Summary from Goodreads:
We came in peace. Lie.
We had no role in the Collapse. Lie.
I have always been honest. Lie.
I never lied to her. Truth.
Reunited with her brother, and surrounded by Flint, Peter and her new-found grandfather, Jax Mitchell has still never felt more alone. The choice to follow Rym back to the city to find answers and see Lir is an easy one, but their reunion is cut short and Jax is forced to leave Lir behind. She finds herself traveling with some unexpected companions and heading back toward a place she’d hoped to never see again.
After being imprisoned—and tortured—on the orders of his uncle, Lir hasn’t seen daylight or linked to anyone in weeks. After a lifetime of connection, the pain and loneliness is almost too much to bear. Elated that Jax actually came, Lir finds renewed hope and strength to continue fighting his uncle’s influence over the E’rikon, even when things look hopeless and Lir’s been branded a traitor by the very people he’s trying to save.
While Jax and Lir fight separate battles, their missions have more in common than they realize. It’s a race against time to stop men driven only by greed and power. But the people they trust the most might be the very people working against them—and “family” doesn’t mean what it used to. Will they recognize their friends from their enemies in time to save the people they love or will they lose each other in the process?
Excerpt: Lir and Vitrad
Vitrad laughs with his mouth open and runs the tip of his tongue over his lips like a hungry predator. “That is too bad. But I will have her, Steliro. I am positive I can find some… incentive for her to return.” He leans forward until he is speaking directly into my ear. “How was it to feel the link, only to have it ripped away again? Convince her to return—to work with me—and I will let you keep her. You have my word.”
“And what good is your word? When you have turned us into nothing but hatemongers and—”
This time he uses his kitu to put yet more power into his blow. He strikes me hard enough to loosen a few teeth and fill my mouth with blood again; I stumble back and fall to the ground. I push up onto my elbows, wipe away the trickle of blood from my nose, spit onto his boots, and look up at him with what I am sure is a morbidly green grin.
“It is bad form to lose your temper like that, Uncle.”
Vitrad springs before I have a chance to scramble to my feet. His fist slams into the side of my head and knocks it down to the concrete with a load crack. He starts kicking, and I curl into a ball. It is no use trying to fight back. In my weakened state, I am no match for him. So I simply wait for his fit of temper to pass, squeezing my eyes shut and blanking my mind.
The first time he beat me, I did fight back. That was right after I broke the bond—a last-ditch effort to thwart his plans to turn Jax into a weapon. When Vitrad found out what I did, he was enraged, and I felt the full brunt of his fury. I was much weaker for the second beating—after spending a few days locked below ground without food and water—but still I tried to maintain some semblance of control, even if it was only evident in how long I was under the kiun before passing out.
It was not until he threatened Stella’s safety that I stopped fighting back.
Now, though, the threat to Stella has been lifted. He portrays her as his doting niece—he insists that she go with him almost everywhere—and by using her to generate sympathy with my people, he has taken away his own ability to use her against me. He cannot touch her, and I know it. Still, it is too late for me. Vitrad is fully aware I have no useful information for him, that since I broke the bond he can no longer get to Jax through me. At this point I believe he simply likes to see me bleed.
This rabid animal that takes out his anger on my body is not the uncle I grew up with. He is not the person who played with me as a child, who laughed at the dinner table with my parents, and who grieved his bondmate’s loss, surrounded by my entire family. He is not even the inflammatory but pragmatic military leader I once knew. Behind closed doors, in the presence of only his most trusted, he is not even E’rikon. As he rails against the world with his fists and his feet, his Vi’askari look away from the physical violence he inflicts on me. It is not something our culture condones, even against those they call traitor, and they refuse to admit something could be wrong. But I will say what they will not.
My uncle was not always insane, but he is now.
The only person she knows who had a subscription to Writer’s Digest at eleven and was always excited to write research papers, Theresa has been putting words to paper since a young age. Living in the mountains of central Virginia with her husband and two kids, she works as a paralegal by day, binges on Netflix at night and finds bits of time in between reading almost everything she can get her hands on and laundry to craft stories that tend to feature broken characters in sci-fi or paranormal worlds, with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure.
She’s constantly lost in one fictional universe or another and is a self-proclaimed “fangirl” who loves being sucked in to new books or TV shows. Theresa originally wanted to write horror novels as an ode to her childhood passion for Stephen King novels, but between her internal Muse’s ramblings and the constant praise for her sci-fi pieces from her writer’s group – The Rebel Writers – she knew she should stick with what was working.
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