All posts by Tracy Auerbach

I am an avid reader and writer. My favorite books to both read and write are high fantasy, paranormal, and urban fantasy. I have a huge soft spot for YA and NA, but also usually in those fantasy-type categories. Regular, plain old young adulthood wasn't so magical, so I figure why not add some oomph? Some of my favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, L.J. Smith, and JRR Tolkein. For middle grade, I think Diana Wynn Jones and Susan Cooper are just brilliant. I am a mommy to two fun, adorable and crazy-making boys who keep my hands quite full. I am a wife. I am also a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coach and curriculum writer in the New York public school system. If someone has a really obscure bit of science trivia that they are curious about, that only a real, true nerd would know the answer to, they usually come to me. And I'm not gonna lie...I'm proud of that. I love to step into fantasy worlds during my down time. I have always been a reader and writer. I have published several articles and short stories. My first novel, "The Human Cure" was published by 48fourteen publishing several years ago, and reformatted and rereleased in print in November of 2014.

Check out the first two chapters of The Crystal War, coming into the world this tuesday!

http://www.parliamenthousepress.com/post/read-the-first-two-chapters-the-crystal-war-fragments-2

READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: The Crystal War (Fragments,#2)

Last year, author Tracy Auerbach brought us to a riveting dystopia of color coded compounds and drug-controlled teenagers-turned-beasts. Now, Auerbach is back with the long-awaited sequel to The Sin Soldiers, THE CRYSTAL WAR.

This Tuesday we’ll rejoin Kai, Finn, and their friends as they fight for justice and try to avoid the most toxic chemical compound the Science Council has conjured thus far.

Be sure to pre-order your copy of The Crystal War (Fragments, #2)!

Haven’t read book one yet? What are you waiting for?!

Chapter One

Bill’s boots gouged through the sand as he was dragged from the vehicle that had stolen him from the safety of his camp; the hands gripping his biceps were huge and rough. A black scarf had been wrapped over his head, covering his eyes, and a gag stuffed in his mouth. The toes of his leather boots bumped up then down as the sand’s softness was replaced by cement underfoot. The footsteps of those who dragged him echoed, and it registered; he’d been taken indoors. Hands repositioned themselves on his arms as he was slammed backward onto a cold metal table. Struggling, he tried to yell, but no sound got past the gag. Restraints, large and cold, closed over his wrists and ankles. He bucked and kicked before feather-gentle fingers touched his temples, a sensation vastly different from the rough grip that had previously held him. The scarf over his eyes was lifted away to reveal slender fingers. He blinked in the harsh light, waiting for his blurry vision to focus. When it did, his heart sunk, and he froze. Struggling had been futile. The woman above him was the rumored head of the New Resistance. Bill stared “into the strange, amber eyes of the woman he had heard about. Over the past few months, whispers had traveled throughout the west: rumors of her beauty and cruelty and, above all, her power. His small army of Resistance fighters had been preparing for her imminent attack. Everything he had heard about her magnificence was true; golden eyes that sat in a perfectly structured face, tan and well-defined but not too sharp to be feminine. White-blonde hair stood in spikes over her arched brows. Gunmetal gray hoops in her ears reflected the light of a small crystal fragment set into a dome lamp over the table. She was dressed head to toe in utilitarian black tactical clothing, but he could still tell that her body was a work of art. He couldn’t guess her height; she seemed tall, with beautifully defined curves and a tiny waist. “Stop staring, prisoner,” she whispered in a melodic voice. Bill was in a lab, but he couldn’t see much. The halo of light from the single “crystal above was dim and focused, but beyond the table where he lay, details quickly melted into shadows. He could barely make out the hulking shapes of the men who had dragged him from his guard post; only the beautiful, terrible woman was clear. He tried to speak, but his lips fought uselessly against the fabric still in his mouth. “Do you wish to say something?” asked the woman. He nodded, and she removed the binding from between his dry lips—he licked them before speaking. “I’ve heard of you,” said Bill, awed. “These past couple of months, everything’s changed.” “It has. I am changing things. And this is just the beginning.” “Are you going to make me into one of your slaves?” “I must have your absolute loyalty. I’ll accept nothing less.” Bill swallowed, feeling ill with the certainty that he wasn’t going to get out of this, and he saw her smile, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking. “Why me?” “Why not?” She blinked, momentarily releasing him from the power behind her eyes. “You’re a good soldier; I’ve done my research. You’re exactly what I’m looking for right now. You will come and work for me, just as they have.” She made a sweeping gesture toward the men around them. “Forgive me, Miss…” “Raven.” “Forgive me, Miss Raven, but what makes you think you can you ensure my loyalty?” “It’s just Raven,” she corrected, her expression unchanging. “And the answer is simple. It’s all about consumption.” “Consumption?” “Yes. Everyone is a consumer. Press the right button, and anyone’s loyalty can be controlled. Even yours, soldier.” “My name is…” “Not important,” she cut him off. Bill sighed. He’d had more than enough of being controlled: given over from his foster home to the Eastern Forces, trained to mine for crystals, months of being a type ‘B’ soldier on blue compound, only to be stolen in a raid by the Resistance and retrained as a guard, led to believe that he was at last working for a higher cause. And now this. Raven gestured to the soldiers standing in shadow, and Bill craned his neck to try and see what was happening, only to close his eyes, feeling his stomach drop when one of the men approached, holding up a faintly glowing blue syringe. So more of the same, then. “What’s his poison?” asked the man with the syringe. “Primarily stimulants,” instructed Raven. “Food as a secondary, pre-established reinforcer.” The man leaned closer, and Bill saw by the light of the glowing crystal fragment that he was young, with a healing but grisly-looking scab that ran the length of his left cheek, ending near his eye.

Bill jerked in his restraints, even though he knew it was futile, and gritted his teeth as the needle pierced the skin of his upper arm. The fire of the compound made its way through his blood, causing him to sigh in relief. It still felt good, every time, even after being off it for months now. It had only taken him a few weeks back at the Eastern Fortress to become addicted to the compound itself and months for the Resistance to detox him.

Heart racing, his stimulant craving spiked. He refused to beg until the Raven girl held a small vial of pungent-smelling coffee under his nose—then he screamed with want. The compound created an itch that the right thing could scratch, and it felt so good. “Would you like this?” she asked in a silky, taunting voice. “Yes,” he whimpered. “Open up, then.” Bill opened his mouth, sick with anticipation of the bitter cordial that would bring relief to his burning blood. Every pump of his heart demanded it. He greedily swallowed the wetness on his tongue, but it didn’t taste like coffee. He opened his eyes and saw that the Raven girl held a vial that was empty but for a glowing residue. She’s given me Shine. Bill stared at his tormentor. It was too late to spit out the horribly addictive drug. Gulping with a heedless greed he usually reserved for coffee, he’d swallowed a good mouthful of it. Too much. She had him. Knowing that Shine would quickly supersede his moral compass, he tried to hold on to his terror, his ideals; he tried to retain any part of himself. But as he looked into her expressionless eyes, he began to feel the drug taking hold. Soon, the fear faded, along with all thoughts of fleeing. The world shrunk, leaving room for her alone in his mind. His senses sharpened, overwhelmed by the power of her presence and the Shine’s euphoria. The rest of the world faded away, and nothing else mattered but his new queen. I will serve this woman forever.”

Chapter Two

Two months earlier

Kai crept toward the table where Aric stood, staring at his newest toy. It was a type ‘A’ soldier that the Western Army had captured and handed over to him at last. The enormous boy had been delivered in much the same way that C. Manning had been, walking but unconscious, and receptive only to Aric’s commands. Now he lay strapped to a table, still entirely at Aric’s mercy. Only three weeks ago, Charlie had been Aric Abbott’s test subject, lying helpless on that table. Kai sighed and glanced around the slightly upgraded lab. The large white room had several scanning machines built above two metal exam tables, surrounded by rolling cabinets stocked with medical storage equipment. A recessed crystal lighting system was suspended overhead, casting plenty of illumination on the horrific experiments Aric dreamed up. Computers in the corner and against the far wall were attached to wires and connected to a hanging board covered with lights. Each one represented a stationed member of either the Eastern Forces or the Western Army.

The hi-tech cage was new, built with reinforced “type ‘A’-proof” steel bars, tested by C. Manning himself, with sufficient electrical current to make any soldier’s teeth rattle.

“Okay,” muttered Aric to himself. “Here goes nothing.” He approached the prone soldier and flashed his photogun. The soldier blinked, displaying a tiny hint of awareness, but his expression stayed mostly blank. His eyes dilated, but it was too light for Kai to make out the likely telltale glow of serum syndrome in the pupils’ depths. “Swallow this,” ordered Aric. He held up an iridescent pill, and the soldier obediently opened his mouth and gulped it down. “Okay,” Aric mumbled, turning around. “It’s done. Now we’ll just transfer him to the cage and wait for the magic. That is, if you’ve told me the sequence of things correctly.” He cast a meaningful look at Kai’s brother, Dex, who stood on the other side of the room. “Yes, I’ve told you everything,” said Dex. “A hundred times: First, he took the black crystal, then he swallowed the Shine, most likely several hours later. Simple.” They’d gone over this time and time again, and Aric was annoyed that Dex wasn’t certain about the precise timing. But it couldn’t be helped. The only one who might’ve known when exactly he took the second pill was Charlie, and he was gone. Instead, C. Manning stood closely by Dex, acting as a vigilant bodyguard. Aric brushed by Dex in a huff, and Dex scowled at his boyfriend’s disapproval like a child who’d been scolded. Kai hated that her brother seemed to have been reduced to his megalomaniac boyfriend Aric’s favorite accessory. He’d dropped all pretenses of the ‘self’ he’d clung to for Kai’s benefit. His personality was completely different now; even his look had changed.

Nowadays, he was usually decked out in silk and linen clothing. His spiky hair had been bleached, then dyed burgundy. His fingers bore golden rings inlaid with several colors of power crystals, and bracelets wrapped around both slim wrists. Leather gloves hid the glow of the crystals from view when he needed to be discreet. The cast-iron ear hoops he still wore were the only remaining artifact of their life before moving into the townhouse base with Aric. Everything else had been tailored to meet the tastes of the boyfriend he seemingly worshipped unconditionally. Kai shifted her gaze to C. Manning, lurking behind Dex. She thought about how they were both Aric’s pets now. C was formerly Charlie Manning, but now a generic type ‘A’ soldier, whose mind had been overhauled by a pill filled with black crystal and whose values had been reset by repetitive use of a photogun. To Aric’s delight, C followed orders beautifully, unhindered by things like emotions or free thinking. At over seven feet tall and more than three hundred pounds, he was a wall of solid muscle, and his new goal was to get as close to zero percent body fat as a human could get, thanks to a regimen of rigorous diet and exercise. His blond hair had been cut close to his head, and his brown eyes were still lit by the faintest glow of black light from the crystal. Aric’s current experiment was meant to replicate what had happened to C. Manning so that he could create an army of perfect super-soldiers. “Hey,” said the soldier on the table, suddenly springing to life and pulling at his restraints. “Where am I? What’s happening?”

“Temporarily immune to all outside influence,” muttered Aric. “It’s the Shine. Can’t be helped.” Kai turned away and pressed the button on the elevator that led out of the lab. She had seen enough. If this worked and they could ‘reset’ all of the Eastern Forces’ type ‘A’ soldiers who were currently in stasis or sick with serum syndrome, then the sacrifices of Charlie and her friends might be worth the price they’d paid. After being rescued from imprisonment in the Eastern Fortress, and the horror of being made into a Seven Soldier herself, Kai had placed all her bets on Aric being able to command the soldiers to take down the Science Council that ruled over their entire planet. If that happened, then this would all be worthwhile. She just hated having to trust a narcissistic sociopath whose emotions had been removed by his father before he was “born. That’s what the scientists and doctors did: design and control people to meet their needs. She felt lucky that she hadn’t been given enough doses of the blue compound to suffer any lasting effects. Kai walked out of the elevator and into the opulent parlor next to the entryway in Aric and his mother Elyse’s townhouse. She sat down on a plush mint-green sofa and fiddled with a scuff mark on a dark wood coffee table that held several Fabergé eggs and an antique clock. The high-hat domed marble ceilings let a lot of light in, but the place still felt dreary. At first, she had been impressed with the mansion, the combo formed out of the four townhouses Aric owned. But now the whole place seemed just as sterile and lifeless as the lab downstairs. Any warmth was an illusion, just like Aric’s smile.

Kai withdrew her eyes from the empty room and picked up a coaster, rolling it between her palms. Sighing, she put it down and traced the scuff mark again. She hated downtime. It made her think of him: Finn Turner, who had run away when things got tough, even after he’d promised not to. At first, she hadn’t believed Dex and Aric’s insistence that Finn had left of his own accord. But then, after hearing nothing from him for days, she’d snuck out and returned to the bakery where Tessa had taken her, the one that Finn’s family owned. She’d waited until dark, with no sign of him. When she was about to leave, she’d seen him slip out of a back entrance into the alleyway behind the shop, hands thrust in pockets, hooded sweatshirt drawn tightly around his face. He’d looked well enough. Certainly, no one was keeping him from returning to her; he’d obviously chosen to leave her all on his own. She had closed her heart to him as best she could after that, but thinking about him still brought a vile mix of pain and anger. And Tessa had left, too. Kai had searched for “Tessa as well. She’d scoured all of Pless for any sign of her type ‘C’ roommate, but there was nothing. Either something terrible had happened, or she’d left the city on her own. And when Kai had asked Dex and Aric to help find her, both had continued to insist that Tessa had left on her own and wouldn’t want to be bothered. In the end, Kai was the only one who’d stuck around when things got tough. What was worse, there had been a time when Kai would’ve trusted Dex with her life or the lives of any of her friends… but that time was over. Kai looked up as the elevator opened again and C stepped out. He was dressed in the same style of casuals he had always worn back at the fort—a white t-shirt and gray sweatpants. His cropped blond hair gave him a harsher, more military-style look, and the weight he’d lost over the past few weeks made the angles of his face sharper. The mildly rounded, boyish visage was gone. He looked older somehow and very much the soldier. “So,” she started, “I suppose we’ll just wait to see if the soldier dies, becomes feral, or has his mind wiped like you.” “Yes. That seems to be our course of action now.” Kai shook her head. The venom in her voice was completely lost on him. More and more, she felt like she was the only person in the house with real feelings, ones strong enough to cause her pain. Even Aric’s mother, Elyse, who should’ve been a typical human with a full set of emotions, was withdrawn and cold, like her son.

Kai motioned for C to come, and he obediently strode across the parlor to stand beside her. His mannerisms were stiff and robotic, including the way he always stood perfectly still and neutral, with his hands at his sides. Sometimes she needed to hear his voice, and although she hadn’t known Charlie for long, she had mourned him deeply. Now she told C things that she didn’t want forgotten and had to repeat them many times to get him to remember. She still wasn’t sure why she did it at all—maybe she was losing her mind. “Please tell me what you remember, C,” she said. Of course, he didn’t remember; he’d just be reciting her memories back at her. “I need to hear it.” “All right, then,” he said, voice detached. “Your name is Kai. They used to call me Charlie. The girl that he—Charlie—loved “was Tessa. And the other soldier who escaped with you was called Finn. Is that enough for now?” “Not really.” She crossed her arms and scowled, hating how petulant she felt. “I just… I mean, I guess I’m just trying to find someone who can feel so I have someone to talk to. I’m lonely, C.” “Why don’t you try Dex, then?” he suggested. “I understand that he has a typical range of emotion.” “Thanks, C. You can go now.” He nodded and left to go to his room up the grand staircase. Talk to Dex? Yeah, right. Easier said than done.

—- Dex stared down at his hands as he rode up in the elevator shaft. He had always loved his hands: long, thin fingers, super dexterous. Now, they were topped off with power crystals, a mark of the aristocratic class. In his opinion, it was about damn time he didn’t have to scrape through a gutter to find his next meal. He had earned the right to have more than two crap-tastic outfits to choose from. That entire part of his life was a huge embarrassment, and he never wanted to think about it again. Not so lucky, though, am I? His newly holier-than-thou sister suddenly questioned his integrity. Now, after he had managed to provide her with a home, beautiful clothing—not that she wore any of it—food, and luxury beyond her wildest dreams… now she had a problem with him. And that was just the icing on the designer-made, bakery-fresh cake. She also completely hated and distrusted Aric with no good reason.

Sulky and distant, she’d started looking down on him for some reason that she didn’t care to discuss. How could she possibly hate Aric? He was perfect. In fact, Dex already felt the pang of his boyfriend’s absence as he left the lab. But Kai couldn’t see how amazing Aric was. She was blind. And he was growing tired of it, fast. In fact, he hoped he didn’t see her when the elevator opened into the parlor. No such luck. There she was, sitting forward on the couch, elbows on knees, looking like someone—probably Dex himself—had just killed her puppy. Her eyes began to well up at the sight of him, and he leaned his forehead onto his jeweled knuckles, wishing she’d somehow disappear. He couldn’t take much more of this dramatic sulking from her. Kai had always been tough, done what she needed to do. Why was she falling apart now?

He felt his hand creep up to tug on his ear hoop on the left side. Damn! He had to break himself of that tell showing he was anxious. He quickly withdrew his hand, wanting to punch himself for being so transparent. Tells were for those who were weak, the kind of people who wore their emotions all over like a second skin. So not him. “What have I done now?” he asked as he stepped out of the elevator. “Nothing,” she said. “It’s just… I miss you.” “Well, I’m right here.” Kai looked up, assessed him in a way that made him self-conscious, then looked back down. “I miss the old you.” “You’d have me go back to ‘pauper chic,’” he spat. “Well, I’m not doing it. Not even for you.” Kai looked down, and Dex stormed past her and up to the master bedroom he shared with Aric. He scrunched his eyes tight and squeezed his hands into fists. His body felt fuzzy—like he was detached from reality. Nothing seemed clear enough. Maybe if he could focus properly, he’d be able to sort out this mess with his sister. Why was she so angry? What had he done wrong? They used to get along so effortlessly, and now… I need some Shine. Now. He leaned out into the hallway to make sure nobody was coming, then quietly shut his door. Lately, Aric had suggested that Dex take it easy on the Shine, so he’d decided to sneak his doses. He sat down on the shiny, black duvet and crept a hand under Aric’s pillow to withdraw the small vial of shimmery liquid, glowing softly against the black of their bed coverings. It was so beautiful. Just like Aric. The luminescence within reminded him of Aric’s eyes.

Dex sometimes found his significant other so overwhelmingly attractive and magnificent that he had to struggle to behave normally around him. Why couldn’t Kai see how amazing Aric was? Dex took a sip of Shine out of the vial—he had dispensed with using the tiny dropper Aric had given him. As the warm liquid hit his stomach and dispersed through his veins, his presence of mind returned in a heady rush. Kai didn’t really matter. How could anything matter when he had Aric and when he felt like this? His life’s choices were purposeful, blissful, and beyond second guessing.

Author Interview: Tracy Auerbach

Thank you, Candace, for the great interview.

Author Interview with Tracy Auerbach

I really love the world you created for the Fragments series, how did you come up with this idea?

I love thinking about human nature, and the crazy psychological things that go on with our weird species every day. I started to think about using these qualities (addiction, passion, rage) as weapons. What would happen if super soldiers were created – if a war was fought by players who pressed buttons on people to push vice and virtue to their limits?

I liked the idea of a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has had to start over, and the fact that these crystals end up controlling so much of government, economy, the social system, etc.

How many books are in the Fragments series, and do you have a favorite?

There are three books in the Fragments series –The Sin Soldiers, which released last July, The Crystal…

View original post 946 more words

YA Scavenger Hunt

 YA Scavenger Hunt


SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team!But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by APRIL 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Madeline Dyer, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 4. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! https://rj-garcia-writer.com/about/

Image result for red team

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM –but there is also a blue team, a gold team, a green team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

I am SUPER excited to be hosting …

Madeline Dyer

Madeline Dyer lives on a farm in the southwest of England, with her family, a little herd of Shetland ponies, and many small animals. Growing up immersed in books, Madeline has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and has a special fondness for crime fiction and Victorian novels.

This Vicious Way
REVENGE IS NEVER EASY…

Aged five, Inga was snatched from her sister’s arms by Bridie’s Assassins, a group of Untamed rebels who believe the way to win the War of Humanity is to use more Untamed children as soldiers. For seven years, Inga’s life consisted of violence, exploitation, and death as they shaped her into their most deadly weapon. Then she escaped.

Now twenty-one, Inga has spent the last six years seeking revenge on the assassins—using the skills they taught her against them—and trying to find her family. She knows the Gods and Goddesses are behind her, because with every assassin she murders, Inga’s gifted with a vision of her cousins, Keelie and Elf. And soon—very soon—Inga is sure she will find her family again. She’s just got to kill all the assassins first.

But when she discovers her own sister is now leading the assassins, Inga’s resolve is tested. Sure, she will stop at nothing to get the life she deserves—even if it means putting other Untamed in danger and losing herself—but can she kill her own flesh and blood?

Madeline Dyer’s exclusive bonus content (her inspiration board)

Review: Shadowed By despair (laith #3) by candace robinson

Shadowed By Despair (Laith, #3)

Perin expected eternal darkness after his death, yet the land of Laith has other plans for him. Snapped awake with a desperate hunger for flesh, he fights the urge to feed, knowing that once he gives in to temptation, there is no turning back.

Tavarra’s deepest desire was always to be human. When she received her one true wish, the journey had already claimed those she cared about. Alone, she fights through each day, forgetting how to truly live.

To strip away his new curse, Perin needs to retrieve an enchanted liquid and bring it back to the Stone of Desire. Despite his unpredictability, and him being the monster this time, Tavarra chooses to help. Tied by fate and loneliness, they must cross the sea into a deadly part of Laith and find the solution before Perin’s hunger overtakes him. 

My Review:

Robinson’s Laith series has kept me captivated since the beginning, but I totally fell in love with Perin and Tavarra in VEILED BY DESIRE, so I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that they would have their own book.

Perin just tugs at my heartstrings. I completely fell for him in the last book and was devastated to see his story end. Well, in this third Laith installment, my sweet, tortured Perin is back. No spoilers, but I FELT for Perin so hard throughout his whole grueling journey. Some new characters were introduced and some old favorites were revisited. Vaden is another favorite of mine. Totally worth reading this just to meet him.

The land of Laith sprung to life on these pages and Robinson’s imagery and descriptive details are top-notch. I felt, all the beauty and horror of Laith as I read. Can’t wait to see what Robinson brings us next!

*Thanks to the author for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Crystal War is now available for preorder!!

Book two in the Fragments series is finally available for preorder!

The line between human and monster is not as clear cut as they once thought.

In the weeks since her escape from the hell of the Eastern Fortress, things have grown more complicated for Kai. She cast her lot with her brother’s self-absorbed boyfriend, who controls the Western Army, but she’s been separated from Finn, the soldier who found a place in her heart.

Finn has defaulted to his signature move: he’s run away; afraid of himself, his new feelings for Kai, and all the terrible truths he’s learned.

Tessa is free in the world for the first time, a force to be reckoned with. She’s gone to the far west and the Dome of Artifacts to seek revenge on the system that ruined her life.

The type ‘A’ soldier who was once a friendly boy named Charlie has been restored to factory settings, a weapon for Aric to use.

The Science Council has unleashed new crystal compounds, more toxic and destructive than anything the world has seen. As Kai and her friends struggle with everything that’s been done to them, they will have to find a way to unite and prepare for the fight of their lives.

And if you missed it, you can get a copy of The Sin Soldiers (Fragments #1) here. ON SALE NOW!

Sons of Fire Available Now

When Keegan’s father, the Demon King of Fire, attempted to produce an heir, a surge of light energy interrupted the process. One tiny piece of the newly forming demon broke off. That piece is Keegan. For years, he has attempted to lay low, watching from the shadows while his monstrous brother Aidan, the true Prince of Fire, is groomed for the throne.

Keegan’s shaky status quo is shattered when one of his father’s power-plays goes horribly wrong. He is cast to Earth and forced to work with a suddenly powerless Aidan. The two brothers must cooperate to complete an impossible task and avoid being cast forever into the abyss. As if having to spend time with his beastly other half wasn’t bad enough, Keegan must adapt to living on Earth, wielding his new human vessel, and dealing with his demonic appetite without harming the human creatures for whom he has always cared.

As Keegan and Aidan work to save themselves, questions arise. What exactly was the King of Fire up to, that sparked their Master’s interest enough to cast them from the Demon Realm? Can Aidan be trusted in his new human form, complete with emotions, or is he the same unfeeling creature he’s always been? And why are so many demons suddenly invested in the outcome of the brothers’ trial? The only thing Keegan knows for certain is that whether he succeeds or fails at the task, the consequences for the Demon Realm and for Earth itself will be catastrophic.

sons of fire available tomorrow

The road to Hell is paved with…

Excerpt:

The Demon Realm, Present Day

1

Adramelech, King of Fire, stood before all the souls he had gathered, admiring the fruits of his labor. Collecting and shepherding them to his realm had taken work, but it was nothing compared to all the time and effort he had expended to reach this moment: his moment of triumph. The pale energy orbs of the damned, thousands of them, floated above the parched brown floor, drifting aimlessly, bumping into each other or into the black-hot walls of stone around them. The stage was now set for him to finally seize control from his impotent ‘Master.’

“Come to me, Fire,” he called.

A moment passed before his offspring shimmered into being several paces away. The Prince cast a vacant stare upon Adramelech, awaiting orders. The young demon’s strong torso was bare, his dark hair hanging over the translucent skin of his face. Dragonfire swirled beneath the skin’s surface, lending the impression of movement to his form. His eyes were black with hunger while his handsome, human-like figure swelled with power.

The offspring was a paradox of mental weakness and physical fortitude that had taken two hundred years to create and shape. But now it had, at last, come to fruition and Adramelech knew that his efforts had been well spent. The being before him contained so much power that it only held its pretty visage through sheer force of will. And still it wanted more. Always hungry, always obedient, always his.

“It is time, my Fire,” crooned Adramelech. “Do you understand what you must do?”

The boy-shaped demon nodded.

“First, I will give unto you what remains of my power. When I leave, you must follow the instructions exactly as I have lain them out. Remember, above all else, that it is still my power. I will not become another Lucifer, who cast his strength into a sword and imprisoned himself in ice for all eternity. My sword will behave. If you fail, I shall be forced to resort to my back-up plan. And believe me that the alternate arrangement is something you would not want to experience.”

The Prince nodded, eyes still dull and hungry. Adramelech knew his Fire would not speak unless he himself requested it.

“Do you have any questions?”

The demon shook his head.

“Then let us begin.” Adramelech willed the power within every molecule of his own form to flow to the surface, watching his creation’s eyes glow in anticipation. Indeed, the only time his heir came to life was when a large feeding was expected. The boy-shaped demon opened its mouth as Adramelech began to speak. “I, Adramelech, Son of Lucifer, offer a portion of my power unto you.”

“I, Fire, Son of Adramelech…” the Prince began.

“You must include the ridiculous human title Paimon bestowed unto you,” Adramelech corrected. “It is your written name and therefore necessary for the ritual.”

“I, Aidan Fire, Son of Adramelech, accept the power and take it unto my form to hold, so that Adramelech, King of Fire, may wield both it and I as he sees fit.”

Adramelech focused his power into a beam of energy and shot it toward his creation. Even as the Prince’s power swelled and his eyes turned the golden hue of Dragonfire, he accepted the gift hungrily. Adramelech considered all that he had wrought and was pleased. 

2

“Just hold to it for a moment longer,” advised Paimon.

Keegan turned his dark eyes toward her, guilt written upon his face. He shook his head and released the soul he had been holding. Paimon nodded, respecting his wishes, and opened a pit in the floor where the drained soul could float down to the abyss below.

“I could not bear to drain it for a moment longer,” he confessed. “Sorry, Paimon.”

“Never apologize for your empathy, Keegan. It is among your finest qualities. “It is why you are able to relate to the souls so well.”

“Do … do have part of a soul, Paimon?”

Paimon never knew how to respond to this repeated inquiry from Keegan. The truth was, she had no idea what had happened to his being as a result of the unusual circumstances surrounding his creation.

“I do not know, Keegan,” she answered honestly. “Now, tell me what you saw.”

Paimon adored the way Keegan ran a hand through his fine blonde hair and crinkled his eyes in thought as he spoke. At times, he seemed so very human, and her loneliness eased just a bit in his company. It was so long ago that she surrendered her position as a prince of Hell. Her relationship with Keegan reinforced the decision she had made; to remain female, empathetic, and full of emotion, at the cost of her own power. She thought that if she had had a son, this was what it might have felt like.

“I saw rain,” he said. “And a dark, overcast sky. I could smell wetness in the air. A lady waved to me from the porch of a small house as a child clung to her skirt. They wanted me to stay, but I knew that I could not.” He looked away. “This human abandoned them, Paimon. I felt it in his memories. Do you suppose that is why he ended up here?”

“I am not sure.”

“They were his family and he loved them. I wonder why he left. Are humans not driven to remain together, like pack animals?”

“Let us puzzle over it later, Keegan.” She smiled at his sigh. “Did you get a sense of location?”

“I am reasonably certain that it was America.”

“Alright,” she said, considering. “Let’s have some American English for our language practice today,” she said, now in English. “Enochian’s so terribly dry, don’t you think?”

“I’m always happy to practice with you,” said Keegan. Paimon relished the moment when his formal Enochian speech slipped into the more casual language, littered with the expressions and contractions of the humans they studied.

“So, what’s up?” she asked. “How’re you doing?”

“I’m great, thanks. A bit bored, but that’s to be expected with nobody to talk to.” His brow furrowed, sudden anxiety that he’d hurt her feelings shadowing his face. “I mean, except for you, Paimon. I can always talk to you.”

He leaned forward and embraced her quickly, and she could not help but notice how meek and thin his energy felt. Indeed, even the boy-form he projected was small and frail. Once again, she found herself bitter at the thought of the father who denied this sweet boy a place in his realm, and the gluttonous automaton that passed for a brother—both conspiring against her darling Keegan.

Paimon’s gaze was drawn to the roof of the Fiery Realm through the gorge entrance before them, off in the distance. A yellowish cloud had begun to fill the space, and as it drifted lazily toward them, she could not help but think that it looked like the exhaust put forth from a demon’s feeding. But it could not be that; there was too much of it. Not even that cursed Prince Aidan Fire could possibly take enough to cause that kind of output.

Keegan’s eyes followed hers, and horror dawned on his face. He made to leave, but she held fast to his arm.

“Let me go, Paimon!” he pleaded, speaking Enochian once more. “I was supposed to watch him while father was away, to see that he did not consume the souls.”

“It is not worth it, Keegan. Your father is up to no good, and you know it. All he has ever wanted is for Aidan Fire to consume everything in his path. Your father would never ask that his heir show restraint. Adramelech is using you for some wicked end. For all you know, it is a trap set to allow the Prince to finally take your power.”

“I have to go!” Keegan pulled away with a grimace.

“Keegan, please. He is not worth it. Let him feed until he explodes, and stay with me, far away, safe from the blast of his demise. There is nothing you can do, and your life would be better if you were free from him.”

“I am sorry, Paimon,” he shouted over his shoulder as he ran toward the heart of the Fiery Realm. “He is my brother. We were created together. We are bonded, twins, for better or worse. I must at least try.”

As she watched him run toward his approaching doom, Paimon sighed. Keegan’s loyalty toward those who cared nothing for him broke her heart. She knew that it would eventually be his undoing, if not now, then soon. The Fire King and his Prince would consume her sweet Keegan for what little power he possessed. She only hoped that Adramelech and his miserable heir would choke on him in the process.