Swoon Thursday – Of Darkness and Crowns by Trisha Wolfe


It’s SWOON Thursday, hosted by the awesome authors over at YA bound. Here’s how it works:

From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog. We want to know!

This week, I’m getting in touch with my dark fantasies with wicked Caben:

Of Darkness and Crowns (Goddess Wars #2) by Trisha Wolfe

His warm breath rolls over my skin as his lips trail the column of my neck. My stomach tightens with anticipation and need. It’s painful and pleasurable, and the mix of fire and nausea war within me. I swallow as he thrusts harder, his fingers digging into my flesh, gripping me closer as his arousal hardens.

Against my will, my body responds, heat igniting between my thighs. I open my eyes; see Caben. Feel him.

Curse the goddesses. Curse everything and everyone. My fingers close around his, and my leg pulls his body seamless along mine. No air between us to breathe, to allow oxygen to my brain to think and rationalize.

Caben flicks his tongue out against my skin, and I close my eyes. “Let me in, Kal.” His hand moves along my leg to caress the back of my thigh as he tightens his hold. The heat from his palm creates a pleasing friction, and I suddenly wish there was nothing between us–no barrier of clothing keeping his skin from touch mine.

Dear God, even evil, he’s still so delicious! I would continue, but I don’t want to give all of it away. LOL. ;)

SO NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! On your blog and/or on Twitter, tell us what’s got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

Be sure to attach your link to YA Bound and shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound.

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold


Lore-Anthology bannerLoreLore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold
by Brinda BerryKaren Y. BynumLaura DiamondJayne A. KnollsTheresa DaLayneCate Dean
Release Date: 03/2014

Summary from Goodreads:

A collection of six folklore retellings that will twist your mind and claim your heart.

SHIMMER: A heartbroken boy rescues a mermaid… but is it too late to save her?

BETWEEN is about a girl, a genie, and a ton of bad decisions.

SUNSET MOON: Eloise doesn’t believe in Native American magic–until the dreamcatcher spiders spin her down an unknown path.

THE MAKER: An incapacitated young man bent on revenge builds a creature to do it for him.

A BEAUTIFUL MOURNING: The story of a Maya goddess torn between duty and love, and the ultimate sacrifice she must make to achieve true happiness.

THE BARRICADES: When a human girl risks everything to save the life of an Eternal prince, will their feelings for each other change the world they know, or tear it apart?

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes

***Excerpt From A Beautiful Mourning by Theresa DaLayne***

I could not help but smile at the newly budded flowers scattered over the hills of the middleworld. My bare feet sank into the cool grass. It sprang between my toes, reminding me of the many walks my mother and I took together when I was a child.

It had been many years since she last strolled beside me. Many years since her soul left her body and joined the breeze of the heavens.

I paused beside a tree and lay my hand upon its bark.

I missed my mother’s laughter. Her sparkling green eyes and her sweet voice. No longer a child, I ached for her guidance and advice in the matters of life, and especially love.

A hummingbird buzzed past me and broke my gloomy thoughts. I turned and watched it hover over blooms and feast on the bounty of the nectar. I extended my hand. The tiny bird startled.

“I intend you no harm,” I said softly. It was not only for the mortals, but for the creatures of this realm that I tended to the greenery on which they depended to survive. I loved them, and wished them nothing but prosperity and joy.

Yet their happiness was a constant reminder of my sorrow, and some days, my heart did not have the will to carry on.

The rhythm of the bird’s rapidly pumping wings soothed my disparity and brought a smile to my lips. I lowered my hand and the creature vanished from sight.

It was then I noticed the large cat weaving between the trees. I smiled and stepped toward the jaguar. “Balam. How nice to see you. It’s been far too long.”

The middleworld deity slinked toward me. One large paw lazily moved in front of the other until he was close enough to touch.

His fur was like silk under my fingers.

“What special occasion brings you?”

Balam did not answer, which was typical for him. Even when in his human form, the middleworld god had never spoken a word. Instead he simply butted his head against my leg and rubbed his body along me. His tail brushed across my belly as he continued past me and headed to the forest.

I spun just in time to see Balam vanish into the foliage. There was no use in calling him back. He would wander in the forests and jungles until he decided to return. When that would be, I couldn’t say.

I turned back toward tending to the flowers. Spring in the mortals’ realm was my fondest season. It was, after all, the beginning of seasons in which I spent the most time with Kinich.

I pulled my hair to one side and wove it into a braid over my shoulder. My touch prompted tiny purple flowers to blossom in my hair. They were Kinich’s favorite color to see paired beside my skin.

My father knew not of our romance, though it could not be deemed a surprise. I was the tender of flowers and trees for the mortals, and Kinich…

I paused beside a struggling rose bush as the sun warmed my shoulders. My smile widened, and the grass, which I had raised from seedlings, flourished into thick, green blades.

A beam of light focused on the bush beside me. The branches bloomed with wild rosebuds.

I stooped beside the flowers and touched their silken petals. They were so lovely.

The sound of light footsteps caught my attention. The warmth of the sun intensified on my back. I took one last moment to admire the blooms before I stood and turned to see Kinich standing behind me—golden hair, and eyes that beamed with shades of orange and yellow.

He smiled.

My heart jumped.

His gaze wandered to the rose bush. “Your flowers no longer struggle for life.

I arched my brow and strode toward him. “And you believe you are responsible for giving them life?”

“Perhaps.” He reached out and twisted my braid around his fingers. “Without my light and warmth your flowers would not bloom.” He allowed my braid to slip out of his gentle grasp.

I tiptoed around him. “And without my touch, the light which you provide would have nothing to nurture.” I walked past him and gave him my back.

“Then I suppose we need each other.” His hands rested on my hips and then rounded my waist. Kinich pulled my back against his chest. My eyes fluttered shut.

His lips grazed the curve of my neck, his breath hot against my skin. “I have no shame in admitting I need you.” He pressed a kiss on my shoulder.

***Giveaway***

We’re giving away 6, $10 Amazon Giftcards if entrants like our pages on FB and tweet a message about LORE. -> a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Authors***

Brinda Berry: Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good

Find Brinda at www.brindaberry.com.

Karen Y. Bynum: Dragons, unicorns, genies…oh my! NA/YA author, coffee-lover, olive-hater, tea-drinker, music-listener. Random becomes me. Easily distrac— Blog

Laura Diamond: Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and multi-published author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.

Jayne A. Knolls: Jayne A. Knolls lives and works in New York City.  The Maker is her first published work of New Adult Fiction. Jayne can reached at JAKnolls@optonline.net

Theresa DaLayne: My name is Theresa DaLayne and I’m a new adult author with Bloomsbury Spark, an amazing digital imprint of Bloomsbury publishing. Website

Cate Dean: Hi there – thanks for checking in. My name is Cate Dean, and I write romantic suspense and paranormal, with some action packed YA paranormal and fantasy thrown in. I love to write, and I have been doing it most of my life. I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, and I am thrilled to be able to write them down and share them with you. If you want to be the first to know when the next book is released, or be in on some fun, exclusive contests and giveaways, join my list here: http://catedeanwrites.com/join-my-list. You can learn more about me and my books at my website: http://catedeanwrites.com

Book Blitz Organized by:

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!


 

Welcome to the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Read Now, Sleep Later! For the hop, one lucky winner will have the chance to select one book of their choice from the list below.

Here are the Rules:

  1. You must be 13 years or older to participate. Giveaway is open internationally.
  2. Fill in your name and email in the form below (one entry per person, please – duplicates will be deleted).
  3. The Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway will close at 12:01 AM, April 25th.
  4. No following or retweeting required, but much appreciated. Also feel free to leave a comment below if you would like, I love meeting new people!

Good Luck!!

Click here to follow the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop and see what other great giveaways are occurring!

Rainy Day Reads Giveaway Hop!


Rainydayreads1

Welcome to the Rainy Day Reads Giveaway Hop, hosted by A Bookish Escape and Lilybloombooks! For the hop, one lucky winner will have the chance to win a SIGNED copy of:

Here are the Rules:

  1. You must be 13 years or older to participate. Giveaway is open internationally.
  2. Fill in your name and email in the form below (one entry per person, please – duplicates will be deleted).
  3. The Rainy Day Reads Giveaway will close at 12:01 AM, May 1st.
  4. No following or retweeting required, but much appreciated. Also feel free to leave a comment below if you would like, I love meeting new people!

Good Luck!!

Click here to follow the Rainy Day Reads Giveaway Hop and see what other great giveaways are occurring!

{Blog Tour} Author Interview: The Devil in Midwinter by Elise Forier Edie


The Devil in Midwinter
by Elise Forier Edie
Release Date: April 8th, 2014

Summary:

A handsome stranger, a terrifying monster, a boy who burns and burns… Mattawa, Washington, is usually a sleepy orchard town come December, until a murder, sightings of a fantastic beast, and the arrival of a handsome new vintner in town kindle twenty-year-old reporter Esme Ulloa’s curiosity—and maybe her passion as well. But the more she untangles the mystery, the more the world Esme knows unspools, until she finds herself navigating a place she thought existed only in storybooks, where dreams come alive, monsters walk the earth and magic is real. When tragedy strikes close to home, Esme finds she must strike back, matching wits with an ancient demon in a deadly game, where everything she values stands to be lost, including the love of her life.

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Amazon

***Author Interview with Elise Forier Edie***

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I like to make quilts in my spare time. Right now, I’m working on a series of baby quilts to donate to the local hospital for children who are born into poverty. Their moms get to take home a beautiful quilt with their baby. I like picking out the different colors and fabrics and inventing themes for each baby. This week, I’m making a whole ocean quilt, with beautiful fish and deep blue colors. It’s awesome.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I always wrote. Even before I knew how to write, I made up stories on the piano, about a mole (he lived around middle “C”) and the tigers who attacked him (low notes) and the mice who were his friends (high notes). Later, in first grade, when I actually learned how to write letters, I wrote a “novel” (The Adventures of Stripey the Kitten”) and a play (“The Fairy Adventure”) and I just went from there.

What inspired your NA paranormal romance novella, The Devil in Midwinter?

When I wrote the book, I was teaching Theatre Arts in a small rural college (I wrote plays as well as novels). I would say my students were my biggest inspiration. I wrote a magical story about female empowerment and risk. I guess that’s what I would want for my students—true love, claiming of power, creative delight and a sound defeat of doubt and evil.

What was it like to write Esme and her story?

I had so much fun writing this book. I love Esme, and I really enjoyed getting to know her as I wrote the book. She combines the traits and problems of many of my students—a gifted, beautiful young woman, totally unaware of her considerable power, but finding it and letting it loose on the world.

What got you interesting in retelling of storybook fairy tales and fantasy? What kind of research did you do for the backstory of your novel?

The first book I ever received was a collection of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales and I just loved it. (I still have it). I went on reading fairy tales all through my childhood and adulthood. My bookshelves are full of them still. I did extensive research while I was writing “The Devil in Midwinter,” mostly on regional stories about winter and the change of the seasons, but also Mexican and American myths. It was fun reading all of the stories. I can’t get enough of them.

If you could date any one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I would totally date my hero Xavier … except he’s completely devoted to Esme, so I know it would never work out.   Also he’s way too young for me. But he’s yummy—smart, sexy, handsome, loyal, powerful and completely loving and devoted.

Do you have any other books in the works? What are your future goals?

I have a contemporary romance, a YA novel and another paranormal romance in the works. I tend to work on several different projects at once. It diffuses anxiety. If I get blocked or worried about one project, I switch to another for awhile. My plans? To spend the next fifty years of my life writing novels. It’s really fun.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Commit to the long haul and don’t give up. It takes a long time to get good at writing. Let that be okay and have fun with the journey.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I wrote in a big, comfy armchair. Seriously. I don’t have a desk.

What is your favorite genre to read?

I read EVERYTHING. I like good books. I am always THRILLED when I find a really good book and then I read EVERYTHING that author has written. I tend towards fairy tale retellings and fantasy (Robin McKinley, Juliette Marillier) and history and historicals (I just loved “Code Name Verity”! I cried), but I’ll read anything, honestly. I especially like books that teach me something new, even if it’s only something new about how to write a better book.

Warm weather climates or cold weather climates?

Warm. With a beach.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?

There are so many wonderful things, it is hard to pick a “best.” But I think one of the nicest things that happened to me is my parents and teachers always let me go ahead and make up stories on the piano, write novels, put on plays and sing songs without complaining or interfering. There was never a time in my life where I thought I “couldn’t write” or I “couldn’t make things,” or I “couldn’t be an artist.” No one ever said “that’s stupid,” or “what, are you crazy? You’ll never survive doing that.” A lot of my students have all sorts of hang ups about creating and being creative because people criticized them when they were young and impressionable, or they think their lives will be hard if they really go for it, or they can’t take criticism, or they worry incessantly about failure. My parents just let me make marionettes and put on puppet shows and write books. And so I grew up and kept doing those things without a lot of drama. I’m at home in the messiness of creating, and the process of it. Failure happens. Success happens. I don’t agonize. I feel very lucky about that, really.

eliseforieredieElise Forier Edie is an author and playwright based in southern California. Recent works include the play “The Pink Unicorn,” which performed at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York, a short story, “Leonora,” published in Penumbra magazine and several plays, included in the anthology “Original Middle School Scenes and Monologues,” edited by Kent R. Brown. She is a member of the Authors Guild, the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is married to actor Keith Edie. When she is not writing, she likes to make quilts and soup, but rarely at the same time. Visit Elise Forier Edie on these sites to follow her or list her as one of your favorite authors: Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter @EliseForierEdie, and www.eliseforieredie.com.

Book Review: Til Death (Fractured Souls #1)


Author: Kate Evangelista

Genre: YA fantasy
Published: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 331
Source: Review Request from Publisher
Available at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a daydreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally, this is not a problem, as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky—even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more drool-worthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Too bad he acts like he hates her.

When Selena learns she’s being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined, she’s had enough. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easily, especially when she discovers that Dillan isn’t what he seems…and might not actually hate her after all. Dillan might be the only person who can save her.

My Rating of this Book – DNF

My Review:

I received Til Death for an honest review. Unfortunately, it ended up being a DNF, and though I never like writing a DNF review, there has been some requests on what I thought on this novel. So, here you go.

The first chapter was captivating. I was especially interested when I found it was written in the third person, male POV of Dillan. But interest turned quickly into confusion by the next chapter, which suddenly switched to the first person, female POV of Selena. Even more confusing, Selena’s inner thought and dialogue. I could hardly understand her most of the time. Her thought process was choppy with incomplete thought lines and sentences. And as if I didn’t get enough of a headache from the second chapter, my head was spinning when we entered the Dillan’s third person POV again. I love unique twists such as mixing some third person with first, or vice versa, but to continually flip back and forth chapter after chapter wasn’t working for me. It should have been all first person or all third person.

However, the bigger issue I had as I continued to read Til Death was that the characters, their interactions, and friends were very much like the characters, their interactions, and friends in another book that was previously published. Even Selena’s and Dillan’s descriptions and backgrounds in Til Death were practically mirror images of the other book characters, only flipped. The male character became Selena in description and background, while the female became Dillan. And the constant resemblance was driving me insane.

Plus, the uncle and his constant abuse toward Dillan was absurd. I felt there was more focus on that than the actual plotline.

The only thing that was keeping me going was the mysterious case Dillan’s uncle was supposed to give him. Here I was thinking something odd and strange with how the uncle kept his mouth shut. But to find out it was missing dogs??? I love dogs, don’t get me wrong, but with everything else, this was just not something I felt worth continuing.

{New Adult} Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Goddess War series by Trisha Wolfe


Goddess-Wars banner1af9b-ofsilverandbeastsOf Silver and Beasts (Goddess Wars #1)
by Trisha Wolfe
Release Date:  April 19th 2013
New Adult Fantasy

Summary from Goodreads:

In the sand-covered queendom of Cavan, the goddess once saved a young Kaliope’s life, preventing the mercury her father attempted to hide in her blood from reaching her heart. Now, a cybernetic clamp filters it, but the silver streaks swirling faintly beneath her skin are a constant reminder that she’s different.

When nineteen-year-old Kaliope is chosen as head of the Nactue Guard, she becomes the sworn protector to her empress. In the midst of an invasion on a neighboring land, Kaliope is placed in charge of guarding Prince Caben, the last heir to his kingdom. But when they’re attacked by the feared Otherworlders, Caben and Kaliope are abducted and taken below to a realm where they must fight for their life in a caged arena.

Kaliope struggles to protect her princely charge, keeping him and herself alive while battling inhumanly opponents, and trying to save the stolen, sacred relic that will restore her empress’s life force and all of Cavan. And if she can somehow awaken the goddess within her, she may save what’s most important.

New Adult Dark Fantasy: Intended for readers 17 years of age and older.

Available from:
(FREE for a limited time! Get your copy below!)
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo smashwordsicon_zps931b0409.jpg

30094-darknesscrowns_cvr_medOf Darkness and Crowns (Goddess Wars #2)
by Trisha Wolfe Release Date: September 1, 2013
New Adult Fantasy

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK ONE***

Summary from Goodreads:

The moon goddess has taken up residency within Prince Caben, darkening his mind and soul. Now he hunts the very women he sacrificed his life to save, his conflicting desires for love and power raging a battle within him. Kaliope possesses the key to setting Bale free, and Caben will stop at nothing to see his goddess restored. Even if that means destroying the kingdom he’s sworn to protect, and the infuriating woman who torments his thoughts.

Kaliope, now the leader to the newly formed Nactue Guard, has vowed to save Caben. But with a traitor lurking among her people, and powers she’s unable to fully control, Kaliope’s mission becomes shrouded with doubt. Her new role as watcher over Caben’s kingdom brings a burden she’s unable to bear alone, and appointing the right person in charge of the prince’s affairs has turned a kingdom against the Nactue leader. Saving her stubborn, willful prince from the darkness overtaking him will be the battle of her life, and she needs people she can trust by her side. But bad blood between members of the Nactue obscure Kaliope’s journey, while her feelings for Caben cloud her judgment.

When the time comes to do what she must to destroy the goddess of chaos, will she be able to if it means losing Caben forever?

Book two of the Goddess Wars is told in dual point of view from Kaliope and Caben. New Adult Dark Fantasy, intended for readers 17 years of age and older.

Available from:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo smashwordsicon_zps931b0409.jpg

***Excerpt from OF SILVER AND BEASTS: A Goddess Wars Novel, Book 1***

I drag my gaze away from Caben and look at Cannon as he moves to the center of the Cage. His biceps bulge, like two cannon balls have been implanted beneath his skin. For all I know, they have been. The rings leaders are sick enough to do just that.

He roars and smacks his fist into his palm. Then he barrels toward me.

His face shifts back and forth quickly as he runs, shaking in my line of vision. Suddenly his face is my father’s. It flashes before me in an instant, followed by an image of Van falling to the ground. Willa’s lifeless form. Lilly. My mother. Caben. The images seize my mind and a deep laugh rolls inside of my head.

Kill him.

I shake my head and lunge out of Cannon’s path. He swipes the air. Rolling out of range of his stomp, I get to my knees and latch on to his ankle. I twist, and he falls backward. He hits the ground hard, the dirt kicking up around him.

I tamp down the throaty voice in my head urging me to end his life. I thought it was the madness of the Otherworld invading my senses, but I know the truth. I’m standing atop Bale’s grave. The conduit running through my veins calls to her. I can hear her; feel her presence—her darkness. She’s not entered my mind; not able to hear my thoughts—the dark priest would have shut down our scheme if so—but I’m tired of hearing her voice. Tired of her madness pressing me.

The rage drumming though me after watching yet another of my Nactue die desires to end this beast trying to kill me now, but I have to remember who I am.

What I vowed.

To protect and serve those I care for.

Not to end lives for a blood sport—a dark goddess.

Cannon wraps his hulking arms around my midsection and lifts me off the ground. He squeezes, and a cry rips from my throat. The mercury pumps faster, scorching my insides. I pull my head back and snap it forward, knocking Cannon in the face.

His nose explodes. Blood sprays my face.

He drops me and swipes the air, his vision blurred. Sickened, I wipe at the blood. It smears over my skin—and I stop—allow it to hide the mercury rising to the surface. Jumping back into action, I kick his legs from beneath him and round his large form. Coming up behind him, I angle my arm around his thick neck and tighten until I see his eyes bulge. Their deep brown irises darken as he gasps for air.

I can knock him out. Anger the ring leaders and the dark priest. They can come out here and kill us themselves to bleed their sacrifices for their goddess. I won’t do it. Lena had no choice, I understand that. But she also tried to use her kill to prep me for my fight. I think of her face as I squeeze Cannon’s neck tighter.

The horn sounds, and I look up. Weapons descend from the top of the Cage.

Before Cannon loses consciousness, he gets a handle on my wrist and kicks off the ground. His booted foot connects with my face.

I try to bring him with me as I’m knocked backward, but he scrambles sideways and breaks my hold. He takes off for the closest weapon dangling from the chains.

He yanks the flail free and swings the spiked ball above his head. The crowd stomps harder and faster as he builds momentum. The whom whom of the spikes slicing the air cuts through my eardrums.

Behind him, illuminated by the projected full moon, is a long sword. I bound to my feet and run.

The flail swipes the air and I just dive out of Cannon’s reach as the spiked ball slams the ground. He roars and jerks his weapon free of the black dirt. I turn and leap backward as the flail flies toward me again. It snags my tunic. The bottom of my shirt tears as I struggle free and sprint.

I hear the pad of Cannon’s bare feet thumping the ground behind me. Before he launches his weapon, I spring up and grab the sword. Dropping down next to him, I arc my blade against his flail. Our weapons meet with a metallic clang.

Cannon’s eyes widen, his sockets enlarging to deliver a crazed glare. He laughs a deep, adrenaline-filled chuckle. “It’s over, protector,” he roars. “I’m going to smash your bones to dust, just like I’ll do to little Red over there when I get to her.”

Spinning and blocking his blow, I glance at Krewl’s chamber, to where Lilly watches my battle wide-eyed. I knock Cannon’s chin with the hilt of my sword. Lilly lost Willa. She suffered through her death. I won’t let her witness my death, too.

I won’t give Cannon the chance to touch her.

As Cannon groans and swipes the flail at my stomach, I turn and dive. I have to get that flail; use the chain to choke him unconscious. I can spare Lilly and defy the ring leaders at the same time. I just have to—

A spike drives into my thigh and I scream.

I hit the ground hard, and Cannon yanks the spiked ball from my leg. I hear the sickening squish as it leaves my skin. He towers over me, a deranged look on his giant features. I feel the static pull of the electrified cage bars behind me. It tugs on the fabric of my clothes, my hair.

Cannon has me closed off. He swings the flail one final time above his head as he prepares to bring it down on my head. The ball descends, the whoosh filling my ears as the Cage zaps behind me.

I thrust my sword toward the flail.

The chain circles my blade, and I yank back and throw the sword behind my head. The sword connects with the Cage. A current travels through the spiked ball and chain to Cannon’s flesh.

His body sparks. His eyes illuminate like the moon above, and his body convulses. He sinks to the ground, still holding the flail as the current continues to drain his life.

I drop my head to the dirt.

The cheers of the crowd surround me, and the announcer’s voice shouts over the chaos.

I’ve won.

I’ve killed.

My eyes seek Lilly. She slips her hand through the bars of her chamber and flattens her palm, her fingers crossed. Tears brim in my eyes.

We’re still us—she’s still with me.

The announcer waves me to my feet, and I push off the ground. As I slink my way toward Bax’s chamber, I keep my gaze on Caben. I don’t know if he would’ve defeated Cannon in the final battle, but now I don’t have to worry. It’s over.

Goddesses, forgive me.

***Giveaway***

flask_necklace

1 Caben Flask Necklace (US only) -> a Rafflecopter giveaway

TrishWolfePicAbout the Author From an early age, Trisha Wolfe dreamed up fantasy worlds and characters and was accused of talking to herself. Today, she lives in South Carolina with her family and writes full time, using her fantasy worlds as an excuse to continue talking to herself. For more information on Trisha Wolfe and her works, please visit: http://www.TrishaWolfe.com

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