Born in Flames (Born in Flames Trilogy, #1)
Red mirrored scales race up my arms as the haze of pain blurs my vision. My bones crack, breaking to realign. I scream. It is then that the realization of my unavoidable fate sinks in; I am of a dying race. I am dragon.
Aurora Megalos, orphaned and teetering on the edge of adulthood, thought finding her past would curb the sting of being an outcast. Having no memories of the time before she awoke on her foster mother’s doorstep, she yearns for the emptiness inside her to be filled. With her fellow orphaned best friend, Fenn, by her side, she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. But something powerful stirred within her that she couldn’t explain. Something wanted out.
In the dark of night, a crazed Seer, dubbed Mr.Creepy, erases everything she’s ever known with an impending prophecy. She now faces two paths. Return to her true home to protect a dying race against a growing evil, or stay hidden in the safety of our realm with a shot at a true love. With a vengeful Arch Enemy stopping at nothing to see her dead, she’s running out of time; a decision must be made. What would you choose?
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Embracing the Flames (Born in Flames Trilogy, #2)
The Stone of Immortality has always been kept under the watch of the Draconta. That is, until the betrayal of a Fate. Now everything is about to change.
Aurora Megalos accepted her destiny without blinking-even if it meant succumbing to her dragon side. Deemed the Progeny, she left the ordinary life she knew and has done everything in her power to learn the ways of her new realm and what it means to be part dragon. But when her mentor, Astral, suddenly disappears, she is forced to take the reins.
With war on the brink, she sets out on an epic journey to not only find her mentor, but to stop her Arch Enemy, Zordon, from obtaining the Stone of Immortality. But what she discovers about him along the way is far worse than she could’ve ever imagined. She will be tested and pushed to the limit. Lives will be lost, love will be questioned, and a battle will begin.
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From the Embers (Born in Flames Trilogy, #3)
I am the Progeny. The one deemed to carry this weight. The weight of knowing too much. Of knowing there is a darkness in me. Of knowing that even The Fates can screw things up.
Aurora Megalos knew becoming the Progeny meant great sacrifice, but what she wasn’t prepared for was sacrificing herself. Since the day of her birth, she has been set on a path she couldn’t control; a path conceived by The Fates. After discovering she is mortally connected to her arch enemy, Zordon-a son of a Fate, Aurora is left with a path that seems hopeless.
Until she discovers a revelation in the prophecy.
With war on the horizon, she must find a way to defeat the one who threatens to take everything and everyone she has ever loved from her, without destroying herself. The barrier between both realms is broken, The Fates have been overrun by Zordon, and his darkness now spreads throughout the lands. The odds are stacked against her. Will Aurora and Fenn find a way to undo the work of The Fates in time to save the realms from complete destruction?
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Everlasting (Night Watchmen, #1)
What if your destiny lay on the other side of death?
The annual Culling ceremony is a day every coming-of-age novice looks forward to within the Primeval Coven. It’s the start to being initiated into the Night Watchmen, humankind’s protectors, and it’s the long-awaited day when novices discover if they’re a Hunter or a Witch.
But this day is not a happy one for Faye Middleton. Not when she’s known her whole life that she’s a Defect and is about to face banishment in front of her fellow novices. She’s forced to attend the Culling with little hope for her future, but what she discovers about herself is far worse than she could’ve imagined. And far more dangerous.
Thrown into training and separated from her friends, Faye must learn to adjust. She struggles to find her place within the Coven, and with Jaxen Gramm, the darkly handsome and extremely unnerving man assigned to watch and protect her. Emotions run high, and when she discovers a deadly secret about him, her struggles deepen. As corruption within the Coven begins to unravel, Faye pieces together her role in saving the future of her people, and within Jaxen’s life...but will the truth save her, or be her undoing?
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The Gramm Curse (Night Watchmen, #0.5)
Set before Everlasting, the addicting start to the Night Watchmen Series, The Gramm Curse is a novella told from Jaxen Gramm’s perspective.
How far is one willing to go for love?
Before finding a love that shakes the entire foundation of his world, Jaxen Gramm only had his Witch, Jezibelle Beaumont, to worry about. He’s her Hunter, and he will do whatever it takes to keep her safe from the curse placed on his bloodline, even if it means keeping her far from his heart.
But when a spell is offered that has the power to remove the curse, temptation clouds the ethical judgment of the Gramm brothers and their Witches.
In this action-packed novella, enter the dark recesses of Jaxen’s mind as he battles with himself over a decision that could not only cost him his life, but the life of fellow Coven members. Reunite with Gavin, Cassie, Mack, and Jezi as they dance around the dangers of a civil war on the brink of beginning.
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Evernight (Night Watchmen, #2)
The stunning sequel to the thrilling paranormal romance novel Everlasting!
One lie will change everything.
Faye Middleton has secured the Dagger of Retribution for the High Priesthood, but in doing so, she’s opened the door to more demands set by them. She now has to break the Holy Seal, and soon. Trapped in the alluring Ethryeal City, Faye is pushed to the breaking point trying to discover just what she is truly capable of, even if it means destroying herself in the process.
With the clock ticking down to the war between both Covens, and the truth about her parent’s mysterious disappearance within her reach, Faye is faced with tough choices that will forever change her. Will Faye be able to handle the demands from the Priesthood, and still be able to continue her search for her parents?
But more importantly, can she survive the truth she finds?
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Below you will find two excerpts. One from the Prologue, and the other from chapter three. Feel free to use whichever you’d like. :)
PEOPLE LIE. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
In fact, most of our world was built on the foundation of lies, some with the intent to serve the greater good, and others with the intent to serve one person’s giant ambitions. But the root of every lie is exactly the same. They’re all equally deceitful, treacherous propositions spewed from the mouths of men and woman alike.
Lies have the power to sound right, yet feel wrong. They have the ability to confuse your heart and twist your mind. The problem is, sometimes these lies become easier to believe than the truth. They become a sort of safety net from reality, a way to avoid what lingers in the back of your mind. And some say that over time, if you believe them long enough, they become real.
At least, that’s what my mother had hoped would happen in my case. But just like every lie ever told, all it takes is one small crack in that foundation for the whole thing to come crashing down.
And it did.
Because everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie. A beautiful and heartrending lie. I wasn’t the Defect my parents would regretfully see off to college before turning their backs on me. I wasn’t the weak friend who didn’t have enough backbone to stand up for what’s right, nor was I the loner without a purpose or a chance at real love. And I sure as hell wasn’t the weapon Bael and the members of the Darkyn Coven intended me to be.
But I am the weapon the Primeval Coven needs me be. Or so they keep saying.
In my Coven, there are two kinds of people: The Hunters and the Witches. They used to hate each other, even though they were on the same team, back in the old days when cars didn’t exist and time was tracked on a sundial. They hated each other so much that eventually a war was brought on by one of the original Witches—a Divine named Mourdyn.
The war was known as the Great Battle of the Covens. It was meant to wipe out the existence of every Hunter, and it devastated the population of my people, the Primevals. It annihilated the population of the Darkyns—the Witches who abandoned our Coven to follow the whims of Mourdyn and his persuasive lies.
But even though a lie can be struck down—imprisoned even—it can’t ever be fully erased. The scars it leaves behind on this earth and in our hearts are eternal, and somewhere along the way, someone will pick that lie back up and breathe life into it once more. Give it the wings it needs to rise again. Only, this time, that lie will be stronger, with an even greater purpose.
And that’s the part that scares me the most.
I glance down at my leg. The burn marks left behind from Bael’s wrath still tingle with echoes of the scorching fire he sent after me after I escaped with Weldon, reminding me that I’m nowhere near ready for the fight that’s sure to come.
And that has to change.
That’s part of why I agreed to come here to Ethryeal City—to the heart of our Coven. It’s where Hunters and Witches in an affinity bond enter as Night Watchmen and leave as Elites. Where those who have broken our Coven laws go to face the High Priesthood. Where those who need refuge… those like me… come to hide.
The only thing is, I never agreed to being separated from everyone I know. They call it debriefing, but with every day that passes, I’m beginning to wonder… to question how long it actually takes.
It’s been seven days and fourteen hours since my unfortunate and unplanned encounter with Bael—the Demon King of the Underground. In these last seven days, I’ve made more promises than I can count on two hands. And in those promises, I think I’ve told more lies than I ever have in my life.
Honesty seems to have slipped out of her bedroom from inside my integrity and, in her place, deceit has crept in with the offer of survival. If I just nod along with the many blending faces all interviewing me, then maybe somehow, I’ll make it out of this phase in my life alive. I’ll make it back into Jaxen’s arms and back into the graces of the friends I’ve come to trust.
But what deceit doesn’t offer is solace, because you can’t fool deceit. It knows every trick in the book.
Every day, twice a day, for the past four days, I’ve recounted in specific order how my friends and I nearly lost our lives in hopes that we’d gain an advantage on the Darkyn Coven and intercept them from taking the Dagger of Retribution. The one that has the power to initiate the removal of the Veil that separates the Underground and all its evil from the humans. The very Dagger that only I have the power to touch.
I’ve been singularly interviewed by every member on the Priesthood, and then by every general and Elder within the hierarchy of our Coven.
And I’m so very tired.
For the past four days, since I left the safe house beneath the church owned by the Night Watchmen, when I haven’t been in a laboratory undergoing strenuous testing, I’ve spent the remaining hours kept in a holding cell stripped of all personality. Chained down by claustrophobia. Shackled to the fears given free rein to destroy my hope.
I don’t have a home anymore. I have four white walls, one white jumpsuit, a white bed, white sheets… the color was bleached from my life the moment I crossed into the legendary Ethryeal City. I keep trying to remember the last time I saw Jaxen’s face, but my soul has fed so often on the happiness of that memory, I fear it’s disappearing. And I don’t know when I’m going to see him again.
They took everything away from me just to keep me repressed. Controlled. But what they don’t know is they cannot control what they do not own, and they do not own me. I can’t trust anyone. No one but myself, because all I know is I am more of a threat to them than I thought.
And the High Priesthood doesn’t know what to do with me.
By the time we pass through the City Square and stop in front of the Military Compound, I’m sure the news of our arrival has spread because there are too many faces lined up outside the building, all waiting and watching. All staring at the seven of us like we’ve come to deliver salvation. Or maybe a nightmare.
“Move along,” Clara says in one swift note. Only some scatter, heading back to wherever they came from. Clara turns to us and passes out six cards, each with a letter and number on them. “Here are your room keys. You’re all on the third floor. Head up to your rooms and get situated. The hour is growing late, and you’ll be sent for first thing in the morning. Uniforms are provided in your room. Wear them. Arrive on time and sharp. Understood?”
“Anything else, Your Highness?” Weldon asks, not sounding the least bit civil.
She exhales loudly, and walks away from us, leaving us to make the rest of the trip up to our rooms alone.
“Thank the Goddess. Now I can get a damn shower,” Jezi says, tugging at her jumpsuit. She turns to Cassie. “Do you think they sell cigarettes here?”
“They don’t,” Jaxen says flatly. “Looks like it’s your time to quit.”
He doesn’t wait for her to offer a retort, nor does he take the high five Weldon offers either. Instead, he mutters something about leaving and pulls me through the sliding doors and straight for the elevator.
“Wait up,” I hear Gavin say as he jogs after us, but Jaxen presses the button and the door slides shut, closing us off from everyone.
“Jaxen?” I ask, looking up at him.
Longing simmers in his gaze. “I can’t take another second in your presence without doing this first,” he says desperately, hungrily.
There’s no time to think before he grabs me by the waist and shoves me against the elevator wall, stealing my lips with his.
So I don’t think. I simply react.
In his kiss, I know he’s dreamed of this moment over and over again until it’s driven him completely mad. He’s holding me so tightly against him, like he never wants to let go of me ever again, and I think I’ve finally discovered what true love is. It’s this kiss that sizzles like a lit fuse ran straight to my heart. Like dynamite that explodes inside every inch of me, waking every nerve, every sense, every single inch of skin that cries out for him.
It’s been so long… too long, and the excitement of being in his arms again is so breathtakingly overwhelming that I can barely keep from bursting at the seams. He swallows my small cry of pleasure as he slides his hands through my hair, and then down my back, until he’s clutching the fabric of my jumpsuit so tightly I fear he might disintegrate it with his powerful grip.
I skim my hands up his neck and weave my fingers through his thick, dark hair, pulling, tugging, and hoping this moment never ends. As the kiss deepens, he loosens his grip and grabs my bottom. Lifting me up, he pins me between the wall and his rock-solid chest. His kisses move down the side of my cheek, devouring every inch of exposed skin all the way to the arc of my neck, and I swear my body explodes with pleasure.
His starved words brush against my skin. He says my name like it’s a plea for sanity. Admits that being away from me was the worst pain imaginable, and I’m floating in his words as he glides his lips down the curve of my neck and over the shivering flesh of my collarbone. I’m drowning inside of the soft, lingering kisses he plants that feed the fire raising up under my skin.
And God, does it feel so damn good.
When the bell dings, announcing our arrival on the third floor, I barely hear it. The sound is light-years away from us, from this intoxicating tangle of arms, legs, and kisses that we’ve become. But then he pulls his lips from mine, leaving me reaching for more.
My eyes flick open.
He takes my hand in his, guiding me out of the elevator and down the sterile, white hallway. “Come on. Let’s get you to your room,” he says, his voice soft like velvet, yet hard like steel.
I’m so distracted, so deliciously lost in his eyes and his kisses, that I can barely understand what he’s saying. I feel the sun rising in my cheeks as he watches me, waiting for my reply. I replay his words repeatedly until they begin to make sense.
“Okay,” I manage, embarrassed by how easily he unwinds me. It’s only taken minutes in his presence to unlace every wound-up strand of my emotions. Every pent-up thought that’s been weighted down by the fists of politics.
He clears his throat and pulls his eyes from mine, forcing them back on the path to our new living quarters. The scent of magic and electricity brim the air. Harsh laughter and a general sense of camaraderie surrounds me as Elites in training filter past us.
“Umm,” he says, trying to form coherent words, “I think this is our hall.” He checks the numbers on the door, going off Clara’s instructions. “And it appears you’ll be staying across from me, and next to Jezi and Gavin. Protected from all sides, the way it should be.”
A familiar, tingly feeling stirs in my stomach at the thought of being so close to him. Being seconds away from his touch. “That’s good,” I say, my mouth going dry.
I count the steps until we reach my room, and my heart leaps in joyful somersaults. My stomach twists in nervous knots. We both know we can’t be alone together. Not without devouring each other. Not without taking back what has been taken from us for far too long.
The door slides open, and he crosses the small, egg-shaped room. There’s a bed in the corner, suspended by metal wires from the wall. A small, metal desktop is also suspended by wires on the other wall, along with a lamp and a rack with freshly pressed uniforms hanging from it. Beneath the rack is an open box with essentials stacked neatly.
I find his face across the room and forget how to breathe. There’s so much pain swirling around his deep green eyes, so much longing that it almost hurts. I want to shut my eyes and pretend that time never escaped us, that no one ever came between us, but I can’t. I’m afraid that if I do, he’ll disappear. That this moment will become another fantasy I created to pass the time in my holding cell.
“Come here,” he says, breaking the dream.
I take cautious steps, stepping out of my mind and back into his reality. Back into his heavenly arms. My hands find his shoulders and, slowly, I slide his jacket off. His hands stay rigid at his side, arms open and waiting for me to show him where this will go. To allow me to explore and take what I want from him.
The jacket falls to the floor, and I step closer, taking in his electric scent. I’m trying to pace myself, trying to catch my breath as my heart slams against my chest. I crave his skin, his touch. My hands drift down to his lean waist, and then brazenly tug his black shirt free from the hem of his pants. I don’t want material separating us.
His muscles clench as he whispers so many secrets in his gaze. Secrets that light my blood on fire. His body quivers under my trailing touch as I slowly pull the shirt over his head and drop it to the floor behind me. Every part of me trembles with desire. Flutters with anticipation.
And I can’t catch a steady breath.
He runs the back of his hand along my cheek, taking his time to enjoy the simple touch. I close my eyes, dragging my hands down the hard, sloped planes of his chest. Enjoying the rippling shudders such a small caress causes him. His fingers rake through my hair until his hand comes to rest along the back of my neck. He pulls me closer to him, demolishing the distance between us.
“Faye,” he says softly. There’s a frenzied edge to his voice that slides over my skin. He tilts my head back, forcing my eyes on his. Desire and love lap around his pupils, brightening the color of his eyes. “I dreamed of you. Every single night,” he admits, his voice breathy and strained. “I asked to see you, every single day, but I wasn’t granted permission. I didn’t know what to do, and it drove me crazy.” His head drops, and his eyes squeeze shut. “I didn’t know what they were doing to you. What you were going through. And it killed me, Faye.” Green eyes pooled in sadness find mine. “Every day, it killed me.”
I reach up and caress the side of his face. Standing on my tiptoes, I kiss his cheek and then, slowly, kiss my way to his quivering lips. His hands find my waist, gripping tightly, pulling me into him as he deepens the kiss. My blood is electric, sending sparks to every part of me. He pulls his lips from mine, and it takes me a moment to open my eyes, to let go of the softness of his touch.
“I could… I could kill them for taking you away from me. For making me feel like I’d lost you all over again. I-I need you… so bad it hurts.”
I’m weightless, suspended only by my beating heart.
“I’m here,” I say bravely, gliding my hands down his chest, all the way to the button of his pants. His eyes squeeze shut as he bites his lip. The pain and yearning is written across his face, and I think I’m going to break in half. Melt away, into a puddle at his feet. “I don’t want to waste another minute guessing. I don’t want to waste another minute period.”
I’m consumed by his fever. But then a knock at the door slices through the air, jolting me on the spot. He groans, and the sound itself drives me wild.
“Yo,” Gavin shouts from the other side of the door. “You ran off like a maniac. This will just take a sec.”
Jaxen inhales and runs a hand through his hair, disheveling it into a perfect mess. He kisses my cheek, walks over to the door, and then presses the button that slides it open.
“You guys want to meet for dinner later?” Gavin asks before the door finishes opening. He takes one look at the both of us, and then smiles a large, knowing smile. “Well, you two sure didn’t waste any time. No wonder you jetted off so fast. Horny Devils.”
“Shove it,” Jaxen says, and then presses the button again, shutting the door in Gavin’s face.
“I’m taking that as a yes!” Gavin shouts out on the other side of the door. “Eight o’clock. One hour, little bro.” His voice trails back down the hall as Jaxen turns around and looks at me.
He offers a small smile. “Hey,” he says with an awkward chuckle.
I smile back at him. Twist my feet in. “Hi.”
“It seems even in a new city we can’t avoid interruptions.” He walks back over to me.
“Yeah,” I say, blowing out a large breath.
He clears his throat. Runs his hands down his thighs. “Maybe it’s a sign.”
“A sign?” I start to protest, but he shushes me with a long, deep, kiss. His velvet tongue dances with mine, and his hand finds the small of my back, supporting me as my knees convert to jelly. He kisses me with a certain madness, a longing delivered only by the distance forced between us.
Kissing him fills the hollowed ache inside of me. It eases the pain of everything I can’t control. The things I can’t fix. Of missing my parents, and Katie, and all the conversations we’ll never have.
I feel every emotion storming through him, and share the pain of having been stripped of control.
“I can’t get enough,” he says, trying to catch a breath. Holding me like he’ll never let go again. “I promise you,” he says as he breaks away from the kiss, his chest rising and falling rapidly, “this will happen. It’s going to happen. Soon. This—it’s just not the right time.” There’s desperation in his voice. He’s clinging to the edges of sanity. Of strength.
I run my fingers through his hair and plant a kiss on his lips, ignoring the whirlwind spiraling within me. Ignoring the ache that won’t seem to leave me. “When is the right time?” I ask evenly, trying to control my breathing.
The heat between us is intoxicating.
He rests his forehead against mine. Licks his lips and drags in a breath. It takes him a moment to speak, to pull himself back, and I envy that he even can. I envy his strength and how easy it is for him to slip in and out of desire. “When I can take you out like a normal person, learn all the secrets you’ve kept buried within you,” he says, his eyes sparkling with love. “And after we figure out what the hell is going on here.”
His bucket of ice-cold words splash over me.
I know it’s my turn to speak, but I want to make sure what I say is on point, and I can’t do that when I still feel his hands on my skin and his lips on my body. I can’t quell the storm he’s unleashed, breaking open every part of longing that I spent hour after hour shutting off. There’s no way to pretend that I don’t feel his heart beating wildly against his ribcage, wanting to be set free.
“That could take forever,” I admit, hating how this seems so easy for him.
Maybe he senses this because he exhales like he agrees with me. Like he knows it could take forever, and there’s no way either of us could make it that long. “I won’t be able to hold back forever, Faye. You-you’re so damn perfect. So damn tempting. I’m just… you deserve the best. You should be taken out and properly wooed. You should have the perfect night to give yourself to me, and I intend to make that happen. Very soon.”
I bite the inside of my cheek. My insides don’t care about a proper night, but my heart is flattered. My mind understands. I take his hand and squeeze, trying to be glad that I fell for a perfect gentleman. Striving not to be ashamed of my blatant want for this man who drives every inch of me deliciously insane.
“You never cease to surprise me,” I say, the side of my mouth lifting up.
He chuckles. “I surprise myself,” he admits, “because it’s sure as hell taking every last bit of my self-control to keep from exploring every inch of you right now.” He ruffles a hand in the back of his hair. Tries to keep his eyes on anything but me.
My heart swells. “I uh-maybe we should talk about something else then,” I say, my voice strained and shaky.
“Yeah,” he agrees, taking a seat on my bed. He moves back against the wall, takes in a breath, and then shifts subjects. “I can’t believe Clara got us out.”
“I know, right? I never thought for a second it would be her face I saw when we were released. She’s just always been so… so mean and hateful.” Thoughts of being back at the Academy race through my mind. Clara’s open distaste of me. Mack’s mistrust of her. Her thirst for power. It just doesn’t make sense that she would want to help us… at least not from the kindness of her shriveled-up heart.
“Clara’s ruthless,” he says, the bitterness in his tone leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
I look to him, wishing for once the answer would come easy for me.
“But maybe,” he says, searching my eyes, “maybe we should go along with it for the time being. See what she wants.” He grabs my hand. “I mean, really, what choice do we have? We’re running out of allies. And choices. Mack isn’t here, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get in touch with him. She’s basically the only person we have on our side in this city—the only one who’s connected to home.”
“I don’t know about her being on our side, but yeah, I think you’re right. We should at least play along for the time being. At least until the Priesthood reveals what they want next from us,” I say.
He leans his head back and closes his eyes. Drags in a breath. “As much as I hate to admit this. Hell, as much as I hate to go along with this, all we can really do is let go, jump in feet first, and hope for the best,” he says on an exhale. “We just have to keep a keen eye out, and we need to be prepared for whatever they throw at us because, really, we’re all we’ve got, and we have to make that work.”
The sad part is he’s exactly right.
Candace Knoebel is the award-winning author of Born in Flames-book one in a young adult fantasy trilogy. She discovered in 2009 through lunch breaks and late nights after putting her kids to bed, a world where she could escape the ever-pressing days of an eight to five Purgatory. And an outlet for all the voices residing in her head.
Published by 48fourteen in 2012, Born in Flames went on to win Turning the Pages Book of the Year award in February of 2013. In January of 2014, the last book in the trilogy, From the Embers, was released, thusly completing the trilogy. She now works on the Night Watchmen Series, while guzzling Red Bulls and pretending to be a ninja on Heelys.
- Paperback copy of Evernight signed by the characters (US only)
- e-Copy of the entire Night Watchmen Series (INTL)
- e-Copy of the entire Born in Flames trilogy (IINTL)
- Night Watchmen button swag pack (US only)
- 5 bookmark swag packs (US only)
- Bracelet with charms (US only)
- 5$ Amazon gift card (INTL