(Well hey, look at that. I'm posting a teaser on a Tuesday! That counts for Teaser Tuesday, right?!)
Yesterday I shared the little secret I've been sitting on since Christmas-time. The glorious cover to the end of the Illumine Series. Kind of fitting it gets some time on the blog too, right?
As of right now, Alacrity does not have a set-in-stone release date, it's definitely TBA. I'm putting this one through a series of betas and editors to make it the best of the best, while wrapping up everything in the series because this is definitely the end to it all. I do have Kayden's novella still in the works, but his story takes place long before Illumine, and the other novella highlighting on the history of Lucretia and others is also working through my brain, but that too takes place long before Illumine. So once this story ends with Alacrity, that'll be it. Don't worry, I've made sure the last book will be the biggest of them all.
And I'm stalling.
Here's the cover!
And because I oh-so-love you all, I might as well toss this teaser out. This is a clip from Alacrity, and was featured in the back of the Illumine Series omnibus.
Jayson was on Kayden faster than a missile to its target. His fingers wrapped expertly around Kayden’s neck, locking him in place against the frame of the entryway.
His voice was like acid hissing through skin. “What kind of sick game are you trying to play?”
“He’s not,” I sighed. Back pressed against the wall, I decided to do the one thing I had wanted to the night I learned the truth. “Playing a game.”
Jayson’s hands didn’t budge. “You’re kidding, right? Did you not hear what he said? This jackass said you were dead, Essallie, dead. And somehow you’re standing in our childhood home, in the kitchen we shared breakfast for years, very much not dead.”
Like a backhanded slap, his words stung my face, forcing me to blink. I could feel the nerve to snap back at him building on my tongue, but bit back. My brother was acting out of fear, a rope of panic and worry choking him for weeks since our last, tense phone call. All this time he probably tossed and turned, wondering if I was dead or alive, where I was, or if he’d ever see me again. To be so close like that to someone you love, only to have them torn from your world, it leaves a scar on your soul.
“Jayson,” I pled softly, reaching out and wrapping my hands around his. Little by little, I inched his fingers out of their iron-grasp around Kayden’s neck. “I’m right here. Let him go, and look at me.”
His neck twisted, head and eyes shifting over until they landed on my shoulder, chin, and finally landing on my eyes. One look into his shattered stare nearly brought me to my knees; my brother was broken, grappling with the thought of a dead sister.
“I’m right here, I promise,” I said, hoping the words would spark the charming, vibrant flame in his eyes. “I’m right here Jayson, alive and well. I promised you I’d come home.”
The exhale barely left his lips before he flung himself at me, crushing my shoulders and chest in a bear-hug that lifted me clean off the ground. He buried his face into my hair and shoulder, squeezing with the strength of a hundred.
“It’s you, it’s really you,” he breathed, pulling back a fraction to stare at me in between strands of hair. “But not. You’re... different somehow.”
Killing demons, battling soul consumption, and learning you have a half-sister can do that to you. At least, that’s what I could have said, but I figured this sort of information dump needed a 12-step system.
Running my tongue over my teeth, I made sure to choose my words carefully. I gave him a faint, lighthearted smile. “Let’s say I’ve seen the world, and then some?”
He pulled back a little further, scrutinizing. “No, no. It’s more than sight-seeing. You’ve grown.”
“More mature,” he substituted, half-shaking his head. “But with the way you keep blabbing, I might have to eat my words.” He paused, leaning in and sniffed. A sour look crossed his face. “Yuck! How can you not smell that? What have you been doing, rolling in rotting fish?”
I closed my eyes, sinking my teeth into my lip to keep from laughing out loud. Good to know hanging with Sirens can make one smell... fishy.
“You like fish,” I quipped.
“Uhhh, yeah, when it doesn’t smell like it’s been decaying underwater for centuries.” He pinched his nose and took a step back. “Okay, so everything is okay, for now. I’ll forgive Kayden’s slip of tongue-”
I pointedly glared at Kayden, who did his best to look apologetic.
“-after you tell me what’s really going on, Essallie.”
Silence fell over the room. Beside me, Ari shifted uncomfortably, Kayden following. Rinae and Tegen exchanged knowing glances, a mixture of pain and sorrow. And I knew exactly why. Those who knew the truth about us typically didn’t live to see a long, healthy life. The idea of being honest to Jayson in exchange for his longevity weighed heavy on my heart. Could I really condemn him like that over a few words?
Eyes on Ari, I gave him a curt nod. “Make the vow.”
“You have my word. As long as I live.”
“What,” Jayson cut in. “Is going on?”
Looking back at my brother, the weight in my chest only seemed to multiply. I hadn’t so much as formed a single word on my lips before my eyes started to water at the corners, building with each thought.
I placed a hand on his upper arm. “Let’s go to the living room. You’re going to need a place to sit after I tell you this.”