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Synopsis: Global warming is playing havoc on Earth, and when 17 year-old Haley tumbles to a parallel world, she discovers that Earth’s issues stem from a war between the Eyids, the gods of nature. Because her necklace is a stone that holds the power of the Air Eyid, Haley is called upon to stop the war
But Haley has a problem. Actually, two problems. One named Tuggin, and one named Ian.
Both lie to her. Both have secrets. And neither are who they say they are. With her stone of power, Haley’s forced to make a choice that will decide the fate of all the worlds. But who should she trust, who should she fight, and who is the one with fire in his blood bent on betraying them all?
“Jahme,” snapped a voice behind me.
The guy yanked me by the arm, and I flew forward. My knees slammed into the ground.
“Ow. What’s your…”
The guy swept his hood off, and dark blonde hair brushed his shoulders. He looked down his nose at me as I stared up at him. My glare evaporated. A hint of blue seeped between the guy’s crushed eyebrows. Blue as endlessly deep as the sky right before twilight, as painfully beautiful as cupid’s arrow stabbing your heart.
“Problem,” I said, the word faint, and useless.
“How did you come to be on Eyidora?” One side of his mouth curled as though he’d discovered he’d stepped into a pool of bat shit.
“Eyidora?” I felt like I’d gained a hundred pounds when I stood. Despite the angry glare twisting his face, and the snarky tone of voice, my skin tingled as though there was an electric current zipping between us. I hugged myself.
“Is that not what I said?” His voice held the contempt my science teacher had used when I’d refused to dissect a frog.
I brushed my jammies, secretly checking him out. He looked my age, maybe a year older. He wore a loose, brown shirt and butt-hugging, tan pants, both made out of suede that looked as soft as his body was hard. His short jacket hung open in the front, and a knife with a blue handle hung from a belt. Standing more than a head taller than me, he was just about the hottest guy I’d ever seen off the movie screen. Second to Ian, of course.
I pulled my tongue back before I licked my lips.
“Answer,” he snapped.
A muscle in his cheek rippled.
I tugged the hem of my jammie top. Didn’t people usually dream about nice people that they knew, not total strangers who were total tools?
“What is wrong?” He had a slight accent; I’d never heard one like it before.
I liked it.
“I’m just trying to figure out who you are,” I said.
“I am Tuggin.”
I didn’t think I could ever forget a hall god with a name like something you’d find in a Happy Meal. An animal screeched somewhere in the dark, and the guy turned to look. His clothes were dorky, but he could have worn anything with that jacked body. He turned back to me, and I quickly averted my gaze from his butt.
He ran his fingers through his hair. A tiny hoop with small colored beads dangled from one ear. A second earring, a single black bead, had been pierced through his lobe right above the hoop. His gaze drifted away from me; across the trees, at the mysteriously-disappearing-cave-now-turned-rock, back to the trees. His eyes snapped to my face with the suddenness of a guard dog being jerked back on a choke chain. “Haley.”
He made it sound like an accusation, as if being Haley was some sort of crime. I crossed my arms. “Yeah? So?”
“I do not want you here.”
What an ass. His gaze snaked upward from my feet and landed back on my face. It was a movement that made me feel naked, and my body vibrated in response. I cleared my throat.
He glanced past me at the silent hillside. “Jahme. Wait.” He strode toward two horses standing at the edge of the trees. He marched back and flung a red backpack at me. “Change your clothing. You cannot wear those…” another sweeping gaze over my body, “…things.”
Another ripping shudder. Goosebumps rose across my skin. I grabbed the pack, my fingernails scraping the stiff material. “They’re my jammies.”
“They are absurd. Change.”
I calmed myself with a deep breath. I’d wake up soon, and Snarky Boy would be a distant memory. I dropped the back pack. “I’m dreaming.”
His cheek did that twitchy thing again. “Do not be absurd. Have you learned nothing on Earth?”
“Plenty. I’m a junior in high school, you know.”
He looked at me as though I’d just told him that the tooth fairy was his mother.
Now, I could do what I wanted in my dream. I could plant a big wet one on his lips in my dream. And he would kiss me back in my dream. He had seriously delicious-looking lips, and I’d bet he was a damn good kisser. Warmth nibbled my skin.
“You will come with me.” He added a sigh, as if I couldn’t tell by his tone how royally pissed he was.
I shook my head, trying to toss my thoughts back in order. He was crazy-gorgeous, but he was a major tool. “Yeah, I don’t think so. See, there’s an issue with my Mom and…”
“That matters not. You are coming with me.”
“And I’m supposed to listen to you…why?”
“You are wasteful of my time. Change your clothing. Now!”
“And if I don’t?”
He took one slow step toward me. His hand drifted to the knife, sparkling like blue fire in the moonlight, matching the blue fire that sparked in his eyes. “Then you will die.”
Strong Blood (Last Moon Rising Trilogy, #2)
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Synopsis: The war between nature's gods continues to rage on Eyidora and Haley, descendant of the Air Eyid, struggles with her own battles.
She's mired in a battle with Ian, the Fire Eyid descendant, over the lost Eyid stones. She needs the stones to stop the war, and he needs the stones to destroy Eyidora. She knows where the Land Eyid stone is hidden, and she races to Tamoor to find it before Ian does.
Haley still doesn't trust Tuggin, the stone-faced Eyidoran assigned to protect her. As a Menta witch, he's adept at lying, mind-control, and killing. Even though Haley is starting to believe that Tuggin may be serving more than one master, she continues to battle her feelings for him, never sure which duty he feels most inclined to serve.
But Haley's biggest battle of all comes when she meets Luke and Telsa, twins with undeniable strength. Haley invites them to join her on her mission to find the Land Eyid stone. Has she put her trust in someone who may be just as dark and dangerous as Ian, the descendant of Fire himself?
I closed my eyes, and the still-childish part of me longed for my mom. There was one place I could go to feel close to her. I bolted from my room and scurried down the hall. Head down, focused on reaching the Portrait Hall – where I hoped I could sort out my nightmares and insecurities – I rounded the corner and smacked into a very firm, very warm obstruction.
An exotic, coconut scent invaded my head and warmed my veins. My breath evaporated in a tiny gasp, a mental sigh popping like a bubble inside my head. A tongue of electricity caressed my spine, and my stomach muscles spasmed. I didn’t need to lift my gaze to know what I’d just run in to.
I stepped back. We stared at each other in the cold hallway, and that faint buzz of electricity I felt whenever I came into contact with Tuggin skittered over my body. My conflicted feelings about him battled in my chest, taking a couple of nicks at my heart. While my body initiated a melt-down sequence when I gazed at his ice-blue eyes, longish, dirty-blond hair, and over-all Greek Godiness, my brain registered several shortcomings in the demeanor department. Emotionally he was a void – a zero, a big, fat nothing – and snarkier than a hornet trapped in a used pee cup. Not to mention that he disliked me. Immensely.
His black tunic brushed against muscled arms and wide chest, which narrowed down to a pair of solid hips and long, strong, legs. I bit my lip, trying to not think about what lay beneath those clothes. I tried to douse the heat slipping through my gut, but the flare of nostrils indicated Tuggin had already spied the taint of my infatuation. I sucked my lips between my teeth. Damn, but he was serious hall-god material.
Tuggin leaned against the wall with his arms crossed. His gaze held the warmth of a glacier and the softness of boulder. I tried to meet him glare for glare, the trickling warmth that had ignited my spine a moment ago icing over.
As my Menta-protecter, Tuggin always knew what I was feeling, and what I was thinking. Mentas were trained to fight, to influence people’s thoughts, and to read emotions. Those powers made them pretty well-suited to protecting Council members and Eyid-emos. That was, of course, before the war had erupted generations ago, and those Council members and Eyid-emos who weren’t killed went into hiding. At that point, the Mentas took control of Eyidora.
Those powers also enabled Mentas to become very adept at assassination.
And Tuggin was dammed good at his job; he’d saved my ass on more than one occasion.
I lifted my chin. I was descendant of the Air Eyid, and I had the same powers as Tuggin. And I was learning to use them. Uncle Sal had been teaching me to block lunta intrusion so that no one could force me to do anything against my will. Hiding my emotions, however, was impossible. My emotions always seemed to erupt, no matter how hard I tried to empty my body of feeling.
Tuggin’s gaze melted down my body like butter, then slid back up, coming to rest on my necklace. Goose bumps collided against my skin. I wrapped my arms over my chest, aware that my nightgown didn’t hide much, and wished I’d at least grabbed a bathrobe. And why hadn’t I used the comb to brush my tangled hair rather than pry the board from my wall?
“Going somewhere?” he asked.
I sighed in response to his lilting voice; an alien, seductive voice that had the power to seduce a nun from her convent. Realizing I was melting, I straightened my spine and lifted my chin. Again.
Concentrating on even breathing, I was glad that he’d asked an innocent-enough question, one that I could answer easily. At least he wasn’t grilling me about dreams and Eyid messages, which I liked to keep secret. It was extremely difficult to lie to Tuggin.
“The Portrait Hall,” I said, and licked my lips.
Tuggin raised an eyebrow. “You have been in dreamstate. What message have you received from the Eyids?”
How did he know these things?
I chewed my cheek for a minute, debating whether to answer him. His alleged duty as a Menta was to protect me, so wherever I went, Tuggin went; whatever I knew, he demanded to know. And whatever I thought, well… he could mind his own damned business.
I kind of thought that whole protection racket was an excuse to spy on me or, as I’d been inclined to believe, neutralize me. Whatever that meant.
I tucked my hair behind my ear. “I’m going to Tamoor to find it.”
“Do not be obtuse, tenya.”
I clenched my teeth. “I’m not a little girl.”
“Then do not behave as one. Besides, you are not of age.”
I waved a hand. “So, I won’t be eighteen for a few months. Who’s counting?”
Tuggin’s eyebrow shot up again.
I finally answered his original question. “To find an Eyid stone. Happy?”
Well, duh. Tuggin was never happy. I doubted Tuggin felt any emotion at all, except annoyance and anger, usually directed at me.
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