Excerpt – Ayla
Footsteps stopped just inside of the ballroom. And there she was. Corinne, Mary’s mom and our nursemaid. The scowl on her face made me look away. We were in trouble. But Corinne’s form of punishment was to make us clean up our mess, then some other task that involved cleaning.
And we had to do it without using our magic.
“Look at her wings!” Corinne stormed across the vast ballroom.
I glanced over my shoulder but couldn’t see much. The weight said enough. My wings were coated in the slime my sisters threw on me. A giggle escaped. I couldn’t help it. This was payback for what I did to them last week. It took them days to get all the honey and feathers off theirs.
“I don’t understand you girls.” Corinne gripped my upper arm and tugged me to stand. When she started toward the bathroom at the back of the room, Baxter, our father’s soldier in arms, burst into the room.
His features were darker than I’d ever seen them. His brows bunched and his eyes were dark, commanding. My heart pounded. Something was wrong.
Corinne stopped and stared at him. I could tell by the way her face paled that she, too, knew something happened. Or was about to.
Baxter advanced to us, motioning for my sisters and Mary to gather around Corinne and me. He was in full battle gear with his helmet under his arm. Cold fear sliced my insides. We were being invaded. Most children didn’t know the severity of being invaded. We, however, had been trained for such an event.
The day our mother banished her brothers from the kingdom for threatening her and our father’s lives, a seer told them our uncles would seek their revenge. So, we were trained. Trained to fight and run.
Baxter knelt on one knee and took Luna’s hand. With his head bowed, he said, “Take your sisters to the boat like we talked about. No matter what happens, you must survive. All of you.”
I glanced from Luna to Baxter in confusion. They’d planned this? “What about Mom and Dad?”
I couldn’t hold back the panic any longer. I used my magic to clean off the slim, dissolving it into dust that settled to the floor.
“We’ll will be right behind you.” Baxter stood and pushed us, Corinne included, toward the back of the ballroom. “Now go.”
Corinne gripped my hand and pulled me behind her. I met each of my sisters’ scared gazes. This was no drill. My bottom lip trembled and my eyes watered.
Just as we reached the secret passage to the stairs that descended to the caverns and river underneath the castle, soldiers in uniforms I didn’t recognize charged inside the ballroom. Baxter drew his sword and sounded an alarm.
The clanking of swords faded as Corinne led us deeper underground. I shook all over, and my ice magic became uncontrollable.
From the corner of my eyes, I noted Pyria was having the same problem with her fire magic. Her hand glowed in red and orange hues. “We should be fighting with them. Protecting our home!”
She stopped and glanced back as if deciding to go join the battle.
Luna blocked Pyria’s way up the stairs. “You must resist the pull. Your emotions…all our emotions are taking over our powers. We can’t let that happen. If the castle falls into Iveos’s hands, it is up to us to take it back.”
That was part of the plan I never understood. How were a group of kids supposed to reclaim a kingdom from a madman?
About the Authors
Aleah Raynes loves paranormal, fantasy, mystery, suspense, reverse harem, and anything else that hooks her from the first page. She writes new adult and young adult fiction and romance in the genres she loves to read.
She is co-authoring the Vaskell Empire series with Mandy Caruso. Book one, Touched of Ice releases September 2017. And her debut solo novel, Visions of Pain (Capissian Order, book 1) – a clean new adult reverse harem – releases in October 2017.
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Mandy Caruso, alter-ego of TL Reeve, came to be after a long conversation with her daughter. A lover of all types of story, she enjoys anything with a quality plot and awesome characters. When she isn’t writing, you can find her hanging out with her daughter or reading a good book.
You can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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