Last day to nominate this book
Back to top

First pages

Chapter One

14th August 2012

Rough hands shoved her back from the castle’s great doors. Kai’s boney shoulder bashed hers as they struggled in the Lionhearts’ restraining arms. Their eyes glared down at them, dark and swirling with disgust. More of those Lionhearts were swarming around them, clad in black leather and the metal of their weapons gleamed in the weak human sunlight. Seraphina’s heart was battering at her chest. Everywhere she went she was trapped. Her eyes sought Kai’s yellow ones as they were shoved on to the ground and surrounded by a circle of the Lionhearts.

“What are you?” One had growled, his black hair was shorn so close to his head Seraphina could see his pale scalp through it. “Gems?”

Kai’s eyes besought her. He was waiting for her to do this, after all this had been her plan. She had chosen the Lionhearts over the monsters because she had read once that in a war there were always two sides and you didn’t want to be the poor creatures in the middle. But Kai and Seraphina really were those poor creatures in the middle and they needed to cover that up.

“No,” Seraphina bit out and internally cursed her shaking hands.

She’d faced the possibility of her own death so many times now, but she was still shaking. Their guns seemed to grow in size, taking up all the space in the circle.

“Really now?” The patchy-haired Lionheart snapped. He waved his gun at Kai, “Green hair, yellow eyes…”

Seraphina closed her eyes for a moment thanking the fact they still had some small shred of luck that Kai’s Glamour on his high-fae ears had worked. They wouldn’t see those and that meant they could believe Seraphina’s story.

“You…” The man continued glaring at Seraphina. “Bright blue hair. If that’s not Gem then what is it?”

Gems had been secrets but at some point the fae had grown to know of them and neither Kai nor herself had told their captors about their origins. So something had happened but for the Lionhearts to be so on guard, why?

It’s - it’s from the fae’s lands.” Seraphina gasped and her stomach recoiled at the collective gasps and hisses from the Lionhearts. “Please, we seek sanctuary.”

“And how can we be sure you are not spies?”

“Because, because…” She glanced at Kai, he too was shaking like a leaf and who knew for how long he could keep up the Glamour on his ears. Prolonged magic like that took a toll on the user’s body. “What year is it?” She asked softly.

She was clutching at straws and trying to make herself seem harmless and something beyond the markings the Lionhearts saw. She knew how to work with that and had been for most of her life with the scientists who had created her.

“2012.”

“Oh-okay. Wh-”

“When were you born?” The Lionheart barked at her.

“4th August 1999, we were both born in 1999.” It was only then she realised she didn’t know her best and only friend’s birthday, a stupid thing to think of at this time but it was jarring none the less. She’d known him since he was five and seen him every day and she had never considered asking, it had never seemed important.

“What’s going on?” Someone called from across the expanse, behind the Lionhearts.

A minute later a man was pushing through, his face smattered with wrinkles and his skin was a strange waxen brown, his hair was so white the sun set it aglow. But despite his face he walked with his shoulders back and his head high and everyone in the ring seemed to straighten at his arrival. Their leader.

“Gems or faerie spies.” The patchy-Lionheart snapped as he let his leader through.

“We’re not spies!” Kai piped in.

Seraphina grimaced. “What are Gems?” It felt like a sickly lie, one that didn’t even flow well because she knew full well what one was and it was a lie the fae could never have committed.

“They claim to be from faerie, sir.” Patchy reported, talking over them.

But the leader looked down at them. “Did you escape the fae?”

“Yes.” Seraphina looked him straight in the eyes as she spoke. They were strange, the irises were completely devoid of colour and all that surrounded them was a dark ring. He was not normal. “They captured us and…they will come looking again. I know it.”

“Why would they want you?” Patchy asked.

“Enough,” his leader silenced him.

Seraphina glared at the Lionheart, she hated him, she realised that she hated them all. There was a dark thing settling in chest, cold and heavy.

“How did you both get here?” The leader asked.

“We ran and walked.”

The leader turned to his left, putting his back to Patchy. “Find them some food and clean clothes. Then I would like to speak to them in my office.”

 

A little under an hour later Seraphina and Kai were in an office away from the castle in another building. There was the soft whir of a computer on the desk and she could hear the roar of cars from a faraway road. This world was so noisy, so full of technology and it only made her feel more foreign.

Kai’s shoulder was pressed against hers as they stood before the leader of the Lionhearts’ guild. Their fresh new clothes felt soft and clean. It made them feel more human, more… it was jarring. The new clothes against Seraphina’s skin felt like a new beginning just like the new name she’d given herself.

The Lionheart’s leader looked different by himself, there was an easy smile on his face and Seraphina could only wonder if this was a trick to make her think he was friendly. The fae had taught her well.

“What are you going to do with us?” Kai asked, his voice hard and nothing like the thirteen year old kids they were. The fae had done that too, but that was not the angle they were supposed to be playing. They were supposed to appear harmless.

“I would like to help you, but first I must see if I can trust you. My name is Ignatius Cross the Third. Tell me about yourselves. If you may have heard, there was an epidemic of Gems not so long ago. They were very dangerous and hurt anyone or thing they came in to contact with.” He sank in to the chair behind his desk with a sigh, but he still watched them closely.

“I heard the fae talk about Gems,” Seraphina murmured.

“It’s quite the story. A single girl escaped these manic hunters and humans, who created science experiments that were supposed to kill all the monsters and save us. The girl was a science experiment too and she tore down the place they were keeping all the other science experiments, revealing them and essentially spreading them across England, they wrought havoc. It’s been hard work but there have been less than five instances in the last few months, we’ve probably cleared them all out now. It has definitely created some haunting stories, although I am sure you know a fair few yourselves?”

That piece of information was like a rock smashing through glass and her mind was the glass shattering across the floor. It was the moment Seraphina Luxgrove realised she was the girl in the story. She was the girl who had been the first to escape the scientists who created her and had accidently torn through the dimension hiding them all. She’d set the Gems on the world and she’d essentially gotten them all killed too. The Gems she’d grown up with, trained with. Seraphina was a murderer. That was first glass shattering, life altering moment in her life.

Chapter Two

3rd August 2016

This was the second glass shattering moment of her life. She thought nothing could be comparable to that moment in the Old Ignatius’ office but life was full of surprises. The rock had struck again, shattering every little piece of information that she thought she knew. Except it hadn’t really started today, her mind had begun to break months ago, a crack splintering upwards until one day it will reach the top and the glass falls in to incomprehensible shards. Today a single shard must have fallen out leaving a hole and allowing Seraphina to finally see the truth, or at least part of it. She was going insane and everything she thought she had known and was could be a lie.

Her breaths were frantic as she twisted in the mirror to look at her pale and unmarked back from a different angle. But no angle would reveal what she was trying to look for; a tattoo she had no recollection of getting, or had ever seen. It was an absolutely crazy thing to do, she knew it and had passed glances almost as a joke at herself for the last few months. But today was different, today she had expected to finally see it. But Kai’s words were nothing more than the harmful accusations and lies they had been the day before.

Seraphina tugged down her t-shirt roughly, her hands shook as she paced the room. What else? Her mind was drawing blanks as it always did when she attempted to confront her problems. She stared at her reflection and the too-blue eyes that were her Gem mark and then the azure blue hair that the fae’s lands had dyed magically. She’d thought it would fade eventually as she spent more time out of faerie but it hadn’t yet. Her cover-up story was enough, most Lionhearts who didn’t know of her instantly thought she was a Gem and then she’d have to prove them otherwise. Now, if she lost sight of herself and was then stopped, she’d be in trouble. How long could she last until she spilled the beans? It was 5pm, so perhaps not very long at all.

She caught sight of a pen on her dressing table and she lunged for it. Seraphina was not the kind of girl to write about her problems but now she made a bee-line through the house for paper. She passed the two empty bedrooms in the hallway, one stocked with books and writing material for sure but the rooms ached like open wounds and Seraphina had no desire to pick at them tonight.

She skidded down the stairs before tumbling over the pillows on the living room floor. She scrabbled for the notepad under the coffee table, knocking over a pile of take-out menus. Then she placed the notepad on the table, pen hovering over the paper for a beat. She should write everything that was wrong with her, starting from what she knew she had forgotten. The gaping holes in her childhood that made her question the very person she was and actually consider her ex-friend, Kai’s awful lies. She scraped her blue hair out of her face.

What was her real name? The scientists had given her a name when she was born and while she had discarded that name the moment she could it was still her. The fae had called it her true name. Kai, whose birth name had been Kieran had used it too. Seraphina remembered the whispery tone of his voice at fifteen using that name like a security blanket. They’d whisper their birth names to each other when everyone was out of ear shot, their own personal secret. Kai had still used that name months ago.

Lay… Larna had been the name of the girl who had tried to kill Seraphina. She’d…Seraphina and Kai had been caught using their magic without supervision and Kai had been caught with magic he should never have been able to possess. The scientists gave Seraphina a life or death test, assembling every science experiment on the compound to watch.

Gems. She wrote that down underneath Larna’s name. The scientists had called the science experiments Gems. Seraphina was a Gem. She tapped her pen furiously against the table. Kai – Kieran had screamed her name as he was forced to watch the scientists release the wolves – the botched experiments. She recalled the naked terror that had made her magic burn through her body. Her dry throat, as she forced herself not to scream in the hope the wolves would somehow not notice her. Then the wolves were released, they tore across the ground towards her, tongues lolling and teeth gleaming. Kieran screamed her name. Eh –

Seraphina Luxgrove.

 

Seraphina dragged in a ragged breath. Her hand was cramping and she dropped the pen. Her eyes skittered over the scrawl across the paper and Seraphina’s stomach twisted. She couldn’t breathe. No, no, no –

She leapt off of the cushions, stumbling in to the hallway. She backed as far as the walls would allow, pressing her back against it as if she could osmose through the plaster and in to the house beyond hers, far, far away from here. But her eyesight was good and she could still see the repetitive scrawl on the page from here. A scream clawed itself up Seraphina’s throat and died before it reached her lips. She dug her nails in to her sweaty palms.

My name is Seraphina Luxgrove. My name is Seraphina Lugrove. It was written across the paper again and again until there was no room left. Seraphina’s mouth had gone dry. She was sure she was going to scream or cry but the bite of her nails in her skin brought her back to the barren house filled with ghosts from her past and probably many others she couldn’t recall. Now it held the evidence that Seraphina’s mind was not her own. She had to fix this before she said the wrong thing and got herself killed.

 

Chapter Three

It was most definitely unfair that the world didn’t simply stop when something awful happened. No matter whose life was falling apart the world went on, unflinching and unseeing. Seraphina Luxgrove had always been one of those beings that worked behind the scenes, that was the life of a Lionheart, a hunter. Her job was to keep the nightmarish monsters unseen and unheard and so her part was also undiscovered, otherwise she was not doing her job right. Seraphina would never do her job right again. Starting from exactly what she was going to do now.

Her palms stung, either slick with blood or sweat as she forced herself to walk down the busy Cambridge roads. People had finished work and were now going home, briefcases swaying in hands and a blur of dark suited bodies. Some of them could and would be monsters of various kinds and Seraphina knew it was stupid to walk around with bloodied hands. Why draw more attention to herself? But the bite of her nails kept her together somehow, distracted her from the thoughts she could no longer trust.

Then a Glamour crashed over her skin, enveloping Seraphina like an unwelcome shove in to pool of ice water. It stole the breath from her lungs, sending an involuntary shiver through Seraphina’s body. Her palms burned and she forced herself to uncurl her fingers. How she hated Glamours, she’d lived with the fae and trickery was their specialty but there was something disturbing about walking in to something she couldn’t see. Of course, not all Glamours were invisible, they were nothing more than illusions acting out the wishes of their creator.

The Hound was leering at her, its doors ajar and reaching towards her. Its tarnished golden letters turned a blind eye to the creatures that walked through. Not a single human on the street walked less than three feet from it as the Glamour suggested to them that it was a place they really didn’t want to go. It didn’t need a Glamour to do that.

She dragged in a breath and counted to ten like the scientists taught her to do. Then she walked in, her palms pressed flat against her black jeans.

The reek of stale beer assaulted her senses and it was too warm in the little room. Or at the very least too warm for a jacket, but if she wanted to stay hidden from the…two monsters then she would have to bear it. Thankfully, there were no vampires – a good thing with her bloodied hands. There was a very hairy human to her right, probably a werewolf, leaning over one of the scuffed tables. His back was to her, perhaps to hide his eyes? The floorboards yawned with every step. There was a purple skinned faerie to her left slouched on a threadbare couch. The oil lamps above them left the pub in a state of murky dimness, robbing Seraphina of valuable details of the two creatures but probably not hindering their much more enhanced senses. She wondered if the smell was worse for them, she hoped it was.

Hound was behind the bar scrubbing at the scuffed surface with a grey cloth. The top of his head gleamed white from where his dark hair had receded. He didn’t even bother to look up at her despite the sound of her entrance or when she rocked back on one of the uneven barstools. This man was a legend in Cambridge, Hound knew everyone’s secrets and was the middleman between under the table monster deals. So she waited. She didn’t know for how long but she could feel the small window of time she had shrinking and the knowledge that doing this was very stupid made her want to throttle him. Then she counted to ten in her head again.

Her voice was even, calm and painfully girlish as she broke the silence. “I need your help.”

“I assumed that’s why you came here.” He didn’t even bother to look up.

Seraphina bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself from snapping at him. “I need to talk to you in private.”

“Here is fine.”

“No, it isn’t.” Seraphina gritted out. “I would like to talk to you. I’d prefer that.”

“I can’t spare the time.”

She pinned him with a glare, angling herself so no one else in the pub could get a look at her face even if they tried. She rested her elbows on the bar and regretted it instantly as she could feel the fabric of her jacket stick to it.

“I know what you are,” Hound said, before he deigned to look up at her. He appeared to be in his forties but Seraphina very much doubted he was.

“If you are going to discuss this can we talk in private, or at the very least get everyone else to leave because neither of your two customers are actually drinking anything.”

“So they aren’t customers, are they?”

Seraphina let out a frustrated sigh. “Well if they’re your bodyguards I promise not to hurt you if they give us some privacy.”

“Your promises mean nothing.”

“That’s not true.”

“They’re not better than any other human’s.”

Seraphina let out another sigh once again, she did not want to give too much of herself away. This was already too dangerous. “So if you know what I am I could be quite useful.”

“And that is the exact reason why I don’t trust you.”

“Come on, can’t you tell that you can trust me?”

He cast a withering look at her and a thrill shot through Seraphina, could he not tell? She let her mind wander to the house she had and the amount of monsters she killed, meaning she got paid a fair amount. “You could really spruce this place up, you know.” She chimed. “A few licks of paint here and there, a very liberal few might I add, some music –”

“Do you know something I don’t, girl?” He snapped. “Or are you mad? Tech and magic don’t work together.” His eyes tightened causing a wrinkle to spring from their corners.

Seraphina didn’t miss a beat. “No not at all, I’m not an idiot. I meant a live band, all acoustic.”

“Uh-huh,” he grunted.

Seraphina met his bored gaze, but was that just a poker face? He must be very good at poker, probably banned from it.

“No one’s stupid enough to play,” he grinned impishly.

“So can you help me?”

“I don’t think you have the time as of now.”

A look at the clock said he was right, it was eight-forty meaning she would be late for her date if she didn’t leave now. The fact that Hound had already found that out sent a trill of fear through her, what if… “You’re right.” She said and rose quickly from her seat. “I’ll come back another time.”

Two pairs of footsteps creaked across the floorboards just as Seraphina stood up and she didn’t need to turn to know they were vampires. Her new and awful additional sense sent cold shivers rushing up her spine, across her shoulders and down her arms. Alerting her to the fact these vampires were insane and would kill a human when they got the chance.

Seraphina whirled to face the two figures in dirty grey tracksuits and oversized hoodies. She should kill these monsters now, she could do it.

The possible werewolf let out a low throaty growl that made the two vampires freeze in place. No human could have made such a noise and there was a hard, animalistic look to the man’s dark eyes too that said wolf. The vampires followed his gaze straight to Seraphina, who kept her head lowered enough to hide most of her face in shadows. The werewolf must have sensed Seraphina’s intentions, how intuitive, just like a dog.

Seraphina could take the werewolf if she had to as well. And the faerie if he wanted to join in the fun but if she did start this, Hound would probably never let her set foot in his pub again and she needed his help. She took a step forwards, hating herself with every step she took towards the door. She passed the grungy vampires, the smell of unwashed bodies eroded the smell of stale beer and it took all of Seraphina’s strength not to pull a face.

“I’ll tell you my price next time, girl.” Hound called, his grin had turned feral, twisting his human face into something monstrous and hinting that the many years spent in the fae’s lands had changed him even more than Seraphina had anticipated.

Panic fluttered in her chest and she leapt out the door before Hound could bury deeper into her mind. Seraphina Luxgrove jogged through the Glamour, smashing it against her skin before sprinting down the street. For a few minutes she didn’t think about anything else other than the feel of her legs throwing her down one street after another, the rush of air in her lungs and the fear that she let reign over her. What had Hound found inside her head? How much of an idiot she had been to endanger herself and Kai like that. Kai. A monster would kill her just as quickly as the Lionhearts if they discovered her true nature. But Seraphina had very little choice and all she could do was hope that there was a decent being out there.

Seraphina stumbled down an alley, bracing her hand against a brick wall as she gathered her breath. The fear threatened to consume her, it clawed up her throat and made something close to a strangled cry escape her mouth. She clamped her lips shut and her body shook, but not from the exertion. She could run for miles more and she wanted to. She wanted to hunt and feel the thrill of fighting a monster that outclassed her physically in every way and yet she would still win. It would be a very welcomed distraction from her herself. She could stake out the pub and kill the vampires when they leave. But she had a date, she had normal – almost human things to keep up appearances with. She tugged the reeking beer scented jacket over her head and balled her hands in it momentarily, before throwing it to the floor as a wave of anger came over her. How dare she let herself be overcome with fear after everything she had been through and after all her training? Her eyes burned with unshed tears and Seraphina dragged in a ragged breath before tilting her head up to the sky. She would not cry. She was balancing on a knife’s edge and if she let herself feel it now she would be consumed by it and she could not afford to when she had to meet her date soon. Life did not stop for anyone, until they died. It was not over yet. She was not going to die anytime soon, she swore that to herself.

Chapter Four

The painfully human bartender smiled sheepishly. He was in his twenties, older than Seraphina by a few years. “I’m sorry, can I see your I.D., please? You don’t look eighteen.”

She grinned wickedly, flicking her bright blue hair away with her fingers. “You’ve already seen my I.D. and can see that I am, in fact, eighteen.” Her voice rumbled strangely, imbued with magic.

He blinked. “Ah yes, sorry.” He turned away and then back to her again, “What was the order again?”

“One mojito.”

Seraphina winced as the bartender got to work. She glanced at the door to the pub, but there were only students coming and going. The clamour of voices pressed against her from all sides. She willed some magic in to her ears and strained to listen to the conversation two tables over. But the vampires were only talking about football, she presumed, or at the least it was something with a ball and something with goal posts, how mundane.

“Your drink.” The smiling bartender placed an elegant glass in front of her.

She placed a fiver in his hands and he quickly scribbled a receipt for her which she stuffed in her pocket without a glance.

“You know, I haven’t seen you around here before. What’s your name?” He asked.

She didn’t drink so he would never have seen her here. The monsters also tended to be civil in this pub and so she’d never had to come barging in here to kill them, not that the guy would have recalled any of those events if they had happened anyway. She answered him as truthfully as she could, but even that was still a lie of its own. “Seraphina Luxgrove.”

“Really?”

She looked back at the door again. “Yes. What’s yours?”

“Tom.”

“I changed mine. Didn’t like it.”

“You could always change it again.”

“What’s wrong with this one?”

“It sounds like a child made it up. Or you’re insane.” He said with an easy smile.

Seraphina grinned. “It’s because I did.”

She swiped her drink from the bar and carried it over to an empty table. The cushioned chairs were welcomingly soft but she couldn’t let herself relax. That clueless guy had been joking but he had not been wrong at all. Seraphina ran a hand through her blue hair as she caught sight of her date’s ghoulish looks passing by the pub’s window. For a second it felt as if she had seen her ghost and she froze, a younger more uncertain version. A shiver ran up her spine. She could not slip up tonight, just like any night really, but now there seemed to be an element out of her control. It was a tip on the playing field that was most definitely not in her favour.

She released her glass to stop the tremors showing in the liquid and balled her hands in to fists. Her nails dug in to the ready-made cuts from earlier, their sting brought her clarity and a stony face more acceptable than sheer horror.

Death walked through the pub door, pausing for under a second because that was all it took him to access the entire inhabitants of this pub and judge their threat levels and the possible escape routes the building had to offer. Then he strode towards her and Seraphina hadn’t even seen him look at her. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her lips.

He drew away and Seraphina would have been lying if she said she wasn’t a little breathless. Ignatius Cross the fourth’s warm brown skin could have made him appear alive if it wasn’t for his stark white hair and grey eyes. She knew he wasn’t normal and that’s why he’d intrigued her, also because he was brilliant. That brilliance could kill her now, more than before. Her mind was no longer her own. The small smile fell from his face as he looked at her, “There’s something I have to tell you.”

Seraphina’s heart thundered in her chest, but she kept her smile plastered to her face. She had been expecting this the moment she had started to date Ignatius, it started just like this and ended with it’s not me it’s you, because you are a monster. But she didn’t let that show because she’d been lying for years about herself and if a simple open phrase like that could get to her she would never have survived.

“Oh,” Ignatius frowned and looked back towards the door. “He’s here.”

A boy walked towards them, he didn’t look any older than Seraphina and his brown hair looked like a disgruntled birds nest. He wore the leather Lionhearts’ jacket with the silver emblem of their guild embroidered on one side, two scythes crossed over for Hallowed Omen. “You really did try to lose me,” the boy grumbled. But his face became a sheepish smile as he looked to Seraphina. He held out his hand. “Hi, Seraphina, I’m Dorian Scott. It’s nice to meet you.”

She shook his hand. “Hi.”

“Well,” Ignatius said. “You wanted to talk to her, so I’ll get us some drinks. Orange juice?” He asked Dorian.

“Wh – what about Seraphina?”

“She has a drink already.” Then he walked towards the bar.

Seraphina smirked. So he was just going to ignore her breaking the law and the Lionhearts’ own very coveted rules? Ignatius’ back was to her now, but she couldn’t relax with this third wheel here. Every move had to be calculated down to the tips of her toes. A single wrong word or an action to out of character could bring down a torrent of questions she couldn’t afford to answer.

Dorian sank in to the seat opposite her. “Is that a Mocktail?”

“It’s a Mojito,” Her smirk widened in to a grin.

“How old are you?”

“Have you ever heard it’s rude to ask for a lady’s age?”

“Yeah, when they look old but you’re not. How did you get that drink?”

“By asking very nicely.” Seraphina met Dorian’s brown eyes. “Want me to show you?”

He flinched and looked down at the table. “No.”

She supposed she was being too mean, but she wanted to know why this guy thought it was okay to crash her date and for what? She actually couldn’t think of a single reason why a little Lionheart would go out of their way to talk to her, they all hated her. She leaned away from the table in an attempt to be…something less irritating. She knew she was very good at that. The fae had taught her well, not that they had bothered to teach her but she had watched. “What is it? Why are you crashing my date?”

Dorian grimaced. “Sorry! I mean…It’s about Ig. I thought you should know…I mean I would want to know if I were you…”

“And that is…?” Seraphina drawled.

“Well…” he looked to the floor and then back at her as he blurted, “He’s a…he’s not a nice guy – ah, I mean…he sleeps around.” Dorian grimaced. “What I’m trying to say –”

“I know.”

“What? Why would you stay with him if –” He stopped talking as Ignatius came back with a pint and the promised orange juice.

“The barman messed up my order, he seemed a bit confused.”

Seraphina turned her attention back to Ignatius, gratefully. She had no desire to discuss her relationship choices with a complete stranger. She winced. “I guess I overdid it a bit…but I thought the Second in Command would be angry that I broke Lionheart laws when it wasn’t an extreme situation.”

Ignatius pulled up a chair to the edge of the table. He crossed his legs at the ankles as he sat down. “I thought the requirement of an alcoholic beverage was an extreme situation so I didn’t question it.”

“I’m far too young to crave such things.” She said with another grin.

She was only one day off of seventeen but Ignatius was nineteen, incredibly young for such a high position in the guild but he didn’t act his age and neither did she. Age was just a mark of time.

“E – Excuse me,” Dorian stuttered as he leapt out his chair. “Bathroom.” He almost ran as he got up and went to the wrong end of the pub.

Seraphina snorted. “Ig, why did you let him come here?”

“Don’t start calling me that too.”

“It sounds cute.”

“I’m not cute.”

“That’s why it is so fitting.” She slid her arms over the table, leaning into Ignatius. “But what if I did believe what Dorian told me, all of your efforts would have gone to waste. You did know what he was going to tell me, didn’t you?”

“Yes and what do you mean my efforts? I’m not really trying.”

“How flattering,” Seraphina drawled and slipped back, sipping at her drink.

Ignatius leaned over. “What I mean is I don’t feel the need to try around you. You see through all the silly games and you do not care for them. I’ve never met anyone like you.”

“Ah, the words you could say to any girl.”

“They are true.”

“Who knows?” Seraphina smiled. “Speaking of efforts, you must be getting bored talking all the time. How about we go hunting?”

His face shuttered. “No. Dorian can’t hunt with us. And talking to you does not bore me.”

No, but it was beginning to bore her, especially with their third wheel. It would also be a great distraction. “Why can’t he hunt? Is he inept?”

“He’s not like you. Under eighteens can’t hunt, they don’t have enough training.”

“How old is he?”

“That’s beside the point,” Ignatius snapped.

“But isn’t that the point you just made? What’s one little year? I would know.” Seraphina had been hunting since she had turned fifteen and soon she would almost be celebrating her two year hunting anniversary. She was planning on celebrating it by doing what she did best, killing insane monsters.

“Promise me you won’t suggest it.”

“Okay.”

Ignatius glared at her silently and Seraphina too, descended in to silence. They’d had moments like this before, where sometimes the words left unsaid meant so much more. Dorian’s hesitant footsteps sounded his return.

Ignatius twisted away to look at him. “Dorian, how would you like to go hunting?”

Ignatius had seen through her lie that easily. Her heart skipped a beat. What other lies of hers had he seen through? Perhaps Ignatius Cross wasn’t letting on how much he really knew.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Emma is a writer, avid reader and tea addict. She lives in the UK and is currently studying for her master's degree. She loves all things fantasy but has an extra special love for fae-related mythology. She runs a very non-serious blog at Wordpress.com where she posts biased book reviews and utter drivel. If she has managed to eek out any more free time she plays computer games, badly.

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
My love of fae mythology and the many books written about them by the many talented authors I've read over the years. However, the story grew in to something else as I wrote it and is now based on beings who would fight the fae and other monsters.
Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A.
The editing. It took me over four years to write this novel and so I have many drafts and trying to locate a quote from draft 2 while working on draft 14 was difficult. Especially when they are all poorly labelled.
Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
I made it myself. Please, don't laugh, I did my best. On a more serious note, I always liked the idea of having silhouettes of people on the front cover since most of my favourite books do this.

Next in:
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Spark 211
Will this discovery save or destroy Earth?
Guardian of the Dead
Ghost story meets magical realism
Hominid
A mad scientist hijacks a woman's pregnancy.