Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Review: Fighting for Everything - Laura Kaye

Loving her is the biggest fight of his life...

Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.

Warrior Fight Club Series:
Fighting for Everything
Fighting for What's His (August 2018)
Fighting the Fire (October 2018)
Worth Fighting For (March 2019)

Visit Laura Kaye's website for more information

Review:
Until recently Noah was a serving Marine but after losing part of his sigh and hearing in an IED explosion he's now home and trying to find a way to move on with his life. The brain injury he received has left him with constant headaches and he's suffering with not just PTST but also survivors guilt after losing so many of his friends in the war. Basically Noah is in a very bad place, badly depressed and unsure if life is even worth living anymore. Kristina has been Noah's best friend since they were five years old and she hates seeing him so low, all she wants is to find a way to help her friend recover but things are made complicated by the sudden fierce attraction they are both feeling towards each other. Noah is very close to hitting rock bottom but can he pull himself back from the brink in time to build a future with the woman he loves.

Laura Kaye always writes such incredibly intense relationships and this is one of my favourites. I always enjoy the friends to lovers trope and Noah and Kristina have such a fantastic connection, one that goes deep and is far beyond just sexual attraction (although they're definitely not lacking in that department either!). The author tackles a lot of difficult issues in this story but she does it brilliantly and she really brought Noah's character to life. We get to see so many sides to his character, theres the strong and sexy man that Kristina has known all her life but then there is the more vulnerable side to him who is suffering deeply and very close to suicidal.

These topics are handled sensitively and I really appreciated the fact that Kristina wasn't able to magically cure Noah with sex, instead Noah had to find his own path to happiness and we get to see him really working hard towards his recovery. He finds a group of friends through Warrior Fight Club, an MMA fighting group made up of ex service members who are able to understand him in ways that Kristina can't because she doesn't have the same shared experience. Kristina was incredibly supportive but she knew that it was ultimately down to Noah to figure things out. I found it so easy to root for them as a couple and I loved the times they spent together just hanging out as well as in bed, they're actually pretty adorable together!

I really enjoyed the introduction to other members of Warrior Fight Club too so I have very high hopes for this series. I loved that the group doesn't only have male members and there are female fighters too, ones who have also served their country and have their own recovery to make. Laura Kaye is definitely onto another winner with this series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Fighting for Everything - Laura Kaye (Excerpt & Giveaway)


From New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes the first standalone title in her brand, new Warrior Fight Club series, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING. Join the Warrior Fight Club world today!


Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…

Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.


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Excerpt:

“I’m no good right now, Kristina,” Noah said in a low voice.

She shook her head. “That’s not true. You’ve been through something horrible. And you’re still recovering. Still hurting. That’s all understandable—”

“I am fucked in the head. You saw it yourself. Twice,” he said, his voice suddenly loud, bitter. Under her hands, his muscles tensed.

“You are not fucked in the head,” she said, anger and determination gathering deep in her belly. Not anger at Noah, but irrational anger for him. She hated that things had happened to him that left him feeling this way. So out of control, so sad, so unlike himself. “Sure, you have things you’re dealing with. And you will get a handle on them—”

“No,” he said, shaking her off and pacing in the narrow space behind the door. “You don’t understand. I’m…” Noah’s hands squeezed into fists at his sides. “…so goddamned angry. All the time. It feels like I could tear the world to pieces. And I want to.” He whirled on her. “Because the perfection of everything around me makes me feel so much more wrecked inside that I can barely breathe.”

Oh, God.

Tears pricked at the backs of her eyes, but she wouldn’t let them fall. She wouldn’t let herself fall apart. Not now. Not in front of him. Not when Noah needed to lean on her so damn badly. “The world around you is not perfect, Noah. It’s an illusion. And you are not wrecked—”

“I am.” He got right up in her face.

Kristina held her ground. “You’re not—”

“I am!”

“Noah—”

He grabbed her by the arms, not so much that it hurt, but with enough force that it surprised her. “Here’s your proof. I want to fuck you, Kristina. I want to bury myself in you and stay there forever. Just lose myself in you until I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve been fantasizing about it, dreaming about it, imagining it. Having you is all I can fucking think about. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Noah’s words unleashed a flash fire in Kristina’s blood. Her heart tripped into a sprint. Her breathing shallowed out. Heat roared across her skin. One heartbeat. Two. And Kristina knew what she had to do.

Acting on instinct, she pulled out of Noah’s grip and stepped backward. Away from his confession. Away from him.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



And don’t miss the second standalone romance in the Warrior Fight Club series coming August 7, 2018, FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS

PRE-ORDER FIGHTING FOR WHAT'S HIS:


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Laura Kaye’s FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

May 21st
Angie and Jessica's Dreamy Reads – Review & Excerpt
Books and Bubble bath – Review & Excerpt
Catty Jane Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt
Coffee Books Life – Review & Excerpt
I Love HEA Romance Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Knotty Girl Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Obsessed by books – Review & Excerpt
Read more sleep less – Review & Excerpt
Romance as a first language – Review & Excerpt
The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt
May 22nd
RELEASE DAY!!
May 23rd
2 Amys Love Reading – Review & Excerpt
Blogging by Liza – Review & Excerpt
Elenasbookblog – Review & Excerpt
Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt
Hot Kindle Reads – Review
Les Chroniques Aléatoires – Review & Excerpt
Melena's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Book Disciple – Review & Excerpt
May 24th
Books of My Heart – Review & Excerpt
Cara's Book Boudoir – Review & Excerpt
I Love Romance – Review & Excerpt
Nice Ladies, Naughty Books – Review & Excerpt
Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
Sofia Loves Books – Review
Wickedcoolflight – Review & Excerpt
May 25th
Angel Reads – Review
Bobo's Book Bank – Review & Excerpt
My Favorite Things – Review & Excerpt
NallaReads – Review & Excerpt
Novel Addiction – Review
Relentless Romance – Review & Excerpt
Romancing the Readers – Review & Excerpt
May 26th
AC Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Fern's Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
The Staircase Reader – Review & Excerpt
The Book Boyfriend Addict – Review & Excerpt
May 27th
Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt
Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt
Kari Gillespie – Review
Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm – Review & Excerpt
Total Book Addicts – Review & Excerpt
May 28th
Booknerd1107 – Review & Excerpt
Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt
JordansBookReviews – Excerpt
Rad Babes Read – Review & Excerpt
Ripe For Reader – Review & Excerpt
Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
Thoughts of a Blonde – Review & Excerpt
May 29th
Book Freak – Review & Excerpt
My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt
Sip Read Love – Review
The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt
May 30th
Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt
I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Review & Excerpt
Literary Misfit – Review & Excerpt
Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt
May 31st
Blissfully Bookish Besties – Review & Excerpt
Book Bitches Blog – Review & Excerpt
Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Spoons, Hooks, and Books – Review & Excerpt
The Book Reading Gals – Review & Excerpt
June 1st
Book Nook Nuts – Excerpt
Books A-Brewin' – Review & Excerpt
Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt
Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt
Renee Entress's Blog – Review & Excerpt
She Hearts Books – Review & Excerpt
Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Spotlight Tour: Furyborn - Claire Legrand


Book Info:

Title: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
ISBN: 9781492656623, Hardcover
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Summary:

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.




Check out the Furyborn Book Trailers:

Meet the Blood Queen:



and the Sun Queen:



Praise for Furyborn:

“A page-turner. Readers will find the complex and flawed characters immensely relatable. The two narratives are deftly interwoven, and plot twists will keep teens on the edge of their seats.”
School Library Journal, popular pick

“A dark yet rousing adventure story that combines passion and danger at every turn.”
Booklist

“High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies.”
Kirkus

“Strikingly vivid prose… the nearly five hundred pages race by in stunning fashion. This is a must-have for fans of Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles (Finnikin of the Rock, or Cashore’s Graceling.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, STARRED Review

“Beautiful, brutal, heart-stopping, and epic, Furyborn is a world to lose yourself in—just bring weapons. It’s dangerous there.”
Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone saga

“Legrand has created magic on every page. Flawed, smart, and fierce heroines kept me dazzled and breathless. Furyborn is explosive and stunning.”
Mary E. Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles and The Jenna Fox Chronicles

Excerpt from Furyborn:

1
RIELLE
“Lord Commander Dardenne came to me in the middle of the night, his daughter in his arms. They smelled of fire; their clothes were singed. He could hardly speak. I had never seen the man afraid before. He thrust Rielle into my arms and said, ‘Help us. Help her. Don’t let them take her from me.’”
—Testimony of Grand Magister Taliesin Belounnon, on Lady Rielle Dardenne’s involvement in the Boon Chase massacreApril 29, Year 998 of the Second Age
TWO YEARS EARLIER
Rielle Dardenne hurried into Tal’s office and dropped the sparrow’s message onto his desk.
“Princess Runa is dead,” she announced.
She wouldn’t describe her mood as excited exactly, but her own kingdom, Celdaria, and their northeastern neighbor, Borsvall, had lived in a state of tension for so many decades that it was hardly noteworthy when, say, a Celdarian merchant ship sank off Borsvall’s coast or patrols came to blows near the border.
But a murdered Borsvall princess? That was news. And Rielle wanted to dissect every piece of it.
Tal let out a sigh, set down his pen, and dragged his ink-smudged hands through his messy blond hair. The polished golden flame pinned to his lapel winked in the sunlight.
“Perhaps,” Tal suggested, turning a look on Rielle that was not quite disapproval and not quite amusement, “you should consider looking less thrilled about a princess’s murder?”
She slid into the chair across from him. “I’m not happy about it or anything. I’m simply intrigued.” Rielle pulled the slip of paper back across the desk and read over the inked words once more. “So you do think it was assassination? Audric thinks so.”
“Promise me you won’t do anything stupid today, Rielle.”
She smiled sweetly at him. “When have I ever done anything stupid?”
He quirked an eyebrow. “The city guard is on high alert. I want you here, safe in the temple, in case anything happens.” He took the message from her, scanning its contents. “How did you get this, anyway? No, wait. I know. Audric gave it to you.”
Rielle stiffened. “Audric keeps me informed. He’s a good friend. Where’s the harm in that?”
Tal didn’t answer, but he didn’t have to.
“If you have something to say to me,” she snapped, color climbing up her cheeks, “then just say it. Or else let’s begin our lesson.”
Tal watched her a moment longer, then turned to pick up four enormous books sitting on the shelf behind him.
“Here,” he said, ignoring the mutinous expression on her face. “I’ve marked some passages for you to read. Today will be devoted to quiet study. And I’ll test you later, so don’t even think about skimming.”
Rielle narrowed her eyes at the book on the top of the stack. “A Concise History of the Second Age, Volume I: The Aftermath of the Angelic Wars.” She made a face. “This hardly looks concise.”
“It’s all a matter of perspective,” he said, returning to the papers on his desk.
Rielle’s favorite place in Tal’s office was the window seat overlooking the main temple courtyard. It was piled high with scarlet cushions lined in gold piping, and when she sat there, dangling her legs out into the sun, she could almost forget that there was an enormous world beyond the temple and her city—a world she would never see.
She settled by the window, kicked off her boots, hiked up her heavy lace-trimmed skirts, and rested her bare feet on the sill. The spring sunlight washed her legs in warmth, and soon she was thinking of how Audric blossomed on bright, sun-filled days like this one. How his skin seemed to glow and crackle, begging to be touched.
Tal cleared his throat, breaking her focus.
Tal knew her far too well.
She cracked open A Concise History, took one look at the tiny, faded text, and imagined tossing the book out the window and into the temple courtyard, where citizens were filing in for morning prayers—to pray that the riders they had wagered upon in today’s race would win, no doubt. Every temple in the capital would be full of such eager souls, not just there in the Pyre—Tal’s temple, where citizens worshipped Saint Marzana the firebrand—but in the House of Light and the House of Night as well and the Baths and the Firmament, the Forge and the Holdfast. Whispered prayers in all seven temples, to all seven saints and their elements.
Wasted prayers, thought Rielle with a slight, sharp thrill. The other racers will look like children on ponies compared to me.
She flipped through a few pages, biting the inside of her lip until she felt calm enough to speak. “I’ve heard many in the Borsvall court are blaming Celdaria for Runa’s death. We wouldn’t do such a thing, would we?”
Tal’s pen scratched across his paper. “Certainly not.”
“But it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, does it? If King Hallvard’s councils convince him that we killed his daughter, he will declare war at last.”
Tal dropped his pen with a huff of annoyance. “I’m not going to get any work done today, am I?”
Rielle swallowed her grin. If only you knew how true that is, dearest Tal.
“I’m sorry if I have questions about the political climate of our country,” she said. “Does that fall under the category of things we’re not allowed to discuss, lest my poor vulnerable brain shatter from the stress?”
A smile twitched at the corner of Tal’s mouth. “Borsvall might declare war, yes.”
“You don’t seem concerned about this possibility.”
“I find it unlikely. We’ve been on the edge of war with Borsvall for decades, and yet it has never happened. And itwill never happen, because the Borsvall people may be warmongers, but King Hallvard is neither healthy nor stupid. We would flatten his army. He can’t afford a war with anyone, much less with Celdaria.”
“Audric said…” Rielle hesitated. A twist of unease slipped down her throat. “Audric said he thinks Princess Runa’s death, and the slave rebellion in Kirvaya, means it’s time. That the Queens are coming.”
Silence fell over the room like a shroud.
“Audric has always been fascinated with the prophecy,” Tal said, his voice deceptively calm. “He’s been looking for signs of the Queens’ coming for years.”
“He sounds rather convinced this time.”
“A slave rebellion and a dead princess are hardly enough to—”
“But I heard Grand Magister Duval talking about how there have been storms across the ocean in Meridian,” she pressed on, searching his face. “Even as far as Ventera and Astavar. Strange storms, out of season.”
Tal blinked. Ah, thought Rielle. You didn’t know that, did you?
“Storms do occur out of season from time to time,” Tal said. “The empirium works in mysterious ways.”
Rielle curled her fingers in her skirts, taking comfort in the fact that soon she would be in her riding trousers and boots, her collar open to the breeze.
She would be on the starting line.
“The report I read,” she continued, “said that a dust storm in southern Meridian had shut down the entire port of Morsia for days.”
“Audric needs to stop showing you every report that comes across his desk.”
“Audric didn’t show me anything. I found this one myself.”
Tal raised an eyebrow. “You mean you snuck into his office when he wasn’t there and went through his papers.”
Rielle’s cheeks grew hot. “I was looking for a book I’d left behind.”
“Indeed. And what would Audric say if he knew you’d been in his office without his permission?”
“He wouldn’t care. I’m free to come and go as I please.”
Tal closed his eyes. “Lady Rielle, you can’t just visit the crown prince’s private rooms day and night as though it’s nothing. You’re not children anymore. And you are not his fiancée.”
Rielle lost her breath for an instant. “I’m well aware of that.”
Tal waved a hand and rose from his chair, effectively ending all talk of the prophecy and its Queens.
“The city is crowded today—and unpredictable,” he said, walking across the room to pour himself another cup of tea. “Word is spreading about Princess Runa’s death. In such a climate, the empirium can behave in similarly unpredictable ways. Perhaps we should begin a round of prayers to steady our minds. Amid the chaos of the world, the burning flame serves as an anchor, binding us in peace to the empirium and to God.”
Rielle glared at him. “Don’t use your magister voice, Tal. It makes you sound old.”
He sighed, took a sip of his tea. “I am old. And grumpy, thanks to you.”
“Thirty-two is hardly old, especially to already be Grand Magister of the Pyre.” She paused. She would need to proceed carefully. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were appointed as the next Archon. Surely, with someone as talented as you beside me, I could safely watch the Chase from your box—”
“Don’t try to flatter me, Lady Rielle.” His eyes sparked at her. There was the Tal she liked—the ferocious firebrand, not the pious teacher. “It isn’t safe for you out there right now, not to mention dangerous for everyone else if something set you off and you lost control.”
Rielle slammed shut A Concise History and rose from the window seat. “Damn you, Tal.”
“Not in the temple, please,” Tal admonished over the rim of his cup.
“I’m not a child. Do you really think I don’t know better by now?” Her voice turned mocking. “‘Rielle, let’s say a prayer together to calm you.’ ‘Rielle, let’s sing a song about Saint Katell the Magnificent to take your mind off things.’ ‘No, Rielle, you can’t go to the masque. You might forget yourself. You might have fun, God forbid.’ If Father had his way, I’d stay locked up for the rest of my life with my nose buried in a book or on my knees in prayer, whipping myself every time I had a stray angry thought. Is that the kind of life you would like for me too?”
Tal watched her, unmoved. “If it meant you were safe and that others were safe as well? Yes, I would.”
“Kept under lock and key like some criminal.” A familiar, frustrated feeling rose within her; she pushed it back down with a vengeance. She would not lose control, not today of all days.
“Do you know,” she said, her voice falsely bright, “that when it storms, Father takes me down to the servants’ quarters and gives me dumbwort? It puts me to sleep, and he locks me up and leaves me there.”
After a pause, Tal answered, “Yes.”
“I used to fight him. He would hold me down and slap me, pinch my nose shut until I couldn’t breathe and had to open my mouth. Then he would shove the vial between my lips and make me drink, and I would spit it up, but he would keep forcing me to drink, whispering to me everything I’d ever done wrong, and right in the middle of yelling how much I hated him, I would fall asleep. And when I would wake up, the storm would be over.”
A longer pause. “Yes,” Tal answered softly. “I know.”
“He thinks storms are too provocative for me. They give me ideas, he says.”
Tal cleared his throat. “That was my fault.”
“I know.”
“But the medicine, that was his suggestion.”
She gave him a withering look. “And did you try to talk him out of it?”
He did not answer, and the patience on his face left her seething.
“I don’t fight him anymore,” she said. “I hear a crack of thunder and go below without him even asking me to. How pathetic I’ve become.”
“Rielle…” Tal sighed, shook his head. “Everything I could say to you, I’ve said before.”
She approached him, letting the loneliness she typically hid from him—from everyone—soften her face. Come, good Magister Belounnon. Pity your sweet Rielle. He broke first, looking away from her. Something like sorrow shifted across his face, and his jaw tightened.
Good.
“He’d let me sleep through life if he could,” she said.
“He loves you, Rielle. He worries for you.”
Heat snapped at Rielle’s fingertips, growing along with her anger. With a stubborn stab of fury, she let it come. She knew she shouldn’t, that an outburst would only make it more difficult to sneak away, but suddenly she could not bring herself to care.
He loves you, Rielle.
A father who loved his daughter would not make her his prisoner.
She seized one of the candles from Tal’s desk and watched with grim satisfaction as the wick burst into a spitting, unruly flame. As she stared at it, she imagined her fury as a flooding river, steadily spilling over its banks and feeding the flame in her hands.
The flame grew—the size of a pen, a dagger, a sword. Then every candle followed suit, a forest of fiery blades.
Tal rose from his desk and picked up the handsome polished shield from its stand in the corner of the room. Every elemental who had ever lived—every waterworker and windsinger, every shadowcaster and every firebrand like Tal—had to use a casting, a physical object uniquely forged by their own hands, to access their power. Their singular power, the one element they could control.
But not Rielle.
She needed no casting, and fire was not the only element that obeyed her.
All of them did.
Tal stood behind her, one hand holding his shield, the other hand resting gently on her own. As a child, back when she had still thought she loved Tal, such touches had thrilled her.
Now she seriously considered punching him.
“In the name of Saint Marzana the Brilliant,” Tal murmured, “we offer this prayer to the flames, that the empirium might hear our plea and grant us strength: Fleet-footed fire, blaze not with fury or abandon. Burn steady and true, burn clean and burn bright.”
Rielle bit down on harsh words. How she hated praying. Every familiar word felt like a new bar being added to the cage her father and Tal had crafted for her.
The room began to shake—the inkwell on Tal’s desk, the panes of glass in the open window, Tal’s half-finished cup of tea.
“Rielle?” Tal prompted, shifting his shield. In his body behind her, she felt a rising hot tension as he prepared to douse her fire with his own power. Despite her best efforts, the concern in his voice caused her a twinge of remorse. He meant well, she knew. He wanted, desperately, for her to be happy.
Unlike her father.
So Rielle bowed her head and swallowed her anger. After all, what she was about to do might turn Tal against her forever. She could allow him this small victory.
“Blaze not with fury or abandon,” she repeated, closing her eyes. She imagined setting aside every scrap of emotion, every sound, every thought, until her mind was a vast field of darkness—except for the tiny spot of light that was the flame in her hands.
Then she allowed the darkness to seep across the flame as well and was left alone in the cool, still void of her mind.
The room calmed.
Tal’s hand fell away.
Rielle listened as he returned his shield to its stand. The prayer had scraped her clean, and in the wake of her anger she felt…nothing. A hollow heart and an empty head.
When she opened her eyes, they were dry and tired. She wondered bitterly what it would be like to live without a constant refrain of prayers in her thoughts, warning her against her own feelings.
The temple bells chimed eleven times; Rielle’s pulse jumped. Any moment now, she would hear Ludivine’s signal.
She turned toward the window. No more prayers, no more reading. Every muscle in her body surged with energy. She wanted to ride.
“I’d rather be dead than live as my father’s prisoner,” she said at last, unable to resist that last petulant stab.
“Dead like your mother?”
Rielle froze. When she faced Tal, he did not look away. She had not expected that cruelty. From her father, yes, but never from Tal.
The memory of long-ago flames blazed across her vision.
“Did Father instruct you to bring that up if I got out of hand?” she asked, keeping her voice flat and cool. “What with the Chase and all.”
“Yes,” Tal answered, unflinching.
“Well, I’m happy to tell you I’ve only killed the one time. You needn’t worry yourself.”
After a moment, Tal turned to straighten the books on his desk. “This is as much for your safety as it is for everyone else’s. If the king discovered we’d been hiding the truth of your power all these years…You know what could happen. Especially to your father. And yet he does it because he loves you more than you’ll ever understand.”
Rielle laughed sharply. “That isn’t reason enough to treat me like this. I’ll never forgive him for it. Someday, I’ll stop forgiving you too.”
“I know,” Tal said, and at the sadness in his voice, Rielle nearly took pity on him.
Nearly.
But then a great crash sounded from downstairs, and an unmistakable cry of alarm.
Ludivine.
Tal gave Rielle that familiar look he so often had—when she had, at seven, overflowed their pool at the Baths; when he had found her, at fifteen, the first time she snuck out to Odo’s tavern. That look of What did I do to deserve such trials?
Rielle gazed innocently back at him.
“Stay here,” he ordered. “I mean it, Rielle. I appreciate your frustration—truly, I do—but this is about more than the injustice of you feeling bored.”
Rielle returned to the window seat, hoping her expression appeared suitably abashed.
“I love you, Tal,” she said, and the truth of that was enough to make her hate herself a little.
“I know,” he replied. Then he threw on his magisterial robe and swept out the door.
“Magister, it’s Lady Ludivine,” came a panicked voice from the hallway—one of Tal’s young acolytes. “She’d only just arrived in the chapel, my lord, when she turned pale and collapsed. I don’t know what happened!”
“Summon my healer,” Tal instructed, “and send a message to the queen. She’ll be in her box at the starting line. Tell her that her niece has taken ill and will not be joining her there.”
Once they had gone, Rielle smiled and yanked on her boots.
Stay here?
Not a chance.
She hurried through the sitting room outside Tal’s office and into the temple’s red-veined marble hallways, where embroidered flourishes of shimmering flames lined the plush carpets. The temple entryway, its parquet floor polished to a sheen of gold, was a flurry of activity as worshippers, acolytes, and servants hurried across to the peaked chapel doors.
“It’s Lady Ludivine,” a young acolyte whispered to her companion as Rielle passed. “Apparently she’s taken ill.”
Rielle grinned, imagining everyone fussing over poor Ludivine, tragically lovely and faint on the temple floor. Ludivine would enjoy the attention—and the reminder that she had the entire capital held like a puppet on its master’s strings.
Even so, Rielle would owe her a tremendous favor after this.
Whatever it was, it would be more than worth it.
Ludivine’s horse stood next to her own just outside the temple, held by a young stable hand who seemed on the verge of panic. He recognized Rielle and sagged with relief.
“Pardon me, Lady Rielle, but is Lady Ludivine all right?” he asked.
“Haven’t the faintest,” Rielle replied, swinging up into the saddle. Then she snapped the reins, and her mare bolted down the main road that led from the Pyre into the heart of the city, hooves clattering against the cobblestones. A tumbled array of apartments and temple buildings rose around them—gray stone walls engraved with scenes of the capital city’s creation, rounded roofs of burnished copper, slender columns wrapped in flowering ivy, white fountains crowned with likenesses of the seven saints in prayer. So many visitors had come from all over the world to Âme de la Terre for the Chase that the cool spring air now pressed thick and close. The city smelled of sweat and spices, hot horse and hot coin.
As Rielle tore down the road, the crowd parted in alarm on either side of her, shouting angry curses until they realized who she was and fell silent. She guided her mare through the twisting streets and made for the main city gates, her body pulled tight with nerves.
But she would not give in to her power today.
She would compete in the Boon Chase, as any citizen was free to do, and prove to her father that she could control herself, even when her life was in danger and the eyes of the entire city were upon her.
She would prove to him, and to Tal, that she deserved to live a normal life.


Giveaway for 2 Copies of Furyborn:

Runs May 22 - May 31 (US & Canada only)

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You can also enter on Twitter for the chance to win a Furyborn prize box by following the instructions below:



About the Author:

Claire Legrand is the author of several novels for children and young adults, most notably The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, Some Kind of Happiness, and Winterspell. Claire lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Visit claire-legrand.com.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.claire-legrand.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clairelegrand
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Release Day Launch: Fighting for Everything - Laura Kaye (Excerpt & Giveaway)


From New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes the first standalone title in her brand, new Warrior Fight Club series, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING. Join the Warrior Fight Club world today!


About FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING (Warrior Fight Club #1, 5/22/18):

Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…

Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.


Add to your Goodreads

“The always amazing Kaye is kicking off a terrific new contemporary romance series that centers around a wounded warrior’s fight club. Kaye does a beautiful job exploring the fallout from war and PTSD as various characters struggle to cope in their own ways. The love story between Noah Cortez and his childhood friend Kristina Moore is both compelling and touching, for the obstacles in their way loom large. A truly memorable read!” ~ RT Book Reviews


Excerpt:

"Noah, are you down here?" Kristina called from the top of the basement steps.

Despite the lack of response, she continued down and crossed the room to the mostly closed door in the back corner--Noah's bedroom since he'd returned just before last Christmas. God, Kristina had thought she'd received the best Christmas present ever--Noah, home from Iraq, safe and sound.

Well, mostly sound, anyway. An IED blast had taken the hearing and most of his vision on his left side, and he'd struggled with bad migraines and equilibrium problems when he'd first returned. But he was home and he was alive, and having him back again had made it feel like she could finally breathe after years of knowing he was in danger every second of every day.

She knocked softly. "Hey Noah, it's me."

All she heard was a long exhale of breath, but it was enough.

Why hadn't he answered her? Her stomach clenched as she pushed open the door far enough to see Noah standing in the dark doorway to his bathroom, his back against the door jamb, his arms crossed, and his head hanging on his big shoulders.

She didn't need to ask if he was okay, because he was radiating not okay loud and clear. Kristina walked right up to him. "What's going on?" she asked. Dim light from the rec room filtered over him, allowing her to just make out the tight clench of his square jaw, the narrowed cast of his dark brown eyes, the harsh set of his beautiful mouth.

Wait. What? Where had that little observation come from?

Noah shook his head, forcing Kristina to drop the ridiculous line of thought.

She stepped closer so that she could look more directly into his eyes. "Come on, Noah. It's me." She ached for him to open up, but what she noticed even more was the low buzz rushing through her body. From how close she stood to all his taut hardness. It wasn't like she was just noticing that Noah was hot, like, dayum hot, but nearly five years in the Marines had matured him and built hard muscle that hadn't been there before. And clearly her body was just noticing, probably because they hadn't had the chance to spend much time together since he'd gotten back.

"Kristina," he said, his voice so low it was nearly a whisper, or a plea. He leaned his forehead against hers. It was such a sweet, needful gesture that Kristina's chest seized.

"First, I'm hugging you. Then we're talking, buddy," she said, wrapping her arms around his big shoulders and planting her cheek against his chest. The embrace wasn't unusual-they'd always been affectionate with each other. She'd lay against him while they watched a movie or he'd sling an arm over her shoulders while they were out together. When things were bad with her dad, he'd hold her when she finally gave into her grief about it and cried. That's how they'd always been.

He embraced her right back and leaned his face against her hair.

After a long moment, Kristina pulled away--

Noah wouldn't let her go. His grip on her tightened, and he held her fast against him. Was he breathing faster? Was he trembling?

Against her belly, he hardened.

Kristina's breath caught in her throat. Noah was aroused...by her? Or just, like, in her general vicinity? Or...? She swallowed hard as her thoughts flew.

As they stood there, suspended in the dark, stolen moment, the air around them flashed hot and closed in, narrowing the world to all the places their bodies touched. His erection grew, pressing against her with more insistence. Heat bloomed over her skin everywhere and she held herself perfectly still. Because this was different. This was not friendly. This was more.

A strange tension wrapped around them, and it scared and attracted Kristina in equal measure. She shuddered out a breath as her body came to life against his. Her breathing quickened, her nipples peaked, her core clenched.

Noah made a noise in the back of his throat like a moan, and his arms tightened around her, pulling their bodies totally flush.

Kristina's breath caught at the hard press of his body and at the shocking arousal it unleashed in her.

This is Noah. This is Noah. This is Noah.

But it didn't seem to matter to her body. The soft cotton of her dress became heavy and irritating against her skin, and all she wanted was for it to be off. So he could be all over her. This sudden, intoxicating need was brand new to her-in general and certainly with Noah. She wasn't a virgin, but she'd never felt with another man the kind of desire rocketing through her just then. And all they'd done was touch.

Why was this happening?

Her hips shifted without her meaning to do it, and it made her belly grind against all that hardness.

Noah hissed in her ear. His fingertips dug into her back...and then wandered, one hand pressing low against her hip, one skimming up her neck into her hair. Holding her tight. Bringing her closer.

She was half sure she was imagining that they were locked inside this raging bubble of attraction, except that his heart thundered beneath where her head rested, his breathing had gone rough, and his skin felt every bit as feverish as hers.

She had to stop this...whatever this was.

Tilting her head back, the words were on the tip of her tongue. Her eyes locked with his, and even in the dimness she could see that they were blazing hot and almost predatory in their directness. It stole her capacity to speak, because she was unequivocally sure he'd never looked at her like that. Need roared off of him and through her, making her heart beat like a bass drum.

Kristina swallowed hard. What would she do if he kissed her? One kissing experiment aside, she'd never had to ask that in regard to him. Another question followed close behind: what would she do if he didn't?

Giveaway:

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And don’t miss the second standalone romance in the Warrior Fight Club series coming August 7, 2018, FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS

PRE-ORDER FIGHTING FOR WHAT'S HIS:


Add to your Goodreads

“Nobody’s tortured alphas destroy me quite so utterly as Laura Kaye’s. Her heroes face heart-wrenching struggles. They have flaws. Kaye presents all of it with unflinching honesty, and I love them—and her!—all the more for it!” ~ USA Today Bestselling Author Samanthe Beck

Now that’s how you start a series! Kaye is at her absolute best, and Fighting For Everything is the perfect combination of steamy romance and the struggle of our wounded warriors.” ~ Scarlett Cole, author of the Love Over Duty Series


About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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