Renegade by Mallory McCartney
(Black Dawn 0.5)
Published August 21st 2018 by Clean Reads Publishing
“The time for Kiero’s reign in prosperity is over.”
Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems. An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters most- finding out the truth. In this gripping prequel to Black Dawn, their world is tipped upside down as unlikely alliances are made. War ravages through Kiero and is torn apart by acclaimed Kings. Through the throes of betrayal, lies, hidden magic and love, Adair is faced with a life changing decision- to fight or to bow to the darkness within him.
Mallory McCartney currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario with her husband and their three dachshunds Link, Lola and Leonard. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found day dreaming about fantasy worlds and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.
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He collided back into the present so hard he rolled over and emptied the contents of his stomach. Gasping for breath, he threw up his iron walls, sealing them tight, and the well of voices quieted until it was just him, only to notice how silent outside the tent was. The hairs on his arm rose as he silently stood, slinging his pack over his shoulder and unsheathing his weathered sword. Everything made sense. How hard Tadeas pushed them to reach the capital, how loud they were being. It was practically ensuring Cesan would come sniffing. To fall into the king’s trap. Only for Tadeas to kill him with no chance of justice. To hear both sides.
Rage ripped through him of how fast Roque had risked them all, had bent to the claim of being King. What did Cesan know? What was Roque afraid would be found? Cold sweat soaked through his shirt as he pushed the thoughts down for now. The firelight danced outside, and he could see Brokk and Alby’s silhouettes, their voices a low murmur. That’s when he heard the howling. Distant at first, like a humming in the night. Then drawing unnaturally closer, faster, the sounds of hundreds. He shot out of the tent, taking in his friends bathed in the glow from the fire, all of them frozen. It was the same effect as losing all sense of clarity. The lurching panic, and then helplessness, as you grappled to hold onto anything.
The screaming started first at the north end of the camp. Brokk stood, all color draining from his face. Memphis spun, taking in the nightmare forming. Their bodies were like sleek armored plates, gleaming and muscular. Their elongated torsos were like serpents, twisting and flexing as they propelled forward with long black legs. Their bald bodies shimmered like water against the firelight, reflecting their drooling maws and inky teeth. Their orange eyes gleamed with madness as they cut down through tents and bodies. He had heard of creatures of dark ancient magic before. Ones that were told to children to keep their fears heightened and curiosity in check. But as he saw the first monster rip the throat out of one of Tadeas’s men, this was the farthest thing from bedtime stories of old.
Utter chaos broke out as Brokk threw himself forward, shifting in one motion, as his colossal paws thundered, shaking the earth. Alby drew his sword, and immediately became invisible. Roars rose from the creatures as he assaulted them, unseen. Heart thundering, Memphis drew his own. Everything moved in slow motion. He felt himself take in the numbers of the monsters as they poured into the camp, their rage and their might crashed into their own. It was a battle of tyrants. Yelling, he bounded forward, his ability already two steps ahead of him, reacting in his fear. His talons exploded, slashing their dark minds, grasping their will, their bodies, holding them still as Brokk made his landing blow. He ducked. Slashed. Growling, thrusting his blade forward. His ability cut and unbound the creature’s minds. He was a darkened duet, of body and ability, the two forces creating a lethal harmony. Their inky talons, and severed bodies filled his senses as he heard The King of the Shattered Isles roar.
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