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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Tour- LARK RISING by Sandra Waugh and a Giveaway!

Hey y'all! I'm super excited to have Sandra Waugh here here today as a part of the LARK RISING blog tour! I asked Sandra for a post from Gharain because I love him and she said yes! I was so happy that she'd share this with us! Make sure to stick around to win a copy of the book!

Haven't heard of LARK RISING ? Check it out!

Title: LARK RISING (Guardians of Tarnec #1)
Author: Sandra Waugh
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.

“A beautifully realized world, a unique voice, and a compelling, action-packed story. This is a striking debut novel with a lovely folkloric flavor.” —Juliet Marillier, author of Wildwood Dancing

Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes, and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.

Now on to the post!


The moon was huge. It filled the sky, a burst of silver against the rich blue of midnight. It spilled over the backs of the horses. Maybe it filled them, too, for they raced across the valley with an abandon not witnessed before this night. A stampede, almost, spurned on by some magic of moonlight.

Gharain paid little attention to horse or moon. He fixed a hollow gaze on the path where it wound treacherous and steep between the cracks of granite. Needless vigilance. He knew the path blind, climbed it quickly. He should be more observant of his surroundings, he warned himself, ’twas his watch. But the valley was empty of threat.  The hills of Tarnec were empty of threats.

He was the only threat.

No. No pity, not even a breath, a hint of forgiveness. Never forgiveness. A curse for it! A curse on him. He—a Rider, one of Tarnec’s own.  Brash, yes. Guileless, certainly.  He’d done more ruin with a kiss to make forgiveness impossible. Anger rushed in instead, to surround, expand, charge his footsteps and shimmer in his wake. And yet anger could no more erase regret than self-pity, only mask it somewhat better.  

“Be done with it, man!” Brahnt had finally barked in frustration at Gharain’s temper as they set camp.  Even Wilh had grit his teeth. ’Twas good he’d volunteered then, to walk away, take a final sweep of the hillside where the rocks and crags and boulders were sharp-shadowed under the bright moon. Where it was easy for a Troth to hide between the contrast of silver and black.

Gharain snorted, pushed his hair from his eyes with an impatient flick. There would be no Troths sneaking into Tarnec that night, they all knew it.  They’d killed a slew of them seven nights ago.  It would take time for Troths to regroup, to venture again beyond their filthy little holes in the Myr Mountains.

But neither was that quite true, for since the—  

He swallowed hard. What unbearable word to use: Death? Theft? Murder? 

—Since the imbalance, Troths were slithering out of those holes in numbers now.  They ravaged the settlement at Wardsway. A plea sent by message dove begged the Riders to come. And they had. Not all the Riders, just Brant and Wilh and himself. They’d splattered Troth blood across the growing fields.

He could have done it alone, Gharain thought. Spit each beast on his single sword.  He could have tackled and slain the entire mountain. He had the anger enough for it.

Would it have eased the pain any more? Softened that craving for revenge?  He wiped his brow with a sleeve, climbed on.  He shouldn’t entertain such desperation; he knew it. The ache of revenge marred thought, and reason, maybe it made his senses duller even as he felt stronger for it.

Marc said it: “Easy with yourself.”  Laurent had nodded as if he understood.  But how could they understand?  His fault all of it.  Stupid, ill-got passion, the bitter taste of it left clawing at his throat.  

He’d kissed her. A kiss to that mouth—the mouth that smiled as his queen died, smiled until it was a gaping pit of black madness offering to swallow him whole.

Rage boiled once more at the memory.  Gharain kicked a chip of granite, listened to it skitter, hop and ping its way down the scabs of rock on its way to the valley.

Their blood stank.  Those Troths.  Their blood stank.

The path narrowed. Not a path, really, just a niche between boulders.  The edge of the forest appeared on his left, pines and eucalyptus streaming up.  Camp was not far.  

Though the thought of rest did not soothe.

Trethe had provided sleeping brews for him.  He’d tossed them.  He did not want to rest.

The forest loomed up now, spires of black piercing the sky.  The scent of pine and eucalyptus equally pierced.  Gharain stopped, inhaled deeply for once.  The freshest of smells, pungent and pure.  For a moment they wiped his pain, cleaned him of rage.  The release caught him by surprise.  He stayed where he was, closed his eyes, drew in the scent.

And then something—the strangest of sensations—sparked through him like a tiny lick of flame, hot and quick.  A pull, a yearning.  It caught at his heart, took his breath before he shook it off.

Never. No.

Gharain opened his eyes, thinking then that a flicker on the rock up and beyond where he stood was merely the trick of moonlight. But there it was again. Immediately alert, he crouched between the boulders, held there listening. And then he felt the sound more than he heard it.  For the rocks vibrated, humming against his cheek.

A voice.  Young. Sweet. Female—and at that acknowledgement the Rider’s body shuddered in rejection.  What the words were he could not tell, but they were meant in kindness. It burned to think that. Burned that such strange yearnings preceded this discovery.

Silence followed, and after that a chink against stone, which made him tense.  That was a horse’s hoof, he was certain. If the bearer of this voice had lured a horse, ’twas a violation of the worst kind.

Gharain slid upright slowly, his back hugging the rock.  He looked further along the cliff rim just above his head.  He saw more clearly then and it sunk straight from heart to stomach with sickening pulse.

She waits on the ledge. Tell Gharain she waits on the ledge. That fateful message.  He was being mocked this time.  To happen twice, as if he were that much a fool.

He watched a moment longer. She was different.  It was the moonlight; this one didn’t dazzle in the sun like the Breeder Erema.  She was younger. Simply dressed. A travelling cloak, he saw. And her hair.  Long, and heavy-straight, falling to her hips.  It was brown, a dull gleam in the moonlight, simple too.

What did it matter? Why even bother to attest to these details?  A mockery of repeat, a Breeders’ taunting. And if not that, then she was a horse thief, the very least a trespasser.

We kill trespassers, Gharain thought.  Then: I will kill this trespasser. With pleasure.  

He did not like that this female, this girl, stood so quietly on that spit of rock, that she looked to the moon as if she were speaking thanks to it.  As if she should be grateful to be there when it would be one of her last breaths. It was far too innocent.

Another ploy to fool him, them, to destroy Tarnec. Destroy all.

This is how it begins, he reminded himself. He raced up the path, head low, to creep in quick, to slay this brown-haired girl, swift and with no remorse. Just revenge.

How it begins? Gharain thought, suddenly. Nay. It has already begun.

He put his hand to the hilt of his sword. So then—this is how it ends.

Thanks for stopping by Sandra I loved this!!!!

About Sandra:
Sandra grew up in an old house full of crowded bookshelves, in walking distance of an old library that allowed her to drag home a sack of six books at a time. It goes without saying, then, that she fell in love with the old house in Litchfield County, CT, because of its many bookshelves, and she lives there now with her husband, two sons, and a dog who snores. Loudly.

LARK RISING is her first novel and the first in the GUARDIANS OF TARNEC series. SILVER EVE follows in 2015.

Giveaway Details: 3 Prize Packs
1 winner will receive a leaf necklace, $25 Amazon gift card, sachet, a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only.

1 winner will receive leaf earrings, cuff, soap, sachet and a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only.

3 winners will receive a signed hardcover of LARK RISING, and a bookmark and a postcard. US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
9/15/2014- Mom With A KindleInterview
9/16/2014- The Book LandersReview
9/17/2014- My ParaHangoverReview
9/18/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
9/19/2014- Carina's BooksReview

Week Two:
9/22/2014- A Backwards StoryReview
9/23/2014- Word SpelunkingGuest Post
9/24/2014- Literary MeanderingsInterview
9/25/2014- Fall Into BooksInterview
9/26/2014- Magical Urban Fantasy ReadsGuest Post

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dying to Read (71)- THE RUBY CIRCLE by Richelle Mead

Hey y’all thanks for stopping by to see my Dying to Read post and of course as always I have to give credit to the lovely Jill over at Breaking the Spine for the Waiting on Wednesday Meme!

Oh it has a cover and a synopsis and I need this book so bad after how SILVER SHADOWS ended!

Richelle Mead
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Hardcover: no page count
Publisher: Razorbill
ISBN: 978-1595143228
The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

So what do you think? Will you be adding this to your pile? What are you dying to read this week?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blog Tour- THE PERILOUS SEA by Sherry Thomas and a Giveaway!

Hey y'all! I'm super excited to have Sherry Thomas here here today as a part of THE PERILOUS SEA blog tour! I asked Sherry for a playlist for the books. There are links for all the songs if you want to click and listen, and I posted one YouTube video of the one that has lyrics! Make sure to stick around to win a copy of the book!

Haven't heard of THE PERILOUS SEA? Check it out!

Title: THE PERILOUS SEA (The Elemental Trilogy #2)
Author: Sherry Thomas
Pub. Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

Now on to the playlist!

A playlist for The Perilous Sea

Actually, this is a playlist for both The Burning Sky and The Perilous Sea, but I don’t think anyone will really mind. J And I apologize ahead of time that only one of the tracks have actual vocals, the rest are all instrumental—production music, in fact, music that is recorded for licensing to be used in films, television, movie trailers, etc.

1. “My Name Is Lincoln”—The Island original soundtrack

(This is the track that got me hooked onto production music. And how did I come across it? Unbelievably accidentally. It is the soundtrack for supermodel Coco Rocha’s wedding trailer, which somebody mentioned online. So I had to watch it and then, once I heard that incredible music, I just had to find out what it is. And then, on Youtube, all the songs that are linked to it are production music tracks.)

2. “Atlantis”—Two Steps from Hell

3. “Magic of Love”—Two Steps from Hell

4. “Dragon Rider”—Two Steps from Hell

5. “Freedom Fighters”—Two Steps from Hell

6. “Enigmatic Soul”—Two Steps from Hell

7. “Undying Love”—Two Steps from Hell

8. “El Dorado”—Two Steps from Hell

9. “For the Win”—Two Steps from Hell

Once I got into production music, I went on a Two Steps from Hell kick. “Freedom Fighters” is what I consider the theme song for the entire trilogy. “Dragon Rider” is Iolanthe’s theme, and “Enigmatic Soul” Titus’s.

10. “Rada”—Thomas Bergeron

11. “Legacies”—Killer Tracks

12. “From Within”—Posthaste Music  This might be the track I listened to the most while writing The Perilous Sea.

13. “Just for Tonight”—One Night Only  The only song in the list, a full-throated anthem by a young, British band.

Thanks for stopping by Sherry I loved the playlist!!!!

About Sherry:
Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award.

English is Sherry's second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Sherry’s next book, THE PERILOUS SEA, volume two of her young adult fantasy trilogy, will be available fall 2014.

Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio.

Giveaway Details:

For First Place US Only:
1 winner will receive. The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade and a handmade solid lotion bar and some homemade face scrubs, plus a burning sky bag. US Only

Runners Up US Only

 2 winners will receive The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade. US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
9/8/2014- A Book and a LatteInterview
9/9/2014- Such a Novel IdeaReview
9/10/2014- FiktshunGuest Post
9/11/2014- The Irish Banana ReviewReview
9/12/2014- Bewitched BookwormsInterview

Week Two:
9/15/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
9/16/2014- A Backwards StoryInterview
9/17/2014- Carina's BooksGuest Post
9/18/2014- NerdophilesReview
9/19/2014- Candace's Book BlogReview

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cover Reveal- WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS by Stacy Stokes and a Giveaway!!!

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes! 
I love this cover it's absolutely gorgeous!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Where the Staircase Ends
After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable -- unless the staircase breaks her first.
add to goodreads
Title: Where the Staircase Ends
Publication date: April 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Stacy Stokes
Stacy Stokes attended the University of Texas at Austin and The Wharton School of Business. She grew up in Dallas, TX, and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband. WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her first novel.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
(Winners will receive their book on release day)


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blog Tour- CROWN OF ICE by Vicki L. Weavil and a Giveaway!

Hey y'all! I'm super excited to have Vicki L. Weavil here here today as a part of the CROWN OF ICE blog tour! I asked Vicki for a scene from the love interest, Kai's POV and she was more than happy to share! Make sure to stick around to win a copy of the book!

Haven't heard of CROWN OF ICE? Check it out!

Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
ISBN: 978-1939765390

Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.

Now on to the excerpt!

CROWN OF ICE: The Missing Chapter –
A Turn on the Ice

No one understands my need for solitude.
Sitting at the edge of a frozen lake, I slouch down on the rough wooden bench and silently curse the shrieks rising from a cluster of skaters. The noise drifts over me, muffling my thoughts like a heavy fall of snow. I lift my head, tearing my gaze from the figures I’ve scratched onto a page of my leather-covered notebook. So close to solving this equation, so close—yet I must lay down my pencil.
“Kai, you promised.” Franka Lund, one of Gerda’s younger sisters, skates toward me, halting her glide by grabbing my knees. She leans forward until her golden braid tickles my bare right hand. Gerda will fuss at me for not wearing my glove, but it’s impossible to write equations with my hand encased in wool.
I flick the braid away as if it were a horsefly. “Give me a minute.”
“Hey.” Franka slides back and fixes me with her bright blue stare. She narrows her eyes as her lower lip rolls into a pout. Franka is beautiful, and knows it. She and her twin, Nanett, only twelve, already incite young men to fight for a chance to partner them at village dances.
Personally, having lived next to the Lunds for many years, I’d rather wrestle a polar bear than spend much time with the twins. Yes, they’re lovely to look at, but if I want to admire beauty I’ll take a walk in the high meadows in the spring. At least the wildflowers don’t demand constant attention.
I close my notebook with a sigh. “I know I promised. Just let me lace my skates.”
“You should’ve already done that. The ice is getting crowded now. We won’t have room to really spin.” Nanett steps forward. The mirror image of her sister, her glare matches Franka’s exactly.
I consider for a moment the probability of having twins. There must be an equation for that …
My reverie is broken by Nanett’s whining. “Could’ve been ready to go as soon as we got here, instead of just sitting there, scribbling those numbers. What good is that, anyway?”
Years of practice have taught me to ignore such questions. “It won’t take long. Besides, Gerda isn’t here yet.” Sliding my notebook and pencil into the inside pocket of my felted wool coat, I survey the two bright faces before me. If I consider them dispassionately, I can admire their lovely features, but that only goes so far. I’d rather bask in the warmth of Gerda’s honest smile than dance attendance on the twins.
I chide myself for my unkind thoughts as I tighten my skates. Franka and Nanett are young, perhaps they’ll grow out of their vanity. Anyway, they’re no worse than most people in our village, old or young. The truth is, I prefer struggling over equations to hunting or fishing, or even dancing. No wonder most girls think I’m boring as old shoes. I can’t expect my scholarly pursuits to attract many village girls, though Gerda doesn’t seem to mind my obsessions.
As if conjured by my thoughts, Gerda appears, plopping down on the bench beside me. “Twins bothering you?” Before she leans over to lace up her skates she casts me a grin.
I catch the twinkle in her blue eyes. Looking her over, I note how Gerda’s heavy jacket exaggerates her plump figure. Gerda’s told me she wishes she were taller, claiming her lack of height combined with her curvy figure makes her appear dumpy as a sack of grain. But that’s nonsense. She isn’t beautiful, like the twins, but she’s pretty enough, especially when the cold air heightens the color in her lips and cheeks. I smile and bump her arm with my elbow. “When don’t they?”
 Gerda sits up, tucking her amber braids under her blue wool hat. “Sorry I’m late, but Nels Leth had hitched up a wagon and offered me a ride.”
I grin as I pull on my right glove. “No worries. And I’m sure Nels was just hanging about, waiting for you, before he even considered skating today.”
The color deepens in Gerda’s round cheeks. “Nonsense. Now, where’s your cap? You know you must cover your head in this weather.”
“Yes, must protect his brilliant mind.” Franka shares a smirk with Nanett before gliding to the edge of the lake. Somehow she manages to make the word “brilliant” sound like an insult.
“Better a brilliant mind than an empty one,” snaps a voice behind me.
I glance over my shoulder and spy Gerda’s fourteen-year-old sister, Varna. She’s wearing heavy boots instead of skates.
Striding to the edge of the lake, she flaps her hands at the twins as if shooing chickens. “Swan off, Franka, and do your little spins. You don’t need Kai to partner you. I’m sure some other boy will be glad to oblige.”
Varna looks nothing like her sisters, which is her great misfortune. She has a field mouse’s small, dark eyes, and hair as dull and brown as that creature’s fur. The distinguishing feature of her narrow face is her nose, which is long and boasts an unfortunate hook. Gerda may be merely pretty, compared to the beauty of the twins, but Varna is downright plain. A starling among goldfinches.
Still, there’s nothing dull about her mind. “Surprised to see you here, Kai. Thought you’d be buried in your books, with you trying to get into university and all.”
“I’m not just a house mouse, you know. I actually spend a great deal of time outside, helping with the mill.” I meet Varna’s serious gaze and hold it. “Which is as much your family’s business as mine.”
Varna kicks a loose stone onto the ice. Her gaze follows the pebble as it skips over the frozen lake. “Since I’m not likely to inherit it, what’s that to me?”
“Varna!” Gerda rises to her feet and steps onto the ice. Spinning around to face us, she casts a frown at her sister. “You needn’t be rude.”
“Oh, Kai doesn’t care, do you, Kai? He likes plain speaking.”
The last thing I need is to be caught between Varna’s claws and Gerda’s soft paws. “Well, yes …” I stand and push off from the shore. Gliding in a wide circle around Gerda, I notice Franka and Nanett have already found partners to twirl and spin them on the ice. Of course—there’s probably a line. “You aren’t skating, Varna?” I call out.
She shakes her head. “Not interested in breaking my legs, thank you.”
I know there’s more to it than that—probably a fear she’ll end up skating alone, while other girls find partners. But I won’t say anything about that. No need to be cruel.
Varna turns and trudges down the path that leads into the forest bordering the lake.
“Off to learn more healing skills from Dame Margaret, I bet,” observes Gerda, as she skates closer and takes holds of my proffered arm. “I don’t know what she’ll do when the old lady dies.” A shadow dims her bright eyes. “Which might be soon, from what I hear.”
“Perhaps another healer will come our way,” I reply, as we glide, arm in arm, to the center to the lake. “Until Varna’s old enough to take over the job, I mean.”
Gerda dips her head, hiding her eyes. “Perhaps.”
“Are you seriously worried about Varna?” I bend forward and tilt my head until I can glimpse Gerda’s face. Startled by her grim expression, I lighten my tone. “Why? She’s tough, and the most sensible of all of you.”
“Not really. She just pretends.” Gerda straightens and stares out over the lake. “But let’s enjoy this day. The weather is perfect and we have a few free hours before I need to help Mother with the evening meal.”
Dear Gerda, always thinking of others. I pull her a little closer to my side before we glide off to join the cluster of skaters.
As we cut smooth lines and curves into the ice, I glance down at Gerda’s face. She’s smiling again—that warm smile that transforms her from ordinary to lovely. A skater glides past us, turning his head sharply to stare. Nels Leth, of course. He’s been pursuing Gerda since she turned fifteen, but Gerda seems oblivious to his attentions.
Because she loves you.
I lift my head and survey the far shore, where our jointly owned mill rises, ghostly gray against the ice blue sky. I know our parents want us to marry, and I suppose that makes sense. It would consolidate our business interests, and ensure income for both families into the future. It’s a very logical plan …
So it should appeal to you.
But it doesn’t, and I don’t know why. I tighten my grip on Gerda’s well-bundled waist. It isn’t because of Gerda—she’s the only girl in the village I would ever consider marrying.
It’s just … I don’t want to marry anyone. I don’t want to be shackled, like my father, with a wife and child. Forced into mindless labor just to put food on the table. I want to go to university and learn everything I can and then learn more. I want to travel—to see all the amazing things I’ve only read about up to now.
You want to be free.
It’s true. I can smile and nod when our families talk of marriage, but I can’t lie to myself.
As we skate closer to the mill, a strange noise rises from a tangle of dead grasses at the shoreline. It sounds like an animal in distress—some type of dog, from the whining and sharp yips piercing the clear air.
“Stay here,” I tell Gerda, as I release my hold on her.
She protests, but can’t skate as fast as I can. I reach the shore in several long glides, and when I turn to urge Gerda to stay back, a strange gust of wind rolls out from the shore and drives her back toward the crowd. Just as well—I need to examine this anomaly on my own.
As I approach the tangle of grasses a figure steps forward, moving closer as I pull apart the weeds to uncover the source of the sounds.
"What have you found?" asks the stranger.
It’s a girl’s voice. As I stare at her she adjusts the hood of her cloak until it shadows her face.
"A wolf. Just a baby. All on its own, poor thing." I bend down and pick up the pup, cradling it gently.
The wolf whimpers and strains against my arms. His gaze is fixed on the young woman.
"He seems interested in you. I'm sorry, I don't think I know you, miss." I narrow my eyes, hoping to study her more closely. "And I know everyone in this town."
"I'm just passing through." She turns her head to avoid my gaze. "What should we do with him, do you think? The pup, I mean. It seems a pity to leave him here on his own."
"Well, I'd take him home, but my father would have my hide." I stroke the pup's head. "We've a few sheep, you know, and chickens. Our dogs would probably try to kill it, anyway. They're pretty territorial – don't like other dogs about, and as for a wolf …"
"Yes, that might be a problem." The girl moves a little closer. "I may be able to help."
A tingling sensation tickles the back of my neck. Something about this young woman isn’t right, isn’t normal. "How's that?"
"I have a sleigh. Rather fast, and quite capable of crossing the fields beyond the village. If you came with me—you and the wolf pup, I mean—I could take you somewhere he'd be safe."
"On his own? This little guy?" I clutch the pup tighter. "I don't think he'd survive out in the wild."
I know where there's a pack that might take him in. High up in the mountains." The girl tosses back her hood and stares directly into my eyes.
Her hair, springing about her face in soft curls, is so pale it appears white. Her sharp-featured face is the color of newly fallen snow, and her eyes are cold and clear as ice. There’s no color to her, yet somehow she radiates power, like the white flash of lightning.
I gasp, almost dropping the pup, who barks and nips at the air.
"Who are you?"  I shake my head to clear my thoughts, but there’s something in her face that draws me in, something infinite and unfolding, like the vast expanse of a glacier. "Do you really know the whereabouts of a wolf pack?"
"Yes, I do." She presses her gloved fingers against my coat sleeve.
I shiver. Her touch sends a river of ice coursing through my veins.
But it’s alright. Don’t remove your hand.
"And you can carry us there?"
"I can." She slips one hand through the crook of my elbow. "My sleigh's just over there, behind the mill."
I follow her blindly as she leads me away from the shore.
As we reach the ponies the wolf squirms and breaks from my hold. Leaping to the ground, the pup bounds into the sleigh.
"You see—” the stranger tightens her grip on my arm "—he wants to go." She turns to stare into my eyes. "And you—you want to come with us."
To travel far away. Across oceans of snow. To learn, to understand what power illuminates those icy eyes. To stay by her side, forever.
"Yes, I …" I rub at my forehead with my free hand. "I do, I think. But, it doesn't make sense, really …"
"You do want to save the pup, don't you?" She yanks off one glove and touches my face with her bare fingers.
So cold, yet a touch that burns like metal newly forged.
"Of course." I clutch at her hand, but it’s like thrusting my fingers into the fire.
I swiftly drop her hand as Gerda’s voice shatters the silence.
"Kai! Kai, where are you?"
The young woman backs away, slumping against the side of the sleigh.
"I'm here." My first words come out as a whisper, but I raise my voice as I speak again. "For some reason, I'm here."
You must walk away. Back to Gerda. Return to reality, to what you know.
But there’s something I must do first. I glance at the stranger, who’s pulled up her hood and turned her face away. "Will you still take him, the pup? Will you find little Luki a home?"
"Luki?" The word is edged with ice.
I smile. The drifts of confusion have melted from my mind. "His name. It's Luki. At least it should be."
It’s strange, how I want to keep staring at the young woman, even though my thoughts are now clear, are again my own.
She lifts her chin and meets my enquiring gaze without hesitation. "Very well, Luki it is. And I shall find him a home, never fear."
There, I have done my best for the pup. Now I must leave.
You must go. Before you don’t want to leave. Before you cannot.
I hear Gerda calling me once more, and turn my back on the stranger to follow the sound of my friend’s voice.

Thanks for stopping by Vicki loved this scene from Kai!!!!

About Vicki:

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing an visual arts university.  Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

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