Visit the World of the Steel & Stone Series by Annette Marie in the Highly Anticipated Finale, UNLEASH THE STORM
Piper started out as a magic-less apprentice only to become the wielder of the most powerful weapon in existence, but the cost of that power has been blood and pain. As she and Ash retreat into the Underworld to escape the coming daemon war, he’s all she has left – but if she can’t find her strength, she’ll soon lose him to dangers in his world that even he can’t fight. Read the exhilarating conclusion to the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series in UNLEASH THE STORM by Annette Marie…
I could not put it down! It had everything I want to read in a UF – action, great characters, awesome world building, diverse species, secrets and lies, twists and turns and a smidge of romance…. Now I want more! – Book Passion For Life
Celebrate the Release with a Giveaway!
Grand Prize: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Open U.S. & Canada) + Steel & Stone Bundle Set
~International winner would receive a $100 gift card instead of a Paperwhite~
4 Runner-Ups will receive copies of the Steel & Stone Bundle Set
Here is the embed code for the Rafflecopter:
Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29187/?
Piper thought she could handle the Sahar, the most powerful magical weapon in existence. She thought she could protect her loved ones and stop a war. She thought she could make a difference.
She was wrong, and her mistakes were paid for in blood.
Leaving her world—and her failures—behind, she retreats to the Underworld with Ash and the other draconians. They forge deep into long abandoned mountains, the first draconians to fly the valleys and passes in centuries—or so they thought. Until now, Ash’s mysterious heritage has been nothing but a name, but his presence does not go unnoticed. A new danger stalks him, one that may be even greater than what they escaped.
Cut off from the power she’d come to rely on and lost in a world where she doesn’t belong, Piper has never felt so hopeless. But she must find her strength, and find it quickly, before she loses Ash to an ancient power he can’t fight, before her home is devastated by the daemon war, and before her mind, body, and soul are consumed by the Sahar’s insidious magic.
On Sale in Digital: March 4, 2016
A thirteenth griffin dropped through the opening in the ceiling to land in the center of the aisle. Golden hair brushed across his face, most of it captured in a thick braid that hung down to his waist. Topaz jewels on fine white gold chains had been woven through the plait, making it glitter. His clothing was a mixture of rich red silks and light armor, as beautiful as it was functional. He held a long sword in one hand.
His eyes, normally a bright yellow-green, were black as pitch as they locked on her like a lion stalking an injured gazelle.
“Miysis.” She couldn’t help the cautious note in her voice.
He lifted his blade out to one side of his body, a casual but attack-ready position.
“Piper. Draw your sword.” The words were an icy croon in his impossibly melodic voice, almost as beautiful as Lyre’s incubus harmonics.
Oh shit. It was pretty safe to say he knew exactly who had killed his sister, and he intended to kill Piper for it in a formal execution of justice.
“Miysis—” she began.
He gave the tip of his sword a little flick—some kind of signal. His soldiers surged into motion, moving blindingly fast. In seconds, they had surrounded her and Miysis, creating a circle around them. Miysis glided a few steps closer to her, his black eyes not shifting from her face. His golden-brown wings were folded behind his back and his tail swished slowly behind him, the end flaring in a fan of feathers.
“Miysis, can we—” she tried again.
“Draw your sword.” He lifted his, light sliding across the shining steel, and she knew that was her last warning.
Check out the entire Steel & Stone series!
Every gun was pointed at her. This time she knew they meant business. The prefects she hadn’t permanently downed took a few steps back, getting out of the potential crossfire.
“Hit one more of my men and we’ll open fire,” the man at the back called. “Lie on the floor with your hands on the back of your head. Now!”
Before she could obey and get arrested, or disobey and get shot, the air rippled. Electricity filled the atmosphere, crackling like lightning about to strike. She heard a weird rushing sound, then there was harsh breathing right behind her; someone stood at her back.
“Are you going to shoot me?” The voice that asked the question was deep and guttural, sepulchral and alien in a way that froze everyone in the vicinity.
Every gun was now aimed at a point just over Piper’s right shoulder. She tried to keep her breathing steady as fear tightened every prefect’s face. Men who had faced the ten-foot minotaur without batting an eyelid, trained and seasoned fighters, were staring over her shoulder with shaking hands and pale faces.
She slowly licked her lips. “Ash?” she whispered.
He shifted closer until he brushed against her back. “Do you have what we need?” he breathed. The heat of his body made her shiver.
“Yes,” she breathed back.
He huffed in relief, sounding almost normal for a second. Then he slid one arm around her waist, delicately as though he were afraid of accidentally crushing her.
“Don’t move or we’ll shoot,” the prefect leader yelled.
“That,” Ash said as he extended one hand in front of Piper, “would only make me angry.”
Piper stared at his hand, too shocked to move or to think. His outspread fingers were black with a dull gleam like leather, the tips smoothly forming long claws. Large black scales covered the back of his hand and ran up the top of his arm like an armguard. The scales gave way to human skin, leaving the underside of his arm disconcertingly normal. Somehow, that was even freakier.
The air grew hot around them. It sizzled. The lead prefect jerked like he was about to yell the word that would riddle Piper and Ash with bullets, then light flashed in Ash’s palm and everything exploded for a second time.
“Piper!” he roared.
She bolted, arms flailing for balance as she ran for the waiting car. The back door opened. She caught a glimpse of Miysis before he moved back to make room for her.
“Piper, get back in here right now!”
She dove into the darkness of the car. Miysis reached across her and pulled the door closed as the car began moving. Piper glanced out the window in time to see Quinn running across the lawn after her, fear stamped across his face. Her insides squirmed with guilt. He couldn’t know who owned the black car and he couldn’t have seen Miysis in the shadowy interior. All he’d seen was his daughter, wearing a dress for the first time in years, sneaking out to a mysterious car with unknown occupants one night after he’d found out she was possibly participating in illegal activities. She hoped he didn’t think she’d just been picked up by a pimp.
Miysis eased back into his seat as the car sped up. She pulled her skirt down to where it belonged and gave him a quick once over. Her heart sank. He looked like a million bucks in a smoky gray tux with a silvery vest and a fancy-collared shirt. His honey blond hair was tousled in a perfect mix of messy and deliberate and his golden-green eyes almost glowed in the dark interior of the car.
Sitting next to him, she looked ridiculously cheap and underdressed. His gaze flicked over her stupid little dress. He opened his mouth to speak.
“I didn’t have anything to wear,” she wailed before he could complain. “I didn’t have anything.”
“I know,” he said with a hint of a smile. “That’s why I brought you something.”
He pointed to a long garment bag hanging beside him.
She blinked. “You bought me a dress?”
He smiled, by all appearances totally serene. “You didn’t think I would let my date go in rags, did you?”
“Your—your date?” She gaped at him. “I’m going as your date? I—I thought you were making me one of your attendants or something.”
Daemon royalty always had a gaggle of advisors, attendants, and bodyguards following them around.
“Really, Piper. How would I explain the daughter of the Head Consul waiting on me? You should be glad I didn’t have a date already.”
“But—but—” She goggled.
Miysis was one of the top-ranking Overworld daemons. Going as his date was like going to a coronation with a member of a royal family. She’d never imagined he would go out on a limb like that for her. The entire political community would be gossiping about it for months. She might be the Head Consul’s daughter, but compared to Miysis, she was a dirt-poor commoner.
“But aren’t you worried what people will think?” she asked.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the looks on their faces,” he said with satisfaction. “The confusion and alarm will be priceless. They won’t know what to make of it.”
She thought about it then shrugged. “I guess if you don’t mind …”
He canted one eye toward her. “Do you?”
The daemon rose to her feet, shedding her glamour in the same movement. Her wild red hair drifted outward, suddenly immune to gravity. Her ears were now pointed, cheeks hollow beneath dramatically sharp cheekbones. Her eyes were huge and black as coal. Her body, more willowy and lightweight than ever, coiled in readiness. Narrow red things—scales? feathers?—rose in lines on her arms like a cat’s hair standing on end.
Before Piper could even finish her protest, Kindra sprang out of the trees. With impossible speed, she flashed across the expanse of lawn. Piper swore under her breath and ran out after her, keeping low.
Kindra was on the first man before he could turn. Piper didn’t see what Kindra did but the man screamed as he fell. The others spun toward the daemon. She dashed away, almost too fast for the eye to follow, then reappeared, making a grab for a second one. The third got his gun up and fired but Kindra abandoned her target and flashed away, a dark blur. His gun flipped up, hitting him in the face, struck by an invisible blow from the daemon. He staggered, brandishing his rifle and wildly looking around for Kindra.
Between the darkness, the haze of rain, and the lethal daemon, none of them noticed Piper coming.
FEED THE FLAMES (Steel & Stone Book 3.5)
In this short story addition to the Steel & Stone series, discover the fate of Seiya and Lyre following the conclusion of YIELD THE NIGHT (Steel & Stone #3).
“So your spell will disable the collar for . . . how long?”
“Maybe five minutes.”
She masked her shock. Most daemons performed magic through on-the-spot spell-casting. Magic could also be woven into materials such as metals and gemstones, but that was far more complex. Creating weavings that could interact with other weavings was high-level magic. She couldn’t do anything like that, and neither could Ash. Sure, they’d learned how to set a spell in a piece of stone or metal, but they weren’t inventing intricate, interactive weavings.
Developing new magic was the life’s work of the most gifted daemon minds. The only daemons she knew with that kind of talent worked at Chrysalis, Samael’s most sinister business. They’d developed some of the most complex magic she’d ever heard of, like the collar that had nearly killed Ash.
She studied Lyre, swallowing the touch of suspicion trying to creep into her voice. Spell weaving wasn’t something a daemon picked up on the fly.
“Where did you learn to make stuff like that?”
He rolled his eyes. “You’re right. This is the perfect time to share my life’s story.”
An animal snarl ripped through the silence as the beast dove for them like a half-ton missile. She threw her hands up and cast a shield. Black fire exploded outward when the creature slammed into her spell. The dragon rebounded into the air, great wings beating as it roared.
Piper spun to see that all the apprentices were on the ground, having thrown themselves down when the monster had charged them.
“Get up and run!” she yelled.
Lexa yanked Lee up by his arm. “Go!”
The apprentices scrambled to their feet and bolted down the alley. Lexa ran after them, but Piper’s eyes were locked on the second shadow. It held still, standing on the rooftop with partially spread wings. She could feel the burn of the draconian’s gaze on her. He was here for her.
With a frantic glance toward the fleeing apprentices, she turned and ran between two buildings. Just before her line of sight was cut off, she saw the dragon swoop over the heads of its prey, letting out a terrifying roar even as it deliberately missed them by several feet. It must be herding them away.
Fighting for calm, Piper sprinted down the narrow passageway between buildings—too narrow for a draconian’s wingspan. Darkness enclosed her but she didn’t dare create any light. She ran on, stumbling over cracks and garbage. She could feel the press of the draconian’s stare and knew he was following her, not the others.
Ahead of her, the passageway opened up into a wide street faintly illuminated by a single streetlamp. She skidded to a stop just short of the sidewalk, lifted her gun, and waited.
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every book.
Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
| | | | Goodreads