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Book Excerpt - Bittersweet by Michelle Barrow-Belisle plus $10 Amazon GC / ebook Giveaway
Adventure wasn’t something Lorelei was interested in. Gifted with two otherworldly talents for singing and healing, she’s always shied away from her gifts, preferring anonymity, over attention. But when she meets Adrius, with his dangerous mystique and eyes that peer into her soul, her uneventful life becomes irrevocably altered. Adrius knows more about her than any newcomer should, including the condition of her mother’s mysterious illness. Accepting his offer to help leads her into a terrifying world, where Elves are even hotter than Legolas, and Faeries.... are nothing like Tinkerbell. The two magical beings are fire and ice opposites. One Lorelei can’t help falling for, and the other she's compelled to be with. Now she’s trapped in their world, expected to prevent a war between witches and faeries, or forfeit her mother’s life. As secrets unravel, Lorelei must fight to save much more than her mother’s life. One mistake could put the fate of his world- and her soul, in jeopardy.
To save the Faery world and her mother’s life, seventeen year old Lorelei sacrificed everything, and the dangerous bargains she made in Nevermore had lasting repercussions. Now safely back in her own world, Lorelei seems the same to her high school friends and her supernatural boyfriend, despite the dark magic growing within her. Love across dimensions is complicated, especially when an invisible veil between the two worlds is sealing, threatening to separate Lorelei and Adrius forever.
Determined to find a solution, Lorelei resorts to exploring her new found powers. But when her friends fall ill, and her healing touch only makes things worse, Lorelei can’t help but wonder if she's responsible.
Nightmares from the Nevermore tighten their icy hold when someone arrives determined to destroy Lorelei’s world, starting with those closest to her. Once again she’s forced to choose between her family… her friends… and a love that was ill-fated from the start.
“The magic Titania used to secure her crown in the mountain will not yield to one of half-witch blood. Only a full-blooded faerie can retrieve the crown. It was her insurance that no one other than a full faerie could be her usurper.”
“You mean her successor.” I hated to think of myself as overthrowing the monarchs of Faery.
He rolled his eyes. “If you prefer. All you need to remember is that this dragon will use telemetry to sense your plan of attack. I can block his attempts, but you will be far more enticing to him, once he catches wind of your scent. Do not let the fog enter your mind. Keep it clear and free from thoughts and worries. I will return to the mountainside with the crown. We want to gain access by stealth, for we may not win through strength of arms. Your only task it to stay here, at the mouth of the cave and hold his attention. Can you do that?” He searched my face.
“Do I have a choice?”
“Yes. I can do that.” My heart pounded. I was a bundle of nerves and terror. “Is there anything else I need to know?”
Zanthiel withdrew his canteen of water and handed it to me. “Don't bleed. They are attracted to it.”
“Wonderful. Anything else? Never mind, don't tell me. Don't want to know.” At least I had magic to fall back on. There was some consolation in that. I swallowed several gulps, letting it splash down my neck and chest.
“Darkness will bleed from your soul should you turn to it too often, Lorelei. You need to live a life without reliance on your dark magic. If not, in time it will consume you.”
Frowning, I handed back the canteen. “You used to encourage that.”
“I no longer do,” he said in earnest. “I couldn’t bear to watch you become something you are not. Something you were never meant to be.”
“Picked a great time to grow morals. Right now I don't have any other choice, do I?”
“You use that excuse far too often. You always have choices. It is when you claim not to have any that they are taken from you.”
Of course I had choices, but they were never between good and bad, or right and wrong. They were between horrifying and catastrophic.
His expression shifted from warrior to protector. “You hold too much beauty for this world. Too much goodness resides within your heart. I see it daily, and it pains me to watch it diminish as you fight to save those you love. It’s why I agreed to the madness of this plan. If you are no longer being hunted, then the need for you to use dark magic to protect yourself diminishes too, at least somewhat. Then, you will allow me to protect you. At least, that is my hope.”
I nodded. “I don’t want dark magic to change who I am. Not in that way.” I didn’t know how else to respond. His raw honesty always caught me off guard. “Let’s just get through this, okay?”
He gave a single nod, his inner warrior firmly back in the lead. “First the beast will use the smog to read the mind of its opponent, gaining a sense of their intentions. Should that tactic fail, and it must, it will resort to fire. An even greater threat when the beast becomes airborne.”
This was daunting. I paced a few steps, pressing my fingers to my temples, refusing to picture what was sure to be our end.
“Dragons have one weak spot,” he continued. “The throat, just under its chin. If I can pierce it, it will kill it.”
My pacing stopped. “Okay. This isn't a goblin or even a wyvern we're talking about. It’s a dragon. It’s like a million times bigger than those other two, and they're hard enough to kill. You’ll never succeed.”
“Your lack of faith in me grows tiresome.” He pulled out faerie armor from his pack. The silver leaves embedded on it were impossibly strong and impervious to fire.
“I mean it. How are you going to stroll up to a fire-breathing monster and just stab it in the neck?”
“I won’t. You will be outside of the cave, drawing its attention. I will retrieve the crown. Only if needed will I slay the beast.”
“Distract him?” I nearly laughed out loud. “Distract a dragon? With what exactly, a puppet show?” I shook my head. “And if I can’t hold its attention, and it doesn’t barbecue me on the spot… how will you get close enough to stab it?”
He reached over his shoulder, withdrew an arrow from his quiver and handed it to me. The head of it ignited with a yellow flame.
“A flaming arrow. Much better plan.” I passed the arrow back.
“Remember all I’ve told you. It cannot see you clearly. It can only find you through your fear and its sense of smell. It can detect motion, so move slowly. You will have an opportunity to use all of what I've taught you, combined with all that you already know.” He strapped armored lapels to me, yanking the belt tight to secure them.
I lifted my arms above my head as he wrapped more armor around my midriff. “Okay, see, the thing is I really don't know all that much.” I frowned. This plan grew more terrifying by the moment.
His hands lingered on my waist as his gaze held mine. “You know enough. I'm trusting that you do. You must trust it too. Otherwise we are both dead. From what you've told me, that isn't something you want.”
A dreamer at heart, Michele BarrowBelisle has always lived with one foot in this reality and one foot in another, one of her own imagining. So it follows that she would grow up to write about the characters from those enchanting worlds she knows and loves so well. A fan of all things romantic, her young adult novels are populated with scintillating witches, vampires and fey. Her bestselling debut book series Fire and Ice (Faerie Song Trilogy) was optioned for a major motion picture this year. Michele resides in southern Canada with her hubby and son who indulge her neverending obsession with reading, writing and most importantly… chocolate.