Today’s stop is for Shona Husk’s Warrior of Fire. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.
Happy Reading :)
Emily slipped her phone into her pocket. He hadn’t been lying about
leaving the hospital late. She’d watched him walk out the door. She’d spent
a lot of time watching him and not enough doing anything. The times
they were together they got as close as two people could, yet Julian had
managed to keep the rest of his life completely apart from her. She was
pretty sure that no one even knew they were dating.
She sat in her car without starting it. They weren’t really dating
and she shouldn’t be feeling pissed that he’d blown her off. He was a
mark, not her lover.
He was her kill to get her full membership to the Guardians of Adam.
She closed her eyes and leaned over the steering wheel. So why hadn’t
she done it already? She should’ve done it months ago when they first met.
She’d known that he was Albah from the curl of his ears. But he was also
attractive, educated, and nothing like the egotistical magic-using maniacs
her mother had told tales about. She should’ve questioned him and killed
him two weeks ago while the undead horror was alive and killing. Now
the Albanex had vanished and she knew a Guardian hadn’t killed it. The
Albah were probably protecting it. Hiding and feeding it.
How could Julian, a well-respected doctor and burns specialist, participate
in something like that? Yet it was in his blood to become an undead, blooddrinking
Albanex. She needed to find out where his father lived—which
was harder than it should have been. She’d tried.
There was a tap on her window. Her heart stopped and she almost died.
What a Guardian she was, jumping at a security guard doing his rounds.
She opened her window a crack. “Yes?”
“Just checking you’re all right, miss.” The security guard looked concerned.
Emily softened her features as though she’d seen a dying relative and
sniffed. “Yeah. Just gathering myself before I drive home.”
“Never wise to linger in the car park. Better safe than sorry.” He smiled.
He looked as though he couldn’t run down a thief even if the thief was
carrying a box full of donuts and a coffee to wash them down.
Emily nodded and obediently started her car. When he didn’t move
away, she pulled out of the bay. She needed to get home. It was late, but
no doubt her mother would want a status update.
No change. Nothing to report.
The only excuse she could give for why the Albah was still alive was
that he could lead them to more…and hopefully the Albanex.
She paid for her parking and headed out of the city. She’d go to Julian’s
place and wait to see if he came home tonight at all. That twinge in her
chest was not jealousy.
He didn’t have another lover.
He barely had time for her.
She knew the real reason Julian was still alive was because she did
fancy him just the tiniest bit. And he saved people. Maybe he wasn’t like
the other Albah.
But all Albah could become Albanex. Albanex were the vampires that
humans thought existed only in myth. Albah were more like the elves or
witches, harmless until they did the magic that would make them drink
blood and live forever. The Guardians should’ve wiped them all out 200
years ago instead of calling for a truce; then she wouldn’t be in this position.
Doctor Julian Ryder, for all his good work, was still only one magic
ritual away from becoming an undead monster.
Leira sat quietly on the bathroom floor—it was the safest place for
her to practice, given the abundance of water and the lack of flammable
items. She’d moved the towels well away as an extra precaution. The tiles
were cold under her butt. She’d been sitting here for half an hour with the
unlit candle. She was running out of time if she wanted to get this done
before she had to get to university. While she could light a candle safely,
if she saw something that shocked her… Well, she didn’t want a repeat of
the crisps incident.
Saba would’ve happily done a reading for her if she’d asked, but Leira
wanted to do this herself, and she didn’t want anyone else to know. She
didn’t want Saba to know if everything had gone wrong. And if it had,
how was she going to fix it?
She didn’t know that either.
Which was why she hadn’t lit the candle yet.
Sitting here wasn’t going to change anything. Maybe nothing had changed
and it would all be okay, but she didn’t believe that for a heartbeat. Last
night every time she’d looked at him she could feel the tracks changing
direction, derailing the future she’d been expecting.
She shook out her hands. Maybe she was being overly dramatic, after
all, if it was one of those meant to be things, why hadn’t she felt more
than a tingle? All she’d gotten—once she’d gotten over the shock—was
the same tingle she got when seeing any hot guy.
A smile formed. Julian was hot, and not just because his magic was
fire. And they had agreed to get together to talk magic. And he’d offered
to let her read his dead mother’s diaries, which was probably a great way
to kill any mood.
There’d been no mood in the car, but there had been an undercurrent
of something. She didn’t know what it was or how to deal with it, or him.
She’d expected fireworks and…and something more. She wasn’t sure he’d
felt anything for her except pity, because she couldn’t control her magic,
and then embarrassment because it was pretty damn clear that everyone
in the room thought they needed smooshing together. Saba had promised
not to interfere, but that had been before, when the vision was still true.
Now it wasn’t. They had met and she needed to find out what had changed.
She drew in a breath and then exhaled.
In her mind she saw a circle form around her, in her next breath it became
real. She waited another couple of heartbeats before visualizing the flame.
If she was lighting a candle for the oil burner, she didn’t bother with the
ritual, but this was about her future. She could’ve used a match and not
worried about the magic, but she refused to use matches and lighters. She
had to be able to do this.
Leira pictured the flame in her mind, then pushed it out of her. The
candle lit with a spark and a crackle. She leaned forward and rested her
hands on her chin so she could stare into its blue center. As she did, the
flame expanded. The blue becoming a ball three inches in diameter.
Her concentration remained steady. How many exercises had she done
just on focusing without even using fire? She’d lost count. She could do
this without burning off her eyebrows now.
The blue started swirling as though filled with currents.
Show me the path I am on.
She expected to see the train, Julian—he had a name now—and herself
giving lectures. Her future still steady even if she didn’t know how to get
there. She’d met him; all they had to do was fall in love. When she thought
of him, that feeling was there even though when she was with him it wasn’t.
Was she getting herself muddled by constantly checking and imagining?
No, she knew the difference between the present and the future.
This time Julian didn’t appear in the flame. The currents grew darker
as though made of thick oily smoke. No, it was smoke. And flames. Her
future was nothing but smoke and flames.
She gasped and dropped the circle, batting the ball of fire away. It
bounced off the wall and into the two inches of water she’d put in the bath
in case of emergency, where it then fizzled and went out.
Her heart beat fast. That didn’t make sense. Just because her initial
meeting with Julian had gone wrong didn’t mean her whole life was going
to go up in smoke.
Fire was her element. What was she going to do, spontaneously combust?
A nervous laugh slipped past her lips.
She must have projected her own feelings about the situation. Saba was
better at this than she was. Saba was better at everything, except school
grades. That had been the one place she had bested Saba. Leira had worked
hard to be good at something.
What if Saba saw exactly what she had seen? What did it mean?
It couldn’t be death. There were other paths. There were always other
paths. She knew that. All that she had been shown was the path she
was currently on.
Right. She could fix this. She calmed herself. She just had to
find a new path.
The trouble was, how would she know if she was on the same path or
changing direction? She couldn’t check every decision that she made and
sometimes it was the smallest thing that could create the needed ripple.
Last night had been more than a ripple.
Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back. With over forty published stories, ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance.