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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway: Waking the Phoenix (Mythrian Realm #2) by Lindsay Avalon

Description:

This is a continuation of Connor and Sha's story. 
Book 1, Breaking the Nexus, should be read first.

As two Realms collide, the world descends into chaos. 

From the moment Sha Phoenix dropped into the middle of Detective Connor Flynn’s murder scene, he had known his life would never be the same. Following her claim to be a Sorceri from the Mythrian Realm, he had received a crash course in the impossible as they had struggled to stop a madman. Unfortunately, despite their efforts to stop the Nexus, a magical barrier separating the Mythrian and Human Realms, fractured. Magic and myth are spilling over into the Human Realm, plunging everything into turmoil. 

Is their love strong enough to survive the flames of the phoenix? 

When Sha vanished through a portal in the middle of battle, Connor did not hesitate to follow the woman he had claimed as his. Now in the Mythrian Realm, they join forces with the Sentinels, the guardians of the Realms, to protect the world they love. Will they be able to contain the evil taking control? Or will they perish in the flames of war?

EXCERPT




Connor’s heart stopped, his throat closing on a shout, his hand reaching for the gun that wasn’t at his hip. Son of a bitch, he couldn’t do anything but watch as the biggest dog he’d ever seen leapt at the woman he loved. A jolt passed through him as he realized it wasn’t a dog, at least not one he’d ever seen in his life. Unless he was hallucinating, something he couldn’t entirely rule out, that thing had more than one head. Three heads to be exact. What the fuck?

Helpless, he raced to her, certain she would have her throat ripped out by those gaping jaws and gleaming teeth. Shock nearly felled him when instead, the creature pounced on her, driving her to the floor and…licked her?

Relief poured through this system, weakening his knees to he had to lean against the wall. Mother of god, it, whatever it was, licked her like a damn puppy.

“You’re kidding me. That thing never fails to try to kill me yet it seems to love Sha,” Aries grumbled.

“May-maybe Xan just has good taste.” The tremulous sound came from the alcove by the cabinet, drawing his attention. Fascinated, Connor watched as Aries gentled his voice once more.

“Come on, Kas. Xander gave his stamp of approval.” The sound of someone hyperventilating was the only response. “Breathe slow. That’s right. I’ll even let you yell at me if you want.”

A watery laugh drifted from the alcove. “I get to do that anyway.”

“Well, now you have my official permission. Will you come out from there?”

Who was this woman and how could she draw such a reaction from a man who normally acted like a pissed off wolf with a thorn in its paw?

Do you know what’s happening, Sha? Don’t think I’m not punishing you for scaring the living hell out of me, by the way.

No idea. And in my defense, how was I supposed to know a cerberus would decide to make friends? Look, he likes me!

Shaking his head at the childlike enthusiasm, he watched as a slight, fragile-looking figure with raven hair took a trembling step into the room. To his astonishment, what looked like flakes of snow clung to the silken strands, dusting along the folds of the cloak she pulled tightly around her body. Skittish as a new foal, she pressed her back to the wall, ice blue eyes darting back and forth between Sha and himself.

“Xander, come.” The beast immediately trotted to her side at the soft command, sheer adoration in its golden eyes. All six of the eyes, he thought with a shudder. Though the creature was nearly the height of the woman, it treated her with surprising gentleness, rubbing one of its massive against her abdomen. 

She took a shuddering breath, then another, before she spoke again. “My name is Kastalia Oracalis. Welcome to my home.”

*********

I’m not dead. The astonished thought circled through Detective Connor Flynn’s mind as he lay on the ground, pebbles embedding their shape in his skin as blades of grass raked him, leaving tiny cuts in their wake.

Part of him marveled at the fact that he hadn’t been vaporized the instant he’d jumped through the chasm in the Nexus. At the time, it had seemed like the best option. Hell, it was the only option. The moment Sha Phoenix, the mysterious woman who’d dropped into his life mere days earlier, disappeared into oblivion, Connor knew there’d be no turning back. The inexplicable bond between them, the driving need to just be with her, wouldn’t allow him to sit idly while the woman he’d come to love vanished without a trace.

There, he’d admitted it to himself. Somehow, in the too few days they’d known each other, the seeds of love had been sewn and he’d be damned if he let some supernatural crap steal her from him. A week ago, none of this was real. Banshees, demons, magic, they were the stuff of fiction. Now, he knew different. Now, he knew it all existed. At least he was pretty sure it existed. Otherwise, he’d gone completely insane and was even now sitting in a nice, padded cell drooling on himself.

Laughter filled his mind. Hate to tell you this, but you’re not insane. Well, not any more than usual. I can’t believe you followed me without even knowing what lay on the other side of the portal.

Relief poured through every fiber of his being at the whisper of Sha’s voice. I couldn’t let you have all the fun, he replied.

“If this is your idea of fun, we may need to revisit the subject of your sanity.”

Connor pried open his eyes, not even realizing he’d kept them clenched so tight his head had begun to hurt. As his blurry vision cleared, he kicked himself for not remaining blissfully ignorant to his surroundings.

“You had to open them sometime, keva.” Sha stepped to his side, brushing her fingers down his cheek in the briefest caress.

“Where are we?” He’d wanted to ask what keva meant, but now was probably not the ideal time for a linguistics lesson. Figuring out where the hell he’d landed seemed a bit more important.

She said nothing for several long minutes as she looked over the precipice on which they stood. Finally, she spoke, the awe-struck words barely audible over the roaring winds that whipped around them.

“Not where, so much as when. This is not a place, not anymore. It’s more a ripple of memory, one few have ever witnessed. This, keva, was the birth of the Nexus.”

He stood there for an eternity, transfixed by the fierce battle waging in the canyon. Though the figures looked like toy soldiers, the song of steel against steel rang clear in his ears. The cacophony of war cries, menacing snarls from nightmarish creatures, the moans of the dying locked in Connor’s memory. A glance at Sha’s rigid body confirmed the tortured souls below would haunt her as well.

“How can this be the birth of the Nexus? How can we be seeing a something that happened centuries ago?”

“More like a few thousand years ago,” Sha said, her tone flat. Her eyes, however, darkened to cobalt, misery swimming in them when she turned to him. “In my studies, they called this a vistria. It is said the earth remembers all, can hold secrets deep within itself. Some can unlock the secrets, but most must wait until the earth decides to reveal a glimpse. They say each person sees the scene differently, each mind processing the memory in its own way. The gods must’ve decided it was time to share this with me. Since you were crazy enough to follow me through the Nexus, our minds joined, extending the vistria to you.”

The concept of the earth, the big planet beneath his feet – assuming Mythria was actually on this planet, a fact he still wasn’t certain of – sharing memories with them was bizarre. Granted, tumbling head first into a magic portal wasn’t exactly an everyday occurrence. He hoped.

“What happens from here?” Connor asked, amazed at how nonchalant he sounded.

Sha’s gaze had returned to the unfolding scene and she answered without breaking her unwavering concentration. “Honestly? I don’t know. This is the first time I’ve been chosen to bear witness to this and I’ve never spoken directly to anyone who experienced a vistria. I assume we watch until we’ve seen what the earth wanted to share. I recognize a good portion from things I learned as a child, but there are differences. I can only guess at the purpose of showing us this, especially now that the Nexus crumbles. Maybe to warn of what had been trapped, of what may come?”

A week ago, Connor would never have been able to listen to her explanation with a straight face. Now, he fell silent watching as chaos reigned below, as troops fought fearsome, demonic beasts. They would never win, he realized. The men and women struggling to hold back the advancing forces didn’t stand a chance. Every time they gained a little ground, waves of blood red light rippled outward from a black cloaked figure, bringing life to the fallen demons.

Yet, rather than retreating from the devastating onslaught, the armor clad warriors continued to fight. Why bother when it was so hopeless? It was brave, sure, but a fool’s errand when faced with an entity that literally raised the dead.




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About the autho:
Lindsay Avalon is a wife, owner of a devious mini Schnauzer, programmer, and now an author. An avid reader, her amazing husband never seems to mind the multitude of books scattered around the house. However, after listening to the words “I have nothing to read” one too many times, he suggested Lindsay try her hand at writing her own books.

Since she’d never liked writing in school, she balked at the idea until her sister pestered her to participate in NaNoWriMo. It was then Lindsay realized that it was never writing she hated; it was writing boring essays. Creating worlds of magic, mystery, adventure, and romance became her true calling. In 2012, she embarked on the journey to become a self-published author and to bring her crazy ideas to life.

In 2013, Lindsay decided to ask a fellow author about her publishing company, Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. It was a spur of the moment, impulsive decision, and one which Lindsay is eternally grateful she made. Though self-publishing was exhilarating, being a part of her amazing publishing family gives her a bit of structure in her chaotic existence.

When she’s not writing or spending time with her husband, she’s hiding out from devious bears seeking to thwart her writing efforts, pestering her amazing friends and personal assistant, creating works of art in resin, and a multitude of other things that capture her attention at the moment. You can find Lindsay online spreading insanity across Facebook and interacting with her many lovelies. She loves hearing from her readers and fellow writers!


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