla into the dressing room so she can get changed.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Benny tugged on me as though I was five years old.

“I can walk on my own.” I pulled my arm out of her grasp.

“What the hell was that, Layla?” She shifted in front of me, blocking my way. “Tell me what’s going on.”

“Nothing’s going on.” I pushed past her. “I … blacked out.”

“Blacked out?” She ran up beside me. “Blacked out? You think that’s normal? That’s not normal.”

“I didn’t say it was normal.”

“No, you didn’t. You don’t say anything lately.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” What does she mean by that?

She stomped passed me. “You’re going to give me a heart attack, I swear.” She ranted along under her breath and disappeared inside the dressing room.

I tried my best to control my trembling limbs. If Benny thought I was in a panicked state, I’d end up at the E.R. with her hovering over me. Hallucinations at school weren’t something that had happened before, and I’d never passed out. Ever. Not that I should have been too surprised. What should I have expected after having become a semi-insomniac?

I pushed the vision into the depths of my brain, shook off the eerie chills that accompanied it, and made Benny promise not to tell Devon what happened.

~~~

Devon tracked me down in the outside courtyard during study hall.

“I went to the nurse’s office.” He hugged his chest. “To the dance studio and the girls’ bathroom.” He gripped his side, leaning over the picnic table, trying to catch his breath. “Are you all right?”

Benny, unable to keep her mouth shut, had spilled the truth.

“I’m fine. Benny’s overreacting.” I glowered at her where she sat with me at a table.

“Scoot over.” He nudged my shoulder and slumped down. “Don’t scare me like that again.” He huffed, his breath still ragged.

“I told Benny not to tell you.” He stopped breathing altogether and glared at me.

I didn’t say anything else.

~~~

During lunch, Devon asked the cafeteria lady to create an ice pack out of zip-locks and paper towels, after I’d refused again to go to the nurse. He held it on my head himself. Between him and Benny, I was lucky not to have been admitted to the hospital.

I poked around at my pizza—usually my favorite, but my appetite seemed to be lying on the floor in the dance studio. The cafeteria, my least favorite place in school, made my stomach turn. Not to mention the inescapable deafening high school drama prattle. I’d never been that girl who attended every football game, and cried on the last day of school because summer break meant three whole months away from the cheerleading squad. I wanted out of high school.

I squinted through the cafeteria window, bringing the ocean into view in the far distance, and pretended to listen to the sound of crashing water, to block out all the lunchroom noise.

“You should eat something.” Devon dismantled my lunch tray, one item at a time. His mouth overflowed with my pizza, as I glanced over and down at my emptied plate. “Oh . . . sorry.”

“I’m not hungry, anyway.” I shrugged, looking up at him. Dark brown hair framed his golden eyes, a sheepish grin playing at his lips.

“Listen, don’t worry about helping at the shop later.” He raised the ice pack to my head again, and I swatted it away, while Dena, across the cafeteria, sat glaring in our direction. The little clan of cliquey chatterboxes at her side followed her lead and turned toward us.

The sight of Devon doting over me had to be too much for her.

I smiled to myself.

She tossed her long dark hair behind her shoulder, her black painted nails glimmering under the fluorescent lights. It seemed like only yesterday that she ran barefoot and played baseball better than anyone. Then again, I remembered so little, maybe she’d always been that way, and my deluded brain had it all backwards.

“I said I would help. I’m helping.” I spoke to Devon, not breaking my eye contact with the one who had nothing better to do than stare at me.

Dena’s lips moved, and they all turned their heads away. “Layla, seriously,” Devon said. “I. Am. Helping.”

“Layla!” Benny rushed across the cafeteria, waving a fluorescent yellow piece of paper, her dance bag swinging wildly on her shoulder. “Oh, good, you ate.” Her breath came out in a huff. “Here.” She thrust the paper at me. “I got the nurse to sign you out early. You can go home.”

I shook my head, sure she had run from the nurses office. “I don’t need to leave early.”

“You passed out.” She kept her voice low, head turning as if searching for something.

“So?” Truthfully, I would rather have gone home, but giving Benny a reason, any reason, to believe something was actually wrong was a bad idea. I’d rather suffer than have her pamper me. Devon was already taking care of that.

“So? So . . . you will be the death of me, Layla LaBelle, I swear.” She stomped off, throwing the note in the trash as she went.

The rest of the school day, I spent in a dazed stupor. The custodian had to cut the lock off my locker because I couldn’t remember the combination, and I laughed out loud when Mr.Jones, the Algebra teacher, asked me to solve a quadratic equation on the white board for the class. Algebra. What a waste. Who, ever, uses algebra after high school? If my school didn’t have a Performing Arts program, I probably would have ditched every class.

My head pounded by the time I pulled into the parking lot of the shop where Devon worked. A giant sign above the door read: ‘TOURISTS WELCOME’ in bright blue letters, reminding me of Bike Week in Daytona, Florida, where all the businesses felt compelled to remind everyone that ‘Bikers are welcome’, as if, for some reason, they wouldn’t know without the signs. Tourist season was the money maker in Historia. With the colleges, beaches, and historical sights, the city had a natural pull.

The owner of the shop stood in the doorway, smiling and waving at random passersby, unable, or unwilling, to hide his smile. “Good afternoon, Layla. Thanks for giving us a hand today.”

I stifled a yawn. “You’re welcome. It’s no problem at all.” I wasn’t the best person to help at a retail store, due to my lack of interest in customer service, but I said I would, so I did.

“Yes, good afternoon, Layla. How are you today?” Devon strolled up one of the aisles with a sarcastic grin. “Tired, I see.”

“Tired.” I nodded. “But here.”

He leaned down and kissed my cheek. “I think you should go home.” He glanced at the owner, his voice low. “I can handle it.”

I put my car keys behind the counter. “It’s almost the summer season. You need my help.” “Don’t start with that. You hate how busy it is this time of year. Seriously, listen, I’m starting to worry about you.”

“Starting?” I walked away before he could continue.

He shook his head and wandered off toward the display cases.

I squatted down behind the counter, digging around for a magazine to read, and rested my throbbing head in my hands. The entrance bell chimed on the front door, and I popped back up, wobbling slightly.

Afternoon sun flooded through the shop’s front windows in sheets, creating a back lit silhouette in the doorway. Dust particles floated past my scope of vision like miniature ghosts, and the clear grey eyes glancing at me made my breath end in my throat.

The room spun and slowed to a time-warped crawl, and the spicy sweetness of gardenias wafted through the air. Visions rushed up to the surface, flooding my brain, blowing the circuits. My magazine dropped to the floor, and I swayed, grabbing the counter for support, forcing myself to blink.

“Layla?” Thudding feet echoed in the distance.

Blood sped through my veins as I gripped the edge of the counter, gazing into the face I knew so well. A shadow of confusion crossed his expression as he stared back at me before the corner of his mouth drew up in a slight grin, and my face flushed with a burning heat. Goosebumps shivered down my arms, the air seeming to quiver with a faint breeze.

“Layla, are you okay?” Someone shook me by the shoulder. “Layla?” Devon’s voice rang from far away.

I tried to speak, but words wouldn’t form. I remembered his face, the waterfall, the forest. The warmth of his hand in mine. Droplets of water cascading down his golden skin. His eyes reflecting the sunlight like crystals. The rush of wind as he ran beside me. His laughter. The sound of his voice when he called my name.

“Max …” I strangled an inaudible whisper, unable to breathe, consumed by the light in his eyes.

“Lay.” He stared back at me, seeming unable to move.

He couldn’t be real. I swayed, my eyes rolling upward, and dropped to the floor.

(end of chapter 2)

Stay tuned for chapter three and Thank You for reading! 😉

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Midwinter’s Eve #Giveaway Hop #YA

This contest has ended. The winner will be announced tomorrow (1/5).

Stay tuned!

Hi everyone!

I’m happy to once again be participating in the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Book Hounds. 🙂

 

2013-Midwinters-Eve-Hop

*********

For the Hop this year, a few titles are up for grabs, all in the fantasy genre, all YA. There will be ONE winner, just choose the book you want. 😉

First option:

CRUX

by Julie Reece

YA Urban Fantasy

13She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.

Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.

In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her.

Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.

Her heritage did.

Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

Next option:

REAPER

by L.S. Murphy

YA urban fantasy

19There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.

Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

And last option:

TIED (Fire Born #1)

by Laney McMann

YA Urban Fantasy

perf5.250x8.000.inddNormal people don’t believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either.

Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares.

Or is that all in her head?

Layla doesn’t know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken.

No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible?

The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever—if it doesn’t kill them both first.

In TIED, book one in the Fire Born trilogy, learning the truth will mean fighting an arsenal of demons, and being with Max will put Layla on a path toward her own destruction.

Just how far will Layla go to protect the one she loves?

The answer may never be far enough … away.

*****

In addition, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to the same winner.

gc10

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 So, to make this easy, and fast, the book will be in e-book format (Kindle or Nook) and I will have a simply entry. Random.com will choose the winner. No purchase necessary to win. International entries welcome. Just leave me a comment in the form below, tell me which book you want, your email address, and the format (Kindle or Nook). That’s it!

Easy. 🙂

**the giveaway will run from December 21-31, 2014.

Check out all the other bloggers participating in the Hop here:

Powered by Linky Tools Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!


Read Chapter One of TIED (FireBorn1) by @LaneyMcMann @JTaylorPub #YA

 

To celebrate the holiday season, I’ll be sharing the first few chapters of TIED, book 1 in the Fire Born Novels trilogy, over the next few days.

ENJOY!

perf5.250x8.000.indd

YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

CHAPTER ONE

My window opened easily. The same way it had so many times before. Climbing out on the ledge, I found the ground empty and dropped from the second floor—a jump I’d made a hundred times. In another life.

My feet sunk into the sand, and I followed the well-worn pathway through the dunes. Even the strong evening winds hadn’t misshaped the deep gully. The ocean’s breeze lashed at my hair as the moonlight glinted off the water’s surface. Seagulls flew up from their nesting grounds. They should have recognized me, since I’d been wandering at night for so long. Wrapping my arms around my knees to block the slight chill, I settled in the sand, and the birds quieted in a tight huddle, the wind blowing their feathers in awkward angles.

My gaze fell on a figure standing beyond the dunes edge, a shadow hidden within the darkness. My pulse quickened, but I didn’t move. Another trick—an illusion. Weary of the games my mind continued to play, I bit back tears and the catch in my throat. I should have been immune to them—the hallucinations—the way they haunted me and followed me, but I wasn’t.

Forcing myself to blink, I turned my head away. The visions had grown worse as I’d become older. I’d tried to convince myself they were nightmares—or weird dreams. Hoped for years
they were, but only people who sleep dream.

Unable, or unwilling to stop myself, I glanced back over my shoulder, thoughts flooding my brain. Memories I knew couldn’t be memories but I cherished all the same. For years I’d tried to shake them away. To make myself forget. I couldn’t.

@

 

A stone raps against my bedroom window. I creep over and peer through the blinds. “You’re late.” I lean out over the sill, grinning at the boy staring up at me.

“Come on, let’s go before she comes,” he says.

I climb onto the window ledge. “Be nice. She’s my friend.”

“Okay. Jump.” He waves at me to go faster.

“Move, and I will.” He takes one casual step to the side.

The jump isn’t too high; I make it all the time.

He grabs my hand when I land beside him in the soft sand.

“Ready?”

I nod.

“One, two …”

“I’m going to tell!” Benny runs across my yard toward me, her blonde pigtails flapping in the wind. “You’re not allowed to talk to that boy, Layla! Your mom said!”

Max tightens his grip on my hand. “Shut up, Benny! I’m old enough.”

“You’re only nine. Don’t go! “

“Three!” Max and I leave the ground.

“You’re going to get in so much trouble.” Benny’s yell rings in the distance.

Our feet touch down in the wet grass of the Otherworld, icy sea air whipping at my face.

“Hopefully, she won’t follow us again.” Max lets go of my hand.

“She won’t. I told her not to.” I lead the way down the cliff face to the ocean.

“She never listens to you.” I glare at him and keep walking.

“Wait.” He scrambles down the path after me, losing his footing on the rocks for a moment before he catches himself.

I reach for his hand, my fingers brushing over the leather bracelet wrapping his wrist—the one that matches my own. “Let’s go see if the water spirits are out.” Pulling him beside me, I run through the last stretch of pebbles to the sand.

“The Merrows don’t like to be gawked at. Let’s do something else.” He tries to yank his hand away, but I tighten my grip and hold it in place.

“We could play skip the stone.” His voice rises above the wind in my ears. “I’ll let you win this time.”

“I’m the youngest, so I get to choose what we do.”

“You chose last time. And who said you were the youngest? Anyway, the Merrows hate us. Let’s do something else.” He trudges along behind me, pouting.

My laughter rings on the wind.

~~~

 

The sting of loss reverberated in my chest as the chill of night air seeped into my bones. I opened my eyes to the darkened shoreline and glanced again toward the dunes. No shadow remained. No one stood watching me. I had lost my mind.

(end of chapter)

 

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Stay tuned for chapter two and thank you for reading! 😉