The time has come for Kai and her friends to make a final stand, and as the war begins, everyone must choose a side. But with the lines between good and evil more blurred than ever, Kai has to stick with her convictions and follow her heart. Kai’s first priority is to free Finn from the clutches of Tessa Raven, who has become no better than the evil she once fought against.
As Kai reluctantly turns against the people she once considered her closest friends, she becomes entangled in a struggle with a mysterious new power that threatens to destroy what is left of Finn and change everything she thought she knew about the planet.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Aric remain behind and help Raven breach the underground world of the Science Council. All bets are off as they prepare to cross every line and burn every bridge in an attempt to claim the world that has abused them for too long.
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.
“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 I 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.
It’s been a crazy couple of months, between some author showcases, coffee house book signings, and lots and lots of WORK!!
I’m so pleased to announce that, at long last, SONS OF FIRE will come into the world on January 14th. Click on the title for the Goodreads link, complete with synopsis. And in case you forgot, here’s the cover:
The official cover reveal for THE CRYSTAL WAR (FRAGMENTS #2) goes live on 11/20. Stay tuned to Goodreads for the blurb. If you enjoyed THE SIN SOLDIERS, don’t leave Kai, Finn, Dex, Tessa, and Charlie hanging. Tune in to see what happens next.
In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.
Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.
When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain…
My Review :
After reading “Clouded by Envy,” I was very excited to get back into the magical world of Laith. And there were a lot of familiar magical items and creatures – the mythology of Luca, jovkins, bats, and the Stone of Desire – but “Veiled by Desire” introduced a whole new depth to Laith, really fleshing out the world in a way that drew me right in.
I LOVED the characters in this book! Rhona and Tavarra, the two POV characters, were so different, and I enjoyed reading about their journeys even before their stories intertwined. The side characters – Eza, Quil, Perin, and Lana, all won special spots in my heart in the end as well. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Perin in particular tugged at my heartstrings in every possible way, and I was sooooo invested in him and his happiness. I laughed and cried for him. The relationships between the characters were well developed, natural, and sweet in a way that really won me over.
Told through the two POV’s of Rhona and Tevarra, and rich with flashbacks and the slow unmasking of character history, “Veiled by Desire” left me wanting to stay in Laith, and missing these new characters when the the book was done. I love how the human monster mythologies are being woven into the plot, and I cannot wait for the next Laith installment!
I can’t wait to show my shiny (or matte?) new cover off to the world! Stay tuned.
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.
‘In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but They were already in our world and They were hungry.’
-The Lost History, Library of Avergard
Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.
Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.
The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.
And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more.
Wow! This was such an unexpected wild ride, full of heart-wrenchingly tragic circumstances, exotic creatures, and complex relationships.
Marrow Charm springs off its pages with beautifully descriptive writing and an interesting, unique tone. After reading so many books, it’s rare that I find a truly fresh voice, and Jacques did not disappoint in that area.
I found myself continually drawn back into Azzy and Armin’s world, enjoying both perspectives and equally captivated by what was slowly revealed to me of their backstory, and what I am still itching to find out.
I’m waiting with baited breath for the second book in this series!