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Monday, April 28, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

Title: The Harvesting 
Author: Melanie Karsak 
Series: The Harvesting #1
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Zombies


“The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone.”

While Layla Petrovich returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla’s cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that’s upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

This exciting new dark fantasy/horror hybrid blends the best of the zombie genre with all the elements a fantasy reader loves!

It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Raven's Breath by Tish Thawer

Title: Raven's Breath
Author: Tish Thawer
Publication: April 13, 2014
Publisher: Amber Leaf Publishing
Source: Author
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Audience: 18+

Raven can breathe life into you, or suck the life from you...the choice is yours! 

They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. But what you didn't know...your last thoughts determine whether Raven becomes your Grim Reaper or your Saving Grace.

Death has a sinister plan, but his favorite female reaper has been given a new power that will combat his secret mission. The only issue...she hasn't discovered it yet.

Will Raven put the pieces together in time, or will Purgatory be destroyed forever?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Audio Review: Mirage by Jen Reese

Title: Mirage
Author: Jen Reese
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
Format: Unabridged Audio
Length: 8 hrs 2 mins
Publication: March 12, 2013
Source: Library
Genre: Middle Grade

Synopsis: The desert is no place for ocean-dwelling Kampii like Aluna and Hoku, especially now that Aluna has secretly started growing her tail. But the maniacal Karl Strand is out to conquer the Above World, and the horselike Equians are next on his list. Aluna, Hoku, and their friends — winged Calli and Equian exile Dash — race to the desert city of Mirage, intent on warning the Equians. When they arrive, Strand’s clone, Scorch, has gotten there first. Now the Equian leader has vowed to take all his people to war as part of Strand’s army. Any herd that refuses to join him by the time of the desert-wide competition known as the Thunder Trials will be destroyed. To have any chance of defeating Scorch and convincing the Equians to switch sides, the four friends must find a way to win the Trials. The challenge seems impossible. But if they fail, the desert — and possibly all of the Above World — will be lost to Karl Strand forever. Here is the action-packed follow-up to Above World, which Kirkus Reviews called "a thrilling sci-fi adventure. Imaginative and riveting.

My Thoughts: Aluna sets out on her mission to warn all everyone about Karl Strand and his plan to take over. Aluna's stubbornness again lands her and her friends in big trouble. She must find away to save the lives of herself and her friend all the while keeping a big secret from everyone. Will Aluna put her turst in others or continue to put on the face of strength? This is a wonderful read about friendship, courage, and determination. There is a lot of action that will keep the reader turning the pages and wanting more. Great read over all and perfect for middle graders. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: Beautiful & Broken by Sara Hubbard

Title: Beautiful & Broken
Author: Sara Hubbard
Publication: February 10, 2014
Publisher: Sara Hubbard
Genre: New Adult Romance
Audience: 18 and up
Rating: 4.5 of 5


Molly's a hot mess and her life is falling apart.

Just when she thinks she's about to get her happily ever after, her sister steps in to have an affair with her fiancé on her wedding day. Determined to bring Molly out of her funk, her friends take her out for a night on the town, only for her to go home with a professional boxer who pops in and out of her life when she least expects it. Her mother tries to push her back into the arms of her cheating ex, but forgiving Jason is the hardest thing Molly will ever have to do. And even if she can forgive him, does her happily ever after include her ex-fiance, or the charming boxer with a shady past?

My Thoughts: I was hooked from the first sentence. Molly is just trying to survive the betrayal of both her fiancé and her sister when a night out changes everything for her. On top of her relationship difficulties Molly is struggling to find where she fits into the world. She wants to make her own way but she is so easily swayed by those around her. 

I was quite surprised that I love Molly's character. I typically like strong, kick-butt, female characters. I found Molly's subtle strength refreshing. Molly comes across as a people pleaser. This is one of the reasons she finds her self heartbroken on her wedding day. 

Sara Hubbard did an excellent job writing this. The characters were well written and easy to imagine and relate to. The romance was right on target and left me giggly, blushing, and waning more. I was satisfied by how everything end but I wanted more. 

Author Bio:
Sara Hubbard is the author of romantic fiction novels. Her debut novel BLOOD, SHE READ released fall 2012 and was a NEORWA Cleveland Rocks winner and a RCRW Duel on the Delta finalist.

Sara was born in Australia to British parents, but has lived in Nova Scotia, Canada for the majority of her life. She began writing when she was ten years old; and her poetry earned her a spot as a young author in a local competition. After that, she moved on to writing short stories about a group of crime-fighting preteens called the Super Sleuths. She loved the time she spent writing, but took a detour from it while in junior high and high school.

After high school she completed a degree in business, a graduate diploma in human resources and recently completed her degree in nursing. She didn't return to writing until about five years ago, soon after the birth of her two children.

​When she's not procrastinating, she spends her time mothering her two children, writing, and working as an RN in the military.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Giveaway: Girls Gone SciFi

Last month I got a chance to meet some amazing authors during their tour stop at Books-A-Million in Brookwood Village, Birmingham, AL. You have no idea how excited I was when I found out about this event. These type of tour stops are few and far between in my neck of the woods. I even brought along my 8 y/o daughter. She was just as excited as I was; even more excited when she met up with her name sisters(Jessica and Jessica). We each got books signed to us an lots of swag. I really enjoyed listening to each author describe her book and what inspired each story. I loved the question and answer session. Check out Cricket's video of her interview with the authors here.

I have decided to share the love with you Wanted Readers followers. There will be two (2) grand prize winners (1 US and 1 international). The Grand Prize Winners will receive (1) book of choice from one of the Girls Gone Sci-Fi Tour authors. There will also be several winners of swag items. Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter. 

Click below to see an Amazon book listing for each author. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review & Excerpt: Coping by J. Bennett

Title: Coping
Author: J. Bennett
Series: Girl With Broken Wings #1.5
Publication: June 24th 2012
Publisher: Endeavor Writing
Source: Author
Genre: Paranormal
Audience: 18+

This exciting follow-up to Falling (Book one of the Girl With Broken Wings series) finds Maya intent on joining her half-brothers in their secret war against the genetically-enhanced killers that call themselves angels. Still trying to cope with her new abilities and the hunger that threatens to overwhelm her, Maya may be more of a hindrance than a help to her brothers as they take on a new mission and make a grisly discovery.
Coping is a fast-paced novella that brings readers back into Maya’s darkly-humorous world where angels are not the good guys, the heroes don’t wear tights, and getting in over your head just means it’s Tuesday. Join Maya, Gabe and Tarren for more blood, bullets, and Chuck Norris jokes in Coping.

My Thoughts:  This is a fast-paced read that leaves you wanting more. Maya is trying to deal with her new identity and to prove to her brothers that she is an important asset in Angel hunting. Her relationship with her brothers continues to develop. Gabe treats her as if she has always been in his life while Tarren remains cautious of her. Maya's emotional state continues to pull at the heartstrings as she deals with her losses. 

Read my review of Falling here. Visit our blog next month for my review of Landing.

We make it to Poughkeepsie in late morning of the third day on the road. Turns out that Poughkeepsie is a quaint, pretty town right next to a thick vein of dark water, the Hudson River. We’re all tired and achy, and Gabe finds us a room at a rundown inn.

There’s no time for rest. The brothers hash out a quick plan, deciding to case the targeted house in the morning and then return for the kill at night if Hendricks proves to be present. We each take a turn in the shower, throw on a new change of clothes and then it’s back to the SUV, which stinks of our bodies and the food the brothers have eaten on the road.

At least the sky is clear, and the sun is streaming down, soaking into my skin and soothing my raw hunger.

We push out of Poughkeepsie, turning onto increasingly smaller, older roads, until we are bumping over potholes, and spindly branches tap against our windows. Individual houses crop up every couple of miles or so. I focus on the energy of my brothers, amazed at how tight and locked each are. Ready for action. The opposite of the jittery nervousness and uncertainty that is the clay of Maya.

When we hit a dirt track, Tarren carefully pulls off the road.

“How far out?” he asks Gabe.

“Bout three quarters of a mile.”

“We walk from here. Our cover is that we’re hikers.”

I get out and shade my eyes. Summer isn’t leaving New York without a fight. The air is hot and heavy enough to mix with a wooden spoon. A high chorus of insects thrums through the thick woods on either side. I feel hemmed in by these large trunks. It’s definitely giving me a B-horror movie vibe.

“You might want to go hang with Tarren for a bit,” Gabe says as he jumps out of the passenger seat. “I’ve got ta’ shake a leg if you know what I mean.”

“It was only a twenty minute drive,” I tell him.

“Yeah, well, I gotta go again. So sue me.” He turns and unzips. I beat feet to the other side of the car and cover my ears. Tarren pulls open the hatch and leans in to collect gear. He sees me, peers over to Gabe’s side of the car and shrugs.

When I deem it safe and uncover my ears, Tarren says, “The downside of enhanced hearing, huh?” His mouth quirks up in a short smile.

“Yeah, I guess,” I reply. This is weird, us bonding, and I think Tarren recognizes it to, because the smile comes off his face, and it’s almost like it was never there at all. He goes extra solider, his back cranking a little straighter.

“I want to go do the recon with you,” I tell him and try to sound self-assured. “This enhanced hearing,” I tap my ear, “could come in handy.”

Tarren doesn’t say anything for a moment, and I know his mind is churning over all the possibilities, weighing the benefits of my enhanced senses with the negatives of him thinking that I’m a total screw up.

“Okay,” he says softly, though there’s still a hint of mistrust in his features.

“Really?” I can’t squelch my surprise.

“We have a deal,” Tarren reminds me. Oh yeah. Tarren trains me to fight, and I don’t tell Gabe that Tarren’s the reason Grand found out about my existence.

Still zipping up, Gabe comes around.

“We camouflage the car and go in quiet, just close enough for a view,” Tarren says. “We confirm if Hendricks is on the premise and if he’s alone, and then we pull back.”

Gabe nods. I nod too, cross my arms over my chest and try to look like this spy stuff is totally standard. My brothers arm up. Tarren prefers a 32C Glock on each hip. Gabe slips on two shoulder holsters and sticks a loaded Barreta PX4 into each one. They both sling a pair of military grade binoculars around their necks.

While my brothers get ready, I snap off some heavy branches from nearby trees and stack them up in front of the Murano. It’s a pretty crappy camo job, but I’ll trust in Gabe’s philosophy that people don’t notice jack shit.

“Ready?” Tarren asks Gabe.


“And you?” Tarren looks over at me. I could never have envisioned my life heading down this twisted path where monsters lurk on the other end. But I nod anyway. Gabe throws me a pair of sad eyes but doesn’t say anything. He hates that I’m doing the mission thing with them now. Too fucking bad for him.

“We’ll close in on 300 yards,” Tarren says.

“Check,” I reply as gruffly as I can, even though I don’t know how far away 300 yards is.

With Tarren in the lead, and Gabe behind me, we slip into the woods and slowly make our way toward Hendricks’s house. We don’t pass any other residences on the way.

Fear is a fascinating thing. How it can crawl into your stomach, small as a gooey larvae and then grow and grow until it fills up your entire body. Both Tarren and Gabe’s auras are calm. They have a technique for this that I have not yet learned, but I wonder at the thoughts that cross their minds. If they can possibly be pushing through the same mental quicksand that pulls me down further with each step.

“Here,” Tarren says softly. A bead of sweat trickles down his face, and there are growing patches of wetness beneath each arm. Sure enough, up ahead, the dirt road leads to a handsome colonial. Three floors at least, with a heavy façade of bricks and white siding.

“Lotta cars out there,” Gabe whispers behind me.

Three SUVs and a jeep are lined up behind each other at the end of the road. Next to the house is a large metal barn. Inside the barn is…oh no.

“We may be dealing with more than just Hendricks,” Tarren says. “We’ll spread out, link up by Bluetooth and find out how many angels are in that house. Gabe, you take point. Maya and I will…”

“The barn,” I whisper.

Gabe is already climbing up a tree behind me. Tarren lowers his binoculars. “What?”

“Humans. In the barn.” I feel the whisper of their auras, even from this distance.

“How many?”

“I don’t know.” I close my eyes, and try to hone my sense—that new and terrifying predator part of me that automatically locks onto the pulse of human auras. “There’s something wrong with their energy. They’re weak. Confused.”

Tarren looks up at Gabe. They don’t say anything, but I know those identical expressions. They’re sharing something, and it isn’t good.

“Shit,” Gabe whispers.

Tarren turns back to the house and raises his binoculars. “Four different vehicles…”

A side door opens from the house, and two men emerge into the daylight. One is tall and brawny, wearing a torn muscle shirt and a pair of skinny jeans that suck against his powerful legs. The second is short, slighter than his companion and blanketed with thick dark hair on each arm. He’s rocking a heavy gold watch on his wrist that glitters under the sun.

“Maya?” Gabe asks grimly.

No auras around the two men. “Angels,” I confirm. “Both of them.”

“That’s Hendricks,” Tarren says. “The shorter one.”

The two men stroll toward the barn. Hendricks has something clutched in his right fist. It can’t be…leashes? My skin breaks out in goose bumps.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Gabe whispers. His aura starts to jump, but he takes a deep breath and it soothes back down.

The bigger of the two angles pulls open the door of the barn. Hendricks saunters into the doorway and barks out a laugh. Even from this distance, his loud, arrogant voice carries to my sensitive ears.

“How are we all doing today? No, don’t get up. It’s fine.”

“Tarren…” my voice trembles.

“Quiet,” he hisses.

“Who wants to join us for brunch?” Hendricks says. “No volunteers? Again?” He laughs. “How ‘bout you hero boy? You wanna save your new friends? Step on up.”

There are scuffling noises. A weak scream. The angels emerge from the barn, dragging two young men behind them on leashes. The humans have their hands bound in front of them and collars around their necks. The angels tug on the leashes. The tall, lanky boy in my field of vision manages to keep his feet, but the other one stumbles and falls. Hendricks laughs and kicks the fallen human. He then starts walking again, dragging the whimpering boy across the ground. The other human, the one who managed to keep his footing, bends down and pulls his companion up.

He supports the boy’s weight, and his face is set with grim determination. He is filthy, brown hair matted to his head, deep cuts and gouges marring his pale face. He limps with abuse unseen beneath a stained t-shirt and jeans.  But it isn’t just their bodies. Their auras are battered, leeched of color, hugging close to their bodies. Weak as the wavering flames of a dying candle.

“What is this?” I can hardly get the words out of my mouth.

Tarren’s face is grim, set in steel, but I can tell that he’s angry. Furious.

“A farm,” he says. “It’s a human farm.”

Author Bio:
J Bennett is a professional copywriter, as well as a novelist. She lives and writes in Southern California.
She also writes the blog
Find J Bennett online at or on Facebook at
Works by J Bennett
Girl With Broken Wings
Falling (Book One)
Coping (Novella, 1.5)
(Book Two), To Be Released Jan 2013
The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles
#1 Employment Interview With A Vampire (Short Story)
#2 The Vampire Hunter Comes to Call (Short Story)
#3 Duel With The Werefrog (Short Story)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Audio Review: Wail of the Banshees by Robert Poulin

Title: Wail of the Banshees
Author: Robert Poulin
Narrator: Bodine Boling
Format: Unabridged Audio
Length: 8hrs 54mins
Publication: November 21, 2013
Source: Author
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Audience: 18+

My name is Veronika Kane and dying, dying was just the beginning.

How was I supposed to know that getting smashed on my 21st birthday would lead me to becoming the 9th victim of a serial killer that's been stalking Philadelphia's streets for months? Now I'm a ghost and unlife is pretty scary. Reapers, wraiths, ghouls, gargoyles: all of the monsters that I thought were storybook characters are real! On top of it all, the powers that be in the ghost world want to enslave me and use me in their own diabolical plot to manipulate the people of the living world. Too bad I didn't turn out to be the kind of ghost they wanted me to be, and I'm not about to let them turn me into one of their puppets. These ghosts are responsible for my murder and the murders of eight other women. 

A rebellion is coming, and the ghosts that run this place are about to find out just how big a mistake they made when they had me killed. 

My name is Veronika Kane and being murdered isn't the end of my story. 

My Thoughts: This is the incredible story of Veronika Kane's journey to make the best of her second chance and to destroy the man who killed her. Veronika Kane's mortal life ends and her unlife begins, and she makes the most of it. From the beginning it was easy to tell that Veronika is something special. She is determined and observant, these two traits serve her well as the story progresses. Veronika finds trouble at every turn; by following her instincts she finds unlike allies and great powers. 

I was very impressed with this story. Immediately I was drawn into limbo with Veronika. I love characters like her. She is tough and relentless yet compassionate. I did not want to stop listening to the audio. I found myself carrying it around with me everywhere. 

This is an unabridged single-voiced audio. Bodine Boling does an excellent job at differentiating each character. She utilizes accents, tone, inflection, and tempo. Boling brought life to the characters. I felt as if Veronika was speaking directly to me. Pace is maintained throughout the productions and the plot flow without interruption. The original work lends well to audio format. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Dresden File Series by Jim Butcher

Author: Jim Butcher
Narrator: James Marsters
Publication: 2000- present
Publisher: Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Audience: 18 and up
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Purchased/Public Library

Photo credit: Google Images via

I probably have no right to discuss this series, as it is one that I have been working on for some time. I believe I got all the way to Small Favor before graduate school took over my life. So I get credit for reading over half the series, right? This series was ruined for me by the friend who likes to ruin all book series for me. However, since he told me this ending, more books have come out to add onto the series. Anyway, I am currently re-reading them and prepping for the new book, Skin Games which is due out on May 27, 2014.

When I meet people who love to read, especially love to read urban fantasy, I suggest this book. My friends and patrons who have actually gave this book a chance have ALWAYS come back telling me how great it is OR they ask me the title of the next book.  I strongly suggest listening to the audiobooks. Especially if you are a Buffy fan, that guy that played Spike, yeah, he is the narrator and a darn good one too! If you are not into audiobooks, then go to your nearest library and check it out or buy it on Amazon. Sorry hardback book lovers, but the first three are super rare in hardback and worth lots of money, so it will be paperback. Better yet, just get the audiobook, you won't regret it!

So you are probably wondering what the book is all about. It is essentially a grown up Harry Potter, set in our world, Chicago to be exact, during modern, current time. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a Chicago wizard who is listed in the phone book and sometimes works on police cases for the Special Investigations Department. The book series really develops Harry in a way that he almost feels like a real person you know. He is awkward, but strong. He even battles with himself over the good and the bad he could do. This is something we all battle with at times. He is just a real-life like character and so loveable (to me anyways). You want to help defeat his adversaries, and unfortunately, Mr. Dresden has quite the army against him. However, he does not go into battle alone. He has his own army of friends to support him.
I like most of the characters in the book. A few really creep me out like the skinwalkers and the fallen angels. Of course, any friend of Harry's- I pretty much like. I love Molly, Toot Toot, Mister, and Mouse, and Thomas. I especially love Mab. She works herself into Harry's life...and he can't really wriggle free of her icy grasp.
You get a little bit of everything in this series. From faeries to Santa being of the high faerie court himself to a walking, talking, breathing archive of the world, to the Billy Goats Gruff to dinosaurs. It seriously has some fantasy topic for everyone.
 Sorry if I am being a bit vague, but I don't want to ruin anything for you because seriously you HAVE to go now and get Storm Front ASAP! NOW GO!

On a side note, my husband and I went to a convention in February and got to meet the author of the series, Jim Butcher. He is such a cool guy. I said some really awkward, uncool, fan-girl stuff in front of him, but I managed to keep my cool. Inside though, I was flailing about, crying, and screaming. It was one of the best days of my life. Here is a picture of me, Jim Butcher, and my husband. My husband had made each of us a wizard's staff before meeting Mr. Butcher, and we carried them with us. Have you ever met a favorite author?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Above World by Jenn Reese

Title: Above World
Author: Jenn Reese
Publication: Feburary 12, 2012 
Publisher: Candlewick
Source: Library
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Audience: 10+


Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is in doubt. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. 

But can Aluna’s warrior spirit and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt—growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains—here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

My Thoughts: Aluna is a determined girl. She trains in secret and loves to swim for hours. When the necklaces Aluna's people use to breathe begin to fail and no one provides answers Aluna sets out to find a solution. On her journey Aluna makes unlikely friends and ruthless enemies. Untold truths about her society and it's origins are revealed. Aluna must decide what actions need to be take to save her people. 

This is a super cute read that Middle Graders will love. Each character is easy to identify with. The world Jenn Reese has created shows how our society can be in the future and problems that could be faced.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Unearthed by Rachael Wade

Title: Unearthed 
Author: Rachael Wade 
Series: The Resistance Trilogy #4 
Publication: August 25th 2013
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult



This is a short novella (approximately 25,000 words) and is intended to be read after The Tragedy of Knowledge. It takes place after the events of The Resistance Trilogy.

For Gavin and Camille, the Amaranthian war is over. But they’ve evolved since then, and so has the realm they’ve come to know as home. Now comfortable and happy in their new life, they soon discover that something groundbreaking is brewing, threatening to disrupt the peace they’ve worked so hard to secure. And whether they’re prepared or not, it’s about to be unearthed.

“Tomb?” I gulped, glancing around. “Gav…”
“This isn’t just a secret passage,” he said, looking up to study the ceiling. “It’s a grave.”
“What kind of grave?” I slowly rose to my feet, crossing my arms over my chest. A cold, slithering chill crept down my spine, and I could have sworn I felt the temperature drop. “I’m ready to get out of here, now.”
“Wait, baby, we need to do what the Book of the Ancients says. Isn’t that how this stuff works?”
“That was before. We’re not frozen souls anymore, Gav. Gérard’s positively gone. There are no witches trying to help us destroy the curse. Whatever this is, it’s not the same. I can feel it…something’s off.”
“We can’t defend ourselves like we used to,” Gavin said quietly, his gaze roaming the floor. “If this is some kind of threat, we’re at its mercy. We have to know what to tell these people when we leave this passage.”
Tomb,” I corrected him, feeling another chill skate over my spine. “We’ll figure out what to say when we get home. I don’t care. I’m getting out of here. I don’t want to know…whatever’s in that box, I just don’t want to know, okay?”
“Cam,” Gavin stepped in front of me, taking my face in his hands, “we can’t just walk away from this, you know that, love.”
“No.” The word came out hard and cold. A stern plea. “The second we do what that book tells us, there’s no turning back. I’m not ready.” I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head. “Everything’s been so good…so, so good here. Let’s walk away from this, please.”
“You know that’s not an option. Open your eyes, Cam. Look at me.”
My head rolled forward in defeat and I bit down on my lip. I slowly let my eyes flutter open, knowing exactly what I was going to find on Gavin’s face when I did.
That soft, imploring expression of his, mixed with a trace of unwavering determination.
“I know the place you come from, remember?” he whispered, tucking my hair behind my ear. “Before me. Before Amaranth. Before him, even.”
My lips parted at his words. We hadn’t spoken about Andrew in years. I hadn’t brought him up. Not once. I had no need to.
“Always waiting for the ball to drop, waiting for the rug to be pulled out right from underneath your feet. That comes with trauma, Cam. With heartbreak. Just when things begin to feel peaceful…you think everything’s going to be stolen from you. I know you, remember?” He placed his hand over my heart, breathing deeply. “You’re the same girl you were when I picked you up for our first date—remember that?” He smiled fondly.
“Of course.”
“You were so beautiful, wearing your grey Chucks and that sexy black top. At first, you hated dancing. But you let me drag you all over Café Des Amis, let me dip you and spin you around and then you were laughing…so vibrant and strong. You’re that same girl now. The one who quoted O’Connor and Maupassant. The one who loved my chicken parmesan and who fought to the death when our friends needed us. You’re that same girl right now, only you’re even stronger. You’re the mother of our child. No matter what happens when we do what that book says, no matter what’s going on here, you still have the strength you need to follow through, because that strength never disappeared. And you know me, too. You know I keep my word and that wherever this leads us, we’re in this together. So, it’s okay to be afraid of losing what we’ve worked so hard for, here. But know that you can handle this, and that you’re never alone, okay? Never.”
“Shit,” I murmured, my gaze falling to the Book of the Ancients. “Why do you have to be right?”
Gavin laughed softly and let his hand fall from my face. I marched forward, back toward the stone case, bracing my fingers on its cool, heavy edge. “Okay, then. Let’s get this over with.”
He nodded swiftly and moved to join me, giving the coffin lid a strong push.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we opened this thing, but given the circumstances, it couldn’t be pleasant.
“What…the…hell?” I groaned through gritted teeth, throwing every ounce of my human strength into pushing the damn lid.  “This thing isn’t going anywhere!”
“Keep trying. Harder.” Gavin bent his knees and shoved mightily, working to slide the stubborn slab of stone to the left.
Ahh! I give up.” I dropped my hands at my sides, completely out of breath.
“It’s times like this I wish we had our frozen soul strength again.”
“Was I always this physically weak as a human?”
“Pretty much.” He shrugged, falling back against the wall with a labored sigh.
“Please, don’t try to spare my feelings or anything.”
A little chuckle slipped out between pants for breath, and Gavin shoved his hands deep into his pockets. “Well, the book gave us plenty of light and pointed us to this coffin. This doesn’t make any sense.”
I was about to agree, but a low, heavy rumble and the sound of stone grinding against stone stole my breath, calling my attention to the coffin’s lid. “Gav, it’s moving.”
Gavin pushed himself off the wall and hesitantly moved forward, taking my hand and aligning me to the left, just behind him. “Dagger,” he whispered.
My hand slid under my dress to the leather strap that held one of our old silver daggers, the same ones we fought with during our battles as frozen souls. We didn’t have the luxury of super human strength anymore, but we still knew how to fight in combat, and these simple weapons would have to suffice.
Gavin grabbed his knife, too, and we readied ourselves for whatever was about to greet us.
As we kept our eyes glued to the stone coffin, an irrational giggle bubbled up beneath  my breath.
“What’s so funny?” Gavin hissed, glancing nervously at me.
“Nothing,” I said, forcing another laugh down, “except for the fact that we’re holding up knives to protect ourselves from…a dead person?” Gavin’s head swiveled in my direction and his brows raised.
I stopped laughing.
Yeah. Vampire kings and queens, dead-witches-turned-reanimated-corpses, and magic? Suddenly, a confrontation with a dead body didn’t seem so unlikely.
The Book of the Ancients’ light flickered and flared, swelling and bathing the passage in an even brighter light, almost to the point of blinding. The coffin’s scraping sound gnawed at my ears and I winced, my heart flip-flopping in my chest when I heard the cumbersome lid land with a clunk on the ground. The scraping sound ceased and the tomb’s light dimmed, leaving Gavin and me standing there in the quiet, musty hole. I swallowed hard and tensed up, waiting for something to pop out at us like a cheesy haunted house display.
But nothing happened.
The air was still cold, the space eerily calm.
Gavin picked up a lantern and took a step forward. “Are you ready?”
I nodded then waited, not moving a muscle.
He cautiously stepped forward, the sound of his shoes on the dirt path breaking the piercing silence, and held the lantern up to hover over the stone coffin. Every muscle in his neck and shoulders locked up, the tension in his back visible from where I was standing.
“Gav? What is it?”
“Come see for yourself.”
My eyelids blinked rapidly, my mind unsure whether it wanted to propel my body into forward motion just yet. I fought the fear and took a step in Gavin’s direction, slowly walking up to meet him at the edge of the coffin.
“It can’t be,” I gasped and stumbled back, covering my mouth with a trembling hand. “That’s not…it can’t be. How?”
“I don’t know.” Bringing the lantern closer, Gavin illuminated the corpse’s face. Only it wasn’t a corpse. The woman inside didn’t look dead at all. She was flawless. Exotic. Strikingly beautiful.
She was Samira.

Author Bio:
Rachael Wade writes edgy New Adult and Adult romance and science fiction. She is the author of the Amazon bestselling PRESERVATION SERIES, THE REPLACEMENT, and LOVE AND RELATIVITY, as well as the paranormal romance series THE RESISTANCE TRILOGY. When she's not writing, she's busy going to concerts, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect animals and the environment. She's an avid Brandi Carlile fan and loves all things Tim Burton. Visit her at and, and come chat with her on Twitter @RachaelWade.

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