Monday, June 2, 2014

CHAPTER SWAP: Immolation by Susan Reid

So we have some chapter swapping action going on here tonight. :) I am happy to have Urban Fantasy Author, Susan Reid back, and to host her cover reveal for the newest edition in her series The Divinity Saga. The third book is titled Immolation and Susan was cool enough to share a chapter from the book with us!

So read on and when you get to the bottom, there is information on where you can find a never before previewed chapter from Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) along with an interview with me on Susan's blog.

Enjoy! :)

I. Starling

I had no idea how to turn off the flames that were still burning along my arms and down my legs. I guess I had no choice but to wait for them to die out on their own.
The previous stern, reprimanding, and hard to decipher expressions on each of the elders’ faces, instantly morphed into curious elation and joyous surprise. They were all actually—smiling now…with the exception of Spencer and the other two Seraphim girls. Though they were definitely impressed with my essence, my demonstration didn’t wipe the glare of suspicion from their eyes.
“Well, there is no question on how you managed to stay safe then. Congratulations on the discovery of your essence, Starling.”
The woman elder smiled broadly and nodded approval. Then she quickly exchanged glances with the other three elders. They instantly appeared intrigued, all huddling in towards each other and uttering soft spoken words as if I weren’t standing here in front of them.
Spencer was busy observing me through narrowed eyes.
The brown-skinned seraphim girl suddenly rose up on her tip-toes to pull him down by his shoulder, and then she whispered something close to his ear, too. Though gradually dissipating, my flames continued to caress my entire body with a wispy, tickling sensation, slowly beginning to wink out completely—one body part at a time. I noted soon thereafter, that I had mostly calmed down inside, too. However, my anxiety remained.
“This is quite remarkable, to finally be able to witness hallowed fire with my own eyes and in person. You are very unique indeed, Starling.” The male elder beamed at me. In fact, all four of them were beaming now.
“Tell us, how are you able to bring forth your hallowed fire?” The elder woman sitting next to him asked with genuine curiosity and interest.
“Um, I’m not really sure. It’s definitely linked to my emotions though, I think. I can’t quite control it.” I answered truthfully.
“Hmm, that’s a new one. Well, if that is the case, control will come in time with practice.”
Spencer suddenly leaned down to whisper something in the ear of the male elder on her right, though his ice-colored, twinkling eyes remained glued on me.
That was such a pet peeve of mine.What was he whispering about? Hadn’t my display been satisfying enough?
No, of course not.

Aon and Aliks told me to avoid the Seraphim. They didn’t tell me how that would be possible though. Maybe this was one of the situations that they said would be up to me to figure out.
I wasn’t sure what to do or say now. I was still the mysterious new girl here and I haven’t even started my educational and physical training. I did, however, manage to escape a fallen on my own and that was what they all found suspect.
It was evident that Spencer and the other two female seraphim were homing in on something about me that the elders weren’t detecting—yet. I feared that he was already sensing exactly what that something was already and it didn’t take long.
Cam’s scent.
I felt a nervous knot begin to cramp and twist deep in my gut once again. My face flushed, tingling as beads of perspiration began to dampen my forehead. That instantly quirked Spencers brow, having immediately reacted to the abrupt change in my body heat and chemistry.
The elder male suddenly cleared his throat, regarding me once Spencer finished whispering to him.
“Starling, how are you feeling?” he then asked.
Icy apprehension gripped my chest. “I’m fine. Why?” I smiled casually.
“Well,” He began, “Your aura appears…somewhat afflicted. Meaning that it no longer appears genuinely yours.”
His face appeared contemplative and the other three women seemed to follow suit. I swear my legs were about to go out from under me. The blood drained from my face and I know that it was evident to the seraphim as they continued to watch me attentively.
“I don’t know what you mean.” I asked, not meaning for it to come out as anything less than affirmative.
Spencer replied before the elder could even open his mouth. “What he means, is that you definitely don’t smell like you should, which is understandable considering what you’ve just been through. It’s one thing to get physically dirty but it’s quite another to have that darkness and filth cling to and become a part of your aura like that.”
I shrugged, forcing a naive and innocent expression. “I don’t know. There was a period of time where I was knocked unconscious and I don’t know how long I was out.” Much to my relief, the elders nodded in understanding realizing that my answer made sense to them.
“What happened when you awoke?” A female elder suddenly asked.
Her question was more of wonder than accusation. If I cut out a huge chunk of what happened, would that still be considered…lying?
I didn’t have a choice. If this symbol beneath my feet suddenly lit up or something after my response, I was screwed.
“I had a few hall portal gems. Lorelei gave me some when we went into the human realm, to have just in case.” I answered while keeping my eyes on Spencer, who didn’t seem convinced.
If anything, that answered his earlier question on how I had managed to return untrained and without a map.
“Oh, I see. Well, thank goodness for that then.” She smiled.
Spencer spoke up again, “Without disrespect Elder Woods, I’ve seen that discoloration in auras many times before. Tainting is a high possibility and we shouldn’t leave her at risk.”
I glared at him.
“I agree but quite frankly, if there was any darkness existing within her, it could not survive or remain, especially after that momentary display of her essence.” He countered.
I smirked slightly this time.
Spencer pursed his lips tightly and nodded at me, “Then her aura should have returned back to normal by now. Look at it, it’s still tainted.” He motioned with his head in my direction.
I felt naked.
The way that they were all studying me made me feel like a slutty anomaly. Or maybe that was just my own guilt and paranoia. Damn you, Spencer!
“In my expert assessment, I think it would be wise for her to see a succor for a thorough examination, just to be on the safe side.” Spencer added quickly with a respectful nod at the elder.
He had thrown out and played his final card.
I was irritated now.
“Yes, I agree that it would be beneficial. That will be all Starling. Thank you again, for your quick thinking and heroic act of bravery. And of course, welcome back. Spencer, Kaia, and Brynn will escort you to the medical quarters. Your own safety and well-being is top priority now.” The elder woman then said.
“I’m fine, really. I don’t need to be examined. In fact, I’m just really tired.” I rushed to my own defense.
“Don’t argue with protocol, Starling. It’s for your own benefit. Since I’m in charge of helping you with your training, I’m sure Sean will want me to also assist you with honing your essence too. As a being who can sense physical maladies and changes in biorhythms, I can honestly say that something about yours really needs to be checked out.” He affirmed assiduously.
I went rigid with irritation at his insistence despite what I was saying about being fine. Heat began to rise under my skin once again.
He smirked with satisfaction.
I began to panic internally. This is not going to go well.

Check out more on the Divinity Saga.

Susan Reid at Amazon

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My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
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