Death. Love. Werewolves. Jealousy. Shadows. Prom. Betrayal. Graduation.
Who said senior year would be easy?
Book 5 in the YA paranormal Midnight Guardian series is a roller coaster of suspense taking riders on Keira Ryan’s journey to fulfill her destiny and bring about the end of the gremlin-like mogdocs. The Book of the Lost may be their last hope. Trouble is…they can’t read it and every bad guy in this world and beyond wants it.
Enter the world of the Midnight Guardian and read the series that fans are calling original, fun, and engrossing.
Butler is an indie author, TV fanatic, book (kindle) lover, housecleaning procrastinator, newbie blogger, cinema buff, browncoat, blessed mom and wife, district 12 resident, new gadget admirer, sucker for vampires, Saturday morning cartoon watcher, wannabe tractor driver, closet twi-mom, and the unofficial Queen of Corn (corny jokes, that is).
She can also recite nearly every line from Back to the Future. “Great Scott!”
She took a last look back at what was once her training room. Seeing it in this state now nearly brought her to tears. It would be a long time in rebuilding, if they chose to rebuild at all.
Keira had spent much of her life in that room. Hours spent in the proper use and handling of weapons, strength and endurance training, pouring over the wealth of guardian knowledge in the stacks. Well, maybe not hours in the stacks. Books just weren’t her thing after all. Regardless, this room was where she grew strong and learned how to stand on her own.
Her eyes rambled over the damage only suddenly brought back to the portal by a thunderous crack.
“You can’t leave,” Brun Gammen’s voice crashed over her like a tsunami. She was so stunned, she didn’t connect right away that his fist was still in the portal mirror. He brought it back slowly and allowed the cracks to deepen. She watched with sheer disbelief as the pieces fell to the floor.
“You broke my portal! You totally broke my portal! I can’t believe you did that! How am I supposed to get back now?”
“Quiet! Do you want the guards to hear us?”
“Maybe,” she replied indignantly, though Arden had taken all the weapons with him. “I’m not scared of your brute squad.”
He bit his tongue and lifted a hand into the air. She knew that gesture. He was going to open a mogdoc threshold for her. Oh no. She wasn’t going to have it, not when she had so many questions that remained unanswered. Not when the biggest question mark of all was standing right in front of her.
“Why’d you break the portal if you are just going to open a threshold?”
Brun grimaced, “Be quiet. I need to concentrate.”
She eyed him suspiciously. “I will not be quiet. Why did you have them attack Elsted?” she pushed on.
His arm fell from the air with a sigh. “It wasn’t me. The Sect planned the march on Elsted. I came along just in case you were…in case you needed me.”
“Brun, people were killed.”
He shook his head. “I know.”
“Guardians…like me,” she pressed.
“I know, Keira.”
“Well you’re the Head of Household now, right? They have to obey your orders. You could have put the kibash on this whole thing.”
“I had to take control. I took advantage of the situation laid before me and told them what they wanted to hear so that they would accept me as their ruler. What would you have me do? Did you want the Sect running the show?”
“Aren’t they?” she said, waving her hands over the rubble that was once her training room.
His brows pulled tightly together. He raised his hand again to tear the air before them into an opening, the mogdoc threshold that would be her doorway home.
“Brun? Answer me.”
“You could have stopped it,” he finally snapped.
“That’s ridiculous,” Keira scoffed.
Brun turned on her. He took a step toward her, and when she stepped back, he took another. Her back hit the wall. He settled over her.
Incredibly close, he breathed, “Whether you believe it or not, the march on Elsted was necessary. You needed to see the destructive power the mogdocs wield. They needed to see that I was their rightful ruler.”
“Why?” her lips moved, though she barely heard the word. It had been a long time since they were this close. A very long time. Her resolve flickered as she took in his sweet scent that reminded her of fresh apples in the fall. Her eyes moved over the smooth skin at his neckline and up to his soft pink lips.
No. She closed her eyes for a second. He was playing with her. This is what mogdocs do, she thought. The mogdoc prince…no, that wasn’t right. The mogdoc emperor was trying to seduce her to his side, and he had the audacity to do it in the rubble that used to be her training room.
His lips so close that she could almost feel them on hers, he whispered, “Why, you ask, but you don’t want to hear the answer.”
“I do,” she said, her stubbornness finding its legs. Her eyes stared unabashedly into his.
He pushed from the wall and away leaving her cold.
“Fine. Forget it,” she said. Her eyes flashed bright with rebellion. “Open the threshold, and I’ll hop through like a good little bunny.”
He put his hands on her shoulders with a gentle squeeze. His lips held closed in a straight line. His eyes drifted to the ground. She could see that he desperately wanted to speak, but he was holding back.
Her patience gone, Keira coaxed, “For every time you’ve saved my life, you’ve been involved in something horrendous like this attack on Elsted. I know there’s good in you, but you keep clouding the issue. If you want me to trust you, tell me the truth, Brun. That’s all I want. That’s all I’ve ever wanted from you.”
She lifted his chin so that they could make eye contact. Her eyes tried to convince him to speak.
He took a step back from her and used a single finger to slice a tear in the air beside him. The mogdoc threshold was open.
“There’s a book.”
She blurted it out hoping that maybe it would resonate with him. Maybe it would buy her some time before he forced her to leave.
It did. “The Book of the Lost,” Brun sighed.
She nodded. “What do you know of it?”
“Supposed to be very powerful. Magic. I don’t trust it,” he said.
“You, the half-monster prince of a banished world. You, who with nothing but his pinky finger can slice the air and step through it to travel to any place instantly. You’re telling me that you don’t trust magic?”
“You think I’m a monster?” he asked in a deflated whisper. His head dropped waiting for her answer.
And her heart stopped.
Keira had put him in a box, just like the others. She classified him as a mogdoc, even though the blood that pumped through his black heart was only that by one-quarter. In reality, he was more human than Keira.
Besides, blood and ancestry did not account for what was inside the spirit. Brun was more than his genes. He had proved that. Hadn’t he?
His mogdoc green eyes drew her in; sparkling like they did long ago when she spied on him as he entertained his friends with football stories in the commons at lunch time.
His shoulders, broad shoulders, that she set her head upon during the slow dances at Fall Ball.
His arms, strong arms, which defended her more than once. Most
times against the will of his family.
His hands, the very same hands that offered her a strawberry milkshake on their first date.
Monsters don’t buy strawberry milkshakes.
“No,” Keira finally shook her head. “You’re not a monster.”
With pleased relief, she stepped into the threshold. Keira turned, to say “goodbye” or maybe “thank you”, but it was he who spoke first.
A knowing smirk played on Emperor Gammen’s lips as he said, “The Book is a myth, a fairy tale. And this threshold doesn’t lead to your home. You see, Keira, you were right the first time…”
Keira’s breath caught as the threshold started to close.
“I am a monster.”
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