Author: Shauna Granger
Urban Fantasy, YA/New Adult
Urban Fantasy, YA/New Adult
Date Published: 12/18/12
Tour Host: AToMR Tours
Tour Host: AToMR Tours
Demons, faeries, and mermaids. Claws, teeth, and nightmares.
They have been beaten and bruised, set on fire, and nearly drowned, but manage to always find their way home. Over their last Winter Holiday break before college, Shayna, Jodi, and Steven try again to put aside the magic in their lives for a little mundane fun. But Shayna's mother is having dreams of fire and death. A mysterious stranger by the name of Liam has just arrived in town. And Shayna's attempts to manage her new angelic powers are set back by Steven's insistence that the trio intervene in a riot outside of a concert, with disastrous consequences.
In her attempt to stop the riot, a man sees Shayna use her magical abilities – a man driven mad by watching his brother die at the hands of a black witch. He stalks Shayna, plotting to destroy her and her friends. With her mother’s warnings echoing in her mind, Shayna is now in the fight of her life against an unlikely foe: a human man.
Excerpt #2 of Fire
A muffled cry struck my ear, sending a pang of fear down my spine. I was nearly on top of whoever it was, but I couldn’t see them. I took a few more precarious steps forward, bending down until I could brace my hands on the rocks in front of me so I could peer over one the size of a Volkswagen. There, hidden in the deeper shadow cast by the small boulder, I caught sight of a pink jacket just before the water lapped over it to hide it again.
The metallic tang of blood filled my mouth and a pain in the back of my head started to throb, threatening to throw me off balance. A head injury, did I dare move them? What if I made it worse? What was I supposed to do? Fly them up to the freeway and just dart away into the night? When did my life become a comic book?
“Mommy.” The weak cry warbled as the little girl’s mouth filled with water, making her cough and choke.
“Shit,” I cursed, lowering myself to lie on my stomach to get closer. “Why is it always kids?” I reached into the small cavern created by the shifting of rocks and water and my fingers trailed over her jeans. I managed to pinch the hem of her pant leg.
“Mommy?” she asked, voice frail and terrified.
“No, Amanda.” Her name just suddenly came into my mind as I struggled to pull her closer to me so I could get a grip on her leg. “But I’m here to help you, okay?”
“It hurts,” she said, tears evident in her voice, and my heart clenched against it.
“Don’t move too much too fast, okay?”
“I’m going to try to get you up to me first, okay? Then we’ll get you up to your mommy.” I inched forward on the rocks until I was balancing on the flat of my hips, the muscles in the small of my back contracting to keep me from slipping into the cavern with Amanda.
“I’m dizzy,” she said as her body finally offered resistance against my pulls and I knew I was going to have to lift her up at this point.
“I know, Mandy,” the nickname came easily to my lips, “but I need your help now. I need you to give me your hand, can you do that?” She didn’t answer me, which scared me for a moment before I felt her body shift under my hand that was holding her to keep her from drifting away.
I held out my free hand, hoping for her to be able to see me better than I could see her and she’d take it. I felt her fingers brush my hand as she blindly grabbed for me and missed. I heard her whimper, soft and painful.
“It’s okay, Mandy, just try again, I won’t leave you,” I soothed, straining to keep my hand stretched towards her. The tips of her fingers touched mine, but didn’t fall away this time as she struggled to reach me.
“Good, keep trying, nearly there,” I encouraged. Her fingers trembled, her strength failing her. I sucked in a breath and dipped forward to grasp her wrist, fighting the urge to rock backwards and lift her head up too quickly.
“Good girl, good girl,” I said, trying not to lose my breath. “Now, I need you to try and sit up, but do it slowly, okay?”
“Okay,” she warbled again and I felt her leg move from beneath my hand until I was touching only water. Her hand was no longer taut in my other hand, and I pulled gently, drawing her closer to me.
“Dizzy,” she whimpered again, and I reached for her with my free hand, finding the tangle of her hair and cradling the back of her neck gently. A thicker, slippery substance that I knew wasn’t water coated my fingers as they tangled with her hair. I let go of her wrist and slipped my arm around her waist and pulled her into me, cradling her tiny body against mine.
“Good girl, just relax now, okay?” I whispered to her as I hooked my toes into the gaps between the rocks to give myself some leverage. With every muscle in my body contracted, I lifted us out of the tiny cavern, clutching Mandy to me.
I felt my wings shift and concentrated on those muscles, letting the powerful wings work to lift me off of the rocks and get Mandy out of the dank and dark. She was trembling in my arms, shock setting in, letting me know I had minutes at best to figure out how to get her up to the EMTs.
“Stay with me, Mandy, don’t go to sleep yet,” I whispered to her as I gave one forceful beat of my wings, pulling us completely off of the rocks to hang in the air, slowly pumping my wings to keep us up. It was a strange feeling as the adrenaline pounded in my veins, making my fingers tingle as I gripped Mandy.
The arcing red lights flashed on us as I chewed on my lower lip, wanting to just fly up there and set her down in the arms of an EMT. But then they’d see my face and reports of an angel would hit the news and I’d have to keep my wings hidden long enough to forget how to fly. I had worked too hard over the last few months to lose that now.
I could feel the blood seeping from Mandy’s head drip down my arm, funneled through my fingers. Panic threatened to break me, but I closed my eyes and beat it back. I could panic later when Jodi and Steven were around to hold me against the wracking sobs, but right now a child was dying in my arms. I needed to get her to help; panic had no place here. I saw the dark figure of an EMT crouched on the ground near one of the mangled vehicles; his back was to the edge of the cliff as he examined a spray of glass. I could feel his confusion all the way out here. He was trying to figure out why glass was here, leading towards the cliff. This was where Mandy was thrown through a windshield to fall down the rocks and bash her head as she landed in the cavern.
I glanced away from him and saw everyone else was still running around tending to the injured they could get to, trying to save as many as they could since they had already lost the man with the punctured lung. Frustration fueled them as much as their own convictions; they were just not willing to lose another. The man examining the shattered glass stood, drawing my attention back to him.
“Okay, Mandy, time to go see mommy; are you ready?” I asked her calmly.
“Please,” she begged, and I pressed a kiss to her forehead before I looked back up to the EMT and opened a channel between us, sending awareness to him, willing him to turn around and see me. My heart pounded as he stopped, his head lifting as he turned slowly to look out at the sea.
His shock reverberated back to me when he saw me there, drifting in the air, cradling the bleeding child to my chest. Right then I wished I had the ability to emit some eerie glow around me to make it seem like one of those miracles people talk about so they would just write his vision off later. But instead I was a salt rubbed, scraped, and dripping mess, nothing what you expect when you finally get to see an angel. I hoped he wouldn’t be too disappointed tomorrow morning when the shock wore off.
I nodded to him and propelled myself forward, towards the cliff and the lean of rocks, beckoning him to me through our open channel. He took a moment before he shook himself visibly and then scrambled for the edge of the road and reached out towards us. Bringing myself close enough to pass Mandy to him without hitting the rocks took more skill than I thought. As it was, my feet scraped them and my wings faltered as I stretched my arms out.
“You saw her on the rocks,” I said, letting power fill my voice as I spoke. “You saw the glass and checked over the edge, and there she was.”
“There she was,” he repeated slowly as he gathered Mandy into his arms, cradling her against his chest as he pulled himself back up on the road. He gave a slow blink and I beat my wings forcibly to push myself back in the air away from the rocks, hanging over the water. Mandy lifted her head out of the crook of his shoulder and looked for me. When our eyes met, I lifted a hand and waved at her, my heart swelling when she waved back with her tiny hand.
“Go,” I whispered to the man, knowing he could hear me with the channel between us. I turned my body, opening my wings over my head. Light from the traffic glinted on the tips of my feathers, making them sparkle silver before I struck out back towards the clear beach.