Monday, July 24, 2017

The Soldier's Seduction by Jane Godman

From the front lines to unexpected romance—and danger—in small-town Wyoming
After a war zone bomb nearly destroyed Bryce Delaney, he’s worked hard to hide his scars. Back in his Wyoming hometown, he can pretend the nightmares don’t exist. But when a secretive, beautiful new woman in town disappears, Bryce’s protective instincts put him on the front lines again.
Wanted for murder and on the run under an alias, former A-list actress Steffi Grantham can’t return to her life until she clears her name. It’s her boss, Bryce, to the rescue, but desire ties them together, and she’s forced to make a choice that could cost them both. Trusting the wrong man once before almost stole her freedom. Now it might take her life.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this one. Bryce has had enough of Steffi. She works for him but defies him at every turn. Steffi was attracted to Bryce from the start but that just wouldn't work. She has a past she is running from and she simply cannot take the chance of trusting someone. The day Bryce is finally going to wash his hands of her, is the start of a chain of events neither of them ever anticipated.
I really liked Bryce. This is actually the second book I've read in this series about men in Stillwater. I've enjoyed both. Bryce has issues he needs to work out but he also isn't ready to even admit he is attracted to Steffi. I have to admit Steffi's story is a bit much but really just crazy enough to be believable. Plenty of action and the story flowed really well. I look forward to more from the author.
This was a 4/5 for me. 
Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book (via PUYB).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Crossroads Official Coloring Book Release!!!

Title: Crossroads Saga
Author: Mary Ting
Genre: YA Fantasy
Illustrated by: Arnild C. Aldepolla
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
***Based on a dream the author had in high school-chapter 1 & 2***
Protecting her from the Fallen was his duty. Falling in love was never part of his plan. Loving her was forbidden. Being with her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity. Claudia Emerson's life is about to change when her good friend, who coincidentally shares the same first and last name, dies in a tragic accident. Distraught at the loss of her friend, Claudia's dreams become tumultuous, and through them she mysteriously travels to another world called Crossroads. There, she unexpectedly meets Michael, a nephilim--half angel, half human. Now that she's been there, Fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special, and it is up to Michael and the other nephilim to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Between (Book 2) Beyond (Book 3) Eternity (Book 4) Halo City (Novella Michael's Journey) Spin-off The Angel Knights (Prequel) The Chosen Knights (Book 1) The Blessed Knights (Book 2) The Sacred Knights (Book 3) Other YA books. From Gods From Deities From Origins From Titans
Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.
Author Links:
Buy Link: Amazon:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tell On You by Freda Hansburg

Book Description:
Tell on You is a psychological suspense novel that best fits within the Gone Girl-inspired niche genre of “grip lit.”   Jeremy Barrett’s obsessive love equals that of Jay Gatsby for Daisy Buchanan, as life imitates art in his private school English class. But his angst-driven infatuation brings dire consequences as he is drawn into the machinations of his disturbed 16-year-old student Nikki Jordan, whose bad intentions rival those of her teacher.  A fast-paced, drama-filled tale, Tell on You reminds readers about the wildness and trauma of adolescence—and the self-defeating behaviors to which adults resort in times of stress. From gaslighting to vicious bullying, poisonous family privilege to the loss of a parent—Freda Hansburg draws on her experience as a clinical psychologist to explore the depths of each dark situation in Tell on You.

My Thoughts
This was a quick read. Jeremy is a teacher that has managed to get himself into quite a jam. He has a baby on the way, family that drives him crazy, a wife that doesn't understand him and accusations from a student. If that weren't all enough, he has to worry about other things being found out because the accusations may not be accurate but that doesn't mean he hasn't blurred the lines with a student.
Honestly, this is an engrossing read. I didn't really like any of the characters and I think most of that was by the author's design. Jeremy is the adult in this story but sometimes you do feel sorry for him. Nikki is intriguing but not likable. The story flows well and can be read quickly. Lots of lies and deceit. I enjoyed the author's writing style and look forward to other books by her.
It was a 3/5 for me.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via PUYB).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

NIV True Images the Bible for Teen Girls

Book Description

For 15 years, the best-selling NIV True images Bible for Teen Girls has been a trusted resource guiding teen girls ages 13-18 towards a closer relationship with God. Updated for this generation, this new edition is packed with tools and insight to help teens navigate today’s contemporary cultural issues with confidence, love, and grace.
Facing today’s contemporary issues can be difficult, but the NIV True Images Bible gives teen girls a fresh perspective on faith-related issues and provides tools to navigate a complex world. They will ask the big questions, take valuable lessons to heart, and help others do the same.
Beautifully designed from the inside out, this Bible is filled with challenging insights, honest advice, and personal notes helping teen girls build a closer relationship with God as they set out on a personal journey of their world. Following Jesus isn’t unfashionable or illusive. It’s an authentic way of life!
This newly updated edition uses the accurate, readable, and clear NIV translation and includes features strategically designed to empower teen girls in their quest for truth.

My Thoughts:
Since this Bible is aimed at teenage girls, I shared it with my 13 year old niece after I read through it.  She loved it.  I like that it is easy to read and the notes throughout.  She seemed to like everything about it.  The moment I gave it to her, she began looking through it.  Then each time she had free time, she would pick it up and read some here and there.  I liked that, it intrigued her enough that it was for her gender/age that it pulled her to reading it.  
It is a very pretty book and I would recommend it for any teenage girl.
It was a 5/5 for us!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Book Description:
In the town of Tranquility Bay, summer is the season of second chances...

Single mother Hope Thompson has built a happy life for herself and her twins in beautiful Tranquility Bay, Washington. She doesn’t dwell on her painful past—especially not on the man who broke her heart all those years ago. But when Hope’s beloved son needs help, she takes a desperate chance and reaches out to her children’s father.

Nick Fortune lives life in the spotlight as a champion race car driver. He’s shocked to hear from Hope and even more surprised to learn that he’s a father. He immediately heads to the Pacific Northwest to confront the past—and the woman he once loved.

There, on the quiet lakeshore, Nick and Hope must work together to save their son—even if it means facing their complicated past—for a second chance as a family.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed this one. Susan and Josh have a famous father that they have never met. In fact, they don't even know he is their father. Nick can't believe Hope would keep a secret like twins from him. Much less that she would do so for years. The reason she made contact was Josh needs help and she needed Nick to get tested. Still, it is sometimes tragedy that brings people closer.
Cancer is something everyone knows about and fears. I felt terrible for Hope having a seemily healthy teenager to such a terrible diagnosis. Then again, I felt horrible for Nick too. He missed his children's lives and when he finally meets them, one of them is in the hospital almost full time. The story is good. Second chances, family dynamic, friends, and more is woven in. Im still not a big fan of Hope's mom but I really enjoyed most all of the characters.
It was a 4/5 for me. I really enjoyed the authors writing style.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via PUYB).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery

Restoring LoveBook Description:
Restoring Love, a contemporary novel, offers readers a beautiful picture of God's restoring love. Mitch, a restoration-contractor, and Angela, a wacky neighborhood transplant, find they are both compassionately drawn to helping an abandoned young neighborhood mom. But will their regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption?

My Thoughts:
Let me start with I LOVE this book cover!  The story within is so uplifting.  There are three people, Angela, Mitch and Bianca in this story.  When Angela moves to town, she and Mitch start a friendship, that may easily turn into more.  Bianca's life is difficult and she is struggling.  She is raising her kids and her husband, well he has issues.  Both Angela and Mitch feel God is leading them to help.  
The characters here are completely realistic.  None of them are perfect, all of them have issues.  It is real life and I would completely believe these people are walking around today!  The author does a great job of tackling some tough subjects.  There is some romance, but it isn't the center of everything or the only love shown in this book.  I thought the 'brotherly love' portion was a great thing to see and it wasn't just from one source.  God's will and His love are shown multiple times though the story and it was great to see.  Overall, I think the author did a fabulous job with this book.
It was a 5/5 for me.  I loved everything about this.

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Wolf Hunt by Paige Tyler

Book Description

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski

Dragon SeedBook Description:
An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background. Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. But just as he was ready to leave home, he was given the story of his far-off grandfather to readanother angry young man who lived in the shadows, but whose life was changed forever by his encounter with a carpenter who rescued him as he wandered through a first century graveyard. Could that long ago story save Nick as well?

My Thoughts:
I completely enjoyed this takes. Nick is making bad choices. He doesn't like much of anything in his life and he isn't handling it well. His mother is having difficulty rising her children since their father is gone. Mainly because of their heritage, she has the most issues with Nick. Giving him the family legend to read she prays will help him.
I loved the imagery in the book. The shadows that the grandmother sees and recognizes at the beginning is really attention getting. The fact that it was set in a time period that is relatable while there is a story within the story was wonderful. The author did a great job with that.  The way the story is written is an intriguing look at how Satan may have fallen. It certainly makes you think!  Nick gets pulled into the family story and I enjoyed 'reading over his shoulder' and experiencing that.
It was a 5/5 for me. I would recommend for preteens and adults alike. I have a feeling if you read this more than once, you will see something new each time. Can't wait to read more from this author.
Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via LitFuse).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley

Book Description

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Protective Measures by Maggie K. Black


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)Book Description:
When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination. 
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. 
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artim that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.

My Thoughts:
Ok, I adore this book.  Alex and all the other Unwanteds of Quill completely expect to die.  Alex has a twin brother, Aaron who is wanted.  When the Unwanteds are 13, they are shipped out to the death farmer and he is supposed to eliminate them.    When they are to be eliminated, the children are shocked to find a whole new world filled with everything that Quill banned.  The new world is everything that Quill is not allowed to be.
I started this one thinking I would just deal with it for the kids' sake as we rode around in the car.  Turns out that I loved the story.  Alex is so softhearted and is kinda getting the raw end of the deal.  He was saved by Mr. Today like all the others but he isn't advancing so it is making him a little crazy.  Not to mention he wants to save his brother from his life in Quill.  I liked getting to see both brother's thoughts and points of view, though it didn't really make me like Aaron at all.  The author did a wonderful job with the story and the characters.  They are characters that I want to go back and spend more time with!
It was a 5/5 and we are moving on to book 2 now :) 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

The Girl Who Could SeeBook Description:
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the explainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed this book.  Fern is a unique girl.  She can see into another world from our world.  Her 'imaginary friend' Tristan has been there for her since she was little.  She can literally see and hear him but no one else can.  For that reason, everyone (except her niece) believes she is crazy.  As time passes, she ages quicker than her 'always there rescuer' but his world also shows itself more often to her.  Tristan tries to warn her that the thing that destroyed his world is coming for hers but she may ignore him a bit too long.
I loved Fern.  She had decided everyone was right and she was crazy.  She was going to make the most of it and that was just how life was going to be.  Tristan was a great character.  He has always protected her and loved her.  As they age the love changes from a protective friend to more but she ignores him so she can be normal in her world.  He lives every day with danger but is determined to keep Fern and her world safe.  There are several 'morals to the story' that you can read into this and I'm sure I missed some of them with just what I saw in myself.  It is a book that will entertain and make you think.
It was a 5/5 for me.  I couldn't put it down and completely enjoyed it.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the review copy of this book (via Celebrate Lit).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Blog Stops

June 29Genesis 5020
July 1remembrancy
July 3God1meover
July 4Book by Book
July 6Baker Kella
July 7Pause for Tales
July 8Pursuing Stacie
July 9A path of joy
July 10Henry Happens

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Scala by Christina Bauer--Audiobook Review

Scala (Angelbound Origins #2)by Christina Bauer
Genre: YA SupernaturalAudiobook
Release Date: June 26th 2017Monster House
Nineteen-year-old Myla Lewis has transformed into Great Scala, the only being with the power to move souls out of Purgatory and into Heaven or Hell. Trouble is, a magical object called Lucifer’s Orb is limiting Myla’s abilities. If she tries to move a soul, the Orb’s forcing her to send that spirit straight to Hell.
So, what’s a girl to do? Send innocents to the fiery down-under?
No way. Myla’s gone on a supernatural strike. No souls go anywhere until the Orb’s history. It’s the right thing to do, but Purgatory’s Soul Storage buildings are turning into time bombs. No spirits are moving out, while millions keep coming in. Myla’s determined to find the Orb and send the innocent to Heaven, but she’s running out of time. Soon, the containment fields will burst, releasing a mob of homicidal ghosts.
With Soul Storage ready to explode, Myla’s got enough on her plate without her old enemy, Lady Adair, causing problems. Adair is launching an ingenious campaign to take away everything that Myla holds dear, including Myla’s Angelbound love, Prince Lincoln.
Between their clever ideas and toe-curling kisses, Myla and Lincoln are fighting back. But will they beat the clock or lose everything to Adair’s devious schemes?

My Thoughts:
Absolutely loved this one too.  Myla is the scala now and the problem she is facing is she cannot process the souls.  Lucifer's Orb makes it impossible to send the good souls to heaven.  She and Lincoln are in love but his ex is determined to get him back.  So she is making Myla's life miserable.  Myla is having issues with ghost containment, a meddlesome ex, and it looks like problems are coming in on all fronts.
I love getting to come back and visit clients that I've grown to adore.  The author's voice to these characters just takes it to a new level for me.  Myla and Lincoln are just completely perfect together.  Adair was obnoxious.  Loved my favorites being back.  Walker may be my absolute favorite.  Getting to really see more of Myla's dad intrigued me as well as all the positions her family and friends hold.  The end was gratifying and sad at the same time.  Good mix throughout the story and didn't want it to end!
Absolutely 5/5.  I can't wait for more.

Thank you to the publisher/author for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

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Angelbound on Goodreads

Monster House Books is celebrating the launch of the audiobook version of the best seller Angelbound Scala, both on iTunes& Audible! As a result, the eBook version of Scala is on sale for .99!

Angelbound Book Trailer:

About the  Author
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. It is now available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
 Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
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Call to War by Andi O'Connor

Author: Andi O’Connor
Publisher: Purple Sun Press
Pages: 258
Genre: Fantasy

Book Description:

Darrak's adventure concludes with this thrilling finale of The Dragonath Chronicles!  

Following the betrayal of two of his trusted companions and a devastating battle in Mystandia, Darrak's talents are desperately needed by the citizens of both Earth and Dragonath. Torn with the decision of where his loyalty should remain, he finally decides to confide in Andillrian. Together, they craft a plan they hope will save Darrak's home planet, but their optimism is short-lived.

The Hellborn's army has begun the march to war.

With less than two weeks of preparation remaining, their weaknesses become unavoidably apparent. Planning for defeat suddenly becomes as important as planning for victory. Darrak's insecurities continue until the moment the first arrows begin to fly. He can only hope that help from a few unlikely sources will be enough.

For if they fail, Dragonath will fall.

My Thoughts:
I liked this book.  Darrak is torn between saving his world, Earth, and the world that he has grown to love like home and friends he vowed to defend.  The answer seems to be somewhat elusive to him and he has been hiding his struggles from his friends and missing a great deal.  With somewhat of an answer, he faces 'his people' and they prepare for war.
This is the first in the series that I've read.  It wasn't easy to get into it just because I didn't know the characters or what had happened before.  That being said, I enjoyed the book.  Darrak is a good character.  Young man with the fate of literally two worlds on his shoulders.  His group of friends who some are loyal to the end and a couple perhaps not.  The dragons I loved.  The queen I didn't.  The whole cast of characters was done well and I enjoyed how the story unfolded.  It makes me want to go back and read the first two just so I can see what lead up to all of this!
A 4/5 for me.  I am going to go back for the first two because I would bet to anyone following the series, the ranking would be higher.

Thank you to the author for the review copy of this book (via PUYB).  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.




Chapter One:

DARRAK STARED INTO THE FIRE, SHIVERING DESPITE the intense heat radiating from the flames. Three days had passed since he'd read the entry in Mionee's journal revealing the spell to save Earth. And he had yet to tell anyone.
He'd memorized the spell that first day, bewildered that he'd been handed the very thing he'd spent weeks tormenting over. Despite everything happening here on Dragonath, he'd never lost sight of saving his home planet. He'd spent almost every waking moment obsessing over finding a way to nullify the effects of Mionee's spell.
Then suddenly, the very woman who'd caused his people so much suffering, and who had ordered the murders of his parents, provided him with all of the answers he'd needed. In an instant, she'd lifted a tremendous weight from his shoulders. He could go home. He could save his people. He could help those on Earth repair the damage that had been done to their planet.
But he hadn't. He'd stayed on Dragonath, training to fight a war by day and mulling over his predicament at night. He couldn't leave. The people here needed him as much as those on Earth. Only he stood a chance of defeating the Hellborn, and even then, he'd need the help of every single person in Krémarra.
If he left, people all over Dragonath would be forced into slavery or killed. But if he stayed, he'd send billions of people and animals on Earth to extinction. His home would be a barren planet devoid of any life.
Running his fingers through his shoulder-length hair, he groaned, suppressing the scream lingering on the edge of his tongue. For three days, he'd kept knowledge of the spell a secret. Détaldin had pointed Darrak to the last page of the journal, obviously knowing it contained the spell. But Darrak hadn't told anyone, and he knew the warrior had remained silent. It was his responsibility to inform the others, not Détaldin's.
The stress of his deceit had begun to take its toll. He barely slept, averaging less than two hours a night. He scarcely ate, and the tiny amount of food he did manage to consume was hardly sufficient for a child less than half his size. Between his intense training and lack of calories, he'd lost so much weight over the past few days that his companions had to notice soon. It wouldn't be much longer until one of them confronted him.
Until he'd have to own up to his deception.
Just the thought of telling his dearest friends that he'd kept a key piece of information hidden from them made him want to cry. Putting an end to Earth's annihilation was partly what they'd fought for. They deserved to know their efforts hadn't been in vain. They had the right to know the spell had been found.
But he couldn't bring himself to tell them.
The question had been nagging at his conscience for days, admonishing him with its candor. He knew the answer. He feared admitting to his friends that he'd been considering abandoning them, leaving them to fight the impending war on their own. They had stood by him, following him unquestioningly even when he couldn't give them any concrete reasons for doing so. They protected him, repeatedly putting his life above their own.
And he was contemplating repaying them by doing something they'd vowed never to do to him—desert them in their darkest hour. That wasn't something any decent person would do, let alone someone who claimed to be a dear friend.
Darrak lowered his gaze to his hands and stared at his bony fingers with disinterest. He recalled how angry and confused he'd been when Ipzaag and Anarra had abandoned him. They'd been completely unwilling to accept Andillrian's account of the dragons' history or welcome Wystra into the company.
Anarra's betrayal particularly stung. She'd been the first person outside of his parents that he'd ever felt comfortable opening up to. She'd seemingly cared enough to persist with her questions and break through the walls he'd built around himself. He'd felt an unexplainable connection to her. A sudden connection. At the time, he thought it was love, but he'd been mistaken. Still, they'd shared something special. Something he’d believed would never be broken. Something he'd been looking forward to cherishing for the rest of his life.
And then in a matter of seconds, it had vanished.
The pain of losing that connection was almost as bad as the pain he’d experienced when he realized his parents were dead. No, he thought, ashamed that the comparison had even popped into his mind. That wasn't quite accurate. Nothing could ever equate to the deaths of his parents.
All the same, Anarra's betrayal had left him with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. It reaffirmed part of why he had always been reluctant to befriend anyone. He'd trusted Anarra when she told him that she’d always be there for him. But he shouldn't have. Instead, he should have followed the instincts that had served him well for the first nineteen years of his life.
And now, he pondered becoming the very thing he despised. He sat on the edge of his bed, having practically convinced himself to turn his back on those he loved.
I can't leave.
The thought popped into his mind so forcefully it took him by surprise. Letting Earth fall victim to Mionee's spell was an unforgivable act. But with his parents dead, he didn't have anyone on his home planet that he cherished. Hardly anyone there knew of him, and no one was aware of his power to save them. If he turned his back on Earth, he wouldn’t betray anyone’s trust in him.
Here, that wasn't the case. Here, everyone in Krémarra knew him and expected him to lead them to victory. Here, he had friends he cared deeply for: Wystra, Iornwen, Selantia, Rorend, Thraklauz.
Just thinking her name caused his heart to flutter. He honestly had no idea why. After the failure of his relationship with Anarra, he was reluctant to call any emotion love. But something definitely existed between him and Andillrian. Whatever it was, he couldn't tell her he'd decided to return to Earth. He couldn't leave her and the others here to die knowing all his words of loyalty had been utter lies.
His gaze shot up in surprise when a knock sounded at the door adjoining his room to Andillrian's.
“Come in,” he said, staring straight ahead into the fire. He was taken aback at how weary his voice sounded. The tone was almost hollow, as if he'd been drained of his soul.
The familiar squeak of the door opening resounded from behind him. Keeping his gaze fixed on the dancing flames, he listened to the sound of Andillrian's footsteps as she made her way across the stone floor. Expecting her to sit next to him like she usually did, he met her gaze in confusion when she stopped before him. Even though she was only about five feet tall, she seemed to tower over him.
“You aren't eating,” she stated pragmatically.
“You certainly don't mince your words, do you?”
“You aren't sleeping either,” she continued, ignoring his statement. “I hear you pacing around your room at all hours of the night. You can't go on like this, Darrak. You're killing yourself.”
Darrak's heart began to race, and he tried to control his breathing. This was the moment he'd been dreading. “I knew it wouldn't be much longer until you said something,” he admitted.
“Of course I said something. I noticed almost immediately and thought perhaps you'd come and talk to me. But I couldn't stay silent any longer. I'm surprised you haven't yet collapsed during your training, and I wasn't about to wait for you to do so.”
Andillrian held up her hand, and for the first time he noticed she held a yal fruit, a small, yellow fruit similar to an apple, but with a distinct bitterness that he had yet to learn to enjoy.
“Eat,” she ordered, dropping the fruit into his open palms.
Holding it up to his lips, he reluctantly took a bite. His lips puckered as the sour juice rushed into his dry mouth. Closing his eyes, he chewed, wishing away the horrid taste. It usually took two or three bites until he became accustomed to the bitterness of the fruit, but somehow, he knew this instance would take longer.
He swallowed, cringing when the fruit slid down his throat. He looked up expectantly at Andillrian, hoping that since she had seen him take a bite she'd be satisfied, but her stern expression didn't budge. It was like she'd taken on the role of his mother waiting for him to eat his peas, prepared to stand over him for the rest of the night until he'd finished the task.
Slumping his shoulders forward in defeat, Darrak braced himself and took another bite. Andillrian continued to stand over him while he begrudgingly ate the rest of the yal fruit. It seemed like hours until he finally had nothing but the core remaining. Doing his best to suppress a burp, he wrapped the remains of the fruit in a hanky and placed it on his bedside table.
His stomach felt like it was seconds away from bursting, and he had to force himself to ignore the pains beginning to ravage his abdomen. He didn't want Andillrian to see how much discomfort eating one small piece of fruit had caused him. It stood as proof that he'd been more reckless with his health than he wanted to admit, particularly to Andillrian.  He didn't want her to know exactly how delicate his situation had become in just three short days. She worried enough about him as it was. He didn't need to add to her concern.
“That seemed to prove more of a chore than it should have been,” Andillrian said, still not budging from her spot. “I've seen you eat those before. You may not be fond of them, but it's never taken you that long to finish. Your stomach can't even handle that tiny amount of food, can it? Were you planning on starving yourself to death?”
“No, I...I don't know. I just...I've had a great deal on my mind lately. It's taken away my desire to eat. I've developed an aversion. Even the thought of food makes me queasy.” He looked up at her. Her rich brown eyes overflowed with a combination of sternness and compassion. “I know that's not really an excuse,” he admitted, suddenly feeling like the most selfish prick in the universe.
The harshness in her tone didn't abate. “No,” she said, “it isn't.”
Not knowing what to say, he averted his gaze and stared at his hands in silence. No words seemed appropriate. An apology didn't make up for how self-centered he'd been acting. Nothing could take away the pain he'd caused both himself and Andillrian. Talking with her had brought everything to light and made his dilemma over leaving seem so straightforward.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity and mulling over the situation himself, he should have discussed it with her and worked to come to a logical solution. In doing so, he would've saved both of them a great deal of emotional grief, and he wouldn't have put himself in such a physically fragile position. Rather than taking the sensible course of action, he'd allowed everything to become more convoluted and stressful than it needed to be.
“I brought you another for later,” Andillrian said, breaking the silence. She tossed him a slightly larger yal fruit; he caught it, unable to keep his lips from creeping into a slight smile. “I'll sit here again and watch you eat if I have to.”
A small laugh escaped his lips. “I know you will. And I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.”
Finally letting down her guard, she sat next to him on the bed, like she'd done every night since their arrival in Krémarra. Their shoulders were less than an inch apart, and her warmth seeped through his thin linen tunic to his skin beneath. The faint vanilla scent of her hair wafted through the air. Breathing in deeply, he relished the simple yet glorious sensation with every part of his being.
He wanted to put his arm around her and hold her close, clinging on to the moment for all eternity. But instead, he sat rigidly next to her, continuing to stare at his hands resting in his lap.
“What's on your mind?”
The seriousness of Andillrian's question jerked him away from his thoughts, reminding him that until this mess was sorted he couldn't allow himself to indulge in even the simplest of pleasures. People on both planets were dying. He needed to save them.
Not answering, he reached beneath his pillow and slid out the worn leather notebook. “This belonged to Mionee,” he said in answer to Andillrian's quizzical look. “Détaldin gave it to me shortly after he arrived with Katriel. It's Mionee's personal journal and contains some extremely interesting and rather heartbreaking information. Some of what she's experienced, particularly at the hands of King Denthald, are the most horrific accounts of abuse and rape I've ever read about. Though, I don't think her experience under the Hellborn will fare any better.”
The compassion in Andillrian's voice touched his heart. “I've always known you to be an extremely empathetic person, Darrak. I can only imagine the graphic details of Mionee's entries. It's natural for something like that to affect you so deeply.
“I've spoken with Détaldin a number of times over the past few days. Despite all of the atrocities Mionee has committed, he loves her. He sees the honesty in her repentance. He saw the good in her when no one else did. Truthfully, it's appalling and rather unfortunate that most of the people throughout Dragonath will never come to see her as anything but the villain she once was.
“Mionee not only recognized her mistakes but admitted to them—not just to others but to herself. She rose above the despicable path she'd set for herself and transformed into a better person than most who will continue to judge her long after she's dead. Like Détaldin you're a truly wonderful man to recognize the person Mionee has become and sympathize with the terrors she's faced. But you can't allow the recounts of her torture to rule your life. Use it. Learn from it just like Mionee did. Use it to make our world a better place.”
Darrak shook his head. “No. You don't understand. Although what you say is true, that's not what's been consuming my mind.”
Opening the leather notebook to the last page, he handed it to Andillrian. Cocking her head in an unspoken question, she took it and began to read. Long, gut-wrenching moments passed before she closed the journal. Looking up, she met his gaze, a sense of understanding finally evident in her large eyes.
“You don't know where to go,” she said, compassion evident in her voice.
She reached for his hand but pulled it back quickly. Her eyes widened in horror.
“You don't know who to save.”
“I want to save everyone!”
He grabbed the journal from her and clutched it against his chest. Standing abruptly, he started pacing before her.
“I want to save both planets and the billions of people suffering! I want to help those on Earth rebuild their communities, and I want to do the same for those here on Dragonath. I want to make sure neither world endures the same kind of carnage again. I want to make sure Halla or any magic is never again used for such corrupt motives!”
Tears of frustration began to run down his gaunt cheeks. “How can I? How can I be on both planets at once? I can't! I can't turn my back on my people! But I also can't turn my back on my new home and those I love!”
Andillrian pulled him toward her before wrapping her arms around him and holding him tightly. He buried his face in the crook of her neck, sobbing uncontrollably. Stroking his hair, she gently rocked him back and forth. “It'll be all right, Darrak,” she whispered into his ear. “I'm here for you. We'll find a way to save both planets. I promise.”
After what seemed an eternity, his sobs slowed to short, pathetic whimpers. Grasping his shoulders, Andillrian pushed him away slightly and lifted his chin, forcing him to meet her gaze. She had such a look of determination in her eyes he couldn't help but believe her words.
“You won't need to turn your back on anyone.”

About the Author

Andi O'Connor is the award-winning author The Dragonath Chronicles, The Vaelinel Trilogy, and The Legacy of Ilvania. She’s written multiple books, including the critically acclaimed Silevethiel, which is the 2015 Best Indie Book Award winner for Science Fiction/Fantasy, and the 2015 New Apple Official Selection for Young Adult. Silevethiel was also named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013. Andi's short story collection, Redemption, is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semifinalist.

You can frequently find Andi as a guest panelist at Comic Cons throughout the country including the Rhode Island Comic Con, Philcon, Conclave, WizardWorld, and Chessiecon. Andi also writes for Niume where she provides writing tips, advice, and insight on her career as an author. You can connect with Andi on
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information, visit Andi’s website.

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