I had one surprise twist saved for the end of book 2, but after much deliberation, I’ve decided it belongs at the front of book 3 instead. I’m adding it here, so you can read it now – the rest of the story continues in book 3 of the series… The Emerald Tablet.
I could feel the broken bones in my arm scrape together under my skin, like wooden blocks covered in sandpaper. Puriel lifted me up from the pile of rubble that used to be my childhood home and carried me to the black sports car. It was so quiet, I thought my ears must have been damaged, but then I could hear Puriel’s voice. He was asking me something, something about how to drive the car. I shrugged and rolled my head. I’d been in JDRI since I was nine, and driving lessons were never on the curriculum. I looked around for Sitri, why wasn’t he driving? Then I saw him, or at least the dark furry shape he’d become. The impossibly large, wolf-like creature. He was waiting for us in the middle of the road. Howling at us. Puriel finally figured out the mechanics and the car screeched out of the suburban coldesac. I could hear sirens getting louder, and we passed several police cars and an ambulance. I blinked against the harsh flashing lights. Puriel kept checking the skies. I looked up as well, expecting a helicopter, but instead I saw a flash of wings and a glimmer of silver shapes, illuminated by the early light. The sun hadn’t risen yet, so I only saw silhouettes against the dark sky, but I knew what they were. Hunters. Dozens of them.
“Why aren’t they attacking us?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Puriel said. “But Zeus isn’t going to want us to reach Nevah. Not with the shears.
The Golden Shears.
I looked down, and sure enough, my pale fingers were still clenched around the golden metal, almost like they’d melded with my fist. My arm looked like a spiked hammer. The shears radiated power, and I could feel a pulsing. A throbbing through my whole body. I didn’t know if it was my own heartbeat, or the shears.
My hands felt sticky, and I realized they were covered with bright blue goo, that shimmered when I moved them. Pure divinity. Zeus’s blood. I shuddered, resisting the urge to wipe it against my clothes.
“Do we have a towel or something?” I asked.
Puriel looked physically pained, and his eyes were coal black, with unusually wide pupils. He stared at my hands with more than just concern. It was hunger. This much energy, right here, it was taking all his strength to restrain himself.
“You… want this?” I asked.
Hunger took over his face, and for a moment I worried he was going to lose control and bite my hand off. Instead he reached for my hand and held it up to his mouth. He gently kissed my fingertips, and I felt his tongue flick over my skin. It should have been erotic, but it wasn’t. I knew this disgusted him as much as it disgusted me. But after what we’d been through, he needed strength. It must have taken a tremendous amount of willpower to resist Zeus, and Puriel had refused him. He’d given me the shears, and I’d stabbed Zeus in the thigh. Nobody could question his loyalty now. He’d had his shot at redemption, and he’d chosen us.
Tall fir trees tore past us. I looked behind us and saw Sitri keeping up, running impossibly fast. We were going nearly over 100 miles per hour. Puriel was hugging the curves tightly, his white knuckles gripping the wheel with singular focus. I couldn’t believe he’d never driven before.
The Olympic forest expanded before us, inviting us in—a hundred miles of virgin territory, as far as anyone else knew anyway. But up ahead, I could see the a small road that cut through the forest to Nevah; Able’s private sanctuary for heirs, roots and magical creatures.
But something looked different this time. Something was blocking the road, some kind of wall. Puriel slammed on the brakes when we got close enough to see clearly. The wall was actually a tight lattice of hunters, their golden armor glistening, swords glowing with divine power. There were at least thirty, and streaks of light overhead told me more were arriving every second. They spread their wings in uniform, and it was like drawing the drapes closed. Puriel slammed on the brakes and the car screeched to a stop. I heard a growl as Sitri launched himself into the wall of hunters, barreling through the middle. He tossed one hunter up in the air with a flick of his jaw, and pinned another to the ground, tearing at its neck with bloody jowls.
“Stay here!” Puriel shouted. He tore the door off and held it with one hand like a shield, then he grabbed his sword and darted towards the fray. His sword didn’t glow like the hunters, who were connected with Zeus’s energy, but after feeding straight from the source, he was much stronger. He cleaved hunters in half with raw strength, slicing through their metal armor. He cut through them like a lawnmower, tossing up bits and pieces.
Someone’s head bounced off the windshield. I hit the wipers, and watched them spread the glowing, silver blood across the glass. A tiny stream of soap shot out, and the wipers worked furiously until I could see again.
I gripped the door weakly and tried to push it open with my shoulder, but pain radiated down my arm. Hunters materialized by the door. One of them ripped the side door off and tossed it aside. He grabbed me by my clothes and threw me to the ground outside. I didn’t think they’d kill me. I was far too valuable, and too dangerous. Unless, now that I had the shears, Zeus didn’t want to take the risk.
The shears. I rolled to my knees and held them up, feeling their power. Zeus was afraid of me. I’d hurt him. The look of surprise on his face filled me with courage. I took a deep breath, and focused on the slender threads of the hunter’s lifespans. They shone like siler glowsticks in the early light. But when I tried to reach for them, a numbing, icy pain shot through my elbow. With my arm broken, I couldn’t lift my hand high enough, which meant I couldn’t grip the threads and also cut them with the shears, not with one hand anyway. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t do any damage. I tucked the shears into my pocket, then lashed out and flicked the thread with my bare fingertips, and watched the nearest hunter crumple and writhe on the ground. The other two froze and exchanged a look. I got to my feet and dusted off my jeans, then looked up at them with a smirk. I curled my fingers like talons, just before one of them swung a fist at me. I ducked and hooked his thread, winding it around my finger before pulling sharply. He dropped like a stone. Two others grabbed my arms and held them in a vice-like grip. A third grabbed the shears, attempting to rip them out of my pocket. An arrow appeared in his neck, and he slumped to the side. I looked up to see Mist flying towards us, loosing arrows nimbly. Dion and Tori were right behind her. Dion charged through the hunters like a bull, skewering them with his double scimitars.
The hunters kept coming, like flies to meat, swarming around us. But then the sky darkened. Able and Stephanie, holding hands, descended in dark splendor, with some kind of dark lattice of energy between them. They sucked out the light, causing temporary blindness, except for the small portal under their arms.
We passed through, with Stephanie chanting, and the gateway closed behind us. The sealed passage swallowed up the sounds of battle. We’d made it back to Nevah safely. My knees buckled and my face hit the dirt, for the third time this morning.
I’m going to be adding a final bonus chapter here soon – sorry it isn’t ready yet! If you want to sign up to my list, I’ll let you know when you can get it!
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Thanks for your patience! If you have a minute, please post a review on the book on Amazon.
I’m so excited to announce that The Golden Shears is done and will be available in a few days!
I really got to dig deep into the mythology in this one, and there are a LOT of twists and surprises.
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who preordered a copy. Please leave a review as soon as you can if you liked it!
The audiobook edition of Scarlet Thread is now available! If you’ve bought the book on Amazon previously, you should be able to get it for free. It’s my first ever audiobook, and I hope you like it – if so please leave a review of the audiobook here.
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My wife found this awesome metal glove on Instagram and it’s similar to one Kaidance will get in book three – so I’m giving one away, along with an obnibus edition of the full series (when it’s ready).
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In Other News
A couple years ago I started plotting a vampire dystopian fantasy… kind of Hunger Games meets Van Helsing. This is the cover…
I put the first few chapters of Taste in the YA anthology I helped publish last year, That Moment When (it’s free, go download it!). But now I’m trying to finish the whole story. Hopefully it’ll be epic and you’ll love it… I’ve actually agreed to join a boxset of fantasy/scifi books called Dominion Rising, and I THINK the full novel will be exclusive to that boxset for the first three months, until I publish it on its own. There’s a chance I’ll include another project, I need to get busy writing to see what I can finish this spring.
I’m really excited about writing vampire book, but I think I may need to brand better… even though Taste is actually a dystopian/post apoc setting and the “elites” are not true, supernatural vampires (they have a scientific basis), I’d also like to have a more traditional urban fantasy/supernatural thriller with vampires, werewolves, fae, dragons and magic… something more stereotypically vampire.
I’m working on a plot for that too, and believe I’m going to call it Vampire Magic. Today I was playing around with some art. I’m not quite sure if I’ll use the above cover for Taste, or rebrand it with a better title and some fancy art like those below… or if I’ll save the art below for the new series I want to start.
I’ll probably ask for some cover feedback once I have the story finished and send out ARCs to see which cover you thinks fits the story (though, that doesn’t actually matter as much as which covers make you want to read the story).
Some of this art was made by the amazing Consuelo Parra.
Anyway, go download That Moment When (it’s free) – and let me know if you like the first few chapters of Taste… and if you want to read more, check out Dominion Rising (20+ full-length novels for 99cents).
Don’t read this unless you’ve already read all of Shearwater!
You can get it here.
End of final chapter…
I’d used up all my magic. As I sank deeper into the dark ocean, the sparkling lights around my body dimmed. I was done healing—but I was also out of air. My blue dress trailed behind me, the thin fabric billowing in the water, a rainbow colored sheen of scales that reminded me of a peacock. Wait, what? My eyes widened as I tried to kick my legs, and saw only the magnificent tail that wrapped around my lower body and sliced cleanly through the water. I gasped and felt the sea water rush into my lungs. The pain was unbearable as I filled up with ocean. After all these years, I was finally drowning for real. Rather than dying, however, I felt oxygen reenter my blood stream. It felt like a glowing flame, spreading through my body, making it stronger. A surge of energy hit me and I realized I’d finally changed.
I was a mermaid, a real one. But now I was chained to a massive chunk of stone that was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I wondered if I’d end up like that seal, trapped and starving to death. A casualty of human greed. But then, I saw a pale white figure swimming towards me through the endless abyss. It had been so long since I’d seen him, I was sure I was just hallucinating after my traumatic experience. But when he smashed through the restraints and ripped open the metal cuff around my neck, I knew he was really there with me. Sebastian. Somehow he’d gotten my message. I started sobbing, from relief and exhaustion, as he carried me to the surface in his powerful arms.
I couldn’t stop admiring my tail. It was dark green and purple, with flecks of blue and gold that sparkled like glitter in the sun.
“If you keep smiling so much, your face might get stuck like that.” Sebastian said, pulling his upper body out of the water and splashing water at me. We were on the rocky island off the coast that I’d begun thinking of as our island. It was so small it didn’t have a name, and wasn’t on any maps.
It had been three days since I single-handedly destroyed one of Ireland’s most famous historical icons. Of course the media thought it was some kind of localized earthquake. The truth was much harder to believe, even for those of us that knew magic was real. After Sebastian brought me back to land, he let me dry out until my tail was eggshell-thin, then snapped it off in pieces like he was unwrapping a present. The salt water healed my wounds, but I was weak from blood loss and barely conscious. He and Aedan tucked me in and I slept for sixteen hours.
When I woke up, Sebastian was at my side.
“Where were you?” I demanded, a single tear dripping down my cheek.
He brushed it away with the back of his finger.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, squeezing my hands in his. “My father locked me up as soon as I got back. I thought, if he knew there was a surviving heir… but he already knew. He killed the royal family. Phyllis escaped somehow and he’s been looking for her ever since. He thanked me for tracking you down and then put me in a dry chamber.”
“Before I confronted him, however, I told some friends about you, to get the word out. The news spread, it was too big to contain. It was the excuse the merrow needed to challenge my father. There were protests, even riots. I got a message to a friend of mine, to find you and tell you what happened—he’d been waiting for his chance when he heard the whales and knew something was wrong. So he organized a team to break me out. We’re all on the run now. Outlaws, according to my father.”
“I can’t believe you’re really here,” I said, stroking his face with the palm of my hand. “I thought I’d lost you.”
On the second day, the coast guard recovered the body of Father Murphy. He’d washed up on shore missing his leg—it looked like a shark had taken more than just a test bite. Since he was fully clothed, they assumed he must have been in the castle when it collapsed, though nobody could guess why. I was glad he wasn’t a threat anymore, but I knew we hadn’t heard the last of the Worrem.
I spent all day swimming with Sebastian and filling him in on what he’d missed, which wasn’t actually that much. Then in the afternoon we met up with the others at the Runkerry house. Jackie made Ethan come look for me at Aedan’s when I didn’t show up at her place. After Sebastian brought me home, Aedan let the others know I was okay, but they were still anxious to see me.
“I’m sorry I ruined the debs ball,” I said after Jackie, Patricia and Derry had given me long hugs.
“There will be other dances,” Jackie said. “We’re just happy that you’re safe.”
“You should have seen me in my tux though,” Derry said, “I looked amazing.”
We cooked hotdogs on a grill over an outdoor fire and celebrated our victory. I told the others that Father Murphy had been the one after me from the beginning. Aedan looked crushed when I exposed Helena’s involvement, but he tried not to let it show. We all knew this wasn’t the end of our problems, but we were going to enjoy the win while we could. There was no telling how long it would be before we got another one.
“There’s one more thing,” Sebastian said at dusk. We were standing alone near the water, away from the others. He had his arms wrapped around me like he was afraid to let me go. “Before I knew that my father was the one responsible for the disappearance of the royal family, I told him about your grandmother’s necklace. I was trying to convince him of your claim, so that he’d have to listen to you. He wasn’t too concerned, he said the merrow would never follow anyone with legs. But now that you’ve turned, you’re a real threat to him. And he’ll stop at nothing to get the necklace—it’s the key he’s been waiting for to start his war against the humans.”
I nodded. So what if I had a target on my back? I was both Tuatha Dé and Merrow, and soon I’d be at the center of a conflict that just might consume civilization. But I wasn’t the same girl I’d been when I came to Ireland. And I wasn’t alone anymore. Looking around at my friends on the beach, their smiles illuminated by the campfire, and standing with Sebastian as the sky turned purple and the sparkling stars reflected on the dark waves, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Something I wasn’t sure I was ever going to feel again. Hope.
When my parents died, I tried to shut the world out so. I didn’t dare dream about a future where I could be happy again. But then I met Sebastian, and now I had friends and family who accepted me, even though I was different from them.
“I told you once you couldn’t lift the whole ocean,” Sebastian said with stars in his eyes, brushing my hair behind my ears. “I’ll never doubt you again. I have no idea what you’re capable of. I look forward to being continuously surprised by you.”
His kiss felt comfortable, like a favorite jacket you never wanted to take off. I knew exactly how the curves of his body fit against mine, and I had the shape of him memorized. Behind us, the warm glow of the Runkerry lights beckoned in the distance. Gazing out over the ocean, I saw a long shooting star burn across the sky. I watched its bright tail reflect off the dark blue water of the ocean. The future was still uncertain, now more than ever. But it was worth fighting for. And somehow I knew, whatever else was coming, no matter how powerful the forces against us, somehow we’d find a way through it.
This is really happening…
After a year of work, this epic, enormous story is almost done. I hope you’ll like it – there are slow parts and fast parts. A lot of things happen. I like the ending but when I told my family a year ago they thought it was ridiculous… I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback!
The full book will be out next week (January 26th) but I’ve uploaded 8 new chapters – about 1/3 of Part Two – so you can start reading early.
UPDATE: this offer has ended, the full book is now available HERE on Amazon.
I always offers free books to my fans, so make sure you sign up on my email list so you don’t miss out.
If you haven’t read Part One of Shearwater yet, you need to read that first!
It’s free on Amazon – click here to get it.
I founds some great books and thought I’d share them… I’ll admit I’m a sucker for covers, so I haven’t read all of these yet. But click on the cover to check them out, they’re all on sale today!