The door opened, and the object of my reflections strode in. Black vest today and gray yoga pants. He kicked off his shoes and rolled his head on his shoulder to stretch the muscles.
“You ready?” he asked.
Terse tone, check. He always started out this way. “Yep.”
“Okay, let’s see what you remember from the other day.”
I launched myself at him, not giving him a moment to think, but he grabbed me around the waist easily and flung me to the ground before landing on top of me, arms braced on either side of my head, body in plank position so it was mere inches from mine.
“Not good enough.” His eyes glittered, and his gaze fell to my lips. “Try harder.”
There was a bite to his words, and then he’d pushed off me and leapt to his feet. Shit, the man was agile. Large and muscled like a wildcat, like the panthers we’d seen on the documentaries at the cinema if panthers were silver and blond with twilight eyes.
He circled me as I stood.
“I’m going to attack you now, Echo,” he warned.
A shiver went up my spine, because hell if that wasn’t a hint of glee in his tone.
“I’m going to attack you, and you need to defend.”
His hair had fallen forward into his eyes, and he peered at me from behind the tendrils, his eyes super dark beyond his spectacles. My pulse fizzed, and adrenaline leaked into my limbs.
“Wait, what?” We hadn’t played this game before.
“You know the moves. If you lose your staff if you’re up against the Breed, what do you do?”
Was that a growl to his tone? “Um, Emory.”
His chest was rising and falling rapidly. “Run.”
And then he was charging me. I leapt out of the way just in time to avoid the crash of his body and launched into a run; the room was big, but with him in residence, it felt way too small. I leapt over the horse and grabbed hold of the rings hanging from the ceiling, using them to swing myself over to the rock-climbing wall. My fingers grazed the nooks, gaining purchase long enough to hang and drop, turn and twist to kick him in the gut. My foot connected but didn’t come away because he had my ankle.
My gaze shot up to meet his, and his lips curled slowly. It was a primal smile, a smile of triumph and ownership.
“Okay, you win.” I hopped on one leg while he continued to hold the other.
“I do?” He kept hold of my ankle with one hand and grabbed my calf with the other, pulling me closer.
“Shit.” My heart was thudding faster now, but not with exertion, with fear, because when I looked into his eyes, the Emory I knew wasn’t there. “Emory? You win. You can let go now.”
He canted his head and released my ankle to grab my thigh. “You think a Breed will let you go? You think a scuttler will let you go?”
My pulse was hammering in my throat now as I scanned the face I’d known for years and found nothing familiar aside from the features. His fingers tightened on me. “The Breed will catch you, and they’ll fuck you.”
He yanked my leg suddenly and hard enough to knock me off balance and bring me to the ground. He came with me, his weight landing on my body, pushing it into the mats. A growl vibrated against me, and my fear spiked and twisted into something else, something untamed and dangerous. He inhaled, and the pupils behind his glasses dilated. His gloved hand slid up my body to tangle and fist in my hair almost painfully. Tears stung my eyes, and my body began to tremble, but this … this wasn’t fear, it was anticipation.
What was this? What was happening right now?
His thigh slipped between mine, pushing up against my crotch, and my body was suddenly on fire.
“Emory?” His name was a breathless explosion.
He tensed, and the hand in my hair flexed, tearing a gasp from me. He blinked slowly as if waking from a daydream, and then his face, his beautiful face, contorted in horror.
He leapt off me as if he’d been burned and turned away, bracing his hands on his head. He took several steps away from me and then lowered his arms. His back straightened, and when he turned to face me, his expression was closed.
“Get up.” He looked down on me coolly. “Training is done for the day.”
by Kathy Kimbray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: May 28th 2019
A squandering emperor. A handsome stranger. A reluctant heroine. And the ancient magic that will capsize a kingdom.
Seventeen-year-old Meadow Sircha watched her mother die from the wilting sickness. Tormented by the knowledge that the emperor failed to import the medicine that would have saved her, she speaks out at a gathering of villagers, inciting them to boycott his prized gladiator tournament.
But doing so comes at a steep cost.
Arrested as punishment for her impulsive tongue, Meadow finds herself caught up in the kind of danger she’s always tried to avoid. After a chance meeting with an enigmatic boy, she’s propelled on a perilous trek across the outer lands. But she soon unearths a staggering secret: one that will shift her world—and the kingdom—forever.
Filled with longing and heart, surprise and wonder, A SHIFTING OF STARS is the first book in Kathy Kimbray's gripping Of Stars trilogy.
Saskia willed herself to stop trembling but it was damn near impossible. Especially when the huge, intimidating man stopped in front of her, pinned her in place with a piercing gray stare, and went absolutely still. It was as though he were carved out of stone.
His nostrils flared as if in slow motion and her heart beat a frantic tattoo in her chest as he inhaled and she watched his expression change from one of mild curiosity to a look of raw, primal hunger.
He looked like he would devour her.
She had seen one or two Alphas from a distance, but never before had she stood in such close proximity to one. Even more impressive than the trademark expensive clothing they wore, which she had only ever viewed from afar, this one up close radiated power and dominance in a way she had never experienced before. He was undeniably attractive, in his perfectly tailored gray suit, but the way he was staring at her—like a cat eyeing a mouse—was distinctly unnerving.
Breathe through your mouth, her mother had always warned her. If an Alpha’s pheromones reach you and he’s a breeding match, it will all be over. He’ll go into rut, you’ll go into estrus, and you’ll be powerless to stop him. It’s imperative that you don’t smell him.
Saskia squeezed her eyes shut; the only way she could think of to escape that penetrating gaze he was leveling on her. But even against the sudden dark backdrop of her closed eyelids, his face remained as though imprinted in her mind.
His long, shaggy black hair.
His slightly hooked nose.
His full, sensuous lips.
The stubble coating his square, tense jaw.
And those eyes… those iron-gray eyes which seemed to see right down into her soul.
Saskia concentrated on breathing through her mouth until he interrupted her with a growl.
“I thought I told you to look at me.”
With a supreme effort, she forced her eyes back open and herself to meet his stare head-on. Determined not to cower or show any sign of fear, she lifted her chin and took a deep breath.
Too late, she realized her mistake.
“You’re in over your head and you know it.” Leigh lifts her frozen margarita to her lips and eyes me over the sugar rim.
“I am not.” I roll my eyes and look around the smoky bar. I don’t know why I even let Leigh talk me into coming here. It’s dark, a little sketchy, and the millions of fog machines fill the place with smoke so thick you’d think they allowed cigarettes in here.
“You’re in denial, Addi. You can’t even look at me.”
I snap my eyes back to her. “It’s hard to see with all this smoke.” I wave my hand around for dramatic effect. I’m so in denial but she doesn’t need to know that.
Leigh laughs and rolls her eyes. “Yeah okay girl, whatever you say.”
“The drinks are delicious though.” I raise my glass before bringing to my lips to it, licking the sugar rim.
It’s as if a storm is brewing, ready to take over at any minute, inside my belly. Awake at night, I stare at the ceiling as it flips and twists, growing worse.
The storm named Cole.
He fills my bloodstream, running through my veins, and follows me everywhere I go. No matter what I do, I can’t stop it.
I was a fool thinking I could and I’m a fool now as I sit here and let it happen.
I’m falling hopelessly in love with Cole.
It’s unreal, consuming, and lighting me on fire from within.
I’ve never felt anything like it before. The more I see him, the more I want. And Leigh is absolutely correct.
I’m in over my fucking head.
Lukas Richter is a San Francisco police detective with a cybernetic eye and heightened senses. He can detect the same autonomous responses as a polygraph machine, so he has a leg up in determining guilt.
In An Eye for a Lie, his first full-length novel, Richter is accused of murder and the evidence seems incontrovertible, including a bullet that was somehow fired from his gun when he claims he was nowhere near the crime scene. In the background, San Francisco is aflame over Richter's shooting of an unarmed Asian man, an incident some are calling "the Asian Ferguson."
Can Inspector Richter convince a plucky and suspicious FBI agent of his innocence in the face of overwhelming accusations and public persecution?
Read an excerpt:
Cy Wyss is a writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a Ph.D. in computer science and her day job involves wrangling and analyzing genetic data. Cy is the author of three full-length novels as well as a collection of short stories and the owner and chief editor of Nighttime Dog Press, LLC.
Before studying computer science, Cy obtained her undergraduate degree in mathematics and English literature as well as masters-level degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence. She studied overseas for three years in the UK, although she never managed to develop a British accent.
Cy currently resides in Indianapolis with her husband, daughter, and two obstreperous but lovable felines. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and walking 5k races to benefit charity.
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