Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Courting Darkness (Robin LaFevers)
Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…
Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.
Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.
As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?
Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.
Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.
While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.
In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.
~ Excerpt ~
From the height of the eastern tower, I can see that the holly bush is slightly larger than yesterday, as is the crop of offerings beneath its branches. It is hard to keep my fingers from drifting to the twig hidden in my belt, even as I mock myself for doing so. And yet I cannot bring myself to throw it away.
Harder still is not picking at the scabs that have begun to form over old wounds. Especially now that the essence of what made me more than simply the sum of those wounds has been taken from me.
But not all of it has been taken. I am still able to experience the souls of the dying. Indeed, it is the soul of the guard who died with my hand on his chest that brings me to this tower today.
It has been a full week since the battle. While souls normally linger for only three days before moving to the Otherworld, those that suffer a violent death often take longer, if they ever move on at all. And today, with no people nearby to distract me with their heartbeats, I am able to sense a few that remain. They bump and flutter, restless and unsettled.
For my entire life, this ability to sense souls has felt more like a curse than a gift. When I was a child, their cold, chill presence brushed against me with icy wings of terror. In the end, they were nothing to be afraid of, although it took me a long time to learn that.
It is the souls of the newly dead — like those I killed yesterday — that are the most disturbing. The forced, unwanted intimacy, the eager, hungry way they flock to my warmth, the shocking and unwelcome invasion of their final thoughts shoving their way into my mind. I have learned to protect myself from them, with practice. But there is always that initial violation before I can resist. However, in this new upended world, like a beggar with scraps, I will grasp this remaining gift with both hands and call it a feast.
As the wisps of faded souls flutter against me, I close my eyes, trying to think how best to invite them to me. As it turns out, I do not have to. Merely having the thought causes them to flock to me like moths to flame, the dark gray ripple of their invisible wings barely detectable.
It is the weight of their souls and memories that nearly causes me to stagger. The neigh of a war horse. A flash of steel. An aching regret for a pair of lips that will never be kissed again. A surge of honor here. A wave of shame at being bested there. It is like running my hand through the small stones in a riverbed, each one cold, vividly colored, and uniquely formed.
Except for one — one of them is shockingly vibrant, so much so that I wonder if one of the wounded on the battlefield was overlooked and that he passed into death but recently.
Before I can fully explore this, I am distracted by a living heartbeat mounting the stairs behind me. My eyes snap open, and I quickly lower my arms. The heart beats in a rhythm so slow and deep and steady that I recognize it immediately.
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: HMH BYR
Release Date: February 5th, 2019
Twenty winners will receive His Fair Assassin character card sets ~ (US Only)
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