And now, ladies and gents, it’s the time you’ve been waiting for! Yes, it’s Excerpt Time! Since Dame Devon and I were in a tie for the Dame Smackdown, we’re posting excerpts on each other’s pages. The Jealousy excerpt should be up shortly. (ETA: It is live, and here!; the book is on preorder here.)
Meanwhile, I am pleased and proud to present a snippet from Dame Devon’s upcoming Magic At The Gate, after the jump!
MAGIC AT THE GATE
“Are we in St. Johns?” I asked
“We’re in death,” Dad said. “The two worlds do not directly align. That makes navigation . . . difficult. And there is also a perceived misalignment in time.”
“Time? What? How long have we been here?”
“That is not—” He glanced up suddenly.
I didn’t hear anything, even with my good ears. Stone didn’t react either. He just kept walking smooth and steady, growling so softly it was a comforting purr under my palm.
“I believe,” Dad said, “we’ve arrived.”
We were at the corner of the street. Gothic high-rises stacked to our right and left. A few more steps and the city opened up, revealing a river as wide as the Willamette, but filled with fast-flowing black water. Beneath the water flashed ribbons of magic, metallic rainbows and jagged lines, sparking and weaving glyphs that disappeared as soon as they were formed, like fish nipping the surface of the water.
“The Willamette?” I asked, because it didn’t look like the river. “The Columbia?”
“The Rift between life and death, light and dark,” my father said. “Exactly.”
I looked away from the river. My dad stood beside me. And standing beside him, was my dad.
That dad, the second version of him, looked younger than the dad who had crossed into death with me. New Dad had jet-black hair without a trace of gray, and instead of wearing a business suit, he wore black casual slacks and dress shirt.
“Daniel,” New Dad said. “This is interesting.”
“Daniel.” Old Dad nodded. “Different than I imagined.”
“Isn’t it?” New Dad said.
Then they both smiled the exact same smile. Narcissism times two.
Oh, get a room already.
“It is good to see you, Allison,” New Dad said.
I’d been standing there like an idiot. One dad was more than enough for me. Especially on a stroll through death when he’d already gotten grabby with my magic. Two dads? Worst. Day. Ever. And how the hell did that work anyway?
“Why?” I demanded. Not “how,” because I didn’t care how he had split himself in two. I just wanted to know his reason for doing it.
“It happened a long time ago,” he said dismissively. “You were a little girl. It was a price I had to pay. A part of me died.”
“That’s crazy. What in the world is worth killing yourself for?”
Those green eyes of his caught my gaze. “You tell me, daughter.”
I couldn’t hold his gaze. I knew what I believed was worth walking into death and back again for—love. I didn’t want to know if he felt that way too.
I looked away and saw dark, four-legged beasts, bigger than Stone, slinking along the edges of the street toward us. Silent as a starving wolf pack closing in on prey, they were the Hungers—creatures who crossed through the gates and fed on magic and magic users.
And right now, I was pretty sure we were their prey.
Magic eaters. Killers. I reached for the katana. I didn’t know how I was going to wield the sword against a dozen of the beasts with one hand stuck to Stone, but I wasn’t going to stand there and let the Hungers run us down. Well, run me down.
“Allison?” Old Dad said. “What do you see?”
A chill washed over my skin. There wasn’t a lot of wind here, but the slight breeze dug into my bones, making me feel stretched and cold.
“Hungers.” I didn’t turn, didn’t take my eyes off the beasts.
“Do not provoke them.”
Stone growled like a vacuum cleaner full of nails.
“I’m not going to provoke them.” I drew Zayvion’s sword. It sang free of its sheath. “I’m going to kill them.”
Now doesn’t that make you want to cheer? Yay for Dame Devon–and yay for you, the Readers who made the Smackdown possible! Thanks so, so much. You rock!