Sunday, 31 July 2016


Title: Sacrificed
Series: The Last Oracle
Author: Emily Wibberley
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 17th June 2015

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Knowing the future can save her city – but not her heart. 

Born to serve the merciless Oracle, Clio wants nothing more than to break free. But when her entire family is murdered by Mannix, the king's adviser, Clio inherits the Oracle’s power, a power she never wanted and doesn't understand.

Hunted by Mannix, Clio is forced to flee her home in Sheehan and seek refuge in a foreign city where oracles are forbidden. If she's found out, she will be sacrificed atop its great pyramid. 

Clio has no choice but to win the trust of Riece, an enemy warrior. Despite the undeniable attraction between them, Clio knows that if he finds out who she really is, he won't hesitate to execute her.

Clio tries to hide her budding powers, but the Visions she keeps having of Mannix and his barbarian army slaughtering her people torture her conscience. She alone has the strength and foresight to stop him, but only if she can embrace her destiny and sacrifice everything.

Title: The Commander
Series: A Sacrificed Short Story - The Last Oracle
Author: Emily Wibberley
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 31st August 2015

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In this short story addition to SACRIFICED (The Last Oracle Book I), discover Riece’s point of view when he first met his new and beautiful prisoner, Clio, inside Morek’s great pyramid.

This story is best read after Sacrificed but can be read during any point in the series.

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Title: Forsworn
Series: The Last Oracle
Author: Emily Wibberley
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 27th June 2015

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Clio can see the future, but what she doesn’t know about her past could destroy her. 

It’s been a year since Clio made her sacrifice to the Deities and embraced her destiny as the Oracle to save her people.

The only family she has left is a brother who wants her dead.

The prince, her oldest friend, is a king with his own agenda.

And the man who once loved her, now hates her.

All she can do is try to forget about Riece, the enemy commander whose heart she broke to save his life, as she serves the Deities. Her days are filled with Visions and bloodshed in a never-ending war against the Untouched. To add to her problems, she must pose as King Derik’s mistress to conceal her forbidden powers from the Emperor’s spies.

When Riece unexpectedly returns to Sheehan with a new and beautiful ally, Clio knows she must put him out of her mind once and for all, but first, they are thrust together into battle against a mysterious Untouched warrior with otherworldly power. To reclaim her city, she must team up with the man she hurt, the man she still loves but can never be with, and finally confront the questions about her origin—questions with answers that Clio may not be prepared to face.

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Title: Divined
Series: The Last Oracle
Author: Emily Wibberley
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 2nd April 2016

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Clio has forsaken the Deities and turned her back on her powers. Unable to trust her Visions, she is left alone and weak on the outskirts of Sheehan.

When the Emperor hears that an Oracle has survived in the Empire, he places a price on her head, forcing Clio to flee to the ancient city of Cearo. But the Deities have other plans for Clio, and it’s not long before she is faced with new foes, including a priestess with uncanny powers.

With rumors of unrest in the Empire growing and alliances within the nobles shifting, Riece seeks out Clio with a desperate plea. To protect the Empire, Clio will have to return to where her journey began—the sacrificial pyramid of Morek—to fight a new evil in an unimaginable form and confront the greatest enemy she's ever known: her father.

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Emily Wibberley grew up in the South Bay where she spent her formative years battling zombies on her Xbox, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and voraciously reading everything from The Hunger Games to Jane Austen, where her love for feisty young heroines was born.

After graduating from Princeton University Magna Cum Laude in 2014, she began writing. Her debut novel, Sacrificed, was named a finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards, in the Young Author category of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and in the 2015 International Book Awards. Since its release, Sacrificed has spent more than a year as a Kindle Top Ten Teen and Young Adult Bestseller.

When she isn't reading the latest YA book, she enjoys watching kick-butt action movies with her two rescue German Shepherds, Hudson and Bishop, named after characters from James Cameron's Aliens.

Visit her website at and sign up for her mailing list to hear about giveaways and news about upcoming books in The Last Oracle Series as well as other YA books Emily's working on.


Saturday, 30 July 2016


Title: Way Of The Serpent
Series: The Recall Chronicles
Author: Donna Dechen Birdwell
Genre: Adult Dystopian
Release Date: 5th June 2015

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It’s 2125. Aging is a thing of the past but personal memories and desires are now under corporate management. Jenda Swain is a youthful 111 years old, content with her professional career, when a disturbing encounter with an old woman forces her to question her own identity, to begin searching for the woman she once was and might yet become. Her journey takes her into the arms of an activist artist who has a quest of his own; answers come together as their world falls apart.


Way Of The Serpent
The café was down a couple of side streets, in an area of Dallas Jenda never went to, but she thought she might have been there once before. She couldn't remember. Without looking at the menu, she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with fried potatoes and sweet tea. It was plain food. She was halfway through her meal, savoring the anonymity afforded by this out-of-the-way eatery as much as the greasy fare, when she noticed the woman who had turned on her stool at the café’s counter to stare.
The woman was old. That in itself was disturbing. Nobody got old anymore, not since Chulel – the drug that prevented aging – had come on the market a hundred years ago. Jenda, at 111, was as fresh and vigorous as she had been in 2035 when, at the age of 22, she had received her first annual Chulel treatment. Jenda’s grandmother was 165, but appeared no older than she had been when she began taking Chulel in her mid-sixties. What was this old woman doing in Jenda’s world?
Jenda turned away, but she could still feel the woman’s dark eyes boring into her, probing. Jenda couldn’t help herself; she looked again. When the woman saw her looking, she smiled.
“Zujo!” Jenda swore, quickly returning her attention to her unfinished sandwich. It was too late. Taking the look as an invitation, the woman dropped down from her counter stool and shuffled over to Jenda's table.
“You're Jenda Swain,” she said, cocking her head to one side and narrowing her eyes. “God, you look the same as you did in high school.”
“Excuse me?” Jenda sat up straighter and used her best business voice. 
“Of course you don't remember,” the woman said, dragging out the chair across from Jenda and sitting down heavily. “Nobody remembers much of anything anymore.” She shrugged and looked down at her hands. Jenda looked, too. The woman's hands were wrinkled, misshapen, and covered in brown and red splotches. “I remember you, though,” she continued, looking up into Jenda’s face. “My god, you were a firebrand back then. I idolized you and your boyfriend, you know. Such temerity! The things you did...” The woman refused to turn away. “Do you still paint? You always had your mom’s gift for art.”
“I think you must have made some mistake,” Jenda said quietly, fighting to modulate her voice against the tightening in her throat. “You may know my name, but you clearly don't know me. Nothing you are saying makes any sense at all.” Jenda felt her cheeks warm as she flashed on an image of herself with an easel and paintbrush. Her last bite of sandwich seemed to have lodged somewhere near the base of her esophagus. “Now, would you please go on your way? Leave me alone.” Jenda blinked, shuttering herself away from this intrusive presence. 
The woman's face clouded and she leaned forward, looking Jenda squarely in the eye. “You need to ask more questions.” She spoke the words clearly and forcefully. Then she pushed her chair away from the table with a loud scraping noise. As she leaned over to pick up the leather bag she had dropped under the chair, the pendant around her neck clanked on the tabletop. It was an old fashioned timepiece, the kind with a round face with numbers and moving hands. Jenda reflexively reached up to grasp her own necklace, a cluster of plexiform flowers in the latest style from her favorite recyclables boutique. The woman took in a deep breath, as if rising from the chair had taxed her strength. She looked at Jenda again. “You’re the one who doesn’t know who Jenda Swain is.” Her voice was gentle, maybe sad. Then she turned and walked out the front door.
Jenda’s impulse to run after the woman and ask her name was unexpected. Holding it in check, she sat rigidly, staring at her cold, greasy food. She swallowed hard, trying to dislodge that last bite of sandwich. Her hands trembled. She quickly finished her dilute, not-so-sweet tea. Looking up and down the street as she exited, she saw no sign of the woman.....


Title: Shadow Of The Hare
Series: The Recall Chronicles
Author: Donna Dechen Birdwell
Genre: Adult Dystopian
Release Date: 21st May 2016

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Malia is a stubbornly dissident author and bibliophile in a world where books have ceased to matter and barely exist. She remembers how things changed through the 21st century, but after fifty years of self-imposed exile, she returns to a world far more terrifying than the one she fled. In Dallas, Nigeria, and India she doggedly pursues the truth her heart demands.

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Shadow Of The Hare
The café was down a couple of side streets, in an area of Dallas I hadn’t visited for decades. As soon as I sat down I saw her and I couldn’t help but stare. It had to be Jenda. When I saw her look­ing at me, I slid down off the barstool and walked over to her table. 
“You’re Jenda Swain,” I said, smiling, hoping she’d say, And you’re Malia Poole! But she didn’t. I hadn’t seen her in almost ninety years and it was clear she’d been taking the age prophylaxis, the miracle drug called Chulel that kept everyone young in our 22nd-century world. Almost everyone. She was giving me that look—that what-the-zujo-is-an-old-woman-like-you-doing-in-my-world look—followed by the averted eyes.
 “Of course you don’t remember,” I said. I pulled out a chair and sat across from her. “Nobody remembers much of any­thing anymore.” I looked down at my wrinkled, age-splotched hands and then up into her smooth, fresh face. It was hard to believe I was two years younger than Jenda. “I idolized you and your boyfriend, you know. Such temerity! The things you did…” I was hoping to elicit some of those things from her or perhaps startle myself into recalling what some of them were.
She said nothing, glancing around the café as if to offer an apology for my presence. For my existence.
A memory suddenly came to me: a full-color portrait of Jenda as she was in high school. Not this business-suited twit, but a passionate firebrand of a girl. An artist?
“Do you still paint?” I wasn’t giving up. “You always had your mom’s gift for art.” 
Jenda was clearly embarrassed and growing quietly angry. But I thought I detected the old passion under the surface. Come on Jenda—show me some of the old spunk.
She avoided my gaze. “I think you must have made some mistake.” Her tone was flat, dismissive. “You may know my name, but you clearly don’t know me.”

Her face flushed slightly and I thought I saw a glimmer of recognition in her eyes. Leaning forward, I looked into those eyes. “You need to ask more questions,” I said. I pushed my chair back and rose to go; then I looked down at her one last time. “You’re the one who doesn’t know who Jenda Swain is.”  

Donna Dechen Birdwell is an anthropologist whose curiosity about what makes human beings tick propelled her to travel widely, listening to the stories of many different cultures and eventually coming up with a few of her own. Her debut novel is WAY OF THE SERPENT. High on the list of countries she knows and loves are Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, Ireland, Spain, Nepal, India, and Tibet. Her work is deeply influenced by the stories and imagery of these places. Donna is an artist, poet, and photographer as well as a novelist. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Southern Methodist University and previously taught at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She now writes, paints, and photographs in Austin. 


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Friday, 29 July 2016


Title: Strays
Series: Red Kings Series
Author: Emma Kendrick
Release Date: 4th May 2016

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Best friends Jackie and Tyler set out on an adventure to find somewhere to call home, hoping to escape the violent city life and settle down in a quiet place where they can make something of themselves. What they find instead is the notorious Red Kings Motorcycle Club, outlaw bikers that rule the city's criminal underground. 

Only able to avoid them for so long, the unsuspecting pair get thrown into turf wars and drug trafficking before they can even figure out what's happened. And as Tyler is dragged deeper into the club's illegal activity, Jackie remains stuck in limbo as she tries to resist the pull of one Dean Rockwell, the MC's most dangerous member. 

Torn between the tight-knit family of bikers and the safety of a normal life, can Jackie navigate the treacherous new waters without losing herself and her best friend? Or will a series of unfortunate events lead her down a path that she can't come back from?



Title: Figuring Hope
Author: Joanna Johnson
Release Date: 2nd May 2016

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In a post-apocalyptic world far into the future, twenty-year-old Loo is forced to leave the harsh floating city she calls home when her unthinkable secret is unveiled. Guided by a captivating stranger with a secret of his own, Loo must master survival in a world she never knew existed, all while discovering her own extraordinary abilities. 

A romantic, sci-fi adventure set in a deadly hyper-evolved setting, “Figuring Hope” is a tale riddled with struggles of friendship, overthrown rationality, dubious societal practices, near death situations, grief, denial, depression, jealousy, and the discovery of an intoxicating young love.


Thursday, 28 July 2016


Title: Embodied Trilogy
Author: J.B. Dutton
Cover Design: Alexandra Nereuta
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Release Date: 11th July 2016

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Follow Kari's exciting adventure in in one special edition of all three ebooks, including bonus author insights, deleted scenes and a treasure hunt quiz..

The Embodied trilogy is an unusual web of adventure, romance, fantasy, and science fiction.

Prep school student Kari Marriner is swept up in a mystery that fast becomes a thrilling adventure when she discovers that mysterious aliens called the Embodied and their pseudo-religion, the Temple of Truth, been influencing her family’s life for decades. She soon finds herself battling dragons, unicorns, and nefarious angels on the streets of New York and in the catacombs of Paris, while having her emotions torn by a handsome alien and a jealous boyfriend. In a final showdown, she must travel to the creatures’ home in the dark universe and make a heart-wrenching choice: rescue her mother or save the Earth.

Special Tour Price $7.99 

The first sensation was my stomach lurching and spinning. Then I seemed to be plunging dizzily while simultaneously zooming higher on some kind of impossible rollercoaster ride. And suddenly I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was separated from any kind of physical reality, like – oh… oh wow – like I was totally disembodied. I could sense things but not see them with my eyes. I had… a sort of mathematical awareness, as though I was plugged directly into the mainframe of a supercomputer the size of the universe, my mind swimming in pure information. Geometric shapes twinkled in and out of existence. Lines and points moved around in constant motion. It felt like a dream made of numbers… patterns and data combining and separating. Spirals within spirals and symmetries within symmetries.
“Mom?” I called out. Or at least imagined myself calling out. Ripples in this web of information undulated in front of me when I said her name. “Mom? It’s me. It’s Kari.” More complex ripples floated away.
At that moment it occurred to me I had no way of getting back home.
“Noon?” I said hopefully. Oh man – he’d told me how to use the sphere to reach the Dark Universe but now I was here and totally disembodied, I had no way of controlling my body to remove the sphere from my forehead.
But before I could worry about this too much, the waves of information started to coalesce into more recognizable shapes. Pyramids and spheres, but not solid ones. They seemed to be made of… of symbols and binary code. That was it – they were like living equations! And then weirdly, in one of the pyramid shapes, I could recognize Noon. I felt as though I could see his mesmerizing face. Even though it was data or whatever, it was somehow him. The whole experience was kinda hypnotic. Was it even really happening? In one respect, I guess none of it was real, because I was literally seeing outside my universe.
“Kari – you made it,” I heard him say.
“Is that really you? Cilic didn’t kill you?”
“Well, he killed Embodied me, but the Mihim brought my diamond pyramid back here.”
This was super-bizarro. Now it was like the surrounding patterns had gone out of focus and I could clearly see the pyramid that was Noon’s true form.
“Wait, let me do something,” he said. “I’m going to recreate a reality you’re familiar with to make this easier for you.”
And the entire crazy churning data kaleidoscope sort of crystalized. I found myself standing in a towering hall with walls, floor, and ceiling made of what looked like sheets of sheer diamond. But in the depths of the diamond the same patterns I’d seen before were refracted in a million colors. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever encountered.

Title: Silent Symmetry
Series: Embodied Trilogy
Author: J.B. Dutton
Cover Design: Alexandra Nereuta
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Release Date: 14th May 2013

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Kari Marriner’s earliest memory is her father’s death in a car crash back in small-town Wisconsin. Now, 12 years later, her mother has been hired by a pseudo-religious organization in Manhattan called the Temple of Truth (a.k.a. the ToT). At Chelsea Prep, Kari develops a crush on classmate Cruz. But when she realizes that Noon, another attractive guy at school, is involved with the ToT, her curiosity gets the better of her.

Kari stumbles upon a secret tunnel leading from her apartment to another in the building, where an ancient book holds images she can scarcely believe, and a cavernous room contains... something inexplicable. As Kari pieces together the incredible evidence, she discovers that the ToT is run by other-worldly beings called The Embodied who influence human behavior and have established a global long-term human breeding program. But why? And what is her role in all this?

Just as she starts wondering whether the love she feels for Cruz is genuine or if her emotions are being controlled by The Embodied, her mother is kidnapped and Kari has to figure out who is human, who is Embodied, and who she can count on to help rescue her mother.

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Title: Starley's Rust
Series: Embodied Trilogy
Author: J.B. Dutton
Cover Design: Alexandra Nereuta
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Release Date: 15th January 2015

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Six months ago, Kari Marriner’s life was torn apart. Now turned 17, she’s looking for answers in her rural Wisconsin hometown. But just as the Embodied seemed to have vanished, there’s a new, more terrifying visitor from the Dark Universe.

Back in Manhattan, a charismatic English artist named Starley convinces Kari he can find her missing mother if she flies to Paris with him. He also shares an incredible secret from the dawn of mankind. But Starley is not who he seems. Before she knows it, Kari finds herself standing in front of the Mona Lisa with him, yelling out, “He’s got a bomb!”

And that’s when things go totally insane. The Rebel Embodied’s henchman, Cilic, returns to Earth on a deadly mission. The body of Kari’s treacherous friend Aranara is washed up on the banks of the Hudson. But is she really dead? In the Paris catacombs, Kari and Starley are hunted by a nightmarish mythical creature that’s all too real.

A family mystery, an exiled race, freakish beasts, jealousy, love… and death. Kari has to face them all in this fast-paced fantasy thriller.

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The sun was setting behind the buildings. A big barn with half the roof missing. A grain silo. A couple of smaller shed-type buildings, one with no door, the other with the door hanging off its hinges. And a farmhouse. Windows shattered. Front door gawping at me. I gulped and sent an ILY back to Cruz. He liked those.
Then I had the strangest feeling. Like a disruption in the atmosphere, but also in my mind. The air changed somehow, and I heard a rumbling of distant thunder. I could have sworn that the fading daylight got brighter for a few seconds. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It made me stop moving. Then reality seemed to snap back to normal. I kept going toward the farmhouse.
I saw something move.
The setting sun had backlit the barn so it was hard to be sure what it was. A horse, I think. A big, black stallion moving around in the barn.
My mind filled in the blanks. Probably a horse that had escaped from a neighboring farm and made a new home for itself here. Okay, cool. No mystery. Maddie must have seen it and her mind made it fit the legend.
I lay Maddie’s bike down in the grass, careful not to make a sound. I tiptoed toward the barn, not wanting to startle it. I turned on the flashlight app on my phone. Clouds were gathering, the light was fading. More distant thunder. I just needed to find it, take a photo and show Maddie. Her grandfather would know what to do, how to capture it safely and find its owner.
I entered the barn, still creeping quietly. Ew. It certainly smelled like a barn. There was hay strewn around on the ground. My phone flashlight was practically useless. It illuminated a patch, like, five feet in front of me. In the dim light, I could make out a row of stalls on each side and a hayloft up ahead with a ladder propped against it.
Now I thought about it, the smell was kinda weird. I grew up around here and although I’d never spent any time on a farm, I sensed that there was some kind of extra, non-farm smell here. Hard to identify. But yucky and familiar all the same.
Was that an animal noise in one of the stalls on the left? Or just the wind blowing through the holes in the walls? I crept toward the stall very, very carefully. My hand holding the phone was shaking. Come on, Kari. Get a grip. The sides of the stalls weren’t high enough to conceal a horse. Unless it was lying down in the hay, of course.
I reached the stall where I thought I’d heard the noise. I waited a second, held my breath, then stepped in front of the stall’s open gate. It was empty. And that’s when the hairs stood up on the back of my neck again. But this time there was another, all-too-familiar feeling along with it.
It was the feeling I had when Noon was in my head. Yet not exactly the same. This was unpleasant, even disturbing, and somehow stronger.
I spun around. In the barn doorway stood the black stallion. Protruding from its forehead was a long, tapered horn. It really was a unicorn. It raised its head and my mind felt like a heavy blanket had been draped over it. It eyed me purposefully. My irrational fear as a little girl came flooding back, multiplied by a million. I almost peed my pants. Was this a bad dream? Maybe I would wake up surrounded by My Little Pony’s in my 8-year-old’s bedroom?
If only…
The unicorn took a step forward. The feeling in my head got even stronger and now I could swear that I heard the name Noon repeating over and over. Not his voice, just his name. Was the unicorn Embodied? I didn’t get a chance to wonder about this because now the feeling in my head was becoming worse… painful. I was convinced that my mind was being probed by this astonishing creature. In the space of a few seconds, the pain increased and so did the repetition of the name Noon until it was so excruciating that I felt like screaming. I put my hands to my temples and opened my mouth. As I was about to close my eyes, I saw the unicorn start to charge toward me.
Despite the pain, I managed to fling myself to one side and into the empty stall just before it reached me. It galloped past and I heard it stop. My head was still throbbing. I staggered to my feet, one fist still pressed to my temple. Maybe I could make a break for it.
The unicorn appeared in front of me, blocking the stall entrance. I was totally trapped. I looked around in desperation. A broken wooden handle was poking out from a pile of hay in one corner. I grabbed it and pulled out a pitchfork. The unicorn advanced into the stall, its head lowered so that its horn was aimed directly at my head. The pain coursed through my brain like a river of electricity.
I swung the pitchfork at the unicorn’s head. I missed, but it backed up, startled. I swung again. It made a snuffling sound and stepped back further.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I screamed.
The unicorn cocked its head to one side like it was listening to me. The pain in my brain diminished.
I swung again and shouted the same thing.
The unicorn drew itself up to its full height and then something even more incredible happened. It raised its tail. But this was no stallion’s tail. It was like a huge peacock tail, shimmering with shades of black, gray, and silver. The tail fanned out, probably ten feet wide, and despite the pain in my head, I lowered the pitchfork, just standing there in awe. What was this being? It seemed to possess incredible power and at the same time be unimaginably beautiful. In fact, it was all the more terrifying because it was so beautiful.

Title: Diamond Splinters
Series: Embodied Trilogy
Author: J.B. Dutton
Cover Design: Alexandra Nereuta
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Release Date: 5th May 2016

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Prep school senior Kari Marriner has a heart-wrenching choice to make: rescue her mother or prevent aliens destroying the Earth.

Having faced down mythical beasts and trans-dimensional villains, Kari has finally unraveled the mystery of the cult-like Temple of Truth and found the diamond sphere that can free her mother from the evil clutches of the Thoth high priests. But to find out how to use the sphere, Kari must team up with the one person she can never trust: Aranara, the treacherous sister of her missing soulmate Noon.

When a submarine trip to the bottom of the Hudson River ends in death and disaster, Kari is scarred, both emotionally and physically. She wants to run and hide but digs deep and finds new sources of inner strength. As the storm of the century hits New York, a child’s life hangs in the balance and Kari gambles everything in a final confrontation with the genocidal Thoth.

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Aranara pushed at the hatch. Nothing happened. Whether it was the water pressure or some safety mechanism I don’t know, but she stopped trying and went back to the control panel. The sub reversed. I looked through the transparent bottom and saw Noon’s pyramid coming back into view. As soon as it was directly beneath us, she climbed onto her chair and aimed the gun at the globe-shaped acrylic window. With a surge of terror, I realized what she was about to do.
“Nooooo!” I screamed as she fired. I was kneeling on the floor of the cabin beside Mangold’s body. I automatically shielded my face. The bullet ricocheted. The dome had cracked instead of shattering. She shot twice more, not even flinching from the flying bullets. The crack spread. Water started to spray in. I reached up to try to stop her, but she held me off with one hand while she fired again with the other.
The window bulged inward. Then it burst. Water poured in and I screamed again, clawing at her uselessly as she pulled away enough acrylic to make an opening big enough to swim through. The water gushed like a torrent. She got hold of the sides of the hole she’d made and somehow managed to pulled herself out. The sub listed to one side and my reality shifted. Everything felt like a dream. I was in a reversed fishbowl. The air was inside and the water was outside, with Aranara swimming in it, downward toward Noon’s pyramid on the riverbed. The water was already up to my knees. There was nothing I could do. This was where I was going to die.
Wait – maybe one thing! I had shut Noon out. Maybe he could do something. I closed my eyes and calmed myself as best I could. “Tell Aranara to help me. I’m going to drown.”
I heard nothing. The water was up to my waist now. Spray. Smell. Sickening fear. I looked down but now it was impossible to see where Aranara was underneath the sub because of the river water rushing into the cabin. Did she already have the pyramid? Was she blocking Noon’s communication with me somehow? The water reached my chest. The dreamlike state disappeared. New panic set in. There was only one chance. Once no more water was flowing into the opening that Aranara had made, I could try swimming out through it. But we were seventy feet below the surface. Could I hold my breath long enough? I saw something move at my feet and looked down. I let out a huge scream as Mangold’s head floated up next to mine. Oh god, oh god. The water was up to my neck. I stood on the chair. My head was touching the top of the dome. The water was now level with the opening. I had to fill my lungs with as much oxygen as I possibly could from the few inches that were trapped at the top of the cabin. I breathed deeply. One, two, three deep breaths. The water lapped at my chin. Four. I held my breath.
I pushed off the chair toward the opening. It was barely wide enough. But before I could reach it, the submarine pitched downward. The hatch hit me in the back. The opening was further away than before, below me now. I swam toward it. The acrylic was at least an inch thick. I caught hold of the edge of the opening with one hand and pulled myself forward. As my head went through, the submarine lurched to one side. A searing pain in my cheek. I held on tight. Now I could use both hands to pull myself through. Then I was out. My lungs were already starting to hurt. Daylight was so far away up above. Suddenly an arm circled my waist. It was Aranara. She didn’t even look at me, just kicked with both legs, pulling me away from the listing sub. I felt myself getting dizzy as we rose faster than a normal person would be able to. The pressure was enormous. The air was forced out of my lungs. I passed out.

After graduating from film school in London, England, JB Dutton emigrated to Montreal in 1987, where he still lives with his two young children and their even younger goldfish. He spent over a decade as a music TV director before moving into the advertising industry as an award-winning copywriter for clients such as Cirque du Soleil. JB Dutton has written novels, short stories, blogs, screenplays and a stage play. He also writes adult fiction under the name John B. Dutton.

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Twitter handle: @JohnBDutton

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