Friday, 6 October 2017

A new snippet of Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews


Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.


Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world. 





EXCERPTS




























Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles #5) by Amelia Hutchins


Unraveling Destiny Releasing September, 26th. Feel free to share, Fighting Destiny book one is also free!
I knew destiny wasn’t done with me. I knew that she was just getting warmed up, but I had no clue just how hard my world was going to come crashing down on me.
I had thought that I was going to get my fairytale wedding and marry the man of my dreams.
I was wrong.
Now, faced with having my world torn asunder, and Faery exposed, I have to make choices I never thought I’d have to make.
I’m divided between two worlds, and I have to decide just how far I will go to get back what was stolen from me.
Old enemies are closing in, new enemies are being revealed, and surprising allies are entering the playing field.
War is on the horizon, and it’s coming right for us.










Snippets

Ryder, I’m hanging by a thread,” I whimpered as I felt him standing up behind me. He pushed my legs apart with a slight pressure from his knees, allowing his fingers to slip through the sleek mess, slowly parting my flesh as he ran them lengthwise through it. He didn’t enter me, instead, he teased until my knees threatened to give out.
Let me know when it breaks,” he laughed huskily against my ear. “I have no intension of letting you come yet,” he growled as his fingers found my clitoris and slowly moved in a circular pattern. “Close your eyes,” he ordered, and I did, even as the sensation of falling took root. I leaned against him as he continued to work my sex.




„Mate, I am your mate. Wife sounds domesticated and shit.”































"I loved that he was trying to be slow, but there was just some times when a woman wanted to be bent over and banged like a screen door in a fucking hurricane."


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

EXCERPTS from "Magic Triumphs" (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.
Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.
Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.
For her child.
For Atlanta.
For the world.





My son shrugged the shreds of his clothes off himself and showed Robert his fangs. “Rawrrawrrr!”
Is he challenging me?” Robert eyes sparkled.
I put my hand over my face.
Rawrwrwa!”
That’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.”
Conlan,” Curran said, putting some growl into his voice.  “Come here.”
Rawr.”
Curran got up and strode toward Conlan. My kid lunged sideways, but Curran was too fast.  His hand snapped out, and he lifted Conlan by the scruff of his neck.  “No.”
Conlan settled into his father’s arms, eyeing Robert like he was a cobra.  If we survived my father and I got to raise him, I was in for a hell of a time.
I want one,” Robert declared. 




She thought about it.  “Who’s going to be watching him?”

Adora.”
Dali wrinkled her nose.  “Is she capable of watching him?  You know how she is.  What if she sees a butterfly?”
Being former sahanu had severely limited Adora’s exposure to the outside world.  Simple things fascinated her.  She once disappeared for twenty-four hours on her own birthday, because she saw some river otter babies in the creek and followed them through the woods to watch them frolic.  We’d frantically combed the city for the entire night only to have her show up in the morning covered in mud and deliriously happy. My father’s assassins didn’t get out much.
I will pay her.”
A few months ago Adora figured out that when she did a job for the Guild, she earned money, which she could then spend however she pleased. After she’d repeatedly shown the money to me, and I confirmed several times that it was, indeed, her own money, she went out shopping for the first time and we got to find out what $1,200 of candy looked like.  She ate candy for three days straight, then spent the reminder of the week on our couch with a stomachache. Now she worked as a merc, with the highest job completion ratio in the Guild.  She took her jobs absurdly seriously.  Through rain, shine, sleet, and hail, purple corrosive slime bubbling up from the sewers, or mysterious black snow that sparked when it hit metal, Adora would get it done. Dali knew that.
Okay,” Dali said.  Her tone told me she didn’t like it.
That was okay.  I didn’t like great many things, but universe didn’t give a crap, so I didn’t see why she should bend on Dali’s account.
You will take the best care of him, right?”
No, I will drop him into the nearest sewer and throw dirt on his head.”




Luther sighed and picked up the ledger.  “Item number 43.  Logged by Joyce Cunningham.  Description: squished-looking doohickey.  Observed magical effect: Turns stabby.”

Brilliant.
I walked into the circle, removed the lid from the plastic bin, and peered at the contents. A dented sphere about the size of a basketball and made of twisted metal strips lay inside.  They didn’t even bother packing it in the dust.  I thought the plastic bin felt kind of light.
I turned the bin on its side, giving it a little nudge, and the sphere rolled onto the floor.  It didn’t look like anything special.
Where was this found?”
Luther checked the ledge.  “Unicorn Lane.”
Oh boy. Long and narrow, Unicorn Lane retained power even during tech waves, as if someone drove a colossal dagger through the heart of Atlanta’s former downtown and the wound kept bleeding wild magic.  Anything coming out of there had to be bad.
The sphere lay there, perfectly innocent.
Right then. Deploy the diagnostic rod,” Luther said.
I retreated to the far edge of the circle, picked up the seven-foot-long metal stick that used to be a pool brush handle, and poked the sphere with it.
Poke.
Poke.
Po—
The sphere’s metal strips unrolled, sprouting metallic thorns that looked like fangs, and lunged at the stick, wrapping around it.  Metal screeched as the thorn-fangs ground at it. Sparks flew.
Luther jumped off his chair, grabbed the nearest emergency crate half-filled with magic dust, and dropped it just outside the circle line.  I swung the stick with the screeching metal thing at the top and forced it into the magic dust.  Luther yanked the other crate and dumped the dust from it onto the metal sphere, burying it. I turned the stick, shaking it back and forth.
Let go. Let go, you damn thing.”
Suddenly it came free.  I pulled the stick out, and Luther slammed the plastic lid onto the crate and locked it in place.
I exhaled.
Luther squinted at the crate.  “Twenty bucks.”
Eighty.”
What?”
I can sell it for a hundred at least.”
What possible use could it have?”
Home defense.”
Luther glared at me.  “You’re going to let this thing out there with the general public?”
Hey, I’m a merc, remember?  Of the two of us you’re the one with the duty to safeguard said public.  I’m just after the money.  Make me an offer.”
Luther opened his mouth and sneezed.
I froze.  An odd green dust was drifting through the room.
Luther, are you seeing this?”
He didn’t answer.
Luther?”
He straightened, his eyes blank behind his glasses.
The curtain of dust floated around him, licked the salt boundary of the circle, and stayed on the other side of it. I’d put a fair amount of power into that ward.  Luther could probably break it, but he would have to pour a lot of magic into it.  He could also simply walk into it, since I made it open to humans, but the dust didn’t like it.
Sarrat rested just under the table, out of my reach.  Getting to my sword meant walking through the dust, which wasn’t a good idea considering Luther’s glassy stare.  Running to the door was out of the question. I couldn’t let it contaminate the rest of the Guild.
Luther didn’t move.  The green dust grew thicker. I could barely see the walls now.  It shrouded the entire room in a soft diaphanous veil. The circle remained clear.
Luther opened his mouth.  A puff of dust broke free from his lips.
Traitor,” he said, his voice sibilant.




Outside the car, Atlanta crawled by.  Magic drenched the city.  Ever since I claimed it, the invisible currents gained definition.  If I concentrated, I could sense them ebbing and flowing, like the waters of a sea.

No!”
Curran took his gaze off the road to glance in the rearview mirror for a second. “You okay there, buddy?”
No!”
He just likes the sound of the new word,” I told him.
He needs a venison leg bone to gnaw on,” Curran said.  “They were my favorite.”
Kill me somebody.  “Can it be a cooked leg bone?”
He is a shapeshifter,” Curran said. “We don’t have to worry about bacteria and diseases.”
I would feel better if it was cooked.”
Curran studied me for a moment, reached over, and squeezed my hand. “What’s bothering you about this?  Did you want him to stay human?”
No.  I love him whoever he is. I spent thirteen months worrying that he will stop breathing at night, or get sick, or hurt himself somehow, and raw deer femurs don’t go along with that.”
Cooked bones splinter.  He will hurt himself.”
Then maybe we can skip the bones altogether.”
Curran turned onto Jeremiah Street. “I let him eat a mouse in the forest yesterday.”
You what?”
He caught it himself.  I’m not going to take his kill away from him.”
Why me?
Curran leaned forward.  “Is that who I think it is?”
I peered through the windshield.  A tall broad-shouldered man sat on the steps in front of our office.  He wore a white T-shirt, faded blue jeans, and heavy work boots.  A worn Atlanta Braves cap sat on his short brown hair.
It’s just Teddy Jo.”
Curran gave Teddy Jo a dark look.  I reached over and squeezed his hand. “What’s bothering you about this?  Is it because he’s Thanatos, the angel of death?”
He bared his teeth at me.
I stuck my tongue out.
The cart in front of us stopped, blocking the street.
It’s because whenever he shows up, he drags you off and then you come back beat up.”
I always come back beat up.  I don’t see what Teddy Jo has to do with it.”




He just fell from those clouds.  How is he still alive?”

He is a Suanni.”
I blinked.  According to Chinese myths, the dragon had nine sons, each with a different creature. Suanni was the hybrid of a lion and the dragon, a being of fire and the closest thing to a dragon we had.
Julie.  He’s been to the house. Why didn’t you tell me?”
She waved her hands.  “It didn’t come up.”
What do you mean, it didn’t come up?  The next time you bring a half-dragon to the house, I want to know about it.  That’s the kind of essential information I should have.”
He’s just a guy I go to school with.  We don’t make a big deal about it.”
Argh.





“He’s landing,” Derek announced.

Ahead Teddy Jo swooped down. For a moment he hung silhouetted against the bright sky, his black wings open wide, his feet only a few yards above the road, a dark angel born in a time when people left blood as an offering to buy their dearly departed safe passage to the afterlife.
Show off,” Derek murmured.
Green doesn’t look good on you.”
Teddy Jo lowered himself on the road. His wings folded and vanished into a puff of black smoke.
Do you know what he is when he’s flying?” Derek asked.
No, enlighten me.”
Derek smiled.  It was a very small smile, baring only an edge of a fang.  “He’s a nice big target.  You can shoot him right out of the sky.  Where is he going to hide?  He’s six feet tall and has a wingspan the size of a small airplane.”  Derek chuckled quietly.
You could take the wolf out of the woods, but he would always be a wolf.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Excerpt from "Wildfire" (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

What kind of unpleasantness?” I asked.
The lady in question fought against the Russian Imperial invasion of their small city. The legend states that she placed herself onto a rocky island a short distance from the cliffs and then called an entire battalion of the invading Russian troops to her. She drowned three motorized rifle companies before the few survivors finally managed to reach the rock. She was torn apart. Quite literally, I’m afraid.”
Oh, Catalina . . . I could picture my sister on that rock. That’s exactly what she would do.
Dreadful business.” The Records Keeper sighed. “The House hasn’t had any female heirs since then. A very knowledgeable source has speculated that it was a matter of choice rather than chance.”
They abort female children?” Rogan asked, his voice cold.
Such is the rumor. The House refused our attempts to reach them for a consult. They’re a very reclusive family. Thus, we are left on our own, so after much deliberation, we are creating a new category for Ms. Catalina Baylor.” The Keeper paused. “We shall refer to her as siren.”
She would hate that.
It is so very exciting. If this magic endures within your family, this may be the beginning of a whole new subset. The rankings of the rare magic talents may shift. We’re bringing in a powerful antistasi Prime for her trials.”
Like aegis mages who blocked bullets and physical attacks, antistasi mages specialized in defense, but against mental attacks. Well, at least that should put Catalina’s mind to rest.
Which House?” Rogan asked. “Smith?”
Alessandro Sagredo,” the Keeper said.
Rogan raised his eyebrows.
I glanced at him.
The best antistasi Prime on record,” Rogan explained.
We’re taking no chances,” the Keeper said. “Unfortunately, he is otherwise engaged at the moment, so we will have to wait a couple of days. Therefore, your trials will be set exactly one week from now, next Sunday.”
A man marched into the room. In his sixties, but still athletic, he wore black pants, a black T- shirt, and a black garment that could be called a sweatshirt in the same way a Porsche could be called a car. It had notched lapels like a suit, the stylish drape of a luxury trench coat, and likely cost more than our mortgage payment. His skin was a light bronze, his hair wavy and black with a lot of white. He had bold, strong features: a broad forehead, black eyebrows, a prominent nose, and a square jaw mostly hidden by a short beard that was more grey than black. His hazel eyes, alight with intelligence, looked at the world with a touch of humor. When I saw him for the first time, I thought he looked like someone’s favorite uncle, who owned a vineyard somewhere in Greece or Spain, spent a lot of time outdoors, and laughed often. That was before I knew who he was.
Good evening, Mr. Duncan.” The Keeper smiled.
My House formation would be witnessed by Mad Rogan, the Scourge of Mexico, and Linus Duncan, the former Speaker of the Assembly that ruled the magical families of Texas. Dear God.
I’m late, I know, I’m sorry.” The former most powerful man in Texas hurried across the room. “Some people insist on being annoyingly difficult. What did I miss?”
Nothing of importance,” the Keeper assured him.
Duncan nodded at Rogan. “Major.”
Colonel,” Rogan replied.
The Keeper took out a fountain pen, cleared his throat,  and glanced at me, his black eyes sparkling behind his glasses. “Michael, if you please.”
Michael stepped forward and produced a high- end camera.
A verbal acknowledgment is required,” the Keeper told me, his tone confidential. “You must say these words to me: I, Nevada Baylor, petition the State of Texas for assessment and recognition of my family’s powers. Are you ready?”
Yes.” My heart was beating too fast.
The Keeper nodded at Michael. Michael tapped the camera’s digital screen. The Keeper raised his pen and looked at me. My mouth had gone completely dry.
Somehow I made my lips move. “I, Nevada Baylor, petition the State of Texas for assessment and recognition of my family’s powers.”
I, Linus Duncan, Head of House Duncan, so witness,” Duncan stated.
I, Connor Rogan, Head of House Rogan, so witness,” Rogan echoed. “So noted.”
The Keeper wrote today’s date on the page and added, Nevada Baylor on behalf of herself, Catalina and Bernard Baylor. Witnessed by Linus Duncan of House Duncan and Connor Rogan of House Rogan.
Your petition is granted,” the Keeper said.
Michael lowered the camera and set it aside.
It is done,” the Keeper said.
Congratulations, Ms. Baylor,” Linus Duncan told me.
Thank you for coming to be my witness.”
Well, if you’re going to jump into the wolf’s den, it helps to have an ally. Even if that ally is old with blunted teeth.”
A muscle in Rogan’s cheek jerked. He hadn’t said anything, but both he and Michael watched Linus Duncan like he would sprout fangs and claws any second.
I hope you succeed,” Duncan said.
Thank you.”
The sound of a woman coming down the hallway in high heels echoed through the room.
Are you expecting someone?” Rogan asked.
No,” the Keeper said.





Excerpts from "Magic Triumphs" (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews

Outside the car, Atlanta crawled by.  Magic drenched the city.  Ever since I claimed it, the invisible currents gained definition.  If I concentrated, I could sense them ebbing and flowing, like the waters of a sea.
No!”
Curran took his gaze off the road to glance in the rearview mirror for a second. “You okay there, buddy?”
No!”
He just likes the sound of the new word,” I told him.
He needs a venison leg bone to gnaw on,” Curran said.  “They were my favorite.”
Kill me somebody.  “Can it be a cooked leg bone?”
He is a shapeshifter,” Curran said. “We don’t have to worry about bacteria and diseases.”
I would feel better if it was cooked.”
Curran studied me for a moment, reached over, and squeezed my hand. “What’s bothering you about this?  Did you want him to stay human?”
No.  I love him whoever he is. I spent thirteen months worrying that he will stop breathing at night, or get sick, or hurt himself somehow, and raw deer femurs don’t go along with that.”
Cooked bones splinter.  He will hurt himself.”
Then maybe we can skip the bones altogether.”
Curran turned onto Jeremiah Street. “I let him eat a mouse in the forest yesterday.”
You what?”
He caught it himself.  I’m not going to take his kill away from him.”
Why me?
Curran leaned forward.  “Is that who I think it is?”
I peered through the windshield.  A tall broad-shouldered man sat on the steps in front of our office.  He wore a white T-shirt, faded blue jeans, and heavy work boots.  A worn Atlanta Braves cap sat on his short brown hair.
It’s just Teddy Jo.”
Curran gave Teddy Jo a dark look.  I reached over and squeezed his hand. “What’s bothering you about this?  Is it because he’s Thanatos, the angel of death?”
He bared his teeth at me.
I stuck my tongue out.
The cart in front of us stopped, blocking the street.
It’s because whenever he shows up, he drags you off and then you come back beat up.”
I always come back beat up.  I don’t see what Teddy Jo has to do with it.”






Saturday, 24 June 2017

Excerpt from Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews



The Office of House Records occupied a short tower of black glass on Old Spanish Trail, across the street from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The asymmetric building leaned back, textured, its profile odd. As Rogan pulled his gunmetal- grey Range Rover into the parking lot, I saw the front of the tower. It was shaped like a feathered quill. The setting sun played on the dark glass. Only a handful of cars waited in the parking lot.
“Are you sure he will be there?” I asked.
“Yes.”
“It’s Christmas Day.”
Rogan turned to me. “He will be there, because I called and asked.”
I gripped the zippered file so hard, my fingers went white. Last chance to back out. Rogan reached over, his magic curling around me. He took my hand and held it in his.
“Do you want me to turn around?”
“No.” I swallowed. “Let’s do this.”
We got out of the car and walked to the door. It slid open with a whisper, and we stepped into a modern lobby. Black granite sheathed the walls, grey granite shone on the floor, and in the center of the lobby, thin lines of gold traced a magic circle. A guard looked at us from behind his desk and bowed his head. Rogan led me past him to the elevators.
The folder seemed so heavy in my hands. All my doubts bubbled up and refused to disappear.
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“You’re doing the only thing that makes sense to keep your family safe.”
“What if I don’t qualify?”
“You stood toe- to- toe with Olivia Charles, a manipulator Prime, and you won.” His voice was steady. “You will qualify.”
“Thank you for coming with me.”
He didn’t answer. He’d made it clear in the past that he expected me to walk away from him the moment our family became a House. He didn’t think our magic was compatible. If we had children, they might not even be Primes. He viewed this as the beginning of our end, but he came anyway. He was also a complete idiot if he thought I’d let him get away. He was mine. My Connor.
The elevator opened. We stepped into a hallway, with a dozen doors branching off from it, all closed. At the very end of the row of doors, large double doors stood open. We walked toward those doors, then through the doorway, into a huge circular room. Books lined the walls, thousands of books on the curved wooden shelves, three stories high, each floor with its own railed balcony. A grouping of comfortable couches upholstered in dark leather occupied the center of the room. Directly in front of it, between us and the couches, a round counter rose.
An old man sat behind the counter, reading a book. His skin was a warm brown, pointing at a Latin American heritage, his hair was white, and he wore a three- piece grey suit with a tartan bow tie. He raised his head, smiled at us, and hopped off his chair. His eyes, behind large glasses, were very dark, almost black, and shiny like two pieces of obsidian.
“Ms. Baylor,” he said, his voice soft and cultured. “Finally.”
“I’m sorry to trouble you on a holiday.”
He smiled wider, showing white teeth. “Don’t mention it. It is, after all, my job. I would’ve done it anyway. I was in downtown Houston, in the tunnels, when the Old Justice Center fell. I owe you and Mr. Rogan my life.”
A man emerged from a shadowy alcove in the side wall, moving silently across the floor. In his mid- twenties, he wore expensive shoes and a sharp black suit, with a white shirt that looked even whiter against his light bronze skin, and a black tie. Black and grey tattoos covered his hands and neck. His dark brown hair, cut short on the sides, but longer on top of his head and slicked back, defined a long handsome face, with intelligent eyes the color of whiskey. He looked dangerous and slightly mournful, like a Prohibition- era gangster at a funeral.
“It’s not every day one gets to register an emerging House,” the Records Keeper continued. He leaned closer and smiled at me, as if sharing a secret. “Especially one with a truthseeker in it. I’m so very excited to meet you. Michael is also very excited, aren’t you, Michael?”
Michael nodded.
The Records Keeper put on a pair of linen gloves and turned around. Behind him a massive book lay on a pedestal under a glass hood. He raised the hood, picked up the heavy volume, bound in marbled leather, and placed it on the counter. An elaborate gold crest decorated the front panel.
“It’s beautiful,” I said.
“It is. Eighteenth- century Dutch binding. The Houses of Texas have been recorded in this book since before statehood.”
He opened it gently and showed me an empty page. “If you pass the trials, your House will be written here.”
He turned the heavy pages to the red bookmark. Four columns of names written in beautiful calligraphy covered the page. Some were crossed out.
“Are those the people who failed the trials?”
He nodded. “Indeed. Now then, do you have the necessary paperwork?”
I passed him the folder. He opened it, scanning the pages.
“Where is the second witness?” Rogan asked.
“Running late. Given the circumstances, I wanted to make sure to select someone whose reputation is beyond contestation. Someone whose name commands respect. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
“A witness to the emergence of a House has certain obligations,” Rogan told me quietly.
“Like what?”
“We’re expected to offer advice and guidance.”
The Keeper checked the signatures and raised his head. “You’ve presented us with a conundrum, Mr. Rogan. Finding a suitable test for a truthseeker was challenging, but identifying the younger Ms. Baylor’s magic was even more so. I must say, your sister’s power is something truly remarkable. It is, of course, a mental branch, but what subset? One would naturally lean toward a psionic, but a psionic who evokes a genuine love has never manifested. Michael and I had to dig very far through our archives and other archives. Favors were called in, access to databases had to be requested, and foreign Keepers of Records were consulted. But we persevered, didn’t we, Michael?”
Michael nodded again.
“We had to reach very far, and we finally found what we were looking for in Greece. There is a single House— just one, mind you— whose record showed the emergence of a similar talent. Only in female offspring. The last verified manifestation was in the 1940s. Apparently, there was some unpleasantness.”






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