Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen meets Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me in CHASE THE DARK, the first book in the addictive Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy Steel & Stone series. All Piper wants is to be a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. When she’s framed for a treasonous crime, she knows she’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust except two seriously hot—and equally untrustworthy—daemons.
People are raving about the Steel & Stone series!
I have found my ‘dream’ book! Let’s make sure I have my checklist right and what I LOVED about this book: Kick ass female = check. Fantasy world = check. Hot leading man = double check and increasing in this case. Action, adventurous, with more kicking-ass = CHECK. Creatures = dragons, incubus then yes check. O yes…Dragons anyone?? = check. – Pandora’s Opened Box
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~International winner would receive a $100 gift card instead of a Paperwhite~
4 Runner-Ups will receive a copy of the Steel & Stone Bundle Set
I have found my ‘dream’ book! Let’s make sure I have my checklist right and what I LOVED about this book: Kick ass female = check. Fantasy world = check. Hot leading man = double check and increasing in this case. Action, adventurous, with more kicking-ass = CHECK. Creatures = dragons, incubus then yes check. O yes…Dragons anyone?? = check. –Pandora’s Opened Box
“When everyone wants you dead, good help is really hard to find.”
Piper Griffiths wants one thing in life: To become a Consul, a keeper of the peace between humans and daemons. There are three obstacles in her way.
The first is Lyre. Incubus. Hotter than hell and with a wicked streak to match. His greatest mission in life is to get Piper into bed and otherwise annoy the crap out of her. The second is Ash. Draconian. Powerful. Dangerous. He knows too much and reveals nothing. Also, disturbingly attractive — and scary. Did she mention scary?
The third is the Sahar Stone. Top secret magical weapon of mass destruction. Previously hidden in her Consulate until thieves broke in, went on a murder spree, and disappeared with the weapon.
And they left Piper to take the fall for their crimes.
Now she’s on the run, her dreams of becoming a Consul shattered and every daemon in the city gunning to kill her. She’s dead on her own, but there’s no one she can trust — no one except two entirely untrustworthy daemons … See problems one and two.
Excerpt for CHASE THE DARK (Steel & Stone Book 1)
Warm hands landed on her waist and she choked on a shriek of surprise.
The hands slid downward to curl over her hips as they pulled her back into a hard body. Hot breath bathed her ear.
“Hello beautiful,” a male voice purred.
Piper flung an elbow back with enough force to crack a rib. Chuckling, her assailant slid away as though she were moving in slow motion, his fingers trailing across the small of her back as he retreated. She whirled around with her fists ready to strike.
The young man with wandering hands casually put himself out of easy reach and propped an elbow on the counter. If sex appeal were an artist, he was its masterpiece. Golden brown skin sheathed lean muscle and flowed over the sharp planes of his cheekbones. His hair was an impossible platinum blond much lighter than his skin, his eyebrows dark, and his eyelashes thicker than any man should have. They framed eyes of an exotic amber shade like a dark patina brushed over ancient gold.
Piper gave him her most disgusted glare. “Lyre, can’t you ever keep your hands to yourself?”
“No,” he replied in his deliciously deep voice. There was no apology in his expression, only grinning amusement at her discomfort. “You’re just so easy.” His eyelids lowered. “So am I.”
She straightened from her aggressive stance and gave him an insulting once-over, taking in his impossible style of metrosexual crossed with a hint of Goth. Damn, the guy knew what he was doing. Clean, safe, and charming but with that oh-so-sexy hint of bad boy—exactly the kind of guy who would appeal to almost any girl. And that body packaged with that face? Very few women said no to Lyre.
Surprisingly, he didn’t seem offended she was one of those few. Then again, he never missed a chance to flaunt his availability.
“Would you mind finding someone else to harass?” she growled. “I’m not in the mood right now.”
His mouth quirked up. “I’m always in the mood.”
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BIND THE SOUL (Steel & Stone Book 2)
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“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?”
YIELD THE NIGHT (Steel & Stone Book 3)
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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).
Check out this highlight from the short story FEED THE FLAMES (Steel & Stone Book 3.5)
“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.”
REAP THE SHADOWS (Steel & Stone Book 4)
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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.
UNLEASH THE STORM (Steel & Stone Book 5)
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Piper crouched behind the boulder, her heart beating fast against her ribs. Stretching her neck, she peeked over the top of the rock and squinted at the shallow gorge ahead, cloaked in shadows. She flexed her fingers as she scanned for signs of movement.
Beyond the gorge, towering mountains pressed close on all sides. The bold, jagged peaks cut at the sky like stone blades, leaning over her no matter which way she turned. She was starting to get used it, but the feeling of claustrophobic insignificance still caught her in unguarded moments. High above the mountain ridges, the sun glared brightly, casting harsh shadows over the dark rocks.
Her skin prickled, an instinctual warning. She spun around.
Black wings flashed wide as a draconian dropped off the cliff wall behind her. Swearing, Piper sprang onto the boulder and leaped off it as the draconian slammed into the ground where she’d been standing. She dropped into a roll and came out of it in a full sprint, charging down the gorge. She risked a glance over her shoulder and saw her adversary lift a hand, a spell already forming.
She dove to the side. The spell hit the rocky ground and exploded in a shower of pebbles. Her right hand connected with the ground as she spun in a one-handed cartwheel and landed on her feet, running again. She dashed into the gloom of the gorge. The ground grew steeper and the rocky walls closed in one either side. She slid on the loose rocks underfoot, struggling to maintain her speed and balance as she dodged boulders.
A flash of movement from her left. She sprang right and spun, skidding as pebbles cascaded down the gorge. The second draconian launched out of the shadows barely three feet from her, and icy terror washed through her. She threw her hands up and caught his forearms as she was bowled over. She hit the rocky ground on one shoulder and yanked her feet up. She planted her boots in his stomach and snapped her legs straight. He flipped over her head and landed hard, wings splayed over the rocks.
Piper rolled to her feet, leaped over him, and bolted down the gorge. The end beckoned. Sunlight sparkled on the burbling stream as the water rushed by perpendicular to her path. Fluttering in the breeze, a strip of red cloth was tied to a tree branch sticking out of the stream bank. Anticipation surged. She was almost there.
A body slammed into her back. She crashed down on the pebbly slope, her arms pinned to her sides and a pokey pair of knees digging into her back.
“Do you surrender?” her assailant growled from above her.
“Ugh,” Piper panted. “Fine. I surrender.”
Her attacker laughed, her high, bubbly voice echoing off the gorge walls. The weight left Piper’s back and she rolled over, chest heaving as she caught her breath. The draconian stood over her, hands on hips, wings half-spread and tail whipping side to side with delight as she surveyed her victim with a grin.
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.
Review: Piper is a confused but courageous girl. What must it feel like to be around sexy, irresistible, annoyingly hot guys 24 hours a day for 5 days straight? Would it be heaven or hell? As she journeys through hell and high water, well what must feel like hell when you’ve been beaten, betrayed, hit on, and taken advantage of, she begins to realize not everything she has been brought up to believe about daemons is true. Not all are evil incarnate and must be destroyed. It is a wild ride that readers who enjoy Jennifer Armentrout’s Covenant series will be hooked from book 1 all the way through to the end. (I have only read the first and am starting the 2nd but I am anticipating the series to continue as it has in the first.)
Thank you to the author and Barclay Publishing for the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.