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Date Published: 10-13-15 Audience: YA, 14+< E-Book Publisher: Ink Monster, LLC Editor: Ink Monster, LLC ISBN: 97809906352A0M ASIN: B00NX52A0M
Tessa McCaide has had it up to here with supernaturals. Luciana may have failed to steal Tessa’s magic, but she’s just getting started on her crusade for magical domination. If her demonic summoning isn’t stopped, it could mean the end of everything.
Tessa’s allies, including her mate Dastien, are ready to fight, but they’re no match for Luciana’s power. A little help (and ancient Inca mojo) from Tessa’s cousin, Claudia, may give the side of good a chance if she can make it home in time, but stopping the war is no longer an option.
When witches and wolves fight, no one wins. Only time will tell who will still be standing after the last spell is cast.
I trailed off when I noticed Meredith staring hard at something behind me. I quickly glanced over my shoulder. “What?”
“What’s Shannon doing with that group?” Her lips pressed into a tight, thin line. “And is that Imogene?” Meredith and I might be split on how we felt about Shannon, but we totally agreed on Imogene.
I turned back to my now-cold omelet and took a bite. “I know,” I said after a second. “Looks like they’re BFFs now.”
She scrunched up her nose as she thought. “Why is she with those guys? Shannon has nothing in common with them. She’s from the Irish pack. And Imogene? Really?” Meredith stared at them like she could glean answers off them. “Maybe if we all try reaching out to her, she’ll sit with us again.”
I’d explained what happened between Shannon and I while Meredith was sick, but she didn’t understand. For better or worse, they’d been friends since forever. Their parents were friends and they’d grown up taking vacations together. Meredith was loyal, almost to a fault, and that meant she refused to give up on Shannon. “We tried that, remember? It didn’t work.”
“I should go over. Try talking to her again.”
I nearly rolled my eyes. Meredith had tried talking to Shannon, and in her defense—Shannon was still nice to her, but it was a losing battle. Shannon would obviously rather be with her new friends than us.
Meredith started to stand up, but I grabbed her hand. “I wouldn’t—”
“I have to try.”
I let her go as I tried to think of a way to say what I needed to say without making it worse. “I don’t know. I still can’t feel anyone at that table through the pack bonds. Including Shannon.”
Meredith crossed her arms as she stared down at me. “Whatever happened between you and her, she wouldn’t do anything to harm the pack. Shannon’s not capable of that.”
I disagreed, but saying so would only hurt Meredith’s feelings. “What if she thought it would help the pack?” And what if they aren’t part of our pack anymore? I thought the words but didn’t say them aloud.
For a second, Meredith’s lower lip trembled, and I thought I’d gotten through to her, but then she shook her head. “No. I don’t believe that. Not at all.”
I kept my mouth firmly shut. If there was one person I didn’t want to piss off, it was Meredith. She’d been my friend—no questions asked—from the beginning. She’d helped me through when all I’d wanted to do was run away from St. Ailbe’s. And when I’d sucked at running and kept falling out of windows, she hadn’t made fun of me. Much. “I just don’t want you to get disappointed.”
“I—” Meredith stopped in the middle of what she was saying, and turned to the door.
It took me a second to figure out what was going on, but then Donovan came into the cafeteria, and started our way. Maybe he’d be able to reach Meredith, because I sure as hell wasn’t getting anywhere.
She laughed at something he must’ve said through their bond. “Donovan is going to keep you company while I talk to Shannon. I’ll be back in a sec.”
There wasn’t any point in trying to stop her.
Donovan took Meredith’s spot at the table. He wore sweat pants and a T-shirt and his black hair was still messy from his run. His clothes gave of the scents of cedar and grass and dirt, and it almost made me jealous.
Maybe a run would clear my mind. Help me figure out a way around these visions.
“She’s checking on Shannon, eh?” Donovan asked, bringing me back to myself.
“Yeah.” I’d already said my piece to his mate. I didn’t need to repeat myself.
He jerked his chin toward the table in question. “There’s still something off about them.”
My fork dropped to the plate with a clatter, and I glared into his glass-blue eyes. “Oh, come on. We’re not doing this.”
Donovan raised his eyebrows. “Not doing what?”
He had to be joking. “I just had this conversation with Meredith. I know how the whole mate thing works. There’s not a chance she didn’t tell you.”
He gave me a wicked grin, and I knew trouble was coming. “Aye. But what you don’t know is that I agree with you.”
“You do?” Mr. Dawson had been all—everything’s fine. Donovan hadn’t said a word. Why now?
“Yes. I do.”
“What do you know?” I leaned toward him, lowering my voice. Pesky Weres and their super-awesome hearing. “Why are their bonds missing? I thought they couldn’t leave the pack without putting in a formal bid to Mr. Dawson.”
“That’s true enough. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you’re going to find out. If this absence of pack bond is spreading, then we need to find the cause. Just… Don’t say anything to Meredith until we’re positive. All right?”
Whoa. I didn’t keep much—if anything—from Dastien. “Do you think that’s wise?”
“Keeping my opinions from my mate?” One side of his mouth quirked up. “Not usually. But she made her side clear enough with you, and I’d rather not start an argument that won’t get us anywhere.”
Who knew? Even the great Donovan—one of the all-powerful Seven—was afraid of pissing off his mate. The idea was a little preposterous, but then again—I didn’t like upsetting Dastien either. I’d done it. But that didn’t mean I liked it. That left me with one last question. “Why can’t you keep an eye on them? You’re probably way better at this pack bonds stuff than I am.”
He raised an eyebrow. “In case you’ve forgotten, I’m not of this pack. I’m an alpha, and can use that to overpower and override the pack bonds if necessary, but this needs more finesse. An insider’s look.”
“But your mate’s in our pack.” When Dastien bit me, I’d become part of the St. Ailbe’s pack. I figured it would be the same for Donovan and Meredith and their mate bond, even if they hadn’t gone through with their bonding ceremony.
“Doesn’t work that way. I’m already the alpha of another pack.”
“So, what about Meredith? Is she still part of this pack?”
“Until she and Michael decide to let her move to mine. She’ll keep it for as long as she’s here, and I think that’s best.” He leaned forward. “I’ve heard through Michael and Meredith, but I want to know what it is you’re feelin’ from them. I’ve not experienced this before, and that’s sayin’ something to me.” His Irish accent thickened, and I finally knew that someone else was as worried about this as I was.
“I don’t know what to say except that I can’t feel them. It’s like they’re there, but they’re not.” I sighed. “It makes no sense. Which is why Mr. Dawson blew me off when I brought it up. Shouldn’t you be talking to him about this? He’s the alpha.”
“What makes you think I haven’t already?”
The tension on my shoulders relaxed. It seemed like a good sign that two alphas were really talking about the problem. “And?”
“Nothing. If they’ve withdrawn from the pack, he’s not feeling it.” He leaned in closer, speaking so quietly that even I could barely hear. “But last night, he gave that group of boys from the Canada pack a direct command and they disobeyed. I backed the command and forced their obedience, but I shouldn’t have had to. He’s their alpha. It may be that Rupert Hoel’s influence went deeper than those we’ve caught. There’s still a major player out there, and I’ve a fine idea who it might be.”
Holy shit. That was bad news. Only someone more alpha than Mr. Dawson could ignore his commands, and they weren’t more alpha. At all.
“I think you might know. It’s one who got away.”
It hit me then. They’d kicked one of the Seven out of the Council. The one who hated me. Ferdinand. “Do you really think it could be?”
“But you didn’t say anything when I brought it up before.”
“It took me longer to feel what you were getting at. I like to suss things out before actin’. Get fully aware of the situation. If you feel anything else out of the ordinary, let me know. Just be aware that if that lot wants to leave, that’s fine by me. They’re welcome to go their own way, but they need to make formal bids to Michael and they’ll have to tie to the Seven until they find their new packs. It must be done properly, or they’ll be considered lone wolves. And if they align with Ferdinand… I’d like those youngsters to avoid that if possible.”
My stomach churned, and suddenly I didn’t feel much like finishing my omelet. If the pack was breaking up, then how were we ever going to defeat Luciana? We needed to be united if we wanted to stand the slightest chance of surviving.
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd—from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
1) How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?
AE: Well, my mom just sent me a hilarious piece of paper where I wrote a story (pictures and all) when I was probably in second grade… But I would have to say that I really started writing after college. I was working a job that I didn’t totally love, and coming home and writing saved my sanity. So, that was in 2006. (Does a little math…) I was 24.
2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
AE: First and foremost, I want them to be taken on an enjoyable journey. But I’d love it if they gained an understanding of themselves and of healthy relationships. A lot of my books deal with coming to terms with who you are and your place in the world. I hope that watching the characters struggle, that the reader becomes a bit more at ease in their own life. Also, figuring out what a “good” relationship is takes a while. I know it took me years to figure out what I needed from my partner in life. I hope by reading the books, the readers can see what each of the couples in the books seeks in a relationship, and maybe that will inform them on how to find a partner that compliments them.
3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
AE: I think if you’re writing for pleasure, then who cares about any rules or suggestions. You’re just writing for fun and for the inner joy and peace that you get. So, go on with your bad self. Enjoy it and have fun. ;)
But becoming an author… That takes some work.
My first suggestion is to get a solid critique partner. Someone who you trust implicitly. You have to be able to trust not only their judgment, but also their taste level and their understanding of you as a person and what you’re trying to achieve with your work. Having that person is essential. You need them to keep you honest, to push you to be a better writer, and to make sure that what you want on the page is actually on the page.
My second suggestion is to write a shitty first draft. People are always wide-eyed when I say that, but come on! No one writes perfectly the first go-around. So, let it go. Just write. Enjoy. Follow where the story takes you. Just get that first draft done. Remember that it’s only the starting out point. After you finish that first draft, the real work starts.
My final suggestion is to edit, Edit, EDIT. It’s one thing to listen to what your critique partner says, but it’s a whole other thing to actually turn that around into some serious edits. I’ve seen writers who take notes like a champ. They come back and have a new draft totally polished up, and the improvement is amazing. Those writers are getting better every day. But I’ve seen some who just can’t wrap their heads around changing anything, and that’s a little sad to me. It also puts so much pressure on the first draft. You’d have to get it perfect on the first go in order to avoid editing. And I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who writes a golden first draft. It’s usally a hot mess. Especially mine!
4) What is your favourite novel, why?
AE: I think this changes on a nearly daily basis. I think I enjoy most what I’m reading at the time. But if we go with all-time… I might have to go classic and say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It’s a classic for a reason. An amazing work. And Mr. Darcy… #swoon
5) Who is your favourite author, why?
AE: I have to pick just one?! At the moment, I’m really loving Sarah J. Maas. I just finished reading the latest book in her Throne of Glass series, and it was fantastic. I love her world building and her strong female characters.
6) What are your favorite pass times besides writing?
AE: Reading. For sure. I like to cook and bake. I like to hang out with my husband and my family. I like to see movies. But my favorite is reading. I can read all day, every day. I’m a hardcore addict.
7) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
AE: That’s a tough question. My husband was the one who encouraged me to write. To follow where my imagination would take me.
8) What are the top five things on your bucket list?
AE: 1. Go on a safari. How amazing would that be?!
2. Travel more. I never really had the travel bug until I met my husband. But every once in a while, we toy with the idea of getting one of those around the world tickets. That would be amazing.
3. Go to every Disney Park in the world. I’ve been to the one in Paris, Disney World in Florida, and Disneyland in California, but that leaves so many! I’d love to go to the one in Japan!
4. Write an epic fantasy. Epic is so hard and such a big project. I have an idea that I sometimes tinker with, but I’d love the time just to go for it. One day… I just want to make sure I get it right.
5. Learn to sew. I know this is a silly one, but I’d love to be able to make clothes. My mom could whip up an outfit for me in twenty minutes. She’s amazing. I’m fully convinced she can do anything. (She’s a lawyer, can speak 5 languages, sews, cooks, etc., etc., etc…) I can barely stich on a button. I have this idea that one day I’ll be able to whip up Halloween costumes for my kids (I don’t have any yet!), but we’ll see.
9) What is your funniest childhood memory?
AE: So, I spent a while trying to come up with a funny childhood moment, but I couldn’t come up with anything. Yikes! Most of the things I could come up with were either sweet or cute. Ha! So, I’ve got some throwback photos instead. Hope that’s okay!
That’s me trying to blow out the candle. It’s my big brother’s birthday (he’s 19 years older than me), and he was being super sweet to let me and our sister join in on the birthday fun. Thankfully, he kept me from faceplanting in the cake, which was a real possibility. I picked out the cake with my mom—I still remember going to the bakery with her to get it. My brother was in college, and I was so stoked he was coming home.
Back in the day, my mom always had us (me, my older sister, and my little brother) get dressed up in matching (or semi-matching) outfits for formal pictures every year. I think I must be like 12-ish in this picture? I’m the one on the left. Kind of hilarious, right?
And then we have me in college with my two sisters. I’m the one on the right! (The backpack was Hello Kitty. If it hadn’t gotten super dirty, I think I’d still be using it!) The one sister in the middle was in both of the pictures above! (Her name rhymes with mine.) This is from her college graduation. I was a freshman at the University of Texas at the time.
10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
AE: Achieving your dreams is a lot of hard work, but don’t let that discourage you from going for it—whatever they might be.