Changling * Ari Harper *
* Release Date: 30 October 2013
Published by Lycaon Press * http://www.lycaonpress.com
Book 2: Circle of Kin
* ISBN: 978-1-77101-918-7
Some family secrets change everything… .
In Book 1 of the Circle of Kin series, we met Nera and learned about her extraordinary family secret. Now the adventure continues in Changling.
Nera’s best friend Sully knows there is something special about him. He is after all related to Nera’s Uncle Jasper and Jasper is a witch so it stands to reason that some family power would have been passed down. They just need to figure out what that power could possibly be.
However, his power is beyond anything they could have imagined and while his ability to change into an animal and run wild has its advantages, to be hunted for the beast that he is, is another matter entirely
And when they find out who wants him dead, they realize that life isn’t as simple as they thought…
About the Author
Ari Harper has never wanted to grow up and so, to offset the limitations of aging ungracefully
in this world, she created her own set of unique worlds where she can be and do whatever she
wants. And while she spins her magic, weaving these new, rich worlds, she is surrounded by
Gods, witches and demons who offer inspiration, whispering suggestions.
Given a chance, she prefers to work surrounded by chaos, which is good because she is
constantly surrounded by children, all clamoring for attention. Some of them end up in her
stories, where some of them get to die grisly deaths or be cast away to another realm. Of
course, her life would be incomplete without her own familiar, a big black dog called Hugo,
who stars as himself in the Curse of Kin series as Nera’s own faithful hound.
Readers can engage with her via Facebook and she can also be found on Twitter and Goodreads.
In November 2012, the first title – Witchling – in her new series, Circle of Kin, was published
by Lycaon Press. Changling is the exciting second book in the series.
“You know that I’d do anything to help Sully. I’ll even be nice to you.” I ignored the look I got from Jasper. Things were starting to race through my head. “Do you think that the new neighbors have anything to do with it?”
“I can’t see anything there, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be somewhere down the track. Let’s not get too carried away yet. Sully hasn’t matured enough to change at present, so he should be safe for a little while longer,” Bones said.
Roman motioned to Bones and put his hands out. Bones knelt down on the ground beside him. “What is it, Roman?”
The rest of us sat on the floor too. Dad hadn’t seen what Roman could do, as we had. We had hoped to leave him out of it. He watched quietly as Roman put one hand on my face and the other on Bones’s cheek.
“Hold Nera’s hand, Bones,” he whispered. Then he closed his eyes.
We followed suit and sat with our eyes closed as Roman showed us what he could see. The visions ran through my head as Rogan the wolf raced through the forest with Branna on his heels. She was dressed in dark brown, her long black hair floating behind her, and a sword in her hand. She blended with the shadows of the forest floor. We could smell the fear as the wolf was hunted and finally cornered. The dread of what was to come ran down my spine, and her laugh pierced the stillness of the forest. The pain, when it came, was like a shock of ice-cold water in my veins. It was gone as quickly as it had come.
Another wolf came into the forest, this one younger and unsure of itself. Its coloring was lighter, with golden tips on its fur. Its eyes were golden and wary as it quickly looked around the clearing. Keeping to the edge of the forest, the wolf wandered slowly around to the side of a small bubbling stream to drink. As it lowered its head to taste the fresh cool water, a shadow fell on the ground beside it, startling the animal as it swallowed. The laugh that rang through the forest was chilling and evil. It was then that the forest exploded around him and the scream stilled in my throat.
Roman let go of our hands and opened his eyes. He leaned forward and touched his chubby little fingers to my quivering lips. He kissed my cheek before crawling into my lap and laying his head against my chest.
I felt shaken by what I had seen. Sully was as dear to me as anyone could possibly be. I looked at Bones. He was inches away from me and I resisted the urge to lean into him for comfort. “What the hell was all that?”
“Past and present. Just like her mother but sneaky with it.”
“How will we know when she gets here?”
“She’s been laying in wait, watching. Others who shared Rogan’s abilities have already been disposed of. She will hurt him, of that you can be sure. We must work together to stop her.”
“Isn’t there another way?”
“Scared of me, Nera?”
“No, I just don’t like you in my head.”
“If it’s any consolation, I don’t particularly like you in mine either. We have no choice.”
“What happened, Nera?” Dad asked as I stood up with Roman on my hip, his arms tight around my neck. Showing such evil did not sit well in my brother’s mind.
“Roman showed us what happened to Rogan. I’m sorry, Jasper. He was frightened and I think he knew what was coming. She has to be stopped before she gets Sully.”
“What else did he show you, Bones?” Jasper’s eyes were dark with pain.
“She is already here, Jasper. Just waiting for Sully to change before she starts hunting him. Sorry, Jack, but it is definitely Branna.”
“I had hoped that she had been dealt with long ago.” Dad heaved a big sigh and shook his head. “She was always nasty. I just didn’t realize how much like my mother she had become. This is my fault, all of it.”
“Lose the ‘poor me’ attitude, Jack,” Bones snapped. “We need your energies focused elsewhere.”
I raised my eyebrows as Bones berated my father. Sure, he was wallowing a bit too much and I probably would too if it was me. It was time to get over it. Sully’s life was at stake and self-pity was an emotion we could not afford.
“Why should I? This is all happening because of me; you know that. So why shouldn’t I feel down about it?”
“No reason at all, Jack, but there is a limit. I have lost more than most and I do not hold you responsible for any of it. I agree with Bones. It is time to put your energies elsewhere.” Jasper frowned at him. “If anyone is to blame, it is your mother. Because she could not tolerate you having your own life is no reason for you to take on the burden. Get over it.”
Dad was tossing things over in his mind. We could all see that from the range of emotions running through his eyes. It would take more time before he let go of it and this we were prepared to give him, but not at the risk of Sully’s life. If he was going to mourn over it, he would have to do it in private.
“Well, we certainly didn’t expect this today,” Jasper sighed as he gathered himself up. “I could use a cup of tea.” He headed toward the kitchen, Hugo on his heels