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The Rise of Fortune and Fury (Hardcover)

The Rise of Fortune and Fury (Hardcover)

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It’s time to meet my destiny.

Kymaris has everything she needs to bring down the veil between Earth and the Underworld. If she’s successful in completing the ritual, Earth will be darkened by evil. Demons will swarm our lands and the human race will be decimated.

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It’s up to me to stop her.

My fate is to thwart the prophecy, but I’m not sure what to do. While I may have some gifts, I am still merely a human facing the queen of the Dark Fae who holds unimaginable power.

But I have something she doesn’t. Something she could never comprehend.

I have love.

Deep, abiding love which gives me the strength and courage to face down evil. Family, friends, and unexpected allies, who will stand shoulder to shoulder with me against this enemy. Should I fail, they are prepared to go down with me, but only after we have given our all.

My sacrifice may destroy everything I am. Fate may require my demise. But if that happens, I will leave this realm without regret, knowing that I have loved and been loved in return.

The Rise of Fortune and Fury is book five of the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series and is best enjoyed if read in series order.

Read Chapter One

Chapter 1

Carrick

Carrick appeared outside of Arwen’s hut. He was irritated and frustrated because he had failed on his mission to take out a few of Kymaris’ original Fallen who would be used in the ritual.

When he arrived, it had taken him no more than a second to realize something was wrong. He’d smelled a tinge of magic in the air, and knew it was Light Fae.

“Finley,” he called as he advanced on the hut, only to halt in his tracks when Zaid came out alone. He had the satchel carrying the Blood Stone across his body and the backpack holding essentials for him and Finley in one hand. He dropped the backpack to the ground.

It was ominous enough that he exited alone, but it was Zaid’s expression that had Carrick’s immortal heart about ready to burst open from fear.

“Where’s Finley?” Carrick asked in a low growl.

“Pyke has her,” Zaid replied dully. “He took her not ten minutes ago.”

“Took her?” Carrick demanded. “You mean he took her to the castle?”

Zaid shook his head, then turned back to the hut. “You need to see something.”

Carrick was frozen in place, his mind racing with implications. The word “took” was strong, and his urge was to flash away to the castle to tear it down in search of Finley. But ultimately, he followed Zaid inside the tent, trusting his friend had something important he needed to see.

At the low table in the center of the room, Zaid lifted a crystal from the table, along with the lock of hair Finley had left behind for Arwen after their first meeting. He handed it to Carrick. “This memory crystal was keyed to Finley, and we were able to watch it. Can you access it?”

There wasn’t much a demi-god couldn’t do, their magic and strength trumping all things fae. He took the cylinder, which was cool to the touch, and willed the information it held to come forth.

The crystal lit up, glowing reddish-orange, and the holographic memory shot out from the end to hover in the air. Carrick’s jaw locked and his heart stuttered as he watched the last moments of Arwen’s life play out.

The sickening realization that his friend, Pyke, had killed his own cousin because he wanted information on Finley settled in. After a moment of gut-wrenching nausea, it started to flame into fury.

Carrick dropped the crystal to the floor where it extinguished, his gaze turning to Zaid. “Where did he take her?”

Zaid winced when Carrick did not try to hide the condemnation in his voice over the fact Zaid was there while Finley wasn’t.

“Pyke showed up outside the hut right after we’d watched the memory,” Zaid said, recounting the events. “When he called for Finley, she made a split-second decision for me to take the Blood Stone and hide. Pyke didn’t know I was in here.”

“Fuck,” Carrick muttered, scrubbing a hand through his hair, his eyes darting around the hut as if Finley might be hiding in a corner. “What happened?”

“Finley went out to meet him. I stayed inside and listened. He was here for the Blood Stone. He’d put a tracking spell on both Finley and the stone, so he knew when they arrived here at the hut. She managed to convince him that the Blood Stone was no longer here. That you brought her here for safety, then left to hide it.”

“And he bought it?”

“In the end, I believe so,” Zaid affirmed.

“And was she hurt?” Carrick asked, his voice trembling with pent-up violence.

“She pulled her whip on him. Managed to draw blood from what I could hear.”

Carrick felt a pulse of pride in his woman for being so brave as she faced off with one of the most powerful Light Fae in existence. “He wanted to come into the hut to look around, so I bent distance with the Blood Stone, went to the woods, and hoped it was far enough away that he couldn’t feel it. I stayed close enough to the edge so I could watch. They weren’t in there long, probably just enough time for Pyke to realize the Blood Stone wasn’t there. They came back out—it looked like Finley tried to make a break for it, but he caught her. Then he bent distance and took her.”

“Goddamn motherfucker,” Carrick yelled, his voice booming across the open field. His gaze came back to pin Zaid. “Was she hurt in any way?”

With a shake of his head, Zaid replied, “He had her hands tied behind her back, but that was it. She was fine.”

“As fine as can be for being kidnapped,” Carrick snarled.

“I’m sorry.” Zaid’s head was bent in humble apology. “I should have protected her.”

Instantly, some of Carrick’s rage cooled. He shook his head, reaching to put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “No, you couldn’t have. You were no match against Pyke. Finley was right to tell you to take the Blood Stone and hide. Her mission is to thwart the prophecy, and that was the best call. And you must have been far enough away with it since Finley distracted him enough that he didn’t even think to check the surrounding area. He must have believed I left with it. And because of that, we’re still in possession of what I believe to be the most powerful magical object I’ve ever witnessed in my long life. You did the right thing.”

Carrick could tell his words didn’t mean much to Zaid, who still bore the expression of a man who had failed miserably at a job he took seriously. Carrick knew part of the daemon’s angst was because he had come to love Finley, just as he ultimately had in all her past lives. Given enough time, Zaid would eventually become a father figure to Finley if they followed in history’s tracks with every past incarnation. He was taking this loss extremely hard.

“Let me have the Blood Stone,” Carrick requested as he held out his hand. Zaid removed the satchel and handed it over, where it went over Carrick’s body for safekeeping.

He placed his hand against the satchel, bowed his head, and murmured a few ancient words. A light flared from the inside, coming out from the corners of the top flap. When he lifted his head, he explained, “Just removed Pyke’s tracking spell.”

Zaid nodded as he followed Carrick out of the hut.

“Do you think he’s still here in Faere?” Zaid asked, bending over to pick up the backpack from the ground.

“I don’t know.” Carrick’s voice was gruff with frustration as he scanned around. “But I suppose we need to go there to check it out.”

“You made it back here much quicker than I anticipated,” Zaid noted as he hitched the backpack onto his shoulders.

“It was a bust on the original Fallen,” Carrick muttered bitterly. “All three of the ones I had addresses for were gone. Houses were completely empty.”

“We’re getting close to the new moon,” Zaid pondered. “Kymaris pulling them in for safety reasons?”

“That would be my guess,” Carrick agreed.

Switching subjects, Zaid turned back to Arwen’s memory crystal. “At the end, before she died—in fact, what provoked her quick death—Arwen was about to tell Pyke what she had foreseen of his future. She referenced the new moon, but he cut her off. It would have been nice to have that information.”

Carrick gave a mirthless laugh. “Fae are superstitious creatures. They believe hearing their future means it’s set in stone as they don’t much believe in free will. I’m sure he didn’t want to know, but yes… it would have been helpful.”

“At least we know something happens to him on the new moon.”

Carrick flashed Zaid a menacing smile. “If the gods will ever show me any favor, I hope it’s a future where I plunge an iron sword into his black heart.”

“That is my hope as well,” Zaid murmured.

Carrick glanced around again, spied Finley’s whip, and hurried over to it. As he picked it up from the ground, he noticed a smudge of black fae blood on the iron-covered fall.

He hoped it hurt when it had sliced into Pyke.

Coiling the whip, Carrick moved back to Zaid. “Let’s go to the castle.”

Without direction, Zaid put a hand on Carrick’s shoulder. While Zaid could bend distance, he’d never been to the castle in Faere and needed Carrick’s navigation.

“Should we leave a message for Maddox?” Zaid inquired before they left.

Carrick shook his head. “He’ll find us.”

And with that, he envisioned Nimeyah’s castle and bent distance, dropping them on the top step before the huge double doors. Rebsha greeted them after the use of the large knocker.

“Carrick,” he said with mild surprise. “And…”

Rebsha’s gaze went briefly to Zaid, his shock that Carrick had brought a daemon into Faere evident.

“This is Zaid,” Carrick replied smoothly. “A very close and trusted friend.”

Rebsha nodded. “And I assume you’re here to see Nimeyah?”

“Actually, we’d like to see Pyke.”

“He’s not here,” Rebsha said as he backed away from the door to invite Carrick and Zaid in with a sweep of his hand. “He’s not been here at the castle in quite a while, actually.”

Carrick nodded in understanding, but there was some doubt as to whether Rebsha was telling the truth. One theory Carrick had been mulling over was that Pyke perhaps wanted the Blood Stone for his mother and the good of all Faere.

Carrick wasn’t going to leave this realm until he knew if that were true or not.

“Take me to Nimeyah,” he demanded.

“Of course,” Rebsha replied and led the way into the throne room.

Same as the last time Carrick was here, it was devoid of any furniture other than a raised dais that held four thrones for the royal family. Currently, only the top-tiered one was occupied by Nimeyah, and she was in discussion with three Light Fae before her.

Her gaze flicked up briefly to take in Carrick and Zaid before she returned to her conversation. Rebsha stood quietly just inside the doorway, hands clasped before him. The message was clear. They were not to approach while she was conducting business, which Carrick was almost positive had to do with some party she’d be throwing. Politics, war, and other such concerns were nonexistent in Faere.

Carrick shifted about impatiently, the minutes ticking away until he could find and rescue Finley. It was the highest thing on his priority list, but he had to verify Nimeyah wasn’t involved.

Whatever the answers he’d be given, he wasn’t going to ask subtly.

Luckily for Nimeyah, she wrapped up her meeting sooner rather than later, as Carrick’s patience was at an all-time low. The Light Fae left the room, giving a wide berth to the demi-god, who was putting off some seriously intimidating vibes.

Rebsha backed out of the room, then closed the doors behind him. Nimeyah did not rise from her chair but beckoned Carrick forward. Zaid stayed where he was.

“Carrick,” Nimeyah crooned with a welcoming smile, but he could hear it in her voice. The slight hint of unease that he was here, which meant that she might know something about Pyke and Finley. “How lovely to see you?”

As Carrick walked her way, Nimeyah’s gaze went to Zaid, her mouth tightening. She held deep prejudice against daemons, as did most of the Light Fae royals and nobles.

When she brought her eyes back to Carrick, she made a sound of disapproval. “You know I don’t like daemons in Faere. They’re not allowed here.”

Carrick had reached the bottom of the dais, and rather than bow or offer a polite courtesy, he replied, “I don’t give a fuck what you do and don’t like or allow. Where is your son?”

“How dare you—” Nimeyah started to say, but that was all she got out before Carrick shot toward her.

In a blur of speed, he had his hand around her throat and her body up from the throne as her words were choked off.

It was unheard of to attempt any contact with a royal fae, but Carrick wasn’t going to abide by rules. To all, it was a death sentence if someone tried to harm one.

He’d like to see her or any other Light Fae try.

The door to the throne room burst open and Rebsha appeared, iron sword drawn as he took the situation in. How he knew his queen was in danger, Carrick couldn’t fathom, unless his ear was pressed to the door, but no matter.

He wasn’t a concern.

With Nimeyah securely held by her throat, Carrick extended his other arm back toward Rebsha. With no effort at all, Carrick magically pulled the sword from his hand, where it burst into flames and fell away into disappearing sparks.

Rebsha wasn’t daunted. He conjured another sword, but Carrick growled, “I’d stay right where you are, Rebsha. I’m only here for a talk with your queen. As long as I get the truth, she’ll remain unharmed. However, if she lies, you might want to get her husband to let him know he’s now the ruler of Faere.”

A growl of displeasure rumbled in the large fae’s chest, and while he did not lower his sword, he didn’t move an inch either.

Carrick turned his attention back to Nimeyah. “Where is Pyke?” he asked again.

Nimeyah’s eyes flashed with fury. She wasn’t scared or intimidated, but she also knew Carrick wasn’t bluffing. “I don’t know,” she rasped against the hand squeezing her throat. “I haven’t seen him in almost a month.”

With careful consideration, Carrick determined that was most likely the truth, but that wasn’t all the information he wanted.

Dipping his head closer to the queen, he murmured, “He wants the Blood Stone. Why?”

Nimeyah jerked in surprise, and it caused Carrick to loosen his grip slightly. “The Blood Stone? But when you were here last and we talked about it, we agreed it was just a myth.”

“I never agreed to that,” Carrick muttered, releasing his hold completely. Nimeyah sank into her chair, rubbing her neck. “I was able to procure the Blood Stone. Somehow, he thought Finley had it and kidnapped her. I want to know why. Does he intend to do something with it?”

“I swear it to you, Carrick.” Nimeyah’s expression was about as earnest as he’d ever seen. “I have no clue what you’re talking about. You know my son spends a lot of time outside of Faere. He’s sometimes gone for years, and we don’t have the closest bond.”

“Do you have a way of reaching him?” Carrick pressed.

“No,” she replied without hesitation. “I mean… I could put feelers out through some of my people who travel between realms. But he could be anywhere.”

Carrick didn’t bother asking if Deandra would know where he was. He planned on having that conversation with her when he got back to Seattle.

Backing off the dais, Carrick gave Nimeyah a pointed look. “If he shows up here, you send Rebsha to me immediately to let me know.”

For the first time, Nimeyah decided to attempt some queenly bearing. She lifted her chin. “I am not your personal messenger.”

Carrick leveled her with a smile that bordered somewhere between threatening and malicious. “If I find you’ve been harboring him without letting me know, I will lay waste to Faere and everything in it. You know I have that ability, and you know I keep true to my word.”

Nimeyah gasped in outrage. “The gods would never permit it.”

“They’d never be able to stop me in time,” he promised darkly. And he couldn’t give two fucks if the gods would hand down retribution for the violence committed against an entire realm. Finley was far more important than what they could ever do to him.

Spinning on his heel, Carrick moved across the throne room.

“Does this have anything to do with your last visit to me?” Nimeyah queried. She was asking about the information he’d imparted to her after the binding of her tongue. Carrick had told her everything about the prophecy and Finley’s powers, including that she had a twin sister in the Underworld.

And that indeed was the question.

Did Pyke wanting the Blood Stone have to do with the prophecy, or did he merely want the power for himself?

Carrick didn’t reply to Nimeyah as he moved past Rebsha to the door. Zaid followed him out. As soon as they were in the hallway, Carrick opened the veil and took them back to his condo in Seattle.

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Product Release Date: May 4, 2021

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